Image Credit: Pixabay and Pexels as usual, unless otherwise stated. Many thanks.
Special Note: Today, 8th May 2020 is the 75th anniversary of VE Day. My parents and grandparents, who lived through this, are sadly gone, but to all who gave up so much so that we could live, thank you. You are not forgotten. Nor should you ever be.
My parents were evacuated, my father more than once as many East End families came back to London before having to leave again due to the doodlebugs.
My grandparents? One served in the Forces before being invalided out and then working as an ARP warden. He saw things as an ARP warden nobody should have to see. My maternal grandfather was in a reserved occupation – he worked in munitions and was often bombed out.
There is much to be thankful for despite our current difficulties.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
I hope this week’s CFT post, Zooming Around and Cyberlaunch Tips, proves particularly useful. I share my thoughts about Zoom. I go on to share hints and thoughts about having a cyberlaunch. I discuss what I found useful when I had mine for From Light to Dark and Back Again and what I learned from this.
Naturally in the fullness of time I’m looking forward to having another one for Tripping the Flash Fantastic!
What I do know though is preparation is key! And a cyberlaunch should be fun for you as author/host. That fun will be picked up on by those attending your launch.
I hope the tips on cyberlaunches in my latest CFT post, Zooming Around and Cyberlaunch Tips, prove useful. The good thing about holding events like these is you will always learn something from them in what worked well, what you could have done better and so on. Those you take with you to your next event!
Going to other cyberlaunches, as well as being great fun and supportive of other writers, also provides good opportunities to learn.
I held a raffle when I had mine for From Light to Dark and Back Again. I used a random number generator and allocated a number to every visitor. When it came to doing the draw for a prize, I simply put in the range of numbers from smallest to largest and picked out the winners that way.
That wonderful tip was something I picked up from a cyberlaunch I went to (and I’m sorry I have forgotten whose that was but I will say a big thank you now as it did prove useful and I am sure it will again!).
Allison Symes and some of her published works. Image by Adrian Symes
The bookstall – image by Allison Symes
Image from Chapeltown Books
Facebook – General – and Publication News
Good support at 8 pm for the Clap for Carers though Lady decided not to use her vocal talents this week. I’m sure she’ll make up for it another time…
Am absolutely thrilled to say I am one of the winners of the Waterloo Arts Festival’s Writing Competition. Many congratulations to all of the other winners who are:-
Mehreen Ahmed: Dolly
Gail Aldwin: The Price of Firewood
Christopher Bowles: Chroma
Maxin Churchman: Pulling Together
Jeanne Davies: Utopian Dream
Jo Dearden: A Small Clay Vase
Linda Flynn: Fishing in Troubled Waters
Anne Forrest: Number Twenty-seven
Dawn Knox: Rising from the Ashes
Roz Lyn: Circle Time
Paula R C Readman: Cobalt Blues
Hannah Retallick: Bookclub for the Elderly
Theresa Sainsbury: Transforming Teenagers
Allison Symes: Books and Barbarians
I will miss enormously NOT going up to London for the Festival, meeting up with my fellow writers for a very convivial pub lunch etc, but there will be online events so I will look forward to those.
What with the news of two of my stories being in Cafelit 9 later this year, it has been quite a week! This is the lovely side of writing of course. What doesn’t get seen is the work that goes into those stories over weeks, writing them, honing them, sending them off, and then waiting to hear.
This is why I like to have something I’m about to send off, another competition in mind to have a go at, and something I’m resting ready for editing after a suitable time break away from it. Over the course of a year, it means I’ve submitted a number of stories. Some will be accepted, some won’t but even there I can revisit the tales and try them out again with another market/competiton. I’ve had work published doing that.
Now on to the next story, which is almost ready for submitting!
Another reason for outlining my characters is I want to be able to see the world through their eyes and until I know certain things about them I can’t do that. What their attitudes are is, to me, far more important than knowing what they look like.
I know some writers need to know the physical appearance of their characters first and then work out what else they need to know from there.
But what matters here is finding the starting point that works for you, whichever way around it happens to be!
It took me a while to work out which way WAS the best route for me to take. But all that practice in writing early on, though the results were never published, has paid off now. I know what works for me and I go with that.
