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Debi Alper, LISP Jury

Interview with Debi Alper, LISP Jury

- What impresses you the most in a story?

The most important thing for me is a strong voice. More than any other aspect, if the narrative voice grabs me, I feel compelled to read on.

- How do you describe the art of compression? Also, can you give us some tips on how to master it?

A short story needs to arrive late and leave early. The reader needs to imagine the characters' lives continuing after the story ends. To an extent, the same is true for full-length novels, but it's more extreme in short stories where there needs to be a tight focus on making every word count. There's less room for sub-plots or a cast of minor characters.

- How do awards affect writers? As a novelist, editor, jury of multiple competitions, can you tell us about the importance of such feedback and recognition for a writer?

Being placed in a competition makes a huge difference for an author. It not only boosts confidence but also gives them something to add to pitching letters. The more vigorous the judging process, as is the case for LISP, the greater the achievement because it's a sign of how many hoops the story has had to go through in order to be placed. It's a massive affirmation of an author's creative writing skills.

- Finally, what advice would you like to give for the ones wanting to enter our Short Story and Flash Fiction competition?

Go for it! What do you have to lose? Don't be put off if you're not placed. I've known people who have won prestigious competitions with stories which have been rejected elsewhere. Good luck!



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