Getting Out and About

Facebook – General

Had a wonderful time at the ACW Writers’ Day in Bath (on 9th March 2019). It is lovely meeting many writers I normally only “talk to” via the ACW Facebook Group or email! Hope everyone had a safe journey home.

Am not planning to do much writing tonight as feeling “buzzed out” (and I didn’t!), but yes, I did use my time on the train trips productively. Managed to write two new flash fiction stories and some notes for a CFT post I’m currently working on so am pleased with that.

There are so many benefits in going to a good writing conference, whether it is for a day, a weekend, or a week.

As well as learning from the courses and talks, you get to meet with other writers. There is nobody but nobody like another writer who will fully understand the joys and heartaches of the writing journey.

Also it is the most natural thing to discuss with each other what you are writing (which ends up being a great way to practice your pitch for your book with nobody minding! The golden rule is never ever just talk about your own work. The idea is to engage with others so being a good listener comes into its own here! The great irony is that being a good listener encourages others to find out what YOU write and so a good conversation gets going).

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One nice thing I have found about having more than one project on the go is, if I’m struggling with a section, say, on some fiction, I don’t struggle with the non-fiction post I’m also working on.

And inevitably ideas to sort out the problem I’m having with my fiction work crop up as I’m drafting the non-fiction. Naturally I pause, write down some notes, carry on with what I’m working on and then happily get back to the fiction afterwards. And it works the other way round of course.

I’m not convinced about writer’s block. I DO believe any creative type is going to have days where the words, the music or what have you, do not flow as well as said creative type would like them to do. I also see that as being perfectly normal! We are human after all… bound to get days like that. What matters is not giving up.

The joys of writing include:-

1. Coming up with a story that is uniquely yours.

2. Having a ball coming up with that story! The fun of inventing your own world and characters can’t be overstated.

3. Managing to sell that story and seeing it published.

4. Doing steps 1 to 3 all over again and again etc.

The woes of writing include:-

1. Rejections (but take some comfort from the fact everyone gets them and, if turned down in one place, go on and try another suitable market!).

2. Those days when it is a struggle to get the words out. (I find having more than one project on the go helps here. I’ve never struggled on everything I’m working on and often when working on something else, an idea to resolve my problem on Project A occurs, as mentioned earlier this week.).

3. Critics.

4. Steps 1 to 3 will happen more than once!

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Two new flash fiction stories produced by yours truly while travelling by train today. (Also wrote some notes for my CFT post on both legs of the journey too, so well pleased). I found myself smiling at some of what I’d written and had to repress the urge to laugh.

I think it can be forgotten the first reader of a writer’s work is you, the writer. If the story doesn’t impact on you, you can forget it doing so for anyone else! That doesn’t mean the piece is perfect. It WILL need editing as sure as day follows night but if the overall impact of the story is entertainment, then great. It’s a question of polishing that story to as good a standard as you can get it (and then test the market with it. Good luck!).

All stories should reveal something about character and what can make someone change (for better or worse. A character’s journey doesn’t necessarily have to be a good one!).

What flash fiction does is show a much shorter journey for that character and so the pivotal change is more intense.

So the best kind of flash fiction story then is where you want to highlight one particular point of change in a character. It is all about the focus!


Amazon have a special offer on FLTDBA at the moment. The Kindle version is on offer at £2.33 and the paperback at £2.10. I don’t know how long they’ll have this offer on for but thought I would flag it up!  NB:  The link takes you to the paperback offer and it is cheaper than when I first put this up on FB.  Grab a bargain, go on, you know you want to!

Can I also put in a gentle plea for reviews on the usual sites if you have read FLTDBA? Reviews help authors and the nice thing is it doesn’t have to be a long review either. A one-liner is absolutely fine. I DO read reviews when I’m thinking of trying a new product (or one that’s new to me anyway) and generally find them helpful. This is so true for books too.

On to other things…

One of the issues I have with a flash fiction idea is deciding which word count to go for. It isn’t always clear cut. Some ideas are tailor-made to be 50 or 100 words or what have you.

Others I could write up as a very short piece or extend. For those I often draft both versions and then go with the one I like best. It isn’t always the short version. Sometimes I am after a greater depth of characterisation so the longer version wins out.

But flash fiction is wonderful for allowing you to experiment like that. And you could use it to work out what it is you do want to write as your main interest. If the very short form grabs you, great. If it doesn’t and you find you work better consistently at the 1500+ word mark, then equally fine.

And good luck!

Goodreads Author Blog – When Do You Read?

