More From Dawn Knox – Flash Fiction, Writing Routines, Career Highlights

Image Credit:-

All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.

Images of Dawn Knox, the photos of the stage productions of her plays, and her book covers were kindly supplied by her.

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

Delighted to share Part 2 of a fascinating interview with Dawn Knox for Chandler’s Ford Today. Dawn is a fellow CafeLit and Bridge House Publishing author and has written wonderful flash fiction (see her The Great War – it is a great example of what flash fiction can do and be) and fabulous funny stories. Her latest collection, The Macaroon Chronicles, is out now.

We talk about what drew Dawn into writing flash fiction, her links with her local radio station, writing routines, how she balances writing with marketing, and what she thinks is the most fulfilling aspect of her career to date amongst other interesting topics.

Dawn and I took part in a Zoom event back in September which was great fun and we are both looking forward to the Bridge House Publishing celebration event tomorrow, 5th December. Hope to see you there! Where would we be without Zoom now?!

A huge thanks to Dawn Kentish Knox​ for taking part in a fabulous two part interview with me for Chandler’s Ford Today. I look forward to catching up with her and other Bridge House writers at the BHP celebration event tomorrow! We would prefer to meet in person but right now this is not possible and Zoom is the next best thing!

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Nice to be able to resume swimming today. Did my usual number of lengths but let’s say I won’t be setting any world records here… Not that I intended to do so anyway so that’s okay.

Looking forward to sharing Part 2 of a wonderful chat with Dawn Knox on Chandler’s Ford Today tomorrow.
Saturday will be busy with the Bridge House event in the afternoon and directly after that I’m off to my church in Romsey to record a Bible reading for a service that is being recorded to be shown via Zoom nearer to Christmas Day.

I am going to miss the traditional carol services though I have had a couple of invites to Zoom ones so I will try and tune in to at least one of those. I do enjoy a good sing. Whether anyone else does is another matter!

It’s strange sometimes the memories that come up on Facebook. Earlier this morning they put up a picture of me reading from From Light to Dark and Back Again at a Bridge House event held in a pub (and yes a very good time was had by all!). I’ll be reading on Zoom on Saturday for this year’s BHP event where I plan to read from one of my winning stories from the Waterloo Arts Festival.

Now the event is free to go to but you do need to register. Hope to see you there. There will be readings and giveaways. It will make a great way to spend a cold December afternoon! (See images below for some of the books we will be celebrating!).

Book Brush - Cafelit 9, Mulling It Over, Transformations

black and red typewriter

Other Ways of Being

Gill James’s latest book as at July 2020.

Days Pass like a Shadow Large

An intriguing short story collection from Paula Readman

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Facebook Memory

From three years ago – where has the time gone? I was reading from newly released From Light to Dark and Back Again at a Bridge House Publishing event. This year? I’ll be reading again at a BHP event but on Saturday via Zoom! Annoyingly, I can’t find the original picture but one thing that has developed over the last year or two has been a love of reading flash fiction out at events like the BHP ones and I hope to do more of this. Flash works very well as a “performance” read.

Allison Symes - Published Works

Yours truly and some of my collected works! Image by Adrian Symes

Great to see a review come in for The Best of Cafelit 9. If you are after an anthology which has a real mix of stories and writing styles, do check the Cafelit books out. I often use collections and anthologies as my go to for reading between novels. I don’t always know what I want to read after finishing a novel so switch to short stories and flash fiction collections for a while before deciding what my next big read will be.

CafeLit9Medium

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes write a flash fiction story “backwards” in that the first line I write is what will be the final one in the story. I then work out different ways I could get to that point and pick the one I think works best.

I sometimes use spider diagrams to help me work out what would be the one to work best. Usually it is a case of if one idea triggers a lot of other thoughts then that is a good indication there is strength in that idea.

If an idea only triggers the odd thought to come off from it, then I’ve got to ask am I likely to run out of steam if I go that route (and the answer to that is inevitably yes. I’ve only ever abandoned two stories in all the years I’ve been writing and in both cases I had not thought them out properly and did indeed run out of said steam for them! So if you’ve wondered why I’m such a fan of ensuring I know my characters well enough to write about them properly, now you know!).

One of my stories in Tripping The Flash Fantastic is called The Wish List. With your reader’s and/or writer’s hat on what would you wish for? You can have three wishes for a reader’s requirements and three for a writer’s one. My answers below.

