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Discount Noir's Jay Stringer

Jay Stringer is a fellow contributor to Discount Noir, an e-Book flash fiction anthology available now from Untreed Reads. He is an Englishman living in exile in Glasgow, armed only with a world-view and a MacBook. You can catch his thoughts on crime fiction every Tuesday at DoSomeDamage.com.

He has two crime novels under submission from Stacia Decker at the Donald Maass Literary Agency.


Gerald So: How did the idea for your story, "The Tin Foil Heist", develop?

Jay Stringer: It was pretty simple, really. I'd used the characters before, in a story called "The Goldfish Heist", and I liked their voices. When I saw Patti and Steve's flash fiction challenge I just let the theme sit at the back of my mind for a couple of weeks, and then Cal called Joe on the phone in my head and I realised I had a story pretty much formed and ready to go. I usually need three or four drafts before I'm happy with something, but this one was one draft and then a quick edit, the characters did the work for me.

GS: What appeals to you about flash fiction?

JS: I like the challenge of it, but that sounds really pretentious doesn't it?!

There's a temptation with flash fiction to write part of a story. It's fun to use flash to try out an idea for a bigger story, or to use it as a way to work out a character or a writing style. And I'm not knocking those approaches, because I often use them as writing exercises when I'm stuck on something, but I like to try and do something else. I like the challenge of trying to write a full story -beginning, middle, end- in such a small space, like a well crafted song. For "The Tin Foil Heist", there was the extra challenge of telling a whole story without my main character ever leaving his sofa, because that's pretty much what I'm doing when i write my novel!

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