Getting into writing – an interview with the founders of 121 Words

121 words creative writing website

Vera Kartalou has a university degree in Marketing and Public Relations.Also, she is a comic book scriptwriter and author of multiple fantasy comics and curator of art and comic group exhibitions. She uses writing as a way of expression and creation, believing in the mixture of different forms of art for one aesthetic purpose.

Lydia Elioglou has a university degree in Greek Language and Literature. Also, she is α writer, signing the theater play “Did you walk by the beach?” (57th Philippi Theater Festival, published by “KAPA Publishing”) and the theater play “Rimazontas” (wordplay between words “rhyme” and “ruined”) and creative writing teacher. She loves experimental writing, such as using street art and street photography as an inspiration.


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Why did you start your website?

We are both writers, so we have first-hand knowledge of how difficult it is for someone to make his work known to the public just by following the old ways, especially in today’s economy. We wanted to find answers to our own questions and offer a solution to everyone who may share our love for writing and reading.

What got you interested in this writing project?

If flash fiction literature wasn’t born many-many years ago, we would bet that it would be born… tomorrow, because of the internet! Literature is “a child of his time” and the effects of social media are more than expected. Even if someone chooses not to share his whole work via internet, a book for example, still has the chance to communicate directly with a huge potential readership, which can be attracted just by samples of his work or sharing his thoughts on writing.

Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paperoreBook)

Can you smell an eBook? No!But how many books can you carry in a suitcase? Not as many as in an iReader for sure. We love paper books and printing selected 121 Words’ theme collections is one of our goals, but we do invest in internet. Itoffersflexibilitybothto creators and readers, while at the same time it forms a global literary community that its members can communicate in the blink of an eye—literally speaking, since you can read a 121 word’s story in less than a minute!

How did you decide the 12 words micro-fiction project?

It is an even greater challenge, following the example of “121 Words”, but this one is on Twitter! We can easily say that the concept is similar, flash fiction stories, and judging by the correspondence so far, it is indeed a magical idea for writers! Technically, all that someone has to do is writing a story in exactly… 12 words, add our hashtag #121words and we will retweet it. Then, we have selected stories published every week on our website for everybody to read.

Do you believe that writing can change the world?

There are about a… zillion stories that may have been written hundred years ago but describing today thoroughly and very little things seem to have changed around the true human nature. A priori, the real question should be “can reading change the world?” Andyes, webelieveitcan. Forthattohappen,themorestorieswesayandsharethe more possible it is to happen!

What are your happiest memories in your writing career?

Β:As a writer, when one story of mine was awarded in a writing competition by “Metaichmio Publications”, one of the biggest Greek publishing houses. As an artist, when my first visual arts exhibition concept was accepted by “Metamatic: Taf”, one of the biggest galleries in Athens.

Λ: As a writer, when my theater play “Did you walk by the beach?” was presented on the 57th Philippi Festival, the second most important theater festival in Greece after the Athens & Epidaurus Festival) and then, was published by “Kapa Publishing House”. As a teacher, when finishing a seminar for adults on “Free your spirit by creative writing” in Crete, I received a message from one of my students thanking me for making him “write again after a long, long time”.

How do you handle success and failure?

Sameway “now, keep on going!” just by adding “oh, whatagreatfeeling!” or “whatapity!” depending on the situation. It’s easy: no matter which one was, all you have to do now is “keep on going!”

What is your advice to young and new writers?

Readasmuchasyoucanbuthear nothing, go out there and expose your writing, speak your mind. Communicate with readers or potential publishers, no matter what their comments may be, good or bad, the writer should be… “deaf”. Don’t stop writing! This is the only way to become better and better every time and the only one you should be compared to is… yourself yesterday!

And one answer to “why 121 words exactly”?

Whenyouhave “121 wordsexactly”, whenyouhaveonly 121 words, you pick every little word carefully, you use it gently and fully respect its multiple meanings, ready to make good use of them as much as possible in order to write a great story. This makes us reconsider the true value of our words and reach another creative level of self-expression.




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