Image Credit: As ever, images are from Pixabay or Pexels if I’ve not said otherwise.
RADIO NEWS: I’m thrilled to say I’ll be on Chat and Spin Radio tonight at about 9.35 pm TONIGHT (UK time) – 19th May 2020 – talking about my great writing love – flash fiction. See www.chatandspinradio.com
AND if you like their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/chatandspin, you’re in with a chance of winning a £20 shopping voucher too.
I’ll be talking more about this later in the week, especially when I have a link to share!
Now for actors you say “break a leg” as a kind of good luck thing (though I know it sounds anything but!). What do you say for this? Don’t lose your voice, I guess!😀
I hope to share the link to the show in my next blog on Friday this week.
The above ties in with my next post too!
Facebook – General
Preparation is key for so much in writing. For my stories, as you know I outline my characters. It helps me work out whether the character I’ve planned really does suit the story I’ve got in the back of my head.
A feisty character needs the material to suit! A usually gentle character needs to show what she is made of when push comes to shove.
Preparation includes getting the story down and specifically allowing enough time away from it to be able to edit it properly. This is particularly relevant as I’ll shortly be working on final edits for Tripping the Flash Fantastic but the time away from it will help me take in and process my editor’s comments the way they need to be processed!
It also means allowing enough time for final polishing before still getting a story in ahead of a final deadline. I got into the habit of taking about a week off any official deadline for a competition and making MY date the day by which I’d get my tale off. This comes from the days of sending everything in by good old snail mail but it is still a good habit to develop now email submissions are the norm.
I’ve found it pays to plan ahead a bit. Knowing roughly what I’m doing when and why has helped me get more done.
Oh and the don’t give up advice below is something I’ve found useful though I do wish the picture came with an extra bit. It IS okay to change direction if you want to – after all that is how I discovered flash fiction!
Most of my dialogue writing is for my longer flash fiction tales (i.e. those over 750 words usually) and short stories (1500 to 1700 or thereabouts). I do enjoy writing dialogue. What I have to watch is not writing conversational “ping-pong” just because I can and I love doing it. It all has to be relevant to moving the story on. I always find editing dialogue the hardest to do but my golden rule is that it has to be so important the story can’t work without it.
I love the moment when I know I’ve got my characters right as it is then that I know instinctively the dialogue they’re coming out with is exactly what someone like them would say. It’s a good feeling. And when the words are really flowing it can feel a bit like taking dictation.
Now where’s my notepad?😆😆
Will have further publication news to share fairly soon so looking forward to that. Over the course of a week, I try to ensure I’ve got at least one story written, one resting, and I like to know what I’m going to be writing next too. I like to mix up the flash fiction and short story writing too.
My favourite part of writing? Difficult to say but I do love it when the characters come to life and the story just flows out. Mind you, I am always relieved to have a first draft done. It proves to me there WAS a story there. The editing refines and sharpens that story and I do like that element. I always overwrite but that’s okay. All unnecessary elements are ruthlessly struck out later.
But I learned a long time ago that, for me, I’ve got to write the story first and edit it later. I can’t edit as I go. I’ve got to know there is something there to edit first.
Many thanks to Lance Greenfield, a fellow Swanwicker, for his honourable mention of yours truly on his blog, Write to Inspire. To find out more, follow the link and his post for 18th May 2020! All images of Swanwick were taken by me last year.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Am delighted to be talking about flash fiction on Chat and Spin Radio later this evening. Will talk more about this later in the week when I have a link back to share. If you can tune in live, I’m on at about 9.35 pm. Links up above and I hope to share the link for the show itself in my next post here on Friday.
And yes I am always pleased to wave the flag for flash fiction as a writing form!
Oh and I am preparing this with just under an hour to go before I’m on. Nervous and looking forward to it all at the same time!
It was fun writing yesterday’s post about one-liners for well known characters (see below and see this as a bit of a tease!), but it is not a bad idea to be able to sum up your people succinctly.
When I’m planning characters for new flash fiction, I know what their major trait is and how that is going to help them or, even more often, land them right in the proverbial mire.
So I will think of something like rebellious fairy, has soft spot for kittens, and that soft spot is exploited by her boss in an attempt to get said rebellious fairy to do as she is told for once. So that makes for a good one line summary of the story.
Character summary? Rebellious fairy, soft spot for kittens.
And away I go.
Just for some fun, how about some one-liners for well known characters?
Cinderella – I could really do with a trip to the shoe shop.
Dracula – I have the devil’s own job getting an appointment at the dentists, can’t imagine why.
Snow White – I’ve gone right off apples for some reason.
Hansel and Gretel – well, yes, okay, maybe we should have got a sat nav.
I love using one-liners in flash fiction and often end a story with them. They’re great for humorous tales and are a fab way of ending a story on an upbeat “oomph” moment.
I don’t use a lot of dialogue in my flash fiction. That’s partly due to word count but mainly because I tend to focus a lot on telling you one character’s story. For that, I prefer to show you their thoughts and attitudes as “they” narrate the story.
I do use dialogue more in the short story competitions (1500 words or so) as there is more room and it is lovely being able to have more characters in the tale.
But I do love the pithy, precise nature of flash fiction writing. For me it is apt that my characters are direct to the reader in “their” commentary.
What I Look For In A Good Book
Regardless of genre, what I look for first in a good book is a gripping lead character. I don’t necessarily have to like them (!) but I do need to be intrigued by them enough to make me want to read their story.
This applies to non-fiction too if you accept the “narrative voice” of the text is a kind of character too. Does that voice grip me enough to keep on reading or does it send me to sleep? (Never a good sign that!).
Once I’ve finished the book, is it going to be one of those I enjoyed reading but won’t read again? Or will it reach the dizzy heights of being one of those absolute favourites I happily turn to time and again when I need them back in my life for a bit?
I don’t know about you but I do like light reading anyway and I especially like it now. I am not going to be reading the doom and gloom merchants (I can get that from watching the news).
I know the reality of what is out there but it doesn’t mean I have to read about it.
My reading is about entertainment and escapism and those things shouldn’t be despised.
So my criteria for what is a good book does boil down to its entertainment value and that is down to the character portrayal.
Oh and many thanks to #JimBates for a great conversation on this post! See the Goodreads link itself for that.