All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes. My CFT post was a special joy to write – I love writing about humour. I hope it makes you smile.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
Am delighted to share a Chandler’s Ford Today post which I hope will put a smile on your face. I talk about Laughter in Fiction and explore the point of humorous fiction, as well as share some gloriously funny quotes from Wodehouse and Pratchett.
I look at why the humorous story has to be a story first and foremost and discuss why there should be a good mixture of funny as well as tragic material in fiction.
Hope you enjoy (and let’s hear it for the humour writers – they deserve more awards than they get. Why humorous fiction is looked down on in some quarters is beyond me).
Laughter in Fiction
Looking forward to sharing my Chandler’s Ford Today post tomorrow. See above. I’m talking about Laughter in Fiction, which is a fun topic to write about, and I get to share some fabulous quotes from P.G. Wodehouse and Terry Pratchett.
I also talk about the point of humorous fiction. Give some thought as to whether you think humorous fiction is hard to write as comments in the CFT box are always welcome.
Also looking forward to taking part in a couple of Zoom sessions with writing friends over the next day or two., If you can’t get together in person, then Zoom is the next best thing and it has been an lifeline for staying in contact with people and still being able to “go” to writing events.
Next major in-person event for me will be the Worth Our Weight in Gold weekend, which the Association of Christian Writers are having to celebrate their Golden Jubilee. Looking forward to running a workshop there and meeting up with friends and, naturally, it will be lovely to be back at The Hayes, Swanwick for that.
I love a bit of word play. It’s why I’m fond of radio shows such as I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, Just A Minute etc. I was writing a guest post for a pal on Facebook as I often do and playing the great game of changing one word in a famous book title with the word “tea”. So I came up with things like The Lord of the Tea, Bleak Tea, Tea and Prejudice etc etc. All good fun. Silly word games like that are (a) a great way to unwind, (b) make me laugh, and (c) remind me of great books I need to re-read again soon.
When it comes to my story titles, I use a variety of ways to find the best one for my purpose. I sometimes use proverbs directly, sometimes subvert a saying (my Punish the Innocent from From Light to Dark and Back Again is an example of that), and sometimes use repetition (such as my Enough Is Enough).
Sometimes I come up with an interesting premise I just have to write up such as my The Terrified Dragon from Tripping the Flash Fantastic. That was great fun to envisage and write up!
I find I have to have a working title as a “peg” to work to but I know now not to be worried if a better idea for a title comes up as I write my first draft. I just note it down and if it still seems better once I’ve written my story, I will change my original title. Only The Ten Commandments were set in stone after all. But I just need something to get me started. And yes often the title will set the mood for the story and that’s fine too. Sometimes the mood of the story I want to write helps inspire the title idea.
What matters here is being open and not being afraid to play around with ideas until you get the one title you know suits your story perfectly. It is lovely when that happens immediately but often it doesn’t. I know now to trust the process of writing to know the ideas will come. I didn’t know that when I started out but writing regularly and often helps develop that trust.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
It’s Friday. It’s time for another story from Friday Flash Fiction. Hope you enjoy my Four Chairs. This came about as a result of a picture I found via a random picture generator.
F = Find your character – why are they worth writing up into a story?
L = Love your characters, loathe your characters – what matters is they are able to keep the reader wondering what on earth is going to happen and to keep on reading to find out.
A = Animals, aliens, whatever – your characters don’t necessarily have to be human.
S = Story, story, story – what happens, what changes, what do your characters do?
H = Have a rough idea as to where your story is heading – this helps even if you don’t like to outline.
I’ve deliberately gone for a mixture of moods in the stories in both of my flash collections because I like to read a mixture of moods myself. I do see my books as “mixed assortments” and fail to see why that idea should just be restricted to chocolate boxes!
It is also one of the great joys of short story anthologies. I ensure I read a good mix of flash and story short collections in between reading novels because I love the long form and short forms of fiction and think it healthy for my reading “diet” to read a good mixture of both.
