History In Stories

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. Coming up next week will be a flash fiction workshop I’m running and I am now booked in for a book fair in July. Not a bad week here then! Have a fabulous weekend. Lady has got to play with several of her friends this week so she has had a good week too.


Facebook – General and Chandler’s Ford Today

Am pleased to share History in Stories for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. I look at how history crops up in various genres of fiction and why this can encourage empathy. It also goes a long way to explaining why so often writers, including yours truly, can have interesting internet search histories!

I also look at alternative history and why you have to know the rules, in this case the history, before you can break them, or in this case invent an alternative version. I guess that is the ultimate in the “what if” game for fiction writers!

History in Stories

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Looking forward to sharing History in Stories for Chandler’s Ford Today – link up tomorrow. See above. History turns up in various genres, funnily enough, and I look at that in this post. I love reading historical works – fictional and otherwise.

History can also inspire your own stories. You look at what historical characters did way back when and figure out their motivations. You can then take that idea and use it to create a new story where you character acts from the same motivations in the present day or in the future or in another time period from the past. What would the consequence be? There would be some!

Then you could look at a character of yours acting from motivations which are the direct opposite. What would happen there?

Chandler's Ford Today post reminder picture(1)

Glad to say I’m taking part in a local book fair in July. Am looking forward to sharing more details nearer the time. Am also running a flash fiction workshop on Zoom on Monday, 15th May. Looking forward to that.

Now looking for ideas is something we all need to do and I like to use a variety of methods here. As well as the random generators (which I sometimes use to trigger ideas for my non-fiction, I like to think about what it is I love about writing and why. That usually triggers an angle I can write about. I also think about my own writing journey and some of the pitfalls I’ve avoided and others I know about as topics for blogs can often come from sharing something about these. (I also hope they warn newer writers to be aware there are scams out there).

I think about books and stories which inspire me and why. I sometimes refer to books of ideas for writers as well. I look into what I like outside of writing because something there can inspire an idea for a character and from there a story to write up.

This is where entering competitions can help too. For short stories and flash fiction, the theme is often set and from there I can figure out how I approach this. I like to jot down different ideas which occur, rest these, then come back and write up the one that makes the most impact on me because I figure it may have the same effect on another reader/judge.

May be a graphic of studying, diary and text that says "WHAT'S NEXT Good question! One thing I've learned 1S the writing journey is a continual one."

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Pleased to share my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction. Hope you enjoy The Down Side. Maybe the genie had a surprise here? See what you think. (And a huge thanks for the wonderful comments in on this one already).

Screenshot 2023-05-12 at 09-59-03 The Down Side by Allison Symes

I’m looking at History in Stories for my post for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. See above. I love history so this was a particular joy to write. I’ve written some historical flash fiction.

One example of this is Not Knowing from Tripping the Flash Fantastic. I take the viewpoint of Elizabeth of York, Henry VII’s queen. What matters is sticking to the known facts. Where the fiction comes in here is I imagined what I thought she would feel like knowing her uncle Richard III has just been killed, feeling understandably apprehensive for the future, but hoping all would somehow work out. That to me is reasonable supposition.

May be a graphic of text that says "The trouble with history is, unless you are writing an alternative one, you can't change the ending. MP"

Hello to all who have signed up for my newsletter since last time and a hello to all who have been with me for longer! My next author newsletter will go out on 1st June and I share news, tips, story links etc. If this sounds of interest, please head over to my landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com to sign up.

Interesting thought: what would your characters put in a news letter if they could write one? What would they share? What would they keep quiet? I suspect there could be some great stories there. Will probably have a go at this myself at some point!

Fairytales with Bite – Ceremonies

I thought this was an apt topic given the UK has just seen the Coronation of King Charles III, the first such event in 70 years.

Thinking about your setting, what ceremonies would they have? Would everyone join in with them or are these things just for the privileged few? Do the ceremonies have a magical significance, a historical one, or both? Is magic used at the events themselves?
Equally do your characters have to get to a certain magical standard before they can take part in such things?

Thinking about the social status of your characters, are there different ceremonies depending on class? For example a wedding (or equivalent ceremony) would happen throughout the society you’ve created but those lower down the scale will almost certainly have to have a ceremony which is less rich in detail and therefore costs than those better off/higher up in society than they are.

What would your characters wear, eat, drink etc for such ceremonies? This would have to be significantly different from what they usually wear. Everyone would have to have some kind of “glad rags” for these.

Also, would most in society support these ceremonies or are there those who refuse to take part/support them? What would be their reasons? Is there any comeback on that? Ceremonies are often held to bring society together so what would society think about those who don’t want that?

Story ideas there I think!


This World and Others – What do ALL your Characters Know and Why?

It has been a historic week in the UK with the Coronation of the new King so I wondered, in your setting, what would all of your characters know about their setting’s history and why? What would they be expected to know? How is their history taught? For example is magic used to bring history to life for students in a way that we would use documentaries, visits to historical sites etc to increase knowledge?

Equally are there aspects of history all of our characters know but never speak about on the grounds it is something they have to know to avoid landing themselves in it with the authorities? Authority is often keen for their peoples to know something horrid happened to Character XXX in the Year Dot because they did this or that. They’re trying to ensure it can’t happen again by frightening everybody with the knowledge here.

What codes of behaviour are expected from everybody and what happens to those who against these? Again this would be something your characters would be expected to know. They would also know the consequences of going against these. Authorities are usually pretty keen people know about that too. On a more mundane level, what do all of your characters know about traffic legislation? What do they have to contend with here that we would not?

Where characters do not know what they should do, why is this? Has anyone kept them in the dark deliberately and what are they hoping to achieve with that?

Hope you can get some good stories with these thoughts to think about.



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