Blueways, Publication News, and Non-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. One image of an unexpected visitor to my garden taken by my other half, Adrian Symes.
Hope you have had a good weekend. Lovely one here though Sunday was a day of mixed emotions as my post below shows. Mind you, it did lead me to think about how we can portray characters with mixed emotions. They shouldn’t be cardboard cut-outs after all. Oh and I discovered what blueways are as I wanted to write a story based on a colour so did so and added to my vocabulary knowledge at the same time. Good result and I hope you enjoy the story further down!


Facebook – General

Am thrilled to announce my story, Desperately Seeking Talent, will be in the new Bridge House Publishing anthology, Gifted, due out later this year. Many congratulations to all who will be in the new book with me. Good to see some familiar names there. It’s nice to “do the double” given I will be in The Best of CafeLit 12 due out again later this year. Great start to the week and it’s only Tuesday! Nice job of the week: returning my contract to the publisher which I plan to do tomorrow!

Also had an unexpected visitor in the garden this evening – a young fallow deer, female. Lady will go potty later on when she goes out just before bedtime, picking up on the scent! But what a lovely creature to see! Thankfully, she did not steal Lady’s football.).


Hope you have had a good start to the working week. Gorgeous weather again today and Lady got to play with her Rhodesian Ridgeback buddy (and show off in front of her Hungarian Vizler pal who Lady treats as “mum” and you always show off to “mum”, right? Well, Lady does anyway).

Many thanks for the kind responses to my post yesterday. Much appreciated. Anniversary dates can be strange things.

Looking forward to the Association of Christian Writers’ Flash Fiction Group on Zoom on Wednesday night. I love preparing material for these. Keeps me on my toes and it often triggers ideas for stories for me so win-win there. Have also got a story in draft for another competition which I’ll be working on later this week.

Amongst the random generators there are picture and object ones. I need to use these more often because that kind of prompt can make me think laterally. Why is the object important? Who does it belong to? What is their story? It’s easy to stick to the word based random generators – or at least I find that’s the case.

May be an image of light switch and text that says "I like to regularly recharge how I generate my ry/blog ideas."

Funny day today in terms of mixed emotions. Today was the sixth anniversary of Dad leaving us. I was also ordained as an elder at our church this morning (which Dad would have liked to have seen).

Now characters can (and indeed should) have mixed emotions at times. It should be clear to a reader why they feel this way. None of us are cardboard cut-outs after all. Our characters shouldn’t be either but there should be good reasons for them feeling this way.

Think about what would motivate you to feel mixed emotions. This is where drawing on what we know helps our fiction writing no end. It also encourages empathy in the reader for the characters. Without that, they won’t read further. I know I’ve got to care about what happens to the characters to read on so I have to have some empathy for them at least to be able to do that. And for villains, I’ve got to want them to get their comeuppance so I’ve still got to care a bit!

May be a black-and-white image of text that says "A well drawn character will encourage empathy from readers, even if we still think their decisions are wrong."

Hope you have had a good Saturday. I’ll be sharing a local author news post for Chandler’s Ford Today later next week as these are a great way to bring a round up of happenings in one handy post. Also hope to be interviewing authors again soon.

Writing Tip: Look out your old notebooks from when you’ve been to writing events. Most workshops will set exercises. You only get a few minutes at the time to write something down. Why not revisit these and see if there is anything you can do with them? You may well have something that could be turned into a flash fiction story. Worth a go! (And you may even find something which you can work up into something which proves to be a short story, novella, beginning of a novel etc).

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I’m running a flash fiction workshop for the Association of Christian Writers tomorrow night and I’ll be looking at picking the telling details. For flash fiction where you haven’t got the word count room to go in for a lot of description, picking out the right details to get the images across to your readers that you want to put in their heads is a useful skill to develop. It helps with other forms of writing too.

It pays to think about what you want to convey and then figure out how you want to get that across. There are various ways to do that and I’m looking forward to sharing some of them tomorrow night but you can use the senses here as well, which is also a great way of helping to make your characters seem more real to your readers. We can picture characters who use their senses.

May be a graphic of text that says "H Character needs are everything."

It’s Monday. Hooray, it has been a sunny Monday! Still time for a story though. Hope you like my latest on YouTube – Blueways.
Blueways is the name for a trail designed for water users such as canoeists. I wanted to write a colour based story this time and came across this term and thought what could I do with this. Here is the result.


For the sub-500 word flash fiction tales, I find it useful to focus on one character and the single most important thing to occur to them. That is the story. What is even more interesting is when the character triggers a situation, even though they might not have meant to do that. What is the outcome? How do they resolve it? Can they resolve it? Soon get to 500 words with that!

May be a graphic of text that says "With flash fiction, you have to focus on THE single most important aspect of your character's life"

Looking forward to the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction Group next week. Always good fun. I love setting a topic for these. Have been making more use of PowerPoint in the last couple of years than I had in the previous five to ten years!

I sometimes decide on a mood for my story and then work out what characters I could use to show that mood and what situation they would have to be in to trigger that. For competitions, where the theme is nearly always set for you, I work out which characters could best illustrate that theme. If the theme is one of justice, for example, I could have a character seeking to get justice or who has been on the wrong end of it. Either would suit the theme.

I like working out what I need to know before I write the story. Nearly always this is what my character is made from – are they keen to get justice if that is my theme? Why? I need to know what it is about this character that will make their story “worthy” to be written up. I’ve got to understand what drives them. There must be drive there.

May be a doodle of text that says "Ilike to "hear" my characters' voices though they don't need the megaphone!"

Goodreads Author Blog – Non-Fiction

I have got into non-fiction a lot over the last few years and am glad to have discovered it. Sometimes ideas for stories spark from a non-fiction book so I am glad about this for that reason too!

Reading non-fiction has increased my knowledge of certain time periods which is great in and of itself and I suspect will fuel ideas for further stories later on. I’ve known that happen before. You suddenly find something out and it triggers an idea.

Sometimes it can be finding out what you thought was true might not be or at the very least there is another side to things which is also worthy of exploring in my fiction work. The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey is a case in point here as it made me think again about Richard III.

I love the way non-fiction has finally shaken off its “worthy but dull” image. Well at least that was the image I had for it. The likes of the Ben Macintyre books on various aspects of World War Two history read like novels. I like that.

Screenshot 2023-05-20 at 19-53-59 Non-Fiction



Allison Symes - Flash Fiction Collections
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2 thoughts on “Blueways, Publication News, and Non-Fiction

  1. Paula R.C. Readman says:

    How wonderful to to see a deer 🦌 in your garden. I will never be as lucky because I’m surrounded by houses. We nearly had a muntjac wander in. It was on the day of the village Garage Sale so there was more people around than normal. The poor thing was scared. It cross the road and disappeared into the old factory site. I just hope it made it back into the countryside again.


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