Interview with Emma Bradley, Highly Recommended Writer - LISP 3rd Quarter 2018
- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?
I grew up in London, but now I live near to Brighton with the seagull invasion. I try to get as much writing time in as I can each day, in between working and walking the dog, even if it’s just making notes or jotting down the odd idea. I’ve always loved creating different worlds and scenarios, but I think it helped a lot that my Mum read to me every night when I was really little, and my Dad spent far too much on books!
When I’m not focusing on writing or reading, I prefer to keep my hands busy making wire and bead jewellery as a hobby.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write? Please feel free to mention your previously published works or awards or any other achievements in writing. We want to learn all about your writing life!
I can’t remember exactly when I started writing, around the age of nine or ten I think. I’d end up with three or four A4 pages and think it was the most amazing piece of literature ever written! (It really wasn’t.) Nowadays I aim for fifteen minutes of solid writing a night, but procrastination is pretty much my worst habit!
So far, I’ve self-published an equestrian series suitable for children and young adults, as well as two fantasy trilogies set in an alternate realm, and finally two standalone contemporary fiction books. The last book in the second fantasy trilogy is still in progress, but after that, who knows!
- How did you feel when you learned that you are on the Highly Recommended List of The London Independent Story Prize? How does it feel to have your work recognised?
It’s a great feeling when other people in the industry think that what you’ve created is worth recognising. I sat staring at the email initially trying to figure out if it was legit or not! Unfortunately, the only person around when I saw it first was the dog – he didn’t quite get the importance of it, but luckily the rest of the family are really supportive!
It does get demoralising to have a constant slog of rejection emails, or to think about the many submissions that can never be responded to, but it only takes one bit of recognition to put the confidence boost right back up there.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?
The best thing? The challenge of it. The worst thing? The challenge of it!
Writing Flash-Fiction is completely different to creating a full-length story, and it takes a lot of discipline to keep the piece short without killing the feel of it. Keeping the punch of a story without having room for all the extra words is definitely a great way to learn to cut the fluff. If you’re a writer who gets really attached to phrases or entire paragraphs, this can be an excellent lesson!
- 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?
The idea came from something that my dad always used to say to me. Walking back from infant school we used to cut through a graveyard and he always said ‘It’s not the dead that hurt you, it’s the living’. Then there would be the usual ‘stranger danger’ lecture. I’m petrified of people in general now, but graveyards don’t scare me anymore!
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?
1. Get the idea first, along with any key phrases that you want to include.
2. Once you’ve got your idea, try to write a quick storyboard, i.e. ‘he said this and then this happened and then *bam* that guy’s dead’. It’ll help keep you on track when the inevitable word-splurge happens.
3. Write the piece in rough draft, and then the fun bit can start. Hack and stab at any bits/words that aren’t 100% necessary. Once you’ve done that, you can start to fine tune.
I always tend to write way too much, so the hardest bit is keeping in the word limit without losing the essence of the story!
- What's the best thing about writing competitions?
Competitions give you the chance to push yourself. Even if you’re working on multiple projects, with a competition you have the structure of an outline and a deadline. You also need a lot of discipline to stick to the theme and the word count, especially when your imagination runs off in a completely random direction! (Disclaimer: Getting placed or winning is also a pretty awesome side-effect!)
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?
Absolutely, 100%. Don’t go in with the mind-set that you’ll definitely win, because chances are you might not. Instead, try to see it as practice. Then, if you do end up getting a result from it, the surprise is an amazing extra!