All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated.
Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing.
Image of The Writer’s Diary taken by me, Allison Symes. Much appreciated Christmas present!
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
It’s good to be back in business for Chandler’s Ford Today this week. It always feels a little odd when I don’t post there! My post this week is called New Year 2021 – Apprehension or Hope?
Well, folks, the post does what it says on the tin (readers of a certain vintage will remember the old Ronseal wood stainer adverts that had this as a slogan. Mind you, every time I hear Pachelbel’s Canon in D, I think of the old Wool advert from the 1970s but that does say more about my age than anything else!).
In my post, I discuss the coming 12 month and urge positivity (and I would so love to see a better balance between reporting news we need to know along with news that is more uplifting. I have found too much negativity saps the soul if you let it).
I also encourage building on the positive things. So a gentle start to my CFT writing for this year but that’s no bad thing. Am looking forward to bringing you some fascinating insights from other writers over the next few weeks. More nearer the time. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy this week’s post.
Happy New Year everyone! Here’s hoping 2021 proves to be a better and happier year for as many of us as possible. And for those facing sad and difficult times that you have all the support you need. I don’t usually celebrate New Year. I almost certainly won’t stay up to see it in. I treasure my sleep more these days but will admit to not being sorry to see the back of 2020.
Writing wise, I hope to build on the good things that have happened this year. Am keeping what I can crossed that writing events such as conferences etc will be back on.
I chat about facing the New Year with apprehension or hope in my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week. Link up tomorrow and once again Happy New Year!
Great to see a fab review come in for Mulling It Over. This is the Bridge House Publishing anthology for this year. My story, It Is Time, is in there (and if you like a chiller of a story, it is for you). I love reading anthologies as well as being in them as I’ve always enjoyed books which give a wide range of stories. They’re also great ways of trying out authors who are new to you. For writers, of course, they make a great way of building up a publication track record so win-win!
Many thanks for the great responses to my More Than Writers blog spot called Planning Ahead from yesterday (see previous round up post). Even if you’re not normally a planner, doing some will help you achieve more. (If nothing else jotting down possible ideas can help you rule out what you don’t want to do and that can save you time later).
Massive puppy party over the local park today. Lady had a wonderful time with her best buddy, who is the most sweet tempered Ridgeback. Both went home absolutely shattered (but oh so happy). One good thing about the hard frost this morning? The mud had frozen over so at least I wasn’t squelching through everything!
Anyone for a quick chorus of “always look on the bright side of life”?!!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
I always find the 1st January to be a strange day, regardless of what day of the week it falls on. It never feels like a holiday. (And this year that feeling it isn’t really a “proper” holiday has increased thanks to the pandemic and the freezing fog. Mind, it has also not helped that the usual post-Christmas walks and family visits didn’t happen).
Have you made any writing plans yet? I’m continuing various things already “on the go”. I haven’t quite finished writing the first draft of my non-fiction project but am within sight of the finishing line so that’s good.
Below is a picture of my writing diary. Am putting this up now as this will be the neatest this book will ever look. My old one was beginning to look rather battered and tired (just like the year itself really!). I didn’t get to use any of the prompts from the last diary but hope to make amends for that this year. I’m sure there are plenty of prompts here I can use to generate flash fiction stories.
Onwards and upwards and forwards then. A New Year is always a time for hope. We really could do with a lot of that right now!
Happy New Year, one and all. I was having a quick look through my flash collection indexes and have realised, while I do tell Christmas related stories, I haven’t written any about a new year. Hmm… if ever there was a time to put that right, I guess it is now, isn’t it?!
Watching the Clock by Allison Symes
I was having such a wonderful time I didn’t want it to end. Yes, I remembered what she’d said about being back home by midnight. But come on, midnight is no time to leave a party, is it?
So I stayed until the bells started to chime and then I did run. What would he think if he saw my shabby dress? I only wish I could have stopped the clock. If midnight never came, I could have continued dancing.
