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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Interview with Deb Kincaid - Runner up in the WOW! Fall 2006 Flash Fiction Contest

It's always interesting to hear where a story comes from. We think that motivation and the person behind the story is as interesting as the story itself. In this interview, we got a chance to ask Deb about her motivation and her writing goals.

WOW: Deb, we loved your story; especially the letter and the touching portrayal of the grieving widow. Can you tell us what inspired you to write Game Over?

Deb: People and circumstances change as they experience life. A high school romance that never developed for some reason could, if circumstances were favorable, be successfully pursued years later, in this age of the internet and This particular prompt worked well with this premise.

WOW: What kind of freelance writing do you like to do?

Deb: Because I'm an extremely curious person, I'm open to all sorts of freelance work (other than copywriting). Uncovering information, or discovering persons' motivations, are equally fascinating to me. I'm also interested in sustainable living and recently created a column titled PLANET HABIT. It's in a Q&A format and explains, persuades, and motivates those who may be new to this sort of green mindset.

WOW: Your column sounds great! I'm always interested in sustainable and green living. In your bio, you also said that this was the first short story that you had published. How does it feel to have your writing recognized?

Deb: I felt happy, satisfied and validated! Less than six months ago I decided I wasn't any good at fiction, but this particular prompt enticed me. I just had to try. Making the top 10 was especially sweet.

WOW: And well-deserved, I must say. Have you entered any other writing competitions?

Deb: I've only been learning to write for about two years, so I haven't entered too many contests yet. In two different Byline magazine contests, I placed 3rd in the short feature, and 2nd in a poetry contest. It is a goal of mine to enter at least one contest per month. I'm especially interested in flash fiction right now. This form is excellent training in making every word work as effectively and concisely as possible, which is beneficial in all sorts of writing.

WOW: That is an interesting point and one that writers continually have to deal with. What were some of the other challenges you experience when entering the WOW! flash fiction contest?

Deb: The biggest challenge to me is to make it different. The expected can be boring, but neither do I like freakish, edgy stuff, nor negative, depressing stuff. Life is scary and sad enough; I don't want to contribute to it. I want my readers to feel better afterwards -- not disturbed. I think "making it new" and different is harder to achieve in a positive setting, than in a negative one. And, admittedly, there seems to be more markets for edgy writing. Still, I think my efforts are worthwhile.

WOW: Yes, I believe there is a place for all sorts of writing, and as you can see from the entries, they are quite different. Keep doing what you're doing because it works. Do you have any advice for writers who may be unsure about entering writing contests?

Deb: Regarding entering contests? Just do it. Contests force sincere writers to do their best work. Constantly striving to improve writing skills is worthwhile whether we win or not. Contests are a deterrent against lazy writing habits. For new writers like myself, I recommend entering small, free or low-fee contests. Going up against writer's with MFA's in the bigger contests is a real killjoy and self-defeating. Trust that you'll get there some day. Give yourself time to grow; be patient, you're an apprentice. Enter contests where you could realistically succeed. Try to enter one or two each month, and try a variety of genres and word lengths until you know your strengths. You may be surprised if you keep your mind open.

WOW: Deb, I think that's good advice that we all can learn from. So tell us, what's next in your writing career?

Deb: I've set some realistic goals for myself this year: be published in webzines, and in regional publications (I live in the Northwest USA, Washington specifically); learn to write travel and nature articles; get my website up and running; take an online fiction writing course; join a writer's group; and attend my first writer's conference. I will also send a thank you note to my college professor who encouraged me to take a year off from school to learn writing by doing writing.

WOW: Sounds like you've got your plate full! But as you said, they are realistic goals and we are here to help you achieve them, in any way we can. I think your college professor was right on. Tell him thanks from us as well!

If you haven't already read Deb Kincaid's short story Game Over you can read it here: Fall Contest Winners

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