Books, Journeys, and a Conference

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

Facebook – General

Many thanks for the birthday wishes..I don’t feel a day over 56, which is just as well given that is what I am!😄

So good to meet people for real over the weekend and I’m looking forward to doing the same this coming weekend. Getting together with people does you good, I find, and I always learn something useful from others at writing conferences.

You do give each other’s creativity a boost just by sharing information you’ve found helpful. And it is even better when others share something you know you will find useful.

Am travelling home after a wonderful time at the Scottish Association of Writers conference. My congratulations go to the Council who organised this.

Trust me, anyone who has ever served on a council or committee will tell you that you can’t exaggerate the amount of hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

The bookshop looked wonderful and I can imagine the work behind the scenes just on that. I have a busy week coming up culminating in a family do to celebrate my birthday (22nd) and it will be lovely to see everyone again.

Writing wise, I will be working on my usual blogs etc and after this week I want to focus on getting my third flash collection together. I’ve got a good draft but I need time to sort out a sensible running order. That helps a collection to flow well and enhances a reader’s enjoynent of the book. It does take time to get right though.

Many thanks to all who came to my flash fiction workshop at the Scottish Association of Writers Conference today. It was a delight to share what flash is and how it can help with all forms of writing, as well as getting to discuss markets and look at different ways of getting into a story. It was great fun and I hope you found it useful.

I head home tomorrow. A big thanks to the family for manning the fort. I plan to write up my report from the conference for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. Guess what my homework is on the train home tomorrow!

And it was a thrill to sign copies of my books too. I have had a lovely time and it is great to be back at in person events again.

Having a fab time at the Scottish Association of Writers conference. It was particularly nice to catch up with people who have been to the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in Derbyshire, including those I now know via SAW but who I didn’t know when last at Swanwick. Connections spread!

Enjoyed the workshops by Ruth Leigh and Wendy H Jones. I’m giving mine on flash fiction tomorrow. The bookshop is amazing. Have I shopped? Daft question – of course I have!

I judged the Margaret McConnell Woman’s Short Story competition and announced my placings this morning. Must admit the trophy is lovely. See pic.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Birthdays give you a chance to stop for a moment and take stock of where you are. Many thanks for the good wishes.

I don’t often give my characters birthdays as that kind of detail is not what I need to know about them.

Mind you, there is always the possibility of using a birthday as a setting where something unusual happens. This can be anything out of the norm basically though what “norm” is can vary and you can have fun with that. Almost inevitably your character won’t though!

Going home is a great theme for stories of any length and it is uppermost in my mind as I travel home from Scotland of course.

But what could you do with this in a tight word count? You need to focus on one important aspect of going home only.

What means the most to your character here? Is their homecoming welcomed? If not, why not? Does the character get the welcome home they expect and/or deserve?

Glad to say the flash fiction workshop went well. I often read a couple of my stories during things like this as they show what flash is and some of what it can do. 

It’s a good idea to practice reading out your work and ideally playing it back so you can hear the story as a reader would take it in. Dialogue especially can look wonderful written down but doesn’t always read out well. If you trip yourself up, your readers will too.

By playing it back you can hear whether dialogue flows as well as you thought. Where recording and playing back isn’t an option, a trusted writing buddy/supportive writing group can be of enormous help here.

But I’ve learned over time for a story to work well, it has to flow naturally and reading out loud/getting someone to do that on your behalf is a good way to pick up on points where the flow is not as good as it could be.


Am looking forward to giving my flash fiction workshop at the Scottish Association of Writers conference tomorrow. There will be handouts. Also spreading the word about flash in conversations.

The short forms of fiction writing are an interesting challenge and I’m glad I rose to that challenge. It is an ongoing one as with every story I write, I want to make it better than the one before.

Goodreads Author Blog – Books and Journeys

This is an apt title given I am currently away at the Scottish Association of Writers conference and we are all busy celebrating books – reading them and writing them!

Books are great companions on journeys, of course. What holiday suitcase would be complete without them? These days I rely on my Kindle – no more worries about how many books I can fit in!😊

And each book is itself a journey. We follow the characters through their stories. For non-fiction the journey is in increasing your knowledge on a topic by the time you finish reading.

What matters is enjoying the trip!


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