Friday Fiction Focus: “Go Trigger, Go” by Mark Kilroy

Joining us this week on Friday Fiction Focus is Mark Kilroy, whose story “Go Trigger, Go” was chosen as one of our May 2011 winners by guest judge Catherine Dunne.

Catherine had the following to say about the story:

Dramatic, compelling opening. Reader is hooked straight away, tension is nicely built towards revelation… Nice spare, tightly-controlled prose. No words wasted in authentic dialogue… Lovely ending. Most impressive piece of writing.

THE LONELY VOICE: Hello Mark and welcome to Friday Fiction Focus. How did you get started as a writer?

MARK:I wrote poems as a teenager (didn’t we all), then short film scripts, then two longer film scripts that I also directed – and many more that never saw the light of day, (which might be just as well!). I’ve been writing short stories for years but only dedicated myself to them and novel-writing more recently. I think the key is to write about what interests you. If it’s not grabbing you, go on to something else.

THE LONELY VOICE: Subtext is something that is skillfully accomplished in your story “Go Trigger, Go”. How difficult was it to find that balance between what is stated and what is left up to the reader to figure out?

MARK: I like to leave a lot up to the reader. While dialogue can make a story very specific, (and I do my best to control the time and tone within a scene), there are few physical descriptions. A certain ambiguity lets in more light. Of course it takes work to get the balance right, guiding/letting the reader go; it’s what we all struggle for. But no doubt about it, subtext is king. It’s what makes it yours.

THE LONELY VOICE: You have twice been selected as a winner of the The Lonely Voice: Short Story Introductions. How did you find the experience of attending the events and reading your stories?

MARK: Great, really valuable. When I read “Alterations” in the IWC (in March 2010) I’d never read a story in public before and was nervous but determined to give it a good go. Anthony Glavin, the other three readers and others there were very supportive though. (If You are thinking of doing this, dear writer, DO IT!) When I read “Go Trigger, Go” (then entitled “SpIke” – don’t ask), I had to learn all over again how to read that one. I feel like I really learned from the experience, personally and as a writer, and would read them both better now. It also made me go home and change a phrase or word here and there. Couldn’t recommend it enough.

THE LONELY VOICE: You write across several disciplines – short story, novel, screenplay. Does your writing process differ for each?

MARK: Very much, though we do write in Scenes now in prose, even call them that. Screenplays feel more public, even as you’re alone in your room working on them. They’re a blueprint, capturing essences and hoping they’ll get over all the hurdles intact and onto a screen. I can’t improve on the description (Richard Ford’s?) of the short story as high-wire act, in its purity (or attempt thereat). I’ve written one novel (that’s with an agent), and just starting a second one now, so I haven’t done enough to be able to pronounce too much, but I do know they take stamina. The difference between writing and reading a short story and writing and reading a novel? This first, if it works out, is like meeting an acquaintance in the street and having an amazing conversation with them. The novel on the other hand, is like going for eight pints with them, not all of which will be to the point but hopefully still pleasurable.

THE LONELY VOICE: Can you tell us a bit about what you are currently working on?

MARK: Not much, I’m sorry to say, for fear of talking it out. I’ve only just admitted to myself that it’s a novel the last few weeks! Suffice it to say it’s pretty different to my first (still unpublished) novel, especially in terms of constructive ambiguity which I’m big into at the moment.

THE LONELY VOICE: Sounds interesting! Thanks for joining us today, Mark.

MARK: Thanks for the questions and keep up the good work with the Lonely Voice.

“Go Trigger, Go” can be read in our archive HERE.

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