My dear dreamers,
After a big delay, I present you a ironic, dark but very funny writer: SCFrankles. She's an UK girl after all! I want to thank her for having the patience to answer all my questions. Let's read her inspiring words:
1. Tell us a little about yourself. What was your biggest conquest? What’s your most treasured
I've always enjoyed reading and writing but I've only been writing fiction regularly for about six years. A couple of years ago I entered my first writing competition and came third in my category. It was just a small local contest but it was the first time I truly thought of myself as being a writer. Psychologically it was a big step. I’m not naturally outgoing but I felt able to stand up in front of an audience and read my story out to them. Some months later one of my stories took first prize in another local competition, which convinced me that the first time hadn't been a fluke.
I do sometimes wonder about earning a living from writing, which would be wonderful, but I think that’s probably unlikely.
Comedy: an instruction manual
Avoid lamppost.Then fall down manhole.
2. What do you find more difficult to write: short-stories or six word stories?
Short stories, definitely. I appear to have a natural aptitude for six word stories and flash fiction. Rules and restrictive word-counts inspire me. Writing a six word story feels like solving a puzzle. I find it very satisfying.
The longest short story I've ever written has only been 2,500 words long. My heart belongs to flash fiction but I would like to be able to produce 5,000 word stories and novels too. It’s something I’m going to have to work on.
Close to the Edge
"Crikey, that's a steep drop! Karen..?"
3. Do you use the same strategies to both of them? What are they?
I do use the same strategies for writing, no matter how long the piece is. I turn ideas around in my head until I can see what the shape of the story is – what the story should be. Then there’s just the small problem of finding the right words… With six word stories it’s vital to make every word count but I think that’s something you have to attempt with all literature anyway. Obviously, the longer the story is, the longer on average it will take to write, but I can spend several days even on a six word story. I sometimes do research for six word stories too - I take them as seriously as longer pieces. I truly believe in the artistic worth of the six word story.
Having said all that, some stories – of every length - just pop into my head almost completely fully formed. That’s the way the very best ones generally come.
4. You have a dark humour, sometimes gore, sometimes surreal. Is it something that born with you or that you had to work on?
My sense of humour has always been there – I certainly have never consciously worked on it – but it’s developed and got darker as I’ve got older. It’s probably the same for everyone – in middle-age you suddenly understand the great universal joke and start using humour to cope with life.
I do love comedy – I watch sitcoms, sketch shows, films, read humorous fiction, listen to radio comedies. Other people’s work inspires me to try and create my own. Not all my pieces are humorous but I think I produce my best work when I’m trying to make people laugh.
The Zombie's (Ex-)Wife
Your lips taste sweet.
5. What was the best, and the worst critique, you received until today?
I think in general the worst critiques are when no-one comments on my work at all. This must mean the piece hasn’t moved anyone enough for them even to say they don’t like it.
The best indirect critique was the first time I read out a story in front of an audience. People listened attentively and laughed. (At the correct moments, happily.)
Marquis de Sade
"Thanks for the pain."
6. What songs are in your playlist right now?
I don’t have a playlist as such but a song I’ve been playing a lot recently is “Freewheel” by Duke Special – a song about the joy of being alive, which actually does make me feel joyful and positive.
I’m not terribly musical. I tend to listen more to radio comedy programmes, both old and new: Round the Horne, Take it From Here, Hancock’s Half Hour, The Random Jottings of Hinge and Bracket, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Cabin Pressure, John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme, That Mitchell and Webb Sound.
John punched Sherlock.
Sherlock detected animosity.
7. Do you have any writer or any other artist that gives you motivation to improve yourself? Who is it?
Every good piece of writing I come across motivates me to try harder and improve my own work, whether it’s by an amateur or a professional; by a contemporary writer or a classic writer. I do particularly admire the plays of Tom Stoppard. His talent and erudition are astounding, and he also understands the importance of silly jokes. I could never hope to reach his level of ability but you should always aim high.
Trouble in Paradise
"You're not my type."
8. What do you like more about writing? What’s the most challenging part about it?
Well, it’s something I’m fairly good at: it makes me feel intelligent. I love that sensation of having started with nothing but now a story exists. I love having readers – people who enjoy my work and tell me they’ve enjoyed it.
I would say the most challenging part is getting started – coming up with ideas; finishing a first draft.
The Power of Broccoli
9. What is the most valuable lesson, in writing or in life, you had the chance to learn?
What I’ve learned about writing is to keep going. (Which applies to life too.) I’m constantly reading much better work than mine and sometimes I think it’s pointless for me to continue. However, though I know I’m not brilliant, I believe I do have some talent, and writing (when it goes well) does give me a lot of pleasure. I think I am improving bit by bit.
Always thought in Italian.
10. After you die, what you would like to be written in your epigraph?
I suppose in reality it will be “beloved daughter, sister and aunt”. Which isn't bad, is it? But I have written a six word autobiography. Perhaps that would do:
Bereavement. Failure. Unemployment.
Became comedy writer.