Marci Mangham, Runner Up, Spring 2014 Flash Fiction Contest

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Please welcome back Marci Mangham, runner up in our Spring 2014 Flash Fiction Contest. This is Marci’s second win in our Flash Fiction Contests; her first time was in Spring 2007 with The Wedding Zinger. Marci has a knack for little, ending story twists! Please enjoy her winning entry, Behind the Curtain, and come for a chat with the author.

Marci is the worst writer on earth. Okay, maybe not. But creativity comes in spurts these days, so she is very happy to have written a little something new. Marci published a short story collection called Both Ends Burning in 2007 and has 2 unfinished novels waiting for some attention. This is her second time placing in the WOW contest, so here’s hoping it will be a catalyst to get her writing “groove” back. She has also been featured in WOW’s Friday Speak Out. Marci lives in Dallas, Texas with her German Shepherd, Louis, and daydreams of living in Colorado and writing the great American novel...or HBO’s next great series.

WOW: Welcome back, Marci! When did you first realize you enjoyed writing stories?

Marci: I was in the gifted and talented program when I was in 6th grade and one of our assignments was to write, illustrate and bind our own little book. The binding part wasn’t so great as I’m not particularly crafty, but I loved writing and drawing. I won 1st place for my story about a German shepherd who saved his family from an intruder.

WOW: First place; what a thrill for a young writer!

Marci, in Behind the Curtain you captured the tense relationship between the doctor and her patient perfectly! What was your inspiration for Mr. Watkins?

Marci: I was without insurance a couple of years ago and had to go to the ER of our local county hospital. While I was waiting I saw two deputies bring in a shacked prisoner. I could feel the tension as they walked him past us. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to meet that guy in a dark alley, even in shackles. Well, maybe if my dog were with me!

WOW: You’ve published a book of short stories and have two novels on your desk; how would you compare the experience of, or discipline needed, between short stories and novels?

Marci: I haven’t finished a novel since 1994, and even though I threw it away, I actually enjoyed the experience of writing and growing with the characters and story over a year’s time. But as I’ve gotten older, I have become more ADD and my attention span is roughly that of a 6-year old these days, so I really need to recapture the dedication and discipline to get back to my unfinished novels. I was cranking out short stories at a pretty fast pace 7-8 years ago and so I decided to put them all together and publish a little collection. I’m currently not so prolific, but I’d like to at least start writing them more frequently again.

WOW: Tell us about your writing process; do you tend to know the ending and work backward, allow the story to unfold with time, or…?

Marci: I’ve done both, actually. It really depends on what my idea and inspiration are. For this story, I pretty much knew right away how it would end. One that I submitted for the summer contest began with me consulting a writing prompt app that gave me a setting of a dry cleaner, and paper clips as object. Then I just started writing, and ended up being inspired by something that had just happened to a friend. I had no clue how that one was going to end up when I started writing.

WOW: We’d love to hear more about your novels—tell us a little about the one you are working on now.

Marci: Well “working on” might be a bit strong (back to the attention span thing), but one is about Santa Claus. It’s definitely not a children’s story, though. It begins with him sitting on a toilet unable to go, thinking about what he has in common with Jesus. He is in crisis and is very depressed about how he treated Rudolph, the never-ending snow and cold, and being stuck for eternity at an age where everything hurts and creaks.

WOW: Fantastic opening scene! Be sure to let us know when that one is finished!

Thank you, Marci, for visiting with us today. Maybe we’ll see you back here with a third win!

Will you win our next round? Entries for the 2014 Fall Flash Fiction Contest are now being accepted. We can only allow 300 submissions so don’t wait too long to send your in!


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