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Alan Kennedy, LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Flash Fiction

LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Flash Fiction, 'Weary Eyes' by Alan Kennedy

Can you please tell us about your daily life?

Having to give up my job as a storyteller because of the pandemic, I was lucky enough to be able to retire. I try to get into a rhythm of writing for two hours a day. Sometimes, it's more and occasionally less. I am also learning my partner's mother tongue, Basque, which is the most complicated language I've ever attempted. Since our mobility is limited to San Sebastian at the moment, I enjoy exploring this beautiful city and its surrounding countryside on foot.

When did you start writing? How often do you write?

Emerging naturally from my job as a storyteller, I have been scribbling seriously for the past five years and completed the initial year of an MA in creative writing. I hope to finish the degree when I have saved enough money. I have been fortunate to have some of my tales published both in book form and online. In 2020, I won first prizes for my stories ‘The Storyteller's Gift' with Cranked Anvil and ‘Mirror Mirror’ with Shady Grove.

How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It is exhilarating to know that other more established and experienced writers have seen something of value in my work.

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

The toughest part of Flash fiction is stripping your story down without losing the magic. I spend ten times more time editing than original writing.

How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? How long have you been working on it?

The concept occurred to me when I was researching material for a longer piece on oyster fishing. I lived for a period in the Shetlands and would sometimes go collecting cockles with a bucket so the feeling of wading in ice cold water came from that. I thought up the initial image a year ago.

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

Flash writing is not easy, but I recommend just jotting down whatever you want in one sitting for an hour. Images, scraps of dialogue, whatever appears. Then leave it for a few days while your unconscious takes over. Then comes the tough part. Chopping away, inverting the order, weeding out weak words, etc.

What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions?

The finest thing about entering competitions is the deadline. I find it complicated to work without one. The worst aspect is that sometimes I don’t have enough spare cash to enter.

Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on LISP?

LISP are very generous in that the list of published stories is long, not only the first three writers.



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