All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.
Some images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.
Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
Many thanks to Fiona Park for the picture of me signing Tripping the Flash Fantastic at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School – August 2021. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes.
It has been a busy week with Creativity Matters: Finding Your Passion for Writing coming out on pre-order in paperback and ebook. (Out on 1st September 2021 so not long to wait). Book cover image from Wendy H. Jones.
It has been a joy to look back at Swanwick though and I hope my CFT post shares something of why it is special for writers.
Facebook – General
It’s that time of the week again – time to share my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post. This week, I look back at Swanwick 2021. All of my CFT posts are a joy to write but some stand out as being really special and this one does as it brought back many happy memories of a wonderful week at Swanwick this year, and from previous ones I’d attended.
I look at a little of what the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School has to offer writers (and it can only be a little as otherwise the post would be far too long!). Can’t wait for the booking slot to be open again for Swanwick 2022!
And it was fabulous meeting up with another Bridge House Publishing/CafeLit/Chapeltown Books author for a good chat. #LindaWPayne, I hope to get to see you again at the next Bridge House event!
Hope you have had a good day. Just sent off some blurb and an author headshot for an event I will be taking part in later on in the year. Loved the Association of Christian Writers’ Flash Fiction Group meeting last night. Great fun – I have a story to work on as a result which is good. Nice talk about markets as well, always useful that.
Meetings like this are wonderful places to exchange information. You never know when something someone says then suddenly is of direct relevance to you. That’s happened to me a lot.
I was told about Chandler’s Ford Today – and now write for it.
I was told CafeLit were issuing a 100-word challenge (and look what has led to – two published flash fiction collections).
I was told about Mom’s Favorite Reads – and now write for it. So if you ever wondered if there was any point to networking with other authors, there’s your answer – yes, there is!
And it is great fun. The support and encouragement along the way is appreciated too – it especially helps with things are not going so well. We all get writing ebbs and flows.
Nice to see some sunshine today and Lady was besides herself with glee. She got to play with her best friend, the Rhodesian Ridgeback today, and her other best pal, a Hungarian Vizler. All three dogs went home tired and very happy.
Looking forward to sharing my Chandler’s Ford Today post on Friday. I look back at my week at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. What has going to that done for me? Well… (takes big intake of breath)…:-
1. Made lots of writing friends.
2. Had so much encouragement.
3. Learned so much from the courses and workshops.
4. Taken part in things I had not done prior to Swanwick, most notably the Open Prose Mic Night. Great fun.
5. Sold my books.
6. Bought even more books! It is one of my great joys to walk past my book shelf and see books by friends, signed by them naturally, on there.
7. Have a week just focused on writing and nothing else. Bliss!
8. Come out of my shell just a bit! Chatting with other authors helps you share what you do and they share with you about their work. You learn to speak about what you do much more naturally. I was a bundle of nerves when I first started doing this kind of thing.
Can’t wait for Swanwick 2022!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
My latest drabble (aka 100-worder) on #FridayFlashFiction is called The Turn Around and I look at how my characters David and Mary spend their tenth wedding anniversary. Does it turn out as either expect? Hope you enjoy reading the story to find out (and a huge thanks for the great comments in on this already. The feedback from this website is encouraging and useful.).
Repetition can work in flash fiction, funnily enough. You might think it would be the first thing to avoid given the limited word count flash has. But it has been useful, not all the time, but for when I want to produce particular effects.
I’ve sometimes used repetition in titles (Enough is Enough is one example from Tripping The Flash Fantastic).
But what works better, especially if I am writing a “circle” story is have the last line mirror the first line but with a slight tweak to the words so they’re not exactly the same but 90% of the words, say, do match.
Another thing I’ve sometimes done is to start a couple of sentences with the same starting phrase. In my Good to Go, I have two consecutive paragraphs start with “He looked at”.
My The Wish List has all but one line start with the words “I wish”. You can get a rhythm in the prose using this kind of repetition. It can be so effective for emphasis.
