Laughter In Fiction

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. My CFT post was a special joy to write – I love writing about humour. I hope it makes you smile.

Screenshot 2022-04-08 at 16-12-10 Laughter in Fiction - Chandler's Ford Today

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

Am delighted to share a Chandler’s Ford Today post which I hope will put a smile on your face. I talk about Laughter in Fiction and explore the point of humorous fiction, as well as share some gloriously funny quotes from Wodehouse and Pratchett.

I look at why the humorous story has to be a story first and foremost and discuss why there should be a good mixture of funny as well as tragic material in fiction.

Hope you enjoy (and let’s hear it for the humour writers – they deserve more awards than they get. Why humorous fiction is looked down on in some quarters is beyond me).

Laughter in Fiction

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Looking forward to sharing my Chandler’s Ford Today post tomorrow.  See above. I’m talking about Laughter in Fiction, which is a fun topic to write about, and I get to share some fabulous quotes from P.G. Wodehouse and Terry Pratchett.

I also talk about the point of humorous fiction. Give some thought as to whether you think humorous fiction is hard to write as comments in the CFT box are always welcome.

Also looking forward to taking part in a couple of Zoom sessions with writing friends over the next day or two., If you can’t get together in person, then Zoom is the next best thing and it has been an lifeline for staying in contact with people and still being able to “go” to writing events.

Next major in-person event for me will be the Worth Our Weight in Gold weekend, which the Association of Christian Writers are having to celebrate their Golden Jubilee. Looking forward to running a workshop there and meeting up with friends and, naturally, it will be lovely to be back at The Hayes, Swanwick for that.


I love a bit of word play. It’s why I’m fond of radio shows such as I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, Just A Minute etc. I was writing a guest post for a pal on Facebook as I often do and playing the great game of changing one word in a famous book title with the word “tea”. So I came up with things like The Lord of the Tea, Bleak Tea, Tea and Prejudice etc etc. All good fun. Silly word games like that are (a) a great way to unwind, (b) make me laugh, and (c) remind me of great books I need to re-read again soon.

When it comes to my story titles, I use a variety of ways to find the best one for my purpose. I sometimes use proverbs directly, sometimes subvert a saying (my Punish the Innocent from From Light to Dark and Back Again is an example of that), and sometimes use repetition (such as my Enough Is Enough).

Sometimes I come up with an interesting premise I just have to write up such as my The Terrified Dragon from Tripping the Flash Fantastic. That was great fun to envisage and write up!

I find I have to have a working title as a “peg” to work to but I know now not to be worried if a better idea for a title comes up as I write my first draft. I just note it down and if it still seems better once I’ve written my story, I will change my original title. Only The Ten Commandments were set in stone after all. But I just need something to get me started. And yes often the title will set the mood for the story and that’s fine too. Sometimes the mood of the story I want to write helps inspire the title idea.

What matters here is being open and not being afraid to play around with ideas until you get the one title you know suits your story perfectly. It is lovely when that happens immediately but often it doesn’t. I know now to trust the process of writing to know the ideas will come. I didn’t know that when I started out but writing regularly and often helps develop that trust.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

It’s Friday. It’s time for another story from Friday Flash Fiction. Hope you enjoy my Four Chairs. This came about as a result of a picture I found via a random picture generator.
Screenshot 2022-04-08 at 16-12-24 Four Chairs by Allison Symes

F = Find your character – why are they worth writing up into a story?

L = Love your characters, loathe your characters – what matters is they are able to keep the reader wondering what on earth is going to happen and to keep on reading to find out.

A = Animals, aliens, whatever – your characters don’t necessarily have to be human.

S = Story, story, story – what happens, what changes, what do your characters do?

H = Have a rough idea as to where your story is heading – this helps even if you don’t like to outline.


I’ve deliberately gone for a mixture of moods in the stories in both of my flash collections because I like to read a mixture of moods myself. I do see my books as “mixed assortments” and fail to see why that idea should just be restricted to chocolate boxes!

It is also one of the great joys of short story anthologies. I ensure I read a good mix of flash and story short collections in between reading novels because I love the long form and short forms of fiction and think it healthy for my reading “diet” to read a good mixture of both.

So do check out the indie presses like Chapeltown Books to find out what is out there. And if you want an idea of where to start here, how about checking out the bookshop here, the one my publisher runs?

Screenshot 2022-04-06 at 20-14-23 The Bridgetown Café Bookshop

Fairytales With Bite – The Diary

What a page from a fairy godmother’s diary could look like…

Monday – Needed a lie in as was up after midnight for the umpteenth night in a row turning things into other things for my various goddaughters. When I find out who decreed that fairy godmothers have to stay up late almost continually, I will turn them into something – unpleasant. Possibly with a new ability to croak.

Tuesday – And breathe. Feel so much better after making sure I had a quiet day yesterday. Out in the garden replenishing my pumpkin stocks. I have gone through so many this year. Haven’t even made pie with any yet. Will make up for that. Could just do with a slice of pumpkin pie.

