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.
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.
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).
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).
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).
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.
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?
Old Notebooks, by Allison Symes – Friday Flash Fiction https://t.co/Ec589owKAg Pleased to share my new FFF tale though it does come with a warning. Be ware of writers’ notebooks! To find out why, check out Old Notebooks. Link below (and thanks for the great comments already in). pic.twitter.com/nyGSCecqrF— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) November 4, 2022
Review: The Chameleon Theatre Group – Sherlock Holmes and The Mystery at Mallen Hall https://t.co/XXGoXaZ9MK My review format for CFT is different this time. I do it as a recipe for a detective story. I give you ingredients, method, and results for this show. Good fun!— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) November 4, 2022