Interview with LJ Slauson: Fall 2022 Flash Fiction Contest Third Place Winner

Tuesday, April 04, 2023
L.J.’s Bio:
I work as a copywriter in the tech sector and live in beautiful British Columbia. I’ve taken a number of WOW’s online classes, and they’ve inspired a long-neglected interest in writing fiction. 

If you haven't already done so, check out L.J.'s award-winning story "Tangled Webs" and then return here for a chat with the author. 

WOW: Congratulations on placing third in the Fall 2022 Flash Fiction Contest! What excited you most about writing this story? 

L.J.: The classic advice "write about what scares you" really fits here – I am not a fan of spiders! And although I've never been a stepmother, the experience of letting new people into your life, flaws and all, is frightening. It was fun connecting those two fears. 

WOW: Thank you for that insight! I love to hear what makes crafting a story fun for writers. What did you learn about yourself or your writing while crafting this piece? 

L.J.: The lesson of flash fiction is always that I can use fewer words than I think I need. The paring down process is both fun and challenging – and it turns out that this lesson carries over well to copywriting. 

WOW: Great connection. What prompted you to take WOW’s classes and/or what has been most inspiring for your fiction writing? 

L.J.: After years of saying, "if I only had time to get back into fiction..." I found myself with an abundance of it while locked down in the spring of 2020. But instead of seizing the opportunities, I froze with writer's block. (I suspect I am not alone here.) Registering for WOW classes not only spurred me to get the words down, it provided a sense of community and inspiration. I've incorporated some of the lessons from that time, especially around overcoming writer's block, into my current, much busier, life. 

WOW: Excellent! I’m so glad to hear the classes were and continue to be helpful for you. What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it? 

L.J.: I love to ski and I enjoyed some of John Irving’s previous works, so I started The Last Chairlift. But it is so long and hasn't really grabbed me yet. Life is too short to stick with books that don't hook you, so I've put it aside. I am now re-reading one of my all-time favorite books, Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, in anticipation of the paperback release of the sequel, The Candy House. I can't say enough good things about A Visit from the Goon Squad – an incredibly moving look at how our perceptions are shaped by the passage of time. 

WOW: Thanks for the recommendation! If you could give your younger self one piece of writing advice, what would it be and why? 

L.J.: Don't take yourself quite so seriously. Just write what you like to read, without worrying about being "literary" or impressing certain people. It's supposed to be fun, after all. 

WOW: I love that advice and the continued connection between writing and having fun! Thank you for sharing your story and your thoughtful responses with us. Happy writing! 

Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, founder and editor-in-chief of Sport Stories Press, which publishes sports books by, for, and about sportswomen and amateur athletes and offers developmental editing and ghostwriting services to partially fund the press. Connect on Twitter @greenmachine459.


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