Unless otherwise stated all images are from the brilliant Pixabay.
Facebook – General
Regardless of what I write where, the hard part is getting started. Once I’m away, I’m away. But I have learned over time to trust the instinct that something will come which I can work up into a story or a blog post. The great thing is it’s going to be a first draft and the only person seeing that is me.
I never worry about getting the writing right first go. I know I won’t. What matters is getting started and putting something down on paper or on screen. You can only work with what you’ve put down to work with after all!
So ways to get started on a piece of writing then?
1. Look through any brainstorming notes and see if ideas jotted down there take your fancy now. If so, away you go.
2. Have another brainstorming session and write anything down that occurs to you. I’d do this for about five minutes. Then look through the ideas. Did one in particular stand out? If so, great, off you go. If not, what was the idea you like the best and why do you think that is? Then still write it up. There will be a reason why you like this particular idea so go with it.
I’ve found that once you start writing, the ideas continue to flow. It is a bit like turning on a creative tap. Stronger and better ideas come as you write too. Jot them down. Come back to them. But just get writing and have fun. Nobody has to see this work but you.
Out of what you jot down, there may come ideas to write up fully. Even if you seem to draw a blank, you are clearing away some creative clutter from your brain in getting these ideas down and out of your system. Just put them away for a bit. Come back to them later. You might see potential in them THEN.
Am forging away with my CFT post for this coming Friday – and it will include a quiz too. No prizes – just bask in the glow of getting the questions right! More details later in the week.
Revamping a website always takes longer than you think. I’m adding pages to my work on Cafelit and Bridge House Publishing/Chapeltown Books. I also hope to have a page on writing tips etc. Looking forward to sharing more details when all done. Do explore the rest of the site. There will be more goodies to come in due course. The site is now known as allisonsymescollectedworks.com
Next big event for me will probably be the Bridge House celebration event in December. Looking forward to that a lot. So good to meet up with fellow writers that, for the rest of the year, I meet courtesy of Facebook! Incidentally, I do think that is one of the nicest aspects of social media – writers being able to encourage one another even if they can’t meet in person.
More immediately, I’ve got short stories to draft and non-fiction ideas to work on too. Why is it that it can take ages to get started on a piece of work, you get into your stride with it and THEN the time whizzes by and you have to stop? Oh well. The one comfort there is I know I’m not alone on that one!
Facebook – General – and Publication News
Glad to say Staying In is my latest story on Cafelit. It ties in with my last story, Humourless. I’ve been working on some linked flash fiction this year and hope to write more of these.
Definitely on the darker side of my particular writing scale but I hope you enjoy them both.
Catching up with reading on the Kindle at the moment. I’m also re-reading my novel on there too (I do love the Send to Kindle function!) and am trying to read it as a reader would.
I tend to save using the Save to Kindle function for my big projects. I think I might try batching my short stories and flash fiction in one document so I can review them like this too.
When I put the Kindle on, I am straight into reader mode which is precisely what I want to achieve here. The inner editor has been told to go away somewhat forcefully and I can relax and read.
Ironically, I’ve found on the novel it has made me spot things I can improve but that is because I’m reading it in a relaxed way. I’m not at this stage trying specifically to do anything to it. I think state of mind as you read is key here.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
I like to write flash fiction in a variety of moods. My absolute favourite are the humorous kind but that’s because I’ve always had a very soft spot for funny writing. I also think it’s under-estimated. (Anything that looks easy to write, you can bet the writer has worked very hard for years to get to that point).
Humour, I think, is the most difficult to get right in any form because it is so subjective. You have to accept not everyone might “get” your sense of irony.
My dear late mum loved a wide range of books but just didn’t “get” funny writing at all. I suspect that’s one reason I DO love it. Well, I guess it is one way of rebelling… albeit very tamely. (She would have been delighted though about From Light to Dark and Back Again and my other published stories).
I’ve mentioned using random word and phrase generators before as good triggers for story ideas. I thought I’d take a look at the random phrase generator and again and came up with:-
Two Down, One To Go
Down for the Count
On the Ropes
All of those would make great titles and/or themes for stories. May well have a crack at some of these myself. The nice thing is you can keep clicking until you come to a phrase you like the sound of and, also, how about combining phrases?
Two Down, One to Go could make a great title while On the Ropes could be the theme of that same story.
Are there themes that really resonate with you whether you’re writing the stories, reading them, or both? I think I’d list mine as:-
1. Seeing the tables turned on superiors by a character who has been underrated or rejected.
2. Injustice put right, especially if someone has been falsely accused. (This is why Azkaban remains my favourite Harry Potter story).
3. A quest carried out by someone who is assumed will never fulfil it but they do. Take a bow, Frodo Baggins!
4. Where someone technically inferior is clearly far superior to their boss (but their boss knows it and acknowledges it) – Jeeves and Wooster are the top men here.
For flash fiction, of course, you would need to show a “brief taste” of these themes but there is nothing to stop you fleshing our a short piece into something much longer if you wanted to do so later.
That is one aspect of flash fiction I love – you CAN have a second bite of the cherry here. It’s just that the second bite is going to go much deeper (and go on for longer) than the first one!
Am having great fun revamping my website at the moment. Am planning to put on an All About Flash Fiction page with hints and tips. Will share once it’s ready. Plan is to update it regularly. I’ll also use it to compile some of the advice I’ve shared here and I hope to share thoughts on writing exercises too.
I love flash fiction for the way it shines a sharp light on one moment in a character’s life. There is something about the intensity of flash that really appeals to me. And I love getting to create so many different characters too.
Goodreads Author Blog – Genre Fiction
I’ve never understood snobbery around genre fiction. Genre fiction encourages people to read according to their tastes and isn’t the idea to get people into books in the first place?
My favourite genres include:-
(And yes you can combine those. Terry Pratchett’s Sam Vimes novels in his Discworld series combines 1 and 2 and I’m sure you can think of others that blend genres).
I suppose the only “properly literary” fiction I’ve read is Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which I adored, but my go-to-for-a-good-read first is always something which is genre based.
Yes, I know what to expect from, say, a crime novel, but what is fascinating is seeing how different crime writers handle their material. (As a writer, I can pick up tips there myself so win-win!).
I’m always fascinated as well by character creation and different writers take varying approaches to this. So reading widely across genres opens my eyes to different ways that this can be done.
So reading books then is a good idea then? Well of course it is!
Now to decide which genre I’m going to go for next…