Facebook – General
If you could make a writing related list for Santa, what would be on it? I’d ask for:-
1. The ability to stretch time so I can get all the writing I’d like to do in and done! Naturally I would not feel any side effects from this.
2. The ability to spot ALL typos etc before submitting work anywhere ALL the time. (If it is any comfort, most writers spot errors in work later on. We just don’t admit to it! We do feel annoyed at ourselves over them though – very much the “why didn’t I spot that one?” school of thought.
3. To never run out of pens, notebooks, ink cartridges, paper etc and also to arrange for the printer toner NOT to run out half way through a print run ever again. (You do get sick of this happening when it occurs more than once. Trust me on this).
4. To never miss a writing competition that might suit you ever again. (It is difficult to keep on top of them all so help from Santa here would be useful).
5. To never run out of inspiration and ideas and to always follow them through thoroughly.
6. Extra stamina would also come in handy. You need it when the umpteenth rejection comes in during the week.
7. More reviews of my book!
8. For the charlatans in the publishing industry to disappear from it for good so nobody is ever taken in by false promises again. Meanwhile, do check out the Society of Authors and/or ALLI, the Alliance of Independent Authors websites for sound advice on what to look for in publishing contracts, self publishing services etc.
9. To never run out of bookmarks. When I don’t need them I seem to have loads. When I do, can I find any? What do you think?
10. For more independent book shops and for them to thrive and do well.
I’m not putting these in any order of importance though 10 should be very high up on any list to Santa, I think.
Am glad to share, via the link, details of some special offers on Chapeltown Books’ flash fiction collections, including From Light to Dark and Back Again by yours truly.
The offers are open until the end of the week. There are currently 8 books in the Chapeltown series and there is an offer on for all of those. Equally you can buy three or four of them and still have a special offer! This offer is on until 21st December.
Some last minute Christmas present ideas, everyone?
Hope that whatever else is amongst your presents this Christmas, some good books are amongst them!
The YouTube below shows the books produced by Cafelit/Chapeltown/Bridge House during the year. A lovely selection.
I was in the To Be…To Become ebook produced by Bridge House. This contains the 16 winning entries to the Waterloo Arts Festival’s first writing competition. I hope they go on to have others!
What can be confirmed is there is a lovely variety of books and stories to suit all tastes here.
When do you know a story is really special? When you can’t forget the characters.
For me, story has always been about finding out what happens to the characters. I don’t necessarily need to like them (though most of the time I do) but I do need to be intrigued enough to find out what happens to them. So then there has to be something about the characters I can either identify with or which hits my “curiosity switch” and keeps that pressed down so I have to keep reading!
A good plot can be let down by characters that aren’t strong enough for it (and this means the writer hasn’t got to know his people well enough before writing about them). Great characters will lift any story they’re in. Great characters will generate plot. Imagine the chaos a devious character can cause when they set out to cause mischief deliberately. All sorts of stories can come from that, humorous and otherwise, but the character has to be well portrayed for that to work.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Time for some micro Christmas stories then:-
1. The innkeeper smiled, having seen his guests to the last available room. Nobody else would be disturbing his sleep tonight then.
2. Scrooge grimaced as he walked home, having heard some youngster tell a snippet of a ghost story. Ghosts! Whatever next?
3. In the bleak midwinter, they could have done with a snow plough.4. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer found that telling everyone he was suffering from a nasty cold stopped the awkward jokes about what he was adding to his water trough to generate said red nose.
5. Frosty the Snowman was the first to admit he really could not appreciate the benefits of central heating.
Allison Symes – 15th December 2018
Never worry about overwriting a story. That overwriting can and should be cut later. Usually this is a case of sharpening up phrases etc. I like the creative aspect of that side of editing where you are happy with your characters and story but know you can express things better than you have done with your first draft.
For me, it is far more of a problem when, on odd occasions, my story is too short. Not a problem for my flash fiction but it can be for standard length short stories (usually 1500 words or so). This always means one thing in my book, pun intended (!), and that is my idea simply wasn’t strong enough. I needed to do far more outlining to see where the idea could take me before I committed to writing it and that process would have shown up inherent weaknesses in it.
So do outline. It can save you a lot of grief later.
Reasons to write flash fiction:-
1. You learn how to edit well.
2. You learn to be ruthless when cutting out anything that is not moving the story forward.
3. You really do watch your word count. (This pays off for other forms of writing competitions too).
4. Given flash fiction markets and competitions have different requirements (for example some include the title as part of the word count, others specificially do not), you learn to make sure you ARE following the right rules for the competitions you’re interested in.
5. It is a great way to get work out there while you are working on a longer project.
6. There ARE more competitions and markets out there now so there should be at least one to suit your style of writing.
7. You have to write character driven stories but there’s nothing to stop you setting that character in any time, genre, or setting of your choosing. You are definitely NOT stuck to one genre here.
8. Flash fiction can make a great warm up writing exercise ahead of a longer project. The great thing is you can now do something with what your produce from those writing exercises!
9. You learn to write precisely because you are looking for the maximum impact on your readers for the minimum word count . This is a fantastic discipline which can be transferred across to other forms of writing you enjoy.
10. It’s fun! I’ve loved the challenge of writing to 100 words, to 75, to 50 etc. Flash fiction can be addictive!
F = Fantastic Fiction
L = Lines that Hit Home
A = Amazing Characters
S = Stories with Impact
H = Humour and sometimes with a twist too.
F = Fairytales with Bite
I = Imagination is fired up!
C = Can cross genres
T = The word count is the main thing to watch
I = Insist on ruthless editing to cut all that is unnecessary
O = On the look out for markets and competitions
N = Never underestimate the time taken to craft your tales!
Allison Symes – 18th December 2018
Goodreads Author Programme Blog – Christmas Wish List
Naturally I’m assuming books are high up on your Christmas wish list. I would like to add to that though the following:-
1. More time to read!
2. More time to re-read old favourites. Does anyone else feel a pang of guilt sometimes when you really want to go back to a novel you’ve read a few times when you know there are so many other books you really should be getting on with and reading? That you actually want to read but the “clarion call” of the old favourite just can’t be resisted.
3. Being able to read “children’s” books without feeling guilty or embarrassed. Incidentally I understand the point of more grown up covers for certain books to get around this issue but for me this doesn’t really work. I like the original covers far better in the majority of cases and want to stick with those!
4. That all adaptations of stories and books do justice to their source materials. Too many don’t!
5. That I can always find a bookmark when I want one. (I either have LOADS when I don’t need them or none at all. Don’t ask… it is the way it is!).
Hope you have a book and story filled Christmas. The joy of the winter months is WANTING to stay indoors and curl up with a good book!