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Laura Kyle, LISP 2022 Short Story Finalist by 'The Freckle'

LISP 2022 Short Story Finalist 'The Freckle' by Laura Kyle

- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

I'm Irish but live on the beautiful island of Jersey. For the past two years, I have been studying for an MFA in Creative Writing and am on my last year now. It has been rewarding and taught me so much about writing. I'm also working on my first novel, Banshee and hope to have completed the first draft on that soon. This takes up most of my days, but when I'm not writing or studying for my MFA, I enjoy walking my dog Mabel and reading. I listen to lots of audio books, so can combine running and walking with listening to books.


- When and how did you get into writing?

I started writing in my 50s but had been thinking about it for over 40 years. Even in Primary school, I wanted to be a writer. My good friend Kari, a fellow writer, persuaded me to both study for the MFA and to join a Creative Writing group run by writer Melanie Whipman. This gave me confidence to stop procrastinating and start writing. I was a finalist in the LISP in 2021 and that also gave me a boost to keep going.

- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?

Although I have good intentions to write every day, life often gets messy and other priorities take precedence, but when I can manage a routine, I try to write each morning from around 9am until lunchtime. I'm inspired by other writers, but also when I go running or walking, ideas come to me and I often stop and make a note in my phone. Some of these are garbled and make no sense to me when I read them back, a day or two later, but some lead to a story or an idea to include in my novel-in-progress.

- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It makes me feel that I am a proper writer. Sometimes I feel like a fraud, because I haven't finished my book yet or even won a competition, though have made short and long lists. So if a story is recognised, then it gives me the courage to say 'I am a writer' and that helps me to continue, to try to finish this book, to write new stories.

- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?

It's very personal and probably different for every writer, but for me the best thing is re-reading a piece of writing and feeling, it has potential, that I have created something which someone else would enjoy reading. In terms of challenges, it's focus. I'm brilliant at procrastinating and so finding sitting down and staying on task, difficult.

- How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?

I didn't take long to write the story, but the idea was brewing in my head for quite a few months. Initially, I thought I would make it a much longer piece, explore the relationship between the mother and daughter every ten years and also possibly explore the relationship the mother had with her own mother. I may still do this. As a mother myself (and a daughter), I find that I often reflect and beat myself up on mistakes which I've made with my own children. I'm not the mother in the story, and none of my children is the daughter, but examining my own relationships does lead to ideas for stories.

- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?

For me, I start with a little nugget of an idea and try to weave some truth into it. This could just be a characteristic of someone I know in real life or even just a mannerism of a stranger that I've passed in the street or observed at an airport. Then I build the story, wonder how they would react in these circumstances, what they would feel etc. My main tip when the story is complete is to read it aloud, firstly just to yourself, so you can hear any repetitions and sections that jar and then to other trusted writers, who will tell you exactly what doesn't work, so you can polish it or abandon it and start again if it's not working.

- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?

The best thing is being part of a supportive writing community, and the most challenging is when you've written something you feel is good, but it doesn't place in a competition. I've learnt not to take that personally, put the story away for a while and then examine it after some time has passed and try to recognise what doesn't work and hopefully make some improvements.

- Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit their stories/screenplays to LISP?

Yes, and don't be discouraged if you don't place first time. Just keep trying.


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