Sixty Seconds III with: Phil Coltrane

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)


Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Phil Coltrane.  Read his winning story here. Note that this is his THIRD win, people, which only a tiny handful of others have done. HUGE congrats, Phil! Read his first #SixtySeconds interview here and second one here. Then take another minute or two (because three-time winners get to be all chatty) to know him better below.

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece? My first draft was about a union dispute in orbit of the seventh planet of our solar system. I realized it had nothing to do with the prompt, so I threw it out and scrambled to write another story.

2) Describe your perfect writing day, if money/time/space were no object. All I really need is a comfortable chair, an idea, and a laptop. I also wouldn’t turn down iced tea and some crackers.

3) Describe an actual writing day. Daydreaming about an idea at work (don’t tell my boss). {Editor’s Note: Don’t worry. We’ll keep it between us.} Scribbling some notes in between dinner and my daughter’s bedtime. Hopefully fleshing out the idea later in the evening. 

4) You’re a NaNoWriMo survivor. Talk about it. NaNoWriMo motivated me to start writing, which seems to be the second hardest part. The hardest part seems to be finishing. Flash fiction is teaching me that — this year I’ll be more focused on telling a complete story.

5) What are some of the most helpful things you have learned about giving and receiving criticism? Prior to Flash! Friday, I was reluctant to share what I wrote with anyone. So far, the criticism has been constructive, so I try to return the favor and write an encouraging note whenever I enjoy another’s story.

6) You’re a huge Carl Sagan fan. Where should a curious reader start, and why? Fiction-wise, his only novel was Contact. In his essays, Sagan crisscrossed scientific disciplines without hesitation. He was on (stealing the subtitle of Cosmos“a personal voyage” to find his place in the universe, and we were along for the ride.

7) Are you involved in any writers’ groupsI went to a couple of NaNoWriMo local events, but was too socially awkward to get much out of them. Online is easier for me. I’m still looking for active online communities to join.

8) How do you balance home/work/writing lifeLife is much like a dragon. First comes its fiery head — that’s family. Next come the fearsome claws — that’s work. Last comes its serpentine tail — that’s writing. Am I making any sense? {Editor’s Note: Yes. But also, who cares? You’re talking about writing. And dragons. Smiley with heart eyes.}


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