Ali J Prince, LISP 2022 Flash Fiction Finalist by 'Tinnitus'
- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
My name is Ali J. Prince, and I live in Wandsworth[London]. I transcribe and write articles about wildlife for a living, but in my spare time, I write fiction, and I also volunteer at an animal shelter.
- When and how did you get into writing?
I have written most of my life, in fact, I found a small diary from when I was 11, and it was set in a non-existent age with invented people, places and battles! In 2017 I won a competition with Spread the Word based on a few chapters of a book called Offline, which was about teenage rebellion amid the idiocy of the encroaching digital age. The book evolved into Digital Scum which I think is still available.
- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?
I don’t have any routine because I write in a very, very compulsive way. I admire people who stick to a writing regime but this would never work for me. I find it hard to say what inspires me as I think it’s more of a moment, a spark or something falling out of the sky.
- How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Having recognition is a nice feeling to have because I suppose it means that at least one or two other people feel a shadow of a shell of a similar feeling to me about some things and that makes me feel less mad. I am grateful beyond words for the encouragement I’ve received from certain people and publishers. I’m especially happy about LISP because I have almost always lived in London and so it means a great deal.
- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?
I think the best thing about writing a story is when you stop trying to logically describe something and instead, start to feel it and let the words catch up on their own and then you read it back and you have somehow moved that feeling into the best available words and the most challenging thing is when you desperately want that thing to happen but it won’t.
- How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?
This particular story came very quickly and I wrote it all in one go because it’s something extremely personal although I transferred it onto another character - I was looking at him down a telescope in my brain and watching to see what he did next.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?
Of course, everyone is different. Some people are technically flawless writers who are highly educated and have been on lots of courses. I think - at least this is what I’ve seen - they may be the best at having a highly disciplined routine as they have all the tools and just need to apply them. I left school at 15, and anything I know I have taught myself or from people I’ve been lucky enough to have tolerated me, so I do rely upon my imagination taking over. I would honestly scratch out words on a leaf in the park and leave it for the pigeons to read if I felt like it. I understand this won’t work for someone who really wants to have a hit BBC4 screenplay. Personally, I like pigeons.
- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?
The best thing about competitions for me is that it gives you a deadline and that’s somewhat helpful for me. Like all of the arts in 2022, writing exists in a sadly predictably dull, nepotistic landscape and also favors networking, emojis and a digital presence. No matter how good you are, you are realistically competing with people who have relatives and old school friends or god-parents in publishing. Or worse! ‘celebrities’ who get bored with gold teacups and past-life hypnotherapy telling them they were once a shamanic turtle and decide to write a quirky children’s book or a novel about a hapless, alcoholic detective or something. So, competitions to me still have that one-in-a-million Charlie Bucket golden ticket magic about them.
- Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit their stories/screenplays to LISP?
I would recommend everyone submit their stories and screenplays to LISP because a sparkling aquamarine gem will be found amongst the cold, corporate machine and that could change the entire zeitgeist in a few paragraphs. Or it could cause the machine to make-function. I am hopeful!