My stories are in The Best of Cafelit 4, 5 and now 6 and also by Bridge House Publishing (Alternative Renditions). My first collection From Light to Dark and Back Again is published by Chapeltown Books.

WRITING DAYS AND WORKING OUT WHEN TO STOP

Facebook – General – Writing Days and Characterisation

What counts as a good writing day? When you’ve got the right amount of words down (whether it’s a few hundred or a few thousand)? When you’ve completed a specific writing task? As ever with these things, so much depends on the writer.

For me, either completing a task or getting to the stage I wanted to reach for a longer one is my definition of a good writing day.

There is no way I can complete my Chandler’s Ford Today posts in one go for instance so I aim to write the post as one/two tasks, edit it and put it up on site ready to go (but not scheduled yet) as another, and then I sort out the images and feature image as the third part. The final, fourth part, is checking I’m happy with the text, images, links and feature image overall and, if I am, I then schedule the post.

So I think I’ve had a good writing day when I can tick off all those specific tasks.

Another great joy of writing flash fiction is I can count writing the first draft as one task because I CAN complete that in one go! There is a huge advantage in writing 100-word stories as opposed to 100,000-word novels (though I love both!).

Writing first, editing later but both needed - image via Pixabay

Get those ideas down, then edit. Image via Pixabay

What is the best thing about writing a story of any length – flash, short or novel (and script come to that too)? For me, it’s that moment when I realise I’ve “got something here”. I usually find I’m about halfway through my draft when I get to that point. The great thing is it really motivates you to finish the piece!

And what is it more than anything else that leads to me realising this? It is the characterisation. Something about one or more of the characters in the piece has gripped me and, if they grip me, there’s a good chance they’ll grip other readers.

It is at this point I have to resist the temptation to start editing and make myself wait until I have got the complete first draft down. Editing too early can kill off the joy of creating the characters in the first place so, for me, writing and editing have to be treated as two separate tasks.

 

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

What are the challenges of writing flash fiction? Obviously, there is the tight word count but I think the toughest thing is working out what is the real essence of your story so you know when to stop.

The other big challenge is to ensure the flash story is a complete tale in and of itself. It mustn’t be just a short bit of prose. Each flash story must have an impact on your reader (which, to my mind, can only happen if it has a “proper” conclusion!).

If a short story is like a snapshot of a character’s life, then a flash tale is like a tweet. Brief, to the point and then all over. But it should leave you feeling something. There should be a moment of change in the character’s life. It is just a shorter moment than the one you would have experienced from a standard short story.

 

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Cafelit

One thing I love about the Cafelit series of books is there is a good mixture of story lengths in them.

There’s a good range of my favourite flash fiction but it is nice to have these interspersed with standard length short stories and those that fall somewhere between the two. So whatever my reading mood is, there is something to cover it here!

The link below covers the whole range of Cafelit books. I’m delighted to be in 4, 5 and 6 (and I reviewed 3 some time ago too!). So if you know someone who loves their short stories but likes a mixture of styles and story lengths, Cafelit books would be a great place to start.

Now then: note to self – get some more flash fiction into Cafelit!

 

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