Congratulations to Linda D. for being our grand prize winner from the March Match-up Tournament!

Linda, as well as our previous round winners, did an amazing job coming up with fast, creative material.

Check out Linda’s interview answers below and congrats again to everyone who participated and won!

1. First of all, congratulations for being our grand prize winner! What were your thoughts coming up with creative material for each of the writing prompts? – Thanks. The competition was tough. I read a lot of great entries and knew it would be hard to beat them. Kind of surprised I won. For these prompts I had to think and write outside my comfort zone. I actually had to google “turret” to make sure it was that corner part of the castle. I kind of see Flash Fiction as like telling a joke, you build up the scene and end with the punchline (like a twist). And in the case of “Marigold’s Love” the punchline needed to be eerie.

2. We know you love to volunteer your time and offer writing advice for other Figgies on Figment. Do you have any general advice for young writers looking to improve? – Flash Fiction is a great way to hone in on precise wording. You have little words to paint a picture, so use adjectives wisely as they also set the “voice” of your MC. I find dialog works much better in “showing” rather than “telling”

3. How much planning and work typically goes into each of your short stories before the final version is submitted? – I toy with an idea for a bit, tossing the story around in my head. Then I write it without too much attention to the word count, and usually end up writing about 270. And then it’s parsing it down to the word limit by eliminating all the images, dialog, and even a character, if it doesn’t move the story or is absolutely necessary. After I get it down, I let it sit overnight, and tweak the next day for more precise works. I ask two of my Figgie friends to give me their opinion, and they offer suggestions of cutting out some more words, or rephrasing, and then I tweak. Even after posting, if I think another word or phrasing of words sounds better I’ll change it up until the deadline. I don’t read anyone else entries until I post. And then I’ll read my competitors. But I don’t change mine, just enjoy theirs, and then SWEAT it out, because of how good theirs are.

4. Would you like to see more contests like this in the future? Are there any other contest formats that you would like to participate in? These contests are great. Maybe for future rounds you let the first entry be 400 words, second round 350, third round 300, and fourth & fifth stay at 250.

5. Any final thoughts about Figment? The tournament? Your stories? Writing in general? Let us know! Love Figment. It’s a place where I can talk to other writers and they actually share my craziness…eh-hem…I mean enthusiasm. This tournament set up the parameters to judge with the prompts varied from comedy “That didn’t fly, genius” to paranormal: someone inside your mirror, and then neutral with the not needing roads and ignorance, and allowing us to have the first choice of prompt in round one. I liked that. I love to write, and I guess I share that with about 99% of the people on here. I have found some on here who are on the site just to read. What a goldmine they’ve dug into. I don’t do swaps often, as I am committed to reading the works of all those I am following, and have very little time to write as well (I do have a full-time “long hours” job and a family), but I often just peruse the library and read a new story, If I do have time, and someone gives me a request because they want the type of review they have seen on someone else’s story/poem, I’ll try and help them out. I’m a word honer. I love honing in on precise words. And I love to write comedy. If I can get a chuckle out of someone because they’re story, then I have accomplished my goal. If you love writing like I do, you’ll keep on trying to inprove and make that love grow.

Please check out each of Linda’s winning stories submitted for the tournament and let her know what you think!

Congratulations again, Linda and thank you all for participating!

– The Figment Team

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