Flash Fiction Semi-Finalist
- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life? I live in Nottingham with my wife, four-year-old daughter and a cat we have systematically overfed. My day job is teaching on a Creative Advertising degree course at the University of Lincoln, and I’ve also been a copywriter for over ten years. Which I suppose explains the love of words – and the need to write something that isn’t trying to sell more lipstick/lawnmowers/linguine etc. - When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life! I started writing and submitting flash fiction about a year ago, not with any lofty publishing dreams in mind but simply because I enjoy the process, and the flash form seems to be the only one I have any discipline in. In that year I’ve been lucky enough to be published in a lot of journals I read and admire, and picked up a few shortlists, longlists and one lonely win in some great competitions. - How did you feel when you learned that you are a Semi-Finalist on The London Independent Story Prize? Delighted! The story was quite an odd one, which is the kind of story I like to write, but isn’t always the sort of thing a lot of journals like to see. I’ve tried to ‘fake’ a certain style that I think would please a certain type of editor, but I’m no good at that. I’d sooner write my odd little tales and get them picked up here and there, than write something I don’t actually believe in. - What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction? Achieving a sense of completeness. A lot of people would (quite rightly) disagree, but my favourite flash stories are the ones that feel like they tell a complete tale – albeit with a few questions for the reader to take away and ponder. The stories I write that most often go in the bin are those that feel too much like an excerpt from a bigger piece. - 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? Reading is how I get my ideas, whether that’s in my professional life or as an amateur flasher (flashist might be better). A word, a phrase or even just the style of a piece can spark something that I just go and explore. My process is scruffy and lazy and horribly undisciplined, but the stories I’ve been most proud of have all been birthed in the same untidy way. - Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story? Write the thing that no one else is writing. It’s impossible to know, but I think you can have a sense – especially with a themed competition, or working with a prompt - what the obvious and popular territories are going to be. - What's the best thing about writing competitions? I won’t lie, the glory. Nothing heals the battering of rejections more swiftly or completely than recognition in a prize. -Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP? Absolutely. There are a handful of competitions in the calendar that I feel should be the core of any flash writers plans, and LISP is certainly one of them.