Reviews and Favourite Stories

Facebook – General – Reviewing

One of the problems with any kind of review is that you can’t take the personal taste of the reviewer out of it! Now that, of course, can make for some great reviews when the reviewer (a) acknowledges that and (b) gives a fair assessment whether or not they love whatever it is they are reviewing.

My policy here is to never review anything unless there is a good chance I am going to like at least something about the production or the book in question. I’ve never seen the point of “hatchet jobs” in reviews when it is clearly the reviewer’s personal taste clashing with whatever it is they’ve gone to see or have read.

As a writer myself, I have every sympathy for the hours and hours of work put in by the writers, actors etc only for them to receive said hatchet job. Why bother doing that? Simply say why the production or book didn’t work for you and leave it at that. That way at least the reviewer is merely being honest and readers can decide whether or not they are likely to agree and so either go and see the play/read the book or not, as the case may be.

Image Credit:  General images are from Pixabay, images of books I’ve appeared in or have written are obviously by  me.

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Facebook – General – Favourite Stories

Do you have a favourite story?

I think the nearest I come to this is the Cinderella one as, not only is it a great fairytale, my take on it was my first story in print (A Helping Hand in Bridge House Publishing’s Alternative Renditions). I tell the story from the youngest ugly sister’s viewpoint. The anthology comprises fairytales told from the viewpoint of minor characters in those tales and is good fun.

So the story has special meaning for me on those grounds and because I love the idea of injustice being put right (even if it does take a fairy godmother, some rats, and a pumpkin!).

What I read is dependent on my mood. I tend to read a lot in a genre for a while, then go on to another one, read a lot in that and so on. Of course, what matters most of all is to read widely and frequently. I see it as “topping up” my love of stories and books and that is necessary to help me write my own.

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I’m preparing a talk on flash fiction, which I hope to use at an event later this month (and adapt for future events too!). More details on the event concerned when I have them but my talk looks at what flash fiction is and the benefits to readers and writers alike.

When preparing something like this, I focus on what would most likely be of interest to the potential audience. In most book and literary events, there is likely to be a mixture of readers and fellow writers. The nice thing is all writers should be able to wear the “reader’s hat” as well as obviously wearing the writer’s one and so pitching the talk, and working out what both are likely to be interested in, is easier to do.

Both reader and writer are interested in the process of producing a story, albeit from different angles. Both are interested in the inspiration behind the stories, though the writer wants to know how to take that inspiration and use it to produce something unique to themselves. Both reader and writer are looking for connections.

In the case of a reader, you are pointing them in the direction of reading your story if they haven’t done so already. If they have, you, as the writer, are generally looking for feedback. What worked well? What was less good/effective? In the case of another writer, they are looking for tips to help them improve their own writing and learn from you what lessons YOU learned the hard way so they don’t have to! Be fair though. You will do this yourself every time you go to another author’s talk!

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again Part 2

The art to a great flash story
Be it sad, funny or gory
Is having no word out of place.
It also grips you and its pace
Is apt for the allegory.
(Allison Symes 2017)

Okay, the Poet Laureate’s job is definitely not threatened by me, but the above does sum up flash fiction reasonably well.

I’ve used nursery rhymes (Hickory Dickory Dock) as a basis for my tales (Telling the Time), as well as fairytales told from the viewpoint of other characters.

I’m looking for what impact my flash fiction will have on a reader and I like my characters to justify their stance. It doesn’t mean that they’re right but you should be able to see into their mind and understand why they act the way they do and/or live the way that they are. It is a question of looking out from where they are, as opposed to where I am. I write more effectively for the characters if I can do that.

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