Looking Back

Image Credits:-
All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes. In what has been a historic week, I take the opportunity to look back, share a new story, and prepare to embrace the new season. It has taken an autumnal turn here!


Facebook – General and – Chandler’s Ford Today

Am pleased to share Looking Back, my new post for Chandler’s Ford Today. At the end of the week which began with Her Majesty’s funeral, I thought I’d look back at some of the events I recall over the last few decades and set them against some of the major royal events which were in the news at the time. I look at the importance of taking time out to reflect too.

Long term, I believe it does you good. We need time to process things and taking time out gives you some of that at least. There is a time for looking back, even enjoying some nostalgia but the important thing I think it not to wallow in this but to learn from our past and move on. But you need to take time out to reflect and then move on. It is in the reflecting we learn.

Looking Back

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Lady got to play with her pal, Coco, today. Lovely time had by both dogs. Always nice to see dogs playing.

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is about Looking Back, which to me seemed an apt topic in the week of the late Queen’s funeral. Given Her Majesty was the only monarch I’d known, I’ve taken a look back at the decades I’ve been on the planet and shared some of my highlights against the backdrop of major events in her long reign. (Naturally I could not cover all of those). I also reflect on why I feel it is important to reflect. Link up tomorrow. See above.

Many thanks to those who came to the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction group on Zoom last night. It was great fun and I hope we all produce stories from it. We at least have got a head start on some! (And it was the tonic I needed after a frustrating day thanks to the Case of the Non-Appearing Washing Machine Engineer! See below!).

I’m giving another Zoom talk next week on flash fiction and am looking forward to that.


Hope you have had a good day. Has been a bit of a frustrating one here – have been waiting in for an engineer to visit. No engineer! Ring the company up and “apparently” they rang me late last week to say the part needed wasn’t in. They didn’t. I did point out that they didn’t call and also they could’ve emailed me (they have to have my email address). Not impressed. It’s a lesson of how NOT to do customer service. Did manage to walk Lady though – she’s had the better day!

It will be especially nice to be at the Association of Christian Writers Flash Group meeting tonight. It will be fun and great to see everyone especially after a frustrating day. I suspect an awkward customer service person may end up in a flash piece of mine at some point – writing can be so therapeutic at times!

Always a joy to talk or write about flash fiction

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

It’s Friday night and time for another story of mine which appeared on Friday Flash Fiction. Hope you enjoy Good for Something – my writer character has fears about their upcoming book signing.

Screenshot 2022-09-23 at 08-55-01 Good For Something by Allison Symes

Am looking forward to sharing my flash fiction workshop to some lovely Scottish writers next week. This is where Zoom is a blessing!

What I love about flash is especially on those days where I’m tired or just too busy, I can still write something. I can still create something. And that makes me feel so much better.

Unless I am on holiday, or ill, where I expect not to write much, if at all, I have to have my fix of daily creative writing. Am a grouch without it – you heard it here first!

Flash is a wonderful outlet for small pieces you wouldn’t otherwise do something with so I love it for that too.


Feeling very autumnal at the moment. Not that I mind. I think autumn is a lovely season. But as the days grow shorter and the nights longer, can that be made use of in a story? A crime flash piece is perhaps the obvious use for that but you could also do reflective pieces where the characters are tune into the mood of the season to share something important with us.

May be an image of outdoors, castle and text

Fairytales with Bite – A New Beginning

The classic fairytales often end with “and they lived happily ever after”. It’s what we expect. But for me that line heralds the start of a new beginning for the characters involved. Where could their story take them next?

Many an additional fairytale has come from writers asking and answering that question. It is along those lines I got into print for the first time back in 2009 with A Helping Hand from Alternative Renditions (Bridge House Publishing). I looked at the Cinderella story from the viewpoint of the youngest step-sister and explored if there could be a new beginning for her.

Screenshot 2022-09-23 at 20-17-54 Allison Symes

You can take the idea of a new beginning for characters who have solved one crisis and have to learn to live with their new situation in which they find themselves. How would they adjust? Do they need additional support? Do they get it? And when a character has literally moved on, how do those left behind cope with their new beginning? Is it a good thing for them or something they are not looking forward to having to cope with?

A new beginning can be a threat to a character as well as holding out a promise. How will you make your characters face and deal with their new beginnings and what triggers such things? Have your characters known this was coming?


