Facebook – General
Hope it has cooled down where you are. I prefer a temperate climate, as does the dog. I also find it easier to focus.
Does the time of year affect what you write? I can’t say it does for me as I write a mixture of light and darker pieces throughout the year.
If the seasons do affect what you write, how can you play to the strengths of this? I would’ve thought it is probably better to work with it rather than to try to fight it, if only because you’ll feel less frustrated that way.
Analysing how you work is a good idea, whether you’re affected by the seasons or not. For me, the amount of time I have per writing session is more important and I aim to make the most of each slot. My goal is to be able to look back and feel it was a good writing session, regardless of whether I had ten minutes or three hours.
Image Credit: Generally Pixabay as usual but the Scottish beach and loch pictures were taken by me earlier this year.
Glad to be home from a very busy day in London yesterday. Loved visiting the Sky Gardens. They were great and the views incredible. I’d never seen the Tower of London look like it was a Lego sized kit before! I guess it just goes to show perspective is everything.
Perspective is everything for your characters too and indeed for you as you write the story. Just who is your lead and why have you chosen them? Why does it matter to show their perspective and not another character‘s view of the world instead?
What is fun is to write from the perspective of a character you know you wouldn’t sympathise with in any kind of life yet alone the real one. The challenge here is to write about them convincingly despite your own antipathy to them.
Working out how to get into their head to show their reasons for being the way they are will push you into exploring how they got to be at this point in the first place. That will make for interesting characterisation for one thing. It will almost certainly increase the drama in your story too.
Images below taken by me as at 27th July 2019. It isn’t often I get to take a shot with the caption already on it! Also have fun spotting the landmarks.
A busy day on the writing front. Glad to share the links for my ACW More Than Writers’ blog which discusses whether or not it is easier to write during the summer.
Also glad to share the link to Stolen, my latest story on Cafelit. This is the nearest I’ve got to an autobiographical story (and probably the nearest I will get I think. I identify with Sarah in this one).
The nature of this story meant I knew it wasn’t going to be a flash piece but that’s fine. The story has to be what it is. If it’s over 1000 words then so be it.
Am sharing an extract from both More than Writers and Stolen here as a taster. Hope you enjoy.
Or not maybe… Apologies to George Gershwin for misquoting his classic (though I still prefer Rhapsody in Blue).
Do you find writing in summer easier than during the winter? The jury’s out for me here. I try to keep a consistent writing level up for most of the year because, regardless of season, there are always distractions. But there are times when I write less and I’ve learned to come to terms with that…..
by Allison Symes
I’m not going to the bloody doctors. I couldn’t tell you how often Sarah goes on about it. When will she take the hint? I do know my own mind. I swear she thinks I’m going loopy. She says not but why else would she want me to go to the doctors when there’s nothing wrong with me?
It’s perfectly normal for older people to forget things sometimes. Hell, she’s done so herself. She forgot my birthday last week. I was really hurt by that. I was bloody annoyed when she told me my birthday is next month. I should know my own birthday.
Oh my cup of tea has gone cold. Did I forget to drink it? Did I forget to put the kettle on at all and just poured cold water into my mug? I did do that last Wednesday but I’d had a stressful time of it arguing with Sarah again and well that kind of thing is bound to make you forget odd things, isn’t it? I didn’t tell Sarah I did this. She’d have seen it as proof I do need to go and see Dr. Page.
Sarah keeps telling me I shouldn’t be afraid to go to the doctors. Dr. Page is sympathetic, is bound to have treated patients with memory loss before and there is more awareness now of “mind” issues. Sarah says this covers everything from depression to dementia. Sarah is right on all of this but how it applies to me I couldn’t tell you. I am perfectly healthy. Sarah says I’m in denial. There is something wrong when your own daughter tries to tell you what to do.
And I’m simply not having that. Sarah ought to be pleased. If ever there was proof I do know my own mind, this is it, surely……
Facebook – General
The challenge of writing stories like Stolen, when they pack an emotional punch, is keeping your own emotions out of it while you’re writing it. You have to put some distance between yourself and the voice of your lead character(s) so it is THEIR story coming through and not yours as the author. You also want the emotion to be authentic and not spill over into melodrama.
This is why it is crucial to put a story aside for a while before revisiting it to edit it. I’ve found it is the only way to get the necessary distance so I can judge what I’ve still got to do on the story objectively (and there is always something!).
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
What is your favourite form of flash fiction? The 100-worder? The 500-worder? Funny? Darker? I love them all of course but if there is one kind that sneaks its way to the top of my list, it is the 100-worder with a humorous twist. So here goes…
The ghost train ran straight through the station. It must make up time.
If you thought fines issued to late running train companies on earth were inadequate, you wouldn’t be disappointed here.
Miscreants were treated according to species. Ghosts were obliterated. Vampires were drained down. The rumours tonight were not good.The controllers were more foul than usual. The Boss was due to visit to check all was well…or as bad as this service was meant to be. He wouldn’t be let down by sloppy staff.
Bonemeal was mentioned.
After all, the train was run by a skeleton crew.
Allison Symes – 27th July 2019
Must ‘fess up and say I’ve got a few writing prompts to catch up with in my diary but all have the potential to make promising flash fiction stories. Will probably have a go at some of these later in the week. (I tend to get my CFT post sorted first, then resume work on fiction).
Was pleased with my Late Running story I wrote on the train yesterday. Hope you enjoyed it. I am partial to puns and they can be used in flash fiction effectively. You can’t go on at length in flash as you’d defeat the whole object of it so a short pun as a twist ending or as part of a character’s thoughts can work well.
I love writing as well as reading these but, as with most things I guess, puns etc work best when not overdone.
My latest story on Cafelit, Stolen, isn’t a flash fiction piece, far from it. The nature of the story meant it had to go well over 1000 words but that’s fine. Not only do I keep my hand in writing a mixture of fiction, it kind of proves the point the story has to be what it has to be.
It never pays to try to cut a story so you can get it to count as flash somewhere.
The stories that work best as flash fiction are those where you want to focus on one intense moment in a character’s life and nothing else. Where there is more than one, you are better off writing a longer story to begin with, otherwise you will sell it short (and reduce your publication chances too).
Time can be an awkward thing to write into flash fiction stories. Most will consist of one vital moment to a character and so the span of time where the action takes place is very short. I’ve found I’ve needed stories towards the upper limit of flash (1000 words) to be able to show action taking place across a longer time span.
For example my Rewards has a time span of one evening and the next morning while my Expecting refers to time as a character realises they haven’t heard from someone for a while.
Flash I think does work best when it is for the moment. Even when I write historical flash, I’m looking at one incident in one character’s life. Time comes into the setting I’ve chosen to use and acts as a backdrop.
What a Good Book Can Lead To
Have you known a good book to change you?
For me, The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey has led to a huge interest in Richard III and conviction he is not guilty of the murder of The Princes in the Tower, assuming they were killed.
There is no evidence they were killed and my own view is at least one was smuggled out of the country. Richard himself was smuggled out as a boy so it would’ve been known it could be done and Henry Tudor was never able to prove where the boys were, else he would’ve done. That really would have damned Richard.
That aside, good books have expanded my view of how irony works thanks to Austen, Wodehouse, and Pratchett. Now there’s a trio for you!
Good books have expanded my ideas of what can be done in fiction, especially in fantasy. There’s a reason The Lord of the Rings is considered an epic. It is! The sheer scale and scope of the trilogy will always amaze me.
Good books open your mind and imagination.