How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?
Writing has always come naturally to me. I remember when my parents bought our first home computer, I would spend hours writing stories on the word processor. Most of the stories were terrible, but it was a medium where I could express myself and without people judging me. I never had to show my writing to anyone. Eventually, I built up the confidence to show my friends and family. After more years or practicing, I was able to feel confident enough to send stories to publishers.
What inspired you to write flash fiction?
My writing has always been inspired by film and plays. In both mediums, there isn’t room for long expositions, so everything needs to be “bare bones.” Before I started really writing short stories, I wrote a lot of plays. In order for a play to work, almost all the excess fat needs to be trimmed. When I first heard about Flash Fiction, I thought, ‘Hey, this is what I do all the time.” My story I submitted here years ago, The Hardwood Floor, was the first flash fiction I had ever tried, and I’m still really proud of it. When limited to 500 words, every word and every sentence needs to show more than just the words–it needs to be packed with so much connotation. Since then, I have been developing that technique and still believe it is sometimes better to cut than to add.
Describe your writing process.
Fortunately, one of the benefits of being a teacher is the obnoxious amount of time off. During that time, I love to lock myself in an isolated room or head to a cafe. Writing at home has always been difficult to me. If I’m in my room and if I had free time, then I’ll be tempted to watch Netflix to stare at cat pictures or something … Writing should come naturally, but it also requires a ton of discipline. That happy medium is frustrating at times. If I force myself to write, but there are no juices flowing, then I stop. At the same time, if I am feeling creative I must force myself to produce. That’s why, for me, setting a long time-frame to produce writing is great. It’s long enough for me to free relaxed and not pressured, but it also reminds me that I have to walk away with something.
What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?
The Hardwood Floor, unfortunately, has a dark inspiration. Mental abuse is a subtle beast that doesn’t show its fangs. Instead, it burrows into one’s head and rots it from the inside. To an outsider, it doesn’t seem that bad. When the police show up at the girl’s house in the story, the father dismisses it as, “She stressed herself out.” When the girl has a violent breakdown, it seems like it’s her own fault. She has even convinced herself when she says, “He doesn’t give me scars, I tell myself, except the ones I make.” This of course, it horribly false and I wanted people to see mental abuse is a serious issue that can create serious consequences.
What are you working on now?
The quick summary is:
When a newly-appointed deacon questions why an entire backwoods town enjoys ridiculing a dull-witted teenager named Devon, he discovers no one is willing to tell him the truth. The new deacon is determined to discover Devon’s forgotten past, and the reason why it is never discussed
This is a book I have been working for years and if it wasn’t for websites like FewerThan500.com publishing small pieces like this, I would have never had the confidence to try and get a book published. This website is an excellent location to get your work out there and don’t be afraid to submit!