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Congratulations!  Your short story was selected as a Runner Up in the 2016 Haunted Waters Press Short Shorts Competition!  What inspired you to write "Burned to Permanence?" 

  1. Years ago, while waiting for gymnastics practice to wrap up (I was the ride home), I wondered how a casual observer—someone dropping in constantly with no apparent connection to anyone there—could be viewed. As suspicion seems to be a default setting with many people, I made some assumptions about what some might think or say, how they might judge this kind of person. The story pretty much took off from there.

What other forms and genres do you enjoy writing?

  1. I also write poetry and, from time to time, an essay or two.

Where do you find your ideas and inspiration?

  1. Most of my stories and poems come from life experiences. The kernel of the idea will usually begin with an event I’ve lived or directly observed, and shortly thereafter, I’ll alter and shape it into something (hopefully) more interesting and dramatic.

How long have you been writing?

  1. I’ve always enjoyed the act of writing, the creative process of it, but I began writing in earnest in 2007. This is when I tried to treat it with more seriousness and discipline, more hours in the chair.

What is your writing day like?

  1. I write at night into the early morning. Nine to three. The still of the night offers that solitude for concentration that is tough to find during the day.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing?

  1. Mostly writers from back in the day: Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Wolfe. As far as contemporary writers, Cormac McCarthy and Tim O’Brien stand out as influences.

What are you reading right now?

  1. I’m reading 50 Great Short Stories (Bantam Classic), edited by Milton Crane, an anthology of short fiction by writers such as O’Hara, Jackson, and Chekhov—folks who knew how to serve up a tale.

What words do you live by? Do you have a personal motto?

  1. For me, the Bible has many words to live by. Regarding the writing life, one verse that stands out is from 2nd Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Power, love, and a sound mind seem to be writing mainstays.

Where can we find other works from Paul Weidknecht? 

  1. My chapbook collection of previously published short stories, poems and essays, Native to This Stream: Brief Writings About Fly-Fishing & the Great Outdoors is available on Amazon. Even if a reader has no interest in fly-fishing, I think there is a little something in it for everyone who has a love of the natural world. Also, my work appears in Once Upon a Time: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales for All Ages, an anthology of children’s stories and the newest release by the Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC. Every previous full-length anthology published by BWG has been award-winning, and we have high hopes for this book as well.

  2. Also, I have completed a collection of 16 literary short stories—13 of which have been published—ready for immediate perusal by any interested literary agent or publisher.   

  3. Native to This Stream: Brief Writings About Fly-Fishing & the Great Outdoors

  4. The Bethlehem Writers Group

What’s next? Do you have any writing projects on the horizon?

  1. I’m working on a novel set in a small town that centers around family relationships, grifters, money, Millennials, Old School ideals, 80s hard rock, and a celestial object— all very Americana. I am also working on several short scripts based on some of my short stories. 

If you could share any advice for aspiring writers, what would it be?

  1. Keep honing your craft; writing is like sculpture. Don’t simply read quality writing, but study the construction of the sentence. Examine what it is about a good sentence that makes you read it two or three times. If you are writing for publication, realize that you won’t be rejected a lot—you will be rejected beyond a lot. It is normal for discouragement to make you pause, but don’t let it stop you: persevere.

Paul Weidknecht is the author of Native to This Stream: Brief Writings About Fly-Fishing & the Great Outdoors, a chapbook collection of previously published short stories, essays, and poems. His work has also appeared in Once Upon a Time: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales for All Ages by the Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC, Best New Writing 2015, Gray’s Sporting Journal, The Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine Anthology, The MacGuffin, Potomac Review, Rosebud, Shenandoah, and Structo, among others. He lives in New Jersey where he has completed a collection of short fiction.


Paul Weidknecht

Penny Fiction

Flash Fiction Writing Competition 2016: