LISP 2023 Flash Fiction Finalist 'A Murderous Descent' by Lynn Bushell
I'm a professional artist and began writing initially to support my work as a painter. Gradually writing took over and now occupies most of my time although I've continued to draw since it befits both disciplines. I've written three novels and two works of art historical fiction, the latest 'Painted Ladies' published by Sandstone in 2019. I had years of rejection before anything of mine was published so although being placed in competitions is a bonus, it's no longer crucial. I write now because it's painful not to. Every day is a working day, including Sunday, but I only write in the mornings. Taking my border collie for a walk, cooking or reading is how I spend my afternoons.
Because I'm now quite old I'm reluctant to begin another novel. On average it's taken 7 years to write each of the others and I'm not sure I'll live long enough to finish another one. I was lucky to get my first short story placed in The London Magazine Short Story competition and have twice been longlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. The 1st draft of 'A Murderous Descent' was written after 9:11 and I've been working on it off and on ever since. Often the only way to deal with catastrophe is to write about it.
The most challenging aspect of writing short stories is making every word count. As a novelist, you can take your time as long as you keep the reader entertained. A short story is like a pebble - hard and bright with an existence all of its own.
Competitions shouldn't be taken too seriously. Most of my stories have been submitted to a dozen competitions before being selected and it's not always the best ones that are placed. Most writers have to serve a long apprenticeship and learning to take both acceptance and rejection in your stride is part of that.