In conversation with Gillian Scholey and Michelle Christophorou

Michelle and Gillian are two of the reader team for this year’s Hysteria Writing Competition. In this episode we discuss the finer merits of entering writing competitions, what they are looking for and their own work as award winning writers themselves.

Listen to the interview

Key takeaways from this episode:

  1. Michelle and Gillian are both readers for this year’s Hysteria Writing Competition
  2. Both have been placed in, and won, many competitions themselves
  3. Michelle is interested in finding out how people will approach the theme in their Flash Fiction entries
  4. Gillian is reading many of the entries in the Poetry category before starting to judge
  5. Having a theme helps make it easier to judge entries because at least there is some constraint
  6. Having a theme though may restrict the number of entries as people can’t submit something they have already created.
  7. Anything can give a writer inspiration, but it’s often when you’re thinking or doing something else at the time
  8. Stories often spring from overheard conversations and writers are often good at earwigging!
  9. When there are only 100 words to play with, it’s often the last sentance that makes the difference allowing the reader to make sense of the whole story
  10. Try one amazing image in micro fiction rather than bombarding the reader with a sensory overload
  11. Layers in poetry are important so that it unravels and peels back like an onion
  12. Accuracy in punctuation and lines is important in poetry
  13. Making the language sing supports the cadence and rhythm of poetry, and the figurative imagery the poet chooses is what makes it sing.
  14. It can be hard to get the balance between showing and telling right in short fiction, this means you can leave the reader confused.
  15. If entries must be about Covid-19 it would be good to see it approached obliquely so it stands the test of time.
  16. There are many ways to interpret this year’s theme Hope and Unity including the people united cannot be defeated, trades union movement, suffragete movement or even metaphorically through the age old battle between light and dark and unity with the wider world and planet.
  17. It’s amazing that we never see the same thing twice even when people are working from the same theme or photograph.
  18. Life and the creative spark is amazingly varied and gives light to the human spirit.

Mentioned in this episode:

Meet Michelle

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If you have any general questions or comments for Ben or the show, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

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