FAIR REPORT AND READING OUT LOUD

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Had a great time at the Hursley Park Book Fair today. Good number of visitors, chatted to people, sold some books, and my talk on flash fiction went well (albeit to a small audience). All positives to build on, I’m glad to say, and that’s also true for the Book Fair itself. I very much hope it becomes a regular event in the calendar.

It was lovely catching up with some writer friends too. I’ll be writing a fuller review for Chandler’s Ford Today later. Pics are from the sports hall at the venue, and the theatre where people gave talks etc. Nice place.

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Many thanks to all who came and checked out the Hursley Park Book Fair. It was great fun and it was lovely to chat to people about the joys of flash fiction. It was also lovely to meet fellow authors.

I will be posting a review of the Fair up in a couple of weeks’ time on Chandler’s Ford Today but I want a little time to elapse before I do this. Exactly as I do with writing a story in fact – write it, leave it for a bit, edit it looking at the piece with a fresh pair of eyes and post/submit it!

Favourite moment from the Fair? To the lovely lady who bought a copy of From Light to Dark and Back Again and then came back to me later in the afternoon. She wanted to show me one of my 100-worders that had made her laugh out loud (and yes it was meant to!). Now that IS a review!

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Introduced a few people to the delights of flash fiction at the Hursley Park Book Fair today. What was lovely was when one person came back to me, having had time to dip into From Light to Dark and Back Again, and wanting to tell me she’d laughed out loud at one particular story! Now isn’t that the kind of feedback most of us writers want?!

One of the nice things about giving a talk on flash fiction, as I did yesterday at the Hursley Park Book Fair, is that reading some is often the best way to show what it is. And you get to choose what to read out! The 100-worders tend to work best.

One question I was asked was about the different forms of flash and whether the crafting was the same. Yes, it is, whether you write a 50-word or 500-word flash fiction story.

While you have more room for manoeuvre in the latter obviously, you still have to make every word count. Every word must serve a purpose in being in the story. (One of my guiding principles is write what I need to write and then get out! Anything you can cut without losing the story should be cut as it clearly isn’t necessary).

And yes you can have flash fiction written as a poem, I’ve written some of these myself, but you still need to put in the time on the editing. I find I tend to write my stories quickly, which is great, but it is the editing and the looking at how I can phrase things better to have a more powerful impact on the reader is where the time really gets eaten up.

Goodreads Author Programme – Blog – Reading Out Loud

Do you ever read stories out loud when you are on your own? (I accept if you do this on the Tube, the bus, or what have you, you WILL get some funny looks, so probably best not go there! If you’re driving, stick to audio books for your sake and everyone else’s!).

I’m thinking of those times when you’re curled up at home with a cup or glass of something nice and have got a lovely book on the go.

I’m also not talking about reading to children (though this is one of the best things you can ever do as a parent. I cherish my love of books and stories, thanks to my mother doing this for me when I was a child. It was a great joy to share the joy of this with my son as he was growing up. Guess what, he loves books, though in totally different areas to me, which is fab.).

I sometimes read my own work out loud, record it, and play it back on something like Audacity to hear how my dialogue sounds. Does it sound natural? Am I tripping over something etc?

But why not read out loud with books you are reading for pleasure when you’re on your own? Why? I think you pick up nuances as you hear how the prose sounds. I think it can give you a deeper appreciation of how well the words have been put together. And there is something about reading out loud that calls to mind where we get our storytelling from – the oral tradition – so very much a case of revisiting our roots here.

Chandler’s Ford Today – Graham MacLean Art Series

I acted as series editor on this.  Am glad to share the links to all three parts of the series now.  If you would like to know a bit more about art, the media used, and some of the most well known artists, do have a look at these.  Graham’s own artwork is used throughout the series and is stunning.  See what you think.

http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/graham-maclean-on-art-part-1-why-i-love-art/

http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/graham-maclean-on-art-part-2-media-used-in-painting/

http://chandlersfordtoday.co.uk/graham-maclean-on-art-part-3-my-favourite-artists/

The Mekong River At Phnom Penh , Cambodia Oil painting.

The Mekong River At Phnom Penh , Cambodia Oil painting. Just one of Graham MacLean’s fantastic artworks. Look at that light! Image kindly supplied by Graham MacLean

The Thames at Mortlake

Pi Toi O Fishing Village NT Hong Kong – image and original painting by Graham MacLean

The wild Croatian coastline outside Dubrovnik. The brilliant blue of the Adriatic Sea contrasted with the rocks and dark green foliage

The wild Croatian coastline outside Dubrovnik. Painting and image by Graham MacLean

These are just some of my favourite paintings by Graham.  There are many more fabulous pictures in the three part series.

