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Lee Stevenson, LISP 2022 Short Story LISP Finalist, 'BACK HOME'

LISP 2022 Short Story LISP Finalist, 'BACK HOME' by Lee Stevenson

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

I live in Chester with my fiancé and 8-year-old son. I’m currently in the last year of an English Literature and Creative Writing degree, which I’ve been studying through the Open University. Next September, I’m starting an MFA at Manchester Metropolitan University.

- When and how did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing songs, poetry, and short stories (not very good ones) since I was a teenager. I started taking my writing seriously about ten years ago and began attending workshops and literary events. The most recent event I attended was the National Creative Writing Industry Day in November, which is run by Comma Press. I highly recommend it to writers at any stage of their writing journey.

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

The only rule I set myself is to write at least three times a week. I don’t set targets, as this kind of thing doesn’t work for me. If I’m not excited enough to want to sit down and write my story, then chances are it’s probably not the story I need to write. Most of the time, I’ve got the next story lined up before I’ve finished the current one. When I am struggling for inspiration, I go for a long walk while listening to music. That usually conjures something up.

- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It feels amazing for my work to be recognised. To have crafted something with my own bare hands and for others to read it and think it’s worthy of something is a kind of validation that I’m on the right path. My aim is to one day have a collection of short stories published.

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

For me, the most challenging thing about writing is to not edit as I go along. I have to try really hard to discipline myself to just get the whole first draft out of my system before I even think about editing. I’ve trained myself to write a first draft, forget about it and move on to another. I then go back and edit weeks (sometimes months) later. The distance is important. When I let a story percolate, I’m able to see it from different angles.

- 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 first wrote BACK HOME two years ago (during lockdown). Then last year, I adapted it as a radio play for a university project. This helped to develop the story in ways I never expected. After that, I rewrote it and submitted it to LISP. It’s about having a connection to a place with good and bad memories. A place you can’t quite let go of even though life has moved on. A place that always surprises you.


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

Just write. Don’t be too self-critical. Don’t overthink it. Don’t compare yourself to others. Just sit and write.

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

The best thing is receiving any sort of recognition. The most challenging is not receiving any recognition. As writers, we pour our heart and soul into our work so it’s hard not to take it personally.

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

I definitely recommend submitting to LISP it’s a great competition, and the fact that finalists also get exposure is fantastic. Finishing a story and submitting it is a great achievement, it’s important to remember that.


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