All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.
Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
Have had a great time on the blogs this week too. I share below my first post for Authors Electric and am looking forward to writing more for them.
Many thanks to all of my fabulous guests for my CFT series, Launches in Lockdown. Book cover and author pics provided tonight by #AmandaJones (aka Amanda Baber), #GailAldwin, and #Gill James.
And a very familiar sight here… I had better get on and add THIS post!
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
Delighted to share the finale of my zeitgeist series, Launches in Lockdown. Many thanks to everyone for taking part. The feedback on this series has been stunning. Thanks, all.
Tonight I chat with #AmandaJones (aka Amanda Baber), #GailAldwin, and #GillJames.
Usually my CFT series are only three parters but there was such a wealth of information to share, I knew I had to expand this. And I could think of many excellent authors I would have loved to have added to this so the series could have been much longer!
In the meantime, I hope you continue to find the series useful and informative. And good luck to all who are launching books this year.
Facebook – General – and Authors Electric
Am delighted to now be blogging for Authors Electric on the 18th of each month. For my first post, I thought I’d share some of my life changing books. Have you any nominations?
Further to my earlier post about Authors Electric, I couldn’t resist the temptation to nominate some of my favourite and life changing books. So I didn’t! The trick here is limiting it to a few! And that is tough.
A while back for Chandler’s Ford Today, I wrote a post called Desert Island Books where I could take eight and that was also tough. Good fun to write though. Blogging stretches the little old grey cells and makes you think not just about content but how to present that in an entertaining way to readers.
So let’s hear it for the blog! A fabulous invention (and really the modern equivalent of writing a diary or journal I think but with capacity for more. Not many diaries or journals end up published. I’m not including the fictional ones here (I loved the Adrian Mole ones). Blog posts can inspire article ideas which might be published elsewhere. Besides which the blogs themselves are published and can be shared easily with a far wider audience than a private journal).
Talking of CFT, the finale of my series Launches in Lockdown is up on site tomorrow. A massive thank you to all of my guests for this series ranging from Authors Reach, the Association of Christian Writers, Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, Bridge House Publishing, CafeLit and, naturally, Chapeltown Books. Naturally as my flash fiction collections are published by them and appropriately for my post tomorrow, I shall be talking to the creative force behind the last three contributing places – Gill James.
If you’re wondering who the handsome stone gentleman is, it is Richard III, picture from Pixabay. Go to my Authors Electric blog and see why he is relevant (after reading the rest of this of course!).
Every so often I will take time out to brain storm. Sometimes I set myself a task such as to brain storm ideas for future story titles. Sometimes I jot down character templates so I have “ready made” people good to go for future stories. Often when I do the latter, one of the characters takes my fancy and I start working out situations where they would shine (for good or for ill) and before I know it I have another flash story drafted.
So brain storming is a great idea! It’s also a fabulous way to use those pockets of time when you don’t have time to write much but you are itching to write something. And if you use a warm up writing exercise before you do your main writing work, well not why not look to brain storm as a form of exercise? It will encourage creative and lateral thinking and that is always a good thing, no matter what your main writing work might be.
(Oh and a good place to start with brain storming is to play a game of Word Association but just write down what you come up with. Links will start forming).
To quote that wonderful detective, Columbo, just one more thing – I’m looking forward to sharing my first blog for Authors Electric tomorrow. (See above!).
The magnificent Columbo as played by the late Peter Falk. Pixabay image.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
A little later this evening, I shall be recording my flash fiction presentation which will be part of an international writing summit that will be “out” in March. I’m looking forward to sharing links etc when I have them but meantime it is a privilege to speak about a form of writing I am passionate about.
Flash fiction is my big writing love. The impact of the very short form of story writing has impacted me a lot! I hope it continues to do so!
Many thanks for the great response to my flash fiction and word count tip post yesterday. I guess I can speak from direct experience in saying that the more you write, the more you learn.
Using flash fiction as a warm up writing exercise is something writers in other fields might consider doing to “flex” the old creative muscles. The nice thing of course now is that those writing exercises when suitably polished up and edited could well find a market or competition now that flash has taken off as a genre.
One word of warning though. I have found flash fiction (and indeed blogging) incredibly addictive so once you’re in, you’re in, but that’s not a problem for me!
When I first started writing flash fiction, I worked to specific word counts, especially the drabble at 100 words. I do still do that but more often these days, I will get the story down, rest it, edit it, and then decide on the word count. Why? Because I have found some tales simply work better with more depth at 200 words, than 100, say, and it is then a case of finding the right market/competition for the 200-worder. And that’s fine.
I have learned not to squeeze something to fit a word count. The story has to be the right length for what it is and not be made to fit something it really doesn’t quite suit. But it has taken me a while to learn how to judge when to leave well alone, I must admit!
Fairytales With Bite – Non-Magical Characters in a Magical World
Do you have any non-magical characters in your magical story worlds? If so, how do they manage? What have they got that perhaps the magical ones need and which helps guarantee survival?
This could be something as simple as the magical ones will lose some or all of their powers if they harm the others (and who is going to want to risk that?). Maybe food has to be grown and produced using normal agricultural techniques and those with magical powers aren’t going to dirty their hands doing that kind of work?!
You could also explore the frictions between the two different groups. Do the non-magicals resent those with powers (or vice versa – maybe the magicals see the others as a waste of space but cannot act against them?).
For me, I would have a lot of sympathy with a non-magical character using the skills and talents they have (and maybe some luck) to end up being the hero/heroine over and above those who are more obviously talented than they are. I think this is one reason I am so fond of Frodo Baggins in The Lord of The Rings. I like the characters who are under-estimated precisely because they don’t have powers.
This World and Others – Codes
What role do codes play in your stories? I’m thinking of several different kinds of code here:-
Codes of conduct – (what happens when these are breached? You just know someone will breach them!).
Codes used in language – (maybe certain groups use terms which are meaningless to anyone but others from their groups and it would seem like code to those not in the know)
Mathematical codes – (are there machines which need coding? If so what are these, what codes are used, what are these machines used for? And the purpose could be anything from the simple to the sinister).
Codes used for spying – (who is being spied on and why? What encryptions are used in your fictional creation? Who is the spymaster and who do they work for?).
What happens when the codes are breached or broken? Would this threaten the security of your characters and/or their world? How can they overcome that and undo the damage done?
Plenty to think about there!
Authors Electric: Life Changing Books by Allison Symes https://t.co/AnXnRZ1oGt pic.twitter.com/1OB3mGSZEB— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 18, 2021
Launches in Lockdown – Part 5 https://t.co/B4pXp5KNZF For the final part of my “zeitgeist” series, I chat to @Missysmatters, @gailaldwin, and @GillJames. A huge thanks to all who’ve taken part. I usually only write three-parters for CFT but this I knew had more potential.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) February 19, 2021