- a short fiction author and the former publisher of Space and Time magazine
Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Hildy Silverman!
For just over a decade, Hildy Silverman was the publisher of Space and Time, a five-decade-old magazine of fantasy, horror, and science fiction.
She is now focused on her own writing and frequently contributes short fiction to anthologies.
Hildy, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
Well, I already had the greatest pet doggo in the world (in my wholly unbiased opinion), who sadly passed away a couple of months ago. But if I could have anything, I’d have to go with a dragon. I could fly around on its back, set my enemies aflame — what could be better?
A good doggo is a wonderful thing. But a dragon is definitely a classic choice around these parts.
What do you write?
As far as fiction goes, I write short stories. I’ve been doing so since I was little, but my first professionally published story came out in the early 1990s. I’ve always loved the short form and the challenge it presents in telling a complete and satisfying story. Short stories require conciseness, yet you still have to create a three-dimensional world and characters. I enjoy that challenge as a writer.
Short form is definitely its own art, and very challenging! You’ve got amazing skills.
What do you like to read?
As a reader, I also prefer “tight” stories without a surfeit of flowery description or excessive wordiness. As far as genre, I enjoy almost anything that could be considered speculative — horror, fantasy, SF, and their various subcategories. I enjoy books where the author clearly thought out every aspect of the plot, characters, world-building, etc. and constructed a story in which everything comes together in a believable way within the confines of the world they created.
While I wouldn’t put ‘tight’ as a story descriptor for me, I know I have to be in the right mood to be able to make it through some of the heavily lyrically written works. And, I definitely agree, well-constructed world building has a definite appeal!
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Show, don’t tell.
Show, don’t tell as a hard-and-fast rule. As a short story author, sometimes you have to tell instead of show in order to keep within the word count allotted. That said, the trick is knowing when to show and when to tell.
For example, if you need to get Character A from room to another, you don’t have to show them standing up out of their chair, taking X number of steps, and arriving in the next room. “Joe went into the kitchen” takes care of it, and the reader doesn’t feel short-changed by the lack of lengthy exposition.
What an excellent point. I try to remind people I beta-read for that we don’t need all the stage directions.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
(Have a) clear point-of-view.
I hate “head hopping” and careless errors with POV as a reader — throws me right out of the story. Choose your POV and stick with it, and please, if you choose third-person omniscient, make sure you know how to pull that off so that your characters and their thoughts are distinct from one another and clearly “marked” so I, as a reader, know exactly whose head I’m in at any given time.
I’ve got to agree. If I have to pause after a sentence to figure out which character the thought came from, you’ve thrown me out of the story and made me think about the writing, not the words.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
I’m honored to have been included in two recent anthologies — The Dystopian States of America, a collection of (mostly) horror and dystopian short stories, with all the proceeds are going to the ACLU.
And, Bad-Ass Moms, which is mixed genre and features awesome moms of all variations.
The next anthology coming out with one of my stories is from Espec Books called Horns and Halos. It will feature half-demon themed stories and half angel-themed, and includes the latest in my series of stories featuring a bionic mermaid who helps maintain the balance between Earth’s surface and sea-dwelling inhabitants.
Check Hildy Silverman out across the web!