 

CROSSING GENRES AND SECOND BOOK SYNDROME

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My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is Part 1 (out of 2) of my interview with paranormal historical fiction writer, Jennifer C Wilson. She creates a world where the heroes are ghosts and Richard III gets a MUCH better write up than he ever had from Shakespeare!

Jennifer also shares her three top tips for writers, what her trigger for writing was, and names her own favourite historical fiction writers. More next Friday when, amongst other topics, she shares the joys and woes of crossing genres and how being able to go to Richard III’s funeral influenced her writing. Just how many historical fiction writers get to go to the funeral of their leading star is debatable but there can’t be that many!

Many thanks, Jennifer, for your time and for sharing some great insights. Looking forward to sharing Part 2 next week but in the meantime here’s the link to Part 1.

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There will be more Christmassy flash fiction tales from me on Cafelit over the next couple of weeks. (I hope these will eventually make it into my second book). Do head over and check out their Advent Calendar. There are wonderful stories on here. Don’t miss them!

I think flash especially comes into its own at this time of year when people are under pressure, time-wise, to get things done. It is the ultimate in the quick read after all!

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What do I find most interesting and useful in author interviews?

Questions that encourage the writer to expand on what they do and why rather than simply allow them to give a Yes/No answer. By giving fuller answers, you have much more of an insight as to what makes that particular author tick. I’ve found reading author interviews to be a good source of encouragement. They also make me think about what I write and why.

Am sharing a photo which has gone up on Paula Readman’s wonderful For Writers Only Who Want to Write without Fear of Rejection. Many thanks, Paula, and also to my better half for getting the Christmas tree up today without which this photo would not have been possible (as they say)…

My book on our Christmas Tree as part of Paula Readman's wonderful For Writers Only Who Want to Write without Fear of Rejection Facebook page. Image by Allison Symes

My book on our Christmas Tree as part of Paula Readman’s wonderful For Writers Only Who Want to Write without Fear of Rejection Facebook page. Image by Allison Symes

Facebook – from earlier this week – From Light to Dark and Back Again

My better half and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary earlier this week. (We can’t believe where the time has gone either). Looking back at wedding photos etc raises smiles and causes some sadness as we recall those we’ve lost. So much has changed in that 30 years – from computers to cars to new forms of storytelling being invented (flash fiction of course!).

It led me to think about what kind of time scale do your characters work on? Can they see the long-term bigger picture or are they of the kind who resolutely sticks to the past and treats all new things with suspicion? Some great stories could come from those questions. Happy writing!

It was good fun reading three stories out from the book on Saturday (at the Bridge House/Cafelit/Chapeltown Books/Red Telephone celebration event). As well as good experience for me, audience reaction to each story let me know the emotional impact of each story was precisely what I meant it to be! It is a bit difficult to gauge this accurately when you’re on your own! (I use reading work out loud, when alone, to help me get my dialogue right and this is also very useful).

Love the booklet Inspiring Ideas that has come with this month’s Writing Magazine. Shall be finding this useful! It has picture prompts, tips from famous authors and sets exercises too. Will be staying by my laptop for some considerable time I think. What is nice these days I nearly always turn to the Members’ News and letter pages first in the magazine and see if I spot anyone I know from writing events in there. Glad to say I often do!

I read three stories at Saturday’s Bridge House event. I chose Serving Up a Treat (poetic justice), Making the Grade (humorous magical story) and Pressing the Flesh (horror. This one is also in the Best of Cafelit 6 as it started life on Cafelit). I think of this as a kind of “pick and mix” of my stories (and those old enough to remember Woolworths will know where that term comes from!).

Image: Thanks to Dawn Kentish Knox for taking the photo of my reading and to Paula Readman for sending me the image of Dawn, Paula and I together showing off where our stories are! Three very happy authors!

Fairytales with Bite – Second Book Syndrome

It’s funny how things often don’t work out quite the way you think they will.  My initial plan this year had been to have the follow-up to From Light to Dark and Back Again with my publisher, Chapeltown Books, by, say, the end of October.  Hmm…  I am glad to report I am now editing my second book and, if I can, I hope to have it off to Chapeltown by the year end/very early into the New Year.

