Interview Part 2 with Jenny Sanders, Shout-outs, and Getting Steamed Up

Image Credits:-
All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Many thanks to Jenny Sanders for supplying author, book, and other pictures for my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week. As ever, screenshots were taken by me, Allison Symes.
Hope you have had a good working week. Nice surprises this week – unexpected shoutouts for Tripping the Flash Fantastic and I will be glad to share further publication news very soon too. (And it stopped raining for a bit too so Lady and I consider that a win!).

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Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

It’s with great pleasure I welcome back Jenny Sanders to Chandler’s Ford Today for Part 2 of a stunning interview (and many thanks for the comments coming in on this already).

This week, Jenny and I discuss writing devotionals, short stories, and flash fiction. The latter especially is another example of where Jenny and I cross (writing) paths – hence the title for this interview this week. Hope you enjoy.

The writing journey can take you on all sorts of interesting pathways as Jenny and I have both found.

Crossing Paths with Jenny Sanders – Flash Fiction, Devotionals, and Short Stories- Part 2

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Many thanks to #ValPenny for a lovely shout-out today for Tripping the Flash Fantastic. That was a lovely surprise, as was the fabulous comment from #JoyWood. Now that is what I call a review! Thank you, ladies.

Also had a further nice surprise when I gave someone, a fellow dog walker, one of my business cards as they’re interested in my books. Now that’s music to a writer’s ears, is it not?

Don’t forget, as well as getting copies of TTFF and From Light to Dark and Back Again, online (usual outlets), you can contact me via my website at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com if you would like a signed copy (or copies) directly from me. See my contact page.

Talking of flash fiction, I’ll be discussing that very topic, amongst others, with Jenny Sanders in Part 2 of her interview on Chandler’s Ford Today. Link up tomorrow. See above.

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Lady got to play with her best buddy, the lovely Ridgeback today, and after Monday’s weather, it was so lovely to have a nice day out in the park today. Nice to come home still dry too!

Am enjoying the Flash NANO challenges especially as there is great variety in them. Looking forward to tackling today’s one later on. I deliberately mix up the random generators I use to produce stories. I don’t want to limit myself to one type. I think this has stood me in good stead for Flash NANO. Best of all, it’s fun anyway!

I was impressed – my train tickets for the Bridge House Publishing event arrived today. I only ordered them a couple of days ago. So looking forward to catching up with people again here (and I hope making new friends too).

AE - November 2022 - Taking part in Flash NANO

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

It’s Friday. It’s time for another story. (Think it is quite nice to start the working week with one on my YouTube channel and to finish said working week with another one on Friday Flash Fiction). Am pleased to say Getting Steamed Up is my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction. This one started life in response to a Flash NANO prompt. Hope you enjoy it.

Screenshot 2022-11-25 at 09-38-34 Getting Steamed Up by Allison Symes

Many thanks to #FridayFlashFiction for commenting on my post yesterday about one of the disciplines of flash fiction. Couldn’t agree more – see screenshot if you missed the post. Don’t forget a new batch of stories will be up tomorrow and do check out what’s on there.

Fabulous reading and catching up with stories via websites like this can be a great way to ensure you get some contemporary flash fiction reading in as part of your “reading diet”. I consciously try to ensure I read in and out of my genre, past and present work, books, magazines etc. It keeps life interesting for a start. It’s fun too!

Screenshot 2022-11-24 at 19-49-51 Allison Symes Facebook

 

One of the disciplines of flash fiction (which comes in useful for other forms of writing) is in knowing where and when to stop! You tell your story, your character has done/said all they needed to do/say, and then you stop. I find the word count restriction helps here.

The End really does have to be the end. It can be tempting to add in a kind of concluding bit. Flash writing cures you of that habit quickly as you can only include anything which moves the story on in some way. There really is no room for anything else and that’s good. Your focus is sharpened thanks to this.

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Fairytales with Bite – Who Guards The Guards?

In a magical setting, there should be some way to measure magical standards. One way is obviously through schooling and exams but what about later? Who ensures standards are kept up by fairy godmothers and the like? Who ensures short cuts aren’t being taken which could endanger others? Who sets the standards people need to stick to in the first place and have these ever been changed or challenged?

Is there a magical enforcement agency of any kind and, If so, who guards those guards to ensure they’re doing their job properly? Is the agency a good one or are they the equivalent of the old Keystone Cops (i.e. fit for comic purposes only)?

Are the guardians of magical standards respected or feared? (Could be both but I find it interesting where a body like that is respected rather than feared. It would tend to show me that these people are doing their job in a way that benefits the people and there could be stories here about where the public helps the agency solve magical crimes, prevents standards slipping and so on precisely because that respect exists. People don’t tend to assist those they fear unless they have no choice).

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This World and Others – Law Making

In your fictional setting, does law making tend to follow the pattern we have here of parliamentary democracy or dictatorship? How do laws get made and passed? Do people have any say in this? Can people petition the likes of their local councillors/MPs? And when laws are passed how are people informed about them? How long does a new law take to be implemented fully?

Does your world have a separate civil/criminal law making body/bodies?

In the case of longstanding laws, what could make the authorities change these? Do they update laws where situations/technologies and the like have changed? That kind of change can make some laws redundant. For example, we no longer need a man with a red flag walking in front of a motor vehicle to warn pedestrians a car was on the road!

Is the law respected or mocked (even if the latter is done privately)? Are there laws which desperately need scrapping or an update and who/what is blocking that? Plenty of stories to be had there I think!

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Opening Lines, a Reading Acrostic, and a Reader Hub

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) were taken by me, Allison Symes. Many thanks to Dawn Kentish Knox for taking the photo of me reading at a previous Bridge House Publishing event. Very much looking forward to going to the 2022 one!
Hope you have had a good few days – weather stormy and then next day gorgeous sunshine. It’s a case of looking out of the window and thinking big coat or not today then! This will be the position for the next few months – certainly till at least early March.

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Facebook – General

Hope you’ve had a good day. Lady got to play with her “boyfriend”, a lovely tri-coloured Aussie Shepherd today. Both got a good run!

Am looking forward to sharing Part 2 of my interview with Jenny Sanders on Chandler’s Ford Today on Friday. This week we’ll be discussing short stories and flash fiction, other areas in which our paths have crossed, writing wise.

