Image Credit: All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
I talk about the types of book I read at certain times of year in this week’s CFT post. Which books do you save for particular times? Which can you read at any time? Comments as ever are most welcome on the CFT comments page.
Oh and happy reading!
Further to my CFT post this week about seasonal books, do you write seasonally? Are there specific types of story you only write at certain times of year? Do the seasons help with your writing in an way?
I keep roughly to the same amount of time in writing throughout the year and see advantages to all of the seasons. The lighter evenings improve mood and that can help creativity. The darker evenings encourage me to spend more time at my desk writing so win-win there!
I have written Christmas based stories for both From Light to Dark and Back Again and now Tripping the Flash Fantastic. I can’t honestly remember what time of year I wrote them. I DO know it wasn’t at Christmas. I do take some time off around then for one thing. For another, I also sometimes submit these kind of flash stories to Cafelit and I like to get them in well ahead of time.
It is always the characters I remember in well loved books, films etc. Sometimes I remember a killer line such as “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off” from The Italian Job. But mainly it is the characters I recall. Why?
I suppose it’s because most writers, including me, are interested in what makes people tick. We need to understand motivations so we can give our own characters credible ones readers will latch onto and accept (even if they loathe the characters themselves. Mind you, there is nothing to beat booing at a “good” villain now, is there?!).
And people watching will spark off ideas for characters and stories. I’ve used the colour of someone’s hat that I liked amongst other things. And, of course, there is the old favourite of overhearing something, always out of context incidentally, but wondering what would make YOUR characters come out with something like that. (This is especially true if what you hear is funny!).
Am busily preparing a book trailer for Tripping the Flash Fantastic as well as finishing off blog pieces to submit. All good fun!
It’s always interesting being on the receiving end of questions, by the way. I love interviewing other authors for Chandler’s Ford Today but it is always fun to be quizzed myself. The best questions always encourage an interviewee to expand. The worst kind are those where you’ll only get a Yes/No answer.
I’ve mentioned before the idea of interviewing your characters as it helps you outline your “people” and you get a better idea of what they are capable of before you write their story. Pretty much the same applies here – again ask your characters interesting questions. Make them talk!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Just a quick reminder I’ll be on Chat and Spin Radio talking about the joys of flash fiction tomorrow night, 3rd October, at about 9.15 pm.
Also just over a week to go to my cyberlaunch for Tripping the Flash Fantastic. Hope to see you “there”. And if you have questions about flash fiction, do send them in on the night.
Flash is a fantastic form to write and to read and well worth celebrating. It is also my hope it can be used to draw in the reluctant reader to the wonderful world of books.
Focusing on what really matters is important to any kind of writing but the spotlight is turned up a LOT when your word count is DOWN! But the benefits of that are you have a more intense story precisely because it is short and the impact on a reader can be stronger too.
Flash shows you a very brief moment in time for a character but oh what a moment! And that’s the whole point. That moment must be something truly transforming for the character. It doesn’t have to be in a good way either.
In Tripping The Flash Fantastic, in my story Understanding, I used a narrator showing the reader something about another character’s life. Liked the way this worked and I hope to do more of this in future. Seeing something through someone else’s eyes can shed a whole new perspective on things and that can be true for fiction too.
BONUS POST. Two bits of late news, as they say.
1. I’ll be on Chat and Spin Radio this coming Saturday, 3rd October to chat about Tripping the Flash Fantastic. I’ll be on at about 9.15 pm and will share the link with the interview later.
2. I’ve finally got around to creating a story for me on Facebook.
Wet Wednesday here. Lady not overly impressed. I was even less impressed. Still, one good thing about bad weather, is it makes getting back to a nice warm room to get on with some writing even more appealing!
Delighted to share part of another review for Tripping the Flash Fantastic. Many thanks to “Fish Lady” for:-
Allison’s stories always make you stop and think a little – there is something slightly off-centre in the way her characters see the world, and she switches effortlessly from humorous tales to stories with a harder bite. A real treat for readers who enjoy being taken on a mystery tour.
It’s always great to know when your stories impact on readers positively. And a huge encouragement to keep on writing.
The writing life is full of ups and downs and the encouragements help enormously when things are on the down side.
This is another reason I like writing flash fiction I think. I can produce something fairly quickly and submit it. I don’t have to wait too long for results and, if they’re positive, it ends up being that I receive a steady stream of encouragements. And that helps so much.
Fairytales with Bite – Transformations
Transformations are a classic part of fairytales. I wonder what the rats who became footmen remembered when they became rats again! And how easy did they find becoming bipeds when usually they were quadrupeds? Did the spell on them take away all thought of what they had been? Hmm…
Transformations can often be for good, of course, but not always. Sometimes they can be questionable. I doubt if the fairy godmother in Cinderella would have won any prizes for the humane treatment of animals given her transformation of the rats. They had been quite happy being rats after all!
All stories do need some sort of transformation. There has to be a change for there to be any story at all.
Whether you make that transformation good, evil, or questionable will depend so much on (a) you and your personal tastes and (b) your characters.
The transformation must be true to the character though always. If someone evil is going to transform into something better (and you define what that better is!), then you do need to show that character as at least having second thoughts about their behaviour in the run up to that transformation. It will make the transformation more realistic for your readers and they will be more willing to believe it.
The only place things happen by magic is in the fairytales and even in Cinderella you have the situation where the godmother has to look around for things to use. That is a signal to the reader that something is about to change.
This World and Others – Reflections
Do your characters ever reflect on their actions and if so, how? You generally don’t want monologues here but a character wondering about a course of action is a character showing signs of self-doubt, vulnerability even, and that is likely to appeal to a reader. Certainly readers will understand it. We all have those moments after all.
Does your world reflect this one or have you set up something totally different? (Even the latter can be a reflection of life here to an extent!).
What would you like your characters and/or world to reflect? This could be anything from what you would like them/you to be or they could be the opposite to you and you use your stories as chances to see how things would play out.
Have fun! But a story that makes readers reflect on what they would do if they were in your character’s shoes is a story that is making an impact and that is always good.#