1.What inspired you to write the prose poem/microfiction which will appear in Flashing the Square?
I’d never written microfiction before; the brevity attracted me because I prefer writing shorter pieces as opposed to long form stories. Microfiction seemed like a challenge as well, much like conveying meaning and humour on Twitter – magic when you can nail in it is as few words as possible. And while I was thinking about Twitter, I came up with the concept of my piece: the addictive nature of that intoxicating little gem of social media.
2. Tell us about your process. (Do you start sparse and widen out, or do you write down every possible association and cut back? Do you research the subject matter you are writing about? Is it pure intuition?) Take us through an example if you want.
Pure intuition for me. The story writes itself, like stream of conscious, and then I pare down with a good edit. I start with a concept or an image that pops into my consciousness, and then I just start typing words. Some days they flow quickly and that is when I have something worthwhile; other days I sit with hands hovering over the keyboard, and those are the days I walk away. I found the microfiction needed a tight edit of adjectives.
3. What advice do you have for other writers? (About the first or last line? About how to choose the title? Do you follow any rules?)
Less is more. I think people get too bogged down in dialogue. As for microfiction, I think satire works a treat. Something pithy, poignant, something that can bring a wry smile to the reader’s face will be memorable.
The common man / woman inspires my writing. Sometimes the goodness of people takes my breath away – and equally the cruelty. I like my fiction based around the ordinary: clichéd, but truth is usually stranger than fiction and the most ordinary seeming people can have the most extraordinary lives. I think this especially on Anzac Day when the news bulletin shows an interview with a veteran in his nineties, who looks like he has lived the most banal life, and then he pulls out a story about surviving the Burma railway. There are some significant life stories out there.
5. Tell us what you do if you haven’t written anything in a while and you want to get started writing again? Could you share your favourite writing exercise with our readers?
Rejection is like kryptonite. Every time a rejection email comes, I walk away from the keyboard to wallow in self pity and doubt. But then I remind myself that this is a low risk sport, I’m not losing anything by putting words on paper. When there’s a win, energy is bolstered. And of course, the images / concepts in my consciousness come knocking loudly and I can’t ignore them so the keyboard comes out again. Working from a piece of artwork or photography usually gets me started again after a long patch: it’s nice to start with some stimulus.