Tim Sevenhuysen p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. Tim Sevenhuysen started fiftywordstories.com in 2009, writing most of the 50-word stories for the first three years. Now he publishes submissions from other writers around the world, and awards cash prizes. In this interview Tim Sevenhuysen gives some good explanations on ways to structure stories. Check out fiftywordstories.com for all sorts of stories, including anecdotal, poetic, humorous and dramatic tales.

READERSVOICE.COM: Where are you based in Canada and what’s your daily routine, what with uploading two 50-stories a day and any other activities?

TIM SEVENHUYSEN: I live in Edmonton, Alberta, where I moved my family a couple of years ago from Vancouver Island, BC. It’s a cold, snowy winter right now, but we’ve had a bit of a warm spell that gives us hope to endure a few more months until spring!

My routine for managing 50WS is usually to schedule stories during my lunch break at work. I write personal responses to every submission, and I always try to explain why I’m not publishing a story when I send rejections, so it’s somewhat time-consuming, but completely worth it. I wish I were ahead of the game and could have stories scheduled a week or more in advance, but with two toddlers at home it’s hard to find the free time to put myself ahead. On the weekends I review the past week to choose the Story of the Week winner

RV: Was it difficult coming up with a story a day for the first couple of years, when you were contributing most of the stories and where did find the stories or come up with ideas?

TS: As the site’s main author for the first three years, with occasional “guest” stories, I had to find a lot of inspiration from a lot of different places. Sometimes I would look to my daily life for little events or ideas that I could turn into a story, and sometimes I just sat and thought for a while to see what would come into my head. Over time I started to turn to Twitter quite a bit to request prompts or story titles to base stories around, and that worked really well. It helped that I had a relatively sizeable Twitter following already because of my past involvement with the LoadingReadyRun sketch comedy group (loadingreadyrun.com).

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- copyright Simon Sandall