Still I made it home before they came back, full of gossip about who the beautiful stranger was. I couldn’t bear to hear it. I thought going to bed would stop that but no, they were full of it again the following day.
The only comfort I had was when the clock struck midnight this time, it only signalled the start of another day, another year. I wish I could believe it would be the beginning of something better but I have had years of disappointed hopes so I know not to dream any more. I won’t expect more from any new year, yet alone this one.
The dance though is something I will treasure all of my life. That I think is the fairy godmother’s real gift to me.
Hmm… what are they on about now? Something about the Prince marrying the girl whose foot will fit the glass slipper and every lady under 50 has to try the shoe on. I will have to work hard not to laugh when my step sisters try it on. Let’s just say their feet are anything but elegant and dainty.
Maybe this New Year will mean a New Start for me after all. I just have to wait then and keep the other slipper hidden. Wish me luck! It is time mine changed for the better.
Allison Symes – 31st December 2020
Hope you enjoy what follows. I thought this would be a different way of getting across a universal truth for writers!
Fairytales with Bite – Wishes a Fairy Godmother Would Love to Grant but Can’t
You would have thought the upside of being a fairy godmother is being able to dole out the odd wish to yourself every now and again but there are rules against such things. For a start, the potential for abuse is obvious. So given the rules, what would fairy godmothers love to grant in the way of wishes that they are forbidden to do? My suggestions are:-
Always making the punishment at least twice as bad as the crime. Why forbidden? Because there would be the risk that fairy godmothers would outdo each other as to how hardline they could be (as nobody would want to be seen to be “soft”).
Also when they are bringing miscreants to book, fairy godmothers want said miscreants to survive to learn their lesson and be able to warn others.
Also the usual idea is to humiliate miscreants and you can do that without using more magical energy than is strictly necessary.
Magic drains the person using it so no fairy godmother is going to waste her powers when she doesn’t have to.
Making cats trainable. This was declared an impossibility millennia ago. No amount of magic is going to change this (which is one reason fairy godmothers have always suspected cats of being magical creatures in their own right, regardless of the connection with witches).
Banning all possibilities of mistranslating a spell. Sounds a good idea but, if granted, it would have meant Cinderella would not have had her glass slipper. That has now become iconic (despite being murder on the feet – though fairy godmothers would see suffering as part of life. The main point they want to make sure of is that they’re not the ones doing the suffering!).
Taking all calories out of chocolate, prosecco and the like. I know. Lovely thought isn’t it? The argument against is you wouldn’t appreciate these wonderful things without the calories. Besides the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t like it. Take out the calories and you’re almost certainly taking out the sugar. That puts her out of a job and she’s not having that.
This World and Others – Marking of the Seasons
How does your fictional world mark the passing of time? Is there such a thing as a year, yet alone a New Year celebration? (Not that there will be much of any of that for any of us this time thanks to the wretched Covid).
Do the seasons match up to what we know on Earth? Or does your fictional world have something unique we would never see here due to the geographical conditions you’ve set up?
Marking of the seasons is something that has been done for millennia and is closely tied to agriculture. You have to know when to sow seed and when to harvest the crops after all. You also need to know when everything is dormant (though there is plenty going on under the soil even in winter, we just don’t see it).
So is there agriculture in your fictional world and, if so, what form does it take? Is there a food based celebration when the crops are brought in? If not, how do your creations survive? What do they eat and how do they get that food?
Even in a hunting community, there should be some sense of seasons given your characters would need to know when they could hunt their food and when their “prey” needs to reproduce so there will be things to hunt the following year etc.
So time matters then. How do you reflect this in your writing?
Happy New Year, everyone. And to finish for 2020 (and don’t we all want 2020 to BE finished!), I thought I would share a universal truth for writers. Hope you enjoy. https://t.co/bk2mz5Rk2s— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) December 31, 2020