Now there’s a combination for you!
Image Credit: Pixabay/Pexels unless stated.
Facebook – General
Big news in the Symes’ household is we all managed to get our hair cut this week – AND I’ve mowed the lawn so that’s trim too now. Absolutely nothing else here will need a cut for some time so that’s good. (Lady doesn’t need a trim, ever. Cleaning, yes, especially if she’s rolled in rabbit/deer poo again but a trim, no. Funnily enough, she tends to leave fox poo alone and yes I am grateful for that.).
I only wish I could say my writing never needs cutting but alas! Editing is what makes a story come to life for me. Why? Because the wasted words come out, anything that needs trampling does get trampled, and what I’m left with is the real story. I wish there was a quicker way to get to the “meat” of the story but I suspect every writer has wished that at some point before picking up the red pen and getting on with the edit!
Reading widely and well helps fuel your own imagination. It is also a huge challenge to you as a writer. After all, if you read a story that makes you go “Wow”, your next response is probably going to be along the lines of “I want my stories to have the ‘Wow’ factor”.
How to achieve that? There is no one quick fix answer to that (given the wide differences in reading tastes etc), but for me character development is a major part of it. Why?
Because if a reader can follow how your character develops and changes during the course of a 100-word story, a 1500 worder, or a 100,000 words novel, then they are hooked. It is only by being hooked to the story you’re reading the author has any chance of generating that “Wow” factor at all.
And it is always, for me, the character that keeps me reading. I want to find out what happens to THEM rather than discover how clever the plot is (though the really great “Wow” stories achieve both and I can guess at the hard work that has gone into getting to that point).
How has your Monday gone? As ever, mine went by in a whirl though the best bit by far was Lady having a great playtime with her best buddie, a lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback. Always lovely to watch them play.
There will be a new series coming up on Chandler’s Ford Today by yours truly towards the end of this month where I talk about useful tips for newbie writers to know. There are wonderful guest contributions and it should make a good insight for someone at the start of their writing journey. More details to be put up nearer the time.
And the great thing with series like this is, given there is always something for writers to learn and apply to their own writing, there will be something in this for the more experienced writer too.
No one writer knows everything but the sharing of knowledge and advice is invaluable. I know I’ve been most appreciative of the knowledge and advice that has come my way.
I’ve had one of those lovely tasks to do – choose a book cover pic for my second flash fiction collection, Tripping the Flash Fantastic. Job done. Really enjoyed doing that and can’t wait to share it with you in due course.
Meanwhile, with feet back firmly on the ground, I’ve plenty of editing and writing to be getting on with. Mind you, another task I’ve loved so far this week has been to put the finishing touches on my CFT post for Friday. I’ll be looking at certain favourites covering lots of different categories and there are a few reminiscent Youtube clips with this post too.
Looking forward to taking part in a Zoom workshop tomorrow afternoon. That should be good fun and keep me on my toes. (Just hope Lady keeps quiet while it is on! I guess she could run a Woof workshop if it came to it…!).
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Flash fiction may be quicker to write due to the reduced word count but it takes as much craft as its longer cousins in getting the stories ready for submission.
You still need to edit and check that every word you leave in adds to the story and that the tale would lose something important if you take it out. (That “something important” can be anything from character development to the story not making grammatical sense without it).
I’ve mentioned before that I often read stories aloud to literally hear for myself how the tale sounds. What looks good on paper doesn’t always read well so out comes the editing pen.
The huge advantage of flash fiction here is that this reading out loud process is quicker to do – not so much to read out loud for a start! But I think because flash has to make a powerful impact due to its reduced word count, even more care has to be taken to ensure that every word you leave in punches its weight and contributes.
Pleased to say I’ll have another flash fiction piece on Cafelit soon. Will say more later in the week and share the link in due course.
I do love writing and reading the very short form. I suppose what I like most is there isn’t long to wait until the pay-off! It also means even when pressed for time, I can make time for the two minutes read!
Do I prefer stories that deliver on the premise or the ones that wrongfoot me? I love both.
It can be fun to try and guess at the ending of a tale (though this is harder to do for a 100-worder. Why? Because the 100-word form is roughly a paragraph so it would be very easy to read the whole thing before remembering you were going to try and guess what the ending was!).
I’ve talked about titles before but some tips I’ve found particularly helpful include:-
1. Keep your title short. It makes it more memorable and saves on word count.
2. Impact of title is more important than word count (but that’s true for the story too!).
3. Does your title idea reflect the mood of the story or can it be open to interpretation? I am very fond of the latter as it gives so much flexibility but there are times I want to set the mood so I choose an appropriate title accordingly.
4. Alliteration Always An Idea but Don’t Overuse It!
5. Never be afraid to change a title if the one you first came up with really isn’t working for you. I find I need a title to work “to” when drafting but have changed it when a better idea comes up and it often does as you’re writing that first draft.
Put yourself in a potential reader’s shoes and ask yourself if your title “grabs” you the way it should do. This is again where time away from the story helps. I recommend at least a week away from it (and ideally a fortnight). Time away makes all the difference in terms of the fresh perspective you have on the story when you re-read it.
Nice day today working with the book cover designer on Tripping the Flash Fantastic. Look forward to revealing more later.
This, of course, is the lovely side to writing where you can see your work almost ready to be out there in the big, bad world. What isn’t seen is the writing, rewriting, editing etc that goes on to get the stories into shape for a collection like this.
It is so true that overnight success usually takes years!
The Short Read or the Three Volume Epic?
Okay, so what would be your first choice? I must admit I’m torn as I love both.
A lot would depend on time available and I love reading, as well as writing, the short forms of fiction. I love the idea of crystallising a whole world in a few hundred words or so.
Short story and flash fiction collections have the huge advantage of giving you a chance to taste an author’s work and see if you like it before you read their longer works. From a writing viewpoint, it is lovely to be able to write and submit short stories and flash tales to different markets and competitions while working on longer term, bigger projects in the background.
But for the creation of a huge world it’s hard to beat the three volume epic and The Lord of the Rings is the definitive version of that for me. (Just don’t drop the book on your foot!).
It is a little ironic that, as a flash fiction writer, I veer between the quick read and the very long one! But then maybe that is why. There are times I need to read the exact opposite of what I do.
Hmm… I guess that means I ought to get around to War and Peace then!