Facebook – General AND Chandler’s Ford Today post
Many thanks to all with their kind words of support following the loss of our lovely border collie, Mabel, yesterday. She gets a brief mention in this week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post, where I talk about the changing seasons and my love of autumn.
Autumn was always blighted by inconsiderate firework users (too many of them going off too late at night and for days and days on ends. Absolutely terrifying for most dogs. Not going to be a problem for me this year, sadly, but I do make a plea for the adoption of silent fireworks (yes, they exist) or to focus on organised events which have the saving grace of (a) being safer and (b) don’t go on too late in the evening. The latter gives pet owners time to calm their pets down etc and is much appreciated by said pet owners.
I also put in a plea to look out for hedgehogs under the bonfire heaps before lighting them. I’ve been fond of the creatures ever since I read Mrs Tiggywinkle’s adventures courtesy of Beatrix Potter.
I also invite comments in on what your favourite season is and why. This post was a real joy to write and selecting the images a pleasure (though I could have put so many more in!).
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
An interesting question that came up at Swanwick in the summer was whether flash fiction counted as poetry or prose. It is always counted as prose but it is possible to write poetry as a piece of flash fiction.
Obviously you have to keep it short but the way you express yourself in a few lines can (a) have a poetic quality about it in itself and (b) the way you present the lines on the paper can also create a link to longer poems being presented in the same way. For example:-
THE GUILTY SECRET
I stumbled through the woods.
Not sure what was following me.
I knew I had to dump the goods
No other eye should ever see.
COPYRIGHT ALLISON SYMES 2017
I’ve written this off the top of my head for this post and I can already see ways of improving it. (Hope to do this and include it in my next collection!). But you can see that it looks like a poem but reads like prose. It is a complete story in itself and the word count means it would come in under flash fiction categories very easily.
The Interview Interviewed!
I have interviewed Gill James before for CFT and most recently on her wonderful historical fiction, The House on Schellberg Street. Here she interviews me for her blog!
Goodreads Author Programme
I’m glad to say I am now part of the Goodreads Author Programme and I love the author Q&A they start you off with to help introduce you to people. Please do send in questions via this and in the meantime here is what I’ve put up on site so far. There is a blog attached to this too. I have written a quick introductory post and, as I get into the habit of writing regularly here too, I will share the links here eventually. In the meantime here is the Q&A.
Fairytales With Bite
My latest Chandler’s Ford Today post talks about the changing seasons and why I love autumn.
A sad change for me this week has been the loss of my elderly border collie. In the fullness of time we’ll adopt another rescue collie but right now the house feels very empty without my lovely Mabel. Change can be a terrible thing at times.
Having said that, change is vital for writers. We need to be able to see what is wrong with our own work so we can edit it effectively. We need to be open to new writing ideas. (My being open here led to me writing flash fiction and ultimately being published in it with From Light to Dark and Back Again). We need, I think, to keep setting goals and striving to achieve them if we are to develop further writing skills (and hopefully publication credits too).
A more positive change recently has been where I was interviewed by Gill James. (I’ve interviewed her before for CFT). I share the link here. Amongst other topics we talk about why I write in the genre that I do. Sometimes re-examining why you are doing what you are writing wise can be a good idea. It can reinvigorate your enthusiasm, also perhaps get you to evaluate if something really is working for you (and be open to change if not).
This World and Others
One huge advantage of writing flash fiction is it teaches you to write “tight” as you don’t have the room for wasting words. So how can you conjure up new worlds in just a few words?
What you are after is a general impression for your reader. You can’t go into too much detail but there needs to be enough for them to pick up and fill in gaps with their imagination.
For example my story Calling the Doctor in From Light to Dark and Back Again is one of my very short tales (100 words or thereabouts) and in a few lines I’ve conjured up a naive character, a sense of menace and a rough setting.
This is because this tale has a twist based on a well known novel and if you know that book, the setting of my story would come to you at once. (Even if you didn’t know the book, there is still enough in the naivety of my character for you to picture what that person would be like and get a sense of their world that way).
So it is a question then of selecting the most important thing your reader must know to make sense of your story.
Ironically, this can work well for longer pieces of fiction too even though you would have the word count to go into more detail. By focussing on what is the most important thing(s) for your readers to know, there will be no waffling and the images created in your readers’ minds will be so much the stronger because of that.