Facebook – General
I don’t really start thinking in specific terms about what I’d like to achieve writing wise for a New Year until about now. I know what my general goals are and those don’t change much but at about this time I set myself some specifics and then work my way through them as the year goes on.
Some years I achieve them all, some years I don’t, but I feel as if I achieve more for having set some ideas down as to what I’d like to get done.
One specific thing I really do want to do next year is enter more writing competitions (flash, short stories, maybe novel but certainly the first two). I didn’t enter as many as I thought I might this year though I have been working away at other projects, one of which I’d like to also get out in 2019 if I can.
Whatever your projects are, whatever your writing goals are, the most important thing is to enjoy what you write and believe in it. If one market or competition does not work out for you, see if you can figure out why. If there is nothing obviously wrong, try with another market or competition that the piece or story would suit. Above all, don’t give up. Enjoying what you write helps a lot when the rejections come in – and they will.
The only problem I have between Christmas and New Year is working out which day of the week it is and I know I’m not the only one to lose track. Back to full writing routine from tonight though and it is great to be back.
Looking forward to using my new writing diary. Full of prompts and loads of places to jot down ideas (including a monthly To Do/Goals page and at the end of the month an Achievements page. The trick here is to try to get both pages equally full I think! A blank achievements page could be depressing! However I plan to use this to help me try and achieve a plan to enter more writing competitions this year).
Under the picture prompts, there is space to jot down notes for story ideas. I’m going to use those to flesh out some flash fiction!
Big plan is to have the novel ready to start submitting again (I hope around Easter time). So lots to do and I start by preparing material for a guest blog and my usual CFT spot. More details on both to come.
Good luck with your writing plans and have fun with them!
Happy New Year, everyone. Good luck with all writing endeavours.
Never be afraid to check out the credentials of publishing services companies/publishers/agents etc as the genuine ones will (a) not mind you doing this as it shows you are taking things seriously and (b) will be able to answer queries well and thoroughly. Also don’t forget you can seek advice from the Society of Authors/Alliance of Independent Authors and their websites are always worth checking out.
Have fun with your writing, try out competitions, write what you would want to read, and read loads! (Magazines, novels, short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction – it all “counts”).
I’ve got a couple of projects planned for the next year including submitting my revamped novel, a third flash fiction volume, and I’d love to do more non-fiction too. Don’t know whether I’ll get this all done but it will be fun finding out – and I guess that’s the point!
Loved the Doctor Who special tonight. Can’t keep a good enemy down, that’s all I’m saying.
The whole point of any story is conflict resolution though that can cover anything and everything from exterminating someone to being reconciled with them. What matters is the conflict is over. The story has concluded.
But while the conflict is going on, it is true that the hero/heroine and villain must be worthy of each other. No hero/heroine gets to win “easily” – there must be huge hurdles to overcome. The villain needs then to be capable of stretching your heroes to their utmost (and beyond ideally, making said heroes stretch too. Drop your characters right in it and see what they can do).
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Had a great trip on the Watercress Line (steam railway) yesterday with family. Always think of the stories of the navvies who cut out the sidings etc to make our railways. So many stories we won’t know but can only make educated guesses at.
When it comes to our own stories, what is most important to your characters? Who are the characters who you MUST tell stories about and why? Think about what has made you choose these people and play to their strengths and weaknesses. A well portrayed character has plenty of virtues and failings and both will affect the direction of the story.
It’s a good idea to mix up how you source ideas for stories. I like to use proverbs, well known sayings, songs can be an inspiration too and this year I hope to use more picture prompts. (My new writing diary has loads of these in it and I plan to get several flash fiction pieces from these!).
It’s also nice from the writer’s viewpoint to mix up how you gather the ideas/raw material to get you on you way to generating a new story. It keeps things interesting for you and you on your toes, which is never a bad thing. One of the things I adore about flash fiction is it is always a challenge to write small but doing so is very satisfying. (Even more so if the story is published!).
One thing I would like to try and do more of is use more of my own photos to trigger ideas and to take pictures specifically with story generation in mind. The great thing with using your phone for pictures is it is so easy to delete the ones that don’t work out. Sometimes you need to do that with a story too but that is much harder to make yourself do.
