Interview with Joyce Finn: Winter '12 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Joyce’s Bio: Joyce Finn is a member of ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors). A Bostonian at heart, she’s recently moved to South Carolina after living for over twenty years in the Australian outback, Johannesburg, and Bermuda. Her fiction reflects her peripatetic life. Two of her stories recently received honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest 2011 Annual Writing Contest for literary fiction. She is the moderator of writersandcritters, an online international writing/critique group for published women writers. The group was featured in the March/April 2008 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine when they organized their first conference in order to meet outside of cyberspace.

Check out Joyce's award-winning story "Him," and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations on placing in WOW!’s winter flash fiction contest! How did you begin writing this story, or what was your inspiration for it? 

Joyce: “Him” came from a random word exercise. Let me explain. My international Internet writers group has a weekly 10-minute free-write exercise. I've found the trick is to set a timer for 10 minutes, look at the word for the first time then type furiously. This, for me, is the quickest way to bypass my internal censor. From the dregs lurking in the back recesses of my mind come flash fiction pieces like this one. A bit of tidy up and it's done.

WOW: What an excellent way to get yourself to start, and keep, writing! What do you enjoy most about writing? 

Joyce: I enjoy playing with words, kneading sentences into coherent shapes, then seeing if those sentences can give form and substance to paragraphs and eventually an article or story. Sometimes it doesn't, then the slog begins, but if I pound the dough of my story long enough something decent takes shape.

WOW: “Pound the dough of my story”… That’s such a lovely metaphor! What are you reading right now? 

Joyce: I've just finished Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman for a local book club. I doubt whether I would've picked it up on my own, but I lived in Australia for 8 years and it's always fun to read about that sunburned country. Freeman does a good job of interlacing generations and eras. The other book I'm reading is Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg about a new cultural phenomena and how it will affect us all.

WOW: If you could have dinner with one author, dead or alive, who would you choose and why? 

Joyce: I would love to have been near the Algonkian Table to listen to Dorothy Parker's acerbic and eviscerating wit. Perhaps to eaves-drop on Cervantes and Casanova just for the pure delight of hearing them tell their extraordinary tales, their pauses, the glint in their eyes. Rimbaud for his tortured poetry and his world-wanderings. What was he searching for?

WOW: Very excellent and diverse choices. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received? 

Joyce: I'd like to turn that question around, if I may. The advice I give other writers is to play with words, jiggle them around, plop them in a sentence and see if it satisfies. Enjoy the process. When it becomes a chore, and I don't mean when it becomes frustrating and nerve-jangling, but a chore you dread, only then stop. Remember it is not a competition, you will ALWAYS find better writers than you, so what. If you're persistent you'll become a better writer. Write. This moment, whoosh, it's gone. You'll never again be who you are at this precise time in your life. Record your history, who you are now, don't wait for the perfect opportunity. Write.

WOW: Sage advice, Joyce. Thank you! Good with your writing, and we hope to read more of it in the future! 

Interviewed by: Anne Greenawalt


Fi said...

Fabulous story, Joyce. Sage advice indeed in your interview. I love that 'whoosh', just the thought of it is catalysing to get on and get writing. The reading choices are interesting, I'll be looking up the Going Solo book, so thanks for recommending.

MARY said...

A lovely interview of a spectacular woman!

Unknown said...

Inspirational interview! It makes me want to get writing and reading!

Annette Gendler said...

Fabulous interview! Love your writing advice, too!

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