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. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes. Many thanks to Fiona Park for the fab photo of my signing copies of Tripping the Flash Fantastic at Swanwick 2021.
Hope you have had a good week. Not bad here. New story out and a new More than Writers blog post which has attracted a fair few comments but then I did ask about people’s Writing Niggles. It seems to have hit a spot!
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
It’s that time of the week again and time for my Chandler’s Ford Today post. This week’s one is called Pinch, Punch, The First of the Month. I look at what the first of the month means for me, writing wise. I also look at the origin of the saying and ask why white rabbits are considered lucky. Any thoughts on that? If so pop a comment over on the CFT page. This post will tie in nicely with next week’s one where I’ll be taking a look at sayings and their uses in creative writing.
A huge thanks for the wonderful comments coming in on my More Than Writers blog spot yesterday. See further down. My post about Writing Niggles obviously hit a sore spot or several! Mind you, the one comfort here is we all have writing niggles. It is working out a way of (a) managing them and (b) limiting the irritation they can cause you that are the tricky bits to get right.
My post tomorrow for Chandler’s Ford Today is all about Pinch, Punch The First of the Month. I look at what the first of the month means for me now (author newsletter send out day!). I also look at the origin of this strange phase (which will also tie in with my post on the 8th October as I will be talking about sayings and their uses in fiction and non-fiction).
Oh and is it just me or have the light levels in the evening just plummeted into complete darkness so far this autumn? There has been no gradual fading of the light. It looks as if someone has gone in and taken the bulb out! Dark by 7.30 pm… I wasn’t expecting that until much later into October.
It’s my turn on the More Than Writers blog spot for the Association of Christian Writers. This month I talk about Writing Niggles and it is a rare writer indeed that doesn’t have at least one. I share some of mine (yes, some!) and solutions I have found that have helped me. A huge thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments on this subject which have come in already.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Pleased to share my latest story on #FridayFlashFiction. Will my hapless Sarah finally make things right with her neighbour in Trying Hard?
One of the biggest things flash fiction has done for me as a writer is to help me understand what “show, don’t tell” means in practice. It took me ages to get my head around that.
Because I have to write to a tight word count, I have no room for “extras” and showing a scene rather than telling it can take up a fair bit of said word count. I’ve found it helpful to focus on one thing I have to show a reader for a story that is 500 words or less. I’ll show two for 500 to 1000 words. So I have to work out what is the most important thing to show a reader and focus on that alone. That in turn does help me keep my word count down.
I’ve mentioned before my “she wears a red coat” and “she wears a moth-eaten red coat” as these are great examples of tight writing and how one word can change perspective. I don’t need to tell you my character is poor in the second example. I’ve shown you (and hyphenated words, since they count as one word for flash fiction, are the flash writer’s best friend). So think of ways in which you could show something.
Anger – character slamming something.
Sadness – character being asked by another character something along the lines of “what’s up with you?” and then getting the first character to sob.
Happiness – Showing your character walking jauntily, whistling a cheery tune etc.
So you can show a mood quickly. Setting can be done with the selective use of detail. A poor house can be shown as characters moaning about the roof leaking again etc. Think about what you want to show and then what words you can use to do that. Always pick the strongest. A roof leaking is far more powerful than characters moaning about how poor they are. Readers do pick things up on context (I love doing this). We just need to give them the right clues so they can.
Just to flag up the paperback of Tripping the Flash Fantastic is currently on offer on Amazon. See link for more.
Will also be sending out my author newsletter on 1st October. I share tips, prompts, flash stories here (and these are often exclusive to newsletter readers) as well as my news. Do head over to my website (the landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com where the landing page takes you straight through to the sign-up. There is a giveaway too.
Fairytales with Bite – Seasonal Magic
Do your magical characters use their powers more at certain times of year or spread the use evenly throughout the twelve months? In your fictional setting, do certain seasons encourage the use of magic or, conversely, limit it? In the darker times of year, is magic more difficult? Is there any link to available light levels and when there is light, is it easier for a character to “produce the goods” when it comes to using their powers?
Do physical weaknesses limit magical use? After all, we are prone to colds, the flu etc more in the winter months and that affects how we “perform” so could your characters be affected by something similar?
Also, can your characters adapt their spells to match the time of year? For example, when it is dark and gloomy, are they on call for “lift me up” charms to help get people through these times? (For me a cup of hot chocolate, a cosy home, classical music, and a good book would do this for me nicely!).
Are your people expected to produce more magic at certain times of year? If magic can be equated to energy, are they on call to produce more of this at certain times of year to help keep their environment “going”? (Think Monsters Inc where the monsters need energy from children’s screams and then run into problems when they find youngsters aren’t so easily scared any more).
How do the seasons affect your people? In good ways or negatively and how could that change the outcome of your stories (or do your people “compensate” and, if so, how? What matters here is that you know how things work here even if you don’t need to share all of that with your readers.
You inevitably won’t share it all but you could have a character exploiting weaknesses here to their advantage. You would need to know what they are exploiting, how, and what would be the outcome? Also could the exploited hit back by using your natural world against whoever is trying to pull this trick off?).
This World and Others – Seasons
I love the seasons. See some of the above pics for proof! The last one with the summer house is from my garden earlier this year. There is beauty to be found in each, even in winter (and there I also have the delicious compensations of hot chocolate, a cosy home etc to enjoy). Okay, so we have the four, but what does your created world have? More or less? Same as ours or totally different?
How do the seasons work in your created world? Especially if you have magical characters, is there anything they can do to influence how the seasons work and, if so, how? What would they gain from this?
Seasons tie in with celebrations too so what seasonal events would your world hold? Why are these things special to them?
As for the climate, can it compare with ours or is yours worse or better? How do your characters manage the ups and downs of the seasons and the climate?
There are seasons in life too. How do your stories reflect this in your characters, especially as they age? Have they learned anything useful from their younger years (especially what not to do) that benefits them now? Do they appreciate the season of “maturity” or do they resent not being young any more?
Hi, Amanda. A friend of mine flagged up this tweet for me. I often write flashes that are fairytale based or are inspired by them. Here is the link to a recent story of mine on my Youtube channel. Hope you enjoy it. https://t.co/fwRxXi3ova— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) September 29, 2021
More than Writers: Writing Niggles by Allison Symes https://t.co/s39yhDlqnP Delighted to share my post on MTW, the blog spot of the Association of Christian Writers. Now what are your writing niggles? It is a rare writer that doesn't have at least one… pic.twitter.com/keyNuW9C60— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) September 29, 2021
Allison Symes – October 2021 – Coming Up – https://t.co/QWIzmyyHr4— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) October 1, 2021
Trying Hard, by Allison Symes – Friday Flash Fiction https://t.co/URCmhBxCs2 My latest tale is now online. Will the hapless magical Sarah finally be able to make things right with her neighbour? pic.twitter.com/DpEFP0ybWE— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) October 1, 2021
Pinch, Punch, The First of the Month https://t.co/JdMI8F6d8x I look at what the first of the month means for me, writing wise. I look at the origin of the saying and ask why white rabbits are considered lucky. Any thoughts on that? If so pop a comment over on the CFT page. pic.twitter.com/qljftIdoyw— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) October 1, 2021