Swanwick Report 1

Facebook – General

Am at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School as I write this. By the time I get home again, I’ll have:-
A list of ideas to follow up;

Books (nothing keeps me out of the Book Room for long!);

A confession to give to my Slimming World consultant (but know I won’t be the only one!)

Be buzzing with inspiration and encouragement, having had a fab time with writer friends, old and new.

Made progress on a project I’ve taken with me.

Re-read my novel with a view to submitting it in the autumn (hopefully – best laid plans etc etc).

Whatever your writing plans are, enjoy them and good luck!

Have had a wonderful first full day at Swanwick Writers Summer School. One really nice aspect is meeting up with people you only “see” online for the rest of the year. The encouragement and support is tremendous.

Why does that matter? Simply it’s because you spend most of the rest of the year at your desk, working alone, and the validation aspect shouldn’t be overlooked either. Most writers have to fight self-doubt. If only it was one of those things you fought and beat the once and that was it! But alas…

Splendid day at Swanwick. Much encouragement, many ideas to follow up, wonderful conversations with other writers who understand the passion to write.
Am due to take part in the Prose Open Mic later. Loved that last year. Fantastic range of stories to listen to – great entertainment. I’ve picked three flash stories, all of which are on Cafelit.
Tomorrow’s a quieter day with workshops in the morning. Have projects to work on in afternoon.

When you take time out to think about it, ideas for stories/blog posts etc come from a huge range of influences.

This is why any writer will groan (or swear or kill you off in their next book/story or any combination of these) if you ask us where we get our ideas from.

There is no one quick answer to that!
My influences include fairytales, crime stories, history (fact and fiction), quirky facts picked up from all over the place, amongst others, and these influences will expand depending on what I read next.
So don’t ask! Your eyes will glaze over long before we finish telling you, assuming we haven’t sworn or mentally killed you in a dozen different ways!

Image Credit: All images were taken by me, except the Open Prose Mic Night one. Many thanks to Penny Blackburn for taking that.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I expect to have fun with writing exercises while I’m away at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School this week. Two exercises from last year became flash fiction stories and went on Cafelit – The Balcony Seen and The Art Critic.
The latter will be in print in The Best of Cafelit 8, which is due out in December.
Am looking forward to what comes out of this year’s Swanwick in this department!

Loved the writing exercises set at Lift Up Your Pens, which was the first session I went to at Swanwick Writers Summer School today.
Let’s just say that’s two new flash fiction stories drafted so win-win!
What I often find at courses is, as well as there being lots of useful information for you to act on, ideas for stories and posts spark too. Now for the time to write them up!

All stories illuminate truth in some way. What flash does is take a blooming great torch and focus intensely on one point.
So when thinking of a new story, I work out what I want the point to be and which character would best suit that.

I was listening to a fab talk on plot twists at Swanwick this week and reflected on my use of them.
A plot twist is something that changes the direction of the story in unexpected ways but for flash, it can work well in bringing the story to a powerful ending.
You still set the clues in the story, you still must make the twist feasible, you still DON’T try to be clever (it never works and will irritate readers), but the change of direction can be to an ending.
What should happen is you then see the change in the character. The “yes, that ending makes sense, that would happen to a character like this”.
My Calling the Doctor has the character reveal something at the end which ties in with what went before but will still surprise (and hopefully make your blood chill!).

Goodreads Author Blog – Books, Glorious Books

B – Brilliant entertainment
O – Own portable library in print or on Kindle
O – Only lack of light or tiredness stops me reading
K – Kindle has transformed reading for me
S – Stories – so many, so little time!
G – Genre – there is at least one to suit you!
L – Libraries will always need support and can be a great way to try out authors new to you.
O – Originality in story and characters is hard to achieve but your take on such should be original.
R – Reading (what else?!)
I – Imagination. Reading and writing books should fuel this.
O – Only one book at a time or several on the go? Which camp do you fall in?
U – Unsung heroes in books – I love these. Best examples for me are Sam Gamgee and Mr Tumnus from The Lord of the Rings and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe respectively.
S – Sagas. Not my thing but I admire those who can write them. So many threads to tie up!
B – Best books of all? The ones you re-read and the ones you recall from years ago without re-reading.
O – Omnipresent narration. I do still have a soft spot for this.
O – Oily characters like Wormtongue from TLOTR are the ones you love to loathe.
K – Kindle again but it has saved much packing anguish!
S – Selective reading. I tend to read crime for a while, then fantasy, etc. I want to make sure I cover all the genres I like!

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