All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.
Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
Facebook – General
I don’t know whether it’s just me or does January feel like it has been with us for ages already?! Very muddy outing to the park with Lady this morning. Not that she worries… (and I do bless my late mum for leaving me with loads of towels. So useful at this time of year – and yes I’d be at a loss without my washing machine too).
Talking of necessary equipment, is there something crucial to your writing you cannot do without and if so what is it? I’ll take a PC/laptop with printer for granted but other than those things?
For me it is down to software. I can’t be without Scrivener and Evernote. And being old school the old notebook and pen still plays a major part in my life (and will do so even more when we can get to writing conferences and the like again).
Looking forward to sharing my CFT post this week. I’m talking to YA author, Richard Hardie, about the challenges of lockdown he has faced both as publisher and author. Most insightful.
After that will begin my month long series, Launches in Lockdown, where my splendid guest authors talk with me about how they’ve launched books during this strange period. A couple of them launched three! Now there’s a challenge…! (Actually if you count the anthologies I’ve been in recently, I can include myself in that number too – and yes it has been a challenge!).
New Story Video
Pleased to share my latest story video, You Said. Hope you enjoy. Have been having fun choosing suitable audio tracks via Youtube to add to things like this though I always use the free to use ones. It is the audio equivalent to Pixabay for me! (Oh and a big thanks for the lovely responses to my Flying Too High story on CafeLit yesterday – see below!).
Lady got to play with her best friend today so, unsurprisingly, she is rather tired (and her pal will be too). They also got to play with a lovely staffy pup though at one point I did find myself as the “meat in the sandwich” between two muscular dogs – the young staffy and Lady’s Ridgeback pal. I moved quick! Dogs, bless them, generally do not look where they are going when they are busy having a riotous and fun time with each other!
Looking forward to taking part in an interview in February. More details nearer the time. And there will be blog news to share later too. So a nice start to the writing week though what is it about Mondays that are so draining? Answers on a postcard…!
CafeLit Publication News
Am delighted to share Flying too High on CafeLit. Start the year as you mean to go on and all that…
Also pleased to say my recent post about receiving a tote bag with my cover for Tripping The Flash Fantastic garnered an incredible amount of responses. Many thanks, everyone – and, of course, to Chapeltown Books!
What is the most challenging aspect of writing for you? Is it continually coming up with ideas? Is it dealing with rejections/no hears from publishers, agents etc?
The positive thing here is that there are precious few writers who’ve not experienced either or both of these so (a) you’re not alone and (b) I’ve found most other writers to be wonderful sources of tea and sympathy. Okay right now we have to make our own tea and share the sympathy over Zoom, Facebook etc but the support is still out there.
Hope you enjoy Flying Too High. It was great fun to write.
My story, Flying Too High, will be on CafeLit tomorrow so I look forward to sharing the link for that then. Nice start to the writing year. (First submission under the new system CafeLit are using but it worked well).
Must admit I do hope we can have our usual Bridge House events later on in the year but must just wait and see. Having said that, the Zoom events were good fun and it was great to see people that way.
Am currently drafting a standard length short story which I hope to submit to Bridge House in due course.
Am getting my Launches in Lockdown series together and that is coming along nicely.
I’ve mentioned before I usually listen to Classic FM when I’m writing as I find that kind of music relaxes me and when I relax, I write more (and I hope better!). But there are exceptions to this. I tune into podcasts too (mostly notably Wendy H Jones’ excellent The Writing and Marketing Show).
I deliberately save some writing tasks for when I’m listening to spoken word like this. This is the time for those tasks when I know what I’ve got to write and it is a question of just getting it down. When I need to focus hard because I’m working out an outline and story idea, it’s definitely time for the music because that can and does wash over me (but that helps me relax and ideas for me flow better when I’m relaxed).