Writer’s Hat

I wish to never run out of ideas.

I wish to never run out of energy to write them up.

I wish to always love every aspect of the writing process.

Nice thing with this is the last one isn’t usually a problem but we all get days when we’re tired, have too much to do in too little time, and so some of the enjoyment of writing can lag. What you want there is for that feeling to never last long!

Reader’s Hat

I wish to always know what I’m going to read next. (Lack of wonderful material isn’t the issue here. It is prioritising!)

I wish to learn something useful to my own writing from everything I read. (Often do and generally positively. Occasionally I come across a story that didn’t work for me but even there I learn something. I look at why it didn’t work for me).

I wish that everyone had full literacy skills and access to good libraries. (Possibly sneaking in an extra wish there but it is an understandable one so maybe the Book Fairy Godmother will let me off that!).

I was having a chat over on Twitter at #writingchat about where writing has taken you. I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t start out as a flash fiction writer. That came about as a result of writing short stories for CafeLit and then taking up their 100 word challenge. I’m not sorry for that particular writing detour!

And it is why I do say be open to trying new styles of writing. You may well hit upon something you really love as I have. It’s also fun to experiment with your writing like this. If you decide you don’t like it, fine, but if you do… well it’s another string to the old writing bow, isn’t it?

Three top tips for flash fiction writing:-

1. Outline your character so you know who you are writing about and why you want to write about them.

2. Get the story down first and worry about the word count later. If a tale works better at 500 words then 100, leave it at 500.

3. Reading your work out loud is a great idea as it helps you pick up on the “rhythm” of your prose. If you stumble over it, a reader is likely to do so too. The great thing with flash is that this is so easy to do. You’re only reading out a short piece of work!

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Fairytales With Bite – Codes

What codes do you think should exist in a magical environment? I offer up the following ideas for a Code of Conduct for a Magical World.

  • No drawing of wands in an enclosed space. Do you want to make the whole building go up or become a giant white mouse or something?
  • Those with the ability to fly, whether it be by wings or broomsticks or other magical object, will observe the speed limits or risk being enchanted by the Magical Traffic Police. And their spells have been known to go horribly wrong. Yes, traffic enforcers do get everywhere.
  • Those with the highest magical powers will not bully the ones who are still learning the craft. That may have been considered a fine tradition once upon a time but times have changed. Also the underdog in the fairytales has a consistent habit of having their fortunes turned around thanks to a friendly fairy godmother. Do you really want them coming after you for revenge on what you did to them all those years previously? Best be cautious here.

Hope you enjoyed those. But if you are planning out a magical world for your stories, it does pay to work out who can do what. If everyone has the same magical powers, they’re going to cancel each other out. So how do the different magical species live in harmony with another? So some sort of agreement/code is going to be necessary after all!

This World and Others – Differences

Does your fictional world celebrate the differences between cultures, species etc? Or is there a dominant culture/species that seeks to dominate the others? How do the others react to that?

Even when there is no hostility between species, what are the differences between your characters? Do they get along well or irritate the hell out of each other?

How do differences in character/how characters handle situations play out in your stories? You are looking for what drives your characters to act the way they are but they will have their reasons for their behaviour.

Are these good reasons? Do the characters need to change their outlook?

What differences do other characters bring to your leads and are these for good or ill?

Above all, what difference is there in your main characters at the end of the story as opposed to when the story starts? There should be pivotal change. That is the story!

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Introducing Dawn Knox – The Chronicles Continue.

Image Credit:-

All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.

Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.

Images of Dawn Knox/The Macaroon and Basilwade Chronicles/The Great War/play photos were all supplied by Dawn Knox. Many thanks to her.

Image of Wendy H Jones kindly supplied for her.

And a big thanks to the organisers of the Facebook Group, Christmas Book Hub, for creating the wonderful bookshop image for their page, which currently features Tripping The Flash Fantastic. Very very happy to give them a shout out!

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

I’m delighted to welcome #DawnKnox to Chandler’s Ford Today for the next two weeks as we discuss her writing journey, celebrate her new book, the hilarious The Macaroon Chronicles, and look at her varied career which includes playwriting. Dawn will be sharing her thoughts about writing and also chats about the joys and pitfalls of writing humorous prose.

