LISP 2023 Short Story Finalist, 'Tenner' by Tunde Oyebode
- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
I am based in East London and work as an Architect in South London. Everyday life in an urban setting provides most of the inspiration for my writing. I have a single-speed steel bike, which gets me everywhere in London. It is while on my bike most of my short stories are conceived.
- When and how did you get into writing?
Gosh, for as long as I can remember—while balancing my architecture career. I dabbled in poetry and songwriting for amusement as a child. About a decade ago, I ventured into story writing. Initially, my stories lacked any structure. I penned whatever came to mind. Around the time I was completing my undergraduate degree in architecture, I enrolled in a short story course, which has since steered my commitment to writing. Post the course and others, I’ve been published and been shortlisted and longlisted in some journals and competitions like Stylist, Obsidian, Bristol Short Story Prize and Exeter Short Story Competition.
- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?
On average, recently, I write weekly, often toggling between creating fresh content and editing. I spend most of my time editing. I’ve been part of a writing group called Barbican Writers’ Group for four years. We meet monthly and critique each other’s work. It keeps me creating new content and editing.
- How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Exciting. Writing is primarily cathartic for me. I feel like I have to do it. It’s a privilege to know that it's been read and appreciated.
- What's the best and most challenging thing about writing a Story?
- 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?
It’s been about seven or eight years since I wrote it. Also, it’s morphed into something different after several revisions. When I created the story I was experiencing challenges akin to the main character in 'Tenner.' My aim was to tell a story illustrating how small victories can serve as motivation toward seemingly distant aspirations.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?
What works for me is being honest. Write what you really want to. Get someone to read it and then edit it. Also, read a lot—not just writers or books you enjoy. You also learn from the things you don’t like.
- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?
Most competitions I’ve entered have a straightforward process: submit a story that meets the word limit in a readable format, along with a bio. It makes the process super quick. If you have enough work you can submit to several in a month. What’s challenging is the cost of entering the competitions. It limits how often you get your work out there. In some ways, it’s a good thing. You’d only submit work to competitions you are sure are good.
- Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit to LISP?
Definitely. It’s maddening how competitions with entry fees only have one winner over a thousand entries—often with no recognition of finalists or other commendable work. It is demotivating, no matter how crafted the rejection letter is. LISP provides acknowledgement and recognition of effort to finalists.