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Mark Devis, LISP 2022 Short Story Finalist by 'The Day Before'

LISP 2022 Short Story Finalist, 'The Day Before' by Mark Devis

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

My daily life hasn't changed much since my last interview with LISP when I was a short story finalist in 2020! I still start each day with prayer and reflection time, as it's essential for my mental health. Now that we're on the other side of lockdown restrictions, I have the joy of working in an office alongside some incredibly inspiring people. Each day presents me with new challenges, and although writing doesn't form part of my day job, I still find it rewarding. I try my best to keep my evenings aside for writing, but it's only sometimes possible with other responsibilities, but I do read a lot. I've found a lot of joy in opening a novel at the end of a tough day.

- What inspires you to write?

Stories are powerful, and when I feel there's a unique story to tell, I get inspired to try and formulate that idea in short or long form. Coming up with stories has always been part of who I am, and I've had an active imagination since I was a child. Writing is the extraordinary process of bringing these stories to life, and with my love of the English language, it's hard not to feel inspired!

- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It feels wonderful! I genuinely couldn't believe it when I got the email telling me I was a finalist with LISP. However, after that initial state of disbelief faded, I felt euphoric! It's a massive boost to me as I work on a novel to have this recognition, and it certainly spurs me on.

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

This story has been a work in progress for a couple of years, so I've spent a lot of time in the protagonist's shoes as I formulated the narrative. Initially, it was a much sadder story, with the father being a two-dimensional antagonistic character. However, once I went away and worked on the father's character profile, the whole story fell into place, and the ending became much more positive.

Although Anna's story isn't my own, I know that versions of her narrative play out in many people's lives daily. So I want anyone reading this to know that if they're struggling, they should reach out to a trusted friend or the Samaritans by calling 116 123.

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

If you've not got a straightforward narrative in mind, writing some character profiles and getting to know their motivations is worthwhile. It certainly helped me pull this short story together.

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

I certainly do recommend other writers submit their stories to LISP! It's a great competition, and the increased word count since 2020 has made it extra special for me.



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