A huge welcome to Therese Edmonds, who joins us as one of the authors whose stories will appear in this years Twisted Tales. This is an annual flash fiction competition celebrating (Inter)National Flash Fiction Day, published by Raging Aardvark Publications. Judged by a panel of experienced short story writers and editors, submissions over the last four years have been extremely high quality; making the job of the judge a difficult one. Authors are drawn from around the globe and stories ranging from lighthearted tales of childhood memories, to gruesome stories to make the reader shiver.
The title of your flash fiction.
What was your initial motivation or prompt to write this story?
I enjoy writing about ordinary people doing something that seems mundane or silly or anything but special and showing how marvellous they are for doing it. People who begin life with privilege are applauded for their achievements because they’re more noticeable. Less visible but equally praiseworthy are the achievements of people who start life with massive challenges. These people should get a trophy for talking to a stranger or holding down a job or any of those things that are seen by society as something anyone can easily do but for them are evidence of enormous personal growth.
Is the character in your story a reoccurring character in your writing?
She does crop up a bit, yes. Her depths are still to be plumbed so I expect I’ll be seeing more of her.
What sort of message or feeling are you hoping you leave your audience with?
I’d like them to notice the misfits and be less critical of them.
What sorts of challenges or insights have you had writing this?
The challenge was to portray a familiar, seemingly meaningless interaction as wondrous, as being there when someone else has a highlight moment in their life and getting to share that with them.
What sort of research did you do before you began writing it?
I read a few flash fiction stories.
What sort of stories do you normally write? (Is this story a break from your norm?)
I’m not sure I can see my norm. I write what comes to mind, which I’m sure has a pattern to it. I just don’t like to look for it!
What sorts of lengths (short story, flash, micro, novellas, novels?)
I love the short form. It’s like walking past an open window at a pivotal time in someone’s life. You can pack in so much of their story and leave your audience to imagine the rest. I get a lot of satisfaction from hearing a reader fill in a gap I’ve hinted at. It tells me they’ve engaged with the story. I’ve never had a desire to write a novel. I don’t think I’m good with descriptions. Too many words!
Are you focusing on one particular genre or story length style (i.e Flash Fiction, Short Story, Novella, Novel)? What is yours? Why/ Why not?
I’m writing a full-length play and using a technique painters use when they create their large works: sketching sections of it first. It could explore the theme or the character or the situation. I write these ‘studies’ as short stories so I can delve the richness of that part of the larger story. All sorts of lovely things come up in the process.
Do you enter many writing competitions ? Why/ Why not?
I did to begin with. It was an excellent way to focus my writing and to write to a deadline. It helped me actually get moving with it and has been most valuable. Winning a couple of things gave me a great deal of confidence and validated me as a writer. I don’t enter as many now, only if I’m exploring a new area – like flash fiction.
Are you a member of a writing group – either online or a physical one?
I’m a member of StagesWA, an excellent group for playwrights. I’ve just moved to the south-west of WA and am looking for another group now to supplement it as I can’t get to many meetings.
Do you think these groups help or hinder a writers journey?
They help if they’re full of people who are better writers than you are and are active with it. It spurs you on. I doubt there’s a group anywhere that doesn’t have at least one person who thinks they’re one of those writers but isn’t. Don’t listen to that one. Or if all they ever do is hijack your story and try to change it to theirs, get the heck out. Being part of a group that gets you and cheers you on and gives you skilled feedback is a massive asset.
What encouragement or advice do you have for emerging writers?
Chip away. It’s a long road and often challenging but one day you’re going to look up and realise someone just had their life altered because of your story.
What advice or tips do you have for writers who feel they are stuck or have “writers block”?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. Some days you don’t feel like writing. Some days carpenters don’t feel like building a cupboard. But if that’s the work in front of you, then get on and do it. Inspiration comes in the doing of it.
How can others follow your journey?
There’s a glorious day in my head where my website is online and my Facebook page is cranking and I can babble on for an hour about my social media profile. Until that day, Google me.