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Catherine Adams, LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Short Story

LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Short Story, 'Sunflowers Underground' by Catherine Adams

- 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 first university studies and more recently, a full time job. From July, I started to submit my work to writing contests for the first time. Since then, I have been buoyed by achievements such as being short-listed for the Exeter Story Prize, a Semi-Finalist for the LISP Flash Fiction competition, and other small (but no less rewarding) recognitions. - 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 Short Story? Best is that you get to live in that little world of imagination for the time it takes to write it and re-read it a hundred times. The worst is that you have to re-read it a hundred times and only ever spot the mistake after it’s submitted! - 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? Like many others, I have found the past year very difficult. I have found myself missing my friends and my family, but even more strangely I’ve been missing silly things like getting the tube to work in the morning and the random interactions with strangers you sometimes have - rare in a city like London, but sweet when they occur. Sunflowers Underground came out of that, and the little bits of make believe the character indulges in are similar to the ones I have - thinking about a time after this.

- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short story? My friend’s advice on writing a short story: no more than two named characters! It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s something which makes me stop and think. How much of the character can I squeeze into this space? Have I got enough room to show them develop, and let the reader understand them? Or, just throw the whole rulebook out and have fun with it1 - 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.



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