Starting Conversation and Events as Backdrops

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.
Loved watching the Coronation of King Charles III over the weekend. Loved the Concert too. Liked the balance of music – old and new. Now I write with classical music on in the background. I find it relaxes me and when I am relaxed I write more. Do you write/read with music on in the background or not?


Facebook – General

Lady had a lovely run around with her Aussie Shepherd gentlemen friend today – before the rain hit I’m glad to say. Good time had by both.

Looking forward to sharing History In Stories for Chandler’s Ford Today later this week. It’s a lovely topic to write about. A huge thanks to for all the lovely comments which have come in so far on Starting Conversation, my latest on Friday Flash Fiction. This one clearly hit a chord with people!

Doing anything creative is good for the mind and soul. I think, and it is a joy to come up with stories and blogs. Am almost there on my competition entry. Am currently resting it. Will look at it again in a few days for my final check and then submit it I hope.

Screenshot 2023-05-05 at 10-07-28 Starting Conversation by Allison Symes

Lady got to see her pal, the lovely Hungarian Vizler. Got out at the right time too. The rain was heavier later. Am now watching the Coronation Concert on catch up. Enjoying what I’ve seen so far. Loved the Coronation Choir. And the combination of the Royal Ballet, Royal Opera, The Royal Colleges of Music and Art for the sonnet from Romeo and Juliet was wonderful. Certain things are timeless – Shakespeare is one of them. My late mother would have wondered why it took me so long to find that out. I got into Shakespeare late but at all thanks to National Theatre Live. Must try and get to some more of those.

Writing Tip: Give yourself more time than you think you need to get a story ready for submission to a competition. There is always something last minute you need to change. I get around that last minute business by making my last minute about a week to ten days ahead of the official deadline. Works for me. Am practicing what I preach here as I hope to get my entry in for a well known competition soon.

Pleased to say I’ve had the joy of proofreading my entry for The Best of CafeLit 12 and getting that back to Bridge House Publishing. That is always a joyous job to do!

May be a graphic of lighting and text that says "Like these three points but I would also add in a reminder that editing takes longer than you think at times. 1) Dream 2) Set goal 3) Action"

Hope you have had a good day. Nice to see the sun come out. Mind you, it was raining for the last Coronation so maybe this is a British tradition being upheld again.

Looking forward to giving another flash fiction workshop in just over a week’s time. Zoom is a blessing here (though I am happy to do in person workshops too as long as the distance is “do-able” for me). I love going to workshops too and always learn something useful from them. Sometimes it can be a case of you getting to see something from a new angle and that can help transform your writing or take it to another level. Have had direct experience of that.

It’s difficult to say what the single most important piece of writing advice is but the one I’ve consistently found to be the most helpful is to write first, then edit later. I did try editing my work as I went along when I first started out but quickly realised I was boxing myself in. It’s when someone else said about editing later and it’s okay for the first draft to be rubbish that I changed my approach here. I have never regretted doing so. The nice thing with this tip is it is useful whether you’re a planner or a pantser. Just get that story down. Tidying up can happen later.

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Loved watching the Coronation. Found the service deeply moving. Pity about the weather but I guess the rain does make this a peculiarly British event! Not going to let rain get in the way. Favourite moment: other than the crowning in itself, I loved the conductor of the orchestra in the Abbey. He was almost throwing himself into his work. Reminded me of the late Sir Patrick Moore’s exuberance when playing the xylophone (younger readers may need to look that one up). I love people who clearly love their job!

I’ll be chatting about history in another way for my post for Chandler’s Ford Today next week. I’ll be looking at History in Stories and it is amazing how often this comes up and not just in the obvious historical fiction category either. Looking forward to sharing that next Friday.

Many thanks for more wonderful comments coming in on Starting Conversation, my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction. In case you missed it, do check out the link below (and the other stories on that site – it’s a great read).

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Strange day weather wise here – sun, rain, thunder, sun again. I don’t use the weather a lot in my stories. Just as well really. If I used a British day in my flash stories, after a day like today, I’d probably be using up a lot of my word count limit!

I am also wary of anything that could read like boring description. The art of description is for it to come alive in your reader’s mind so, for me, showing how a character is effected by weather conditions is far more interesting than writing about the weather itself.

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It’s Monday. Okay, it’s a special Bank Holiday Monday after the Coronation of King Charles III. Still time for a story though (and aptly too given he wrote The Old Man of Lochnagar, which I remember being read by HRH as he was then on Jackanory, a UK children’s story programme).

Hope you enjoy One Go. Would you do what my character does here?


I’ve always loathed any kind of bullying and sometimes my stories can reflect that. In Tripping the Flash Fantastic, I had a great deal of fun with my story Enough is Enough which shows someone who has struggled with her weight taking matters into her own hands and finding her own way of responding to those who’d made her life a misery. Am not necessarily endorsing my character’s actions by the way but I do understand where she is coming from and that is crucial for whatever kind of character you write. You’ve got to know where they come from. Then your readers will.

May be an image of text that says "Flash with a Dash of History, Crime, Fantasy, and Dragons Tripping the Flash Fantastic by Allison Symes carefully crafted collection story worlds"

It wouldn’t surprise me if the Coronation of King Charles III today turns up in stories as a kind of historical backdrop. Certainly readers will be able to date the timing of the story accurately! And yes historical events themselves can be written up as fiction or can be referred to by characters as part of their stories. None of us live in a vacuum. Character don’t either so referring to their past events or what may be for them current events makes sense.

For flash fiction writers, using a historical event makes an excellent shortcut for staging your story. There is so much you wouldn’t have to say. Think of the word count saved!

I could refer to today’s events without having to tell you all that went on or what my characters were likely to be wearing etc. I could pick specific moments to show you through my characters but you would work out what was going on around them without me having to spell it out. You’d have an idea of the era/event already. One of the tricks of flash, if I can call it that, is to tap into what can be inferred and use that to save the word count for what a reader cannot work out.

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Goodreads Author Blog – Commemorative Reading

I thought this was an apt topic for the week of the Coronation of King Charles III. I read commemorative reading every now and then. For example, I enjoyed Andrew Marr’s book Diamond Queen, which was brought out to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the late Queen Elizabeth.

I enjoyed the commemorative programme for the Coronation of King Charles. Lots of interesting historical pieces in there but then I am a fan of historical works, fiction and non-fiction.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey is the only novel that has ever made me change my mind about a real historical figure – in this case Richard III. It’s a short volume. The narrative is based on a detective confined to hospital and he does a “theoretical investigation”. Well worth checking out. Triggered my reading more about Richard III too.

Commemorative reading places you in time and can act as research material. I can use this for inventing characters for my own stories. I can set them against a particular time period and have some of the reading material to hand to help me flesh out details my readers would need to know.

Screenshot 2023-05-06 at 20-48-47 Commemorative Reading

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