Today, in the Crimelines series of interview, I’m talking to
Tell us how you got involved in the Crimelines project?
I am a student of the MA Creative Writing course at MMU. As I live in Germany, I do the online variety (part-time). How I got involved with the Crimelines project is pretty much straight forward, really. We were told about the Anthology during the course and that we had a chance to participate. I sent in a story and… he presto, here we are. It’s been a pretty unspectacular way into such a spectacular event, to be honest. Maybe as an aspiring creative writer I should give it a tad more oomph?
Was it your first time at writing a short story to be published?
Pretty much, yes. Obviously, everybody on the course dabbled in writing before we started, and I’m no exception. Although I’ve had plays and musicals performed which I wrote, novels and short stories have eluded the publishing world so far. In all honesty though, I never really sent anything (well, not a lot anyway) to publishers. By joining this course I hope to not only improve my skills so that they become on a publishable level,but also to motivate myself more into trying to get published. Maybe it is time to get away from the murky world of scribbling shaky story ideas on beermats to trying to actually doing something worthwhile with the written word. Having something published in my first year even is a tremendous supportive argument for that decision.
What is it you enjoy most when writing short stories?
Hmmm, that’s a difficult one to answer. I find short stories a laborious discipline to be honest. Coming up with the idea for one is easy enough. I have a big imagination and ideas come pretty quickly, so if pressed I would say that the good thing about short stories is that it is an excellent medium to get all the cool little notions and concepts out there and onto paper. They are currently just swirling around in my head (or on beermats) and are too small to be developed into a full novel.
What are the main difficulties?
Most people think it’s easier than writing a novel, but with a novel you have a bit more breathing space. With short stories you’re trying to cram it all onto a few pages; setting, character development, plot, etc. Especially when, as with the Crimelines project, you are working with a given word limit. You write, rewrite, read, change, sculpt. Then, when you finally give birth to your perfect short story baby, an editor comes in and the first remark is “It’s excellent! Now lose 500 words.” Simply heartbreaking. They’re usually right, of course (hi Livi and Iris!), but there is a sense of “When I get JK Rowling famous, I’m releasing a director’s cut version of this!”.
Tell us a little bit about what’s ahead of you as a writer.
I have no idea. I am currently working on my first novel. As of yet it’s an untitled project, but it’s shaping up to be a classic adventure romper. Distant shores, a rugged sea captain, monsters, a pretty young lady and death. The Crimelines was a fun project to do, so I’ll definitely be trying to repeat the experience next year. Anything beyond that, only time will tell.
Thank you Derek for this fun interview.