All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
Images of Dawn Knox, the photos of the stage productions of her plays, and her book covers were kindly supplied by her.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
Delighted to share Part 2 of a fascinating interview with Dawn Knox for Chandler’s Ford Today. Dawn is a fellow CafeLit and Bridge House Publishing author and has written wonderful flash fiction (see her The Great War – it is a great example of what flash fiction can do and be) and fabulous funny stories. Her latest collection, The Macaroon Chronicles, is out now.
We talk about what drew Dawn into writing flash fiction, her links with her local radio station, writing routines, how she balances writing with marketing, and what she thinks is the most fulfilling aspect of her career to date amongst other interesting topics.
Dawn and I took part in a Zoom event back in September which was great fun and we are both looking forward to the Bridge House Publishing celebration event tomorrow, 5th December. Hope to see you there! Where would we be without Zoom now?!
A huge thanks to Dawn Kentish Knox for taking part in a fabulous two part interview with me for Chandler’s Ford Today. I look forward to catching up with her and other Bridge House writers at the BHP celebration event tomorrow! We would prefer to meet in person but right now this is not possible and Zoom is the next best thing!
Nice to be able to resume swimming today. Did my usual number of lengths but let’s say I won’t be setting any world records here… Not that I intended to do so anyway so that’s okay.
Looking forward to sharing Part 2 of a wonderful chat with Dawn Knox on Chandler’s Ford Today tomorrow.
Saturday will be busy with the Bridge House event in the afternoon and directly after that I’m off to my church in Romsey to record a Bible reading for a service that is being recorded to be shown via Zoom nearer to Christmas Day.
I am going to miss the traditional carol services though I have had a couple of invites to Zoom ones so I will try and tune in to at least one of those. I do enjoy a good sing. Whether anyone else does is another matter!
It’s strange sometimes the memories that come up on Facebook. Earlier this morning they put up a picture of me reading from From Light to Dark and Back Again at a Bridge House event held in a pub (and yes a very good time was had by all!). I’ll be reading on Zoom on Saturday for this year’s BHP event where I plan to read from one of my winning stories from the Waterloo Arts Festival.
Now the event is free to go to but you do need to register. Hope to see you there. There will be readings and giveaways. It will make a great way to spend a cold December afternoon! (See images below for some of the books we will be celebrating!).
From three years ago – where has the time gone? I was reading from newly released From Light to Dark and Back Again at a Bridge House Publishing event. This year? I’ll be reading again at a BHP event but on Saturday via Zoom! Annoyingly, I can’t find the original picture but one thing that has developed over the last year or two has been a love of reading flash fiction out at events like the BHP ones and I hope to do more of this. Flash works very well as a “performance” read.
Great to see a review come in for The Best of Cafelit 9. If you are after an anthology which has a real mix of stories and writing styles, do check the Cafelit books out. I often use collections and anthologies as my go to for reading between novels. I don’t always know what I want to read after finishing a novel so switch to short stories and flash fiction collections for a while before deciding what my next big read will be.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes write a flash fiction story “backwards” in that the first line I write is what will be the final one in the story. I then work out different ways I could get to that point and pick the one I think works best.
I sometimes use spider diagrams to help me work out what would be the one to work best. Usually it is a case of if one idea triggers a lot of other thoughts then that is a good indication there is strength in that idea.
If an idea only triggers the odd thought to come off from it, then I’ve got to ask am I likely to run out of steam if I go that route (and the answer to that is inevitably yes. I’ve only ever abandoned two stories in all the years I’ve been writing and in both cases I had not thought them out properly and did indeed run out of said steam for them! So if you’ve wondered why I’m such a fan of ensuring I know my characters well enough to write about them properly, now you know!).
One of my stories in Tripping The Flash Fantastic is called The Wish List. With your reader’s and/or writer’s hat on what would you wish for? You can have three wishes for a reader’s requirements and three for a writer’s one. My answers below.
I wish to never run out of ideas.
I wish to never run out of energy to write them up.
I wish to always love every aspect of the writing process.
Nice thing with this is the last one isn’t usually a problem but we all get days when we’re tired, have too much to do in too little time, and so some of the enjoyment of writing can lag. What you want there is for that feeling to never last long!
I wish to always know what I’m going to read next. (Lack of wonderful material isn’t the issue here. It is prioritising!)
I wish to learn something useful to my own writing from everything I read. (Often do and generally positively. Occasionally I come across a story that didn’t work for me but even there I learn something. I look at why it didn’t work for me).
I wish that everyone had full literacy skills and access to good libraries. (Possibly sneaking in an extra wish there but it is an understandable one so maybe the Book Fairy Godmother will let me off that!).
I was having a chat over on Twitter at #writingchat about where writing has taken you. I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t start out as a flash fiction writer. That came about as a result of writing short stories for CafeLit and then taking up their 100 word challenge. I’m not sorry for that particular writing detour!
And it is why I do say be open to trying new styles of writing. You may well hit upon something you really love as I have. It’s also fun to experiment with your writing like this. If you decide you don’t like it, fine, but if you do… well it’s another string to the old writing bow, isn’t it?
Three top tips for flash fiction writing:-
1. Outline your character so you know who you are writing about and why you want to write about them.
2. Get the story down first and worry about the word count later. If a tale works better at 500 words then 100, leave it at 500.
3. Reading your work out loud is a great idea as it helps you pick up on the “rhythm” of your prose. If you stumble over it, a reader is likely to do so too. The great thing with flash is that this is so easy to do. You’re only reading out a short piece of work!
Fairytales With Bite – Codes
What codes do you think should exist in a magical environment? I offer up the following ideas for a Code of Conduct for a Magical World.
- No drawing of wands in an enclosed space. Do you want to make the whole building go up or become a giant white mouse or something?
- Those with the ability to fly, whether it be by wings or broomsticks or other magical object, will observe the speed limits or risk being enchanted by the Magical Traffic Police. And their spells have been known to go horribly wrong. Yes, traffic enforcers do get everywhere.
- Those with the highest magical powers will not bully the ones who are still learning the craft. That may have been considered a fine tradition once upon a time but times have changed. Also the underdog in the fairytales has a consistent habit of having their fortunes turned around thanks to a friendly fairy godmother. Do you really want them coming after you for revenge on what you did to them all those years previously? Best be cautious here.
Hope you enjoyed those. But if you are planning out a magical world for your stories, it does pay to work out who can do what. If everyone has the same magical powers, they’re going to cancel each other out. So how do the different magical species live in harmony with another? So some sort of agreement/code is going to be necessary after all!
This World and Others – Differences
Does your fictional world celebrate the differences between cultures, species etc? Or is there a dominant culture/species that seeks to dominate the others? How do the others react to that?
Even when there is no hostility between species, what are the differences between your characters? Do they get along well or irritate the hell out of each other?
How do differences in character/how characters handle situations play out in your stories? You are looking for what drives your characters to act the way they are but they will have their reasons for their behaviour.
Are these good reasons? Do the characters need to change their outlook?
What differences do other characters bring to your leads and are these for good or ill?
Above all, what difference is there in your main characters at the end of the story as opposed to when the story starts? There should be pivotal change. That is the story!