All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes. Very, very hot here in the UK right now. Lady and I keeping things as cool as possible. Take care, everyone.
Facebook – General
Had a lovely swim earlier today. Came back to my car, parked beautifully in the shade and discovered the internal temperature was 38ºC! Am grateful for air con to cool things down quickly. Much quieter day for Lady today (and no car travel for her on days like this either). She has not been sorry about that. Am not a fan of excessive heat (due to the dog and being asthmatic myself).
Still it is relatively cool at my desk so I write on. Many thanks for the great comments which have come in on my Authors Electric post yesterday. It seems my dislike of a certain Jane Austen character has caused comments – good! See link below.
Do I dislike any of my own characters? Oh yes. There are a few I definitely wouldn’t want to meet for real. But that’s how it should be I think. I should be able to come up with unlikeable characters as well as the ones who I am obviously going to root for. Otherwise crime writers, for one example, would never to be to write up their villains would they?
For Authors Electric this month, I look at Characters You Love and Loathe. Many thanks for the great comments coming in on this one already. Let’s just say I make my dislike of one particular Austen character clear – what do you think about her?
I go on to look at why characters make or break a story and why I have to see where they are coming from. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with their actions though. But I do have to be gripped by a character to enjoy their story.
Hope you’re enjoying a nice relaxed Sunday. Am looking forward to sharing my new Authors Electric post tomorrow. See above. Later on in the week will be my penultimate post in my In Fiction series for Chandler’s Ford Today. I’ll be looking at Your Lead Character in Fiction for that. I’ll also be including a mini quiz in the post. And yes I have thought of something for the letter Z when it comes around soon. Phew!
Looking forward to being back at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in August. Will be lovely to catch up with friends and make new ones. I’ll be running a one hour workshop there on Editing – Both Sides of the Fence. Would like the weather to be nice but not so hot for all of that though.
And now on to some flash fiction writing – for me Sunday is story time. Hope to share the results later in the week.
Keeping as cool as possible here. Lady doing likewise. It’s about the only time Lady is sensible, bless her. I did go through the drought of 1976 and my abiding memory of that time is of the government appointing a Droughts Minister. Within the week, the heavens opened! Wonder if we’ll see that again.
A big thank you for the lovely comments in on Cookie Surprise, my latest story on Friday Flash Fiction. This is probably as close as I’ll get to writing anything connected to children’s literature. Am so enjoying using various random generators to trigger story ideas for FFF and my YouTube channel. The generators are great for making you think outside of your usual box and I highly recommend using them.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Even hotter here today. Lady and I are definitely not keen on it. The impact of the hot weather is being felt everywhere and I do hope those fires are soon put out. Take care everyone.
A more positive impact is the impact of your flash pieces on your readers. What do you want to make your readers feel?
If you want to make them laugh (always a laudable aim), how will you do it? Is your chosen character up to the job? They don’t need to be out and out funny in themselves but capable of producing laughter in others. This is where pompous characters work so well. They kind of set themselves up for a fall almost and that is where we get the laughs.
Equally serious characters who come out with unfortunate turns of phrase where everyone around them laughs but they themselves don’t can also work well.
Very hot in my part of the world today – Lady all okay but doesn’t like the heat much. Has spent a lot of the day chilling out.
I don’t tend to use the weather in my stories much. This is because I’m wary of imitating the old infamous beginning to a story “It was a dark and stormy night…”, which is NOT held up as an example of fine writing. Quite the opposite in fact! I really don’t want to go down that route for story telling.
I would also rather show you the weather by how my characters act. I would rather you saw my characters shivering or slapping on the old sunscreen. You can also use the other senses here – characters can be listening to the rainfall. They can taste snow on their tongues etc. They can feel the hail hitting them (and trust me I’ve done that a number of times when out with Lady, it can hurt).
There are ways to bring the weather into stories in ways which won’t switch your reader off or run the risk of you being put up for a bad writing award!
One lovely thing about creative writing is it can encourage empathy. I do have to understand where my characters are coming from to be able to write their stories up. I have to be able to imagine how they would feel, act, and/or react in any given circumstances.
But the nice thing with empathy is it doesn’t have to be confined to writing stories. The world could always do with lots of it!
The creative arts as as whole can be therapeutic for the people doing them but it can spread wider than that. I hope fiction does help spread empathy.
I’ve only written a couple of characters where I have no sympathy for them at all (these tend to be my darker tales) but even there I understand why the characters are the way they are. I don’t have to approve though! And this is one very good reason why you should never judge the author by their work! (This is just as well for the horror writers I think!).
I occasionally use repetition in my flash tales. I know that sounds odd. A limited word count and you’re repeating a word or words you’ve already used, isn’t that a waste of your word count? Not really.
When I do this, I’m doing it for effect. I’m usually trying to get a rhythm going in my prose or the repetition is something important and I want the reader to pick up on that importance. I don’t use this technique a lot but sometimes it’s useful.
Whatever you write, you need to know why you are writing it in that way and does it suit the character and/or their situation? The answer should be yes, naturally.
Goodreads Author Blog – First Audio Books
I love audio books – really useful for long journeys. The first ones I listened to, and which are still great favourites, were the Terry Pratchett Discworld ones, narrated by Sir Tony Robinson. These were great for another reason. I got my better half into these stories thanks to the audio books and it mean for several birthdays, wedding anniversaries etc., presents for him were sorted! Alas no more because we’ve got the lot!
What was the first audio book you enjoyed? What made you go for it? Had you already read the paperback? I had with the Discworld ones but my other half had not.
I’m never worried about book formats. People find different ways into stories. There will always be a need for the printed book but I do love it when those who are not great readers, such as my other half, discover and love stories another way. Audio books are a fabulous invention.
liked Allison Symes's blog post: First Audio Books https://t.co/CQzVTGnSu1 via @goodreads I look at why I love audio books this week. Which would you recommend? Do you think they ever work better than the paperbacks? Comments welcome over on my Goodreads Author page. pic.twitter.com/NtAoeDd9Km— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) July 16, 2022
Authors Electric: Characters You Love and Loathe by Allison Symes https://t.co/OjhZaMfBTJ For AE this time, I make my dislike of an Austen character clear. What do you think? I look at why characters make or break a story for me. I have to be gripped by them to enjoy their tale.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) July 18, 2022