All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Some images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.
Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Images of me reading at Swanwick Open Prose Mic Nights taken by Geoff Parkes and Penny Blackburn. Image of me book signing at Swanwick was taken by Fiona Park. Many thanks, folks. Looking forward to seeing you again at Swanwick later this year hopefully!
Hope you enjoyed the weekend. Glad to be back to producing stories for YouTube and Friday Flash Fiction.
Facebook – General
Hope you have had a good Tuesday. Many thanks for the views coming in on Lucky Number, my latest YouTube video. It is always great fun putting these together. I adore using the Book Brush tool for videos here and being able to add a music track from YT’s library of free-to-use clips.
I don’t have a lucky number. I don’t believe in such things but characters can and do. How would their belief in a lucky number affect their behaviour? How would other characters respond to their behaviour? Equally what would their belief in an unlucky number cause them to do?
If you set your story in another world, what numbers would that world consider lucky or otherwise? Thirteen, for example, is often considered unlucky because there thirteen people at the Last Supper of Christ, including the traitor, Judas Iscariot. There usually is some reason why numbers have luck associated to them. Could you find interesting stories to tell about that?
Glad to get to my desk to sit and write for a while. Mondays are always horrendously busy for me. Is there a particular day of the week you find challenging? For me it is a relief to get to my desk on any day of the week but especially on Mondays. I find writing so therapeutic and I can feel myself relax as I start).
I don’t know quite what it is but getting into the heads of characters and bringing them to life is just wonderfully relaxing and a challenge. Responding to that challenge gets the old imaginative sparks flying and before I know it I am taken out of myself which I guess is the point! Characters should seem real to you for them to stand any chance of seeming real to a reader.
Hope you have had a good weekend. Weather better but colder today.
My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is called Animals in Fiction and I am looking forward to sharing that on Friday. I share some of my childhood favourites here and what I think would be the downsides to writing animal characters. Mind you, this is from someone who wrote a story from the viewpoint of a mother dragon! See below.
Has been a blustery and wet day in soggy Hampshire. Hope things have been better with you (though given the power cut earlier this week I am just thankful to have got in from walking the dog to a nice cosy home!).
Do you find it harder to get your creative juices started at this time of year when it is dark and gloomy (in the UK at least) or does the time of year not matter? I find when I get started, I end up being on a roll. It can be the getting started which is tricky which is why I use a number of ways to help me begin a story. I’ll be talking more about that in my next column for Mom’s Favorite Reads but in the meantime there is always the January issue to enjoy.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
I’ll be looking at Animals in Fiction for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. I sometimes have animal characters in my flash fiction but I prefer writing human/humanoid characters. It is easier to give them thoughts and dialogue!
But animals can (and have been used to) represent human behaviour, especially in fables. Many of those would fall within the flash fiction category thanks to their word count. The best fables are kept short. They’re easier to remember this way and especially in the days before print that mattered.
Pleased to share Lucky Number, which is my latest YouTube story. See link further up. I used a random number generator to come up with 766, the “lucky” number in this tale. It isn’t usually a number associated with luck, good or otherwise, so why is it considered lucky by my character, Denise? Check out the video – hope you enjoy.
One of the joys of flash is being able to capture those moments which would not sustain a full standard length short story of 1500 words or more, yet is still a complete tale in and of itself. It means nothing is wasted here.
So if you have a writing exercise jotted down which won’t come to more than 1000 words, why not review it and see if you can turn it into a piece of flash fiction? It doesn’t just have to sit in your notebook!
And given there are more competitions and markets for flash now (especially the indie press), there’s every reason to try and get it published too. Good luck!
Many thanks for the comments coming in on New Start, my first story of the New Year for Friday Flash Fiction.
Am looking forward to the ACW Flash Group Meeting later on in the month too. That took a break for Christmas and it will be lovely to see everyone again, even if we are in a Zoom box!
When choosing pieces of flash to read out, I usually focus on the 100-worders. They’re to the point and are effective at showing what flash is quickly. If I’m reading at an Open Prose Mic Night, I usually start and finish with a 100-word tale and then have something a little longer in the middle.
Even then I tend to go for the 250-300 words and no more. These stories still have the “oomph” effect of flash but also show you can put in a little more, relevant, detail which adds detail and information that you can’t do in the drabbles.
And it is fun to mix up the word counts I write to – give it a go! There will be markets and competitions for the differing lengths of story.
Goodreads Author Blog – Why Reviews Matter
Every writer with a book out longs for reviews but they can be difficult to come by. I’ve never really understood why. Reviews don’t have to be long. Indeed the short one or two liners often work better.
And, aside from buying the book itself, leaving a review is one of the best ways you can support authors.
What I like to see in a review (and try to do when I give them) is for the reviewer to give a flavour of what the book is about without giving too much away.
I like to see mention of characters that have grabbed the reviewer’s attention and, in flash and short story collections, which were the “stand out” tales.
Reviews obviously help raise an author’s profile. The author can quote from them on their website, Facebook and social media posts etc. And they really don’t take long to write.
My policy here is to review a book as soon as I have finished reading it. It ensures I don’t forget to do it. Maybe that is where the problem lies. Any thoughts?
liked Allison Symes's blog post: Why Reviews Matter https://t.co/swFwOL1bgU via @goodreads I look at reviews this week, share why they matter, and outline what my review policy is. Any thoughts on why reviews can be hard to obtain? Comments welcome over on my Goodreads page. pic.twitter.com/6f1sRzuqud— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) January 8, 2022
Pleased to share Lucky Number, my YouTube story. I used a random number generator to come up with 766, the “lucky” number in this. It isn’t usually a number associated with luck, so why is it considered lucky by my character, Denise? See the video.https://t.co/j5uPnKFMMI— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) January 10, 2022