All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes.
Very hot in my part of the world right now. Lady keeping cool (and probably doing a better job of it than I am!). Thrilled to have more workshop news to share and I look at the Rule of Three in Chandler’s Ford Today this week. It’s something we come across all the time but just how often are we aware of it and can it stifle creativity?
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
First of two posts on my author page tonight. Am pleased to share The Rule of Three in Fiction for Chandler’s Ford Today. I look at the links with fairytales, plays, and non-fiction and ask if the rule stifles creativity. It is one of those rules most of us take in all the time without really being aware of it. Hope you enjoy the post. Comments, as ever, are welcome over on the CFT page and many thanks for those which have come in already.
17th June – Bonus Post – Workshop News
Quick bonus post tonight to share exciting workshop news. I’m thrilled to say I’ll be running a one-hour workshop at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in August. I’ve called this one Editing – Both Sides of the Fence. Really looking forward to this. Link here and see screenshots.
How to tell when it is really hot outside? Easy. It’s the only time the water in my local swimming pool feels lovely! Lady was a shady lady today – and rightly so. If you’re flagging with the heat as you try to write, you have my deepest sympathies!
Don’t forget my Chandler’s Ford Today post is up tomorrow, followed by an Authors Electric one on Saturday. Yes, I am glad I have a writing diary – it helps a lot! I also issue my author newsletter on the first of the month – to sign up head over to my landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com
When is the best time for you to write? For me, it is in the evening when most things are behind me for the day (though when I can squeeze in extra writing time during the afternoon, I do). Lady is pretty good and leaves me to it, which is handy!
Lovely day today. Lady got to play with her best buddy, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, today before things became too warm. Both dogs went home tired and happy. The nice thing with Lady is I don’t have to persuade her to drink water – I did have to with my other two – and Lady is sensible about keeping her fluid intake up. I note that as sensible and Lady don’t usually make it into the same sentence, to be honest.
Looking forward to sharing The Rule of Three in Fiction, my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week. Link up on Friday. Three crops up so often in fiction and not just in that rule either! Link above.
And on Saturday it will be time for my next Authors Electric blog where I’ll be discussing Writing Workshops.
I enjoy the balance of flash fiction and blogging – it is nice to have a foot in both the fiction and non-fiction camps.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
It’s Friday evening (well at least it is in my part of the world!) and it’s time for another story. My latest on Friday Flash Fiction is called Time Off. Is my character Marion being kind or chilling? You decide!
I love flipping things around. For example, in Tripping the Flash Fantastic, I have a story called The Terrified Dragon. Not normally a creature you would expect to get a bad case of the nerves!
But that is the point and this premise also gave me my story structure. I had to show why the dragon is terrified and what could be done about it. A story like that is best kept to the point so it makes a perfect flash piece. You don’t want the novelty of an alternative point of view (and my dragon is definitely in that category!) to wear thin.
And talking of dragons…
I sometimes have fun with perspective in my flash tales. In The Truth from From Light to Dark and Back Again, my character is annoyed by what could be called a “social untruth”. Something everyone knows is untrue is still being taken as gospel and this has got to him. The perspective change here is that my character is not human. Why should the things we find annoying be confined to us? Why shouldn’t other species feel the same way about the same things? Interesting prompt idea there possibly, I think.
What could you do to “flip things around”? Stories show us much about ourselves through the actions and thoughts of our characters. They don’t have to flatter either. What could you do with that for your tales?
Fairytales With Bite – Customer Service in the Magical World
You know how we all have a hard day in the office. Well, it happens in the fictional magical world too. Here are some typical complains received from a much put-upon magical shopkeeper.
‘Faulty oil lamp, you say, sir? No genie came out of it, sir? Well, yes, they do have a tendency to do their own thing once they’ve been set free from the lamp. Did not you not read the terms and conditions? No need to take that tone with me, sir. Correct. No refunds, ever.’
‘And what happened when you recited the spell, madam? The shoe was made out of glass, rather than fur? Interesting. Not known that before. I’ve never had a problem with my other wands. I suspect you mispronounced a word, madam. Easily done. No need to take that tone with me, madam. You’re supposed to be a lady too. Correct. No refunds, ever.’
‘Oh it’s you again, madam. No. My policy on refunds has not changed. I don’t want a huge pile of pumpkins outside my front door, thank you. But I do know someone who does. My cousin will take them off you wholesale. Can’t say fairer than that.’
‘Right, young pipsqueak, if your boss tells you he wants the floors washed manually, that’s what you’ll do. I’m not selling someone under age any magical equipment or books. I’ve had that happen before and I got caught out. The wizard was most indignant. I only just avoided being turned into something unpleasant. Off you go. Don’t want your sort here.’
Allison Symes – 15th June 2022
Ah! The joys of selling to the public, especially a discerning magical one!
This World and Others – Engineers and Manufacturers
My story above was triggered by the thought that someone somewhere in a magical world has to supply the equipment and, inevitably, maintain/service it. So who are the manufacturers and engineers in your created world? Who does fix the equipment? Who does everyone call when they’ve got a problem?
Where do they get their supplies from (and can those supplies be threatened by outside situations)?
If you have species which can travel across universes/dimensions, which good ideas do they take back with them from, say, Earth? Is there anything we have which they laugh at (and with good reason)? Is there anything in which we’re superior?
And are your fictional engineers/manufacturers respected or are they looked down on? Not everyone appreciates the hard work behind creating and maintaining equipment after all.
What materials does your fictional world have and does it have to trade/steal from other worlds to get what they can’t supply themselves? Is the danger of running out of something crucial propelling them to attack other worlds including ours? And how do engineers work in your fictional world? What kind of technology and/or magic do they have and how good are they at using these things effectively?
What do you find the most difficult thing to write? Dialogue? Description? What I have to watch in my longer stories is indulging in conversational ping-pong! I love getting characters to talk but they must shut up if what they’re saying doesn’t move the story on in some way. pic.twitter.com/wI4vT1ZY7m— ACW (@ACW1971) June 15, 2022
Once I’ve edited my story to ensure it all makes sense, I then edit again. I’m looking to check everything in the story really does have to be in it. If there is any doubt, out it comes! I have to be able to answer a definite “yes” to that check. pic.twitter.com/jTi7rT5Mmj— ACW (@ACW1971) June 16, 2022
Every writer has flaws. None are entirely the same. Just one more reason to get together with other writers so we can chat over a cuppa to help each other deal with said flaws! It was good to see so many of you at the ACW WOWIG weekend which gave the chance to do exactly that! pic.twitter.com/G7JzO4mjn9— ACW (@ACW1971) June 17, 2022
The Rule of Three In Fiction https://t.co/jJOZyVzvv6 I talk about the rule of three this week for my In Fiction series on Chandler's Ford Today. I look at the links with fairytales, plays, and non-fiction and ask if the rule stifles creativity.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) June 17, 2022