Have booked my tickets for the Bridge House Publishing event in London on 3rd December. Looking forward to that very much. Will be giving a reading at that event too. Flash is ideal for that kind of thing – you cannot go on for too long!

 

To say Lady and I got wet this morning is something of an understatement. Had Noah been passing, we’d have thumbed a lift.

Now I use Book Brush to design graphics with and I love using their tools to help me achieve great images for my blog posts. (I use them all the time for Chandler’s Ford Today, Authors Electric, Mom’s Favorite Reads, More than Writers etc). I’ve now set up my Reader Hub page on this (it is a new feature) where I can share pictures, my social media links and a bit about what I write, all in one handy place. Very pleased with this and am sure it will prove useful.
Screenshot 2022-11-21 at 20-00-26 Allison Symes - Author Reader HubProgressing well with Flash NANO. One of my pieces for this I plan to use for my YouTube tale this week so look out for that when I share the link tomorrow. See below. I’ve mentioned before about having a “stock” of stories ready for competitions, markets etc. Taking part in Flash NANO is a great way to build up a good stock!

I’ve shared a couple of my pieces on the Flash NANO Facebook group (as these stories needed little alteration) but I won’t share everything there because I know there is plenty of work to do on my other tales before I want anyone else seeing them! Having said that, I am loving reading what others are sharing here – it does to pay to read in your genre as well as outside of it. It always reminds me of why I love the flash format. And it is such a fun thing to do so win-win!

 

Hope you have had a good day. Many thanks for the lovely comments coming in on Cat Chat, my new tale (or should that be tail?) on Friday Flash Fiction. I write stories from an animal’s point of view every so often. They’re fun to do. But, as with any story, the character voice must be strong enough to be convincing.

Am looking forward to sharing Part 2 of my interview with Jenny Sanders on Chandler’s Ford Today next week (and again thanks to all who have responded so well to Part 1 where the post was shared on social media yesterday. Lots of memories about schools programming from years ago!) Part 2 will look at where Jenny and I cross paths with regard to short story and flash fiction writing.

Screenshot 2022-11-18 at 16-56-02 Cat Chat by Allison Symes

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Am looking forward to the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction group meeting on Zoom next week. It is a lovely time to catch up with writing news, share details of competitions etc, and I usually share a short presentation.

Writing wise, I am already beginning to think about stories for a future (fourth) collection. It does take time to build these up but Flash NANO is going to be a good contributor here!

Have got a story in draft which I want to enter for a competition before the year is out. Currently resting it but hope to have another look at it over the weekend. I can’t stress enough how useful it is to have time away from a story as I find I pick up various things to put right having given myself enough distance away from the piece. It really is worth doing.

Time away

It has been the kind of Monday that makes Noah wonder if it’s time to set sail again so definitely time for a new YouTube story from me. This one, Looking and Finding, is one of my responses to the Flash NANO challenges set so far for this year. The 19 word story, all in! Hope you enjoy it. (I didn’t include the title as part of the word count for this or for the Flash NANO challenge itself but this was great fun to write and will resonate with cat owners and Tom and Jerry fans in particular).


What makes for a good opening line for me? It’s something that draws me in, sets up an interesting premise, and gives me that “I’ve got to find out what happens here” feeling. Only one way to do that – read the story – job done! But…

The job is only done if that vital closing line does its job well and delivers on the promise set by the opening one.

This is why I like to outline my flash and other stories. I don’t need to work out everything but I do need to know how I am going to get from A to B with a rough idea of the stopping points on that journey. In a flash tale, even at the 1000 words upper limit, I often only need a line (which will form the basis of Start Point A), a rough line about what happens in the middle, and another line summing up how the story finishes (my finishing point B). For a longer tale I might need a couple of lines for each of the three points of my story.

I’ve found outlining doesn’t take too long and has saved me a lot of grief. I no longer box myself into a corner with my story. I’ve only scrapped two stories in my time because I hadn’t outlined and I did box myself in as a result of that.

Don’t forget my author newsletter goes out on the first of the month and I do share tips here, especially those pertinent to flash story writing. Last time I shared a pdf I’d created for a flash fiction group I run on Zoom (the ACW one). If you’d like to sign up head over to my landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com – you would be most welcome! A big thanks to all who are already subscribers too.

One of the Flash NANO challenges is in the form of an exercise I’ve done before – to cut a story in half word count wise. It’s a great exercise to work on your editing skills as the story still has to make sense and to not lose anything important to its meaning. This kind of exercise though is not the type you can do in five minutes. What I’m hoping to do with mine is have it done by the end of Flash NANO at the end of the month.

Goodreads Author Blog – READING ACROSTIC

R= Reading is wonderful and inspires further stories to be written.
E = Educational and entertaining – what is there not to like?
A = Animals, aliens, all sorts of characters end up being the heroes and villains in the stories.
D = Dialogue in books and stories is like overhearing an intriguing conversation where you have to find out what happens.
I = Imagination – reading fires this up considerably even if you don’t write yourself.
N = Novels, novellas, short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction, articles, books, magazines – there is something to suit you somewhere!
G = Great reading can cross centuries – there is no time limit on how long a book or story can be good for.

Screenshot 2022-11-19 at 18-01-56 Reading Acrostic

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Crossing Paths with Jenny Sanders, Autumnal Matters, and Cat Chat

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. A huge thank you to Jenny Sanders for supplying author, book, and other pictures for Part 1 of a great interview with her on Chandler’s Ford Today. I also share my latest Author Electric post about autumn and a fun tale (or should that be tail?) which is my latest offering on Friday Flash Fiction. Hope you have had a good week. Have had some nice autumn days here after a right wash-out earlier this week.

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Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today – and Authors Electric

18th November 2022 – 1st Post – CFT
Not one but two blogs to share tonight. First up is Chandler’s Ford Today and I am delighted to welcome Jenny Sanders to the interviewee’s “chair” for Part 1 of a fabulous conversation. This week Jenny shares her lifelong love of books and stories and her earlier career in television (which in itself showed her a lot about putting stories together, a fabulous learning experience for any writer).

Jenny and I cross paths, writing wise, in a number of ways and that is shared here too. Next week she’ll be sharing more about her short story, devotional, and flash fiction writing (just one of many of those “crossed paths” for Jenny and I!).

