Image Credit: Unless otherwise stated, all images are from the fantastic Pixabay.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
I share what I think makes a good story and why. I also name some of my favourites and share my reading “diet”. I also invite you to share your favourite stories. Hope you enjoy – and that you have plenty of wonderful books and stories as Christmas presents this and every year!
Two posts from me tonight. This second one also ties in with my CFT theme of What Makes a Good Story too.
Below is the book trailer for Nativity, this year’s Bridge House Publishing anthology. I’m delighted to have a humorous fairytale in here – What Goes Around.
Do check out the wonderful stories in here. There’s a lovely mixture of styles and moods but of course you don’t just need to take my word for it!
Boxing Day is my chance to catch up on some reading – books old and new – and I relish the opportunity to put my feet up for a bit and get my nose stuck into a good read!
Must admit to being a bit miffed Doctor Who has been pushed back to New Year’s Day. It always was the highlight of my Christmas Day viewing.
Have no idea what I’ll be watching this year. If nothing appeals, it’ll be back to the Morecambe and Wise box set. Can’t go wrong with that! The scripts were wonderfully written and brilliantly performed.
This is also where I particularly miss mum. She loved a good game or two of Scrabble. You knew word play had to come into this somewhere, right?
I’ll be taking a bit of time off from writing naturally but what is lovely about this is (a) a brief break does me good (and does for everyone) and (b) I’m raring to go again when it is time to start again. Gets the New Year off to a good new creative start and I love that.
Am I ready for Christmas yet? Umm…
I’ll be asking What Makes a Good Story in my CFT post this week. I know – I could’ve gone on at length on that one. I haven’t, honestly (the link will be up on Friday so you can see for yourself!). I look at a good reading “diet” too and share a couple of festive flash fiction stories.
I can’t remember what the first book I read by myself was though the Reader’s Digest Fairytale Collections and Little Women have got to be strong contenders for that. What I do know is once I was hooked on stories, that was it.
What I like now is the range of ways in which you can take stories in – I love audio books for example and a great film adaptation can bring stories to life for many and may drive them to read the book too. The latter is one reason I love The Muppet Christmas Carol so much as The Great Gonzo aka Charles Dickens recommends reading the original book! (And very good advice that is too).
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Good stories (my theme for Chandler’s Ford Today this week) come in so many varieties of style, mood, genre and, of course, word count length! The phrase “less is more” could have been invented for flash fiction writers. It wasn’t but it could have been!
Of course good stories for me are centred around the characters (as I discuss further in my CFT post) but the characters don’t have to be likeable. Well, Hannibal Lecter is memorable, is he not? Would you want to have dinner with him? I’d pass on that one… you’d never know who you would have having with the Chianti, would you? (I refuse to believe that’s a plot spoiler after all this time!).
So how do you make your characters memorable then? For me, they have to have a distinctive voice. This is one reason I use the first person a lot for my flash fiction. I can take you straight into the characters’ heads and show you their thoughts and attitudes. You then decide whether you like them or not!
A good story, whether it is a flash fiction piece or longer work, has to engage with a reader and the characters are, for me, the key to doing that.
As you know, I like a mixture of darker and lighter stories in my reading “diet”. I do find at this time of year when the nights draw in so early, I read more of the lighter side. I guess I’m trying to balance things out here! I know I need something to give me a bit of a lift reading wise and that’s why I head to the funny/amusing side of fiction first.
And, yes, as the light gradually increases, that’s when I turn to the darker stories for a good read.
Whatever your reading diet, I do hope the books you’ve asked for end up under your Christmas tree this year. The best things about winter by are having more time to read and hot chocolate!
Flash fiction can be written in different styles as after all it is a very short story and tales can be told in varying ways as well as in a variety of word counts!
They’ve been told in many different ways for centuries – from the oral tradition to the printed word from stories told in letters, diaries (think Adrian Mole!) etc.
I’ve occasionally written limericks which tell their own story. Hope you like this one.
TAKING THE PEN AWAY
There was once a cracker joke writer
Whose puns made people curse the blighter
So when his pen was taken
He felt forlorn, forsaken
But the world felt oh so much brighter!
I suspect there are many of us who could identify with this!😊
Fairytales With Bite – Transformations
Fairytales often have transformation as a theme ranging from the changing of an arrogant prince into something ugly (Beauty and the Beast) to changing someone’s life completely (Cinderella).
In all of the stories there is justification for the transformation ranging from deserved punishment to rewarding virtue/delivering from a dreadful environment. So when you use transformation in your stories (especially if it is done courtesy of a helpful and handy to have around fairy godmother), ensure you have a good reason for it.
The actual transformation is a pivotal point of the story of course. The arrogant prince becomes the beast and his story after that point is in discovering whether someone will love him enough to free him from the curse. For Cinderella her life is turned upside down by the fairy godmother’s intervention. Think about how your characters could handle that. Not everybody would handle it well and there could be some interesting stories there.
This World and Others – When Your World Works…
This is by no means a definitive list but useful pointers for gauging whether your fictional world works include:-
- You can imagine living there yourself.
- You can picture how the different species in your world could co-exist (whether they do so or not is then up to you!).
- You know where your characters fit into the overall picture. Not everyone can be a leader so who are the governed and who does the governing?
- You know how your characters live and what they do for housing, food, sanitation etc. You have to convince yourself your world could work if it existed somewhere. You may not need to put all of these details into your story. You just need to convey enough so a reader is convinced you know how your world works!
- You know what could threaten your world and its characters and why.