All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Most images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes, as were the photos of the wonderful view as you come into Dundee Railway station and of my table at the Brechin/Angus Book Festival. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
Hope you have had a good weekend. Went to see a live comedy gig over the weekend, booked my tickets for a very special event in March, and got soaked with the dog – so a mixed bag here!
Facebook – General
Lady and I had a soaking while out this morning at the Recreation Ground but other than that it has been a good day.
Am looking forward to the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction Group Zoom meeting tomorrow night. I’ve mentioned before that one reason I think for the growth in the popularity of flash fiction is that people read more on screens now and flash works brilliantly for that. It is also easy to screen share on Zoom!
Now when it comes to thinking of topics for blog posts, I start by looking at what I think might interest other writers. (For the moment for Chandler’s Ford Today I am writing an In Fiction series). I then think about what might encourage people to join in with their comments and I also aim for my blogs to be both useful and entertaining. I do know from years of going to writing conferences etc that a topic which grabs one writer is likely to hook in others!
And for my fiction and non-fiction work, I ask myself one vital question. What will the reader get from this? It is crucial there is something in your writing that is of benefit to them, whether it is to amuse/entertain or to give them information which will be useful for their own writing. Do that and it is far more likely people will come back to you and read more of what you do.
Hope you have had a good Monday and happy St. Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate.
Had a hilarious time at the Mayflower Theatre last night and it was good to see the entertainment industry coming back to life too.
Am pleased to say the February 2022 edition of Mom’s Favorite Reads is now free to download on Amazon.
Am looking forward to the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction Group meeting on Zoom on Wednesday night. Meanwhile I’ll be enjoying meeting up with the History Writers on Zoom tonight. I’ve been very grateful for how Zoom has made things possible – with both of these groups I would not be able to get to these events in person (well, maybe once a year but that would be about it).
I’ve used a number generator as the focus for my stories for Friday Flash Fiction this week and for my new YouTube video which I’ll be sharing over on my book page shortly. See further down for the link. The number generated was 64. What could I do with that? Well, pop over to my book page in a moment and pick up the link for the video and I hope to share the second part of the answer to this on Friday!
Am posting early today as am off with better half and other family members to see Jack Dee at The Mayflower Theatre later. Has been such a long time since we were last there.
A huge thanks for the fantastic response to my post yesterday about my forthcoming trip to the Scottish Association of Writers Conference. See below.
I’ll be looking at Frameworks in Fiction for Chandler’s Ford Today later this week – link up on Friday.
A big thanks also to the response to Misunderstanding, my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction. Feedback always appreciated.
Hope this week proves to be a good one (though Lady and I were none too impressed with the weather today – let’s just say the bedraggled look is in!)
Thrilled to say I have booked my train tickets for the Scottish Association of Writers Conference which takes place in March (18th to 20th). See link.
Now you may well be thinking that’s all very nice, Allison, but you’re a Hampshire lass so how come you’re heading north?
(Not for the first time either, missus. Quite right as I was at the Brechin/Angus Festival in November which was great fun and I must admit my breath was taken away by the stunning view as you come into Dundee Railway Station – see pic below!).
Well, I joined the History Writers group who are part of the SAW and indeed I will be giving a talk to them very soon via the wonders of Zoom about historical flash fiction. Very much looking forward to that. Now you may be suspecting there is probably a common link somewhere amongst all of this and there is – the lovely #WendyHJones links SAW, History Writers, and the Brechin/Angus Festival.
At the Conference in March, I will be running a flash fiction workshop. I’m also one of the judges for one of the SAW’s competitions.
So lots going on behind the scenes for me right now, all very exciting, and I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the Conference in March.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
I need to know my character before I start writing up their story but I also need to know the framework of the story in which I am going to put them.
