All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
It has been a dreadful week news wise. I think the image below, which I used earlier this week, says it all.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
Delighted to share my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post. This time I’m looking at Geography in Fiction. A strange topic? I don’t think so. Geography plays a major role in so many stories and books. Can you imagine, say, The Lord of the Rings without it? Or Winnie the Pooh? Or The Wind in the Willows? And geography can help create stories simply by the problems it can cause, based on what we know here. Hope you find the post useful.
News wise, it has been a dreadful day. I wasn’t expecting war in Europe again, ever.
One of the roles of the creative arts, including writing, is, of course, to allow us to escape into what are effectively alternative universes for a while. They can make us reflect. Stories can show us the best and the worst of ourselves. They can console and cheer.
Yet, much as I love stories, I know they’re not the most important thing in the world right now. Despite that, I also believe they do have a vital role to play in emphasizing our humanity. I really cannot stress enough how important it is we don’t lose that.
So keep reading. Writers, keep writing. Stories matter.
Hope you have had a good day.
I’ve talked before about drafting a story and leaving it for a while before coming back to editing it. Once edited, I take another break from it and then I do a final edit. What is the point of one break, yet alone two?
The first break is to enable me to check my story structure and character works after that initial thrill of creation. (And I do get a real buzz from that. Pity I can’t bottle that feeling really). Happy with that, I make adjustments to my story to strength my characterisation where I feel that is needed. It is also at this point I may well spot an element of the storyline that could be improved so I do that too.
The second break means when I come back to the story again I spot the typos and grammatical errors. There inevitably are some (nobody gets away with these things entirely scot free) but I know to look for them and to trample on the lot!
I want to give my story the best possible chance out there so going over everything and ensuring there are no errors takes time but it is worth doing. I remember in my early days not doing that and spotting a glaring error after I sent the story off. No surprises when I tell you that story didn’t get picked. I did rework the story and sent it off elsewhere and if memory serves me correctly, it ended up on CafeLit.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
It’s Friday. It’s story time again. Pleased to share Light of the Moon, my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction. Not everyone enthuses about the light of the moon – find out why here. Hope you enjoy the tale.
It is difficult to know what to write after a dreadful news day. But I do know it is important to write. To tell stories. Stories can unite us, whether we write flash fiction or epic sagas. And stories encourage the imagination and can help with empathy. If you understand where a character is coming from, you’re well on your way to understanding where other humans are coming from, given stories reflect on us.
What do I do with flash tales which don’t get picked for a competition win or placing? I look at said stories again, polish them up, and send them out elsewhere. I have gone on to have stories published on the second or third attempt.
But it has to be said, the break away from the stories has meant I can look at them again with a critical eye and try and work out why it might not have been picked. Sometimes it is a question the story is just not to the judge’s taste – and that’s fine. You learn to accept early on that not everyobdy is going to like what you do. There are styles of story I’m not keen on so that’s fair enough.
But sometimes you do spot a character portrayal didn’t quite work out as you thought, maybe it was a little weak so I look at ways to improve things and then get my story out again somewhere else.
Waste not, want not!
Fairytales with Bite – Humour
I have a very soft spot for humour in any kind of fiction but especially in the fairytales. Many of them can be grim (some pun intended!) so something to lighten the mood a little I find helpful. While I’m not a huge fan of pantomime, I can understand it and the reason why roles such as the pantomime dame exist. Widow Twankey doesn’t have much of a role in the actual story of Aladdin. “She” does have a major role in the pantomime versions of the story.
I like the humorous one liners and these can work really well in short stories and flash fiction. (If anything they can have more of an impact because the forms are short). This is where creating your own characters and getting them to come out with those one liners is great fun! And they can make fantastic punchlines for your stories too. The key is ensuring that the one liner is something your character as portrayed would come out with. You can’t just tack a funny line on to them.
Humour should arise naturally so if your fairy godmother has a malfunctioning wand, then humorous situations would arise from that.
This World and Others – The Value of Humour
Does your fictional world value humour or suppress it? I am always wary of anyone who cannot laugh at themselves (as it makes me wonder if they have any empathy with human foibles at all and we all have some!). Is humour encouraged in your creation or firmly kept “underground”? Are there any off limit topics for comedy?
I know I deeply appreciate humour. Something that makes me smile or laugh is bound to add a bit of a shine to my day. It does for most people but how do your characters see it? Does their reaction here show you more about them that you can develop further for your tale?
Perhaps your character likes one-liners but has no time for the longer funny monologues. Does that reflect on them just wanting to get on with things quickly in other areas of their life? Perhaps they appreciate quick wit rather than farce or physical comedy? Maybe they were clumsy (or still are) and find physical comedy with its emphasis on slapstick and falls makes them feel uncomfortable. How do they handle that discomfort if this type of humour is normal for their world?
Reactions to humour vary from person to person. You can show elements of that with your characters too. If someone finds something funny and their closest companions don’t, how does that then change how they get on? Does that change how their overall “mission” pans out?
If humour doesn’t exist as we know it here, what would your created world have instead? How would your people cope with naturally funny things in a world that doesn’t acknowledge humour? And what might happen if someone dares to laugh when all around them dare not?
Food for funny thought there, I think!
Geography in Fiction https://t.co/8NEA6eaopa A strange topic? I don't think so. Geography plays a major role in so many stories and books. And it can help create stories simply by the problems it can cause, based on what we know here. Hope you find the post useful. pic.twitter.com/A8yTqhKvoB— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 25, 2022
Light of the Moon, by Allison Symes – Friday Flash Fiction https://t.co/IyTe12ddpy Pleased to share my latest tale on FFF. There are those who are wary of the light of the moon – find out why here. Hope you enjoy. pic.twitter.com/H0427sVQOO— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 25, 2022