How To Guides

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. I had a fabulous trip out to my local theatre company’s latest production and ran a flash fiction workshop. Weather still all over the place but Lady has got to play with some of her best pals. So a good week then!


Facebook – General and Chandler’s Ford Today

Wow, it’s Friday again already, and time to share my Chandler’s Ford Today post. This week I’m looking at How To Guides and I share some of the writing ones I have used (and in many cases continue to refer to). I look at how the need for specific guides changes as your writing progresses and share some thoughts on what makes a good guide for me. Do share details of any guides you’ve found helpful in the CFT comments box.

How To Guides

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I was talking about how to make the best of themes as part of my topic for the Association of Christian Writers’ Flash Fiction group last night. It pays to practice writing to themes – why? Because the classic themes come up time and again. Anything that doesn’t fit into a themed competition can always be saved for an open one.

May be a graphic 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."

Lady had a fabulous time playing with her best buddie, the lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback, today. Both dogs had a fabulous time. You should hear them run – it really is a thundering gallop!

Looking forward to the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction Group on Zoom this evening. It is great fun thinking of topics to discuss and then working out what exercises we can do related to these. We all get some drafts done and it has been lovely when people have gone on to have work published online and broadcast later. More power to the (flash) pens/laptops!

Also looking forward to my theatre trip tomorrow and to sharing my post on How To Guides on Chandler’s Ford Today on Friday. See above.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Glad to say the May edition of Mom’s Favorite Reads is already out and what a cracking read it is. The theme this time was sailing and you can see how I used that for my flash fiction column on Page 56. Do check out the excellent stories which came in as a result of my challenge as well. Given it is a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, that gives you plenty of time for a great read and several cups of tea/coffee while you do so – now that is what I call a good use of weekend time.

Flash fiction competitions come in many forms but the common ones are the 100 worders, the 300, and the 500 kinds so it is worth practicing writing to those different word counts. You can know these will come up regularly. For my collections, I wanted to have a good mix of all the different (and standard) word counts here including the 750 and the 1000 worders. I felt (and still feel) having a god representation of the different word counts in flash made a good advert for the form overall. I think it also shows the form has more flexibility than might be thought – it is only the upper word count you have to watch.

Always a joy to talk or write about flash fiction

I use random generators a lot as you know and I sometimes use the same thing generated for two stories. I invent different characters for the tales and will often ensure one is a humorous piece and the other isn’t. You really wouldn’t know they were based on the same underlying idea unless I told you! I just send these to two different markets or save one for my YouTube channel.

But I equally use two generators for two different ideas entirely. Then I can keep the mood the same if I wish to do so. I sometimes expand the number of parameters I set when using the generators (or in the case of story cubes I roll more than one of them!). There is plenty you can do with these things and they are a great source to find ideas, something just to get the creative sparks off to a good start.

May be an image of text that says "I love the fact there are so many different types of random generator I can use to help trigger ideas."

Fairytales with Bite – Endings

E = Expect the unexpected as not every fairytale has the classic happy ever after ending.
N = Never underestimate the “drab” character – they will almost certainly have an important role to bring the story to a good ending.
D = Do or dare – this will occur just ahead of the ending – something has to happen to bring that ending about.
I = Imagination – your characters may well imagine the ending they’d like but will they get that or something much better?
N = Narrators can guide the readers in some fairytales and you can find out what they make of the ending (have written some of these myself).
G = Good usually triumphs over evil as an ending here but I welcome that – would like to see it happen in real life more often to be honest (and maybe it is one of the comforts of the fairytale as a whole).
S = Stories need a satisfactory ending – it has to work for the characters and the set up of the story – but it doesn’t need to be a happy one (though I admit I prefer them!).

This World and Others – Changes

C= Characters and changes and causes and consequences – the bedrocks of any story in whatever setting.
H= How your characters handle changes will reveal much about them but also drive the story -not everyone reacts well.
A= Attitudes will determine how a character reacts to change – those who love routine will find changes harder to cope with.
N= Negative attitudes to change can lead to negative actions – what would that lead to in your story?
G= Great characters will find ways of dealing with changes and the consequences which come from them.
E= Every setting, every fantasy world, must develop and change whether it is in terms of technology, how they treat others, etc. What triggers the changes? Are the settings better because of the changes and if so how?
S= Stubbornness – there will always be those characters who resist change for various reasons (one of which is fear of change itself). How would they impact on your story?



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One thought on “How To Guides

  1. Wayne Thomas says:

    We adore reading your blog! Your unique perspective and authentic voice make a difference in the world. Keep writing, because your words make a difference. Thank you for being who you are!

    Thanks – TheDogGod


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