All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots and holiday photos from the lovely county of Northumberland were taken by me, Allison Symes. Hope you have had a good week. Better half, the dog, and I have had a great time on our autumn break. The changing colours of autumn have been amazing and the weather great for the time of year (sun for most of the week too).
Facebook – General and Chandler’s Ford Today
Back to Kielder Forest today for a massive walk with the dog. Lovely time had by all. Must’ve walked 5 to 6 miles. Loved the changing colours of the trees and ferns. Really lovely. Back home tomorrow but glad for the break away.
Pleased to share Author Voice, my latest post from Chandler’s Ford Today. I look at this topic from the viewpoint of finding my own author voice (it took me a while!) and I share some tips on how I went about doing this. I also ask whether a writer can have multiple author voices and why it pays to find your own. Hope you find it useful.
Towards the end of our holidays, we usually go back to some favourite locations and we did that today. We went back to Seahouses and walked on the coastal path there to the beach at Beadnell. We must’ve walked three to four miles in total. Lovely time had by all.
Lady loved playing on a field on the way to the beach and on the beach itself. Currently crashed out on her quilt – dreaming happy doggy dreams I trust. (She often gives half woofs when doing that. No sign of that yet though). A big thank you to everyone for commenting on the photos I’ve shared this week – I love my mobile phone camera!
I’m talking about Author Voice for Chandler’s Ford Today – link for that up tomorrow. See above. It took me ages to work out what my author voice was so I hope this post proves to be useful.
Mind you, it helped a lot when I discovered how important it was for me to know who I’m writing about well enough. Developing my love of characterisation helped me find my author voice and the kind of characters I like to write about.
Went back to Druridge Bay today and, as well as Lady having a splendid time on the beach, we explored the lakeland/woodland walk which circles the visitor centre there. Wanted to do so on Sunday but there was a cross country run going on. Lady would still have gone on this walk though she would inevitably have tried to herd up the runners so we thought best not!
If Lady could name a favourite place away from her home comforts, Druridge Bay would be it – everything a dog could want – beach play, woodland/lakeland walks, and treats we bring with us, given not everything in the fabulous cafe here would be suitable for dogs. It is suitable for my better half and I though!
I do sometimes write flash tales related to dogs in some way but I prefer to focus on a wide range of characters, who are not necessarily human. This is partly because I recognise not everyone likes dogs so won’t be fans of doggy stories but I also like not to limit myself. I like exploring character thoughts and motivations. That’s not the easiest thing to do with a pet!
Motivation for me makes a story. A character has to want something for a reason good enough for them (we don’t have to agree) and someone else has to have good reason (to them) to stop this. Cause and conflict. For me that’s what a story is all about as I then want to find out how things are resolved. Unlike life, there does have to be a satisfactory resolution to a story.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
No Friday Flash Fiction story from me this time (hope to make up for that next week), but do check out the website as there are fabulous stories here and it is a great advert for what can be done in a mere 100 words.
Writing drabbles, as 100-worders are also known, is a great writing exercise and you learn to condense. Boy, do you learn to condense! But writing to that tight a word count shows you what really matters for your character and what the heart of the story is better than any other writing exercise I know.
If there are categories of flash fiction it would be worth practicing in particular, I would name the 50-worder (the dribble), the 100-worder (the drabble), and stories up to 300 words. These are some of the most frequent competition word count requirements I come across. The next one is a word count of up to 500 words.
I have come across competitions which have 750 words as a word count maximum. Often these aren’t listed as flash competitions but they are so do keep an eye out for ones like this too.
It is also a useful idea to have a stock of stories ready for possible submission. Certain topics are all-time favourites. There will always be love stories for example. And a competition coming up is also an opportunity to have another look at stories which haven’t been placed elsewhere to see if you can polish them up for this one, as long as the theme fits or it is an open competition.
Flash fiction writing has encouraged my development in first person writing, as I’ve mentioned before. The advantages of it are that you do get straight into a character’s head and you do see things through their eyes. The disadvantage is you can only show their thoughts, their viewpoint etc.
I try to ensure I write a mixture of first and third person. I do like being able to take a broader view than that offered via an individual character’s persona. So I have to decide which would be the best approach to use when I’m outlining my character. Some are clearly best suited to a first person portrayal. This is especially true for when I’m writing a monologue.
For other tales, if I know that character has got to interact with others to achieve their objective then it’s obvious I’ve got to go the third person route. But there are stories where I could take either option and it then a question of working out whether my characters would work better alone or with others.
Mind you, if I’ve got a cracking line to give a character, I’m going the third person route so the character has a chance to deliver it!
Fairytales with Bite – Getting Away From It All
Having had a lovely break in the gorgeous county of Northumberland recently, it led me to wonder where magical characters might decide to go when it’s time to get away from it all.
Fairy Godmother – absolutely doesn’t want to go anywhere near a Palace or other stately home for some considerable time. So would prefer a country break in a secluded cottage. No balls, no dodgy glass slippers, no wondering if your goddaughter has any sense of time at all…
A Witch – Probably heading for a city break. The chances of a farmhouse landing on your head are remote there.
The Big Bad Wolf – Anywhere well away from housing sites and building materials. Is not taking any chances here again.
A Wizard – Anywhere away from Oz and yellow brick roads. Unexpected visitors are not particularly welcome.
Cinderella prior to her marriage – A luxury retreat where there is no housework to be done whatosever.
Snow White prior to her marriage – Anywhere apples can’t be grown. Has had a dodgy experience with an apple. (Would probably find she has gone somewhere where she’ll meet Eve from Adam and Eve fame).
This World and Others – The Tourist Trade
Tourism is a major part of the UK economy but is there a tourist trade in your fictional world? What form does it take and where is it that people or other species would want to visit and why? Do the usual residents in your setting welcome tourists or resent them?
Tourism of course varies from visiting historical places to walking in the country to going to the theatre (especially Shakespeare productions). What are the historical places in your fictional setting and what are the stories behind them? How would history be different on your alien world than it would be here?
And who are your tourists? Do they come from the same world or other ones? What do they expect to get from their trips? Who organises the trips? Where would people/other beings stay? What would they expect to get from the hospitality industry on the places they’re visiting?
Author Voice https://t.co/SaxHi9ZZay Pleased to share Author Voice, my new CFT post. I look at this from the viewpoint of finding my author voice (it took me a while!). I share tips on how I did this and ask if a writer can have multiple author voices. Hope you find it useful.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) October 14, 2022