I try and avoid getting into that position by outlining first (it really does help). The great thing with outlining is it can be as detailed or not as you like. I’ve sometimes drafted a one-line outline for a piece of flash fiction but it has helped me work out which route to take with the story before I start it. I find I then write more efficiently too.
What are your hopes and plans for your flash fiction writing in 2019?
Mine are to submit pieces online and for competitions more regularly. I also hope to post more on my website – allisonsymescollectedworks.wordpress.com – as well.
I’m working on a third volume of flash stories as well and hope to get this up together and ready for submission.
I really enjoyed taking part in Open Prose Nights for the first time this year and would love to do more of those. I would also like to give more talks on flash fiction as well.
But I should finish the year’s posts with a flash fiction piece I think.
‘I suppose you think that was clever’, the girl said.
‘Of course, why do it otherwise?’ I replied.
‘You can’t hold me back. It doesn’t matter what you do.’
‘There’s not a human born who doesn’t long to, you know. I had the courage to try.’
‘Or the foolishness! Most of you accept you cannot beat me. You even celebrate me once a year.’
‘Yes, it’s all lights and fireworks and parties, but you are a cruel devil and I will beat you.’
The girl laughed. ‘How? You’re not immortal. You can’t win a fight with Time. I should know. I also know how long you have. I can see your sands running through’.
Out of nowhere she produced an hour glass and sure enough the sand was running through but I didn’t care. I didn’t bother looking. I didn’t want to know. It wasn’t the object of the exercise. I wanted to defy Time and I had.
‘I can keep you at bay with this time piece, and keep doing so until it is time for me to go. I like my current age. I will stay this way. That will do.’
I waved the pocket watch in the girl’s face as if daring her to take it but she waved it away from me. The watch’s hands were going backwards. I set them to a week ago last Friday. I wanted to see if I could do it the way the saleman in that strange little shop insisted I could.
And sure enough here I was back where I had been last Friday. Just outside the chip shop, cursing myself for forgetting my coat on what was the coldest night of the year so far. What I hadn’t expected was this wraith like girl turning up to berate me.
‘There is always a price to pay for crossing Time,’ the girl said, sighing. ‘I will catch you in the end. Your time will come. And trust me I will make you know it when it does. I don’t like cheats. I never have.’
‘So be it but my “time’s up” will be at the age I choose.’
‘And how are you going to explain that to people? Tell them you’ve got a funny portrait in your attic?’
I grimaced. I must admit that thought had not occurred to me. But so what? I could always tell people I had found a really good moisturiser!
The girl vanished. I went and got my chips. I was just crossing the road, munching them happily, when a Mini came out of nowhere and sent me crashing across to the other side. The last thing I remember was seeing the girl reappear and she was laughing.
I got one thing right. Time IS a cruel devil.
Allison Symes – 31st December 2018
One nice aspect to flash fiction is if you use a writing exercise to help you start off your creative work for the day, then there is nothing to stop you revisiting what you come up with for that and see if you can turn it into a flash fiction story.
From that writing exercise can come an entry for a competition, a published flash tale etc. Give it a go if you try these writing exercises (which often get you to write a couple of hundred words or so. Perfect length for a lot of the flash fiction categories. You can always edit to get a piece down to 75 words or less or keep the piece as it is and look for the 200, 250, 300 word category competitions and markets).
Following on from my Merry Christmas post last week, I could hardly call this one anything else!
So with a New Year in mind, what are your reading and/or writing plans for 2019?
I would like to read more flash and short story collections in the next 12 months plus get my own third anthology of stories finished and ready to submit. (Still very much at first draft stage).
I would like to catch up on my To Be Read pile (but I suspect that is an ambition most of us have!). I would like to submit more non-fiction pieces too.
I don’t tend to take up reading challenges because I think I would feel so disappointed in myself if I don’t manage them. However, I would like to widen my variety of reading (which is reasonably wide as it is but I am conscious there are many genres I haven’t tried and I ought to explore. The world of books is meant to be explored!).
Whatever your plans here, good luck! Happy New (reading) Year!