A good mix tonight, I think!
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
I talk crime and research, amongst other things, in Part 2 of a fab interview with crime writer, the lovely Val Penny. Val is the author of Hunter’s Chase, which is the first book in her Edinburgh Crime series. We also talk about writing conferences and I know both of us are looking forward to networking in person later in the year at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School!
Also a big thanks to Gail Aldwin for sharing details about other Chapeltown books including Badlands by Alyson Faye and my own From Light to Dark and Back Again. Much appreciated.
Facebook – General
How do you feel when you reach the end of writing a story or, even more, a book?
A little bereft perhaps but at the same time eager to get on with the next one. That’s my position at the moment.
Have got a few competitions I’d like to have a go at so those will be my next goal. I deliberately want to get work off to these before I start outlining my thoughts for my next book (and I’ve ideas I want to explore there). I think a break between books is a good idea. By the time you come back to writing a book again, you’ll be keen to get on with it!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Where do I get ideas for my stories? From all over the place! When I was starting out as a writer, that kind of answer used to annoy me. My thoughts tended to be along the lines of “well, it’s all right for them to say that but I’m struggling, thank you”. Well, words to that effect anyway.
What I have learned over the years (lots of years too!) is you do learn to develop more of an open mind as to what could make a good story idea. What is useful is having a starting point to trigger ideas that can be developed further. Some of my starting points include:-
1. Proverbs/famous sayings to use as a theme.
2. Picture prompts (not necessarily taken by me). For example, landscapes can offer ideas as to where your setting is or if you are writing fantasy or sci-fi, is your world the complete opposite to the picture? Sometimes that can be useful in getting started.
3. Competition themes can be great as you can then enter the competition too!
4. Snippets of conversation can get you thinking about how a character of yours might get to say something similar.
5. I sometimes have a brainstorming session and write down what could be an opening line to a story. I don’t plan these sessions and try to just write freely for a set time. The lines can be as bizarre or as ordinary as I want but the ones I like the most of later are the ones I write up.
I think the most important thing is to have fun with your writing. If you don’t enjoy it, nobody else will!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Looking forward to starting work on a third flash fiction collection after a pause to enter some competitions etc. I find a break between books useful.
Indeed, when I write batches of short stories, I like to have a break and switch to writing flash for a while and vice versa. In between all of this I’m writing posts for Chandler’s Ford Today and More Than Writers (the ACW blog though the lovely thing with writing on the 29th of the month is I have most Februarys off!!).
There are other things I’d like to do at some point (including seeing if I could write a radio play) but those will be projects that I might refer to as my “bits on the side”. I do think it is vital writers have fun with whatever it is they write and also to set themselves fresh challenges now and again.
Fairytales with Bite – Do You Need Research to Write Fiction?
One of the topics I discuss with crime writer, Val Penny, in Part 2 of my interview with her for Chandler’s Ford Today this week is research. We talk about the resources that are available for crime writers and I go on to mention that even for writing fantasy as I do, some research is useful.
Strictly speaking, for any fiction, of course you don’t have to carry out research. You make it all up! However, I’ve found that to root my characters so readers can identify with them, I need to know how we react as people and why (so a basic knowledge of how humans “work” is useful). Also when it comes to world building, knowing how we work is a building block for making up your own universe. After all if you decide your world is going to be nothing like this one, you’ve got to work out in exactly which ways it will differ. So you do have to bring some knowledge to the writing desk to be able to write effectively.
I’ve also found that researching (whether I do so via the internet, a book or what have you) helps me extend my knowledge (obviously!) but the knock-on benefit of that for my fiction writing is it also expands what I can write about. Write about what you know is good advice so expand what you know and you can expand what you can write.
This World and Others – Networking
I discuss the value of networking in my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week, which is Part 2 of a great interview with crime writer, Val Penny. Amongst other topics, we share our thoughts on two conferences we’ve been to – Winchester Writers’ Festival and the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School (and indeed are looking forward to networking in person again then!).
How does networking happen on the world you’ve created for your fiction though? What is it used for? Can only certain people/beings/robots/strange creatures etc do this? Is corruption an issue and does anyone try to fight it, if so? Which of the creative arts is known on your world and are there conferences/classes for them? How is successful networking “rewarded”?
Have any of your characters formed friendships, which later they depend on in life threatening situations? How does networking earlier in their life benefit them now? (Or does it endanger them because the friends they thought they’d made turn out not to be friends at all?!).