Catherine Adams, Semi-Finalist
Catherine Adams, Flash Fiction Semi-Finalist, LISP 3rd Quarter 2020
- Can you please tell us about your daily life?
I work for a law firm, so my hours can be variable and days can be long. During lockdown, my kitchen table has become my desk, but I make time for regular breaks - for elevenses, for lunch and for the four o’clock cup of tea, which are all essential. After work, I’ll go for a run, a new hobby I started thanks to lockdown. The hours I used to spend commuting are wonderful, I can use them to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, or even squeeze in some writing. - When did you start writing? How often do you write? I have been writing for about five or six years, alongside university studies and more recently, a full time job. This is the first year I have seriously undertaken to enter writing contests. I try to write every day, and I find having deadlines to work to really helps with keeping me on track. - How does it feel to have your work recognised? It’s a massive motivator. As I said, this is the first year of seriously entering writing competitions, and seeing how much talent is out there makes you question your own output. Being recognised in such a way has given me the impetus to keep writing. - What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction? Best is that you can really focus on one specific feeling, a sensation or a moment that stuck in your head. It forces a narrow focus and allows you to explore it in a way that you might ordinarily skip over in a sentence or a paragraph in a longer piece. The hardest thing is of course the word count! Backstory for a single minute of conversation could sometimes fill a page or more. - 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? How to be a Dad was inspired by experiences of walking in Scotland, but the scene of the Dad and his son speaking was something I came up with on a run (which is where all my best ideas seem to come from). I sat down and wrote it all out immediately, and afterwards it was a question of tweaking word choices and making sure the feelings I’d envisaged really came out. I had to rewrite the ending several times.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story? Hold onto a feeling and try and frame the story around it. Narrow the focus so that the story only describes one specific moment or event, but allow it to frame and demonstrate the wider context in which the characters operate. And get people to read it before you submit! A second pair of eyes is invaluable. - What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions? The worst is the waiting and the anticipation for the results. The best is certainly either having your work recognised or being able to read the winning entries when they are published - this is where I try and learn what has done well and apply it to my own writing. -Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on LISP? Absolutely! Writing competitions are a great way to get your writing out there, and LISP has been wonderful.