Writing Legacy

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

My CFT post this week is about Writing Legacies. I look back at the Winchester Writers’ Festival and reflect on the wonderful writing legacy left by the late Barbara Large, MBE. I take the subject from her own legacy to the legacy she gave hundreds (possibly thousands) of writers she encouraged over the decades.

I also ask what legacy we should leave as writers, regardless of what we write in terms of genre. Link up tomorrow. This is one of those posts that is a privilege to write but then it was a huge privilege to know Barbara. The writing world needs more like her…

Image Credit:  Mostly Pixabay though the image of Barbara Large and Barbara with Anne Wan were kindly supplied by Anne Wan for a previous CFT post.  The selfie is of crime writer, Val Penny, and I at the Winchester Writers’ Festival on 15th June 2019.

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My CFT post this week is about Writing Legacies. I look back at the Winchester Writers’ Festival and reflect on the wonderful writing legacy left by the late Barbara Large, MBE. I take the subject from her own legacy to the legacy she gave hundreds (possibly thousands) of writers she encouraged over the decades.

I also ask what legacy we should leave as writers, regardless of what we write in terms of genre. Link up tomorrow. This is one of those posts that is a privilege to write but then it was a huge privilege to know Barbara. The writing world needs more like her…

 

What do you think your greatest achievement is as a writer? Is it publication? Is it repeated publication? Or is it knowing you’ve written without publication in mind but still produced work to a high standard.

All of that is wonderful. I’d say the real test is writing something, putting it away for a while, looking at your piece again, recognizing its flaws, and then editing it to improve it. And going through that process until you know that piece of work is as good as you can make it.

That, for me, is where the real writing lies.

Nobody but nobody produces a perfect piece of work at the first attempt. For me, there is great consolation in knowing that! What matters is putting the work into your story or article or book and doing what it takes to get it right. There’s a reason writers need stamina – and this is it.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I had an unusual opportunity to discuss flash fiction (and the wonderful Cafelit today) – and that was while I was in the dentist’s chair waiting for the anaesthetic to work! Never miss an opportunity, folks…

The main point to come out of this was I was discussing how flash fiction are complete stories in and of themselves. They’re not cut off prose. Each flash story must make sense AS a story.

What flash does do is leave more gaps for the reader to fill in. It has to because of the word count restriction. There should be scope for a reader to wonder what might have happened after the story ends. Now that’s true for all forms of fiction (haven’t you wondered about characters in novels you love?) but with flash you just reach that point far quicker!

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Every so often I will jot down some promising opening lines and see where I can go with them. It’s one of the few times I don’t outline something. I wouldn’t call it the white knuckle ride of flash fiction writing exactly but it is the nearest I get to it given I do outline 90% of the time and am glad to do so. Outlining has saved me going off on too many tangents that don’t prove useful.

I am a firm believer in mixing up how you write your stories as it will keep things fresh and interesting for you. It’s a good way of avoiding being formulaic too. It is one of the great ironies of the writing life nobody wants you to be formulaic but they do want you to write more of the stories that have been published etc. More of the same but different… hmm…

One of the things I love most about Scrivener is setting my word count target. For flash fiction competitions and markets, this is invaluable.

Some include the word title as part of the allowable count, others do not, but whichever way it goes, I can set my target accordingly and know I’m not going to go over it.

You can even check how often you use a word if you want to do so. Yes, “the” and “and” are right up there! But if you use Scrivener and you know you use certain phrases or words a lot, this could be a great way of ensuring you don’t overdo it.

Image Credit: The shots of the Scrivener boxes were taken by me as screenshots, something else which is easy to do within the program. I love the traffic light system of red, amber and green as you approach your target.

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Fairytales with Bite – Writing Legacy

My CFT post this week, Writing Legacy, looks at the legacy of the much missed Barbara Large, MBE, who founded the Winchester Writers’ Festival. I also ask what legacy we as writers should try to leave behind.

From a character viewpoint, what is the legacy we as our creators should leave them with?

  1. Have we made them unforgettable characters? We should have done…

  2. Have we given them plenty to do in the story? We should have done…

  3. Have we tested them to see what they are really made of? We should have done…

  4. Have they got good dialogue? If not, why not?

  5. Do they come across well to a reader? They should do (and this applies equally to villains. They need to be convincing too).

  6. Are the motivations of the character strong enough?

  7. Will the reader feel a pang of regret when the story is over?

Better get to it then!

This World and Others – The Longest Day

Today is the longest day (at least it is from my part of the world, the UK), but in writing terms, what would this mean for your characters?

  1. The longest day is taken literally and we follow the character through from getting up to going to bed.

  2. The longest day is taken metaphorically and we see a character going through all kinds of trials in a relatively short time span.

Whichever route you go, the character has to have enough to do and for that to be gripping enough to make the reader want to continue with your story. Their motivations must be strong enough and we need to see what makes them keep going when most would have given up. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a life or death scenario though a situation where the ability to leave is taken away from the character is always interesting and full of dramatic possibilities.

I find it more interesting though when a character could get out of a situation, you can understand why they would do so, but they continue on their current path. What drives that character? What makes them tick? Do they have any sense of failure? Who do they think they would be letting down if they did just walk away?

Definite story possibilities there!

Image Credit:  Pixabay.

 

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