N J Crosskey


N J CrosskeyN J Crosskey is the winner of MB1.27. Follow her on Twitter and check out her blog. If you enjoyed N J’s –winning story, you can find more of her writing here.

I’m an aspiring author from West Sussex, England. I live with my wonderfully supportive husband, and two crazy and creative children. It took me until my mid-thirties to finally realise that trying and failing to achieve my dreams would be infinitely better than never trying at all. So nowadays you’ll most often find me in front of my laptop, either typing furiously or scratching my head and swearing at a blank page. I work night shifts in the care sector and spend my days writing. I drink a LOT of coffee!

100 words ain’t many. How do you fit a story into so few words? Editing! I tend to splurge out a whole story, and then get out the red pen of doom. After I’ve trimmed the fat, removing anything not vital to the piece, I look for ways to tighten the prose and make my points as succinctly as I can. I love that moment of elation when you realise a whole paragraph can be replaced with one clever sentence!

Why do you like flash fiction? So many reasons, but the biggest has to be that it’s simply great fun, both to read and to write. When it comes to fiction, I believe that rules are made to be broken. Flash is a great format for experimental prose. I love the challenge, and I’m constantly awed by the talent of flash fiction writers. It’s fantastic for honing your editing skills too, and the techniques you learn when you are forced into a very small word count can be applied to longer prose as well, making your other work shine brighter too.

Been writing long? Yes and no. I started writing seriously in January 2014. I had always dreamed of being a writer when I was a child, but stupidly let real life get in my way. It wasn’t until my daughter announced that she wants to be an author, and I heard the words, “that’s what I wanted to be when I was your age,” spilling out of my mouth that I realised it’s STILL what I want to be! So, I decided it was time to try. I wrote some short pieces and submitted them, and to my utter shock they were accepted and published! Those early acceptances, combined with the support and tutelage of some wonderful members of the online community, gave me the encouragement I needed to start chasing my dream. It may sound corny, but now that I’m writing again I feel as though I’ve found the piece of me that was missing. I’ll never stop again.

You write anything else? I also write longer short stories, novels, and anything that catches my interest. I’m usually led by the ideas, I just follow where they take me.

Any advice for other flash writers? I’m not sure I’m really qualified to give advice, but one thing I’ve learned is that you really need to feel the characters, even though they are only with you for a short time. You still need to know their whole story, even if you’re not including it in the piece. Looking back over my own flash pieces I can see that the strongest ones were written about characters I really felt, and had a backstory for. Often we’re only relaying a moment, but the whole tale still has to be at the forefront of our minds.

Any interesting writerly projects in the pipeline? I am currently editing the first book in my fantasy series, Changing Skies. I’m also working on a near-future political thriller titled:  When Jimmy Saved London. I hope to be ready to start seeking representation by the end of the year.

I just finished reading a book. Can you recommend another? I’m currently reading the FlashDogs Anthology which, needless to say, is excellent! I recently read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by  Karen Joy Fowler, which I really enjoyed for its strong voice and non-linear narrative.

1.27 SILENT [micro] FILM

Just Maybe…

NJ Crosskey

Silent treatment, that’s what she accuses me of. Then it’s all: You Never, You Don’t, You Aren’t.

Well maybe I don’t and maybe I’m not. But maybe Glynis, just freakin’ maybe, YOU don’t and YOU aren’t either.

And maybe, just maybe, you sound like a flock of constipated pigeons. Maybe you’re a shrill, controlling harpy who kicks me when I’m down, so MAYBE, just maybe, I Don’t and I’m Not because of YOU.

Maybe I’ll smash your skull in with a freakin’ shovel. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll bury you on the hillside with the other cows…

…Or maybe I’ll just turn the sound up so I can hear the film.

The concrete blocks made me think of feeding troughs, which brought to mind a herd of cows. From that, for some inexplicable reason, the main character popped into my head and started ranting about his wife. After that, it was more a case of transcribing his diatribe than writing a story.

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