Goosebumps and Papercuts: Curating the Krampus Crackers Project by Vicky Pointing

Vicky Pointing tells us about her adventures with the Krampus Cracker flash fiction competition organised by Brisbane based Tiny Owl Workshop. You can hear the stories in their first ever reading on Thursday 4th December, 7pm at Outlaws Yacht Club, Leeds.

Krampus by Kirsty Greenwood © 2014

Krampus by Kirsty Greenwood © 2014

So, the Krampus crackers have all been put together and filled with stories, ready for the launch event and for distributing across Leeds. Now you’ve got a minute, why don’t you tell us what you’ve enjoyed the most about curating the Krampus crackers project in the UK.

What I’ve enjoyed the most… there are a few things that have been great actually; working with Tiny Owl Workshop again which has been brilliant; reading all the entries and finding the best ones, getting to tell the winning authors that their stories had been chosen – that was lovely – and also putting the crackers together because they really do look very smart, in a slightly creepy way.

And what’s been the hardest thing?

Ooh, definitely having to tell people their story wasn’t selected. That and all the paper cuts from putting the crackers together, although I think some of the Krampus elves – my friends who very kindly helped out – suffered with this far more than me.

How did you choose the 12 winning flash fiction stories?

It was very difficult! The other judge was Steve Toase, a fantastic author of wonderful unsettling fiction, and he and I met in a café in York to read through all the entries. I drank a lot of tea that day!

There were lots of excellent submissions; quite a few that gave me and Steve goosebumps and many that we both loved straight away. It was tough narrowing it down to only 12, but in the end we went for stories that were clear, original, and beautifully written.

The 12 authors that we selected all looked at the Krampus theme from a different angle, so some of the stories only really mention Krampus in passing, while others are written from his point of view. There’s quite a variety in tone within the stories as well, so some of them are very dark while others are quite light-hearted and fun.

What’s so good about flash fiction anyway?

Flash fiction is generally agreed to be a story of 1000 words or shorter. As a reader, this means you get to enjoy a complete story while you sit down for five minutes with a cup of tea. It’s also fun seeing how the author manages to convey the plot, flesh out the characters, and bring everything neatly to a close in such a small number of words.

As a writer, flash fiction offers you the chance to produce a finished piece in a short amount of time.  This is great if you’re trying to fit your writing around a full-time job and/or family, and it also means you can get that ‘I’ve finished something!’ feeling really quickly.

Another advantage with flash fiction is that the author can treat every piece that they write as an experiment. Because flash fiction is short enough to be achievable without expending masses of effort or time, it doesn’t feel so important if they try something that doesn’t work.

Flash fiction can also get you into the habit of writing more often. Sometimes writers set themselves the challenge of writing one piece of flash fiction every day for a month, or even a year. This can really help your brain to get used to the idea that you can write well, and come up with wonderful ideas, far more often than you might think! I’d certainly recommend a flash fiction challenge for any writer who’s feeling uninspired or unmotivated.

Where can people read the Krampus cracker stories?

There’s a launch event at Outlaws Yacht Club in Leeds this Thursday evening from 7pm. Entry is free and anyone who comes along will be able to hear 9 of the Krampus crackers authors reading their work out. Plus there will be free story crackers available to take home. You can book your free ticket here.

For anyone who can’t make the launch event, the crackers will be available very soon in lots of Leeds venues: Mrs Atha’s, Friends of Ham, Sandinista, North Bar, Heaven, and Outlaws Yacht Club. So if people pop into any of those places for a cuppa or a pint they can pick up a story cracker at the same time!

Some of the Krampus crackers stories will also be appearing on this blog very soon, so watch this space!

You can read more about the Krampus Crackers project here.

You can contact Vicky Pointing via Twitter or her blog.

We will be publishing some of the Krampus Tales in a series of posts from 5th December, all accompanied by some fantastic original illustrations of Krampus like the one above by Kirsty Greenwood .



Terry Whidborne © 2014

Terry Whidborne © 2014

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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