All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.
Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
My author picture taken by my other half, Adrian Symes.
Hope the weather is as okay as possible where you are – it has been rather cold here. There is a beauty about snow and ice but I prefer to admire it from indoors!
Facebook – General
Had some snow today but by mid-afternoon most had melted. Anyone else thinking no matter how many layers you do put on, it still isn’t enough? Okay, not just me then.
Looking forward to sharing Part 4 of Launches in Lockdown on Friday where I’ll be talking to the first batch of writers from CafeLit, Chapeltown Books, and Bridge House Publishing.
Again encouraging comments are coming in for this series so a big thanks for that. And I hope it does inspire writers who are wondering how on earth to hold their launches this year with ideas for just how they can!
There will be one part of this series on Friday week and after that I plan to write a round-up of what I’ve been doing as there have been developments over the last few weeks I’m longing to share. By the time this post is due, I should be able to share what I would like to share!
It is one of the oddities of the writing life that things tend to come in batches and often when you’re not expecting them. Still it all keeps me out of mischief and on my toes.
Most of my time at the moment is taken up with writing various non-fiction items which I’ll be sharing later in February and into March (and will be part of my round-up CFT post too). All good fun to do though.
I am enjoying making my short story videos for Youtube. They’re great adverts for my work and a fantastic way to share one and two line stories. (And all counts as part of my marketing of course!). See below for my most recent one, Intelligent Life.
Facebook – General – Guest Blog Appearance
Many thanks to fellow Swanwicker, #ElizabethDucie, for hosting me on her blog today. Great fun to take part and I will have to get around to having the T-shirt made up (see the post itself for why!). It’s also appropriate for me when I’m wearing my editor’s hat (again see the post for why – come on, no spoilers here!).
I hope to meet up with Elizabeth again in August when hopefully Swanwick will be running again. She carries out sterling service running the Swanwick Book Room, something I know is much appreciated by everyone. (And it will be so nice having more than one book of mine there next time!).
No snow as yet here in my part of the world but the wind is building up in strength and it is so cold out there. Still nothing better than to settle down to my writing for this evening with a big mug of Options Hot Chocolate in my favourite Creme Egg mug alongside! (The irony here – the hot chocolate has far less calories in it than the Creme Egg!).
Fiction writers, what would you say was your favourite thing to write? For me it is either dialogue or a character’s internal thoughts and for the same reason – these show something of your character to your reader. These help your readers form judgments about those characters (and of course the fun then starts as your reader carries on with the story to find out if those thoughts were right or not!).
Managed to submit my short story today. Followed my own advice to take off a couple of weeks from the official deadline. Just as well I did too as I spotted an error in the way I’d titled my story. It has to be one of those which are submitted anonymously and I had missed something here so that was sorted out pronto and story then submitted.
It always pays to double and even triple check you’ve got your submission right for the requirements of the publisher or competition. That is never wasted time!
Hope Saturday has been okay. We actually had some sunshine today and Lady had a bonus surprise as she got to see her best buddie over at the park today. Both dogs thrilled to see each other. Never let anyone tell you dogs can’t feel emotions – they so do. (Still a right mudfest in the park, mind you).
Writing wise I’m preparing material which I can say more about in March. Yes, I know (!) though March will be here before we know it. Am champing at the bit to share the news but it will keep for now!
I’m hoping to submit a short story later this weekend (probably tomorrow I think). Very happy with my character – she makes me laugh and yes she is meant to so if she does this for me, hopefully she’ll do so for others though it will be a while before I know the result. Delighted to have two stories in CafeLit 10 for later this year too.
Am also preparing and editing future blog material.
Worst writing challenge? I think it is knowing when to say that’s it, get the story or article out there, and test the water. The way I gauge things here is looking to see if any other changes would really add anything to the story. If the answer is no, then it’s time to get the work out there.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Many thanks for the likes for my Intelligent Life short story video yesterday. Much appreciated.
And the videos are different ways of getting the stories across, which pleases me. They make me think laterally about what images would work best for the story. Sometimes there are direct links (as in the UFO in this one). Sometimes I find a plain landscape background works better especially if I haven’t set a story anywhere specific in time or space.
I use Book Brush to create the videos, I upload them to Youtube, and then edit that to include an audio track. Did I think I’d be doing things like this when I first started writing seriously? Absolutely not for the good reason the technology to do it simply wasn’t there! I am from the era where Pacman was the thing in computer graphics (younger readers, check out the picture! It really was like that).
Is there intelligent life on earth? Well, my latest flash fiction story video gives two views on that. Which do you agree with?!
Oh and I think I found the perfect soundtrack for this one – many thanks, Youtube!
Flash tales work well across the genres, which is one of the things I love most about it, but I also feel humour comes across especially well here.
As you are looking to impact your reader with an emotional response with your story, why not go for the laugh? I often use twist endings in my stories but a good punchline is fabulous to end a story on and I love reading such as well as writing them. (Couldn’t we all do with stories that make you feel good right now? And a giggie is a fab way to go here!).
Also if you have a funny scene from a longer story that you can’t justify keeping in there because it interrupts the flow, doesn’t really add anything to the tale etc., instead of just binning the material, could you take another look at it and turn it into a self-contained flash piece? Would be worth a go I would have thought. If it works, you’ve got a piece you can submit elsewhere.
For my author FB page tonight, I mentioned that one of the worst challenges for a writer is knowing when a work is finished and it really is time to get the work out there somewhere. I judge this by asking honestly if any further changes really would do anything more for the story. When the answer is no, the story gets sent out. Now this does apply to flash fiction obviously though there is one more check I do and it specifically relates to the flash fiction format.
Why? Because I am thinking of two things with my flash tales – impact and word count (and in that order too).
So my last edit on a flash story is to check certain phrases to make sure I have used the best, strongest words to conjure up the image I want readers to see and that the story does have the impact I want it to have.
An odd tweak here and there can make all the difference but when you have got to this point, you know this will be the final edit and after that the story gets sent out.
If I end up with a choice between two words and both have the same kind of impact, I go for the one that my character is most likely to think or say. If I have a pompous character, say, then whatever they come up with is going to reflect that pomposity (and hopefully in a humorous way too!).
Goodreads Author Blog – Books for the Professions
At the end (almost) of a busy week, I thought I’d share books for the professions. Some of these may have been edited a little!
Plumbers – Leak House, David Copperpipe.
Lawyers – Pride and (Without) Prejudice
Postmen – Going Postal (no editing there!) and any of the old penny dreadfuls though for these good people they would naturally become the old penny blacks!
Tree Surgeons – Wind in the Willows (also a good one for weather forecasters), The (tree) House on Pooh Corner.
Writers – The War of the Words, James and the Giant Pen
Interior Decorators – Curtain (Agatha Christie’s last Poirot novel).
Dentists – White Teeth (what else?!).
I’m very fond of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, which is on Radio 4, where the panellists will often have to come up with books or film titles for a specific profession. All good fun. Hope you enjoyed these and do send in your suggestions for suitable books for certain jobs.
liked Allison Symes’s blog post: Books For The Professions https://t.co/NI6mBprdeu via @goodreads I share some humorous book title suggestions for various professions this week. See what you think and send your own suggestions in! pic.twitter.com/Vxd0TbZJy6— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 6, 2021