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.
Images from the Share Your Story Writing Summit held earlier this year kindly provided by them.
Hope you have had a good week. I share a more thoughtful post on my Chandler’s Ford Today column this week and share a new story too. Weather wild and blustery here. Lady and I are not too impressed by it.
Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today
Pleased to share my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post on Reflections. I look at this topic from a variety of angles. I consider how it is vital to the creative life.
You do need to take time out every now and then to work out where you are with your writing and how you would like it to develop further.
I also look at how character studies (ideal for flash fiction as these work best when kept short) can not only show you the character reflecting, they can cause you, the reader, to wonder whether you would have done the same thing as the character or not.
I also share how I’ve expanded my blogging activities recently and this was due to taking time out to look at ways of doing this, and taking opportunities that came my way to aid this.
Reflection can also play a part in a story as a character learns from their mistakes and (hopefully) goes on to better things. Stories hinge on a moment of change for a character. Sometimes that moment of change can literally be dramatic. But at other times, such as in character studies, the moment of change is when the character learns something or is prepared to accept they’ve made mistakes (which they weren’t prepared to do at the start of the tale).
So reflection has a big part to play in the creative life then.
Hope you enjoy the post.
Very gusty in Hampshire today. Am still in my huge dog walking coat and boots whenever I take Lady out. Had so hoped I’d have seen the back of those for a few months but clearly that won’t be happening for a bit yet. (And yes, this soft southerner does still have the central heating on!).
Just a quick reminder my Chandler’s Ford Today post on Reflections will be up on site tomorrow. I’ll look at how reflections impact on the creative life, your writing journey, and I ask whether reflecting is peaceful or scary. I also chat about how characters can reflect. Hope you will find it a useful and thoughtful post. Look forward to sharing the link tomorrow.
Am also looking forward to sharing my next author newsletter on 1st June. If you’d like to sign up please head to my landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com for more on this. I share stories, tips, writing prompts, as well as news here.
Just to flag up there is currently an offer on Amazon for the paperback of Tripping the Flash Fantastic. See http://mybook.to/TrippingFlashFantastic for more details.
Last but not least, I have seen that our excellent local amateur theatre company, The Chameleons, are looking to restart their wonderful plays from July. Very much looking forward to seeing their shows again and reviewing them for Chandler’s Ford Today again in due course.
Hope you have had a good Wednesday. Have had lovely sunshine, heavy rain, and a right mix bag of weather today though it has been nice Lady and I have managed to miss most of the deluges.
I was chatting over at #Val’sBookBundle earlier today about childhood books. My favourites included The Famous Five. (A big thanks to all who responded to this post too). But I know it was my childhood love of reading that got me into stories and therefore writing at all.
Do you know what got you into creative writing and what helps keep you going when the words don’t seem to flow so easily? For me, I just know I feel better in myself when I’ve got something written down and that does help keep me going. Having deadlines (such as Fridays for my Chandler’s Ford Today posts) helps a lot too.
I also have specific writing sessions where I will draft blogs I know I’m going to need in the next couple of weeks or so. This means I have something to hand should I need it – and I often am grateful for having this to fall back on. (Life does get in the way sometimes, it can’t be helped, and it is a question of going with the flow and doing what you can when that happens).
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Thrilled to say I have another drabble (100-word story) up on #FridayFlashFiction. Hope you enjoy Sibling Surprise (though it is debatable whether one of the siblings in my story will!).
I will just mention I share flash tales and writing tips over on my monthly author newsletter. Some of these tales will end up in a collection later on, I hope, but readers to my newsletter get a first read on them! If you’d like to find out more, please sign up at my landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com – next newsletter is due on 1st June and it is great fun putting them together.
I like a nice chatty newsletter myself and prefer the monthly type on the grounds you don’t have too much hitting your inbox with this time scale but you get a nice read when you do!). A newsletter is something I should have got around to doing earlier, to be honest, but it was the Share Your Story Writing international summit I took part in back in March that made me finally get around to this.
I’m working on two major projects at the moment, one of which I hope will prove to be my third flash collection. I am at the heavy editing stage but this will knock that book into shape nicely once done.
I was chatting over on my author page about what keeps you writing during difficult times. One huge advantage of flash fiction writing is it doesn’t commit you to too much in one go. So if life has got in the way and I only have time for a quick ten minute draft of something, I will usually draft a flash tale (100 words or less) or start making notes for future blog posts. I still feel like I’ve written something useful (and I have).
Another thought is to just jot down thoughts for future flash fiction stories. Later, when there is more time, you can write up the ones you like best. Random generators are useful for encouraging you to think differently and I have often found what comes up here produce story idea triggers. So I jot those down and come back to them later.
This is especially useful if I feel tired and uninspired (and it happens to everyone). I will just write down what the generators come up with and I can start forming links from that. Usually the act of writing them down helps kick start those links forming which is great as those links lead to a story outline and away I go later.
Writing, of all kinds, takes stamina and it pays to accept the fact that there are times when you will feel ground down etc and not feel up to producing as much as you would normally. That’s fine – and where flash fiction can really be your friend. A short story in not too many words – what’s not to like there!
Fairytales with Bite AND This World and Others – The Magical ABC
This post combines elements I would write for in Fairytales with Bite and This World and Others so I have combined this into one long blog spot split by pictures about half way through. Hope you enjoy.
