All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Some images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos. (I’m especially fond of the one I created below about the best lines, think the imagery works really well here).
All screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes.
Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
Hope you have had a good week. Not bad here and am looking forward to talking about flash fiction via Zoom to the Byre Writers on Saturday, 31st July.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
I end the standard working week with a gentle post for Chandler’s Ford Today called Wildflowers. I am lucky to live near a nice recreation ground, where I exercise Lady, which has a stunning wildflower meadow as part of that. This post celebrates this year’s wildflower “blooming” and it is especially nice to do so as it has emerged late this year. Indeed, as you will see from my post, I had thought we weren’t going to have flowers out at all here this year.
Now the funny thing is the natural world does not inspire my writing at all. I know it can do for writers but not for me. What it does do is give me a refreshing break from my desk and it is that break which helps “fire” me up for writing on return to said desk.
Hope you enjoy the post – and the pictures. It is a joy to share pictures like this.
Facebook – General – and Association of Christian Writers – More Than Writers
I’m posting early for once as I have the great delight of returning to watch live theatre this evening. My local amateur theatre company are exceptionally good and I am looking forward to tonight’s entertainment so much.
Meanwhile, I discuss Seasons in Writing for my More than Writers blog spot this time. Slower seasons may be just what we need at times to recover from intensive work and/or to develop ideas that need more time to come to fruition. I do know, whatever season of writing I am in, I need the support and encouragement of other writers. They in turn will appreciate that support and encouragement from you.
Hope you enjoy the post.
Hope you have had a good Wednesday. Got a bit of a soaking out with Lady and my better half this evening. Changeable weather again but Lady did get to play with her best buddie, the Ridgeback, again today so all is right with their world.
Favourite writing tips of mine include:-
1. Get the story out, edit later.
2. Worry about word count (especially for flash) only when you know you have got the story down and there will not be major changes.
3. Fire up your imagination by reading widely, in and out of your genre, and don’t forget the non-fiction. Ideas for stories can come from there.
4. Get the story out, put it aside, then edit it. You need to come back and read the story as a reader would to see where it works and where it could do with work! Only time away gives you the necessary distance.
5. Draft other stories while you’re resting others. I like to see this as a writing – resting – editing – submitting – writing virtuous circle. The idea being you will always have a story to draft and, when not doing that, you will have another one to edit and get ready for submission somewhere.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
It was a joy to watch The Chameleons perform last night for the first time since their pantomime in December 2019. I was talking about flash moments in stories yesterday, including those stories produced for the stage. There were several in last night’s performance and I hope to write about some of those in my review for Chandler’s Ford Today next week.
And talking of flash, I’m pleased to share my latest drabble from #FridayFlashFiction. This one is called Oddity and is my take on the Demon Barber of Fleet Street story (aka Sweeney Todd). Hope you enjoy. (And yes always go to a barber you know you can trust!).
Am off to the theatre this evening for the first time in over a year to see our excellent amateur theatre company, The Chameleon Theatre Group, perform once again. This is why I am posting early. I usually post at around 7.30 to 8 pm UK time. For an evening out, my posts were up by 5 pm! But it was worth it. The performances were great and I’ll talk more about what I went to see in my CFT post next week.
I like stories in whatever form they come in – books, audio, and for something like this getting to watch the stories being brought to life. And yes, flash can pop up here too. How? It will be those one liners here and there that strike a chord with me that perhaps are too easy to overlook. It will be those lines that resonate with me the most. I like to think of those as flash moments.
(And of course different people will get different things from the performances they go to watch so will have different flash moments. But maybe, just maybe I will get ideas for stories of my own from those flash moments. Even when that doesn’t happen, I still get to see an excellent performance and discover plays new to me so win-win!).
I write mainly in the evenings listening to Classic FM. Does that put me off my stride for writing flash stories, blogs etc? Not a bit of it. I find I relax and when I relax, I write and write and write. You get the picture.
A useful way of working out who your characters are would be to decide what their favourite music would be and why. If your character loves, say, Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens above anything else, does that mean they themselves have a quirky nature given the music is quirky? (See my book trailer for FLTDBA above as I use Danse Macabre as the music here if you don’t know the track. I swear you can hear the quirkiness in it and it is why I chose this piece for this trailer. You might also remember the music from the old TV series, Jonathan Creek). Book trailers below.
Of course, you can use almost anything (and not just music) to work out who your character is but it is down to you to decide what you need to know before you write their stories up. I’ve found a bit of time spent working my characters out has saved me a great deal of time later on and I usually find depths to my characters as I explore their personalities more, which in turn adds depth to my story.
Fairytales with Bite – The (Magical) Arts
What role is there for the arts, as we know them, in your magical world? Is there a place for, say, portrait painting when a quick wave of the old wand could produce a stunning picture without any physical effort at all? Do your magical characters turn to “old-fashioned” ways of producing art as a means to unwind?
Are those who do create works of art, as we would understand the process, looked down on or up to because they use “manual” rather than magical ways to do these things?
Also, what role is there for music? Is music created magically? Or does your created world import music it likes from other places, including from Earth?
Do you have characters who prize the arts and those who despise them? What kind of conflicts could that produce in your stories?
For me, our world would be a much poorer place without the arts. That could apply to a fictional world too. (I don’t like dystopian works much, especially after the last year or so with the Covid pandemic hitting us all so hard, but art would be looked down on in such settings at best I feel and that’s no coincidence. A world without art in some shape or form would always be pretty bleak to me).
This World and Others – Fiction or Fact in Your World
Following on from my Fairytales with Bite post, what emphasis does your created world put on fiction and fact? Is one more heavily weighted than the other?
If, say, your world despises fiction (and the arts) and focuses on plain facts (the sciences, engineering etc as we would know them), what would happen if their “knowledge” is challenged by the discovery of something new? Or if a long cherished theory was debunked? Or if if was proven the world of the arts had health benefits science could not produce? Would your created world suppress these because of its disapproval of the arts rather than accept they got it wrong and there was place for fact and fiction?
There could be interesting character development here. If say Character A was a scientist open to new ideas, how would they react when Character B, their boss, who was anything but open, suppressed knowledge? Would Character A leak the knowledge somehow? What would the consequences be if they did?
If Character A was open to the arts but their boss wasn’t, again what would the consequences be if Character A was caught going to an exhibition or a concert?
Interesting story ideas to explore here I think.
More than Writers: Seasons in Writing by Allison Symes https://t.co/MIEndl8Lc1 I discuss seasons in writing for my More Than Writers blog spot this time. The slower seasons may be what you need at times – to develop ideas, recover from intensive work etc. Hope you enjoy the post. pic.twitter.com/lav0dLM4Pt— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) July 29, 2021
Wildflowers https://t.co/lV0VQXFFMu I share some gorgeous pics of my local wildflower meadow in a post that celebrates the beauties of the natural world (and they are so often found on our own doorsteps too).— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) July 30, 2021