1000words: An Interview with Shirley Golden

1000wordsToday, I welcome Shirley Golden to my blog. Shirley is one of 1000words’ favourite writers. We love her stories so much, that, in the past two years, we have published four of them. You don’t have to take our word on how good they are though; you can read them for yourself at the website. They are: Reproduction, Reproaching Shadows, Bigger Than This and Too Little, Too Late.

BUT … before you rush off to partake of Shirley’s flashy delights, please stay here for a few minutes and find out what she has to say about writing flash-fiction and her 1000words experience.

So, Shirley, what prompted you to submit your flash-fictions to 1000words?

I was drawn to your website because of the photo prompts.  I read some of the stories and was impressed by the standard.  I wasn’t sure if mine were good enough but thought I’d give it a go.

We’ve published four of your stories at 1000words. Can you tell us how you get from your chosen images to your final flash-fictions?

Reproaching Shadows
Image by superbomba (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The photo that inspired me the most was the girl and the shadow.  As soon as I saw it, I loved the idea of a wayward shadow and wanted to use it to represent something lacking in her life.  As I wrote, her mother’s critical voice emerged, and I managed to shape it into a complete story that I thought was worth submitting.  I love it when an image triggers an idea, especially one I feel wouldn’t have come to me without the prompt.  I least enjoy the feeling I sometimes get when I go back to a piece, knowing it needs work, but am unable to draw it together in a satisfactory way.

Other than images, what prompts your stories?

I suffer from insomnia, and find the early hours can be a very creative time.  I think it’s because thoughts are free to float around without distractions.

Which writers (or other creatives) have inspired you?

Bigger than This
Image by Camil Tulcan. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Early on, when I first attempted to write short stories, I discovered Raymond Carver, and was blown away by his his work. It helped me to fully appreciate how ‘less is more’ for short fiction (and perhaps for all writing).

What is it you like about reading and writing flash-fiction?

I love the ‘hit’ that reading flash-fiction gives me, and I like to ponder connections to the wider story that the author has left out.  I enjoy stories that are accessible and entertaining in themselves but contain subtext if you want to delve deeper.  For me, Calum Kerr has mastered the art of this, and I love how he switches genres effortlessly.  When writing flash-fiction, I like that the editing can be managed all at once.

What tips would you give to aspiring flash-fiction writers?

I find it useful to imagine I’m looking through a window and spying on a scene from someone’s life. No matter how much background knowledge I’ve built, I try to use the things sensed in that moment to reflect the story, rather than spell out everything.

Shirley GoldenThanks for answering our questions, Shirley. Before you go, is there anything else you’d like us to know?

Well, I’ve been mostly dealing with rejections and working on revisions!  I’m also re-working my latest novel after receiving feedback from a publisher; so, lots to keep me busy.

You can read Shirley’s stories here, here, here and here, and you can find out more about her writing at her website as well as connecting with her via twitter.

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2 thoughts on “1000words: An Interview with Shirley Golden

  1. I really like Shirley’s work. Her first place winning story in the 2013 Exeter Short Story Prize has stayed with me ever since I read it. There are quite a few writers that I follow on twitter because I admire their work and their creativity and also because I appreciate their kindness and supportive attitude to others. They share their lows as well as their highs, praise, encourage and generally make the world feel a bit friendlier. Shirley is one of this noble band. Great interview, thanks! And good luck with the work – that publication breakthrough for your novel(s) is just around the corner 🙂

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