All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.
Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m in the process of setting up an author newsletter. I plan to issue this on the 1st of every month, starting in March.
More details in one of my posts further down (along with what has led to this – a big development for me, which I’m so thrilled about).
And the sign up is right here on this very website on my landing page. Screenshot of what you can expect to see below. And there’s a giveaway when you sign up too.
Facebook – General
Hope your Tuesday has gone well. Lady’s claw is continuing its slow progress to breaking through. It is just under the skin now so it really is a question of time before it comes through.
Lady is the Doctor Who dog – she regenerates claws! This will be the second one…! (I do hope there is not a three strikes and you’re out rule here. I’d equally be happy if Lady never rips her claws again!).
I’ll be sharing the link to the final part of my Launches in Lockdown series on Friday. When I write series for Chandler’s Ford Today, I usually stick to three parts but there was so much useful information in this one, I knew it had to be extended. A big thanks to everyone for their positive comments on this series and I hope it proves useful to those planning their launches this year. (Can’t wait to go to book events in person again mind you!).
Am busy getting ready for a couple of recording sessions coming up over the next week or two. I’ve had one dummy run with a Zoom session to myself. I recorded it, practiced screen sharing, and discovered that when you end the meeting to yourself, Zoom converts the recording to an mp4 for you. This is going to prove useful I think.
I used to use Audacity for recording short stories and flash tales so I could play them back. It’s a good technique for literally hearing what works and what does not. Good to see Zoom means you can bring that technique in for video too!
Delighted to share a screenshot of Big Al and Book Pals’ recent review of Tripping the Flash Fantastic which is now on Amazon.com (USA). There are three UK based reviews there too. Many thanks, everyone.
Now I know for a lot of people, including me, Monday is just one of those days you usually want to get behind you! So what do you write or read to wind down? Monday is one of those days where I have a lot of manual tasks to do so by the time I get to my desk in the evening, I’m reasonably tired. So now is not the time to get on with something challenging and stretching. I need more of my wits about me for that!
What I do instead is draft. Lots and lots of drafts. Some of these drafts will end up as posts for Chandler’s Ford Today, Authors Electric, More Than Writers, etc. Others will be draft flash fiction stories I will polish up at a later date.
What I have learned to do (though it took me a good while to get there) is to recognise what days of the week are best for which kinds of writing work I want to crack on with and I base that on what I know I am likely to feel by the time I sit at my desk.
Doing this has meant I’ve learned to use my time productively. Drafting something for later use is never a waste of time and also gives you a supply of material to work on when time is short later on. You’ve almost given yourself a head start here. So win-win here and I like that! (It makes me feel better about Mondays too!).
I must admit I was hoping the rain today would bring the temperature up somewhat but err… no! It is still perishing out there. Lady’s new claw is just under the skin now and we did have to go back to the vets on Friday for additional pain relief for her. Imagine that this is the equivalent of a toddler cutting a tooth and you get the idea. Once the claw is through, all will be well, but for the next few days it is going to be gentle exercise and lead walking. Lady will be okay with that but she is the kind of dog who does have to have some exercise of some sort. We just need to modify what it is at the moment but hopefully not for long. Am looking forward to seeing her running around again in her usual bonkers manner with her best buddie in due course!
As you can imagine, what with the international summit coming up and my setting up an author newsletter (see below for more on this – there are a few times having a date led blog doesn’t pay off as it leads to spoilers but never mind!), things have been rather busier than normal on the writing front. I’m also preparing for an interview the week after next and preparing a talk I’m due to give on Zoom in March. All exciting stuff.
The writing journey is an odd one in that you can never know for sure where you’re going to end up but it can be a lot of fun finding out! And that I think is the spirit in which to approach it too.
Announcement – Author Newsletter with Giveaway
Am delighted to announce I am in the process of setting up my own author newsletter! Called Allison Symes – Flash Fiction/Short Story Writer and Blogger, it very much does what it says on the tin! I will be issuing this monthly on the 1st, with the first coming out on 1st March.
I plan to share my writing news here obviously but also flash tales and favourite writing tips. And if you sign up, there is a free giveaway you can download from the Welcome to My Newsletter email you will receive. See https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com/ for more. (I’ve now made the sign up page the one you land on when you come to my site, instead of the About page, as that seemed to make a great deal of sense to me!)
Now confession time! I have been toying with the idea of an author newsletter for some time but the thought of setting it all up “threw” me a little and I put doing it off, as you do. (And it’s not as if I’m ever short of things to do, writing wise, far from it). So why the change of heart?
I am thrilled to say I will be taking part in an international writing summit. This will be “out” towards the end of March and I will be sharing links etc much nearer the time. But I have needed something to draw people to my website as a result of this summit and so this is the push I’ve needed to make me set up an email list and a newsletter. Sometimes writers need a helping shove in the right direction!
Fans of the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and #JohnLamont’s excellent course there will recognise a GOYA moment when they see one and this is another one for me. And as for what GOYA means? Let’s just say “get on with it then” is the gist of it!
