Tag Archive | Alissa Leonard

Sixty Seconds IV with: Phil Coltrane

The normal routine’s ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer, which is (in theory) less time than it takes to burn a match.

However, winning four times isn’t normal.

Consider yourselves warned.

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Phil Coltrane for the FOURTH time (his first three wins were within an astonishing few weeks of each other in Year Two).  Read his winning story here. Note that this is his FOURTH win, which only three others at Flash! Friday have done (Maggie Duncan, Betsy Streeter, and Karl Russell). Mega congrats, Phil! Read his first #SixtySeconds interview heresecond one here, and third one hereThen take another couple of minutes to know him better below.

Phil says, Since this week marks my fourth win, the Dragon General has kindly loosened the shackles that typically bind each week’s winners to keep their answers brief. Therefore, the next sixty seconds may stretch slightly longer than usual as I indulge in some immodest grandstanding. {Editor’s Note: FYI: grandstanding is one of a dragon’s favorite pastimes. Proceed with abandon.}

1) What about the prompts inspired your winning piece? 

The Moon naturally suggests sci-fi to me, so to be contrary, I went in another direction. For some reason, I associate black-and-white photographs with winter, and the story followed from there. 

2) Tell us about this past year in your writing life.  

Last year was busy for writing: I set a broad goal to “write more.”

I started my writing blog, FTL Pizza. I found “Flash! Friday,” made it a personal goal to participate for a whole year, and ended up judging over the summer. I wrote for Alissa Leonard’s “Finish That Thought” and Chuck Wendig‘s weekly challenges a couple times each.

Overall I’m pleased with my progress on that “write more” goal. (But that novel is still unfinished.)

3) How was this latest NaNoWriMo for you? Planning to join again this year?

It’s a cheat, but I used NaNoWriMo to rewrite an existing project. November was so hectic that I never finished. My novel still waits on my hard drive, stuck in the limbo between first and second draft. I will definitely give NaNoWriMo another shot this year.

4) How has your flash fiction writing changed since you started? 

Being a judge changed my approach more than anything else. My writing process still starts with sitting on the couch, brainstorming and wondering if I’ll meet the deadline; but now I try harder to think of a unique take on the prompt. Writing a good story isn’t enough for this contest: you also have to make it different enough that it stands apart from all the other good stories.

Killing all humans seems to be a winner, too. {Editor’s Note: The Dragon Captains assure me that’s just a coincidence. (As coincidental as their recent sprouting of scales, I’m thinking.)}

5) Read anything good recently?

In a recent Warmup Wednesday I mentioned that I’ve been reading a lot of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos stories. Other than that, my reading consists of whatever short stories I can squeeze into my snippets of spare time.

6) Any favorite writers?

This may be strange, but the writing I’ve really come to appreciate is the comments on the FF stories each week. Back when I was judging, I often fumbled for words to explain why I liked a particular story. I continue to be astounded by the few folks who give constructive feedback on nearly every story, week after week. I don’t always remember to thank people who leave comments, but to the people who do so, thank you.

7) What are your writerly hopes for this next year?

To write more and better content for FTL Pizza. To branch into other writing contests. Dare I entertain the notion that I could write something for publication? Maybe someday.

8) You’re a four time winner. Any advice/encouragement for writers waiting their turn to wear the crown?

Winning isn’t a science or a black art: there’s no simple formula, and very little conjuring of ancient Sumerian demons. Keep writing the best stories you can, try to learn new lessons each week, and don’t try to chase the win. 

9) Your turn. Anything you’d like to add, anything you’ve got going on that you’d like to discuss, anything the FF community just NEEDS to know??

If I may step up onto my soapbox for a moment, I’d like to use my sixty seconds of fame to call attention to a rather serious matter. Each week as Friday rolls around, we gather as a community of writers and create stories. Stories of love, of laughter, of life, stories that inspire and uplift. 

But has anyone considered the dark side of Flash! Friday? All of the wars, murders, assassinations, revenge killings, humorous accidental deaths, and dragon-related charbroilings that take place in our stories, week after deadly week? Have we stopped to calculate the FF community’s story body count? Does no one fret over all of these literal character assassinations? 

Why, I myself have killed off all of humankind on at least three separate Fridays. I know that some of you are just as guilty. Can we not do better? I dream of a kinder, gentler FF, where dragons and humans are not lethal adversaries, but instead live side-by-side in peace, and invite each other to their barbecues, where they eat unicorn burgers and Cadbury chocolate sundaes around a circular picnic table while all the kids and squids play tiddlywinks and make paper lanterns together beneath the light of Earth’s yellow sun, and…

Um… I think it’s time for me to hand the mic back over to our host. {Editor’s Note: I trust my spontaneous bonfire demonstration didn’t overly alarm you.}

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Sixty Seconds with: David Borrowdale

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 David Borrowdale. Be sure to check out his bio at his winner’s page! Read his winning story here, then take one minute to get to know him better.

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  I wanted to explore the old lady’s past and find a moment that defined the rest of her life.

2) How long have you been writing flash? A few years in private. About four months in public. 

3) What do you like about writing flash? ? I love the leanness of it: removing excess verbiage and letting the reader do some of the work.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Good dialogue is a real workhorse: make room for it.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and whyFollowing on from the last question, Holly Geely writes great dialogue.

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? Three Line Thursday regularly. Finish that Thought occasionally. My weekends fill up quickly so I don’t make it to Flash Frenzy as often as I’d like.

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? I have a few unfinished novels which are destined to stay that way. I write the occasional short story when an idea can’t be contained in flash.

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? I love horror, but it’s probably the genre I write least. I should really do something about that.

9) Tell us about a WIP.  I’m adapting my FF-winning story into a short story. I think it deserves a little more room to breathe.

10) How do you feel about dragons? As an Englishman I must apologise for our choice of patron saint.

Sixty Seconds with: Deb Foy

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 Deb Foy. Be sure to check out her bio at her winner’s page! Read her winning story here, then take one minute to get to know her better.

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  So many beautiful pieces were written about human janitors, I couldn’t compete. Then the vulture hopped into my head. {Editor’s Note: Now there’s a visual.}

2) How long have you been writing flash? Since being invited to Shenandoah Valley Writers in October! I’ll never look back. 

3) What do you like about writing flash? Every word must suffer scrutiny. Only the most meaningful should survive.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Be risky. Write what isn’t being written.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and whyTinman. I wish I could sneak a sliver of his brain. Does that sound creepy? 

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? I’m drowning under Finish That Thought, Three Line Thursday, Flash Frenzy, and Micro Bookends. Last Line First may be next…  .

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? Incomplete novels and short stories but poetry is my first love.

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? Young adult fantasy–with a dark twist of orange on the rim–because that’s what I read.

9) Tell us about a WIP.  Speculative future fiction. Brave New World went through the wash with 1984. It shouldn’t see the light of day.

10) How do you feel about dragons? I like mine fear-filling and clever. If it’s cuddly, it’s not a dragon. {Editor’s Note: Unless one enjoys cuddling with blazing fire irons, obv.}