Where variety comes in is how I approach writing the story. Sometimes I start with the end line and work backwards. Sometimes I use the more conventional start to end approach.
Practically always, I find I need to change the beginning of a story. It is usually only once I’ve got the first draft down I can figure out the best start is at, say, paragraph three, and the opening two are either not needed at all or I can salvage useful bits of information and drip feed them into the tale later. I know I often have to work my way into the “real” story and that’s fine. The dressing to help me do that never stays in the final tale you hopefully get to see!
Not exactly a selfier but… Pixabay
All great ideas for writing but you still need to “apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair” (P.G.Wodehouse). Pixabay image.
Read widely to inspire these. Pixabay
Another gorgeous library. I love pics like this.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Another way to mix up how you approach writing flash fiction is to take a closing line from a story of yours and then use it as the opening or a title to a completely new story. I’ve not done this YET but I have in my draft third book used the same characters in more than one story AND have someone else refer to them in yet another tale.
A little while ago I had a series of linked flashes on Cafelit which was prompted by an exercise in the Prompts book by Gill James and that was good fun to do. See link!
As you know, I like to mix up the mood of the stories I write plus I like to write in different genres too. My overall favourite will always, I think, be what I call my fairytales with bite (aimed at an older audience, usually with humour and/or with a twist). But I have enjoyed writing historical flash fiction and hope to do more of this too.
Image by Gill James
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again –
and Publication News! (Yes, it’s been a good week!)
It will be lovely having another story in the Waterloo Arts Festival Writing Competition ebook anthology during the summer. It will be the third year in a row I will have had a story in there. This year’s theme was Transforming Communities and my story is called Books and Barbarians. I’ll leave you to wonder about that one for the time being!
Every writer had to write to a 1000 word count maximum and all on the same theme. The other ebooks from the Waterloo Arts Festival (publisher: Bridge House Publishing) are a fantastic mix of styles and moods. Here is the link to Transforming Being. The first in the series was called To Be…To Become.
The books prove, to me at least, that each writer has their own voice and, as a result, we really are not in competition with each other. Do check the books out. Available you know where….
Transforming Being. Image by Bridge House Publishing.
To Be.. To Brecome. Image by Bridge House Publishing.
What do characters in a flash fiction story need to have? For me this would include:-
1. A strong voice. They have to be distinctive and intrigue a reader enough to want to follow their story.
2. An intriguing personality (though it doesn’t necessarily have to be a nice one!).
I also need to feel at the end of the story that no other character could have/should have been the lead.
When writing the story, I want to be fascinated enough by the character to WANT to write about them. I usually know fairly quickly when outlining thoughts for a story/character that yes, this is going to work because…
I sometimes know that the character will work if I beef them up a bit here and here… (and that’s nearly always a sign I needed to do a bit more outlining at the beginning to get the character right but that can be and is fixed).
And talking of which, I have a character in a draft story that definitely needs my attention!
Fairytales with Bite – What is Your Favourite Fairytale?
I would list my favourite fairytales as:-
The Little Mermaid
The Ugly Duckling
Puss In Boots
Toy Story series!
Be fair, I didn’t say they had to be just books now!
Common themes here:-
- Wrong being righted.
- Not judging by appearances.
- Animals being smarter than humans – okay just the cat in this instance but be fair, what a cat!
- Evil being thwarted.
All great individual themes for stories of your own there! And yes, you can still write fairytales with animals in them. It never did Roald Dahl any harm!
This World and Others – Interaction
When you set up your created world, are you getting it to engage with other worlds or is it just one universe you are concerned with? The advantage of having at least one other world in your set up is the possibility of conflict between World A and World B, which can lead to some great stories. The disadvantage is you have at least two worlds to think about and plan for fully before you start writing.
Having said that, bear in mind, as with The Lord of The Rings, you can have one complete world and within it varying countries/regions. Here you will need to give careful thought to what these have in common and what the differences are. Who lives where and why? Do they get on with the other regions and if not, why not? How are they governed? Do different governing styles lead to conflict and what are the results?
Also think of interaction at a local level. Local officials can often have more sway over people’s lives because they are dealing with said local officials all the time. The people may never have dealings with the overall government so what are the local officials like? What actions of officials might lead people to rebel? Again, think consequences and happy writing!
Maps have a long history. Pixabay.