What is a Good Fairytale?

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

A quick reminder about the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair is my topic for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. Hope to see some of you there. Everyone taking part is hoping this will become a regular event especially since there are no bookshops in Chandler’s Ford now.

We’d all be glad to see fellow writers too and can give information about local writing festivals and creative writing classes too – so do come and ask! There will be signings and special offers too.

Why are events like this important? Well, they give local writers both a voice and another outlet, which helps us all.

Events like this show the community there IS a strong creative writing element within it. (At the earlier Hiltingbury Extravaganza, there had been some surprise expressed at the range of writers and genres respresented there. There will be many more at the Book Fair tomorrow!).

We also hope the Fair will promote the love of books and reading in general.

BookFairPoster8

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Reading your work out loud is useful for helping you to pick up where your sentence construction is perhaps not as smooth and free-flowing as you thought it was (especially for dialogue). It is one of those oddities that something which looks fine written down is not necessarily easy to read out loud.

It is also useful for picking up the rhythm within your story and I’ve found it handy for detecting hidden undercurrents of mood in my flash fiction. It is another oddity that the writer doesn’t always pick up on these immediately! (That in turn helps me when I read the finished work out publicly. It helps me “pitch” it correctly).

I hope to read a couple of my stories at the Chandler’s Ford Book Fair tomorrow. If anyone has questions about flash fiction, please do come over and have a chat.

 

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Goodreads – Book Review

I share here my review of friend and fellow writer, Jennifer C Wilson’s excellent novella, The Last Plantagenet?  Novellas aren’t as common as they once were but they work brilliantly for those stories not long enough to make it to full novel status or are far too long for a short story.  I’d like to see more of these.

 

The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C. Wilson

The cover of Jennifer’s novella.  Image from my review on Goodreads.

 

Fairytales With Bite

A good fairytale is not necessarily one with a happy ending but, as with other stories, it should show the lead character changed during the course of the tale.  Ideally it will be for the better.  They will have learned something from their experiences and so on.  Sometimes a character does NOT learn from their experiences (the result is usually disastrous – the lesson there is for us readers.  It’s a warning we should learn or risk disaster ourselves).

A good fairytale will also show us something of ourselves/our human nature.  That doesn’t necessarily mean we will like what we see!  The Little Match Girl by Hans Christen Andersen is, to my mind, rightly scathing of those who pitied the girl because she was dead but did nothing to stop her dying, which is the whole message of that story (and the exposure of hypocrisy).

A good fairytale will have memorable characters and there is usually a strong moral message with it (though conveyed in the story.  A good story, of whatever type, will never leave you feeling as if you’ve been preached at).

A good fairytale will keep you gripped to the last world, will conjure up images of its setting and give you characters you can identify with/root for, even if they are strange alien monsters!  A good fairytale will usually see injustices put right too.

 

castle-2115425_640

Fairytales can be considered as “pie in the sky” but the reality is they often convey great truths.  Image via Pixabay (and one of the images used for my trailer for From Light to Dark and Back Again).

 

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

One advantage of flash fiction is it has to be character led.  There isn’t the room for lengthy descriptions so your characters “carry” the stories.  So you have to create the world your character comes from via them directly.

This can be done through internal thoughts.  Show what your character thinks about their situation and what has led to it.  That should reveal some insights as to the world he/she comes from.   For example:-

She threw the cup at the wall and watched it smash.  Bloody government.  I’ve already voted once.  Why have I got to do it again?

That reveals at once that the government is dictatorial, voting is clearly compulsory, and any world where you have to vote again (to get it right this time perhaps?) is somewhere you probably don’t want to live if you have the choice.  She is taking her frustration out on a cup so there is no choice element here (and almost certainly severe consequences if she doesn’t vote again).

You can also show something of your created world through what your character observes.  In a flash fiction story, this would have to be a line or two at most (though that does make you stick to the really important things you want your reader to know so is no bad thing).

Description is the obvious way of showing a world but, again, in flash, a line or two at most and focus on what is important to the character (as this also reveals a lot about them).

 

Themes pour out of good books - image via Pixabay

Great Themes pour out of wonderful books but it needs strong, memorable characters to achieve this.  Image via Pixabay.

