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Facebook – General
Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you have lots of lovely books as presents and plenty of time in which to read them. Now if that’s not a good wish, I don’t know what is!
Hang on, I can think of another. If you’re a writer, may you be inspired by plenty of excellent ideas and have lovely stationery as gifts to jot down those thoughts, which will surely become works of genius in years to come.
Yes, I think that counts as a good wish too. Not quite sure how Santa can deliver that one exactly but I am sure the great man will think of something!
Have a wonderful time. Will be back online in a few days. NB: I don’t know if I’ll be posting on Friday as, if I do, it will only be a link to my CFT post and I may save that until next Tuesday.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Whether you write books or read them or ideally do both, I hope you find plenty of fascinating new material to be enjoying in 2020.
Not sure what my plans writing wise are for the rest of this week but I am planning a CFT post which will be a review of my writing year. I will also be sharing a few timeless wishes. Link up later in the week.
There is a surge of reading at this time of year for obvious reasons but I do hope that leads to a surge of reviews in the usual places in the New Year! As a certain supermarket would say, every little bit helps!
I was reminded of the power of words and music to move the human spirit at the Carols by Candlelight Service I went to this evening.
Firstly, I heard the most beautiful rendition of O Holy Night I’ve ever heard (well done to the two ladies concerned) and it was one of the loveliest things I’ve heard EVER regardless of musical style etc. The congregation was deeply moved by it. I was close to tears (of the good variety).
Secondly, even without the familiar tunes, the carols are great poetry in and of themselves (and they all tell a story too so I’d love them for that reason alone).
I also read the poem Shepherd by Lisa Debney which was a great pleasure to do. It takes an unusual angle on the Christmas story – that of someone coming to terms with Jesus as a baby – and the words are so moving.
Words – and music – are wonderful things. Any of us working with either or both are so privileged. Enjoy!
I’ve created a book trailers page on my website. As well as the one for From Light to Dark and Back Again, there are trailers for Nativity and Transforming Being, both of which I have stories in. A big thank you to #GillJames for her wonderful work in creating these three.
I’ve also included a short video I created for Job Satisfaction which is in FLTDBA. I hope to add more trailers (and things I creat too) on this page every so often.
Meanwhile I hope you enjoy the new page!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Merry Christmas, everyone. I’ll be offline for a few days. I hope you all have a lovely break – and enjoy plenty of flash fiction, whether you’re reading or writing it (or both), of course.
To finish here are some of my micro Christmas stories. Hope you enjoy!
1. Scrooge grimaced as he walked home, having heard some youngster tell a snippet of a ghost story. Ghosts! Whatever next?
2. In the bleak midwinter, they could have done with a snow plough.
3. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer found that telling everyone he was suffering from a nasty cold stopped the awkward jokes about what he was adding to his water trough to generate said red nose.
4. Frosty the Snowman was the first to admit he really could not appreciate the benefits of central heating.
Allison Symes – 2019
Thought I’d share one of my flash fiction stories. Hope you enjoy it.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
She knew she had to stop it. It wasn’t doing her any good and any comfort she derived from it had vanished long ago.
She put on her huge black coat, it made her look slim, grabbed her cavernous bag and shook out the massive pork pie she stored in there. She grimaced at it, picked it up and, as she left her flat and walked out of the roadway, she dumped the pie in the community bin.
Today she would start again. Enough was enough. She took a deep breath and headed to where she knew the slimming group met. She’d put off going for ages. But today was different.
She was NOT going to be mistaken for a giant tomato on legs again by anyone. She would show the world she could do it.
And when she had she would get the most rotten tomatoes she could find, hide and hurl the things at those people who’d humiliated her tonight. She knew where they were. They did not know where she was. And it would stay that way.
A year later, the local papers appealed for help in tracking a mystery assailant going around pelting rotten veg at people coming off the 28 bus at different times.
Have a wonderful, story filled Christmas and New Year!
There are certain things about the Christmas story I particularly love – and those are the telling details (which is highly appropriate for a flash fiction writer as only the most important nuggets of information are included in our stories. We have no room for anything else and readers have to fill in the gaps though, for me, that is the joy of flash. I love having to work things through like that and picking up on the implications etc).
One such nugget is the Bible story says Mary was perplexed by the angel’s greeting to her and wondered what kind of greeting this could be. Firstly, I can just picture that (!), and secondly, it makes Mary so real. It would’ve been very odd NOT to react that way I think.
When it comes to our own stories, our characters’ reactions MUST be realistic to the situations we’ve put them in. Readers should be able to think yes, I’d react like that or yes, I could see why they would react this way but I would have…
So when reviewing your stories look at how your characters react to something. Is that reaction reasonable? If a character goes “over the top”, can a reader understand why they might do that?
I love the poem The Night Before Christmas. It’s a wonderful story told in rhyme. As is The Gruffalo. I admire hugely anyone who can tell a story in rhyme like that. It’s such a challenge NOT to go for slightly awkward phrasing just so you get the rhyme you want.
Flash fiction can be told in poetic form and I occasionally experiment with this. It’s an interesting challenge but not something I’d want to do regularly. If there’s an award for most difficult category of writing ever invented, I think it would have to go to poetry. So hats off to all poets out there!
But flash fiction writers can learn a lot from poets. DON’T go for awkward phrasing just so you can achieve a desired word count. Your phrasing has to read naturally. You don’t want anything to jar with a reader. You do pick up on “duff” notes in the rhythm of your prose and I know when I’ve come across it in something I’ve read, it throws me. The writing will have to be pretty special to make me keep reading after that.
I write a flash fiction piece, edit it until I’m happy with it, and THEN select the competition or market it is best suited for. When a competition comes up for, say, a 250 word piece, but my story works better at 300, I won’t crop it. I’ll save it for another competition.
Incidentally unless a competition or market specifically says otherwise, it is okay to come in UNDER the required word count. I’ve found though my work tends to come in at 20 or so words below whatever the limit is and that is deliberate on my part. It means I’ve got a little bit of room to manoeuvre if I need it and allows for those places where the title IS part of the word count. You’re never going to have a 20 word title, are you?!!
Why Everyone Needs a Writer in their Life
If you’re not a writer yourself, you definitely need one in your life somewhere. Why? Well for one thing, you’ll have an easy present buy for said writer.
If we don’t give you a list of books we’d like to find under the Christmas tree, we’ll always appreciate nice pens and notebooks!
But the chances of us NOT asking for books, in whatever format, are extremely remote. Nor will we ever moan about a book shaped present waiting for us! We don’t care we know it’s a book in there. We just want to find out which one you picked out for us!
And this is why I loved receiving book tokens as presents too. I relished the thought of going to pick up my own present after the Christmas holidays – the thought of all that choice…oh good!
I don’t know about you but I always find it a joy buying presents for people where I know they’re going to like said present. And writers as a rule fit that category very well.
I can’t think of any writer who would pass on the option to have books bought for them!