Swimming, Spotting the Magic, and Writing Prompts

Image Credits:-
All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated with many created in Book Brush. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes.
Had a lovely time with family at the weekend after a horrid week being ill. So good to be back to writing again too. Birthday this week and finally signs of some spring weather heading my way too. Things are looking up!


Facebook – General

Another return to normality for me today – I was back in the swimming pool. It was great to be back. When I first started swimming reasonably seriously, I thought I’d use the time in the pool to think out story ideas etc. Not a bit of it – my mind goes blank! Mind, that probably explains why I find swimming hard work and relaxing all at the same time!

Don’t forget my author newsletter goes out on the first of each month so if you would like to sign up in time for the April one, do head over to my landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com

(And Lady has had a superb start to her week – has had two play dates with her Aussie Shepherd gentleman friend and we’re only on Tuesday!).

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Naturally my follow up post to the Purposes of Creative Writing will be Purposes of Reading for Chandler’s Ford Today this week! All of my blog posts are a joy to write but some are even more so and talking about reading/writing comes into that category. It is also lovely when themes flow together well!

I’ve sent in my story for the Friday Flash Fiction Andrew Siderius competition – see the website for more details – but do note you can only submit one entry per category for the period of the competition. Good news though – there are two story categories so you can submit one piece for each. There is also a short poetry contest here but I know I’m out for that one! I am no poet and I do know it. Pam Ayres has nothing to fear from me!

Screenshot 2023-03-20 at 19-47-12 Friday Flash Fiction

Hope you’ve had a nice Sunday/Mother’s Day (for those who take part in the latter. I remember with great love my mum and mum-in-law). It was a busy day on the blogging front yesterday with my appearance on Authors Electric and Gill James’ blog. For the latter I was talking about writing prompts. In case you missed it, do check out the link.

I shall be using prompts shortly as I prepare some flash fiction pieces. I love a good writing prompt. I like mixing up the types I use too. Practicing writing to them is good practice for writing to competitions with set themes. You know you can write to a theme set by someone else – it is just a question of which one you have been set for this occasion.

Screenshot 2023-03-18 at 20-26-20 Today I talk to Allison Symes - a self-confessed huge fan of writing prompts

Am pleased (and relieved) my week is ending far, far better than it began! Lovely to see family and friends earlier today for my pre-birthday do. Usually have this after the big day but fancied a change this time.

Am back on Authors Electric where I discuss Writing All Dialogue Stories. This kind of tale works best when kept short so is ideal for flash fiction. And this post has timed nicely with something else. I often use writing prompts to generate story ideas, including all dialogue ones. I’m talking with Gill James about that very topic today as well and will be sharing the link for that shortly over on my book page.

Screenshot 2023-03-18 at 20-24-18 Writing All Dialogue Stories by Allison Symes

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

A huge thank you for the wonderful comments coming in on Spotting the Magic, my most recent tale on Friday Flash Fiction. The theme hit a chord here! Am pleased about this as the theme means a great deal to me – see what you think.

Screenshot 2023-03-17 at 09-40-48 Spotting the Magic by Allison SymesIt’s Monday. I’m back to my writing routine after a horrid week last week. Hope you enjoy my latest on YouTube – Looping the Loop.


I sometimes write flash non-fiction pieces. (You could argue my column for Mom’s Favorite Reads is of that ilk given I am well under the word count restriction and what I’m writing is factual). Now the nice thing about using random generators for prompts is many of what you come up with could be adapted to a non-fiction use. The question and theme generators are especially good for this.

For example, a question generated this afternoon was what’s on your bucket list this year? The nice thing here is you could use this for fiction by getting a character to answer the question. You could get a non-fiction piece out of it for your blog by answering the question yourself or giving good reasons as to what a historical figure might have said to this etc. You’re looking at the 500 words marker for flash non-fiction usually. You could also use material like this to add interest to your website as well.

May be an image of text that says "I use random question generators to trigger ideas for topics. DID YOU SMILE TODAY Instead ofapplying a question like this to yourself, apply it to your character. What would be the answer? What made them smile? What made them NOT smile?"

Many thanks to Gill James for inviting me on to her blog to discuss writing prompts. Now this is a topic I adore because I use prompts all the time. I deliberately mix up the type I use – it keeps me on my toes for one thing. I also share the advantages of writing to prompts – and there are a fair few of these. Have a look at the blog – and I hope you will consider using prompts yourself if you don’t already do so. They add to your creativity.

Screenshot 2023-03-18 at 20-26-20 Today I talk to Allison Symes - a self-confessed huge fan of writing prompts

Goodreads Author Blog – Memorable Characters

One of my favourite aspects to any kind of story are the characters but they have to be memorable to me. It can be I remember their witty dialogue. It can be I remember their attitude, whether I like it or loathe it. But there has to be something about them that makes them stand out to me. I try and do this for my own characters. If I don’t find them memorable, why should anyone else?

When you think back to stories you’ve loved from the past, it will be the characters you remember. You will remember how X did this, then that, and finally Y happened. You focus on the character you care about. That is a challenge to me as a writer. What is it about my creations which will make readers care about them? Why do I care enough about the character to put them in a story at all? There has to be something.

This is where reading widely helps a writer. You can work out what it is about the various characters you love and loathe and deduce why that is and then apply what you‘ve learned from that to your own creations.

Screenshot 2023-03-18 at 20-54-50 Memorable Characters




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