Music and Books – Free Book Offer!

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Facebook – General

Music and books are going to be great boons during the current situation. They are marvellous comforts anyway but whatever you enjoy on either or both fronts here, I hope you have a wonderful time catching up on what you want to listen to/read.

Talking of which…

Would you like a free book?

Magnetism, a collection of short stories, edited by Gill James may be just the ticket for you here then. Just follow the link below and sign up to Scribblers Books, Books, Books.

Magnetism will not be on sale anywhere and it is a great advert for the kind of stories you will find published by Bridge House Publishing, Cafelit, and Chapeltown Books.

Authors included in Magnetism are #RogerNoons, #SallyAngell, #GailAldwin, #AlysonFaye, #PaulaReadman, #DawnKentishKnox, oh and one #AllisonSymes amongst many, many others. There is a lovely variety of styles and stories here. Do check it out.

Keep safe, keep well, God bless, be kind, and have a good read!

I can’t say I write for therapeutic reasons though there are plenty who do. What I can say is I always feel better in myself once I have written whether it’s 50 words or 500.

I feel even better when I’ve polished a piece of work up and submitted it somewhere. But the act of producing a piece of work and getting it as good as you can make it is so worthwhile in and of itself. Any results such as publication are a marvellous bonus.

Whatever your creative activity of choice is, enjoy. Particularly enjoy the side benefits. Creativity really is good for you.

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Having written a story, I put it aside for a while so I get some distance from it. If I don’t do that, I find I have two responses to a piece of work – what I’ve written is rubbish or is a work of genius (and neither is true! To be fair, I AM trying to work on the latter and will be to the day I put my pen down for the last time I suspect 😆😆!).

I ask myself certain questions when going through a piece and these include:-

1. Is the story making the impact on me I thought it would on a reader? If it doesn’t, it certainly won’t on said reader.

2. Do I HAVE to find out what happens to the character, no matter what? When the answer to that one is yes, that’s a very good sign. Where it isn’t, I need to look at why a character isn’t gripping me the way they ought to be. Tweaks here and there usually put that right. I then put the story aside again for another breathing space and then ask myself this question again. The answer should be yes for sure the second time.

3. Does every word (particularly for flash fiction) HAVE to be in the story? Have any of my infamous wasted words crept in? If so, out they go.

Happy writing and rewriting!

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I have the feeling some of my favourite “comfort reading” books will be making a reappearance on my TBR pile during this very strange time. Still if I can stick to comfort reading instead of comfort eating, I’ll be ahead of the game!

I think it is fair to say we are living in interesting times. I’ll be talking a bit more about that in my CFT post this week AND share some thoughts on story creation for anyone who would like to give it a go but has not yet tried to do so. The whole idea is just to write for fun.

The nice thing about the advent of flash fiction is you need not be put off by the thought of having to write thousands and thousands of words either. You don’t have to unless you want to! And writing IS fun especially when you remember the important thing is to enjoy it. Tidying up a piece of work can come later.

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Flash tales are short but they should pack a good emotional punch for their word count. I like to think of it as illuminating one specific moment in a character’s life. It has to be the single most important thing too, else why write about it?

I love reading flash fiction too of course as its great joy is being able to dip in and out of collections, sample different styles and mood of story, and have a good read in few words.

Whatever you are reading or writing (or both) right now, enjoy!

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Time to use the random phrase gnerator again. On offer tonight the phrase On Cloud Nine. Let’s see what I can do with that then. Hope you enjoy!

ON CLOUD NINE BY ALLISON SYMES
Well it is where I’ve been parked. Don’t ask me why it wasn’t Cloud 8 or 7 or what have you. Here I am sitting on Cloud 9 waiting for instructions.

I was told Cloud Nine is where trainee fairies go before being let loose on an alien world of their choice to do what good they can.

I was also told it was where they put trainee fairies our government thinks are clumsy clots and where they’re trying to limit the damage.

Of course they don’t tell the likes of me anything so goodness knows what the true story is – that fake news stuff gets everywhere I tell you.

I do feel daft sitting here twiddling with the star at the end of my magic wand. I’m itching to get out there somewhere to do something.

Ah! My trainer has just turned up. Tells me my itch to get out there to do something is the problem. Apparently I caused a mass over-production of pumpkins around Cinderella’s garden. Well, where is the problem? She needed plenty to choose from, didn’t she?

Apparently that’s not the point. The girl only needed the one. And there’s a limit to how much pumpkin pie anyone can eat.

Well that’s me told.

My offer to make the spares vanish was hastily turned down.

My trainer tells me they’re sending me to Earth. I’m to wave my magic wand where I see fit. Hmm… that sounds good and fun. I ask what I’m to do specifically.

I’m told to inspire a love of reading, writing and general creativity.

That sounds good but I thought the humans did that already.

Not enough, I’m told. They still fight and squabble. They need more creativity apparently.

Well that’s me set up for a good job for some time then.

It will be a lot better than sitting here on Cloud Nine. Wish me luck.

ENDS
Allison Symes – 22nd March 2020

Have as good a week as possible, folks.

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What do I look for in a character that will make me want to follow their story no matter what? (This applies to whatever type of story I read and/or write but for flash fiction, all of this has to be condensed of course). I look for:-

1. A character that intrigues me. They’re showing an attitude I like and I have to find out how things work out for them OR conversely I’ve got to find out where they’re coming from to have the attitude they do have. (Whether I still agree with their attitude is another matter but if they come out with good reasons for it, then that grips me and makes me keep reading too. And that is the key, isn’t it? How DO you keep a reader reading?).

2. Humorous characters. I ADORE characters with a sense of irony especially when it is directed at themselves.

3. A character with courage and determination.

4. A character who mucks things up big time but redeems themselves. (Can’t we all identify with that one?!)

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I mix up how I come up with titles as well as the flash fiction stories themselves. I often use one word titles. I sometimes use alliterative titles (for example Telling The Time in From Light to Dark and Back Again). As you know I sometimes use proverbs/well known sayings as either titles or themes (occasionally both).

But whatever type of title I use, it has to be a suitable “peg” to hang my story from. Occasionally I change a title as a better idea comes to me when I’m writing the first draft but this doesn’t happen often. I’m usually happy with what I had planned initially. I hope that means I’m getting better at what would work for a piece. I have learned to trust my gut instinct more over the years and it doesn’t usually let me down. This is where the writer’s voice comes in. You have to learn to recognise your own and trust it!

 

Goodreads Author Blog – Comfort Books

When times are tough, or your own situation is going through a difficult patch, what books do you turn to for some comfort and cheer?

Do you look to escape for a while via the printed word or does that aspect not matter as long as you’re reading?

I tend to turn to humour and this is where the wonderful books of P.G. Wodehouse and Terry Pratchett in particular come to the fore for me.

All of their work is capable of withstanding multiple re-readings and I usually pick up on gags, in-jokes etc., that I missed before. (I just do! I also don’t believe I’m alone in that).

After humour, I turn to crime – reading wise that is! I adore Agatha Christie but I enjoy contemporary crime too. (See Wendy H Jones and Val Penny for more on these, especially if you like your stories set in Scotland).

After crime I turn to history and that can be a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. I’ve enjoyed Jennifer C. Wilson’s Kindred Spirits series here as that combines a very different take on history with ghost stories.

By this stage, I’m usually looking for some non-fiction to get my reading “teeth” into and then I’m back to the funny works again.

Above all, I have a fabulous time doing all of this!

Whatever you read, especially now, enjoy. Take care, keep well, be kind, and God bless.