Journeys in Fiction – and For Real!

Image Credit: All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Some photos taken by me, Allison Symes, from the Scottish Association of Writers Conference.

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

Pleased to share Journeys in Fiction for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. Am sharing from Scotland!☺

I hope to report back on the Scottish Association of Writers Conference next week.

But journeys can take many forms including internal journeys. I discuss this and more in my CFT post this week.

It’s double blog today for me as my latest Authors Electric post is out today. This time I talk about Coming Up with Ideas. Hope you find it useful.

Am on my way up to Scotland for the weekend conference of the Scottish Association of Writers. Looking forward to being on LNER again for the leg up to Edinburgh Waverley.

Meanwhile, am enjoying seeing the Hampshire countryside. And of course train journeys are the perfect opportunity for a spot of discreet people watching! I have used odd snippets of conversation overheard on train journeys to trigger ideas for characters and their tales. Waste nothing!

I was talking on Zoom last night about random generators and while preparing for that discovered new ones I know I can use. Win-win there! 

One was a historic events generator – could be useful if you use settings as your way into a story. The other was a world building generator with many separate elements also available as generators. Think character names, geographic elements to pick and choose etc.

The nice thing with all generators is you pick your parameters and adapt these based on what you know you need to know to start drafting a story. I find choosing two or three random things to generate at a time works best for me. Something amongst those items will trigger an idea and away I go. Limits encourage creativity.

I don’t know how I manage it but I always seem to time having a haircut with soggy weather! It’s the kind of talent nobody wants but someone gets… in this case, me!

Am looking forward to travelling north tomorrow for the Scottish Association of Writers’ Conference. Hope to get plenty of writing done on the train via Evernote. I usually manage to draft some stories, blog posts etc – all useful stuff I know I can use later.

My posts here will be at different times over the next few days but my Chandler’s Ford Today post will be up as normal on Friday. Aptly I’m talking about Journeys in Fiction.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Delighted to share my latest story on Friday Flash Fiction. Hope you enjoy Waiting – the story at least!☺

Looking forward to giving my flash fiction workshop at the Scottish Association of Writers’ Conference this weekend.

Am currently heading north at a rapid speed enjoying the countryside en route.Finding your way in to writing a story or blog or article is vital. With my workshop I look at a couple of different ways to find that way in.

Shortly going to be chatting about random generators to the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction group via Zoom. Have a web search and see how many there are out there. There are more than you think and I found one new to me for the talk I’m about to give too. Hope to share more here later. 

Fairytales With Bite – Is the Best Help Always Magical?

Given magical power, as with any other kind of power, is open to abuse, I would say the answer to this one is a definite “no”! It’s also not the only answer to a problem.

Despite Gandalf’s magical powers in The Lord of the Rings, the others still have to fight Sauron etc. And it wasn’t entirely magical help that got Frodo to where he needed to be either. He and Sam still had to walk, still had to work out whether to trust Gollum or not etc.

And even in the classic fairytales when the fairy godmother turns up (albeit often somewhat belatedly in my view) to help the lead character, that same lead character has had to show themselves to be worthy of that help coming their way. Those fairy godmothers don’t get their wands out for just anyone, you know.

So self-help, the help of loyal friends etc is every bit as important as magical help – and I think that is how it should be too. You don’t want a story to hinge on a magic wand funnily enough. You want it to contribute but not be the be all and end all.

If a story can be solved by magical help alone, where is the story? Where is the depth of characterisation? You can show the latter through the friends coming to our hero’s aid. 

This World and Others – Resolving Conflicts

This kind of topic will always be topical, unfortunately, but for fiction purposes how are conflicts resolved in your created worlds? Is there such a thing as our conciliation services, the United Nations etc? Or are conflicts always fought out, literally?

Someone in your stories has to have the courage to be the peacemaker (or at least be the one who tries to bring about peace. It isn’t up to them whether that attempt is successful). What makes that someone set themselves up for, at best, being moaned at by both sides in an attempt to make them see reason?

Peacemakers and those who call out wars are not always the most popular people on the planet. What drives them to try to resolve conflicts? What conflicts form part of your back story and drives your characters here?And when conflicts are resolved,  how long does it take your people to settle back to normal lives again?

Now not everything will be back to normal again. There will be losses. So what are these and how do people cope with them? How do your characters resolve their own inner conflicts?

When conflicts are resolved, amongst the huge sense of loss there often is, what happens to your characters’ sense of hope etc? How and where does the future look brighter? There should be hope somewhere otherwise there is no “proper” resolution to your story – and without hope,  your characters and your readers will only feel despair that things haven’t been resolved properly. 

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