Image Credit: As ever, the images are from Pixabay or Pexels unless stated otherwise.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
I review last Friday’s online event for the Waterloo Art Festival’s Writing Competition for my CFT post this week.
It was great fun (though I admit missing getting together with the other writers involved in this. Still there’s always next year and I think Zoom has a role to play even when things get back to whatever comes to pass as being normal!).
I share the trailer for Transforming Communities, the ebook launched here. I also share a video where I read an extract from my winning tale, Books and the Barbarians. Enjoy!
It was a joy to review how the Waterloo Arts Festival Writing Event worked as an online only “get together” last Friday for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. I also share the book trailer for Transforming Communities. Also see below.
This ebook is a compilation of the fifteen winning entries and includes my story, Books and the Barbarians. I also share the link to the video I created for the Festival. I read an extract from my story on that. Hope you enjoy.
Zoom and other social media have been a lifeline in keeping some writing events together. Indeed as I write this I’ve just come off a very interesting Zoom session looking at marketing. (There is always something to learn with that topic!).
I take the view if I can’t together with author friends and go to writing talks in person then I will do so online whenever possible. I must admit though I am looking forward to the usual events being back again but I see a use for Zoom and the like long after “normality” returns.
I hope these platforms make events more accessible to those where transport is an issue for one thing. There is great good to be kept there I think.
C = Creating new fictional people is always fun.
H = Heroes or Villains? You need both.
A = Aspirations of the characters are something a reader should identify with; ideally the aspiration of the villain should be in direct contrast to that of the hero.
R = Reasons for behaviours, attitudes etc of the characters should be sensible to them and a reader should be able to see where they come from here.
A = Agreeing with those reasons is not necessary!
C = Conclusion of the story should result in resolution of the conflict between your hero and villain.
T = Tension should ratchet up throughout the story as hero and villain race to try to achieve their objectives, knowing one of them has to fail.
E = Energy should come from your characters so your readers feel these people could be real in some world somewhere.
R = Rationality is in the eye of the beholder; a villain will find reasons to justify their actions and those reasons will be rational enough to them.
S = Super stories as a result of the above? But of course!
I’m a fan of the quiz show Pointless and love the word rounds. No surprises there to be honest. I like Scrabble and the quick crosswords, things like that. What word games do you like? Do you find they help your writing?
When I have time, I sometimes use word games to help me relax AFTER a writing session as they can be a good way for me to wind down yet still have fun playing with words.
Many decades ago, I used to write wordsearch puzzles for our church magazine (and to show how long ago that was, the magazine was produced on an old Gestetner duplicating machine. (For younger readers, these are the days before the photocopier became readily available. The last T-Rex had just left the earth.. you know the kind of thing. 😆).
Words are fun. They’re even more fun in a story or blog post!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
It was good to see some fellow flash fiction writers as part of the Zoom course I was on this afternoon. I learned a lot. I was also encouraged a lot by it too. I also hope to put some more things into practice over the next few months!
One nice thing about flash fiction in particular is it is an easy form to share online. The reduced word count means it is easy enough to share a story and it is the best way I know of showing people new to the format what flash fiction is all about.
And it is lovely to share some new stories on this page too from time to time. I find it great fun to do and I hope to share some more before too long.
I hope to catch up with some story writing over the weekend. Whatever your writing and/or reading plans are, I hope you enjoy them!
Although flash fiction is necessarily short, I still mix up the length of sentences in my stories. I like a nice balance of short and longer sentences to give my tales a sense of rhythm. To me, this seems more natural to read. Nothing is at a fast pace all the time. Even in a flash story there can be pauses even if it is a pause of one line before the action starts up again.
Happily listening to Holst’s The Planet Suite on Classic FM when I drafted this. My favourite from it, Jupiter, is always one piece I turn the volume up for!
What I love about this suite is that each piece within it reminds me of a musical short story/flash fiction. Each piece represents each planet and they are so different. It is, to me, as if each piece is telling its own story.
And so nice to write and/or relax to as well!
Do you listen to music while writing? What kind helps most and why?
Fairytales With Bite –
Ten Things I Look For in a Good Story
I suspect there won’t be any great surprises here but each one should be a challenge to all of us to ensure we keep doing these!
- Characters I love or love to loathe. They’ve got to be memorable.
- Situations which are critical for the characters. They’ve got to strive for something important.
- A setting I would love to visit! (Anyone fancy a trip to The Shire in The Lord of the Rings? Mordor, I’d be happy to miss!).
- Great pace. Absolutely no boring bits!
- It’s a story I’d be happy to re-read at any time and enjoy it all over again.
- Humour, where apt for the story and the characters. I have a very soft spot for irony.
- Tragedy, when necessary as it often is, not to be overdone. (I think tragedy has much more of an impact when it does not become melodrama).
- Snappy dialogue.
- Catchphrases I can remember – and enjoy doing so.
- The story shows me something of the human condition which I’d either not considered before or reaffirms something. Funny stories can do this surprisingly well.
What are the most important elements to a story for you?
This World and Others –
Where to Find Ideas for Creating Your Fictional World
The best way by far is to read plenty of books across all genres and I do mean all. You can obviously learn directly from science fiction and fantasy as to how their worlds are set up. You learn a lot from what the writer decided you as the reader needed to know. But bear in mind you can also learn from history (fiction and non-fiction).
There is a lot of truth in the saying “the past is a different country, they do things differently there”. For a writer that’s wonderful stuff. So consider going back in time and having your fictional world set there. But do your research.
For example, readers may not need to know every detail of King Henry VIII’s court but they do need to know how many times he was married and how that affected life in the country (clue: it did and in a massive way!).
As for crime novels, again look at what the authors decided you needed to know. Setting is often used almost as a character in its own right in crime novels. What can you learn from that and apply to what you’re writing?
Work out a list of what you think you need to know. Then do a second one working out what it is a reader needs to know so they get the most from your story. And good luck!