So do check out the indie presses like Chapeltown Books to find out what is out there. And if you want an idea of where to start here, how about checking out the bookshop here, the one my publisher runs?
Fairytales With Bite – The Diary
What a page from a fairy godmother’s diary could look like…
Monday – Needed a lie in as was up after midnight for the umpteenth night in a row turning things into other things for my various goddaughters. When I find out who decreed that fairy godmothers have to stay up late almost continually, I will turn them into something – unpleasant. Possibly with a new ability to croak.
Tuesday – And breathe. Feel so much better after making sure I had a quiet day yesterday. Out in the garden replenishing my pumpkin stocks. I have gone through so many this year. Haven’t even made pie with any yet. Will make up for that. Could just do with a slice of pumpkin pie.
Wednesday – The big boss has sent me all around the magical kingdom today carrying out various errands. Saw off three marauding dragons and that was before lunch. Got back home well after 10 pm (at least is isn’t bloody midnight this time!), having sent various evil beings to the next world where they can harass someone else. Must admit I had more pumpkin pie than I should have done but it was luscious.
Thursday – It was fun shopping with the girls. There’s nothing to beat getting a group of fairy godmothers together and we call come up with more and more beautiful dresses which we swap amongst ourselves. Why should the likes of Cinders have the lot? Tell me that. I’ve come home with a fabulous purple number I will wear to the next Palace party the Fairy Queen holds for us. Had to go up a dress size though. Suspect the pumpkin pie might have something to do with that. And annoyingly I can’t magic the calories off. It’s a banned practice. Grrr…
Friday – Any hopes of a weekend at home were dashed by Her Nibs. I’m on Palace duty all weekend where I have to accompany Her Nibs everywhere. Now that’s okay funnily enough. She wants her fairy godmothers to be at their very best so she boosts our magical abilities temporarily so we can use extra powers to create jewellery for ourselves and so on. I’ve created a stunning amethyst necklace and bracelet combo to go with my new purple dress. Still not allowed to magic calories off though.
Saturday – Got to ride in the big gold coach with Her Nibs. Looks wonderful. The suspension on it is hell though. Her Nibs likes it that way though. Says it reminds her to ensure she always sits up straight. You get used to it after a while though. Mind you, you can get used to almost anything after a while.
Sunday – I got home at 11.55 pm. I think Her Nibs ensured that. Someone likes a laugh! It was nice touring the countryside with her though and waving at the
peasants, punters, potential future clients.
Hope you enjoyed that. It was great fun to write.
This World and Others – Work and Employment
Now for Fairytales with Bite, I’ve invented a fictional diary for a fairy godmother but in it, I show a little of her workload. What kind of jobs do your main characters do? What kind of employment exists in your fictional world? Where magic is involved, what employment opportunities does that create or take away? Who takes advantage of those opportunities? Who suffers because their jobs are taken away?
The issues we face in our work lives – are these replicated in your fictional world? Is there such a thing as management/union disputes for example? When change needs to happen in how people work, what they can do, how are these changes brought about?
When your characters need to go off on quests etc (as you do), what impact does that have on their old lives, including their work ones? If they get back again, do they pick up their old work etc as if they’d never gone?
Does your society have a haves and have nots situation? What drives the need to work? One will be the need to produce food, every society needs that, but the ways in which it is done will differ. Payment of bills is the other “big” issue. So in your world, how do your people provide for themselves and what do they have to do to keep on doing that?
Laughter in Fiction https://t.co/DZNv850WLy Am pleased to share a CFT post which I hope will make you smile. I explore the point of humorous fiction, look at why the funny tale must be a story first, and say why there should be a good mix of funny as well as tragic fiction.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) April 8, 2022
Four Chairs, by Allison Symes – Friday Flash Fiction https://t.co/jjODGPOR4r It’s Friday. It’s time for another story from Friday Flash Fiction. Hope you enjoy my Four Chairs. This came about as a result of a picture I found via a random picture generator. pic.twitter.com/EkWxaCeJwH— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) April 8, 2022