Crossing Paths with Jenny Sanders – Part 1

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18th November – 2nd post – Authors Electric

My second blog to share tonight is my monthly post on Authors Electric. Aptly, I talk about Autumnal Reading and Writing. I share my love of autumn, ask if you choose books according to season, and celebrate the one positive about the longer, darker evenings (in my part of the world at least). I find I get more writing and reading done! Do share your thoughts on the season and how it affects you reading and writing wise over on the AE comments box.

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Now today was the kind of autumn day I love – dry, not too cold, sunny, and dry. (I mention that again as on Tuesday Lady and I were anything but dry for a lot of the day!).

Looking forward to sharing Part 1 of a fabulous interview with Jenny Sanders on Chandler’s Ford Today. Link up tomorrow. See above.

I’ll be interviewing other authors well into December too so do keep an eye out for these. I always learn a lot from author interviews I read and listen to so hope you do with these great posts coming up. (Many thanks to everyone taking part in them too).

I’ll also be sharing a lovely autumnal post on Authors Electric tomorrow so double bubble for Friday!

Am looking forward to the Bridge House Publishing event on 3rd December. (Hope to report back on that for CFT in due course and my January 2023 newsletter).

Writing Tip: People often talk abut focusing on the senses in fiction writing and it is a great idea but why not just pick one and focus your strory on that? If you decide to focus on hearing, for example, you can focus on what sounds mean the most to your lead character and why these matter. A piece of music could remind them of their lost love etc.

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Lady was delighted to have a good old run-around with her best friend, the Rhodesian Ridgeback today. All before the weather closed in later so win-win there. I knew her pal was out because Lady tugged me most of the way to the park and she doesn’t do that for anyone else!

On Chandler’s Ford Today this week, I’ll be sharing Part 1 of an interview called Crossing Paths with Jenny Sanders. Jenny and I do cross writing paths a lot. More on that on Friday when the post goes live. She’ll also be talking about her writing life and her previous life in television. Looking forward to sharing that. See above (and Part 2 next week is also fab so stay tuned).

Friday is one of those days when I will have a second blog post up so I will have two Facebook posts up then. The other blog coming up is for Authors Electric and I’ll be talking about Autumnal Reading and Writing which is definitely topical in my part of the world! Again, see above. Every so often my various blogs “collide” and end up on one day!

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I’m delighted to share my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction though maybe I should’ve written that as tail! Why? Because my new story is called Cat Chat. Hope you enjoy it, whether you own a cat (or any other pet) or not.

Screenshot 2022-11-18 at 16-56-02 Cat Chat by Allison Symes

Have recently submitted a festive flash fiction piece – will report back it if gets anywhere. When I write flash, my starting point can be:-

1. Respond to a prompt (Flash NANO is brilliant here).

2. I know the mood of the story I want to write – humour, serious, crime etc.

3. I have a promising opening line (something I brainstormed previously) I now want to write up.

4. I have a promising closing line (again brainstormed ages ago) I now want to write up.

5. I want a stock of stories I can use for various competitions, including open theme ones so I will write something that could fit the categories I know interest me. I also write up stories I know could fit an open theme.

6. I can “hear” a character’s voice in my head and know I’ve got to write their story up.

7. Am responding to a challenge set by something I’ve used a random generator to create. Bear in mind I have no way of knowing in advance what will come up. What I can do is set parameters (and I have found generating a couple of things at a time works best for me).

8. Occasionally a writer friend will set a challenge and I respond to that. I have written a story called The Inside of a Ping Pong Ball based on that challenge. (Hello #WendyHJones!).

9. I have a promising title (again brainstormed earlier) I now want to do something with – and so I do.

10. Something catches my eye or ear when I’m out and about and I will think I’ve got to do something with that. I have used snippets of overheard conversation as a starting point for a story but done in such a way that the original speaker would never know.

11. Books of prompts (some of which I’ve contributed to in my time) are also handy.

12. Something I’ve read inspires me and triggers other ideas so I have to find out what my characters would do with them. I love the classic fairytales and they often inspire me to come up with humorous flash pieces.

May be an image of text that says "When I've quizzed my characters enough, I write their stories up. An outline is a necessity for me. 2®0 -"

Hope you have had a good day. Looking forward to having a go at today’s Flash NANO challenge later on this evening. Yesterday’s challenge was to cut a story in half and I’ve picked an old 2000 worder tale of mine. My goal will be to get that down to 1000, the top end of flash fiction. Can’t do that quickly though.

What I hope I will do is have it done by the end of the Flash NANO challenge on 30th November. I have done this kind of exercise before. It gets harder the more you have to cut down! Its advantage is it does make you get to the core of the story and focus on that.

May be an image of text that says "goe Ludwig Mie more es is Less Less Mies an Rohe Less is more could be THE anthem for all flash fiction writers."

Fairytales with Bite – Stories and Songs

Stories and songs have massive roles to play in most cultures so how would this work out in your fictional setting? What stories and songs would your characters enjoy? Equally which do they have to endure because it’s more than their life’s worth not to do so (and possibly literally there too)?

Are storytellers and bards etc respected? Are your society’s current generation of writers respected for what they do? Have modern stories and songs gone into popular culture and are expected to live on for other generations or are these “of the moment”?

Are there any restrictions on which stories and songs your characters are allowed to enjoy? If so, why are these restrictions in palce and who brought them in? Is there any kind of underground movement where people/beings of choice can enjoy these forbidden stories and songs?

Do you use the influence of the stories and songs you love to influence what your characters are likely to enjoy or do you go for the complete opposite here? Either could work!

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This World and Others – Culture

Culture is a huge topic but how does your fictional world react to it? Is it proud of its culture or embarrassed by it? Does it look down on the cultures of others or use the best ideas from those other worlds to improve its own? History can often come into play in responses to culture. There can be elements of culture that are “covered up” or deliberately forgotten especially if it makes a country look dreadful. Is there anything your own world’s setting would deliberately not bring out in the open?

Also within the arts, are certain things appreciated more than others? For example, is anything audio-related more appreciated than visual media because your fictional species hear better than they see? What factors have led to your world having the culture it does? How has your world’s culture changed over time and what history has led to that happening? If you think about our own world, we can all think of, say, humour, that would have worked thirty years ago but definitely wouldn’t now.

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Publication/Submission News and The Flash NANO Challenge


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. Weather all over the place so far this week. Busy week with publication and submission news and the Flash NANO challenge continues… am never short of things to do writing wise. And that is the way I like it!

