Saturday, August 19, 2023

Six Questions for… Eric Fomley

[Editor’s note: “Six Questions for…” is a new feature we’re going to be giving a test run for the next few weeks. The idea is to go beyond the usual tiny author’s bio and give readers a better sense of who our authors are. If you think of a question you’d like us to ask, feel free to put it in the comments. We can’t guarantee the author will answer, but we’ll put it on the list of questions to ask in future profiles.]

Six Questions for… Eric Fomley

ric Fomley's stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, Galaxy's Edge Magazine, and many other places including, of course, here on the Stupefying Stories website. (We’re particularly fond of “End Program.”) You can find more of his stories on his website,, or in his Portals or Flash Futures collections.

Q: When you write a new story, are you a plotter or a pantser?

A: I’m a plotter all the way, even for flash fiction such as this story. For some reason, no matter the length, I like to know exactly what I’m going to say before I sit in front of the blank screen. I freeze up without a direction and would never accomplish anything if I didn’t plot.

Q: If you could change one thing about the way you write, what would it be?

A: I actually wish I were a pantser. I admire writers who can plop down in their writing chair and produce a short story in a sitting just by winging it along the way. It’s a skill I’ve attempted to teach myself to no avail.

Q: What feels like your best natural length for a story?

A: Almost everything I write winds up flash length unless I’m very intentional in the outline. I naturally trim right to the moment before the climax which can be highly frustrating when I’m trying to write a traditional length short story. Sometimes I’ll get frustrated when planning a short story and pull out the flash “core” of the story and write that instead. I’m not suggesting that as the best approach, especially in a business that’s very much paid by the word, but it’s my flash roots that always seem to come out in those moments.

Q: What is your least comfortable length?

A: The farther I get from flash, the less comfortable I am. 1-2k word short stories are still fairly comfortable because they still feel like flash to some extent. Beyond 2k it becomes less and less comfortable all the way to novel length.

Q: What's next for you? What are you working on now?

A: I’m actually working on my first short novel. I want to break out of writing exclusively flash and short short stories and get into longer lengths. This doesn’t mean you won’t see me around at flash venues, but I’d like to get some longer stories under my belt as well.

Q: Is there an author whose work you think has been unfairly overlooked or forgotten? 

A: The Macht trilogy by Paul Kearney is one of the best fantasy trilogies no one really talks about. A mercenary company in a low magic, Ancient Greece era Fantasy setting gets trapped overseas and has to fight their way home. Lots of vivid action, political machinations, and the characters are amazing.