It’s not the kind of thing I want to do all the time (I don’t want it to look gimmicky) but repetition, every now and again, can be distinctive and help create the impact you want your story to have on the reader.
I’m going to be talking about the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School for my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week (link up on Friday). What has been so encouraging has been to see the development of flash fiction as a format over the many years I’ve been going to writing events. When I first started doing this, flash was not “on the radar” so to speak.
Now it is a recognizable form, with all sorts of competitions and markets catering for it. And the bigger established competitions such as The Bridport Prize have added it to their categories. I am sure the switch to more people reading on screens has helped fuel the growth in flash fiction as it is so easy to read on screen.
I would like to say onwards and upwards for flash fiction but it really should be onwards and watch the word count limit!
Fairytales with Bite – Writing from an Alternative Character’s Viewpoint
Writing from an alternative character’s viewpoint is great fun and it was how I found my way into print back in 2009. My story, A Helping Hand, was published in Alternative Renditions (Bridge House Publishing).
The idea was to take an alternative character from a fairytale and write their story up. I chose the youngest stepsister to Cinderella to write about. Great fun to do. I could make that character narky about Cinder’s success and so on. (And if you would like to check the book out you can do so here.
This kind of thing is a great writing exercise. It makes you think about the “bit part” players and explore their personalities. What stories do they have if they were allowed to take the starring role for once? Is there resentment against the well known one’s success or do they hope that some of that “luck” will rub off on them? Do they do anything to try to earn that “luck”?
Do they have success that surpasses the well known character’s new life? Are they reliant on magical help or do they make their own success? Could the well known character end up envying them? All great ideas to explore.
This World and Others – Where Magic Is Normal, What Isn’t?
It’s a fair question I think. So your created world has magic as a normal thing. What else is normal that wouldn’t be considered normal here? Is there a price to be paid for magical usage (such as it draining the user so they have to be careful how they use it and ensure they don’t waste their own energy)?
What would your magical creations consider unusual about life here on Earth? They would see the absence of magic as abnormal but what would they make of science, for example? What would they make of technology and medical developments? Would they see them as almost magical?
I’ve mentioned before it is important to set parameters for magic. If everyone can use it, where is the story? Where is the conflict? But have certain species only able to do this kind of magic, others able to do everything, and you can set the scene for clashes (and interesting stories). If your magical world wants to spread its magic to other places, how will it deal with another setting which is resolutely opposed to it but can fight back using non-magical weapons?
Exciting News: Creativity Matters. Big news is the release (1st September) of Creativity Matters: Find Your Passion for Writing. Am excited to be in this AND it hit the No.1 Hot New Releases Amazon spot! I share a new video and look ahead to my CFT post. https://t.co/sF32UVKCYL— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) August 24, 2021
Can you recall when you wrote seriously for publication? I’d been writing stories for a while before sending work out there. I guess I wanted to prove to myself I could write stories and keep on doing so before putting my head above the parapet. I do know persistence pays off. pic.twitter.com/9FrWNwD6iT— ACW (@ACW1971) August 25, 2021
One advantage of writing for a while before submitting was I built up a stock of stories. That stood me in good stead. I was writing more too. Whenever rejections came in, I'd put those stories aside and look at them later to work out what was wrong. I usually did spot something! pic.twitter.com/7gwuDOPYa0— ACW (@ACW1971) August 26, 2021
I learned, over time, to tailor my stories better for the markets I was approaching. That led to my first acceptances, which encouraged me further and I haven’t looked back since. But I do know I needed the rejections (and there were loads!) and the lessons I learned from those. pic.twitter.com/FU7DeNoU15— ACW (@ACW1971) August 27, 2021
The Turn Around by Allison Symes – Friday Flash Fiction https://t.co/BnZIqiBKYq See how David and Mary celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Do they get what they deserve? pic.twitter.com/uwfjXVqRHi— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) August 27, 2021
Swanwick 2021 https://t.co/XGtoTQh2GB I look back at this year's Swanwick Writers' Summer School and share what it means to me and how it benefits writers. Can't wait to be back in 2022.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) August 27, 2021