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Facebook – General

Lady and I spent a lot of the day getting wet. When I went out earlier it was to go swimming! You couldn’t make that up!

Writing wise, I’ll be sharing Part 1 of a fabulous interview with fellow Mom’s Favorite Reads contributor, Jenny Sanders, over on Chandler’s Ford Today later this week. Link up on Friday. More interviews to come too.

Progressing well on Flash NANO. Also looking forward to the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction Group meeting at the end of the month. And I’ve proofread my story – Ever Green and Good to Go – which will be appearing in Evergreen, this year’s Bridge House Publishing anthology. More details on that publication as and when I have them.


Busy day as usual for a Monday. Hope things have not been too hectic with you. Pleased to get my usual batch of stories prepared and scheduled/submitted yesterday. Sunday afternoon is flash fiction writing afternoon! The rest of the week is blogging and more flash writing but I do reserve Sundays specifically for getting new material prepared and out.

It is like responding to “live prompt” writing with a very short deadline to meet and I enjoy doing that. I was pleased that something I prepared for Flash NANO will fit perfectly for something coming up shortly so I have gone and submitted it. Also submitted my third flash collection over the weekend so am pleased with weekend’s achievements.

I have some wonderful author interviews coming up on Chandler’s Ford Today so am looking forward to sharing these with you over the next few weeks.

Author Interviews coming up on CFT

May be an image of laptop and text that says "It took a while to find my writing style, voice for fiction and non- fiction but now I know what these are, I can play to their strengths."

Hope you have had a good day. The service at the War Memorial in the village where we go to church was most moving. Remembering and being grateful for sacrifices made is so important.

What would your characters consider important to remember? What does this reveal about them? What stories and poems do they choose to hold dear? Also what would they be prepared to sacrifice and what would drive them to do it?

And remember you can use a character’s memory as a point of conflict with another character. How would that then play out in your story?

May be an image of text that says "Dream Inspire Courage Harmony We should understand where our characters come from even if we don't agree with them. What dreams do they have? Would we dream the same?"

Many thanks for the comments coming in on my In The Blink of an Eye, my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction. I’ve loved getting back to the 100-worders (aka drabbles) again. These were what first got me into flash fiction writing at all and is a joy to be writing these weekly for FFF.

For Flash NANO, I’ve found my word count has been variable but that’s okay. They’ll be even more variable when I get to edit these pieces! But it will result in, I hope, thirty new stories written by the end of the month and I know I’ll be doing plenty with those.

Screenshot 2022-11-11 at 08-57-23 In The Blink Of An Eye by Allison Symes

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Am glad my story on YouTube, Time Management, has gone down well. Also thank you for the comment left on this one over on my YouTube channel. Don’t forget you can subscribe to my channel and new subscribers are also welcome. Many thanks to those who already do!

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14th November
You know the drill. It’s Monday. It’s getting dark early. It is still flaming Monday, and it’s time for a new YouTube story from yours truly. I concede I may be a little early with this one given the subject matter (Time Management) but hope you enjoy it anyway!


Flash NANO challenge continues to go well. And I submitted my third flash fiction collection yesterday so fingers crossed time!

Over on my author page, I was thinking about the use of memories for story ideas. Flash can be an ideal form for monologues. So you could focus on one character and one specific memory and how that changed them to create a poignant flash piece. (I did this with my They Don’t Understand in From Light to Dark and Back Again. I think it works well precisely because it has to be kept short and pertinent).

The memory you select has to be something that has changed your character and which would rivet a reader into wanting to find out why the character was changed by it.

Allison Symes - Flash Fiction Collections


Flash News: Hannah Kate will be running her Three Minute Santas again on North Manchester FM. See the link for more details but I hope to submit something for this and it is easy to do too. Have since sent something in. Again fingers crossed time!

What I do is prepare my story, edit it, and then when I’m happy, I set up a meeting with myself on Zoom and record it. When you end your meeting Zoom turns the file into a mp4 file for you. Not only can you hear it back, you get the timing for your file too. (And reading your work out is always great for hearing whether your story flows as well as you thought).

3 Minute Santas

Goodreads Author Blog – Book Memory Associations

Books are special for so many reasons. Not least is the fact books have so many positive memory associations for us. I still have my Reader’s Digest Collection of Fairytales which my father bought for me many, many years ago. I think he saved up cigarette coupons to get the books. You could back then!

You went into what was a effectively a catalogue shop (a bit like Argos) and redeemed the coupons. One irony here is I know I did get a recorder thanks to those coupons thanks to Dad’s smoking habit, which I am glad he gave up much later on. Anyway, I still treasure those fairytale books. The spines are taped up because I read them so much when I was younger.

Then there are the books I inherited from my mum. There are the books I bought for myself to start my own collection off. There are the books I’ve written or contributed to and there are plenty of books on my shelves written by friends. I love them all!

There are books I associate with reading at certain times of the year. There are those I dip back into occasionally but I am just glad to know they’re on my shelves somewhere. For me a home isn’t a home without books in it. They are a great comfort.

So which books have great associations for you? Which books could you not bear to part with under any circumstances?

Screenshot 2022-11-12 at 20-08-03 Book Memory Associations
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Remembering

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. It has been a busy week starting with a podcast appearance and ending with a solemn day of remembrance. Hope your week has been a good one. Weather has ranged from stormy to sunshine and sudden rain and back to sunshine again! It is very mild for the time of year too. Writing wise, Flash NANO continues to go well and I will have lots of lovely interviews to share on Chandler’s Ford Today over the next few weeks.

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Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

11th November 2022 – Armistice Day

There could only be one topic for this week’s post on Chandler’s Ford Today and I have called my post Remembering. This is a tribute to the fallen and those who gave up loved ones so we don’t have to and I also look at why remembering is an act of will. It’s a phenomenally important one at that too.

Remembering

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Hope you have had a good day. It’s been a busy week so far but fun. Am looking forward to sharing interviews with some wonderful authors on Chandler’s Ford Today over the next few weeks.

But there could only be one topic for tomorrow’s post – I’ll share the link for Remembering tomorrow. See above.

On the fiction front, you could use the thought of what your characters think important enough to remember as a basis for stories. Why have they chosen to remember what they have and how does that bring them into conflict with others? (And there will be bound to be conflict given people can often remember the same event differently. Characters can do likewise). Also do your characters act on those memories and what are the consequences?

