From Issue Eight

How I Wrote ‘The Sadness The Weirdness’ – Toby Litt

After the first draft, I was glad to see I was writing a haphazardly global story, where the narrator shambles from here to there in pursuit of something that surely can’t be love. He tries really hard to make it love, but it’s more likely the desperation of needing something to feel desperate about.

On Writing ‘Framing Ilva’ – George Sandison

The landscape of Southern Italy coexists with myth. Antiquity is commonplace, and life there centres around history in a way I envy. It’s easy to romanticise the food, the weather and the sweltering, lazy summers, but my fascination with the region goes deeper. I was born in Hertfordshire, the birthplace of the new town project,…

READ BY THE AUTHOR: ‘The Sadness The Weirdness’ by Toby Litt

Toby Litt is the author of nine novels and four books of short stories. He is currently writing Wrestliana, a memoir about his relationship to his great-great-great grandfather, William Litt – a champion wrestler, poet, smuggler and exile. Toby’s most recent novel is Lilian’s Spell Book. Toby teaches creative writing at Birkbeck College.

How I Wrote ‘Above Tree Line’ – Melissa Fu

I drafted ‘Above Tree Line’ in the first class I took when I decided to start writing more seriously. At the beginning of the course the instructor asked us, ‘What do you need to write about?’ I need to write about that night on Santa Fe Baldy with Bob. This story signalled a change away from…

On Writing ‘Wolf Point’ – Louise Kennedy

Louise Kennedy discusses her short story ‘Wolf Point’, taken from Issue Eight of The Lonely Crowd. I always feel like a chancer when I talk about stuff like ‘my writing process’; it makes me sound like I know what I’m doing. Especially these days, when my process is to agonise over each sentence until I…

Figuring It Out – Sean Preston

I hate flying. I’m not alone in that of course. But the fear of flying is new to me. It happened a few years ago in my late twenties. Very nothingy flight to a nothingy European airport, but I was flying on my own, and somehow, the routine soft vibrations of take off unsettled something inside of me. The woman next to me, also flying alone, asked if she could read my palm, and keen to distract myself from the stubbornly vague and new sense of terror I obliged. I thought she was mad, or perhaps some sort of answer to teenage me’s prayers, but when the jaundice of the seatbelt light overhead signalled, accompanied by the polite ding to bring our attention to it, I noticed her shoulders contract and when she squeezed my hand it became clear that all she had been seeking was distraction.

On Writing ‘Tonnage’ – Giselle Leeb

I had to look back at my first draft to remember which came first: the dream sequences about sharks or the woman narrator’s story. It was the sharks. Like so many of my stories, I often write something and then suddenly it will connect with something else which provides the spark to create a story.…

Confession – Alice Kinsella

Alice Kinsella discusses ‘Chase’ and ‘What has night to do with sleep?’, two poems featured in Issue Eight of The Lonely Crowd. There are some poems you want to write. Poems you sit down determined to write. You fiddle around with them until they finally settle, in all their gorgeous perfection, on your page. But there…

On writing ‘Wasps’ – Jane Fraser

‘Wasps’ is one story of twenty-three that form a collection of short fiction entitled The South Westerlies recently submitted for my PhD. The collection is experimental writing functioning as research in an attempt to know place. The place is my home patch of Gower: latitude 51 degrees north, 4 degrees west, an administrative part of…