Tag Archive | Three Line Thursday

Sixty Seconds with: @dazmb

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 @dazmb.  Read his winning story on his winner’s page here, then take one compact but miraculous little minute to get to know him better below.

1) What about the Cry, the Beloved Country prompts inspired your winning piece? The photo was an incredibly powerful image, so I started from there and built words around the theme of reconciliation.

2) How long have you been writing flash? Not long.  I think I submitted my first piece to @Microbookends about three months ago.

3) What do you like about flash? The idea of communicating something large or universal out of a limited number of words.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Know what is essential to your story.  Eliminate anything superfluous.  Don’t underestimate readers’ ability to fill in blanks.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? The flashfic community is incredibly supportive.  Hopefully this gives everyone the confidence to follow their own paths.

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? I started @ThreeLineThursday, then @Microbookends before finding @FlashFridayFic.  I’m at capacity now!

7) What other forms do you write? Not much I’m afraid; the above contests take up all the available spare time I have.

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? Poetry – it’s best at winkling out the truth of things, for offering up differing perspectives.

9) Tell us about a WIP. Nothing right now; come back to me next Friday when the Flash! Friday prompt goes up!

10) How do you feel about dragons? Served rare with bearnaise sauce, triple fried chips and a bottle of Malbec? I daresay I’m amenably disposed.

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Sixty Seconds III with: Chris Milam

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 Chris Milam.  Read his winning story here. Note that this is his THIRD THIRD win at Flash! Friday (woot!). Read his previous #SixtySeconds interviews as well as his bio here. Then take another minute or two to get to know him better below. (Note that three-time winners are never held to the word count rule. Chat away, Chris!)

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  Nothing revelatory with the kitchen prompt, to be honest. I instantly saw a mother and son at breakfast. I wrote the first paragraph without having any idea how to include the prisoner picture. As the story unfolded, I knew a tale of hardship steeped in love and tragedy needed a father character of some sort. The story wrote itself after that.

2) You’ve been writing for FF a good while now. How has your approach to the prompts changed since you started? I think I approach the prompts in a less literal way. Not always the case, depends on the prompt, but I always try and do something a bit different. I usually know where a high percentage of writers will go with their stories and I focus on taking a less-traveled route. In a contest, it’s important to write a story that doesn’t mirror the vibe and thoughts of others. Originality is always the goal, and one I fail at often.

3) How has writing flash affected your other writing? Writing flash fiction has certainly helped with poetry. Brevity is the key to both, and the process of condensing and excising unnecessary words applies to poetry as well. On the rare occasion when I write an essay, flash fiction can be found all over the page. Usually it’s a smear of overly-descriptive prose, a bad habit of mine, that reveals itself. Poetry, flash and nonfiction all aim to impact the reader in an emotional way. It’s the duty of words, a plunging of the reader’s mind with a profound precision.

4) In your first interview, you said you were writing a “surreal fairy tale” for your daughter. How’s that going? What are you working on these days? Well, the story for my daughter is currently languishing in my documents. It’s more laborious writing a children’s tale than I ever imagined. Hopefully, I’ll return to that story and create some magic. Time will tell. I’m currently focused on the #FlashDogs anthology. I have the rough draft of one story completed, and I’ve written the first couple of paragraphs of a second story. I’m not pleased with either one. A bit pedestrian. Plenty of time to fix them, though. And I will.

5) Besides FF :), what are your favorite writing sites? I don’t enter the weekly contests as often as I used to but a few I enjoy are: Three Line Thursday, Micro Bookends and Angry Hourglass. Also, I’m always lurking on the sites of various online magazines and journals. Always reading. Always learning.

6) What advice would you give to writers who are new to flash? What might you say to seasoned writers who haven’t won yet? To new writers: just write. That’s all you can do. Take those strange thoughts in your head and spill them across the digital vellum. Don’t be afraid to fail. We all do. But you can’t fail or succeed if you don’t write. Take a chance. Push the envelope. Create. Write. Have fun.

For the seasoned folks who haven’t won FF? It’s all subjective. Keep writing. Keep entering. I know some of the people who haven’t won. I’ve read their stories. I’ve seen their talent. Don’t let not winning yet define you. It shouldn’t. It doesn’t. Believe in your ability to work the word and keep plugging away. A crown isn’t required to be known as a fabulous writer. 

7) Tell us something about your writing life. How often do you get to write, and how do you balance writing and responsibilities?  I usually have an adequate amount of time to write; balance isn’t a major issue. My problem, at times, is motivation and self-doubt. I can easily slip into a lazy, negative mindset which isn’t conducive to writing. I’ll question my abilities, my reasons for writing and what the whole point of flash fiction is, when I’m in a dark mood. I’m always engaged in a bloody battle with my demons. It’s exhausting. Good times.

