Jonathan Sellars, Flash Fiction Finalist, LISP 3rd Quarter 2020
- When did you start writing? How often do you write?
I only started writing properly about four years ago. I’ve always loved making up stories in my head but never wrote them down because I never had the guts to/ never put aside the time/ always found an excuse not to. Eventually I forced myself to sign up to an evening course which gave me some structure and a reason to write and I haven’t stopped since.
I can’t really explain it but I just love it and it’s all I ever think about. I haven’t really achieved much with it but I’m determined that I will one day.
- How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Yeah of course it’s great. I think anyone who says they don’t like people reading and enjoying their work is a big fat liar.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?
I used to really dislike Flash-Fiction as I never understood how you could really write a satisfying story in such few words. But then I started to read quite a few and I began to realise that actually you are able to create something quite intense and captivating in a short space of time. And then I realised that I normally waffle on a lot when I write and so trying Flash-Fiction would be really good for me. And then I realised that because there are so few words you get obsessed with each one and it’s really hard to just walk away and say it’s finished.
- 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?
One weekend as lockdown was lifted we went to visit some big country house and were walking in the gardens when we came across these thick bushes that formed a tunnel around the path. The branches were so thick and rigid and for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking that they looked like some overgrown fingernails that were twisting and turning and wrapping their way around us.
We were on the side of a hill and I just loved the idea of there being these sleeping giants buried beneath us and overtime their finger nails growing longer and longer until they burst out of the ground, yet all the time visitors just walked through them as if they were nothing special at all.
I thought it would be a great Flash-Fiction story and so came home and wrote it.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?
Don’t try and do too much. Have a clear and simple idea and build around it.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions?
All stories come from an idea that you love. If you didn’t love the idea then it’s unlikely that you’d be bothered enough to take the time to write it down. Writing competitions help to give you something to focus on and a chance for this incredible idea to receive the acclaim it deserves. However, there can obviously only be one winner and, when it isn’t you, it’s very hard to not over-analyse why it wasn’t. Was that original idea actually not that good? But why did I love it so much? Maybe my ideas just aren’t that great? Well that sucks. Actually wait, maybe the idea was great but I just didn’t write the story very well? So I’m just not very good at writing stories? Oh, well that’s just perfect, I’m doomed forever to have these incredible ideas that I will never be able to do justice. Etc. etc.
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on LISP?
Yeah definitely. Just write because you enjoy it.