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. Many thanks to Geoff Parkes and Penny Blackburn for shots taken of me at Open Prose Mic Nights at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. (Looking forward to being back there again!).
Hope you have had a good week. I think I’ve had the best comment ever on any post I’ve written in my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week. See further down for more on this.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
Am delighted to share Animals in Fiction, my post for Chandler’s Ford Today for this week. I look at favourite animal characters as well as explore their use in stories. I also look at writing from the viewpoint of an animal, which is something I’ve done from time to time.
And I am thrilled comments are coming in on this one already, including one that I think may well prove to be the best comment I’ve ever had on a CFT post (and possibly on any blog post!). Once you’ve read the post, scroll down and check out what one of my readers’ dogs made of the theme for Jaws! My sympathy is with the dog.
Also, do send in your own comments on the CFT post about your favourite animals in fiction.
Animals in Fiction
Good news – Lady got to see her best buddy briefly today. Latter is much better and the two dogs were delighted to see each other, especially since today is not one of the days they usually meet.
I’ll be sharing my Animals in Fiction post for Chandler’s Ford Today tomorrow. Looking forward to sharing that. I loved animal characters when I was a kid. I have a soft spot for them still (helped no end by being a dog owner I suspect). Give some thought as to the ones you loved in books. Comments are always welcome over on the CFT page – link up tomorrow – would love to hear your thoughts on this topic over on that page then.
I have written stories from the viewpoint of an animal though I mainly focus on humans/humanoids but every so often it is good to turn the tables. I can use animal stories to show what I think they might think of us!
How has Wednesday been? Lady’s had an okay day but she missed her best buddy today (and that’s because her pal isn’t feeling too well, poor thing. Very much keeping everything crossed, paws included, that all is well again soon). It is lovely to watch how dogs make friends with each other.
Talking of friends, how do your characters measure up here? Do they have plenty of them? Or do they believe in quality over quantity? Equally, how good a friend are they to others?
There are plenty of stories where friends come to the rescue but how about writing one where a friend lets someone down and then goes on later to make up for it? Could have a lovely emotional rollercoaster of a story there. Rebuilding trust is difficult though not impossible. How do your characters manage it?
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Pleased to share Dodging by Numbers, my new story on Friday Flash Fiction. I used a random number generator to come up with the number 766 and you can find out how I worked that into a flash fiction piece here. Hope you enjoy it.
The more observant may have noticed I used the same number for my YouTube story this week, Lucky Number.
You know how coincidences don’t really work in fiction, right?
You know you have to plant clues for the readers so when your event happens they know it was within the realms of possibilities for your character so don’t feel cheated, right?
So the wise author never ever uses coincidences because they know they won’t be believed by a reader, right?
Well, there was no coincidence here either!).
I have a “stock” of stories for reading out at Open Prose Mic Nights. Flash fiction works brilliantly for this as you can’t go on for too long – and everyone likes that!
Naturally I mix up the mood of the flash tales I read out. I like to start and finish with an amusing piece and have something darker and/or more reflective in the middle section. And I do practice reading the stories out loud first at home. (For one thing I have found knowing I’ve done that helps steady the old nerves a bit!)
Delighted to say I’ll be giving a Zoom talk on flash fiction again soon. Always happy to spread the word about what a wonderful format it is!
I must admit I do a lot of my reading in bed – it’s a wonderful way to unwind. But we all get stressful days when perhaps it is more of an effort to read. This is where I do turn to flash fiction and short story collections. I am still reading wonderfully crafted stories. I’m just going for the shorter form. I also deliberately read collections in between novels. I like to mix up what I read in terms of author, genre, and length of story too.
Writing flash fiction gives me a great opportunity to mix up what I write too in terms of word count, genre I write in (as I’ve written crime flash, historical flash, fantasy flash etc). And it is such fun to do especially if you like creating people as I do. I’ve found flash has helped me to develop my show and not tell technique as well (which can of course be applied to any length of fiction).
Writing short is also marvellous practice in preparing material for blogs, advertising, blurbs etc.
Fairytales With Bite – Time
How is time measured in your fictional world? Does it have the same divisions? I’ve used time in my flash fiction stories (and in one crime story I had 1a clock as a murder weapon!).
Do you use Time as a character? I’m drafting a story with this in mind and am showing Time as a character who cannot be cheated. The fun here is in showing how another character tries to be the one who will finally achieve that. There is always someone who will try to do that which has not been done before and you could make that a comedy story or a tragedy.
What impact does time have on your characters? Are they ruled by the clock or other time measuring device? How does time affect the way in which they live? In your fictional world, is there anyone who can control time and how do they do this? I would expect there to be a heavy price to pay for that ability (with great power should go a sense of great responsibility and, if not, misusing the ability to control time should have consequences. Note I said should there!).
How does time affect what your characters can do and when? Do different characters appear at differing times of the day/week/year etc? Why do they only come out at certain times?
This World and Others – Reacting to Time
How does your world measure time? Does it worry about keeping “tabs” on time? Or do your characters just go with the flow? Do your characters age, as we understand the term? If they get to one age and then stop at that point until, presumably, they die, why does time stop for them?
Time, of course, has a big impact on us all and governs so much – everything from when we get up to making the most of natural daylight before having to go inside for the night. We can’t keep going for 24/7 – sleep has to happen. Time tires and ages us. But when we are having a lovely time of it, don’t we want those times to last for ever?
Now think about your characters. What are their attitudes here? How do they react to time? Do they see it as kindly or as a cruel thing (and age would probably have a role here in how your characters respond to that)?
With time of course there comes the point when it has to stop. We’re mortal after all. How do your mortal characters handle this knowledge? Do they make the most of the time allotted to them?
Dodging by Numbers, by Allison Symes – Friday Flash Fiction https://t.co/Zx259Uz0FF I used a number generator for this story. See what I did with the number 766 here! pic.twitter.com/F7UJGsLPHv— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) January 14, 2022
Animals in Fiction https://t.co/UAjk6Wm3QH I discuss animal characters, explore their use in tales, and writing from an animal's viewpoint. I'm thrilled comments are in already, including one which may be the best comment I’ve ever had on a post. It involves Jaws. Check it out!— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) January 14, 2022