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T. L. Sherwood, Flash Fiction Finalist, LISP 2nd Quarter 2020

- Can you please tell us about your daily life?

My days vary according to the weather and the seasons. Right now I’m spending a lot of time on the lawn and in the garden. I make sure to read every day though because it is so important.

- When did you start writing? How often do you write? 

I don’t remember a time I wasn’t scribbling something down. My writing time - the physical act - varies as much as my days. I have written first drafts of novels in 30 days thanks to National Novel Writing Month run by Grant Faulkner but I’ve also worked and tweaked on some stories for decades.

To me, writing encompasses more than typing words or jotting them down. I spend a lot of time thinking and note ideas and phrases as they occur, but in general, the transference of a “story idea” to “paper” happens later. I’ve surprised myself though - and had stories - such as this one - fall onto the page in a rapid fashion.

- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

My writing being recognized is such a dizzying happiness. I savor this feeling since rejection letters seem to come more often than success.

- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Flash-Fiction

The best thing about flash is that you can capture the genesis of a myth in the tiniest of details. There are a lot of points in history which fill me with inspiration. Did Arthur understand what he’d done by pulling out the sword? How much relief and the depths of “OH” did Helen Keller feel when she understood what Sullivan was signing into her hand? Water. This is water. And this is how I understand the concept --with this series of motions against my palm. That’s the hardest part of flash - going so deep about one thing we can all relate to and describing it.

-  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?

Oh, this is one of the “magical ones.” This creature came from a writing prompt provided by Kim Chinquee in the Hot Pants writing group on Zoetrope. She posted five words and a first sentence and boom - there it was. It wasn’t perfect - I listened to advice and pointers from members in there as well as from Nina Fosati and others in the Hamburg Writers’ Group - an in person writing group which has gone the way of Zoom during the lock down.

The true impetuous was “Quetzal” I didn’t know what it was so I had to look it up in the dictionary, then with such a definition, I wanted to see one and since all my National Audubon guide books are limited to North America, I went on-line and after studying this bird, the story erupted.

- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a 300-word flash-fiction story?

Trust your heart. You’ll write amazing pieces then. And be open to suggestions for improvement!

- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions? 

The best thing is that you took the step of believing in yourself when you enter. And that if you didn’t win, you tried. The hardest thing is not winning. Sorry if that’s wrong to say, but it is heartbreaking - you throw your baby to wolves and the wolves don’t even bite. How awful!

-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on flash fiction story and LISP?

Of course! This is one of the best competitions to enter.



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