Linda Jorgenson, LISP 2023 Flash Fiction Finalist 'Cold Beer'
Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
After my husband, family, friends, and Labrador, writing and reading are my life. I take a weekly writing class, meet fortnightly with a writing group, and monthly with a book club.
That doesn’t mean I manage to write every day, but almost. The class assignments keep me focused, and I am a great one for meeting deadlines. This all stems from my life as a writer for businesses. Miss deadline and you don’t get paid.
I have been long-listed for the Fish Publishing Prize, Retreat West Prize as well as having a 25-word flash fiction piece published in Mslexia magazine.
As well as weekly short story and flash fiction submissions for my class, I am rewriting my debut novel for the third time.
How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?
I try to write every day but like everyone, life sometimes gets in the way.
A few years ago, we remodelled our garage, and my husband decided I needed space to write. Hence, I am one lucky person. My room even has a window and of course, a heater.
My class assignments help inspire me and did so for Cold Beer. We were asked to write about summer. I thought, hmm, I could write about daisies, buttercups and sunshine, but I thought what happens to a couple in the sweltering heat of summer? Not necessarily something good.
Actually, I can be inspired by anything – a phrase, a sentence or in the case of my novel, a passion for horse racing.
How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Fabulous. Just fabulous. It is great to know that independent judges believe your work is worth reading, not just by them but by a wider audience. It provides an inspiration to keep writing, and to submit pieces. I am not on cloud nine. I’m on cloud ten!
Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. If an idea pops into my head, I try to write it down immediately even if I am out with the dog, when I get home, I scribble in the little book of ideas I keep.
I do a lot of editing in my head during those walks, a trip to the supermarket or even driving somewhere although I try to keep my attention on the road.
Editing is one of my favourite parts and is especially essential for flash fiction and short stories. It’s quite a challenge to rein back a longer piece without losing its sense and style but personally, I find it great fun to go over and over a story.
I write, edit, and then edit some more, and then put the story aside for a while, and go back to it in a few days. I never discard anything as sometimes a character or a piece of dialogue from another story might work on the one that’s in front of me.
What is the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?
The best part is trying to fulfil the expectations of an independent field of judges. Your friends, family and even follow writers can praise your work and that’s fantastic but to have a group of judges longlist, shortlist or name you as a finalist is a real pat on the back saying your work is a good read.
The hardest part is the waiting and then eventually striking off a competition on your list when you haven’t heard anything after the deadline for notification has passed. To keep submitting can be tough.
Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit their stories to LISP?
Yes, even if you don’t succeed the first few times. It’s helpful to read the stories on the LISP website that have made the finals. Read, read, read to learn what judges are looking for so you can send something new. I’m already preparing my next submission.