Wednesday – The big boss has sent me all around the magical kingdom today carrying out various errands. Saw off three marauding dragons and that was before lunch. Got back home well after 10 pm (at least is isn’t bloody midnight this time!), having sent various evil beings to the next world where they can harass someone else. Must admit I had more pumpkin pie than I should have done but it was luscious.

Thursday – It was fun shopping with the girls. There’s nothing to beat getting a group of fairy godmothers together and we call come up with more and more beautiful dresses which we swap amongst ourselves. Why should the likes of Cinders have the lot? Tell me that. I’ve come home with a fabulous purple number I will wear to the next Palace party the Fairy Queen holds for us. Had to go up a dress size though. Suspect the pumpkin pie might have something to do with that. And annoyingly I can’t magic the calories off. It’s a banned practice. Grrr…

Friday – Any hopes of a weekend at home were dashed by Her Nibs. I’m on Palace duty all weekend where I have to accompany Her Nibs everywhere. Now that’s okay funnily enough. She wants her fairy godmothers to be at their very best so she boosts our magical abilities temporarily so we can use extra powers to create jewellery for ourselves and so on. I’ve created a stunning amethyst necklace and bracelet combo to go with my new purple dress. Still not allowed to magic calories off though.

Saturday – Got to ride in the big gold coach with Her Nibs. Looks wonderful. The suspension on it is hell though. Her Nibs likes it that way though. Says it reminds her to ensure she always sits up straight. You get used to it after a while though. Mind you, you can get used to almost anything after a while.

Sunday – I got home at 11.55 pm. I think Her Nibs ensured that. Someone likes a laugh! It was nice touring the countryside with her though and waving at the peasants, punters, potential future clients.

Hope you enjoyed that. It was great fun to write.


This World and Others – Work and Employment

Now for Fairytales with Bite, I’ve invented a fictional diary for a fairy godmother but in it, I show a little of her workload. What kind of jobs do your main characters do? What kind of employment exists in your fictional world? Where magic is involved, what employment opportunities does that create or take away? Who takes advantage of those opportunities? Who suffers because their jobs are taken away?

The issues we face in our work lives – are these replicated in your fictional world? Is there such a thing as management/union disputes for example? When change needs to happen in how people work, what they can do, how are these changes brought about?

When your characters need to go off on quests etc (as you do), what impact does that have on their old lives, including their work ones? If they get back again, do they pick up their old work etc as if they’d never gone?

Does your society have a haves and have nots situation? What drives the need to work? One will be the need to produce food, every society needs that, but the ways in which it is done will differ. Payment of bills is the other “big” issue. So in your world, how do your people provide for themselves and what do they have to do to keep on doing that?



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CafeLit, Creativity Matters, and an Interview

Image Credit:-

All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Some images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.

Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.

Screenshot of my stories on CafeLit and Friday Flash Fiction also taken by me and do check out both sites for fabulous tales.

A huge thanks to #PaulaRCReadman for hosting me on her blog this week, more details below. (Screenshot taken by me, Allison Symes, and do check out Paula’s blog).

Many thanks to #WendyHJones for supplying the book cover image for Creativity Matters.

Also thanks to #GillJames for supplying the cover for The Best of CafeLit 10.

As you’ll gather from those last three sentences, the week has got off to a cracking start! (Just a pity I can’t put in order somewhere for more of the same!).


Facebook – General

Now, as promised yesterday, for news on the non-fiction writing front. I am delighted to now confirm my chapter in #WendyHJones’ Creativity Matters: Find Your Passion for Writing will be called Why Write Flash Fiction and Short Stories? It’s a great honour to be taking part and I am looking forward to being “between the covers” with a lovely range of fantastic authors here. More details to come soon.

And now I can show you the cover too!

It’s not been a bad start to the week, given my news on the fiction front yesterday!

Allison Symes - Contribution to Creativity Matters

Not one but two posts from me tonight. And exciting news to come on the non-fiction front tomorrow too!

But tonight I’m focusing on my fiction news. Now I mentioned yesterday The Best of CafeLit 10 is now out and the lovely #Paula R.C. Readman has interviewed me for her blog specifically about my contributions to this book.

A huge thank you to Paula for hosting me and I’m delighted to share the interview here. It was such fun to take part and always a joy to flag up CafeLit!

Screenshot 2021-07-06 at 20-15-21 Clubhouse Cafelit 10 Chat Allison Symes

More flagging up of the wonderful CafeLit tonight with my second post on this page tonight. I’m pleased to say my story, Choices, is now up on site.

This started life as a writing prompt I set for the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction Group and it was such fun to write up. Hope you enjoy it. My sympathy is entirely with Jamie here.

Screenshot 2021-07-06 at 20-19-54 Choices

Am thrilled to say The Best of CafeLit 10 is now available. I have two pieces in here – Breaking Out and Taking Time Out of the Day Job. (Am also thrilled to say I’ll have another story up on the CafeLit website tomorrow and am looking forward to sharing the link for that then – see above.).

