It’s good to be back after a Christmas and New Year break. I hope you had a lovely time over the festivities.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
My CFT post this week looks at winter traditions. I share some of mine and look at good reasons for having any at all.
Is winter the toughest part of the year to get through? I think so (though I can appreciate why some might argue summer is – all that light and you are supposed to be cheerful all the time because of it can be hard to handle). The early dark nights are the most depressing part of winter for me. The weather comes next!
I share some of my favourite “traditional” TV watching, my views on when the words to carols are changed, and recall the alternative versions of certain carols which were always sung with gusto at home when I was growing up.
Oh and Lady gets a mention and a pic too!
So what winter traditions do you have? Do you find they help you get through the coldest and darkest time of the year?
My CFT post this week will be a look at winter traditions. Which are yours and why?
I share a few of mine and why I think it is good to have something of this nature to relish at this time of year.
Spring, summer and autumn have their own attractions but is winter the “ugly sister” of the seasons? It’s cold, gets dark early etc etc. I suppose a lot depends on the weather but so far it has been reasonable and I guess you have to learn to make the most of that.
More tomorrow when the link goes up. (Also included are fond memories of singing the alternative versions of well known carols as this is also a tradition! I suspect you can think of a few of those!).
Apologies – can’t seem to upload photos at the moment. Normal service tomorrow, I hope! (Problem resolved itself I’m glad to say but still at a loss as to why it happened at all!).
What story genres have you got on your Kindle? I’ve a good old mix on there:-
Non-fiction (particularly history)
Historical crime/non-fiction look at crime (A Very English Murder by Lucy Worsley – very good).
Classics (Austen, Dickens, Shakespeare).
Flash fiction (of course)
Theology (but in an easy to read format. I like ALL my books like that!).
Poetry (Shakespeare, bless him, comes into this category too though I would like and must remember to download more poetry on to the Kindle. Like flash fiction, poetry is, I find, a joy to read on the small screen).
I’m sure there are others on there but I like to keep a good mix going on my bookshelves as well as on the small screen. It all helps inspire my writing. Spread the net wide when it comes to looking for inspiration for your own stories! If nothing else, you will have a wonderful time reading!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Is it easier to write funny stories or sad ones? Hard to say. A lot depends on your own mood of course but, that aside, I would say the biggest way of determining this is it is all down to your main characters. How do you see them? Are they funny or capable of coming out with one-liners? What is their dominant mood?
How you portray them is crucial here. What do you want them to DO/BE in your story? What is your character’s voice? Another crucial thing to remember is that for the majority of the time, your characters may well not think they’re funny at all. It is the readers’ job to pick up on the humour and “run with it”.
You set your characters in situations and of course a lot of humour comes out of contrasts. A snobby character ends up falling head first in the local duck pond. Not at all funny for them but hilarious for the reader (especially if said snobby character “had it coming”).
It is also crucial you enjoy writing your funny characters/lines. It shows through in the story and will come across as natural humour. Forced humour never works. Have fun here! I love writing funny one-liners for my characters when it is appropriate to them and the situation I’ve put them in. Relish the humour yourself. If you don’t, why should anyone else?
Uses for flash fiction:-
1. Makes a very good writing exercise to kick off your main creative activity.
2. Teaches you a lot about editing and what your wasted words are. We all have them. With time, you get better at spotting them in your script and eliminating them.
3. You learn to make an impact with your words in as few words as possible. No purple prose here!
4. The stories are a good length to share on, say, a Facebook post as an “advert” for what you write and your style of writing.
5. You can use it to test out which genres you would like to write. Flash fiction is character led and you can set those characters anywhere and at any time. Have fun with that. Do you discover a love of historical fiction or sci-fi coming out of this, say? Fine, explore that genre further and see what you can do.
6. It is an excellent writing form in its own right, of course.
I love using the first person for my flash fiction because:-
1. It is immediate.
2. You get right into the character’s head.
3. You get to show how they see the world, revealing much about their attitudes.
4. It helps drive a good pace.
5. You can only show what the character would think, say, do, feel etc. It helps keep you to the point!
6. You show what your character thinks of other characters. You could have lots of fun here! (I do!).
7. You can show the character justifying their actions to themselves. That tells you the reader much about them – CAN they justify their actions, how they do so, if they have to “twist” things to be able to do so etc.
8. Depending on the mood you give your character, your story can be poignant, funny, grim etc, and all driven by that mood.
9. You literally see the world of the story through that character’s eyes. I find that helps me to identify with the character and want to keep writing about them. Hopefully, that element is picked up on by readers who will want to keep reading about them.
10. If you are writing a story which has “nods” to other stories, a great way in is via a minor character you make your own. For example, in my Learning the Trade, the story is a nod to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. In my story, I use the first person viewpoint of that apprentice.
Fairytales with Bite – A Welcome Break
In your stories, what would count as welcome breaks for the general populace? Do they have holidays and how are they celebrated? Are visitors welcome to join in or are they kept out? I look at Winter Traditions in my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week – what would these be in the world you’re creating? Is there such a thing as winter? (I suspect we often wish there wasn’t but it is necessary, honestly!).
Is everyone in your world celebrating a special holiday or is that the privilege of the ruling classes? What makes the holiday different from what we know here? What are the similarities? Does everyone enjoy the break?
Now there’s some story ideas there for you! Happy writing!
This World and Others – Being Different
What counts as “normal” for the fictional world you’ve created? How are those that are different to the “norm” treated? How do your “being different” characters cope with that? What pressures are there on the from family, friends, government etc?
Those who are different – are they doing this deliberately to rebel against the norm or is it cultural expectations that make them different? What reaction is there to their differences from those around them?
Within your world setting, are there different cultures, faiths etc and if so how do these get along (well or not at all?!)? Explore the differences. Explore how they would affect how your characters act and react.
Hope you find some story ideas in answering those!