I can confirm there’s a nice mixture of fairytales with bite in the second volume and, as ever, some of my characters even I wouldn’t want to meet in any kind of alley, yet alone a dark one.  However, they are huge fun to write for!!

Why the hold up?  Well, I’m glad to say it has been for the best of reasons.  I’ve been involved in Book Fairs, signings, extravaganzas and library events ever since From Light to Dark and Back Again came out and these have eaten into my time more than I thought.  I know I haven’t quite got the balance between writing new material and marketing the current book right but also know I will get there eventually.  It is a great comfort to know other writers have this same struggle to get this balance right!

I thought I’d leave this post with an extract from the second book, which has also recently appeared on Cafelit.

Can I also recommend checking out Cafelit’s Advent Calendar of stories?  There is a lovely mix of styles and lengths of story here.  Am glad to say some more of my Christmassy ones will appear in the next couple of weeks.

Oh and if you want to know what to give the writer in your life?  If they have a book out, reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are always welcome!

Allison Symes’s books on Goodreads

This World and Others – Crossing Genres

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is Part 1 (out of 2) of my interview with paranormal historical fiction writer, Jennifer C Wilson. She creates a world where the heroes are ghosts and Richard III gets a MUCH better write up than he ever had from Shakespeare!  In her Kindred Spirits series (two so far:  Tower of London and Royal Mile), she combines historical fiction with ghost stories.

Now I’m sure you’ll have come across the maxim you are not supposed to cross genres but some of my favourite books do exactly that.  Jennifer’s series does so brilliantly.  The most famous example of cross genre work is J.K. Rowling with her Harry Potter series – boarding school stories meet magical stories.

When done well, crossing genres can create a complete new sub-section of fiction and bring new life to the two genres crossed.  Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots feels there are only so many plots and so stories are going to come into at least one of the categories he lists in this book.  (A long read but a very interesting one and well worth checking out).

In my own case I cross flash fiction with fantasy, sometimes with crime, sometimes with horror and have a wonderful time doing so!  And, of course, there are those books which are hard to categorise but you just know you love them when you read them.

So mix away but choose your ingredients carefully!  I think it essential to have a thorough love and knowledge of the two genres you’re crossing (so you could work well in either if you ever had to pick one because a publisher or agent wants you to do so.  I also think there will be a stronger element of one genre than the other in the overall mix which is where your natural preferences will take you and this could well be a good guide if you have to pick a category for your work to go in).  It will also show through in your writing that you know both genres well and, as a result, your story will be so much more convincing to the reader.).

Goodreads Author Programme – Blog – Crossing Genres

There is a theme emerging tonight!

This topic has come up as my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is Part 1 of a two-part interview with Jennifer C Wilson, author of the Kindred Spirits series. She crosses historical fiction with ghost stories.

I cross flash fiction with fantasy, sometimes crime, sometimes horror, sometimes character studies. It occurred to me that, despite all the advice I’ve come across in my time to NOT cross genres, some of my favourites stories and books have done exactly that!

When well done, crossing genres breathes new life into both of the genres the new story uses. So mix away! I do think you need to love and know well both genres you’re writing for but as Jennifer says in her interview, the most important thing is getting the story down and worrying about what genre it fits into much, much later on.

Is it me or is creating new sub-divisions of fiction a healthy thing? I see it as creative, inventive and good for storytelling as a whole.

 

STORIES ON CAFELIT

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Glad to say I’ll be having some further stories appear on Cafelit’s Advent Calendar later this month. More details (and links) as they appear. Why not dip into the Advent Calendar to get a taster of what Cafelit authors produce? There is a nice range of styles and lengths of stories and, best of all, it’s free! Perfect for a quick read with a cup of tea I think.  (The link takes you to all of my stories on Cafelit as at the date of writing this post  on 4th December.  I would urge you to check out the other authors on here too.  Such a wonderful eclectic mix of stories).

Am currently working on an index for my next flash fiction collection. I can’t stress enough the importance of a good index for any short story collection! You’ve got to make it easy for readers to find your stories. I do know when I’ve come across ones (thankfully not many) that are either inaccurate or their cross-referencing is not what you might expect. (So let’s hear it for all hardworking indexers out there!).

Image Credit: Thanks again to Dawn Kentish Knox for taking the pic of my reading from From Light to Dark and Back Again at the recent Bridge House event. Came home feeling invigorated and inspired, which is what all good writing events should do.