 

PRIZES, LAUNCHES AND PRESENTATIONS

Facebook – General

Glad to say From Light to Dark and Back Again was a prize in Elizabeth Ducie’s recent book launch for Deception. It is a real pleasure wrapping the book up to send out! Also good when a book launch goes really well. I know I had a lot of fun with mine.

Managed to write three new flash fiction pieces for my second book on my phone yesterday while out and about. Slowly getting used to the smartphone and really love the Evernote app. (I’m using the basic free version at the moment and have found this useful for sharing photo files as well as text ones).

Must get used to putting my phone charger in my bag as I could’ve done with charging the phone up on my way home yesterday and could easily have done so on the train. Duh!

Glad to report the children’s poetry competition presentation went well at Chandler’s Ford Library yesterday. I share the link to Mike Sedgwick’s excellent report on how things went. I am only sorry I couldn’t be there. The readings sounded fab but I was pleased to hear all who went had a wonderful time.

The competition was organized by Chandler’s Ford Authors and supported by the Hampshire Library Service and the Hiltingbury Extravaganza. Prizes were sponsored by local estate agents, Goadsby. Well done to all who took part in the competition!

Children's Poetry Competition 2017

Well done to all who took part in the competition.  Glad to hear the presentation went well.  Always good to encourage writing!

Writer at work. Image via Pixabay.

Writer at work. Image via Pixabay.

 

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Really pleased with myself I managed to use my smartphone to do some serious writing when on a long train journey yesterday. Really miffed with myself I managed to forget to pack my phone charger as I needed to recharge it on the way home and could easily have done so on the train. Two sides to the writing life there!

Finally making some headway on my second book. Am hoping to have a first draft ready in the next month or so. Then comes the editing but the joy with flash is in having such a restricted word count, you do find yourself doing a lot of this as you go. You select the words with the strongest impact for the fewest possible words as you go so no unnecessary adverbs here!

And I’ve finally realised exactly what it is about flash that has ensured I’ve become addicted to the form. I have always loved character-led fiction. Flash has to be character-led as there is no room for scene setting etc. You have to cut to the chase. And I’ve always loved getting straight into my characters’ heads to find out exactly what is going on in there!

 

writing in many forms via Pixabay

There is a planner at work here, rather than a “pantser”! Image via Pixabay.

 

Feature Image - Flash Fiction - Books are Gateway - image via Pixabay

The nice thing with this is it equally applies to non-fiction.  Image via Pixabay

 

 

Books make wonderful gifts. Image via Pixabay.

WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS DON’T WANT TO HEAR

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

It’s the turn of the letters R, S and T in A to Z of Character Creation, Part 7.   R = Reading and I look at how literate your world/characters are.  S = Style and I discuss what style your writing is – is it easy to read?  Do your characters come across well?  T = Timing and I ask how punctual your characters are and if any of them obsess about time.  That kind of behaviour reveals a lot about a person (not least of which is their being a bit OCD!).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

What Your Characters Don’t Want to Hear looks at characterisation from a different angle.  Your characters need to be needed.  If they’re not moving the story on or contributing to it positively in some way, they should be written out. Characters also need to be unique creations so no “lego” building of characters as this will also lead to cliche.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I am delighted to say one of my flash fiction stories will appear in The Best of Cafelit 6 later in the year.  This came as a very nice surprise!  In my post, I also talk about my follow up book to From Light to Dark and Back Again and  how I’m planning to use my time better at Swanwick this year.

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

Naturally I share my publication news again (!) but I also talk about getting back to resubmitting work more regularly once the summer is hope and I hopefully have sorted out my late father’s estate..  I also mention what the Chandler’s Ford Writer’s Hub will be up to in the next few months – I am now a member of this and there’s some very good events and ideas coming forward.

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Books help you wind down. Was glad of them after a stressful weekend. Pity this option is not available to my border collie. Still lots of cuddles did the trick there! Image via Pixabay.

Books help you wind down. Was glad of them after a stressful weekend. Pity this option is not available to my border collie. Still lots of cuddles did the trick there! Image via Pixabay.