2018 Writer's Games Winner
Individual Portion 2
The Writer's Workout conducted the following interview with LS Fellows in November, 2018. The Writer's Workout is represented as "WW" and LS is represented as "LS". Interview responses are published as received.
WW: What made you want to participate in the Writer's Games this year?
LS: I’ve taken part twice before. My first year was amazing; it gave me lots of confidence as a result of the feedback received. Year two, however, was a huge struggle for me. The addition of core concepts threw me off guard. Having no formal background in creative writing, I floundered. For instance, I had no idea what a trope was. I seemed to spend more time researching the core concepts than actually writing the stories. Suffice it to say, the second year didn’t work out for me at all. I thought I’d try one more time. The added incentive of an extended critique swayed me.
WW: Was there anything that you were worried or nervous about coming into this year's Games?
LS: Not nervous as such, more excited and hopeful for some new Events. Having read through the list of potential Events, many of the new ones struck me as stories I would enjoy writing.
WW: What kept you motivated to participate in each Event?
LS: I recall someone saying that submitting each week made them more productive in other writing projects. In past years, I hadn’t done that. This year, the reduced number of events made it more possible. Each new week was a fresh start and a new opportunity to find a story that inspired me to write.
WW: Did life ever get in the way during the Games? How did that affect your writing?
LS: I tried to ensure there were enough breaks and treats throughout the three-day period. Where I had other plans already scheduled, then it was actually easier to work around those because my “downtime” had already been guaranteed. Letting people around you know that you are committed is important too. They will want to support you in that and respect your writing time.
WW: What was your favourite Event and why?
LS: Initially, “Remember when” was my favourite, as I am a huge fan of historical fiction and love, love, love the research element – sometimes to the detriment of actual writing time. However, during Event 5 I became smitten with my inanimate object’s “personality”. Staying in POV has always been a struggle for me. I didn’t even recognise my own head-hopping on many occasions. To write from the viewpoint of an inanimate object was a challenge and a joy.
WW: Was there an Event that was more challenging for you than the others?
LS: “Campfire” was the Event that most challenged me. The stripped-back nature of simple storytelling sent me into “over thinking” mode. Fortunately, I had opted for an extended critique here and the feedback received helped clarify where I had strayed from the original concept. A lesson learnt there, and one I very much needed.
WW: What inspires you to write?
LS: I like to “put the world to rights”. Whenever I see something that strikes me as unfair or unjust, I love to create a story that lets the underdog win.
WW: What genre do you normally like to write in? How did that help or hurt you during the Games?
LS: I tend to have a mystery/crime fiction thread in everything I write. To date, my writing outside of the Games focuses on mysteries, crime, women’s fiction and historical fiction. I doubt I will ever write horror or Sci-Fi, as I tend not to read those genres and would be well outside of my comfort zone. That said, I quite enjoy writing parodies and mash-ups too.
The Games haven’t restricted me to any genre – yet! I didn’t sense my own writing preferences were ever an issue, but maybe I have just been fortunate so far.
WW: Whose work do you find most inspiring? Why?
LS: I am particularly drawn to authors who write series, as I love to unwrap the layers that build up a character. If a writer can wow me with strong reasoning behind a character’s conduct then I’m hooked into reading about them, which in turn inspires me to create characters who are believable and relatable. For that reason, I enjoy Colin Dexter’s books (Inspector Morse) and Tess Gerritsen (Rizzoli & Isles).
WW: What is the best advice someone has ever given you and who said it?
LS: “Do it because you love it, not because you have to.” Said to me by a former boss – and it wasn’t about my job (in IT) at the time but more about making lifestyle choices. It’s also my approach to writing. So, when I can’t write – for whatever reason – I won’t beat myself up about it. I look forward to the moments when I find the “sweet spot” that combines writing time with a story I want to tell.
WW: What advice would you give to people thinking about participating in next year's Games?
LS: You have nothing to lose. It’s worth the effort for the feedback alone. Try every Event and make a few notes of what you want to achieve with it. If the words don’t come, at least you’ll have attempted something new. Maybe you’ll look back one day and see how close you were – that could inspire you to take the next step.
You can follow LS Fellows on Twitter: lfwrites
It is the policy of The Writer's Workout to publish interview responses as received.