Using Time for Fiction

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.
Hope you have had a good week. Not bad here though the weather was mixed. Think winter is trying to hang on when it really should just go away now. I have a look at friendships, crossing divides, and whether flash fiction can bear having repetition in it amongst other topics this time.

Facebook – General and Chandler’s Ford Today

Delighted to share my latest post for Chandler’s Ford Today which is on a topic which is close to my heart – Using Time For Fiction. I like to make the most of those odd pockets of time we all get and it can be amazing what writing you can do in these. See the post for tips and thoughts here which I hope you will find useful.

Using Time For Fiction

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Better day. Got to have some sunshine today and Lady got to “show off” playing with her ball in front of her pal, the one she treats almost like a mum, the lovely Hungarian Vizler.

Am off for a day or two tomorrow. Will be posting as usual but times may vary. A lot will depend on where I am and the quality of a Wifi signal. It can be variable indeed on trains!

Sharing Using Time for Fiction on Chandler’s Ford Today tomorrow. See above. As ever I plan to use what time I can on my journey to do what writing I can using my trusted phone and Evernote. Am never short of things to do here. Am never bored. The journey flies by and I end up going home with a lot drafted ready to be edited later. There is nothing about that scenario I dislike!

Using pockets of time boosts productivity

Another mixed bag, weather wise, here, but Lady got to play with her Rhodesian Ridgeback best friend today. Both dogs went home tired and happy.

Am talking about Using Time For Fiction for Chandler’s Ford Today on Friday. See above. Looking forward to sharing that.

Hope to be taking part in an author event in July. More news on that nearer the time. Am giving a flash fiction workshop for a writing group in May. Looking forward to that a lot. Always happy to talk about flash fiction!

Looking forward to the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction Group meeting on Zoom at the end of the month. I set some prompts last time and one of these was the first line of my story, Untaken, which was up on CafeLit yesterday. So I do write up my own prompts too!

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "I don't believe in writer's block. I DO believe there are times when we are not so creative for all kinds of reasons. We're human after all. Prompts can be a useful kick start."

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

It’s the end of another working week (a shorter one in the UK given we had a Bank Holiday on Monday for the Easter weekend). Still time for a story. Hope you like my latest on Friday Flash Fiction – Making Her Day. See what does here!

Screenshot 2023-04-14 at 17-27-12 Making Her Day by Allison Symes

Does writing flash regularly make writing to a specific word count easier? Hmm… jury’s out there. What I find is it is a case you know you can do it. You’ve done it lots of times before. But you still have to face this blank page. I go by the Wodehouse maxim to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.

I will often refer to my notebooks (and this is where an idea from there will grab me and I run with that). Using pockets of time just to jot down potential ideas is never wasted effort and it pays off for me a lot.

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Is there a place for repetition in flash fiction? It may sound ironic, given the limited word count, but yes there is. I’ve used a repetition of a phrase for a character to stress something. They are trying to convince you they are speaking the truth. Sometimes this kind of repetition can be a habit of the character. So there is a place for it but it must be something you’ve thought out and can back up the characterisation to limit the risk of it looking like a mistake.

May be an image of text that says "Repetition, deliberately done, can be highly effective in a story. It can lead to a ripple effect throughout and add depth to your characterisation. Saying something once and then repeating it twice (again a rule of three!) helps people remember that something ar better. It is a huge indicator to the read that this something matters to the story and its outcome."

Fairytales With Bite – Friendships

What kind of friendships are encouraged in your fictional settings? One of my favourites is the friendship which develops between Legolas and Gimli from The Lord of the Rings. So many funny moments when they’re fighting side by side too. (‘It still counts as one, elf’, just being one example. This was an aspect I thought the films brought out so well).

And you can’t beat the friendship between Frodo and Sam for loyalty and courage. But the latter friendship is more understandable – between two hobbits rather than between an elf and a dwarf, traditional enemies.

Does your world discourage/encourage friendships between different species? Where would friendships be forbidden outright and does anyone defy this? How do your characters meet and develop friendships (or enmity come to that given friendships can go sour)?

You can show so much about a character by the type of friends they seek out (or seek to have because it serves their career etc – that in itself tells readers a lot about them!). Also what kind of a friend is your character to others? That can also reveal a great deal about the type of person they are.


This World and Others – Crossing Divides

Following on from Fairytales with Bite, friendships can be a great way to cross divides. The Legolas/Gimil example is a great one here. Who would be brave enough in your setting to make the first move here?

What divides does your world have and how did these come into being? Does anyone ever challenge them? Are there any good reasons for a divide? (An aggressive country attacks another. They’re beaten back. The victim country puts up a wall to stop this happening again – that kind of thing).

Where you have a divide, you have characters caught on either side of it. There is an obvious potential for tragic stories here but could you bring out a funny side at all? Do you have the spiv type characters who use the divides to their advantage and manage to cheat the system?





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