Feature Image - Dawn Knox interview Part 1

The Macaroon Chronicles

It is always a great joy to chat to a fellow flash fiction and CafeLit/Bridge House Publishing writer and I’m looking forward to catching up with Dawn and many other colleagues at the BHP celebration event (online) on 5th December.

Will so miss seeing everybody in person but at least Zoom gives us the chance to meet online. And I can’t wait to share Part 2 of Dawn’s fab interview next week.

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Brrr…. It’s getting chilly out there not that Lady noticed. She had a fab run with a lovely Saluki/whippet cross this morning. Lovely to see them both having a great time.

Have been having fun with Book Brush again. This is my latest effort.

Really looking forward to sharing Part 1 of my interview with Dawn Knox on Chandler’s Ford Today. Look out for this tomorrow. Dawn is a delight to chat to and I always learn something useful from interviews like this.

No two writers have the same writing journey and I find it endlessly fascinating what has worked for one, what has worked for another and so on.

Dawn will be discussing her latest book, The Macaroon Chronicles, which is hilarious. If you need a cheerful read, do check this out.

Am catching up with some non-fiction reading at the moment. I’m reading London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd. It’s a hefty tome but a fascinating read and I just love the idea of writing a biography about a city. Interesting approach to take on it.

Whether what I learn from this fab book filters into my writing later on remains to be seen but I do know non-fiction can often spark ideas for story writers. An interesting fact here and there can trigger story ideas so don’t overlook reading non-fiction as part of your overall reading “diet”.

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Had the perfect dentist’s appointment today. No. It wasn’t at two-thirty (tooth hurty – veterans of the old gag circuit will easily recognise that one!). I got out with nothing having to be done! So win-win immediately there…

Looking forward to “going” to the Bridge House Celebration event on 5th December. Normally this would be in London but of course it will be a Zoom session only for this year. The event is FREE but you do need to register. See https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-and-celebration-event-tickets-127841763155 for more details. Hope to see you “there”.

These events are always great fun and, if ever there was a year we could all do with some of that, this year is it.

Personally speaking, what is lovely is being able to celebrate The Best of Cafelit 9, where I have two stories published; Mulling It Over, the new Bridge House annual anthology where I have a standard length short story published; Transforming Communities, where I had a 1000 word story published (this was the Waterloo Arts Festival writing competition book); and, of course, Tripping the Flash Fantastic.

Despite everything else going on in 2020, publication wise it has been a good year. And there’s more to come. A little later on the three ebooks from the last three years of the Waterloo Arts Festival will be published in one single paperback. Am looking forward to sharing details about that in due course.

This year has been a good one for professional development too in terms of video making, setting up the Youtube channel, revamping the website, appearing on Chat and Spin Radio, appearing on #WendyHJones’ The Writing and Marketing Show. And Book Brush has been a revelation too.

The flip side? I have so desperately missed meeting up with writer friends in person at Swanwick, Winchester, the Association of Christian Writer events, and the Bridge House/Waterloo Arts Festival celebration days.

Let’s hope for better things for 2021 but I guess if this year has shown anything, for me at least, it has been doing what you can when you can and making the most of things like Zoom.

Oh and keep on writing and submitting of course!

Happy writing!

Book Brush - Cafelit 9, Mulling It Over, TransformationsBookBrushImage-2020-11-16-21-040

From Light to Dark and Back Again

I enjoy being part of a number of writing groups etc on Facebook. These groups are a lovely way to meet other writers, albeit only online in some cases, and I always learn a lot from them.

I am part of the Christmas Book Hub – see https://www.facebook.com/groups/bookhub/permalink/1003208640189243/ for more.

#PatriciaMOsborne, one of the founders of this, is someone I know from the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and I’ve had the pleasure of chatting to her for my Chandler’s Ford Today posts in the past too.

Now I mention this for two reasons:-

1. If you want to create a book buying list for Christmas, do start here!

2. There is a wonderful banner for this Facebook page – of books in a Christmassy shop window. The books on this change every so often and my Tripping the Flash Fantastic is on there at the moment.

The artwork for this is wonderful and it is a great pleasure and privilege to see my book on there. A huge thanks to the organisers behind this page on behalf of all of the authors on here. Online things like this are always useful but never more so than now during what has been such a strange year for us all.

And it is a timely reminder to say that do DM the authors on this page, including me, if you would like to know more about buying signed copies of our books.

