Malcolm Johnson, Short Story Semi-Finalist, LISP 2nd Quarter 2020
- Can you please tell us about your daily life?
I normally work as a solicitor in Fleet Street, London, but lately I've been working from home.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write?
I began writing short stories in 1998, and my first short story was published in People's Friend in 2012. I've been a member of a local writing group in Bookham, Surrey for the last few years and lately I've decided to keep up a steady barrage of literature with a weekly salvo, as a way of getting more into the writing world. At present, I'm working on a children's book with a friend, who is a very talented artist and photographer.
- How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Always a pleasure.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Short Story?
The best thing - getting published.
The hardest thing(s) - Sitting down after a long day at work and cranking up the mind once more - coming up with an idea - deciding whether to structure the story or just launch into it - forcing myself to put the words down - reading it aloud (I hate that) and polishing - yes, it's a tale of woe but not entirely a drudge.
- 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?
Covid - it made me think of parallels between the Great Plague of London 1666 and the present epidemic, and there's a striking number of them. I can't say that there's a story behind the story, and the story that I wrote took me about two to three weeks.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 1500-word short story?
Get an idea - sit down - crank up the mind - structure the story if you feel you need to - get some words down whatever happens even if they are drivel - if you start to build it, more words will come - polish and read it aloud and polish and read it aloud until it flows like a quiet river to the sunlit sea. That tends to work for me.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions?
The best thing - studying the literature from the last competition and realising that there are some seriously talented writers out there
The hardest thing - studying the literature from the last competition and realising that there are some seriously talented writers out there - studying the rules - applying the rules - formatting (should be made illegal) - trying to make the submission and realising you've got the wrong browser - being unplaced for years (see above).
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on short story and LISP?