Will be working on the latest Flash NANO prompt shortly. Am so loving these. Got that prompt written up. Am already thinking of future homes for some of these.

9th November 2022 – two posts

FIRST POST

You know you get one of those days where lots is going on – well, today is one of mine. This is the first of two posts from me tonight.

First up, a huge thank you to the lovely #ValPenny for sharing my post about Looking Back at Swanwick 2022 on her website today.

Looking back is an apt topic for me because, not only is my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week about Remembering (linking in with Armistice Day on Friday), today is the seventh anniversary of my mother’s passing. Mum read widely and passed on her love of the written word to me. She did get to see my first short story in print (and my late Dad got to see my first book, From Light to Dark and Back Again, in print – there is a kind of symmetry here).

For the lifelong love of books and stories I’ve inherited from you, thanks Mum!

Screenshot 2022-11-09 at 09-04-41 Looking Back at The Writers’ Summer School at Swanwick 2022 by Allison Symes


9th November 2022

SECOND POST

SECOND post from me tonight and I’d like to say a huge thank you to #WendyHJones for hosting me on her podcast, The Writing and Marketing Show. We discuss Flash NANO, which I’m happily taking part in at the moment. And I always welcome a chance to celebrate the joys of flash fiction writing.

Hope you enjoy the podcast. I loved taking part in this and to my fellow Flash NANO writers, more power to your pens and laptops! I’ll be working on the latest challenge a little later on this evening. Hope all is going well for you.

https://wendyhjones.buzzsprout.com/807761/11656217-flash-nanowrimo

Screenshot 2022-11-10 at 20-07-38 Flash NaNoWriMo - The Writing and Marketing ShowScreenshot 2022-11-10 at 20-07-27 The Writing and Marketing Show

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

My latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction is called In The Blink of an Eye. Hope you enjoy it. Find out if my character’s story about an accident rings true for you as she thinks about what she is going to tell the police officer who has come to see her as a result of said “accident”.

Screenshot 2022-11-11 at 08-57-23 In The Blink Of An Eye by Allison Symes

Am starting work on some festive flash fiction (Flash NANO has helped here too!) and have an idea as to where it will go in due course. Festive flash is about the only seasonal writing I do and it is great fun. This kind of quirky humorous fiction, I think, works best when kept short so flash is the ideal form for it.

I hope to so some more for Chandler’s Ford Today in due course too. I usually have a pre-Christmas post on this. It’s a nice way to sign off for a Christmas break too. The nice thing here is you can create these at any time and just save them up for the apt time of year. I have done that in the past. Not had the chance this year. Making up for it now though!

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It was a joy to talk to #WendyHJones about Flash NANO for her podcast, The Writing and Marketing Show. I share what Flash NANO is about, look at the joys and challenges of it, and where it differs from the main NaNoWriMo event. Not least of which is hopefully by the end of November I’ll have 30 more flash fiction stories to polish and work on further – more than I would’ve done. I don’t usually write a flash fiction piece a day – I do write a few over the course of a week. And “hon mentions” go to members of the ACW Flash Fiction Group too for telling me about Flash NANO in the first place.

 

Fairytales with Bite – Memories

This is an apt topic given Friday, 11th November will be Armistice Day/Veterans Day. We cherish memories we rightly dare not forget.

In your fictional setting, what would be your community’s collective memories, the things everyone shares? How are these things remembered? Are there rituals people must follow? (I use the word people loosely here!). On an individual level, what memories does your character cherish or go out of their way to try and forget? What does that say about them? And can memories come back to haunt them?

Perspective is important too. People can be at an event and have differing views of what happened when despite being in the same place and the same time.

I once took part in an interesting writing exercise to prove this point. Fellow writers and I had to recall something that had happened after having just been shown the event in question. This was interesting, We recalled a lot of things in common but by no means everything. There were differences too. Yet all of us could’ve sworn we’d remembered “correctly”.

How could that play out for your characters and how would it affect the actions they then take?

Remembering helps us to be grateful for sacrifices made

This World and Others – Remembrance Ceremonies

The Armistice Day ceremonies are always deeply moving. For those of us in the UK this year’s ceremonies will have an added poignancy given one very familiar figure will not be laying the wreath at The Centoaph in London, as Her Late Majesty the Queen had done for so many years.

In your fictional setting, what is “officially” remembered and why? What ceremonies are used to commemorate these events/people? Does everyone join in with these things and, if so, is that by choice? Where it is, what would happen to those who disagree and refuse to take part?

Are there events in your world’s history which nobody remembers because they don’t want to do so? Where this reflects badly on them, what happens when someone uncovers this and exposes it?

Who leads any ceremonies and are these kept simple or is there a lot of pomp and circumstance? What are the traditions leading to the ceremonies being carried out the way they are? Do other countries (or equivalent) in your setting share the same ceremonies?

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Flash NANO, Book Wish Lists, and Podcast News

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 you have had a good start to the week. Wild weather here but progressing well with Flash NANO and I’m about to be on a podcast talking about that very thing. Hope to share the link to the podcast in the next issue on Friday.

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Facebook – General

Thrilled to say I was interviewed by #WendyHJones for her podcast, The Writing and Marketing Show, today. Show will go out tomorrow and I’m looking forward to sharing the link.

Our topic? Flash NANO! Flash NANO is an offshoot of NaNoWriMO and is where flash fiction writers get to write 30 flash pieces over 30 days. I’ll be working on my prompt for today later on this evening! Tomorrow’s episode follows on beautifully from her show last week which talked about NaNoWriMo – the A to Z see link for that. It was great fun taking part in this and I am always keen to spread the word about flash fiction – win-win here then!

Screenshot 2022-11-08 at 20-40-00 NaNoWriMo A to Z - The Writing and Marketing Show

Hope you have had a lovely start to your working week. Blustery and wet again here but I did have a lovely surprise this morning. Ruth Leigh, whom I recently interviewed for Chandler’s Ford Today, gave me a lovely shout-out on More Than Writers (the Association of Christian Writers blog spot). See link and screenshot.

Talking of CFT, my post this week will be called Remembering, especially apt at this post goes out on Armistice Day.

And in other news, I will be interviewed myself very soon. See above! Will give more details when I can but looking forward to this a lot.

All in all, it’s not been a bad Monday!