This World and Others – Continuity

Many of us like continuity in our lives. We like to know certain things will happen at certain times. We like to know we are going to be able to do the things we need to do to survive and so on. Some of us like a routine. (I do. It’s how I get my writing done). So we can apply this directly to characters too.

Think about how they would react if that continuity was threatened or even taken away for a while. How would they cope? Do they get the natural rhythm of their lives back again or do they have to face up to change they didn’t seek and set up a new kind of continuity?

Are there other characters who thrive on chaos? What happens when they disrupt the community continuity and how do characters react to that disruption?

What community leaders does your setting have and how do they react to threats to their authority? It is not likely to be a good reaction but are they measured in how they put things right (in their eyes) or do they take extreme measures? Are they prepared to do anything to get that continuity back?

Definite story ideas there!


Twitter icon

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Success! You're on the list.


Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

My latest CFT post takes a look back at my writing year and I also share some recently published stories of mine on Cafelit. All have a Christmas theme. I hope you enjoy them and that you have a lovely Christmas.

I must admit I think the picture I found on Pixabay to use as my feature image for this week’s post is probably the loveliest I’ve used ever. I just love the colours in this one.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

A little Christmas scene…

In the middle of the Christmas rush
There was an old man carving a brush
He was clearly an expert in wood
He could make any timber look good
Right by the old High Street church he was
He so wanted to be there because
The God he loved was a carpenter
A worker should be at the centre
Of the scene, as the shepherds had been
There long before the wise men were seen.
The man liked a God who worked with His hands
In the tableau He was in swaddling bands.

Allison Symes – 22nd December 2017

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. (Oh and I’ve nothing against the wise men incidentally. They would have been highly educated men. It is interesting to see the wide variety of people who were at that first Christmas).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fairytales With Bite – Looking Back

Looking back/reviews is my theme for tonight as I cover this in my This World and Others post where I talk about the usefulness of reviews and for my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week where I look back at my writing year.  (I also share some recently published stories of mine from Cafelit, all on a Christmas theme.  Hope you like them).

Do your characters look back at their lives at all?  (You should as their creator!  Have they developed?  If so, positively or negatively?  How does this impact on the story?).  If the characters do look back at their own lives, why are they doing it?  Are they trying to learn from past mistakes and do they actually do so?  How does that “look back” change their behaviour (for better or worse) and how does that change the direction in which they go?

Sometimes Character B can look back at Character A’s life and this can be because:-

1.  They don’t like the changes in A’s life now (and they may be right to take that view!).  By drawing A’s attention to this, B is hoping to get A back to where they used to be.

2.  Character B is comparing themselves with A, especially if A has gone on to be really successful.  (We all do this for real so why shouldn’t our characters do so?!  What is interesting here is how does B respond?  Are they jealous?  Do they seek to improve themselves or try to “do A down”?).

3.  Character B is delighted Character A has changed (and again they may well be right.  Equally they may be pleased because A has worsened and it makes B look better!  B does not have to have noble motives here!).

All three of these points could generate some fascinating stories.  Happy writing – and I hope you receive plenty of books, in whichever format, over Christmas.  Stories are wonderful and Christmas is a great time to celebrate them.  As a Christian, I celebrate what, for me, is the greatest story – that of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, but whether you share my beliefs or not, I hope you have a lovely Christmas season and New Year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This World and Others – Reviews

My latest Chandler’s Ford Today post reviews my writing year and, while on topic, I thought I’d look at how useful reviews can be whatever you write.

Obviously anyone with a book out there, including me, appreciates reviews on various websites as they do help.  An honest one or two line review is enormously helpful so do please put them up.  (And yes, do say what you dislike about a book as well as what you like about it.  Honesty is vital.  Amazon have, understandably, clamped down on reviews they think were written by the writer’s granny or by rival writers who are wielding a hatchet!).

I always carry out an end of year review and tick off the things achieved, carry certain things over (I will always want to have flash fiction work and short stories out there so this is ongoing) and perhaps look at why other things I hoped to achieve didn’t happen.  I then look at whether I can do better on these ideas in the coming year or whether it was the ideas themselves that weren’t strong enough etc.

There will always be things I’m disappointed I didn’t achieve, that’s life, but that’s no reason to NOT have another go in the year to come!