8) What’s your writing process like? When I write, it’s all about coffee, solitude and music. And doubt. I tend to take a break from a story and pace the floors like a madman. Back and forth. Yelling at myself. Sometimes out loud. Then more coffee, more words. More pacing. Look at Twitter. Fill a jar with teardrops. More coffee etc.

9) What are your biggest writerly pet peeves? I’m not a big fan of cheeky, goofball humor in a story. It’s an arduous endeavor for even the best of writers. Sometimes, a story that is all inner-monologue can be a pet peeve of sorts. I’m guilty of this one quite often. I prefer movement in a story, not just a writer’s thoughts. The whole “Show don’t tell” applies here. Twist endings can be a turnoff, at times, when not done properly. If the entire story is uprooted by an implausible turn of events at the end, it’s a waste of the reader’s time.

10) Final thoughts? Shout-outs are in order for the folks doing all the heavy lifting for the #FlashDogs anthology: Mark King, David Shakes, Tamara Rogers, and Emily June Street. Not only are they putting this massive project together, but they’re also extremely talented writers and kind human beings. I applaud them.

Quite a few writers have truly inspired me and I’ve learned a great deal from reading their work. Whether I’ve long been a fan or they’ve written something recently that caught my eye, these folks deserve a mention: Grace Black, Jacki Donnellan, Voima Oy, David Borrowdale, Carlos Orozco, Marie McKay, Steph Ellis, Foy Iver, Tamara Shoemaker, Catherine Connolly and Brett Milam. You guys can sling the prose. And to be honest, I could’ve named any #FlashDog here. Every single one of you continues to astound and inspire me.

Sixty Seconds III with: Marie McKay

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 Marie McKay.  Read her winning story here. Note that this is her THIRD year and THIRD win at Flash! Friday, one for each year! Read her first #SixtySeconds interview (June 2013) here and second interview (March 2014) here. Then take another minute or two to get to know her better below. (Note that three-time winners are never held to the word count rule. They’ve earned the right to be chatty!)

1) What about the prompt inspired your winning piece?  I almost wrote an entirely different story based on the word ‘son’ as I read the character prompt without my glasses on! Once I realised my mistake, the childhood game of ‘I Spy’ gave me the frame I required to get started.

2) You started writing flash fiction around the same time Flash! Friday was born, the end of 2012. How has your approach to flash changed since then? In her recent interview, the incredibly talented SJ O’Hart mentioned CAKE, a weekly writing competition that no longer runs. CAKE is where I started writing flash fiction, but the prompts there were a selection of words. When I started writing at Flash!Friday, I found working with photo prompts tough. Now, however, I am constantly looking for visual clues to get my writing started.

3) What advice would you give writers who are new to flash? Make every word pull its weight. Experiment with form. Have fun.

4) What’s going on in your writerly life? With four kids, how are you able to carve out writing time? Recently I have had stories published in 100 word story and Flash Fiction Magazine. I am delighted to say that my writing is included in the Flashdogs anthology. With four kids, my approach to writing is fragmented. I just have to write in the moments when my kids are asleep or eating!

5) Last year you told us you hoped to complete a novel. How’s that going? I am afraid I barely wrote another word of it after that! I think because I haven’t cleared a proper space for writing, my brain butterflies around. I do hope to pin a longer project down at some point. I have recently finished the text for a children’s picture book, and I am in the process of plucking up the courage to send it out there.

6) What are you reading? I have just started reading Sophie Hannah‘s ‘the telling error‘. Kate Atkinson‘s ‘Life After Life‘ is my favourite read of the last year.

7) What’s your current WIP? Please introduce us to a favorite character… and can we beg you to share the opening line??  I do have a short story in very rough draft. The story’s main character is Maya. She is a troubled character who is experiencing bullying. My very rough first line is:

She was in perpetual motion: it was harder to target a moving casualty.

8) Who’s your favorite author? I can’t pick just one favourite. The list is growing all the time.

9) Do you belong to any IRL writing communities? online? Talk about the Flash Dogs! I only participate online. I take part in a few competitions other than this one: Three Line Thursday, Micro Bookends and The Angry Hourglass. A writing community that I am very proud to be a part of is Flashdogs. They are an incredibly supportive and welcoming group of talented writers. They have inspired me immensely.

10) Final thoughts? I would just like to say thank you to you, Rebekah, for all your hard work. It’s incredibly generous of you to devote so much time to other writers. {Editor’s Note: ❤ }