Apologies for being a day late. Had a wonderful time at the Association of Christian Writers’ Day in Bath yesterday. I was too “buzzed out” to write much yesterday though I did write flash fiction and some notes for a blog post on a phone app while on the train!

I did, however, give myself plenty of time to read in bed last night. I indulged in magazines, books, and the Kindle. It was the perfect way to wind down after a busy but most enjoyable day.

I never feel as if the day has ended properly without my bedtime read. The only time I really get to read outside of that time is usually when I’m on holiday. Even on train trips I want to spend that time writing though it was good to see there were books in evidence on the train. Let nobody tell you the paperback is dead! It isn’t!

I would love to find a way of being able to read more in the day but I just know I’d be too conscious of all the other things I should be doing to allow myself to enjoy that read properly. So maybe at the end of the day is the best time to read after all.

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My debut flash fiction collection from Chapeltown Books



In Tunnel Vision, I look at the importance of having outside assessment of work.  (You really do need the perspective of the outsider looking in).  I also talk about putting work aside for a while before re-evaluating it.  I mention all of this as something every writer faces is the danger of tunnel vision.  You can be so close to your work you can’t see its faults.  (And it will have some!  None of us write perfect prose after all!).  I also ask about whether your characters suffer from tunnel vision and how this might impact upon their relationships with other characters.


Finding Time is another issue which affects all writers.  Just how do you find the right balance between writing new material, promoting your current book and still seek to develop as a writer?  We need to do all three things to make good progress.  And if you write non-fiction as well as fiction, as I do, your balanced use of time has to ensure you cover both well.  I also ask how your characters manage time and, especially if you write sci-fi or fantasy, does time work in the same way as it does here?


Cyberlaunch Lessons looks back at what I learned from the online launch for my debut flash fiction collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again.  I really hope this post might be useful to other writers thinking of having their own launches.  Talking of the book…


The Kindle version of From Light to Dark and Back Again is currently available for 99p.  There are about 50 stories in the book so a very good rate per story here!


I talk about my CFT post and share further thoughts in the blurb around it.


Feature Image for CFT Launch Lessons post

The launch was huge fun and I learned a great deal.  The post has some useful pointers.  Cover by Chapeltown Books, ripple image by Pixabay.





I talk about Spreading the Word tonight and actually do it in the post!  (From Light to Dark and Back Again is now up on the Association of Christian Writers’ online bookshop and I was spreading the word about that, as well as my book!).  I also talk about characters’ spreading the word (especially from within their viewpoint.  Even villains have good reasons for doing what they do, even if it is only good from their perspective).


Adapting to Change looks at how easy it is (or otherwise) for characters to do this.  I ask about what happens when change is forced upon a character and how do other characters react if they feel Character A hasn’t handled the change well?  Plenty of story ideas in answering that alone!


As well as the online bookship news, I hope to have news of the cyber launch of From Light to Dark and Back Again soon.  Chapeltown Books and I have a date in mind and I hope to post more on this before too long.


I share news about my book being up on the ACW Bookshop page and discuss the forthcoming ACW Writers’ Day in Birmingham (UK) on 11th March.  I hope to meet up with old friends and make new ones.  I also have two short story competitions to enter before the month is up so busy busy busy!

One thing that has been true throughout history is the need for a good edit! Image via Pixabay

One thing that has been true throughout history is the need for a good edit! Image via Pixabay


The magic of stories. Image via Pixabay



Further Fairytale Headlines is another lighthearted post, following on from yesterday’s one.  See what Santa and Cinderella, amongst others, might have to say to the press.


Decisions, Decisions looks at how one decision by a character should be the pivot for the whole story.  See Frodo Baggins’s example of deciding he would go to Elrond’s house with the Ring of Power in The Lord of the Rings.  Okay having the Ringwraiths sent after Frodo did help speed up the decision making process here, but it is the one vital choice Frodo made and it led to consequences for others, especially Sam.  So what vital decisions are your characters making?


And talking of decisions, I am in the middle of working out with my publisher the kind of launch I would like for my debut flash fiction collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again (Chapeltown Books).  Last week I had the great joy of choosing my book cover (which looks fab and yes I know I’m biased, but I look forward to being able to share the image at a later date).  It is an exciting journey as it has taken a very long time for me to get to this point.  More details later…  am currently building a book page on my websites as well.


And away from the written word (a bit), I discuss the joys of swimming.  I had thought I would use the time in the pool to mentally work out plots, characters and so on but it hasn’t worked out like that.

After a swim, I'm soon back at the keyboard. Image via Pixabay.

After a swim, I’m soon back at the keyboard. Image via Pixabay.