Flash Fiction and Successful Writing

Facebook – General

When is writing considered successful? When you are published? When you submit more work in a year than you’ve done before? When you have more acceptances than rejections? When you can make a living from writing?

All of those things matter, of course they do, BUT if you are committed to your writing, and seek to always improve on what you do, I’d say that was being successful. Why?

Because you do need stamina to cope with the ups and downs of the writing life. You need to recognize you do need to keep striving.

And whether you seek publication for one book, lots of books, or just want to win short story competitions from time to time, then that’s fine. Decide what you would like to achieve and give it your best shot.

Good luck!

 

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Whatever writing you do, I think the two most important things are to enjoy it and use it to help you develop.

If you write flash fiction, as I do, seek to find more ways of generating ideas and find more markets/competitions for your work.

Writing is a journey after all and, even after publication, you will still face rejections. You will want to get better at what you do. There are always things to spur you on.

My overall goal? To be the best writer I can be.

 

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West Bay Beach on a gorgeous day in December 2018.  Image taken by Allison Symes.  Walks along a beach can be a good place to reflect on what you would like to achieve as a writer.

Enjoyed the writing prompt in my diary tonight. I had to use certain words to come up with an opening to a story or a poem. A poem emerged! Needs a lot of work mind you but enjoyable to draft. What was nice about this was I could “hear” the rhythm of the draft and knew from that, this would a poem and not a piece of flash fiction.

I like the mixture of writing prompts in this diary. They’re going to keep me on my toes this year. I also like prompts as a chance to play with words and just see what comes out. Later will come more fun when I look at these drafts in the cold light of day and assess what works and what doesn’t and then obviously go with what does. I know now NOT to try and write and edit the same piece in the same session. Doesn’t work. I find I need to give myself some distance before appraising anything.

 

Off to the panto later this week. Oh yes she is! Oh no… etc etc.

Don’t think I’ve seen Ali Baba before and it’s been a long time since I last read the story. Should be a good fun evening and panto I think is about the only time nobody cares too much how noisy the theatre audience gets. (That may just be me remembering childhood pantos too vividly though!). Review will follow on CFT in due course.

My favourite panto story is probably Robin Hood though as I’ve always adored that tale.🏹🏹 Recently rewatched Prince of Thieves. (The much missed Alan Rickman IS the definitive Sheriff of Nottingham.)

Back to normal after a lovely weekend away. Why is it that, wherever it is you go, no matter for how short a time you’re away for, you always come back feeling jetlagged, even if you’ve been nowhere near a plane?!

My CFT post later this week will take a brief look at why the oral tradition of storytelling will never die out. I also look at how I came across the story of Ali Baba, the panto I’ll be off to see on Thursday, and the special memories of the book I have where I first read the tale. Much as I can see the point of decluttering, I draw the line at books!

Practically all of mine have special memories attached to them and it is a great pleasure to have a shelf of books written by friends of mine. (Take a bow, #ValPenny, #JenniferCWilson, #BeatriceFishback, #DawnKentishKnox, #GillJames, #RichardHardie, #BrendahSedgwick amongst others!). I look forward to filling other shelves with books by friends and, of course, my own!

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Drafted another flash story on the train yesterday. Plan to polish that and submit it I hope sometime next week.

Never despise “only” having 5 minutes to write or what have you. These pockets of time are really useful for getting some drafts written. You’d be surprised at how much time those pockets can mount up to and therefore how many drafts you can get done!

Some one-line stories for tonight’s post, I think.

1. The red dragon thought it would defy being out of time by sitting on the clock tower and crushing it.

2. The fraud would work, she knew, but did she have the guts to go through with it?

3. It had a 90% risk of failure, and that would mean death, but he liked odds like that for bringing out the best in him.

Flash fiction lends itself well to having fun experimenting with genre writing. Why?

Because it has to be character led, you can set that character anywhere you want. So you can write fairytales, crime stories, historical fiction etc. The framework is that you are writing a flash story. It may even help you discover what your favourite genre to write in is – I will always have a very special fondness for humorous fairytales. But I do enjoy coming out with crime flash fiction every so often.

Mixing things up keeps ME thinking and stretching the old imaginative muscles, which is always a good thing.

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I’m enjoying tackling the weekly writing prompts in my diary. Some are picture prompts, others you have to use certain words, and still others you have to write a description of a particular thing. All good creative stuff. Loving the mix too.

The one for last week was to use certain words as an opening for a poem or story. What was lovely was I heard the voice of my narrator immediately and they were demanding their words be written as a poem. Well, when you’re told like that, you have no choice do you?!

When writing is really going well, it can seem as if you are taking dictation from your characters, but that is a very good thing. It shows they’re real and if they engage you, they’ll engage readers too.

Flash fiction is wonderful for stories which are moments in time for a character. These moments are not enough in themselves to make a standard length short story but are of enough interest and insight to justify being “out there”. And those moments can be as funny or as sad or as horrific as you care to make them.

The great irony with flash fiction is, despite its restricted word count, it does actually give the writer a great deal of freedom as the stories HAVE to be character led. Of course it is up to you where and when and how your characters lead us! The important thing is you as the writer have fun here and we as the readers will pick up on that and love reading what you write.

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Goodreads Author Blog – Going Away

Sorry, post a day later this week, as have been away this weekend, but I use opportunities like that to revise what I am reading and what I want to take with me while away. It helps with packing too! I won’t take the huge volume of stories which takes up far too much room. I WILL take the Kindle and one of my slimmer paperbacks..

So when you go away what crucial books do you HAVE to take with you?

I was catching up on Peter Ackroyd’s The Civil War over the weekend – like his style and this is a period of history I know a bit about but am conscious I ought to know more. Good to get back to this book again.

I usually finish Kindle books before I move on to something else but can sometimes get sidetracked, especially if a friend has a book out I really want to get on and read, but I do catch up in the end. Am always glad to do so too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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