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Interview with Marko Davidovic. The London Independent Story Prize 2nd Quarter 2018 Highly Recommend

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

I’m a 23-year old recent university grad living in Ottawa with my family. I spend most of my time working various side-gigs and playing soccer (sorry, football), despite living in a country where it snows most of the year. Besides that I am an avid reader, and I do my best to put pen to paper whenever and wherever I can draw some kind of inspiration.

- When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!

I’ve always had a fascination with novels and more recently with short stories, though I didn’t start writing until about three years ago. In the beginning I wasn’t very serious about it, but lately I’ve been thinking that I’d really like to pursue it and see where it takes me. I now try to write whenever I have free time, but it’s not always easy. My first publication was in 2016 in a YA anthology for charity called Seven Deadly Sins: Envy. This is my first time being published since then, so you can imagine how excited I am!

- 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? As I said, I’m absolutely thrilled to be featured in LISP. I took a look at the list of judges before submitting my story and was taken aback by how accomplished they all are. I never expected to be among the winners, but it feels incredible to be recognized by people who have been successful in the industry. It’s certainly a welcome ego-boost and very encouraging for me going forward!

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

I think many people view flash fiction as limiting, what with there being a literal word limit, however for me the shortness of it is the best part. While it’s true that you have to be scrupulous with what you choose to take out of the story and what you keep, there is so much freedom in the word limit as well! Once you realize that essentially anything can be a flash fiction piece, from a moment in time to an important historical event to your breakfast this morning, the possibilities are endless. With flash I find you don’t have the same pressure of having to write something long and coherent without being convoluted that I tend to feel with longer stories. Sometimes you just don’t need much space to tell a good story, and to me there’s something so satisfying about having a final product that is clear and succinct, yet still packed with meaning.

- 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 wouldn’t say there is a story behind my story; rather I tend to draw inspiration for pieces from the emotions I’m feeling at the time. In terms of the subject matter, I had been thinking a lot about the problematic goings-on in Hollywood today, with regards to the overwhelming accounts of sexual abuse and particularly pedophilia present there. It got me reflecting on what child actors really have to go through on a day-to-day basis, how easily they can be exploited by the adults around them, and how this could potentially affect these kids later in life. There’s not much more to it, I wrote the story over the course of a few days and then spent about two months obsessively editing and searching for input from my friends.

- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story? I’m not sure I feel qualified to give any real flash fiction advice to anyone, however I do love listening to myself talk. Since flash is such a short medium to tell a story, I would suggest just writing a paragraph or two or three about anything that catches your fancy. It could be an object, an idea, your emotions, another person, whatever. The important thing is to try to write, and when it comes to writing 300-word flash, you’d be surprised how easy it can be to turn even the most insignificant paragraph into a standalone piece.

- What's the best thing about writing competitions? Having a strict deadline is a blessing for the perpetually lazy like me. I also love reading all the winning stories, it’s interesting to see what people can come up with and it’s a great learning opportunity for budding writers.

-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP? Absolutely! Flash fiction is fun and dynamic and LISP is the perfect place to present your story, given the quality of the judges and the fact that entry is quite affordable in comparison to other websites and magazines.

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