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Helen Chambers, Finalist

Helen Chambers, Flash Fiction Finalist, LISP 3rd Quarter 2020

- When did you start writing? How often do you write? 

I’ve been writing all my life, but only ‘in public’ for the last ten years or so, and I’ve had some success (see blog) which has kept me motivated to write more. To novice writers: keep writing, keep reading, and keep on sending your work out, especially to LISP, of course! Be brave! It is a lovely feeling to have your work recognised and to know that other people are reading your stories. 

- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction? 

I do think it’s important to realise that ‘writing is re-writing’ and that each story, however short, will need polishing and tweaking. I spend far more time on the editing of a story than I do on the initial draft, and I always leave stories to ‘stew’ for a few months - it’s amazing how much easier it is to improve them when you read them fresh. This process is exactly the same from the smallest Microfiction to a much longer story, or novel. 

-  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?

The first draft of What I Can do in the Air was written a couple of years ago, when I saw a small boy by the sea, trying to keep the gulls away from his chips, and his parents standing nearby ignoring him, absorbed with something on their phones. I think that children are far more aware of the way we treat them than we often realise. I knew that the narrative voice in the story had to belong to the boy, and that I wanted him to be very aware. With only 300 words to play with (my first draft was considerably longer) I knew I had to hint at the backstory quickly, and establish his relationship with his step-father, Dave, from the start. I experimented with several different endings and found this one the most satisfying.

To read more of my stories and see some of my other publications, visit my blog:



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