News, Getting Enough Sleep, and Random Scenario Generators


Image Credits:-
All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes.
Hope the last few days have been okay. More signs of spring here (and no snow!) – my camellia is blooming, the daffodils are out, and my lilac is coming into leaf.

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Facebook – General

I was chatting with a friend at Slimming World tonight about my writing hours. I think people fall into two categories – night owl or lark – and I am definitely in the latter category. I used to be able to stay up to all hours writing. Not any more!

I know I need a certain amount of sleep and I try to ensure I get that. Looking after myself here for me is a non-negotiable. I don’t write well when over tired. Mind you, I don’t do anything well when over-tired! So I work out when I will do my writing and pretty much stick to the same times. When I can get in an extra session or two I do.

But sitting down regularly at the same times has kind of conditioned me that this is now writing time, I get on with it, and I find I can get a reasonable amount done. No two writers will write in exactly the same way. No two writers will work in exactly the same way. You do have to work out what works for you but the getting enough sleep aspect will make a difference, regardless of whether you’re an owl or a lark.

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A busy Monday as always. Never sorry to get to this end of the day when I can relax and write. Managed to make some good progress yesterday on various blogs I write for and that is always handy. It means I’ve always got something to hand when I need it and it compensates for those days when, for whatever reason, I can’t get quite so much writing as I would like done. It happens and you get used to it so when I have a really good day, as I did yesterday, I’ve learned to make the most of it! They say go with the flow. Sometimes the flow is very much with you! I like days like that.

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I’ll be talking about Making Characters Real in Fiction for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. Link up on Good Friday.

Don’t forget the April edition of Mom’s Favorite Reads is FREE – see Amazon link below – and it is packed full of wonderful articles and stories. Do try it and check out my flash fiction column on Page 66 where I talk, appropriately, about Dialogue in Flash Fiction.

Sometimes I do write all dialogue flash pieces and this works well in such a short form. I’ve found all dialgoue pieces work best when kept to between 100 and 300 words or thereabouts, slap bang in flash fiction territory of course.

It’s an interesting writing exercise to have a go at too as you have to find a way of showing readers the setting without using description, the conversation between your characters has to be natural and not “info dump”, and it still has to be a proper story with a proper beginning, middle and end.


Hope you have had a reasonable day. No snow this weekend so that already makes it a win! Looking forward to catching up with friends from Swanwick later on via Zoom.

You know I said my next in person event was going to be in June at the Association of Christian Writers Golden Jubilee weekend? Err… that was correct at the time of going to “press”, so to speak! It isn’t now.

Yes, I am off to The Hayes in June and really looking forward to what will be a fun event but in the meantime I’m going to be in London in May running a fiction workshop. Will say more nearer the time but looking forward to doing this and heading off to Derbyshire in June.

Am busy blogging and preparing future blogs as well as talks so plenty to keep me occupied at the old keyboard. I like it that way even though it does mean I tend to wear the letters off the keyboard. Thankfully I can touch type!

Had a lovely time catching up with ACW friends on Zoom last night. I know if my dad was still around, I’d have problems keeping him off Zoom! He’d have loved it.

Writing tip of the day: Never worry about writing a perfect draft. Why? Because nobody ever does. Just get something written, then worry about improving it.

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I mentioned yesterday I found a Random Scenario generator and I hope to have lots of fun playing with this.

It strikes me I can use this in more than one way. Use the generated prompt directly. Equally I can take that as a starting point and add my own twist to it. I used yesterday’s prompt of a bit of paper stuck in a chest of drawers as it was but if I wanted to put a twist to that, I could’ve added in another object, a sinister one maybe, being stuck in a drawer further down.

The focus of the story could’ve been on that and then I would reveal what the paper said at the end and it would inevitably be something the character should have found sooner but they were distracted by the sinister object instead. All sorts of things could have come from that – especially the ending. It could make all the difference between the ending being a happy one or not.

So if a prompt really strikes you, why not add in your own “spiel” to it and see where that takes you? It will help you craft a unique tale.

 

It’s Monday, it’s YouTube story time again. I’m pleased to share Reading the Market. Hope you like it. It is very short though! The idea for this one came from a Random Scenario prompt – yes, there is such a thing!


Now you know I hope by now that I do love my random generators for triggering story ideas. I’ve found another one! How does the Random Scenario generator grab you? Well, it grabs me nicely enough and I plan to write up a couple of stories based on what I’ve just generated. Will share what I do with these as yet unwritten stories later but I am looking forward to giving this a go. The screenshot gives you an idea of what you’ll see when you click on the link below.

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The box with the prompt in appears beneath the Generate Scenario button. I hope to have fun playing with this one. And there’s nothing to stop you tweaking the generated scenario a bit so it fits in with your style of writing either.

This is the thing with any kind of prompt. Yes, you can write to them directly and a lot of the time that’s precisely what I do, but sometimes I have a prompt which I like but I can then see a way of tweaking it to make it best suit my style of writing so I do that and away I go. Do use these things as starting points too.

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One important aspect to flash fiction is it makes you focus on what is important for your story to happen and make sense. No boring description. No dialogue that doesn’t add anything to the plot or what we need to know about the characters.

This is why writing flash fiction sharpens up all of the other writing you do. It has helped me a lot with my blogging. It helps me to write down what is important about my story/character but you don’t need to go into chapter and verse about that. Often the odd line or two is enough to keep me on track.

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Goodreads Author Blog – The Joy of Short Fiction

Hands up time. I write short stories and flash fiction so I am bound to be biased here. Regardless of that, I have always loved short stories (and discovering flash fiction was a revelation to my reading diet as well as my writing one). I will read flash and short story collections in between reading novels or longer non-fiction books. I kind of see them as an appetiser for the next “big book”.

But I love the impact of short fiction. You do get the pay-off that much more quickly and I enjoy reading that s well as writing it. I’ve always loved inventing people and thought that the best bit of storytelling. So with my short form work, I get to do that all of the time so win-win there!

And short stories have gone on to be turned into films. The most famous example has to be The Birds by Daphne du Maurier, famously turned into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock.

I also see reading short story and flash collections as a chance to try out an author’s style before I commit to reading their longer work. From a reader’s viewpoint, this is lovely because in an anthology you can get to try out a dozen or so different authors and if some really strike you, then you’ve discovered more authors to try out. What’s not to like about that?

And of course, many an author gets into print via the short fiction route in the first place. I am just one of them!

Allison Symes - Flash Fiction Collections

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