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Gaynor Jones, 1stQuarter-2018, Recommended Writer

- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?

I work part time, look after my toddler part time and fit in writing where and when I can. I’m currently living in Manchester, UK.

- When did you start writing? How often do you write?

I started writing at university, but my creative writing tutor was very negative about my work and I didn’t feel confident enough to attempt fiction again until I was nearly 30. I had a few things published but then developed an anxiety disorder which caused me to stop writing again. I started up again in November 2016 and haven’t stopped since! I almost can’t believe that I’ve had around 50 pieces published now, it feels unreal. My favourite piece is a weird zombie story called Business As Usual which was published by MoonPark Review and nominated by them for Best Small Fictions – I can’t thank them enough for loving and promoting that story.

- How did you feel when you learned that you were longlisted for The London Independent Story Prize? How does it feel to have your work recognised?

I was genuinely surprised to be longlisted for LISP as the story was a new style and subject for me. It shows that it pays to experiment sometimes.

- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?

I love writing flash fiction, the best thing is seeing how much you can cram into a tiny amount of words without it being meaningless or overwhelming. The hardest thing for me is trying to use creative and imaginative language in such a small space – I’m not great at that yet, but I’m working on it.

- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And how long have you been working on it?

I wrote Nothing Monumental About It especially for the LISP competition after reading the guidelines, though it did come out of a small activity from my Comma Press short story course. I had sketched out a short plot about the impact of AIDS in Manchester in the 90s, a time when I used to frequently go out clubbing in the Gay Village. The story just grew from there. It took me about a month and maybe 7/8 drafts until I was happy with it.

- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?

My tips for writing a 300 word story. Hmm! I think these days flash fiction is really en elevated art form. When I started out it was more twist endings and surprises but now you really have to craft a wonderful little story. When I’m reading (and writing) I always think in terms of emotional impact and resonance – how can this story affect the reader emotionally?

- What's the best thing about writing competitions?

I enter a lot of writing competitions but have very little success, I’m not really sure why I do it, I think I’m a bit of a gambler. I do like having themes or prompts to work from too.

-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?

I’d recommend the LISP comp, it had a quick turn around which is always good and I loved the winning story, even though it wasn’t mine!

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