All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes.
Weather has cooled down somewhat as the week went on, much to the relief of both Lady and me. Trust all well with you. Glad to share an exclusive new story from me for this blog – see further down under Fairytales with Bite. Hope you enjoy it. Plan to include it in my third flash fiction collection which I’m working on at the moment.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
Pleased to share my latest post for Chandler’s Ford Today – Your Lead Character In Fiction. I set a mini quiz as part of this to show how important characters are – see how you do. I also look at qualities of the lead character and whether it is necessary to always root for them or not. See what you think and do leave comments over on the CFT page. I go on to discuss what a writer needs to know about their lead character and share some different ways in working this out. Hope you find the post useful.
Later in August, I’ll be sharing a fabulous interview with a great crime writer for whom their lead character is especially important! Well, when you write a series you do have to have someone to lead that series…! More details nearer the time.
Glad the weather is continuing to be cooler. I much prefer it at about 23/24ºC and so does Lady.
Have booked my tickets for the Bridge House Publishing event in December. Will be good to see friends old and new there. And I hope to catch up with writing pals at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School which is rapidly approaching (next month – yippee!).
Will be sharing a brand new “fairytales with bite” story in my round up blog post which will also go out tomorrow via my website – see https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com – new subscribers always welcome. I will be sharing the link to this post via Facebook tomorrow too. You can also sign up for my author newsletter here – the next one of those will go out on 1st August. Story further down.
Much needed cooler weather today (though the forecast looks like this might be a temporary reprieve). Lady and I made the most of the cooler weather. Both of us were much happier for it!
Looking forward to sharing my Chandler’s Ford Today post on Friday. I’ll be talking about Your Lead Character In Fiction. There will be a mini quiz as part of this and I’ll be looking at whether it is necessary to always write likeable characters or not amongst other things. See link above.
I have a soft spot for those characters who back the lead up and without whom the lead cannot succeed in their story. My favourite here is Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings. Even Gollum knew not to underestimate Samwise!
Whatever position your character has in a story in terms of importance, there should be a definite role for them. If your story would work without them, they shouldn’t be in there.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
It’s Friday once more and time for some flash fiction. My latest story on Friday Flash Fiction is simply called Tomorrow. Hope you like it.
Hope you have had a good day. Can’t believe we’re rapidly approaching the end of July already.
Now I sometimes use time in my stories, with characters going forwards and backwards in it and with dubious results. See Tripping the Flash Fantastic for that (Mishaps and Jumping Time). I have great fun with these kind of tales as they give me opportunities to drop my characters right in it. There is no clause anywhere which says an author has to be nice to their characters. I checked, okay.
But you can take time and use it for more sombre stories too. I did that with The Pink Rose which shows the ravages of time.
So time can be a useful device as a a setting, it can be used as a character, and you can have reflective pieces on it too. How will you use time in your stories?
… and breath! Thankfully cooler today. Lady and I made the most of it too.
I sometimes start my story with a question in its opening line. In my The Truth, from From Light to Dark and Back Again, I use this and I finish the tale with my character’s thoughts connected to it though the question itself is not directly answered. This is because I’ve used a metaphorical question and my character is aware of that (at a subliminal level at least) They also know they’re not going to change attitudes here. Sometimes your character is the only one to see through something. See The Emperor’s New Clothes for more on this – the kid there was right!
With metaphorical questions, your character is unlikely to be able to answer it fully but their conclusion should be a reasonable one based on the premise of the story.
Fairytales With Bite – A Fairytale by Allison Symes
Thought it might be nice to have an example of what I call a fairytale with bite this week. Hope you enjoy it.
Once a Rat by Allison Symes
I can’t remember all the details to be honest. I was happily being a pain in the neck to all and sundry. I was king of the pickpockets, see. Made a good living at it until I managed to annoy some biddy who happened to be a fairy godmother, and the next thing I know I was zapped and became a rat. I remember her speaking over me.
‘Since you are a rat in human form, you can be a rat in rat’s form and save everyone the bother of having to avoid you. They’ll do so willingly. Most folk hate rats.’
How I survived I don’t know. Even other rats avoided me. I’m sure they knew what I was really. Just a shame every fox I met tried to eat me but I always did have a good turn of speed. Came in handy I can tell you.
And then I lost concentration for a moment and ended up in a rat trap. This girl came to fetch me indoors and then I saw her again. That wretched fairy godmother. Boy, did she laugh when she saw me. Said she never forgot a client.
I never knew such fear as when I saw her take out that magic wand of hers again. What would she turn me into this time?
I couldn’t believe it when I saw I was now a coachman, kitted out in a decent uniform too. I was to take the girl to the Palace for the grand ball. First time in my life I had a job. A proper one too.
The godmother whispered to me not to wreck things this time. I could keep the job if I did well. The pay was good and food and lodgings were thrown in. I might even meet someone nice in the Palace staff. I did too. Mary and I have been married thirty years this year. Got three kids and six grandchildren. It’s been a good life. A funny one too. And she does know about my past. Always ensures I get a decent amount of cheese – bless her.
How long have I been serving Cinderella and Prince Charming now?
Oh, it must be a good thirty years now. Their kids are okay too.
The one thing I can’t resist though is setting the caught rats free when the other staff here aren’t looking. Well, it could be someone I once knew in my past life or one of their offspring.
I got a second chance. Maybe they should too. A rat isn’t always just a rat – and I should know!
20th July 2022 – Allison Symes
This World and Others – Poetic Justice
Hope you enjoyed the story. One of the things I’ve always loved about fairytales is they have a strong sense of right and wrong about them and almost always justice is seen to be done in some way. There is usually a chance for redemption too. Love all of that. Always have done.
Is there such a thing as poetic justice in your created world? How does it manifest itself? If magic is involved, is it used to correct a problem initially caused by someone else’s magic for example? (Best known example of that is the fairy godmother modifying the spell for Sleeping Beauty so she doesn’t die but just falls asleep).
Is there any character in your work who deals with justice overall? Does an underdog character come through to ensure justice is done by the end of your story?
What about the characters who deserve to have poetic justice done to them? What did they do? Did they irk someone they really should not have done as my character did?
Now this can be a great vehicle for a humorous tale (and it is where I generally use it) but how will you take the idea of poetic justice and use it?
My CFT post is Your Lead Character In Fiction. I set a quiz to show how vital leads are, look at qualities of lead characters and ask if it is necessary to root for them. I discuss what a writer must know about their lead and share ways to work this out. https://t.co/UGmHBRQlkg pic.twitter.com/LN430RODOL— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) July 22, 2022