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A great selection of books. Image by Allison Symes

Lovely having an appreciative audience, pic taken by Dawn Kentish Knox

I read three stories from From Light to Dark and Back Again. Many thanks to Dawn Kentish Knox for the picture!

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From Light to Dark and Back Again. Image by Allison Symes

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Love the booklet Inspiring Ideas that has come with this month’s Writing Magazine. Shall be finding this useful! It has picture prompts, tips from famous authors and sets exercises too. Will be staying by my laptop for some considerable time I think. What is nice these days I nearly always turn to the Members’ News and letter pages first in the magazine and see if I spot anyone I know from writing events in there. Glad to say I often do!

I read three stories at Saturday’s Bridge House event. I chose Serving Up a Treat (poetic justice), Making the Grade (humorous magical story) and Pressing the Flesh (horror. This one is also in the Best of Cafelit 6 as it started life on Cafelit). I think of this as a kind of “pick and mix” of my stories (and those old enough to remember Woolworths will know where that term comes from!).

Image: Thanks to Dawn Kentish Knox for taking the photo of my reading and to Paula Readman for sending me the image of Dawn, Paula and I together showing off where our stories are! Three very happy authors!

Goodreads Author Programme – Blog – Getting Out and About as a Writer

I had the great joy of being at the Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit/Chapeltown Books and Red Telephone celebration event in London on 2nd December.

I’m published by Chapeltown for From Light to Dark and Back Again of course but am also on Cafelit (a lot of my flash fiction starts life there!) and have been in Baubles and Alternative Renditions, the Bridge House anthologies.

It was fabulous getting to meet fellow authors once again. I read some pieces from From Light to Dark and Back Again, which was great. (It is ALWAYS nice to know you have a sympathetic audience!).

I thoroughly enjoyed the other stories that were read out and thought the standard very high. I was at an event in Winchester the week before where I read some of my flash fiction out and one lovely comment was a lady who really enjoyed being read to as an adult.

There is something special about it because you are either reading to your children (which is also a fabulous thing to do and hopefully encourages a lifelong love for books in them) or you are reading your work out for editing purposes. To be read to for sheer entertainment is bliss and audiobooks are wonderful for this.

So read and be read to! Enjoy!

And I am already looking forward to next year’s Bridge House event!

P.S.   I forgot to add that it is wonderful getting together with other authors and encouraging one another in our current writing projects.

From Light to Dark and Back Again

Allison Symes’s books on Goodreads

 

Balancing Time and Reading Work Out Loud

Lots happening.  Have included links to Cafelit to two of my new stories now up on their website.  Hope you like them!

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My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week looks back at last weekend’s 10th-anniversary celebrations at the Winchester Discovery Centre. Regional authors took part (including me!) but there were other events happening such as the Winchester Fusion Choir singing from the top floor of the Centre. They were wonderful.

More details in the post but I should add that, despite working in Winchester for years, I had never been in the Centre before. It is a lovely building, I loved the clock decoration in the children’s section with quotes from children’s literature coming from it, and, as well as getting to talk to people and sell some books, I even managed to take in an art exhibition while there!

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My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week takes a look back at last weekend’s celebrations at Winchester Discovery Centre, as they commemorated their 10th anniversary. A number of regional authors took part, including yours truly. More tomorrow. Nice to get to go to the Centre. I’ve passed it countless times but had not visited before. Very nice building.

Also had my first swim at the new Fleming Park. Sorry everyone locally WILL call it that, not Places Leisure, Eastleigh. What kind of name is that? (Clue: unimaginative!). Must say though the pool and changing facilities are lovely though I’ll be glad when the car park is sorted out properly. Hopefully, this will happen soon.

Off to London (not to visit the Queen) but to go the Bridge House/Cafelit/Chapeltown Books/Red Telephone celebration.

And talking of Cafelit, another new story from me is now up on their website. (There’ll be another in December).

Yesterday’s story and today’s are two examples of where I’ve played with the flash format a bit by telling my tales in rhyme. This came about as a result of a question put at the flash fiction talk at Swanwick this year as to whether flash fiction counted as prose or poetry, given the person who asked had come across poems that could count as flash. They tell a story after all and briefly after all… Anyway, thought I’d give it a go. See what you think!

Image below is part of my book stand at the Winchester Discovery Centre but given it shows several of the anthologies my stories are in for Cafelit and Bridge House, I thought it would be appropriate to use it here!

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Hope everyone coming to the Bridge House/Cafelit/Chapeltown/Red Telephone event in London tomorrow have good journeys and a great time at the said event! Look forward to seeing you there.