A= Always ready with a wand or other magical implement, even when you’re not competent. (See The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for more on the lack of competence issue).
B = Books to be treasured either for their spells or legends and myths relating to the world your characters live in.
C = Charms – to be ducked if hurled at you by a witch.
D = Danger – to be expected in a magical world. It is all about who controls the magic/power and there will always be a Dark Lord somewhere who wants to grab that top spot.
E = Expectations – often turned upside down in a magical world. The little old man or crone is often much more than they appear to be. Expect the unexpected. You won’t be disappointed.
F = Fairies. All sweetness and light? Hmm…. Maybe not. Tinkerbell had a vindictive side.
G = Greatness. Don’t take this at face value either. Often the humble characters tend out to be the real heroes, the ones destined for greatness as it were.
H = Heroes. See G above but also bear in mind heroes don’t have to be humans here. So what kind of creature will your heroes be?
I = Imagination. The more imaginative the magical being, the more creative their spells are likely to be (with equally creative results. Could be good news. Could be bad news if you’re on the wrong end of this).
J = Judging by appearances is rarely good here. See E for Expectations above. It is best to assume there is more to someone than what they look like.
K = Kindness. Along with humility, kindness is greatly appreciated by the discerning fairy godmother and the like. They prefer their clients to have these things. They’re not going to help some arrogant so-and-so who needs a quick spell to get them out of trouble or to give them riches the fairy godmother knows they will only waste.
L = Language. Can be flowery, especially when spell reciting. Listen for tone. If a magical being seems grim when uttering their spell, you can be their spell will be equally grim. Best get out of the way and hide.
M = Magic of course. As with any form of power, it can be used for good or evil. There should be a counter-balance between good and evil in your fairytales. An all evil character needs a worthy opponent to deal with after all. An all good character needs to be tested and the evil character will do that well enough.
N = Natural world. Now what does count as “natural” in a magical environment? Which geographical features would we recognize? Which are unique to your creation? What about the wildlife? Are they all magical or are there any non-magical ones? Do dragons and the like prey on the latter? If so, how do the latter survive? What advantages might they have on the magical creatures (and in the interests of fairness, they ought to have something! Will give them a chance to survive for a start!).
O = Overview. Is magic seen as a good thing by the majority of your population or as a menace? What does magic contribute to your society? Can anyone learn it or is its use restricted? If the latter, how is it restricted and why do the magical beings accept those restrictions?
P = Portents. Is prediction of any kind used in your magical world? Who has the ability to come up with these? Does anyone control them so only portents which suit the rulers ever get issued?
Q = Quest. Name a magical world without one of these! But the quest must be a matter of vital importance and ideally have a range of characters, including some very unlikely heroes. (Hairy feet and having second breakfasts have been done – see The Lord of the RingsI).
R = Reading. Yes magical beings need to read (their spells for one thing and accurately at that). Is magical ability linked to the ability to read? You could use literacy or its lack to control who could use magic. It would be a good way to keep the main population under control. They can’t read. They can’t do magic. They have to do as they’re told. So what would happen if someone rebelled against that and learned to read when they are officially not allowed to do so?
S = Spells. Like characters, there are nice ones, nasty ones, downright evil ones. Are there antidotes to spells or, in the case of Sleeping Beauty, can spells be modified to limit damage?
T = Taming the Beast. See Beauty and the Beast for a great example of how this is done. The Beast, after all, is cowed by the witch who cursed him and later by Beauty. But how about the magical creatures in your world? Can they be tamed or their potential damage limited in any way? Who could do this? Are there benefits to the beast as well as to your other characters? (You could say certain creatures got to live rather than being hunted to extinction because of their more dangerous qualities).
U = Universe. Is your created world a solo one or is it linked to others in its immediate universe? If the latter, how well do the different worlds get on or is there a history of war?
V = Vilification. This is as easy as breathing for your villainous characters. They of course are going to want to “do down” the heroes. You start by vilifying them (and the parallels with our own world here are not coincidental. I wish they were but that’s another matter).
W = Witches and Wizards. Both will consider themselves to be superior to the others, usually because of gender too. How does that work out in your stories? And can they ever get along for the common good?
X = Xeric. It is a word, honest and one I’ll remember for Scrabble the next time I play it. It means little moisture. So how does your magical world fare up when it comes to water supplies? Is it a green and pleasant land or prone to desert? That will directly affect how your characters live and drive their needs. Is magic used to conjure up water where supplies are short? What are the downsides to magical water as opposed to natural?
Y = Yummy. Is magical food and drink as delicious as it looks or does it hide something nasty? The visitor to the magical world would do well to avoid suspiciously red, shiny apples especially if being sold by an old woman with a basket.
Z = Zest. Be wary of young apprentices who show zest for using magic even though they are not fully trained. This takes us back nicely to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice again!
Sibling Surprise, by Allison Symes – Friday Flash Fiction https://t.co/ur7v8nKuxF Hope you enjoy this one though I know one of my characters won't! Also click on the link to see where the cake comes in. pic.twitter.com/39gszBK1hg— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) May 21, 2021
Reflections https://t.co/dIYkubydVZ I share the importance of reflections to the creative life, for writers and for characters. I also look at how we all need to take time out to reflect. After all it was taking time out to reflect that led me into blogging and flash fiction. pic.twitter.com/aoE9wYmijH— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) May 21, 2021