Annie On Writing

June 11, 2015

Twisted Tales 2015 Judge Spotlight – Jonathan Cardew

Filed under: Writing Tools — Annie Evett @ 5:00 pm

JonathanCardew

Continuing with our interviews with the judging panel of this years Twisted Tales, is Jonathan Cardew.

Jonathan Cardew is a writer and editor living in Milwaukee. His short fiction appears in Atticus Review, Segue, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Every Day Fiction, and elsewhere. He edits The Phoenix Literary Magazine at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

What space to judge? 

When I judge, I retire to the drawing room. I open a ’78 or ’79 Bordeaux, prepare a small bowl of green olives, and relax into my maroon dressing gown and matching slippers. A Havana cigar may or may not be the order of the day, depending on the pile of manuscripts before me. At the end of the reading, I self-administer a mild sedative and dream of tigers roaming the jungle. 

How important is a title to a piece? 

Very. I think. It must at least not be very bad (A Great Day!… or something like that). A good title can communicate meaning, or even form the lens through which we view the story. I always look to Raymond Carver for title-writing inspiration — see: WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE.

Tips and advice for new submitters…

1. Read your work before submitting.  Even better: read your work out loud, or even to an audience. Get to experience it: feel the shape and pace of it; find the words that buzz and the ones that fall flat; and hunt out those missing words and that poor grammar/ construction. 

2. Is it really your best work? If you’ve taken the previous advice, and you’ve revised it, and it still doesn’t leave a smile on your face when you’ve finished reading, chances are it won’t on the judges’ very handsome faces either. You may have a better one on your hard drive. Or you may still need to cut and chop it up a bit. 

3. Make sure you’re sending us the right file! Double, triple-check the file before submitting. Don’t send us your mum’s vegetarian chili recipe (though it may be very nice…)

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Twisted Tales is an anthology of the best Flash Fiction for the year and celebrates one of the shorter forms of short stories; with entries under 750 words. Published by Raging Aardvark Publishing, it also works with the mobile phone app ether books in order to expose the entries to new readership and further promote flash fiction as a form of choice for readers.

The competition forms part of the celebrations for (inter) National Flash Fiction Day held across the globe in writers circles and groups on the last weekend of June. The Anthology is in its 4th year and has attracted hundreds of entries along with a panel of esteemed judges each year, who volunteer their time and expertise to mark the entries and choose the top 13. Its an extremely difficult job as stories are of high quality with many respected and published authors entering alongs side emerging writers. 

Over the next two weeks, I will be interviewing the judging panel for this years competition and hope that it sheds some light on the mechanism of judging as well as giving you some insight on how to best present your next entry.

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