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Steve John, Short Story Finalist, LISP 2nd Quarter 2020

- Can you please tell us about your daily life?

I'm currently studying for a Master's Degree in Creative and Critical Writing at The University of Gloucestershire - When did you start writing? How often do you write?

I started writing five years ago, sending work to competitions and online literary magazines. I try and write (or edit) something every day, seven days a week. - How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It's always a massive boost to have work recognised, especially in a competition up against many fine writers, and judged by such an experienced panel. Sometimes the rejection slips can pile up, and self-doubt creep in. A recognition is fuel to keep going. - What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Short Story?

If the idea is a good one, the writing will flow fairly easily, I just hold the pen. That's the best thing.The hardest thing is the editing - cutting out sections that took hours, striking through favourite metaphors and similes, deleting characters who'd become friends. -  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?

This particular came quite easily. Maybe a week, a few hundred words each day. Others can take literally years to get right. All my stories are casseroles of memories, real people, made-up people, smidgens of truth and lots of shocking lies. - Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 1500-word short story?

Find a few writing friends whose work you admire, to pre-read your stories before you send them anywhere. Choose writing friends who won't pull any punches, but who also give you 'permission' to use your own style. -Best thing about writing competitions - being long-listed, short-listed or of course winning is what makes writing worthwhile. It's confirmation that we're learning just a tiny bit about the art-form we all love so much. -Hardest part about writing competitions - letting the story go, knowing that there could be disappointment on the horizon, but knowing never to give up. -Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?

Yes, of course. As writers if we don't 'test' our hours of labour in competitions we'll never know if we're learning anything. I'm delighted to have entered the London Independent Story prize.



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