Follow paragraphplanet on Twitter

Helena Mallett Interview

Helena talks to Paragraph Planet

1 - Tell me about Flash Fraction

Flash Fraction is a collection of 75 stories each told in exactly 75 words. The idea was inspired by Paragraph Planet's 75 word fiction format. I submitted several stories which were published and after about ten or so, I thought why not another sixty? I took up the challenge and the rest is history.

The stories cover a range of subjects including birth, death, IVF and an alien abduction.

2 - In your opinion, what makes a piece of 75-word fiction work?

The discipline of having only 75 words invites microscopic examination of each word and its contribution to the story. I love the process of honing stories and sometimes spend days searching for that final perfect word.

The 75 word fiction format embraces the modern-day trend for short bites of information as each story fits well on a smartphone or tablet screen and takes only a minute or so to read.

3 - How important is an online presence to a writer?

I think these days it's essential for writers to have an online presence.

I'm on Facebook and Twitter although I would say that I'm still a fledgling (sorry!) Tweeter.

I also love to blog-hop and this is a great way to discover and develop relationships with readers and writers around the world.

4 - Any tips for other writers?

When you're stuck and can't write - read. A randomly read word can lead everywhere.

Keep a pen and paper by your bed. I've learnt the hard way that those nighttime fragments of stories that you're certain you'll remember the next morning often disappear by dawn.

Write what you like writing and if it's a popular genre that's great, but the important thing is to enjoy your craft.

5 Any new projects?

Yes, I have a couple of projects on the go. I'm halfway through a collection of short stories due for publication at the end of 2013 and there's another book in its embryonic stage.

Helena's website here

Paragraph Planet is a creative writing website which has been publishing one 75-word paragraph every day since November 2008. Famous authors, aspiring writers and occasional dabblers have all got involved, submitting a mixture of twist-in-the-tale flash fiction, evocative short, short fiction, openings of published novels or brief moments captured. Get involved here. You can read over 1400 examples in the archive section. There are also interviews with some of the published authors who have submitted to the site, as well as an authors in which you can read an example paragraph from all authors who've submitted, and also link to dedicated pages with more info about regular contributors. Finally, I've started compiling a writing group map to help you find a writing group near you. And if you're still reading, and want to know what else I do apart from Paragraph Planet, here's my own website. All words and images (c)Paragraph Planet 2008-2013