Workshops and The Joy of Reading

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 had a great weekend. Lovely start to the week – the flash fiction workshop I ran went well. Hope it has inspired a few people! And we finally have some spring sunshine here.

Always a joy to talk or write about flash fiction

Facebook – General

The final edition of Mom’s Favorite Reads is now out – this is the June edition. I talk about Summer Fun for my flash fiction column which you will find on Page 54. See what you make of my character and how she defines what summer fun is for her in my story here. Also check out the other excellent flash pieces. Don’t forget the magazine is free to download and it is a splendid read. Look out for further magazine news later.

Hope you have had a good day. More sunshine – hooray! Lady got to play with her Rhodesian Ridgeback buddy again and our mutual friend, the lovely Hungarian Vizler we know, came out too. The dogs had a fab time. Not a bad start to the working week for me either. Have had some nice news in which I hope to share later. Also looking forward to running a flash fiction workshop tonight.

I am a great believer in prep work, whether it is for a workshop, or an outline for a story or blog. I’ve found it always pays. Can help calm nerves too. And the nice thing with prep work is you get to decide how much of it you need to do.

I don’t plan out every single thing, just enough to get me started. For a workshop I do a broad outline. Often ideas will come to me as I’m drafting and I can add those ideas in if I think they will suit. Sometimes an idea occurs and I realise that could form the basis of another workshop and that’s great. It is a strange thing that ideas occur when you’re writing something else. I know now to jot these things down immediately and look at them again in the cold light of day later.

May be a graphic of text that says "workshop Writing workshops are great fun and Sơ much can be learned from them. Preparation is key- and not just for the speaker!"

Lovely sunny day here today and Lady got to play with her best buddy, the lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback, in a play date neither expected! Both dogs went home tired and happy. Job done there then. Hope the good weather lasts. Have had so much rain I’m worried about getting rust!

Will be talking about The Joys and Pitfalls of Writing Research for Chandler’s Ford Today next week. Research comes into all sorts of writing, including fiction. Link up on Friday.

Looking forward to running a flash fiction workshop tomorrow. Always great fun to do. Once lovely thing about writing flash is the skills I’ve learned doing this apply to and have benefits for my other forms of writing as well.

May be an image of text that says "A great workshop is when it is truly interactive. Sharing what γσμ'ν written can encourage discussions and people to join in more. find get a lot from that."

Many thanks to #JenniferCWilson for sharing my Chandler’s Ford Today post about History in Stories. Her Kindred Spirits series mixes history with ghost stories. Do check the books out.

Many thanks also for the wonderful comments continuing to come in on my The Down Side, my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction. In case you missed it, you can check it out here.

Glad to say I did the final checks on my competition entry story and have now submitted that. I’ve stuck to my usual deadline of about two weeks away from the official deadline given. I have found that pays off so often. There is always something last minute to correct even though I had already gone through it with a fine tooth comb long before this point.

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

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Many thanks for for the views coming in on The Last Letter, my latest YouTube video. I think Aunt Agnes clicked with people. I know she did with me.

Had a lovely time with the Medway Mermaids writing group last night with the flash fiction workshop I ran. It was great to see everyone, to share something of the joys of writing flash, and how it helps with other forms of writing too. For one thing, it has cured me of any fear of editing whatsoever!

Screenshot 2023-05-16 at 20-28-43 Allison Symes - YouTube

It’s Monday. It’s NOT a Bank Holiday in the UK (though don’t panic another one is coming up soon!). It is still time for a story and if you’ve ever had round robin letters, you will probably sympathise with my Aunt Agnes character in this one. Hope you enjoy The Last Letter.


I’m running a flash fiction workshop tomorrow online. One thing I do with these is share a couple of pieces and then break down how I wrote them. Why? Simply because when I’ve read interviews with authors doing this, I’ve learned so much from their breakdowns. I have literally seen the point of why they have done something a certain way.

Sometimes the technique here is something I can use or adapt for my work. Sometimes it isn’t but I still see why something was done in the way it was and I can work out whether it suits me or not. Also bear in mind something might come to suit your style of work later.

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Hope you have had a good day. Nice to see some sun out today. Got to have lunch out in the garden with my better half and the dog. It’s only the second time we’ve been able to do this so far this year. Hope we get to do so more often!

Looking forward to running a flash fiction workshop on Monday. Always great fun to do. This one will be on Zoom but I love doing these online and in person. The latter just has to be “do-able” in terms of distance. I’m taking part in a book fair in July and hope to share some of what flash is and can be by getting to read a couple of pieces. It can and has helped my sales!

I need to get back to using some of the random generators I use less often. This is partly to keep my hand in but also it is a good idea to mix up the types of generator and other ideas triggers you use anyway.

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."
Goodreads Author Blog – The Joy of Reading

As a writer, I’m well aware of the advice that to write well, you need to read well. This is true. We are all inspired by our own love of reading as well as by ideas that come to us as we read something else. (I’ve known that happen when I’m reading non-fiction). But the joy of reading goes beyond that. The reason I write is I love stories. How do I know I do? Because I read loads of them!

I love reading in my genre (flash fiction/short stories) and outside of that. I like reading contemporary as well as classic fiction and non-fiction. Reading takes you outside of this world for a while. I can forget my problems, pressures etc for a while. I find joy in knowing I’m supporting the industry I am part of (even though it is in a small way). I want to be entertained by someone else’s words while hoping mine may entertain someone else in turn.

As life is so short, I won’t waste time on a story or book that doesn’t grip me fairly quickly but I will read across genres and love doing so. As a writer, I can also learn, subconsciously by reading, how stories are set out, what the balance of dialogue to narrative usually is and so on. But even without the help for my own writing, I would read anyway.

I just love stories. It is that simple.

Screenshot 2023-05-13 at 20-50-22 The Joy of Reading


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