Saturday 5 May 2012

#SatSunTails - Rebecca Clare Smith

Excuse me while I take a moment to scream. AAAAaaaahhhhhhhrrrggg! Thank you. I had a lovely post all written and ready to go on Saturday while I was out of town. For some reason, it hadn't gone up. So I logged in on my phone to hit the publish now button. And it did. Unfortunately, it also deleted my interview with the wonderful Rebecca Clare Smith. So I'm trying to reconstruct it. It will not be as awesome as my first one. It will still be awesome, though, because my guest is awesome. She is the host of #SatSunTails which is on right now. It one of several flash fiction contests you can find. I hope to interview the hosts of others in the future. #SatSunTails involves a prompt, a phrase and picture, and is limited to 150 words. Contestants have the entire weekend to craft a submission following which the hostess, Rebecca, chooses a winner and three mentions. Each mention gets a mini-critique! Perfect for improving your efforts in subsequent weeks. As I mentioned, I follow a few different flash fiction contests and I've seen limits of 100 words and 250 words, but the 150 is uncommon. How did you come to choose it, Rebecca?

I chose 150 words because a lot of short fiction competitions have 100 or 200 words. I feel that 100 doesn't always give you enough time to create a great story, but I didn't want to give too many words. The idea behind the shortness is that it helps writers to fit more into a small space. Of course, this means that in longer works these experiences help to make sure we know how to get things across in a short space without long, winding explanations that leave the reader dozing off.

Well, that makes sense. You do almost all of the judging. You recommend checking out previous weeks to get an idea of what you're looking for, but can you spell it out for us? Give us a checklist?

In a winner I like to see a story that isn't the same as all the others. It has to have a good plot and usually they're better if they leave surprises dotted around the text. Vivid imagery is also a brilliant plus.

Is it ever difficult to choose the winner?

I always find it difficult to pick a winner. The standard of the entries is getting increasingly higher every week.

Stiff competition. On a related note, do you think you'll have guest judges in the future? Or do you prefer keeping the reins to yourself?

I've had a guest judge before and I plan to again, but I've been so busy lately that organising for a guest judge has been less hassle than just sorting out the competition myself.

You use picture prompts. Where do you find your photos? How do you choose which photos you use?

I usually use pictures from photobucket. There are a lot of really great images on there. Usually I go for something that isn't like what we had the week before and that I would find personally inspirational.

How did you gain your following? Where do most readers find you?

I have no idea how I gained any following. I have a lot of different social media accounts, though, so that might be how. I think that's probably where most readers must find me, to be honest. I'm on twitter quite a lot and I do post updates to google+ and my facebook fan page. There's also my tumblr. Perhaps I'm a bit of a social media addict? Ha ha. Other than that, I can only think it must be through word of mouth, which is pretty nice. It's always lovely to think people enjoy my writing or just my blog enough to talk about it and share it with others.

Well, you are a lovely person, so it makes sense for people to enjoy it. How do you choose your non-contest topics?

Non-contest topics are usually just my day to day thoughts or snatches of poetry mixed in with pieces of flash fiction. The original purpose of the blog was just to write out my thoughts so I wasn't giving myself a headache with stressful things. It was basically an outlet, but then I decided to incorporate more of my fiction so that other people could read it. The fiction is never really based on anything. I used to take prompts from people but now I just start writing and see what flows.

Thank you so much, Rebecca. You can find her flash fiction pieces on her website. 

Did I forget to ask something? Ask away!