Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

My latest Chandler’s Ford Today post takes a look at the recent Hiltingbury Extravaganza. It was the first time I’ve been behind a stall too. A group of local writers, including yours truly, were manning our book stand and I’m glad to say we all sold copies of our books.

My post gives an overview of the whole Extravaganza and I also share why I would not have entered my border collie, Mabel, into the Most Obedient Dog category in the dog show that was a very popular feature. Mind you, the pets supplies stand was also popular, especially given so many of their toys and treats were at “dog level”!  I also look a little at why it was so useful local writers banded together to support each other here, a topic I look at again in my other posts below.


Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Have I found writing flash fiction useful with my other writing?

Yes. Firstly, as flash has proved incredibly useful for tightening my editing skills and working out what words are carrying their weight and which are not. As a result of that, learning not to be afraid of the editing pen and being ruthless with your own work when needed. Then there is the appreciation of the need for clarity. You have to be to the point with flash fiction.

I’ve always loved character led fiction and, to my mind, flash fiction has to be precisely that. There is no room for scene setting etc so you must go with what/who drives the plot – the characters. I’ve always enjoyed getting straight into my characters’ heads and seeing where that takes me. This is a positive asset when it comes to writing flash.

Am greatly encouraged by the increasing numbers of competitions for flash fiction too, a lot of which are online. (Great, no postage costs!).

The wonderful world of stories... Image via Pixabay.

The wonderful world of stories… Image via Pixabay.


So much marketing is done online - image via Pixabay.png

A lot of flash fiction competitions are now online so no postage costs!  Image via Pixabay


Fairytales With Bite

One of the great things about events such as our Hiltingbury Extravaganza is that it gives local writers a chance to show the community (a) there is a group of local writers in it (!) and (b) to show, and hopefully sell, what we do!

It was lovely meeting a good range of people interested in books, publishing, stories (or any combination!) and we all talked about why a group of local writers had got together in the first place.

The Extravaganza is a good example of an event where one writer would not have done this on their own.  (There are insurance costs, space hire to sort out, plus having to put your stand up and down again all on your own.  It made far more sense for a small group of writers to do all this between them and share the costs as it made the event viable for us all.  Not sure it would have been for any one of us).

Having said all that, we managed to spread the word about what we do, why writers group together to help one another and sold our books so it was a good event!  Any writer thinking of banding together with others should seriously consider it.  One other advantage was our stand ended up having a wide range of fiction on it from my flash fiction (From Light to Dark and Back Again) to romantic comedy to short stories set in our area to YA fantasy/time travel.  (More details of these in my CFT post).  The upside of this, of course, is it meant it was far more likely that at least some of our books would appeal to some of the people and this did prove to be the case.

Spreading the word is time consuming and you can never know exactly what will come from it but unless you do try to put the word out there, nobody will know what you do.  So I agree with the old proverb that “nothing ventured is nothing gained”.  And having support from other writers, and being supportive in your turn, is phenomenally helpful when doing this.  Good luck!


A corner of books

A corner of books.  Image by Allison Symes


More of the books

More of the books.  Image via Allison Symes




This World and Others

Writing is one of those things that keeps on giving.  Not only is there the joy of creating your own work (hopefully to be followed by the even greater joy of seeing it published!), but your reading should increase and widen.  Why?  To write well is to read well.  I can’t think of any writer who doesn’t read.  So in many ways when you become a writer, you become a deeper reader too (in terms of reading more widely and continuing to explore your own love of books anyway).  (The link incidentally takes you to this post on my Weebly site but there is also a small slideshow on that).

But one other thing that writing gives is an immediate topic of conversation at writers’ conferences and so on.  I have found it incredibly helpful to break the ice with people by asking what they write, have they been published or are they working on it and so on, and before you know it, they are asking the same (and other questions of you and lo and behold you have a conversation going!  This is the way long term writing friendships start.

Then there are the competitions and the thrilll you feel if you are shortlisted or win.  (A little vindication goes a long way for most writers!).  And when going out and about to events such as the recent Hiltingbury Extravaganza, you can talk about why writers group together to help each other, share news of creative writing classes in the area and so on.  So write, have fun, talk about writing, love that too and in all these things, we spread stories, the value of literature of all kinds and so on.  Quite a worthy thing to do really (and if we sell our books too, even better!).


Barbara hard at work spreading the word about books and ours especially

My colleague, Barbara Sedgwick, spreading the word about the writers’ stand at the recent Hiltingbury Extravaganza.  Image by Allison Symes



Karen Stephens shares what the writers' stand is about

My colleague, Karen Stephen, shares with the crowds what is on offer at the writers’ stand.  Image via Allison Symes


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