Writer of the Week: Marcia J. Lingard

marcia lingard

Our November 10 issue is dominated by the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, with our stories reflecting this. One, In Flanders Field, is by Marcia J. Lingard…

I often start by asking about the inspiration for a story, but with it being the centenary of the 1918 Armistice, it’s obvious. But what made you want to write a story to mark it?

Several years ago we went to visit the 1st World War battlefields, looking among other things for the name of my husband’s grandfather who was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme but who had no known grave, just a name on a memorial. Anyone who visits these cemeteries cannot fail to be moved by the sight. My father was in the Army for the whole of the 2nd World War so I have always been interested and over the years written several short stories on this theme. I thought the Anniversary of the end of WW1 was a good time to pay tribute as it were.

Stories of WW1 are often heart-breakingly poignant, and yours had us reaching for the tissues. When you started writing it, did you already know that was the approach you would take rather than a rosy happy ending?

I knew at the beginning of the story that it wouldn’t have a happy ending because, after all, so many stories of both wars did not have happy endings!

You sent your first story to the “Friend” and had your first success after attending one of our short story writing workshops a couple of years ago. Did that change your approach to your writing?

I attended “The People’s Friend” writing course in York in September 2017 where we were given a lot of information about the type of stories the magazine wanted, word count and presentation. I had actually written the story several years ago and submitted it unsuccessfully. After the course I thought that with some editing and particularly with the coming anniversary it might be worth trying again.

This is your third short story success with us. Is short stories where your writing ambition lies?

Having three stories now accepted has been a thrill. I belong to a Writers’ Group and we write in a variety of styles, my favourite being short stories and poetry.

Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?

I write on an old-fashioned desk computer in a small bedroom cum office. I really will have to invest in a lap-top!

And a PS: What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?

Keep at it. One day you might surprise yourself!

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.