Sixty Seconds III with: Craig Anderson

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)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Craig Anderson, who joins a small handful of others who’ve won THREE TIMES. Read his winning story here. Read his first interviews from last summer here (July) and here (Sept). This week also marks ONE YEAR of his participation here at FF–just awesome. So you think you know him already?? Read below and find out! *Note: as a third-time winner, he’s not bound by the “twenty words” rule. However, you’ll find his extra word or two worth your extra seconds. 

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  This is a great example of taking a break and coming back to a story. I wrote a draft in the morning with a very different ending – the mother and daughter both transformed and went out hunting together. I meant to submit it before I went to work, but I got distracted and forgot. When I re-read it several hours later I realised it was too predictable, it was supposed to be a curse and I had turned it into a family outing! That’s when I hit upon the idea of the ending, and that changed the tone of the whole piece.

2) Last year you told us your novel is “perpetually 95% complete.” What’s its status today? Maybe 96%? It’s been a pretty hectic year, we had a baby girl in February (Neve Charlotte Anderson) and there was lots to do in preparation. Now that we have settled into a routine I’m just starting to get back into writing again which feels great. I am hoping the break will have the same effect it did on my story this week and give me the perspective I need to finally wrap up that last 4%! 

3) You published a novella, Getting Lucky, and said you were working on Project Christmas. What’s its status? Project Christmas is the novel mentioned above – so I made 1% progress, which is better than previous years. You know when you install a piece of software and the progress bar races to 99% in 3 seconds and then spends 45 minutes on that last 1%? Apparently that’s my writing style 🙂

4) What other projects are you currently working on? I have sketched out a sequel to Getting Lucky and have a pretty good idea where the story is going so if (when!) I start procrastinating on Project Christmas again I will probably write that. I’m easily distracted so shorter stories are a better fit for me – which is why I love Flash!

5) What’s your biggest writerly pet peeve? I won’t comment on grammatical mistakes as I am sure I’ve maid my fare share – all completely intentional of course…

One thing that does drive me crazy though is when a character suddenly does something totally at odds with their previous behaviour purely to further the plot. Perhaps in the writers mind it makes perfect sense, maybe that loveable dork has a deep dark past that totally explains his unexpected murderous rampage – but for goodness sake let the readers know about it more than 2 pages before! 

6) What are your writing goals this year? I don’t know how many years I can have my writing goal as ‘Finish Project Christmas‘ before it becomes purely symbolic! I’ll just be happy if I can write regularly, at least two or three times a week would be great.

7) What books have you read this year? My reading this year has mostly been books about parenting. I learned two important things. 1) no-one agrees about anything to do with how to raise a child and 2) Parenting books leave out all the useful advice, like how to wash poo off the walls at 2am with only a night-light to guide you.

I have also been reading childrens books to Neve. I have to be honest, most of them are awful! There was one that only had two words, repeated on every page, and then those same two words in BOLD ALL CAPS on the last page so you knew the book was over. That one went right in THE BIN.

That being said, I have been reading Neve a story every night from a Winnie-the-Pooh compilation someone got us and those are great. I do the voices and everything. I am a little worried for Eeyore though!

8) How has your flash writing changed this past year? I’ve taken advantage of the low time commitment of flash to try my hand at lots of different styles and techniques. Initially all my flash was humourous as that’s what I enjoy writing when I’m working on longer projects, but it’s fun to do something completely different for an hour. It’s really helping me develop as a writer.

Something I have learned through lots of trial and error – don’t try to write within the word limit, write the story you want to tell, then make it fit. I’m constantly amazed how many words I can remove from a story and still keep its essence.

9) Final thoughts?  I want to take a moment and say thanks to everyone for being such a talented bunch. It is hard to say which I enjoy more every week, writing about the prompt or reading all the other interpretations. I do not envy the job of the judges one little bit, I start reading the stories and immediately think I have spotted the winner, only to have that exact same feeling two dozen times before I get to the end. I also love that everyone is so encouraging and supportive, the feedback has made all the difference when I have tried new things. If you’re new here and are hesitant to post – go for it! We don’t bite (unless it’s a full moon).

 

{Editor’s Note: Craig, three-fold congrats: on your win this week, that it’s your third win, and for a year of writing with the Flash! Friday family. We’re awfully crazy about you. GROUP HUG!}

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