Will it be a linear narrative, a circular story, a twist in the tale, a diary format, or should I write the story in the form of a letter? (I’ve used all of those frameworks in my time and will do so again!). I’ll be looking at Frameworks in Fiction for Chandler’s Ford Today this week where I’ll discuss this further but I do find frameworks so useful. I like to have a rough road map of where I am going. And sometimes I know what the story is going to be and then have to decide which is the best way to tell it for the character I’m writing about.
I do usually write A to B but for twist endings/punchline endings, I write B to A because it is simpler to get that kind of ending down first and then work out what could have led to it. It is also a relief to know I have got my ending in place and just have to work out the starting point.
There are often several options there and this is why I use spider diagrams to help me work out which would be best. And when I say best, I am thinking best for the character and best for the future reader. It isn’t the same as what would be easiest for me, the writer, to actually do (and I always dismiss this anyway because the idea is to stretch myself and not make life easy for me or my unfortunate character I’ve chosen to drop right in it!).
Hope you enjoy my new YouTube story, At Number 64. I’ve submitted a linked story to this for Friday Flash Fiction this week and I hope to share the link on that on Friday if I can. I am enjoying using the same theme generated for two stories per week but it is also great to have a story with connections to another one, yet both stand alone.
The joy of flash is having a completed bit of work to hand relatively quickly but there is a difference between “completed” and “first draft”. I can draft a story in about ten/fifteen minutes (for say a 100 to 150 word count) but I will spend considerably more time after that honing and improving that draft. And that is how it should be.
The first draft is to get the idea down. Then and only then do you look at ways of making that better. Guess what? There are always ways of making things better! But you yourself get better in spotting what can be improved and sharpened over time. You get better at knowing what your writing flaws are and then making a beeline on the first edit to get rid of those.
Hope you have had a good Saturday. I mentioned this on my main author page the other day but I will repeat it here – Amazon have a good offer on the paperback of Tripping the Flash Fantastic at the moment. See the link for more information.
Looking forward to talking about historical flash fiction at the History Writers group I’m part of on Zoom soon. Given flash is focused on characters there is no reason why some of those characters can’t live in the past! And you can use characters to explore that past too. It is something I am hoping to do more of in due course.
History is made up of so many stories, of course, and as long as you are accurate, I see no reason why you can’t explore history via fiction. After all one of my favourite books The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey led me to change my mind about Richard III and take more of an interest in his life and times. Flash illuminates briefly. Why not illuminate a small section of history?
Goodreads Author Blog – Visualising Characters
I started reading Dickens as a result of watching Oliver Twist on TV. The film version being shown starred Sir Alec Guinness and Oliver Reed (Fagan and Sykes). Both were brilliant and I absolutely had to read the book after seeing this.
And, again with Dickens, I loved The Muppet Christmas Carol (and still do, it’s a must see at Christmas) with Sir Michael Caine as Scrooge. What I loved best, with my reader’s and writer’s hats on, is where Gonzo acting as Dickens the narrator tells us all to go and read the original book. Quite right too!
I don’t need a film or TV adaptation to visualise a well portrayed character but where adaptations are thoughtfully done, those TV and film portrayals add something special to the book when I then go on to re-read it again. I do visualise the well cast actors. I can’t read a Poirot novel now without visualising Sir David Suchet in the role or a Miss Marple without seeing in my mind’s eye the wonderfully cast Joan HIckson.
So are there any adaptations that bring a book more to life for you? Or will you always prefer the book over any adaptation?
liked Allison Symes's blog post: Visualising Characters https://t.co/F26uAq44VL via @goodreads I look at whether TV and film adaptations can add to your enjoyment of stories. I find the well cast ones can – and I name a few favourites too. pic.twitter.com/j8agOXNAy4— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 12, 2022
Many thanks, @valeriepenny – if you like your fiction on the short side, do check out my flash collections (published by Chapeltown Books and available in the usual outlets – and from me!). https://t.co/C2qePQa8Nu pic.twitter.com/y67orKbO1b— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 13, 2022