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Niles Reddick, LISP 2023 Flash Fiction Finalist, A Drunk Cedar Waxwing

LISP 2023 Flash Fiction Finalist, A Drunk Cedar Waxwing by Niles Reddick

- When and how did you get into writing?

I began writing seriously in college. I’m an early bird, waking up at 3:30-4:00 daily, which is when I draft pieces (and drink some hardcore coffee). I typically edit at night after there has been some distance and I rewrite multiple times before submitting.

To date, I have written a novel Drifting too far from the Shore, three collections—Road Kill Art and Other Oddities; Reading the Coffee Grounds; and If Not for You, and a novella Lead Me Home.

My work has been featured in over 500 publications including The Saturday Evening Post, New Reader Magazine, The Museum of Americana, Citron Review, Nunum, Right Hand Pointing, and Vestal Review.

I am fortunate to have been a four-time Pushcart, three-time Best Micro, and three-time Best of the Net nominee.

I have a fourth collection—Who’s Going to Pray for Me Now?—and a new novella—Forgiven—scheduled for release in 2024.

You can find me on these social media sites:

Twitter: @niles_reddick

Instagram: nilesreddick@memphisedu

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

I don’t have a specific routine other than what I mentioned. I typically write at least one story per week. Reading what others write is an inspiration Personal experience and others’ experiences are also inspiring.

- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

I feels exciting to me to have been recognized and published so much. It’s rewarding even if financially it’s not.

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

I think the most challenging aspect of writing is getting published. Even for someone who has published so much, it’s difficult, not because something is wrong or writing is bad in some way, but because there are so many good writers out there competing for a few slots in magazines and journals. As a reader for a university magazine, I see that daily. I think the most satisfying aspect of writing aside from being published and recognized is that we create something. Sometimes, I wonder where it all comes from. It doesn’t seem possible that all of that comes out of me.

- 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 worked on A Drunk Cedar Waxwing for a couple of weeks. I think I saw somewhere where these birds literally get drunk and fly into doors and windows or simply just drop out of the sky they are so drunk. I found that hilarious, but I also recalled birds getting inside houses--stories others had experienced or I had experienced—and so I combined it all into a very tight short piece. Quite often, I “nest” stories within stories.

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

I do think it’s important to 1) be realistic even if the story is sci-fi, horror, etc. It makes it more believable for the reader. 2) I think it’s important to edit and make it as clean as possible. No editor wants to read a messy story filled with errors. It automatically takes away from the story. 3) Jot down ideas that come to you or at least try to remember them. They’ll always fit into something, if they don’t become stories themselves. An example of that is a story I wrote based on a dream. It took me twenty years before I finally wrote it.

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

I do not enter a lot of competitions, but it’s always nice to “place” or be recognized. It’s appreciated and helps build that audience.

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

Absolutely I recommend LISP and LISP helps writers get recognized beyond their borders if they aren’t a native to England. It’s an international contest and well-known.


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