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Si Wei Lim, LISP 22 Short Story Finalist by 'Papa, Father and He'

LISP 22 Short Story Finalist, 'Papa, Father and He' by Si Wei Lim

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

Hi, my name is Si Wei and I’m 37 this year. I’m single and I was born and raised in Singapore. I come from a dysfunctional family (albeit living under the same roof) and that is the source of most of my stories. I am an English and mathematics teacher and I run a school for Japanese children from kindergarten to pre-university. In my free time, I love to write, do volunteer work, take care of my plants and binge on Netflix. I’m also part of a 150-piece choir and have several performances every year. My hobbies include painting, woodworking, singing and traveling.

- When and how did you get into writing?

I have had a deep love for books, especially detective and mystery stories, since I was young, and have always aspired to be a writer. It was only in 2021 when I took a creative writing course as part of my Master’s degree that I started any serious writing. The instructor of the course, Dr. Anitha Devi Pillai, is a well-known writer and she inspired me to channel my thoughts and emotions through writing. Since then, I have written a few short stories and my most recent story ‘Just a New Way to Roll’ on food and identity got accepted in the Southeast Asian Review of English (SARE) Journal and will be published in December 2022 (Vol 59 Issue 2). The submission to the London Independent Story Prize was my second attempt and I was very pleased to be selected as a finalist. I hope to write more about my life and my experiences in the future.

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

I can’t say that I have a writing routine at the moment or that I write often, due to the demands of work, but it is certainly something that I want to do. In fact, it is my resolution for 2023! My stories are usually inspired by my family (or how it fails to be one), my day-to-day experiences and my students. I also hope to try my hand at travel writing because I love traveling to new places and discover untamed paths and new cultures.


- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It is the best feeling ever! I used to think that as an amateur writer, nobody would want to read my stories, but getting my work recognized and published gives me more confidence in writing more. I hope for more people to enjoy my stories and benefit from them. It would be great if I can make a difference in the lives of my readers through writing!


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

For me, the best thing is that I can share my thoughts and emotions with the world. In a way, I can connect to people beyond my personal social circles and that is pretty amazing. The most challenging thing for me would be to piece ideas together and see a story to its end before starting another as I usually get different ideas for different stories on different occasions.


- 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?

My story, ‘Papa and Father and He’, was inspired by my love-hate relationship with my father, and how it has transformed since when I was a child. In the story, I captured glimpses of his gradually reduced impact on my life, and, by changing his pronouns from the intimate ‘Papa’ to just ‘Father’, and the eventual ‘He’, showed the internal conflict I had when he fell ill last year. I have started writing part of this story as a flash fiction piece during my creative writing course in 2021, and after receiving recognition from my instructor, developed it into a short story for LISP.

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

I would recommend aspiring writers to draw inspirations from personal experiences, because they are the most real and therefore easiest to write about. It would be good to have a buddy to share ideas or drafts with, so that you can get feedback on your stories which allow you to improve and develop them.


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

The best thing about competitions is that I get to find out where I stand amongst the writers out there in the world, and how good or bad my story is. I also get to read the entries of winners and other finalists and learn from them. The most challenging thing for me would be to work with a deadline, because I sometimes get writer’s block and then have to struggle with being able to complete a story amidst work demands. However, having said that, it is good training for me.


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

Of course, I do. It is definitely an avenue for writers to explore getting their stories out to wider audiences.


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