We would be so pleased to hear from you!

TTFF in Christmas Book Hub shop windowScreenshot_2020-11-27 Facebook Groups

I’ve mentioned my love of mixing up the kind of flash fiction stories I write before. I do think one of the great strengths of flash fiction is because it needs to be character led, you can get to set that character anywhere you want in genre and time period, past, present, and future.

The crucial thing is to have a character who is worthy of being written up! Even if you don’t plan any other writing, I do think giving thought to what your lead character is going to be (or likely to be, I know things can change in the editing), is important.

If you want to write a story about a financially astute character but discover the way you’ve portrayed your lead, they’re more likely to be as astute as a chocolate teapot, then you have an issue (though it could make for a wonderfully funny or tragic piece, depending on how you wanted to “play” it).

But things like that should be a conscious decision by you as the writer. You can’t rely on “happy accidents”. You can rely on some forward planning though!

Many thanks to everyone for the wonderful reviews so far for Tripping the Flash Fantastic. They are much appreciated and I was delighted to see two new ones in today.

Appropriately for a flash fiction collection, I will stress reviews don’t have to be long and they are a great way of supporting authors. (This year we are even more grateful than we usually are for that kind of support. I have missed being able to go to writing events dreadfully. Fingers crossed for next year!).

Do I review books myself? Oh yes. One of the things I love about the writing world in general is there is a lot of give and take and that is only right. All of us know the pains and pleasures of bringing stories/books/articles to life etc. All of us appreciate the support from others but it is good when you can give support back. I like to see it as paying it forward and back.

Screenshot_2020-11-25 Amazon co uk Customer reviews Tripping the Flash Fantastic(1)Screenshot_2020-11-25 Amazon co uk Customer reviews Tripping the Flash Fantastic

Fairytales With Bite – Twists and Turns

Fairytales are full of twists and turns, which is another reason to love them. You know, after you’ve read a few (and/or listened to them when you were a kid), that the underdog will somehow come out on top, usually with the aid of a friendly fairy godmother or talking cat or some such thing.

Fairytales are great because you accept that magic is part of the setting and it is a question of finding out who is going to use it, whether they’ll use it to do good or not, whether it backfires etc etc. But you also know the character being helped this way has somehow got to be worthy of it. Fairy godmothers don’t just turn up for anybody!

So when planning your own fairytales/magical realism/fantasy stories, think about what your twists and turns are going to be. Magic is going to be around but don’t overdo it.

I know as a reader I like to see characters who are trying to improve things for themselves, who are being thwarted or held back through no fault of theirs, and then hey presto the fairy godmother turns up. It is also not a bad thing to show the downside of magic.

As with any source of power it can be abused so think about how that might happen in your creations and what your characters could do to overcome this (assuming of course they want to and they’re not the ones abusing the magic! In the case of the latter, I would like to see some sort of “back fire” happen so said characters have to behave in a better way and/or don’t get away with what they’re doing and/or are thwarted by other characters).

Expect the unexpected is a good motto here but as the writer think about how this could play out in your stories. Plan what your twists will be and how they will be executed. What clues will readers have to look back on and think later “I should’ve spotted that”?

And just as life is full of ups and downs, so your stories should be. But the nice thing with stories is you can make them end on a good note! Stories can be arranged!

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This World and Others – What Is Normal?

Now there’s a leading question but it is a vital one. Whether your created world is a fantasy one or set here firmly on Earth, you do need to work out what is going to be normal/perceived as normal by your characters. (Readers of course may well think entirely differently!).

So what kind of setting are you using? If here on Earth, will be in an Earth we would recognize? You could of course set up an alternative based on certain aspects of history being changed.

If X happened instead of Y, what would Earth look like as a result? The series The Man In The High Castle was based on that. If you’re using a fantasy setting, what aspects would appeal to readers? Which wouldn’t? Which are necessary to the successful running of that setting?

For your characters themselves, would we recognise their behaviours as normal? If not, why are they different and in their setting, is their behaviour considered oddball or not?

Working out details like this early on can save you a lot of editing and rewriting later on so I think it is worth doing. Even if you don’t want to plan to the “nth” degree, wanting to see where the story and characters take you, I still think it pays to jot down a few basic notes.

Character A is capable of this because…. The setting is this because…. What you jot down here really is an aid for you and I am all for things that help make the writer’s life smoother!

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