LISP Flash Fiction FINALIST, Patricia Mullin by FACTSHEET 5
When did you get into writing?
I wrote my first novel aged 8 or 9, it was thirteen chapters about horses, my passion at the time. I kept journals as a teenager and wrote some bad poetry full of angst: reader I binned them. I was a designer for years and then wrote my first novel prompted by a competition entry and when my children slept, which wasn’t often!
How often do your write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?
I write daily unless I’m running a workshop or teaching or doing admin. In between novels I write short stories and flash fiction. I have an M.A. ‘Writing the Visual’ in Creative Writing and Critical Culture, it was a creative game changer for me.
My ideas are sourced and inspired through art, objects, nature, the half–remembered or the unwittingly disclosed. The starting point for my fiction is invariably visual, juxtaposing the known past with an unsettling, unconscious illusoriness.
How does it feel to have your work recognised?
It’s a thrill; I am delighted to have been a finalist in LISP; what a boost!
I’m previously published in a number of competition anthologies and e-zines commended in the Yeovil, and three times shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.
What is the best and the most challenging thing about writing fiction? The best?
It’s another world I can enter when this one is too scary, and I love my characters; spending time with them is a joy.
The most challenging?
Interruptions: even well-meant ones and earning a crust in order to keep writing, this inevitably takes me away from my writing.
How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story?
I was driving and heard an item on the radio about young people leaving care. I immediately went home and researched online, up popped Fact Sheet 5, the rest I imagined. I have worked in the Prison Service teaching young men who were once children in the care system.
Tips on writing short of flash fiction.
Read as many (competition and other) anthologies as you can. Look for a different angle to a universal theme. Draft and redraft. Put it away for two weeks, re-read and then keep the best and cut the rest.
What’s the best and the most challenging thing about competitions?
Your writing will be read. If you get shortlisted or win, your work has stood out from hundreds or thousands of entries. The recognition will boost your writing self-esteem and might even attract industry attention.
They can be expensive. I set a yearly budget and I consider them a key part of my professional development.
Do you recommend that writers give LISP a go?
Absolutely, it’s been a great experience for me, and I really like the whole philosophy of LISP.