A huge thanks to #GillJames and the team here for bringing out such wonderful collections of short stories. Many congratulations to the other authors who are “between the covers” with yours truly. Looking forward to hopefully being able to have a proper Bridge House Publishing/CafeLit/Chapeltown Books celebration get together later in the year. Missed that so much last year cancelled of course due to You Know What.


Hope you have had a good day. It was good to get out in the garden for a while earlier. I would never make any claim to be a “proper” gardener but tidying up where I needed to was strangely satisfying.

A huge thank you for the wonderful responses to When Is Wednesday?, my latest story on #FridayFlashFiction.

The feedback on this site is so useful and much appreciated. This particular story resonates as it is one I have written drawing on direct experience of how dementia can be on people. (My The Pink Rose tackles the same theme from a different angle in Tripping the Flash Fantastic. Hard stories to write? In some ways, yes. I always feel the “punch in the gut” reaction to moving stories but I should. Stories, even the funniest ones, should make you feel something).

Screenshot 2021-07-06 at 20-24-09 When is Wednesday by Allison SymesBookBrushImage-2021-7-2-19-2735

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Thanks for the great response to my Spring story video on Youtube yesterday. (I plan to write a post for Chandler’s Ford Today soon about Youtube for Authors and a huge thanks to the lovely #HelenMatthews for seeding that idea. I’m looking forward to sharing the second part of a great interview with her on CFT on Friday. Writers talking to each other = bouncing ideas around and fab conversations! And I know a good idea for a CFT post or a flash fiction story when I hear it. These days, I’ve learned to take said idea and run with it).

Mind you, if my heroine ate all the doughnuts in my latest video, she wouldn’t be running anywhere!). See below for the video link. (Am just hoping my Slimming World consultant likes this one!).


As well as my new CafeLit story now being live on site (Choices – see my author page for the link), I’m pleased to now share my latest Youtube video. Hope you enjoy Spring, another acrostic tale. I think my Slimming World consultant would appreciate this one!

And on a dull, wet Monday night here in Hampshire, sharing stories online to me seems a great thing to do! Trust me, it was dull and very wet!

Delighted to have further publication news with The Best of Cafelit 10 now available in Kindle and paperback. I have two stories in here and am honoured as the stories in these collections are voted on by regular readers of CafeLit. Thank you to everyone who voted for my two pieces Breaking Out and Taking Time Out of The Day Job.

I have some lovely tasks to do this week as a result of the book being out. One is to let Amazon know I’m a contributor and get the book up on my Author Central Page(Now done – see below!).

I also need to contact Goodreads (again now done, see below!) but the other task is to update my records with ALCS, the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. Plus I need to put my own book order in but these are jobs I will really enjoy doing over the next couple of days or so. Now done. Books on their way! And do register with ALCS if you’re a UK writer with publications out there. More below.

To all writers with publications out there, don’t forget to register with ALCS. You get free membership with them if you’re a member of the Society of Authors but you can join for a one-off lifetime fee of £36.00 if that doesn’t apply to you. Best of all, you don’t pay the £36.00 immediately. ALCS take that from the first payment they give you as you receive your share of monies from copyright licensing. And you can earn money year on year via ALCS. Definitely worth doing!

Screenshot 2021-07-06 at 20-35-17 Allison SymesScreenshot 2021-07-06 at 20-36-15 Author Dashboard

I mix up the moods of my stories as different characters face different things of course. Also Character A might be of the type to, say, not take a serious situation as well as they should do. Character B in the same situation might over-react to it. Both would be interesting takes on a story. What would make Character A “wake up” and do what has to be done? Can Character B be calmed down and enabled to resolve a situation (which they certainly wouldn’t do while over-reacting to it)?

My latest on #FridayFlashFiction is a moving one following a couple of light-hearted pieces by me on there but this is deliberate. Stories reflect life so naturally there should be funny ones, sad ones, and so on. What matters for any kind of story is the characters grip you and make you want to find out what happens to them. See above for story link.

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Goodreads Author Blog – Changes in Reading Tastes

How have your reading tastes changed over the years? My big love reading wise will always be fantasy (especially the humorous kind and you can’t beat Terry Pratchett’s Discworld for that) but I have also developed a taste for crime novels (on the lower end of the gory scale) and historical fiction.

I’ve also developed a taste for non-fiction and have enjoyed some of the Ben Macintyre books and London by Peter Ackroyd, books I wouldn’t have looked at only a few years ago.

Having a Kindle has encouraged me to explore more books too and I will use ebooks as a way of testing out books by authors new to me. I’ve also been reading more flash and short story collections. That of course is linked to my writing taking off in that direction. I want to read in the field I am in and am conscious I need to have a good reading diet of classic and contemporary fiction.

What is lovely is having books on my shelves (including the electronic one!) by writer friends. Becoming more involved in writing myself has led me to discovering what colleagues produce and I am reading more types of books and stories now than I’ve ever done.

So where has your reading journey taken you? Have you discovered a love for a genre new to you?

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