I’m hoping to read from From Light to Dark and Back Again and I’ve selected a couple of pieces I hope will “hit the spot”. Glad to say am now on to editing my second book. Do second books always take longer than first ones or is that just me?!

Good to have more work up again on Cafelit too. Hope to do better on that front in the New Year. This year has been a strange one in that I’ve not submitted nearly as much work as in previous ones, but have had the book published, been involved in marketing it (and still am obviously), and taken part in events etc. All good fun. Think I’ve learned a lot from it all. I’ll know for sure if I have if, next year, I manage to balance writing time with marketing time better!

Fairytales with Bite – Reading Out Loud

One thing that came out of the Winchester Discovery Centre celebratory event last weekend was a lovely comment from a lady who really enjoyed my reading some of my flash fiction from From Light to Dark and Back Again to her.  She said how lovely it was to be read to.

It occurred to me after this to wonder how often are we read to?  Regular listeners of audiobooks do have this joy but isn’t there something nice about being read to specifically (and live by an author too)?  So this is another very good reason to support a writing event.  You can hear what the author has written, pick up the tone directly and that will be a good indication for whether you are going to like the style or not.

I find reading work out loud a really useful part of the editing process.  I tend to save doing this until I’m almost ready to submit the work.  If all has gone well with the editing to date, I will be able to read the work smoothly (and almost as if someone else had written it).  If not, I will stumble over the words and it’s back for another rewrite!  But it is best I pick that up rather than a potential publisher!

This World and Others – Balancing Time

To quote the old phrase, “It’s a good trick if you can do it!”.

I don’t know about you but I find it difficult to get the right balance between marketing current work and getting on with the next book.  I’m sure this is something I will get better at with succeeding books to From Light to Dark and Back Again.

I’ve loved taking part in the various events and signings I’ve been involved with this year (including last weekend’s celebrations at the Winchester Discovery Centre), and obviously hope to do more in 2018, but I would’ve liked to have finished the draft of my second book a lot earlier than I have done.  (I’m now editing that second book.  I love editing.  The work is going to get better!).

I am hoping to increase the number of hours writing I do as from early next year, which will help, but the one consolation I think is knowing every writer has this dilemma.  We all find our own ways of getting the balance right so I’ll get there.  Goodness knows when but I will get there!  (Famous last words I know…)

In the meantime, I’m off to another event in London tomorrow – the Bridge House/Cafelit/Chapeltown/Red Telephone celebratory “do”, it will be fantastic to meet up with my fellow authors again and the writing?  I might get some done thanks to the marvels of the smartphone on the train.  I am getting better at using “dead” time.  When I had to take my car in for a service recently, I was almost annoyed they finished quicker than I expected as I really wanted to finish the story I was working on!!  I balanced time there well enough!

The literary clock in the children's section

The children’s clock decoration in Winchester’s Discovery Centre

fireworks

Celebrations at Winchester Discovery Centre today for its tenth anniversary. Okay no fireworks but there WERE balloons and cake! Image via Pixabay

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Fantasy may look at other worlds but often reflects on our own. Time is different too. Image via Pixabay.

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Books can make you lose time but what a way to lose it! Image via Pixabay

Social Media Tree. Image via Pixabay.

Social Media Tree. Image via Pixabay.

Association of Christian Writers – More than Writers blog spot

My monthly blog spot this time looks at the joys in the Christian life and how others’ joys can strengthen you and yours can do the same for them.

Appreciating Books

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Was at the Winchester Discovery Centre for their 10th-anniversary celebrations as part of a group of local writers. Chatted with people, sold some books, other people took postcards of the book, and I hopefully raised the profile of flash fiction. After all, what is the most common question asked of any flash fiction writer? Basically, what IS flash fiction?!

Funnily enough, I wasn’t asked that today and I’ve found the best answer is to read an example or two out to people. Loveliest comment of the day was from one person who bought From Light to Dark and Back Again as she absolutely loved being read to! Maybe adults need reading to more often!

Will write more about this for Chandler’s Ford Today for this coming week’s post but thanks to Richard Hardie for setting things up. I hope all who went to the Centre today had a great time.

Support your library? Definitely! (And a big thanks must go to the library staff who provided teas, coffees and cake throughout the day!)

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Heather Chamberlain and Woofbot enjoy talking with Richard Hardie, YA author, at Winchester Discovery Centre.  Image by Allison Symes

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Have spent most of today promoting From Light to Dark and Back Again, and flash fiction in general, at Winchester Discovery Centre today.

