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Tom Carr Interview, 1st Half 2019 LISP Recommended Writer

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

I'm twenty-one years old, I was born in England but raised between Donegal and London. Recently, I just finished my bachelors degree in Creative Writing and English at the University of Chichester, down in West Sussex. Now, I've moved back to London and am currently trying to read and write as much as I can until I'm able to get a job in anything to do with publishing. I try to read at least fifty pages a day of either poetry or fiction, some days are better than others at sticking to it, but I'll keep trying!

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

I've been writing off and on since I was about nine, but what had made me really care about what I wrote was the chance I got to write a play for my A-levels and have it acted out. I loved seeing how the odd phrase from a script would affect actors in different ways, how each person could read a line differently, and for it to have a vastly different meaning if were said by someone else. When I saw that I was hooked. Four and a half years on, I’ve been writing about once a week. Like the reading, it isn’t a strict structure, the way my brain is wired is if I feel like I have to do something, I’ll put it off more and more until it’s a big block of stress. So I tell myself I don’t have to write, I need to, like it’s a need for food or water. Then I can write. I don’t know why it works but I’m happy it does. This is my first publication so thankfully it’s paying off!

- How did you feel when you learned that you are on the Recommended List of The London Independent Story Prize? How does it feel to have your work recognised?

I was over the moon. This is the first time that I felt safe enough with my work that I if I were to send it off, no matter the result, I knew I was happy with it. To know I’m not the only one who is happy with it is a great relief.

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

The best thing is the timeframe in which you can write one, the hardest thing is knowing when you’re finished with it. I had written ‘Watching Cancer’ within the space of an afternoon. Originally, I had it structured as a list poem, but it didn’t feel right. It had felt stuttered and limping. It took more than three months of tweaking for me to be properly satisfied with it.

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

A flash piece doesn’t always have to be one moment. It can be one emotion, one state of mind, one thought, it can even be a person. What I try to remember though when I write is that it has to be one thing entirely and in concentrated form. If it’s a moment, you have to be there in the words. If it’s a thought, it needs to obsess you when you read it. If it’s a person, they must be right there breathing next to you. Since you only have a moment, it needs to be vivid for it to stay with your reader.

- What's the best thing about writing competitions?

For me, it’s something to work towards. I’m only really starting off, so I feel like it’s necessary for me to have goals and challenges to reach and focus on. It keeps my quality up, as well as my motivation. Not to mention I have zero networking skills so this is a really massive help for me!

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

Definitely. I’m obsessed with variation and differing writing styles so being able to read other writer works through LISP is brilliant for me.

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