Writing Techniques in Fiction

Image Credits:-  All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots and photo of Lady taken by me, Allison Symes. Had a lovely day out (Friday 8th July) with better half and Lady – I think the photo proves she had a great time. (And yes we always carry plenty of water for her, wherever and whenever we take her out, even locally. The breeze down by the coast was lovely and Lady and I got to do some paddling. Now that’s the kind of Friday I like!).


Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

Pleased to share Writing Techniques in Fiction, my new post for Chandler’s Ford Today. I look at show don’t tell, speech tags, and share thoughts about reading your work out loud, researching the market, mixing up your reading and learning not to expect to write a perfect first draft. I also look at the importance of giving yourself enough editing time. You often do need more time than you think.

I’ve found all of these things have helped me improve my own writing techniques, especially learning to give myself plenty of time to edit.

This is why for competitions I tend to take about 10 to 14 days off a deadline and make that new date my deadline instead. It will be at this point I go through my story for the final time and, guess what, that is when I spot the typos etc I missed on my previous edits. It happens, folks! Anyway, I hope you find the post useful.

Writing Techniques in Fiction

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Hope you have had a good day. I can think of one person in the UK today who definitely hasn’t. Moving swiftly on (unlike… you can fill in the gap here!).

Will be sharing my next Chandler’s Ford Today post tomorrow. I’m looking at Writing Techniques in Fiction where I’ll share thoughts on show don’t tell and speech tags amongst other things. It can only be an overview but it took me a long time to work out what show don’t tell is so I hope this post will prove useful. See above.

I worked out a long time ago that my best writing time is in the evening with no distractions, but where I can I fit in more writing during the late afternoon, I do. I see it as bonus writing. I often use those times to draft extra flash pieces and blog posts as I can do those fairly quickly and I know I’ll find a use for that flash tale or blog post at some point. Little is wasted in writing. Even when I can’t use a flash tale or blog post directly I can usually take something from them to use elsewhere.


Lady has had a fabulous week so far. Today she played with her favourite girlfriends, the Ridgeback, the Labradoodle, and the Hungarian Vizler. All four dogs went home happy and tired. Job done.

Amazon have an offer on both of my paperbacks – From Light to Dark and Back Again and Tripping the Flash Fantastic. See screenshot. You can find my Amazon Author Central Page at http://author.to/AllisonSymesAuthorCent – all the anthologies where I’ve had work in are included here too. (Looking forward to being able to add The Best of CafeLit 11 and Evergreen, the Bridge House Publishing annual anthology, later on this year).

I like to catch up with my writing magazine over lunch most days and I will sometimes note promising markets and/or competitions from that. I believe this is where I found out about Friday Flash Fiction if memory serves me correctly.

It is worth taking time out to review things like these and see if there are possibilities for you out there. I would be very surprised if there weren’t any. The wide range of online publications helps a writer to build up publication credits too. And don’t forget the indie press markets for collections etc. There are opportunities out there.

Being aware of them and knowing where to look are the two biggest things to know (which is why I always suggest reading writing magazines regularly as it helps you build up your own industry knowledge as well as being entertaining and informative).

I think it is a fab way to do my market research – reading over lunch!

Screenshot 2022-07-06 at 17-18-36 Amazon.co.uk Allison Symes

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Many thanks for the wonderful comments in already on Respect, my latest tale for Friday Flash Fiction. This story is linked to the YouTube one I shared earlier in the week called Deterrent. Also see below.

I used a random clock generator for both so the times appear in both – but so does the lead character and you are left in no doubt about what she thinks about her cat. Hope you enjoy.

Screenshot 2022-07-08 at 17-15-37 Respect by Allison Symes

Earlier in the week I shared my YouTube story which involved my using a clock time generator. I wrote another piece using the same generated times which I hope will appear on Friday Flash Fiction tomorrow. Hope to share the link then, if it is on there. It did appear – see above!

Another way to use times is to have one which has a meaning to your character. Maybe a certain time on a certain day is a significant anniversary. You get to decide what that is of course. It may mean something to your character so that triggers a course of action in them with consequences for others. Just what could those be and what does those consequences do to/for the character who triggered it all off in the first place?

Deadlines can involve time as well as dates. Could there be a misunderstanding about a meeting time say? After all there are, for example, two eight o’clocks in one day? Could someone getting the meeting time wrong have hilarious or other consequences? Your call but there are good opportunities to use time effectively in your flash fiction.


Do you write seasonal stories including flash pieces at all? I must admit I do write festive flash but for most of my stories, the time of year doesn’t matter much. However, if I take an opposite view on that, I find it leads to a writing prompt idea.

The biggest difference between winter and summer, for example, is the amount of natural daylight available (and that will vary even more depending on your character’s location). You could use that difference in light availability to make a huge difference to the success or otherwise of your character’s “mission” (especially if it is a criminal one).

My late maternal grandmother never used to liked autumn. She saw it as the season of dying. Ironically, she did indeed die in the autumn herself.

But you could use people’s views on the seasons, and indeed your own, to help round out your characters and encourage empathy for them in your readers. A character may dislike autumn because they’re frightened of spiders and you always see loads in the autumn (well, I do. They keep trying to come into my house!). A story could emerge from them having to overcome their fear because they’re trying to help someone they don’t want to let down and they have to find a way of coping with spiders. Just a thought. Good luck!


Fairytales With Bite – A Magical Shopping List

This is what I think could be on a fairy godmother’s magical shopping list.

  • One magic wand which does as I ask it to when I want it to do it. I don’t want “connection” issues causing havocs with my spells.
  • Anything BUT pumpkins. Have had enough pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup etc to last me several lifetimes. Wand went crazy on producing these, hence my first item on this list. I can’t stand the sight of them now.
  • A clearly legible spell book. I must have misread something or have been drunk to come up with glass slippers. I know I wasn’t drunk when I did that. I wanted to be when I saw what poor Cinders had to put on her feet. Oh those things can’t have been comfortable (though I did get a good deal from the chiropodists on corn plasters etc. Cinders knows where to come when she needs them. She will do). It must have been some dodgy calligraphy that got me here. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
  • Static objects to convert into transport etc. I still feel guilty about those rats. I still don’t understand why a chair couldn’t have done for that spell. After all you need something to sit on in a coach. It would’ve saved Cinders and I chasing around after those rats for another thing. Trust me, that was not a dignified look for one of my gravitas.
  • I want something I could legitimately use to take all calories out of chocolate though the big boss says it’s cheating. Says it is interfering with natural processes. And turning a rat into something else wasn’t? I can’t believe the hypocrisy of my world at times. But if I could find something natural to remove the calories she couldn’t stop me then, could she? It is worth a good look around the shops for that. Might even be able to share it with humans. There would be a lot of happy people then though possibly not the Tooth Fairy and dentists. Still one can’t have everything, can one?


This World and Others – Who Owns What?

In your created world, have you got a system for who owns what? Is your world based on a free capitalist like economy or is everything controlled by the government? If the latter, how good a job do they make of this? Is there any room for private enterprise at all? If so, how are things regulated? What would happen to anyone defying those regulations?

What range of facilities, shops etc do your characters have to choose from? Are they happy with what they can buy and where they get it from? Do shops and so on find it easy to keep a good supply range?
There is an old saying about he who pays the piper calls the tune. How does that work out in your stories?

Are the owners of businesses etc in political power themselves or in league with those who are? What happens when things go wrong here? Relationships can break down of course so there would no reason why that couldn’t happen here.

Also could someone from a lowly background go on to do well so they start owning property etc? Do they face resentment or prejudice because of that lowly background and what do they do about it?

Plenty of food for story thoughts there!


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