Getting into writing – an interview with Santino Prinzi

Santino Prinzi

Santino Prinzi is the Co-Director of National Flash Fiction Day in the UK, a Senior Editor for New Flash Fiction Review, an Associate Editor for Vestal Review, and the Flash Fiction Editor of Firefly Magazine. He has a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and has just completed his MA in English Literature at the University of Bristol. His debut flash fiction collection, Dots and other flashes of perception, is available from The Nottingham Review Press in paperback and on Kindle. His short stories, flash fiction, and prose poetry have been published or is forthcoming in various magazines and anthologies, such as Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Great Jones Street, Litro Online, The Nottingham Review, Bath Flash Fiction Award Vol.2, Stories for Homes Anthology Vol.2, (b)OINK! zine, and Flash Frontier.

What got you interested in writing?

I like telling stories, and writing means I get to tell stories. I enjoy sharing the stories that I feel I need to share, and I love reading the stories that have that same urgency for other people. It’s as simple as that.  

What are your happiest memories in your writing career so far?

That’s tricky to answer because so many things have brought me happiness within my writing career. A few highlights include: the publication of Dots and other flashes of perception and seeing them in the flesh when they first arrived; getting involved with National Flash Fiction Day and eventually becoming Co-Director; editing an anthology with Meg Pokrass; joining New Flash Fiction Review as their Senior Editor; receiving acceptances for journals I’ve loved reading for ages, and, of course, competition successes.

I’m also so happy to have had a story accepted for the Stories for Homes Anthology Vol.2, which is an anthology raising money for the homelessness charity, Shelter. It’ll be published later this year.

How do you handle success and failure?

I think failure is the wrong word. Rejection, however, is different. It’s hard not to take rejection personally, but rejection is never personal. There are many reasons why work may be rejected: the story isn’t as “ready” as you thought, you didn’t read the submission guidelines properly (note from an editor’s perspective—this happens more often than you might think!), it’s not a good fit for the magazine, the editor just accepted a story with the same subject matter, they just didn’t like it.

Every time I receive a rejection, I’ll update my spreadsheet that I use to track my submissions, and I wait a few days. I’ll then revisit the work, make any changes to it, and add it to the file of work that I believe is ready to be sent out into the world.

I handle success the same way I imagine most people do!

Dotsweb.png

What is your advice to young and new writers?

I think the only advice I could possibly give, because it applies to me too, is to keep on learning. Learning how to be a better version of you, how to be a better writer. Keep reading—books by authors you love, books you’d never pick up and buy, flash in magazines you admire. Sign up to workshops. Find writing feedback groups. Listen and be open-minded. I think the moment you decide to stop learning is the moment that you—and your writing—will stop growing.

Other than that, just turn up: write, write, write. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Some writers can sit down and type hundreds and hundreds of words without coming up for air, then edit later, and some writers have to meticulously construct each sentence before moving on. The thing is this: you can’t edit a blank piece of paper or an empty word document. 

Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paper or eBook)

Why not both? I love my Kindle, and I love my ever-growing towers of books. Physical books and eBooks both have their advantages and disadvantages—a book doesn’t need to be recharged, some physical hardback books can be very heavy—but I find having access to both works for me. Nothing beats a physical bookstore, though. They have nice atmospheres, and it is always easier to discover something new while browsing bookshelves.

Do you self-publish?

No, but I have nothing against self-publishing. Some of the best flash collections I’ve read, for instance, have been self-published. Some self-published books may only be available as an eBook, hence why I don’t believe in restricting my reading to one or the other.

Sleep is a beautiful colour by Santino Prinzi

How did you gain a publisher?

Unconventionally. Dots and other flashes of perception was published by the Nottingham Review Press, a small independent publisher who publish a great magazine called The Nottingham Review. I was approached by the editor, Spencer Chou, who was interested in starting a series of flash pamphlets/collections and wanted me to put together a manuscript. It’s a great little book that I’m proud of, and was published in September 2016.

Why did you start your website?

I think websites are a great idea, and I started mine because I wanted to have somewhere people could find out more about me and my writing. I usually post information there about the different types of writing projects I’m involved with, such as National Flash Fiction Day or the Flash Fiction Festival, but I’ve found it hard to find the time recently what with studying for an MA.

Website: https://tinoprinzi.wordpress.com

Twitter: @tinoprinzi

National Flash Fiction Day: http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk

New Flash Fiction Review: http://newflashfiction.com

Vestal Review: http://www.vestalreview.org

Firefly Magazine: http://fireflymagazine.weebly.com

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