A group of local writers were there joining in with the celebrations for the Centre’s 10th-anniversary. Didn’t get to do the author talk (though at least I’ve got one prepared now!) but did do readings of my stories, which I love doing.

Off to the Bridge House/Cafelit/Chapeltown celebration next weekend. I’ll be reading stories again then too and am looking forward to catching up with fellow BH authors again.

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Children’s author, Finian Black, at his book stand at Winchester.  Image by Allison Symes

 

Goodreads Author Programme Blog – Appreciating Books

I was at the Winchester Discovery Centre on 25th November as one member of a group of local writers invited to take part in the Centre’s 10th-anniversary celebrations. I used to work in Winchester and passed the Centre countless times but had never been in there before. It is a stunning building and the library is beautifully laid out.

I’ll be writing more about today’s event for my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week but I wanted to say now how good it was there were so many people in the Centre and that books are appreciated. Sometimes I’ve had the impression books can be sidelined. There ARE other forms of entertainment after all but to my mind you can’t beat curling up with a good book, whether that is in book, audio or electronic format.

It was good to talk to people about what flash fiction is and, better still, read a couple of examples out from From Light to Dark and Back Again. Loveliest comment of the day was from someone who relished my reading to her as an adult! Perhaps we “grown ups” need to be read to much more often!

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READING ALOUD AND “TWIST” CHARACTERS

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Glad to say the presentation of prizes for the children’s poetry competition run by Chandler’s Ford Authors with the Hampshire Library service went well. The only regret was I couldn’t be there as the readings looked fun. A good reader adds so much to the text they read out and can bring it to life for people. On the way back from my trip at the weekend, a proud Granny was reading nonsense verse to her grandchild. Wonderful reading (and I think it was Edward Lear she was reading).

I read aloud (lessons in the church being the most obvious example) and also find it a useful thing to do when checking to see if my dialogue in my stories is as good as I thought it was! I don’t know what it is about reading out loud but it does show up where words don’t flow well, where your readers could trip up, and I also find it highlights where I could simplify what I’ve written (never a bad thing!).

You can't beat a good read and I would include Jane Austen in amongst the top of my list. Image via Pixabay.

You can’t beat a good read and reading aloud is a great way to literally hear if your dialogue is as it should be. Image via Pixabay.

Being a Drabbler…

Trying to catch up on some magazine reading. Pleased to send From Light to Dark and Back Again off as a prize today. Am working my way though future Chander’s Ford Today interviews. Hope to send these out to the right people in the next couple of weeks.

It was thanks to being at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School this year I found out my 100-word tales are known as “drabbles”. Like the term. It means I’m a drabbler! (Better than being a dribbler perhaps!).

A lot of my flash fiction ends up with a twist in the tale ending. I think this kind of thing ideal for flash as you don’t have room to expand much detail, every word must count, and you are looking to make an impact on the reader. A good twist in the tale achieves all of that in one hit!

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Flash Fiction should leave an impact on the reader.  Image via Pixabay

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Sometimes a story can come from taking a proverb or a saying and expanding on it from the viewpoint of a character you wouldn’t usually come across.

In The Truth in From Light to Dark and Back Again I have an honest character give their view on something but the twist is who that character is. Making the Grade is an exam story but the character is probably not one you would particularly want to go to school with. So taking an ordinary situation but using an extraordinary character can be a great way of developing new stories.

Also, certain things like truth are open to interpretation so a writer can have fun here with their characters. One character’s truth is another’s lie, which can be a good source of a conflict and once you have a conflict, you have a potential story.

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“Twist” characters can spark off all sorts of ideas for stories.  Image via Pixabay.

Quirkiness!

I love reading and writing quirky fiction (and flash fiction fits perfectly into this. Some of my characters are very quirky indeed (!) and their stories are ideal as short moments in time. A standard length short story would probably be too long to convey this or would dilute the quirkiness too much).

A lot of my tales are told from the first person perspective because it has the immediacy which is brilliant for flash fiction. My quirky characters like people to know where they’re coming from (even if you don’t like what they’re doing!).

I find knowing what my characters are like dictates how I present them. Some are best shown in the third person with us the readers looking in at what they are up to and others in the first person with us beside them as they get up to their various actions.

Great characters should show humour. Image via Pixabay.

I’m not the only one who loves quirky characters! Image via Pixabay.