Jayne Martin, First Place Winner in Fall 2013 Flash Fiction Contest

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Please welcome Jayne Martin to the blog today. She won first place in our Fall 2013 Flash Fiction Contest with her story, “The Heart of Town.” We’ll have a brief chat with her about her story, her writing habits and more. Read on!

Jayne is a TV-movie writer whose credits include “Big Spender” for Animal Planet and “A Child Too Many,” “Cradle of Conspiracy” and “Deceived By Trust” for Lifetime. She lives in Santa Ynez, California, where she rides horses, consumes copious amounts of great local wines and shares her view of the world on her blog, “injaynesworld - where nothing is sacred” Her book of humor essays, Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry, is available in paperback and digital formats through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on your first place win! What inspired you to enter the contest?

Jayne: It’s a fabulous contest with great judges and very generous prize money. This was actually the fourth time I entered. The first time was a couple of years ago and I didn’t place at all. The next time, I made it to the top 20. Last spring, I reached the top 10. The biggest component of success in any endeavor is persistence and it paid off because this time I won.

WOW:  That's very inspiring how you moved up the ladder every time you entered. Persistence can pay off! Can you tell us what encouraged the idea behind “The Heart of Town?”

Jayne: It originated as a response to the prompt “flowers” on the Five Sentence Fiction website and was published in that abbreviated version on my blog, injaynesworld. The response was so positive with readers asking for more, so I developed it further into the version you see now. The voice and tone of the piece came to life all on its own. It was a story that wanted to be told and wanted to be told in its own way. That’s always a delightful surprise, rare as it is.

WOW:  How did you craft your winning flash fiction story? Did you have to edit much to get to the final version?

Jayne: As you can see from the previous answer, it started small and grew to the version it is now, but of course there is always editing. This piece was unusual for me in that it could be a children’s story, something I never intended when I started the piece, having never even attempted to write for children. I was a little unsure of what I had, but it seems to have an appeal to a range of ages, so we’ll see where it goes from here. It was fun to write anyway.

WOW:  We’d also love to know more about your writing routines. Could you tell us when and where you usually write? Do you have favorite tools or habits that get you going?

Jayne: I usually write first thing in the morning from about 7:30 a.m. through noon, depending on what I’m working on. Afternoons or evenings are good times for editing, but the creative stuff needs to happen before my brain gets too caught up in the day’s demands. I live in a tiny cottage high on a hilltop in the air space of eagles and my desk looks out onto a sweeping view of a beautiful, rural valley. Far from inspiring me though, it’s often a distraction as I find myself staring into space and mulling over philosophical thoughts much of the time, and yet I must have quiet and solitude. How I envy those writers who can set up shop with their laptop at a Starbucks. It just looks so terribly cool.

WOW:  I know what you mean about writing in coffee shops. It seems like a fun idea but it can be challenging sometimes. Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Jayne! Before you go, can you share your favorite writing tip or advice with our readers?

Jayne: Jennifer Egan (“A Visit from the Goon Squad”) stated it best: Read at the level that you want to write. We learn through osmosis. I know I’m highly influenced by whatever I’m reading, so I try to challenge myself to “read above my grade level.” Whatever your genre, read the very best authors who are writing that genre. Then read the very best authors in every other genre. The whole point here is to nourish our minds as we nourish our bodies, with the highest quality of creative nutrients that we possibly can. In other words: Good stuff in; good stuff out.


Our Spring 2014 Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN
For information, click here.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Marcia--Thanks for the interview.

Jayne--Congratulations. Your story of persistence served as a good reminder. Often, we fail at something and discard it. After all, we didn't do it very well, since we failed.

But to try it again (and again and again) often leads to success (or to a rung that's closer to success). Well done.

Indigo Roth said...

Congratulations to Jayne. The Heart Of The Town is a lovely tale; she's a great writer.

Liz said...

Congrats to Jayne!

Ginger said...

Jayne is a great writer who can turn the mundane into stories that make you pause for thought.

Congratulations once again on your win. Here's hoping you wow us again in 2014

cj Schlottman said...

Congratulations, Jayne!

Murr Brewster said...

Gosh, I enjoyed this piece, although now I am a little nervous about what my own garden has to say.

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