This month, we talk with first place winner Hannah Daniell about her winning story and her writing.
Hannah Daniell: I first started writing, more specifically started writing poetry, at age two. I would dictate it to my mother, as at that age my penmanship skills were non-existent. However, the first proper piece I put down in my own writing was a poem when I was seven for a youth poetry competition.
HD: I will admit that I adore short fiction, at least when I’m the one writing it, primarily because it isn’t long fiction. I don’t have a long enough attention span to write more than a few hundred words at a time and struggle to complete any projects over a few thousand words. From the very beginning I’ve written short stories, although how short has varied quite a lot. Flash fiction is something I was introduced to a few years ago but never consciously put my mind to writing.
HD: It gives me an excuse to confuse my readers. When you write something three pages long and by the end of it the reader still doesn’t know the premise, they generally aren’t too pleased. But in flash fiction the reader has to fill in the blanks; they have to read between the lines and stretch their own imagination and no one’s going to tell me off for making them do so.
HD: I love exploring the emotional state of people in situations that are vastly different from mine, in both fiction and nonfiction. This is particularly pertinent in poetry, where the goal becomes to capture the emotional profile of a person over a length of time with revealing any relevant detail of their life, or to recreate their emotions without using any emotional words. In contrast my storytelling is a lot more lighthearted, normally being a slice of life of a person dealing with relatively mundane issues, normally just a vessel to write interesting dialogue and characters without having to think too hard about the plot.
HD: Absolutely. Although what I like to read is a very specific set of well written books that ask bigger questions about humanity and existence by focusing on the life of a seemingly normal person, and these books are in short supply. Therefore, a large quantity of what I read is fan fiction, or other self-published stories from amateur writers. And what I write is…. Fan fiction. And self-published short stories.
HD: I currently have a long term project I’m working on and of course I’ll have to keep writing for school. However, life (and school) continues to keep me busy, so I’m still waiting for more time and opportunities to write.
HD: ‘No Need’ is the colour of a red brick wall in the dark. It feels like a bit of a cop-out to say that ‘Gummy Bears’ is gummy-bear-coloured…But it is. It’s the kind of muted primary colours, just transparent enough that you think you could almost see what’s behind it but you never can.