Screenshot 2022-11-07 at 09-21-45 It's All in the Questions

More rain last night, fewer fireworks, Lady dozing off to the second part of Classic FM’s Pet Classics – win-win all around here!
I use a good old-fashioned paper diary bought from my local Post Office to help me plan out my writing. I find this especially useful for the different blogs I write pieces for. There is still much to be said for pen and paper technology!

Having said that, I take my turn every month on the Association of Christian Writers Twitter feed. I draft those tweets in advance and schedule them so I use that kind of technology too.

Am definitely one of life’s planners. I find it invaluable for keeping track of my writing. And today being a Sunday, as well as continuing with Flash NANO later on, I will get some flash pieces ready for submission and scheduling respectively. It’s a nice way to round off the writing week.

May be an image of text that says "Planning out your writing does not have to kill spontaneity, far from it. don't plan to the "nth" degree. I plan enough to get me started and to ensure I get done in a week what I'd like to get done. TOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER YEARLYPLANNER PLANNER 2019 LNE MON ON"

Hope you have had a good Saturday. There were some fireworks last night but the combination of Classic FM’s Pet Classics, the TV being on, and shut curtains etc meant Lady was okay (and she nodded off during the evening, which is always a good sign). The only positive thing about the wild and wet weather today is it should mean fewer fireworks (I hope). I see some of the supermarkets are now stocking the silent variety. Now that is the way to go with these things. It is the noise which causes the most distress and I do feel deeply sorry for the wild animals. At least I can keep my pet indoors.

A big thanks for the wonderful comments coming in on Old Notebooks, my latest story on Friday Flash Fiction. Feedback always appreciated.

My theme for next week’s Chandler’s Ford Today will be Remembering given it will be Armistice Day.

Memories can make great themes for stories too. You can have characters who struggle with theirs for various reasons from illness to the memories themselves being something they don’t really want to have to face up to and don’t forget false memories. Who has them? What has triggered this? How can they be shown these memories are false?

Progressing well with Flash NANO too. Looking forward to having a go at today’s prompt later on.

Screenshot 2022-11-04 at 09-26-35 Old Notebooks by Allison Symes

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Earlier today I was spreading the word about flash fiction and Flash NANO in particular as guest interviewee on Wendy H Jones’s podcast, The Writing and Marketing Show. Show goes out tomorrow and I will be sharing the link then.

But I’m always pleased to share the virtues of flash fiction and one perhaps overlooked aspect is the possibilities of getting into print with it. I hope by the end of Flash NANO to have 30 new stories. Once I’ve polished those up, I hope to send some in for competitions. Others I hope to put towards a future collection. And with the rise in the indie press, there are opportunities out there to have flash collections published. I know, I’ve done it!

I also remain convinced that flash is an excellent form of writing exercise for any writer because you have to think about what the story is about and what the reader needs to know and cut out everything that doesn’t serve a useful purpose.

Flash Fiction focuses on THE important aspect of a character's life

It’s a dark Monday. It’s a wet and windy one. Time for my latest story on YouTube. Hope you enjoy All In The Game, which is based on fact too.

 

How to tell when a flash piece is finished? My take on this is when I know I cannot take another word out without losing something invaluable to the characters/story. As for adding words, again the same criteria applies because you can, to use the English phrase, “over-egg” the pudding and ruin it.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have to justify to myself why I’ve included anything in my story. If I’m not convinced if something is necessary, then a reader is likely to feel the same way. I don’t want them switching off as a result.

When looking back at my earlier stories, I can see now how I could improve these but that is the point. That was the stage of writing I was at then. I have moved on since and rightly so too. I want to try and keep on improving on what I do. That attitude helps fuel my imagination and creativity and I am all for that. I don’t think any writer can feel they’ve “made it”. There are always ways to develop your characters further and to come up with other interesting situations to dump them in. That is the fun bit!

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "Wm ( S)TOP LEARNING Good idea. It can be great fun though getting your characters to learn their lessons the hard way. Makes for good drama."

Flash fiction is the definition of Less is More being true but it is nice being able to exploit that to maximum effect. This is another reason why knowing the last line first is such an effective device for writing flash. If I’m given a prompt which could be an opening or a closing line, I nearly always make it the last one for this reason. I’ve got the impact in that line so where best to place it? Often it is at the end.

Sometimes a story simply does work better at 300 words, say, rather than 100. Usually there are factors such as more in depth characterisation adding to the story which you would not want to lose. My basis for editing any piece of my work is if it adds something to useful to the story and moves it on in some way it stays in. If not, out it comes. So part of my editing process is to go through my story line by line and query its worthiness to be included. I have to be able to justify its inclusion.

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Goodreads Author Blog – Book Wish Lists

It is the right time of year to start thinking about book wish lists (assuming you don’t have an all year round one. The advantage of the latter is it covers birthdays, anniversaries, feel like a new book days etc). I don’t have a wish list for my Kindle. If there’s a book I’m after for that, I just get it.

But I will be compiling my annual list for the family to pick books from for me for Christmas. That’s always fun to put together. I go for a mixture of hardbacks and paperbacks. Some will be books I’ve been after for a while. Others are recent releases I like the look of – and often detective novels at that. I also make a point in checking out non-fiction releases as I’ve found some gems there.

So what it is that makes you put a book on your own wish list? For me the story is the lure. If I like the sound of it, on to the wish list it goes, whether it is by a big name author or not. Some are the latest in a series I’ve become fond of and others are stand alones. As long as I like the sound of the tale and the characters, I’m putting it on my list.

The nice thing about lists is it is a win-win for my loved ones too. I am easy to buy for! Mind you, I think most writers are. There are always books or stationery items we want. No good asking for an agent or a publishing deal though – you’re on your own for those!

 

 

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Sherlock Holmes, Old Notebooks, and Flash NANO

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. A HUGE thank you to The Chameleon Theatre Group for providing photos from their recent production of Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery at Mallen Hall. Hope all well with you. Some frightful storms in the UK this week, with more to come, but I’ve been out and about to my local amateur theatre’s latest production and have started Flash NANO which I am thoroughly enjoying.

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Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

Am delighted to share my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post. This week I review Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery at Mallen Hall, which was recently wonderfully performed by The Chameleon Theatre Group.

