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Tony Delmond, Highly Recommended Writer, LISP 1st Half 2019

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

I am a professor of agricultural economics in Tennessee. I have lived in several regions across the United States, and I spent a year in East London, near Spitalfields Market.

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

I have written as long as I can remember, but I rarely let anyone read my work as an adult until this spring. Writing has always been my life’s ambition, but a debilitating fear of failure has always stifled my willingness to submit anything for evaluation. When I was much younger I dabbled in poetry, and as an undergraduate English student I spent considerable time studying modern British literature and drama. Regarding the frequency and duration of my writing, my inspiration comes in waves. When pressing matters arise in my personal or professional life requiring immediate and undivided attention, I often find myself nestled into the safety of some new, fervent raison d’écrire.

- 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?

Positive recognition is always agreeable, but it was particularly thrilling after years writing solely for my own amusement.

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

I recently discussed the difference between writing short fiction and novels with an acquaintance who has successfully published both. The more limited the medium, the more tortured the writer. With flash fiction, there is little room to tell a story and no space to recover from a hint of poor writing.

- 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 find it very difficult to characterize my stories’ origins, so I will write a little about my process. I wrote and revised this over a few days. Once I finish writing a story, I usually take a few days away from it before rereading and revising, but there is a threshold. If I wait too long to go back, the specific motivations that led to the story are lost and I find myself rewriting an entirely separate piece, often salvaging only scraps from the original. If I do not wait long enough, I cannot read it objectively – in a voice not my own -- and it still seems like the perfect gem I set aside.

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

Revision is crucial, but it can be an impenetrable obstacle. For me, perfectionist tendencies are the most difficult hurdle to overcome. Allowing other people to read and comment on your work, however self-conscious it makes you, is the first step toward improvement.

- What's the best thing about writing competitions? Having a deadline, a motivation to finish the story, the chance of winning, getting recognised by a professional organisation, communicating with other writers or a networking opportunity to meet with like-minded people?

Each of those is reason enough to participate in a writing competition. Having a deadline usually provides the motivation to complete and revise a draft. The best aspects of a writing competition are the potential affirmation and the ability to share one’s work with a wider audience.

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

Of course. The medium challenges one to reflect on the vital components of a piece and the use of language.


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