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Authors/New Voices Notes of Inspiration Writing/Reading

Writer’s Blog: Lauren Bell – Notes of Inspiration

Lauren Bell author of ‘In a Land of Canaries’ published in Breve New Stories Issue Zero, talks about the authors that inspire her.
1) Neil Gaiman – a man who can write well about practically anything and everything, and who creates such a fantastical array of memorable characters and alternative worlds in every work. Gaiman’s fantasy/mythical vision grounds itself in good old-fashioned storytelling; whether it be an adult-type fairy tale, a fable or a myth or something entirely else. His prose is lucid yet effervescent and really paints his vision of the world in the reader’s mind. I would definitely recommend American Gods, Neverwhere and Stardust – three amazing reads by a truly fabulous writer. BREVE-LOGO
2) Stephen King/Joe Hill – Now I know I’m cheating here but honestly King and Hill are quite possibly the most illustrious writers in their field. Their creativity, flair for authentic dialogue and psychotic characters has furnished classic horror and thriller reads with a literary panache most authors writing in this genre struggle with. They write with a fierce intelligence and a real zest for stories and storytelling, creating a plethora of twists and turns along the way; and gore aside, the psychological impact after reading their work is nothing short of indelible. I would definitely recommend Doctor Sleep and IT by King, and NOS4R2 by Hill.
3) Tania Hershman – a writer whose flash fiction collections literally showed me what a story could be. I first heard her work broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Upon hearing them, I was amazed at how succinct and poetic her work was. I knew she had a unique way with language; the ability to move a reader with such insight and using so few words is an achievement she manages to realise again and again and again. The White Road and Other Stories, and My Mother Was an Upright Piano are must reads for anyone who appreciates the finest storytelling.

Lauren Bell

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Authors/New Voices Notes of Inspiration Writing/Reading

Writer’s Blog: Michael Hampton – The Idea Behind ‘”A” Death’

Michael Hampton talks about what inspired his story ‘”A”Death’ published in Breve New Stories Issue Zero.

It is a pleasure to be asked by Breve’s editor to add a gloss to my short story ‘“A” Death’, due to be published in issue zero.BREVE-LOGO

The narrative was written during a miserable period of my life when I was on a work placement at an office in south-west London. This involved a tedious red bus journey which was occasionally brightened up by spotting some of the physical details recounted in the text, whilst the central phantasmagoric incident described here is the result of extending certain logical possibilities, or hidden dangers present in the fabric of every day life; a random suburban event against which no insurance policy can safeguard. Recently the traditional short story has been joined in the literary landscape by flash or micro fiction, even nanofiction, that differ in wordcount terms yet also bear family resemblances, certainly stylistic traits and structures that distinguish them from the novel, especially the contemporary blockbuster. ‘“A” Death’ is a minimal story, its format low on packaging, yet still capable of maintaining suspense and conveying horror in a dry, understated way, without much psychological elaboration. It is a cliché but here the facts speak for themselves, revealing life as subject to grotesque contingency, the individual despite their best efforts destined to end up as a tragicomic victim, robbed of agency. My tale is the product of daydream related with an almost administrative detachment, the sudden temporal shifts not only representing a discontinuity of experience but also the gaps between writing sessions; evidence of a slow sort of plotting, and fastidious revision.

Michael Hampton

 

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Authors/New Voices Notes of Inspiration Writing/Reading

Writer’s Blog: Lauren Bell – The Idea Behind “In a Land of Canaries”

Lauren Bell talks about what inspired her story ‘In a Land of Canaries’ published in Breve New Stories Issue Zero.

For me, finding inspiration and ideas for short stories is practically everywhere I look. In the case of In a Land of Canaries, my inspiration stemmed from a recent trip to London with my dad and brother. BREVE-LOGOOne of the places we visited was Canary Wharf – a realm completely unfamiliar but which also made a profound impact on me. I think what struck me most was the sheer amount of glass buildings surrounding us on all sides and how the sky was reflected back wherever we looked.

As a starting point, (which is the case with most of my short stories), I usually only need either an initial sentence or a phrase or a single image which embodies the story I want to relay. For ‘Canaries’ I can distinctly remember being on a train, leaving Birmingham City Centre behind for the day, and reflecting on our recent trip. I soon had Canary Wharf in my mind and wondered about the origin of the name. Why Canary? I wanted to try and justify the name and knew that I would write a story about Canary Wharf involving canaries.
Another aspect which I wanted to capture was the sheer awe I felt when I first saw these huge glass buildings first-hand; the layout, the structure and the reflections seemed to dwarf me, and I knew then that I would write a story about Canary Wharf with a fantastical element to it.
I enjoy writing stories that loosely fit the ‘magical realism’ spectrum and so I started to explore the possibility of Canary Wharf’s workforce as canaries in disguise, and since I was new to the area, I created a narrator who was there as a reporter – someone on the outside looking in and trying to make sense of what they were seeing.

Lauren Bell

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Introducing Breve New Stories Submissions

Don’t miss the deadline: submissions close on 31 July!

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Time for procrastination is over: submissions for Breve New Stories Issue Zero close in less than two weeks!

Enter your best short story and/or flash fiction by July 31st and they might be published in the very first issue of Breve. Selected authors will also have the opportunity to write for Breve’s blog and hold printed copies of their work in September:  not a bad way to welcome autumn, hu?

For more info and guidelines click here.

Don’t forget to follow us on facebook and on brevenewstories.wordpress.com.

Good luck!

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Introducing Breve New Stories Writing/Reading

The Emerging Writer

Breve New Stories seeks submissions from new and emerging authors.cropped-cropped-cropped-img_0476.jpg

Despite the vagueness of the term emerging, we received many entries from writers that recognised themselves as such. Conventionally, an emergent author or artist is one that has some evidence of professional achievement but not a substantial record of accomplishment and who is not recognised as established by other artists, curators, critics and industry insiders. This description focuses more on the financial/professional status of being an author than on the individual development of the writer per se, the process of learning the craft and the daily challenges of creation.

The term works as a sort of barrier between writers published by medium/big publishing houses that have plenty of press coverage, who market aggressively for their authors and can therefore often guarantee them a consistent compensation, and all the remaining authors in the most different places, be that writing on-line or self publishing. At the same time emergent writers represent a pool of talents from which the mainstream industry often outsources the best, freshest  and most innovative works of literature. There is also no way to deny that in this process are involved, other than talent, lots of luck and lots of politics. It is a sad but widely known truth in all creative environments, but one that doesn’t stop writers from writing and wanting to ’emerge’.

Breve‘s look on this is this: the writer is the one who writes, who consistently strives to refine one’s skills by giving time and energy to one’s work. The writer is the one that is brave enough to embrace the challenge and takes the risk not only to write, but to be read by others. Emerging writers, as new writers, are not second class authors, they can only be good or bad writers, and together with the so-called ‘established’ authors, are writers in progress, working everyday on their skills, styles and inspirations. The literary quality of a work does not necessarily run parallel to the hierarchy of establishment.

Today there are many ways to pursue this goal: the Internet,  self publishing, MFA in creative writing  and literary projects such as Breve. All these opportunities are viable but all of them ask writers to look beyond their ambition for status to what writing means to them, they all ask: how bad do you want to write? That bad? Then be a writer.

Two different intakes on the emerging writer:

 https://overland.org.au/2013/05/pity-the-emerging-writer-or-not/

http://www.emergingwritersfestival.org.au/2013/06/emerging-writers-festival-2013-keynote-astrid-lorange/