You do get into a pattern of work that suits you. It took me a while to figure out what worked best for me but now I know, I stick to it!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
I don’t know whether to bless or moan at whoever is putting the Tom and Jerry cartoons on Facebook videos… I have to ration myself strictly with these, having many, many happy memories of watching these when I was a kid. Of course the great joy with these cartoons is they are a complete story in and of themselves and by the time they finish, you have had a good laugh (and hopefully are ready for the next one).
Flash fiction can be like that! And the great thing is that, dependent on the mood of the story, by the time you’ve finished reading it, you should be ready for the next funny or scary piece, as the case may be.
Learn from the cartoons! Leave your audience having had a great time with your story and wanting the next one. Oh and deliver the next one, the one after that etc etc of course!
I mix up how I start a flash fiction piece. Sometimes I will work to an opening line. Now every so often I will have brainstorming sessions and come up with a whole host of these for me to pick later on to work into stories. Highly recommend doing that. It means there is always something for me to fall back on to work into a story.
I also work to a closing line (and yes I have brainstorming sessions and list a whole host of these too).
Sometimes a phrase or proverb will catch my attention and I will often use these as the theme for my tale, though every so often, I will use it as the title as well.
And of course I am working my way through Prompts by Gill James. I will work my way through these eventually, honest!
Sometimes a character’s voice comes to me and I will start a tale with what “they” tell me.
My Punish The Innocent in From Light to Dark and Back Again began life that way. And the opening for that is:-
They say the perfect crime is where the criminal doesn’t get caught. Wrong…
Well, with a strong character voice like that, I just had to go with it! (And if you want to find out more, you can check the book out at am Amazon Author Central page here!).
I also like mixing up how I approach a piece as it makes things more interesting for me and, I hope, for a reader too.
Hope you enjoyed my Fairies acrostic flash story yesterday. Acrostics are good fun to write and they work best when they are kept short so are perfect as a different form of flash storytelling. It also means the individual lines can’t be too long either. Again no bad thing!
I decide on what the acrostic word will be first and then ideas come from that. Fairies, for example, are known to not always be that nice so that gave me the theme for this one.
I wouldn’t want to write this kind of flash tale all the time but every so often to ring the changes suits me.
F = Fantastical creatures who are not always that nice.
A = Avoid angering them as they will find a way of repaying you.
I = Imogen, silly, girl, jumped up and down and stamped out their magic circle.
R = Revenge came quickly – as anyone with any sense could’ve told her.
I = Imogen is now entrapped in her own magic circle.
E = Exiting it is out of the question and there she must stay unless…
S = She accepts she was out of order and humbles herself and says sorry
Two days later… she is still there.
Allison Symes – 9th January 2021
Hope you enjoy the above and mind who you annoy!
Goodreads Author Blog – Books as Gifts
Books make wonderful presents, of course. There is something for everyone in terms of genre and format. And they’re easy to post as well (which given the current situation with the pandemic proved vital for the Christmas we’ve just had. I wonder just how many book-shaped parcels Royal Mail delivered in December 2020!).
There is one dilemma with books given as gifts though. You have got to resist the urge to read the book yourself or you’ll find it harder to give it away. Get the book home, get it wrapped! It is the only way…. Or is it?
Okay, there is an answer to this one. Get two copies of the book. You get a book, your friend gets a book (which has not been read through by you first!) and the author will love you for it.
You know it makes sense. Support your local authors!
I’m always delighted to be on the receiving end of books as presents and for Christmas and my birthday, I end up making a list. No surprises there but as I always tell my family, it does mean I’m easy to buy for!
Yes, books are wonderful. Ideal presents. And for those who loathe shopping of any kind (and I know a few!), you can give them a list and simplify what they have to do so win-win!
liked Allison Symes's blog post: Books as Gifts https://t.co/sCyLoX9NN9 via @goodreads I discuss the joys of books as presents for my Goodreads blog this week. Hope you enjoy. pic.twitter.com/ApRW6of9fB— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) January 9, 2021