Meet Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up, Anna Levy

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A storyteller since age six, Anna Levy draws narrative inspiration from the lives of the people that surround her. Through travel, new adventures, observation, and eavesdropping, she uses the world’s details to write meaningful fiction. By mixing imagination with everyday happenings, she works to create empathic experiences that empower people to embrace their own lives and understand others.

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the top ten in our Fall 2012 writing contest! What inspired you to enter the contest?
Anna: It seemed like a great opportunity to challenge myself, and I liked the idea of entering a contest that was completely open in terms of topic. I haven't written much flash fiction, but am enjoying it as a way of quickly telling a story that can still have emotional depth.

WOW: Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind your story, Vital Signs?

Anna: This was actually something I'd written as an exercise as part of a writing group I participated in last fall. I was given two components to work with: someone watching monitors in the ICU for seven weeks, and an ever-present cell phone. I let my imagination go, and the result was this story.

WOW: So working with writing prompts can really pay off! Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?

Anna: I don't think any of my writing habits are particularly unusual, though I would enjoy it if some of them were. I write primarily at home, though I enjoy writing in certain coffee shops as well. I am most productive in the early mornings and late at night. I do not outline (though I've tried), and am most successful when I simply let myself write, without pause. It's good to remind myself that I can-- and will--edit later, and that the important thing in the beginning is to simply get the story out. I have been known to eavesdrop when I'm out in public, and I use people around me as spark points for my imagination, as I try to envision their habits, their concerns, their daily lives.

WOW: I like how you take people watching to the next level, imagining more details about their lives. A fun starting point for some stories. What writing projects are you working on now?

Anna: I'm currently working on a collection of short stories that all deal with grief and mourning, and I'm about to start editing a novel that I finished a couple of months ago. It's the first book I've written, and I am both excited and nervous to read it straight through for the first time.

WOW: Good luck with both the short stories and the novel editing, and thanks so much for chatting with us today, Anna! Before you go, do you have any advice for beginning flash fiction writers?

Anna: I don't think that I'm really in a position to give advice. I think it's pretty much the same as it has always been: just sit down and let yourself go. I'm constantly reminding myself to simply go for it, see what comes out. It's incredibly difficult, and it's some of the most fun work in the world.


The Spring 2013 Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN!
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Margo Dill said...

Congratulations to you, Anna. I love how you took a writing prompt exercise and turned it into an award winning flash fiction story! :)

Angela Mackintosh said...

I think it's great too, Anna, that your writing group's exercise sparked a winning story! I love prompts that make you incorporate a couple of elements rather than sentence starters. It allows for more creativity, I think. You did a great job with Vital Signs. Congrats again! And good luck on the novel revision! :)

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