Rick White, LISP 2nd Half 2019 Longlisted Writer
-Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?
I am 36 years old and I live in Manchester, UK with my wife Sarah and our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Harry. Like many writers I have a pretty boring day job and I write as much as I can in my spare time
- When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!
I studied English at University and I did a bit of creative writing as part of my course which included some very unsuccessful first attempts at writing short stories. I always thought that I would like to continue writing after I left Uni but I actually never wrote anything until about ten years later, after I left. I started writing a blog called BadTripe.com which was just a load of utter nonsense that I thought was funny. At the same time I had a couple of terrible tries at writing a novel which were quite rightly abandoned. It was about two years ago that I discovered the word of lit-mags and journals on twitter and decided to have a go at writing and submitting short stories and flash. It took a while to get one accepted but since then I've had quite a few pieces published and I've been listed in a few comps including LISP, TSS and Storgy flash fiction contests. I love writing flash and I write short pieces as much as I can (I've usually got a couple that I'm kicking around at any one time). I'm also working on a novel which I hope is better than my first attempts, now that I've had a chance to sharpen my skills!
- How did you feel when you learned that you won The London Independent Story Prize? How does it feel to have your work recognised?
It's great to be long listed. It always blows my mind whenever anyone likes anything I've written to be honest.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction?
The word limit! It's really fun to try and condense a story in to a very small amount of words but it's also very difficult to get right.
- 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?
The story began life in a flash fiction workshop back in September '19 which was run by the editorial team from SmokeLong Quarterly. I'd had the idea in my head for a little while and it started with something which my brother (who hasn't disappeared like in the story) always used to do when he was little: he would suck his thumb and hold on to his ear lobe with his other hand at the same time. Sometimes he would hold on to my ear, or someone else's, whoever he happened to be sat next to at the time. I always think it's strange, the obscure little details that we remember about people and I think it's an interesting thing to think about. What's the fist thing that comes in to your mind when you think about a certain person? Very often, for me at least, it's something surprising that you don't quite expect.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?
I'm still trying to figure out how to do it well myself! I think the best flash pieces start with an unusual, intriguing sentence or a striking visual image which hook the reader in to the world of the story straight away. The story should be self-contained but you also want to give the reader a sense of a before, an after and even a sideways view of everything that surrounds the story as you tell it. I try to picture the reader's mind as a glass of water, and my job as the flash writer is to place a tiny drop of ink in to the glass. It's only the smallest amount, but it's enough to fill up the whole glass with colour. That's my best Flash Fiction analogy!
- What's the best thing about writing competitions?
In my opinion, the work being produced by the flash fiction community at the moment is of such an incredibly high standard and i'm really proud to be a small part of that. Competitions like LISP help us to keep doing our best work and pushing each other. We all love a bit of healthy competition!
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?