My format for this review is different this time too – I do it in the form of a recipe! I look at what makes for a good detective story and give you the ingredients, the method, and the results as it refers to this particular show and the performance. Hope you enjoy it. Loved the show. Loved the performance.

Those local to me – if you haven’t been to see The Chameleons in action, do take the chance to do so when you can. You’ll be in for a wonderful evening of entertainment. I’ve shared a heads up for their next show in this post too.

Review: The Chameleon Theatre Group – Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery at Mallen Hall

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Pleased Lady got to play with her friend Coco today. Both dogs had a lovely time. Not impressed by the ghastly weather coming in again this evening (though if it does lessen the number of fireworks let off tonight, Lady won’t be that sorry. Incidentally, Classic FM are repeating their soothing music for pets programme, Pet Classics, this weekend. I know I found that soothing last year and I hope some of that rubbed off on Lady. It is worth a try for a nervous pet).

My Chandler’s Ford Today post is up tomorrow and this week I’ll be reviewing Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery at Mallen Hall, which was recently performed by the ever excellent Chameleon Theatre Group. My format for this review is a bit different this time too. Hope you like it. Look forward to sharing the link tomorrow. See above and again thanks to the Chameleons for their photos.

One lovely thing about writing, especially when the weather is pretty grim as it is is for a lot of us at the moment, is it is at least an indoors creative art! I am truly thankful for that!


Hope you have had a good day. Blustery and wet here. Lady though had the time of her life with two of her best friends, the lovely Ridgeback and the equally lovely Labradoodle, in the park this morning. A three way zoomie session ensued – great time had by all.

Will be working on my second prompt for Flash NANO later. Enjoyed writing the first one. My aim here is not to write 50000 words over November, funnily enough. Even if I wrote 30 x 1000 words pieces, I would be well short of that target (though if you took in my blogging etc I would easily exceed it).

What I am aiming for is to write 30 new flash fiction pieces throughout November to “knock into shape” later on. Am also putting finishing touches to my third book and am on course to submit that possibly later this week or next. (I was aiming for autumn with this so am happy with this).

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Pleased to share my latest story on Friday Flash Fiction though it does come with a word of warning. Be ware of writers’ notebooks! If you want to find out why, check out the story, Old Notebooks.

This topic came up as a result of a random theme generator in case you’re wondering why I didn’t go for a writer’s current notebook! Link here (and a big thanks for the great comments already coming in on this one).

Screenshot 2022-11-04 at 09-26-35 Old Notebooks by Allison Symes

Am enjoying Flash NANO and will be working on the Day 3 prompt a little later on this evening.

Don’t forget if you would like signed copies of my books From Light to Dark and Back Again and Tripping the Flash Fantastic, just contact me via the website and I will get back to you. (And I am always pleased to see new followers to my website and/or sign ups for my author newsletter too).

One huge advantage to writing flash is you do pare your stories down to the bare essentials. It makes you focus on what really matters to your characters. I’ve found that makes me think more deeply about why something really matters to them. And it is another way to get to know my characters better as a result. This is even more useful if you write linked flashes. (I’ve written more of these for my third collection and found it enjoyable to do. Not got enough to do a whole novella in flash but one day, maybe).

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It isn’t just for my twist stories that I know the ending first. I often know the ending first for my humorous tales. I know the punchline or ending and then figure out how I can get to that point. When I brainstorm one liners, often I will come up with something that would make a great ending or a powerful beginning to a story, So I work out options for both and then go with what I like best.

Also looking at what Character A would make of a situation and then contrasting it with what Character B would make of it can make for a great story idea. (Often good for comedy).

Overall I’ve got to know my starting point whether it’s knowing the ending first, or knowing what this character could be capable of in these circumstances. It’s the way into a story which matters for me. Once I know that way in, away I go.

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Fairytales With Bite – Seasons in Magic

In your fantastic setting, are there seasons in magic? Does one season encourage more use of magic, for example? I could see there being a need for more of it during what we would consider to be the winter months, if only to try and ward the darkness (and whatever may lurk in it) away.

Are there seasons where magical accidents are more likely to happen? That could tie in with the academic year, for example. You would expect beginners to be more clumsy after all. (Also think about who would clear up after such accidents, is there such as thing as Magical Accident Investigators and so on? Stories can come from someone not doing their job properly here or doing it so well they’re a threat to someone else).

Do your magical characters find they have their own seasons in magic when, perhaps at a younger age, there were things they could do magically they cannot now? Do they feel the lack or are they happy not to have so much responsibility?

Conversely, do older characters, with more experience behind them, discover their main season in magic is at this point rather than when they were younger? Are they taking on more powers and responsibilities? Do they resent the younger ones or is it the other way around? Are the younger ones waiting impatiently for someone’s season to end?

Equally could there be those who give fate a helping shove in the back and remove people in their way precisely because they want their season in magic to take off and flourish?

How would you define your character’s season in magic? When they get to a certain level or have clocked off a certain number of years worth of experience?

Can magic interfere with your world’s natural seasons and what would happen to any character who tries to exploit that?

This World and Others – Light and Dark

We think of light and dark in terms of the sun and the moon and also in terms of traits in ourselves. Most of us will acknowledge we are a mixture of light and dark but are your characters so honest? Do you have characters who think they are light but everyone else around them knows full well they’re not? Do you have characters who struggle to control the dark and have they friends/mentors to help them? What is their reward for not giving in to the dark?

What does your world have in the way of natural lighting? Does it have artificial lights, electricity etc? Thinking about seasons again, do they have a long or short light/dark season and what makes your setting have the kind they have?

We know the lack of light can have an affect on physical and/or mental health. Do your characters find the same and, if so, how understanding is their world?

Thinking about your world’s history, what would be considered to be their golden or light periods? What would be their dark ones? Is this accepted by all or do people/other characters query the official versions of events?

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Learning From Our Favourite Characters

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 you have had a good weekend. This week sees my latest author newsletter go out and my taking part in Flash NANO for the first time. Weather all over the place here though we still have gorgeous autumn colours to enjoy (the photo below was taken by me during my Northumberland holiday only a couple of weeks ago).

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Facebook – General

Where does the time go? Mind you, it wasn’t hard to believe it’s November today. I’ve had heavy rain, gales, hail, all sorts here and that was by lunchtime today! Lady got to have a bonus play with her best buddy today so she was well pleased.

Author newsletter went out today. Received my first Flash NANO prompt which I plan to write up later this evening.