I’m looking forward to the summit and a new venture for me – the author newsletter. Am excited and nervous about it at the same time. Wish me luck (and thank you if you do!).
(Oh and I will have more news to share very soon too. There is a lot going on at the moment!).
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Many thanks for the responses to my story video, Friday’s Child Virtue and Vice. The basic idea for this story of using a nursery rhyme as the basis for a tale came from Gill James’ Prompts book (the 2020 one and yes there is a 2021 one out too – do check both out). I’m one of the contributors for these books and they serve as excellent starting points for generating stories.
The Youtube videos have proved particularly good for the one and two line stories (and that in turn can make for great advertising for the other writing work you do). And they’re easy to share on Twitter etc. (That in turn has just reminded me to put my latest on there!).
Hope you like my latest story video – Friday’s Child Virtue and Vice. As ever I produced the video using Book Brush, uploaded it to Youtube and then added one of their free to use audio tracks. Just as I have to think laterally sometimes with Pixabay pictures for my Chandler’s Ford Today posts, I’m now learning to think laterally about choosing a suitable audio track for my one and two line stories.
When editing flash fiction, what am I looking to achieve?
Firstly, to cut out all wasted words.
Secondly, with that done, I want to read the story and see how it “flows”. This is the stage where I’ll choose a stronger phrase to replace one that doesn’t have quite the impact I wanted. (And often it is a case of getting the story down and then and only then will I come up with stronger phrases etc. I’ve learned to accept that this is just the way it is with writing for me and is a major reason why I do have to get the story down first. I can’t edit as I go. I’d tangle myself in knots because my imagination seems to work this way. It needs something to “feed on” and then gets back to me later with something like, Madam, this idea is stronger, put that one down instead. But I’m okay with that. It is what the edit is for after all!).
I then look at the story again and analyse the impact it has on me. If it makes me feel the way I wanted that story to make me feel, then it will do so for others too.
Then I submit the story!
Of course there are rest periods between these editing stages but that’s okay. I’m drafting other stories, blog posts etc., during those times. (This is why I love having more than one thing on the go writing wise. I’m never stuck for something to work on).
I’ve announced on my author page on FB tonight two exciting developments. I’m taking part in an international writing summit which will be from about 18th March onwards. I’ll be sharing links and more details as I get them (and that will probably be in the first week of March).
Naturally I shall be talking about flash fiction, my big writing love. The summit is being recorded via Zoom.
The other development is due to this summit as I needed something to giveaway to send people to my website. So I’ve set up an email list and am currently creating an author newsletter which I plan to issue on the 1st of the month, starting on 1st March.
The giveaway (a pdf file with flash fiction stories on it amongst other things) is on a link via my Welcome to My Newsletter email people receive after signing up.
As for the newsletter itself, I plan to share flash tales there as well and favourite writing tips, as well as my latest news.
See https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com/ for more. Hope to welcome you aboard! The link takes you to my new landing page, which is the sign up page (as mentioned above).
Am nervous and excited about these new ventures. Wish me luck (and thanks if you do!).
Goodreads Author Blog – Listening to Books
Do you listen to audio books? I do sometimes, mainly on long car journeys (and there will be a time when we can do such things again!). I love the Terry Pratchett Discworld audio books for these. Great story lines and plenty of laughs – what’s not to like about that combination?
On a long haul trip to Scotland, we can get through one complete audio book on the way up and another one on the journey home! I think Going Postal, Raising Steam, and Men at Arms work particularly well but I won’t pretend to be unbiased here. These are probably my three favourite Pratchett stories.
What are your favourite audio books? Do you like funny or serious tales for these? Fiction or non-fiction? I must admit I’ve not tried a non-fiction audio book? Any thoughts on these and are there any you would recommend?
I do know audio is a great way to get stories in to people who may not sit down and read a hard or paperback so let’s hear it for the audio book (some pun intended!). I also love the way Talking Books make stories more accessible too.
And at the end of the day the story is the important thing. What you want is to find the format that suits you. (In my case, paperbacks, Kindle, and audio).
Launches in Lockdown – https://t.co/xPOODa1dEA Delighted to share the penultimate part of my zeitgeist series for CFT. Thanks to my guests this week – @Darkfantasy13, @SunriseCalls, and @troutiemcfish (Paula Readman, Dawn Knox, and Amanda Huggins). Fab tips here. Thanks, ladies!— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 12, 2021
liked Allison Symes's blog post: Listening to Books https://t.co/R2fo3AJvI0 via @goodreads What are your favourite audio books? Fiction or non-fiction? See my thoughts on the topic for this week's Goodreads blog. pic.twitter.com/b1SECkyInY— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 13, 2021
Am delighted to say I'm setting up my author newsletter! Called Allison Symes – Flash Fiction/Short Story Writer and Blogger, it does what it says! This will be monthly starting on 1st March. I plan to share news, flash tales, and tips.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 13, 2021
See https://t.co/JUatcX743z for more.
My latest story video on Youtube. Hope you enjoy. https://t.co/e1eJie4IrY— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 16, 2021