Story Changes

Facebook – General

Can a story change you? Yes. My view of Richard III was changed by Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time. I discovered the wonder of irony in fiction thanks to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

And this doesn’t just apply to books either. One of my favourite Doctor Who episodes is the Matt Smith one about Vincent Van Gogh. Beautifully done – and one of those Who stories you wish was true. Do check it out. I see there’s a thread elsewhere on FB today on this, which is what brought this topic to mind. The episode, Vincent, bears repeated viewing too and loses none of its emotional impact.

And, as ever, the impact of any story is all down to the character. They’ve got to be strong enough (even when they’re vulnerable and weak) to make us want to root for them.

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What do I like most about writing non-fiction such as my CFT posts?

It’s the creativity involved in it. Okay that creativity is based on research but I still need to present my posts in ways I hope will be entertaining to others. It’s a different challenge to fiction where I’ve got to make up characters that will hopefully convince readers these people are “real enough” for them to want to read on to find out what happens to them.

I like the mix of writing here. Keeps me on my toes and I’m never short of things to write!

Sent off my competition entry yesterday. It’s so nice being able to submit work online. I am from the days when everything had to go via the post and I can’t imagine the amount of post and time I’m saving in being able to send things in electronically now!

Where the post is still wonderful is when you receive your copies of your book through your door! Nothing beats that feeling. There, delivery online doesn’t have quite the same feel about it!

Am working on non-fiction projects and my next flash fiction collection so plenty to keep me occupied. My CFT post will be looking at playing with words and form. More on that later in the week.

What is it about your characters you like the most? For me it’s all about their approach to life. I’ve always had a soft spot for those awkward characters who will question authority, point out its faults, do something to rectify said faults, and land in trouble as a result. (They always do land in trouble).

I also love the characters that never give up, no matter what, and the ones determined to prove themselves. Fairytales are full of these kinds of characters and rightly so. They can be inspiring. (Sometimes they can act as a warning!).

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

One useful way to reduce word count for your flash fiction is to use words with more than one meaning. Readers then pick up the meaning you want to use from the context of the rest of the story.

For example, the word “muppet” can be used as an insult as in ‘Oi, you muppet” or it can be used as a reference to Jim Henson’s wonderful creations, as in “my favourite muppet was Miss Piggy”. (Still is incidentally!).

A good double meaning word will lend itself to puns which can be great ways to end a story too.

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I love funny flash fiction as it makes its impact quickly and generates a good belly laugh as an instinctive reaction. Mind, that’s the kind of instinctive reaction you want!

The impact is nearly always down to the closing line and the challenge is to come up with a powerful punch to end the story.

But a lot of fun can be had in setting up an oddball situation and letting the humour come out of that. (The advantage here is the humour won’t feel forced. It really will arise naturally).

I loved choosing the music for the book trailer for From Light to Dark and Back Again. I went for Danse Macabre, which was also used as the theme to Jonathan Creek. Danse Macabre is quirky music, which suits my stories well, but I try not to be influenced by music while I write.

I’ve found classical just relaxes me. Rock and pop can and has affected my mood while writing. It’s difficult, I think, to write a tender love scene, say, when you’ve got Highway to Hell blasting out on the radio. (Good image though, yes?!).

So I think I’ll stick to Beethoven’s 5th or the 1812 Overture when I want something really loud that won’t affect what I write!

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Some of the most recent writing prompts in my diary have included:-

1. Writing about a pancake being tossed.

2. Writing about a spring flower (picture provided!).

3. Writing a description of Persephone leaving the underworld.

4. Writing about Demeter’s feelings as she watches Persephone return to the underworld.

And coming up soon will be the challenges to write about:-

1. An Easter egg hunt

2. Using a Shakespeare quote to get started on a piece.

3. Listing words describing a train journey and using all of the senses.

4. Listing favourite foods and using all the senses to describe preparing and eating them.

I’ve really enjoyed the prompts I’ve written to so far and looking forward to the others. What I like best is the real mix. And there’s nothing to stop you using your own photos to spark ideas here. The important thing is to have fun here!

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Goodreads Author BlogTitles

How important is a story title to you?

I have mixed feelings on this one. With my reader’s hat on, a good title will draw me in but it generally isn’t what makes me buy the book. That is down to whether I like the blurb and opening paragraph.

Sometimes it’s down to whether I’ve read the author before and know I am likely to enjoy the new one (though I always check the blurb and opening paragraph out.).

With my writer’s hat on, I’m looking for titles which will convey the mood of my story and draw readers in. This is particularly useful for my genre, flash fiction, where every word has to “punch its weight”. A good title here can save a lot of words in the overall count and let your readers know what to expect.

When writing, I usually start with the title as I need a peg to hang the story from but I have changed titles as and when I need to, given sometimes a better one comes to me as I write. I just need a starting point.

When reading, if a title is really good, by the end of the story it will be apparent as to how well it suits the tale. You won’t be able to imagine a better or different one. When a writer feels like that about their title, they’ve got the job done!

Oh and this applies to non-fiction books and articles just as much as fiction.




















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