I’ll be reviewing Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery of Mallen Hall for Chandler’s Ford Today on Friday. Always a joy to go and watch The Chameleon Theatre Group. Looking forward to going to their pantomime (Pinocchio the Pantomime) in January – oh yes I am!

Oh and big news – I’ve booked my place for The Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, very much being an ”early bird”. If you want to know more about Swanwick, do check their website out.


Screenshot 2022-11-01 at 20-24-19 Swanwick Writers' Summer School

Hope you have had a good start to the week. Lady got to play with her best buddy today, the Rhodesian Ridgeback., so those two went home tired but happy. Went out at the right time too – the heavens opened at lunchtime!

Looking forward to taking part in Flash NANO which starts tomorrow. Good luck to everyone taking part in that and in the NaNoWriMo. Hope you all get plenty written. I’m hoping to write to as many of the prompts as I can with the idea being these might go forward to a future collection of mine.

Separately, don’t forget I send out my author newsletter on the first of the month so do head over to my landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com if you would like to catch the next one “hot off the presses”, so to speak, given it goes out tomorrow. I often share flash tips etc here.

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Hope you have had a good weekend. Did appreciate the extra hour’s lie-in this morning as clocks went back in the UK. Even the dog welcomed it!

Many thanks for the fabulous comments coming in on The Caterpillar and The Zebra, my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction.

I’ll be reviewing Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery of Mallen Hall for Chandler’s Ford Today on Friday. It was great to see The Chameleon Theatre Group on stage again.

Also a big thanks for the comments coming in on Learning from Our Favourite Characters, my most recent blog post for More than Writers (the Association of Christian Writers’ blog spot).

Will be pretty busy preparing interview questions for CFT for a couple of lovely authors soon. More details on these interviews nearer the time. Once nice thing about it getting darker sooner in the evenings is that it gives me even more incentive to stay at my desk writing away!

 

It’s my turn on the blog spot for the Association of Christian Writers. For More Than Writers this month, I look at Learning from Our Favourite Characters. For one thing, you can figure out whether you would make the choices they do in the book you’re reading. One of the joys of being a writer is you get to read more too and you can learn so much from what else you read, whether it is contemporary or classic, fiction or non-fiction.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Received my first Flash NANO prompt and am looking forward to writing that up later. Plan for the month is to write up as many of the prompts as possible. I’ll be worrying about editing in December!

One of the most sensible pieces of writing advice I’ve received (and act on) is to write the story first and worry about editing later. See them as two separate tasks.

That has helped me so much. It means I don’t “hamstring” myself trying to get the first sentence right. I just get the story written and then look at ways to improve it. There always are ways!

Writing Advice

It’s Monday. It’s a darker than normal Monday too – not because of Halloween but because the clocks went back in the UK yesterday! It bucketed down with rain at lunchtime. And it remains Monday. Definitely time for a story on YouTube then. This one, Past Writings, is inspired by a random theme generator and the theme which came up was that of old notebooks. It’s a complete contrast to my zebra video last week (and again a huge thanks for the views coming in on that).

 

I’ve signed up to take part in Flash NANO which begins on 1st November. You receive 30 prompts over 30 days and it is up to you how many stories you write up. If you want to find out more about this head over to Nancy Stohlman’s site at https://nancystohlman.com/flashnano/

Am looking forward to this. Should be fun. And talking of flash fiction, I am glad to say the November issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads is now out and I’m talking about Twists in Flash Fiction this time. Also check out the wonderful stories that came in as a result of my challenge.


One simple thing any reader can do to help a writer is to review their books. Doesn’t need to be a long review. Just needs to be honest and to the point for the book in question. On that note, I’m delighted to have received another five star review for Tripping the Flash Fantastic. See screenshot. Many thanks to #JoyWood.

Also, there is no “use by” date for these things. Yes, they are especially helpful at the time of a book launch but any author will welcome helpful reviews whenever they come in.

This review mentions signed copies of my books. I’m always pleased to sign my books for people. Just get in contact with me via https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com and we can take things from there.

Screenshot 2022-10-29 at 16-31-50 Tripping the Flash Fantastic eBook Symes Allison Amazon.co.uk Kindle Store

Goodreads Author Blog – The ABC of Books Part 2 – N to Z

It’s time for Part 2 of my alphabetical celebration of books.

N = New and old books – read both and have a great reading “diet”.

O = Open up your reading diet to include genres new to you – this is where I’m glad I have many writing friends. I like to read what they bring out. It’s wonderfully entertaining and I’ve got to read books this way I might not otherwise have come across.

P = Paperbacks and the Penguin. Paperbacks are my favourite format and Penguin opened these up for so many – definitely worth celebrating that.

Q = Quirky fiction. Plenty of room for that in the book world – and often it is the quirky books or characters that grab the attention. Who would have thought a trilogy about a brave hobbit would take off?

R = Reading – and across formats as well as genres. Stories can be taken in via the printed word, audio, etc. Enjoy them all.

S = Stories. This is what books give us – yes, even non-fiction. Why? Because in a non-fiction book, the “story” is you finding out something you had not known before on a topic that has grabbed your interest. Or has increased your knowledge on it.

T = Trailers for books. These are great fun and a fabulous way of giving a teaser to a book. I’m all for getting the word about books out there and this is another way to do that.

U = Universes, yes plural. Fabulous books take you into a world of their own (whether it is set here, back in time, or a fantasy planet somewhere). You should lose yourself in a good book!

V = Voice. A good book will show you the author’s voice through their characters and will enthrall you. You’ll look out for more by that writer hopefully too.

W = Words, the powerhouse of books. Books impact you through words, the way the author has put them together, what they get their characters to say and do. The words of characters stay in your memory. Words, and therefore books, are powerful.

X = X marks the spot found in classic pirate fiction such as Treasure Island, and that leads me on to saying (e)xcellence in fiction, especially children’s fiction will encourage a life long love of reading. How do I know? It happened for me!

Y = Young Adult fiction. I am so glad this category exists now. It didn’t really when I was growing up. I did find myself between categories and I’d have loved the YA range. Also a great way to keep people reading and I’m all for that too.

Z = Zestful books – the kind that keep you reading all night. The books that are hard to put down even when you have finished reading them. The very best books of all!

Screenshot 2022-10-29 at 20-39-26 The ABC of Books - Part 2 - N to Z

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