Transformation in The Night Market

I’m editing on my novella “The Night Market” and I have a scene where the main character is asked if he knows the difference between a metamorphosis and a transformation.  I approached the answer to that question scientifically.

“Do you know the difference between a transformation and a metamorphosis, my boy?” The Toymaker looked straight at Cory as he asked the question.

Cory stepped back from the whirling zoetrope and watched as the Toymaker halted its rotation. The candle went out as if snuffed; a snake of smoke floated from the wick.

“I… They’re the same thing, aren’t they?”

The old man stroked his coarse gray beard and with a twinkle regarded the two of them.

“A metamorphosis is the complete remaking of a being — think of the caterpillar. It in no way resembles the butterfly and therefore must remake itself — cracking skin open and exposing brain and blood to somehow become, at once, less and more than it once was. But a transformation — that’s different.”

He dusted off his hands with a quick clap. “A transformation is the same animal with just a few variables changed. A turn here, a flip there, a slide, and a little bird begins to spout fire and is a dragon.”

The Toymaker turned his beetle-black eyes on Cory. “Mind you don’t miss your chance at transformation, my boy.”

A metamorphosis is a biological change, but a transformation is geometry.  A Flip (Reflection) , a Slide (Translation), and a Turn (Rotation) are all ways that shapes move to get from one place to another.  My characters have their problems, but they don’t need to totally remake themselves. They just need to move forward in their lives.

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Aidee Ladnier

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