Waterloo Arts Festival Online and Story News

Image Credit:  As ever, Pixabay and Pexels generally unless stated otherwise.

Plenty going on over the last few days… phew!

Facebook – General

Had a wonderful time at the online Waterloo Arts Festival launch for Transforming Communities last night (Friday, 12th June 2020). Great to see many friends there and the readings were fantastic. Well done, everyone.

I’ll be sharing a book trailer for Transforming Communities later in the week but meantime I thought I would share this…

Hope you enjoy. Video also below.

As well as my video being here (with a taster of my story, Books and The Barbarians), there is a great intro for #MaxineChurchman too.

There is a series of these Meet the Winners posts, each combining a video with a short text from two winners. These will give you a good flavour of the wonderful mix that has gone into this ebook. Do check it out.

 

I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. This one has been really nice for me. I

Loved being part of the Waterloo Arts Festival online on Friday. It was good fun and it was great to see everyone. I always love hearing extracts from stories. What’s not to like about that?

For the first time since lockdown, my sister and her partner came over for tea and cakes in the garden and a lovely time was had by all. Amazing how the simple things can boost your morale the most at times.

And I’m reading some smashing short story collections on Kindle at the moment so my reading drought is over. Hope to review in due course.

I’m preparing interview material where I’m on the receiving end of the questions AND where I’m setting them. Watch this space as they say!

And the ebook of Transforming Communities is now on my Amazon Author Central page. It is lovely to see the number of books increasing here! I can’t wait to be able to see Tripping the Flash Fantastic up on here too!

Hope you have a fabulous week.

Facebook – General – Further Publication News!

Lovely start to the week. My story It Is Time will be published in Bridge House Publishing’s Mulling It Over anthology later this year. Always a pleasure to return a signed contract to a publisher! I could do with more Mondays like this…

Many congratulations to all of the other wonderful writers in the collection. Good to see some familiar names here and equally great to see names that are new to me in this anthology.

I am very much looking forward to reading the collection in due course. What can be guaranteed is a fantastic mix of stories in terms of style and mood.

 

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Many thanks for the good wishes and congratulations yesterday on my recent publication news. Very much appreciated!

My CFT post this week is going to be a look back at how the Waterloo Arts Festival Writing Competition Event worked as a purely online Zoom affair. It is the first time I’ve taken part in a festival in this way. All good experience! (And for the WAF running it too I should think!).

On to other issues and question of the day is what it is about stories you love the most?

For me, it is always about the characters. I’ve got to be intrigued enough by them to want to read what they get up to but how about you?

My big problem with books, though it is a lovely one to have, is having too many I want to read and not enough time. Doesn’t matter if they’re paperback or ebook, I have the same dilemma. Still I’m never short of a good read! How about you?

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

The Waterloo Arts Festival ebook launch for Transforming Communities went very well last night. Great mixture of styles and stories. Was lovely to hear the extracts and I enjoyed reading mine too.

If you want to check the stories out in full, see the link above or my Amazon Author Central page (link further up this blog post)!

Transforming Communities Full

 

I was having some fun with the random word generator tonight and selected choosing four words at a time. The ones that came up were:-

Experience, Elect, Rebellion, and Uranium.

Now there’s an explosive mix for you!!

So how could you use these in a story?

1. You could try getting all four words into your story in any order.

2. If you want to make your life a bit more difficult, get them into the story in the order in which they were generated.

3. Pick one of them as your theme and/or title but get the others into the story itself.

4. Ensure your first paragraph contains the four words.

5. Or finish your story with your last paragraph containing the four words.

The nice thing with the generator is you can choose the number of words you go for. So play around with things like this and see them as a generator for story ideas. The fact you don’t know what will come up forces you to think creatively around what DOES emerge.

Have fun!

 

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Great start to the week with my It Is Time being accepted for the annual BHP anthology. That will be called Mulling It Over and will be released later this year.

One joy of writing both flash fiction and short stories is while nobody should underestimate the time taken to produce these and edit them etc., because you are writing so many more of them, publication news can come in much more frequently than if say you were writing a novel a year.

That is one aspect to writing in the short form I like a lot! And I highly recommend it!

One thing I learned years ago was that if writing appears to read easily, regardless of whether that work is a novel, a play, a 100-word story or what have you, the guarantee is that the author worked hard for years to get to that point. And continues to work hard!

On that particular piece of work they will have edited, put aside for while, edited again and again.

I do find deadlines useful here. It can be easy to put off submitting something because you’re not quite happy with your story. Having a deadline (even if it is one you impose on yourself) is a great way of making yourself submit work.

I can’t recommend enough getting into the habit of regularly submitting work. It makes you produce more stories. The more you write, the more you will learn, the more chances you have of one of your pieces or more being “out there” and therefore in with a chance of being acepted.

I found it helped a lot when I recognised rejections were nothing personal, that every writer has them and keeps getting them, but you learn from what works and what doesn’t.

Good luck!

Many thanks for all the support after yesterday’s publication news. It has been a good couple of weeks! 😆😆

Of course the reality is I wrote those stories a while ago. You can’t know if your work is going to be accepted or not. And stories I’m writing now or have done in the last few weeks… well it is likely to be at least a couple of months before I know anything about those.

I do know a couple of competition entries haven’t been placed (no hear basically!) so I will be looking at those again at some point and seeing what else can be done. There is always room for improvement in these things!

But taking the long view, having work nearly always out there or on the point of being about to be out there, ARE good things and I’ve found both very useful. No time to mope over no hears or rejections for a start! On to the next story. Allow a little time to go by. Look at the old story and see if it can be revamped or whether it is worth trying a different competition with it.

Always things to be working on!

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Goodreads Author Blog – Ebook -v- Paperback

Now I must declare an interest in this topic. I’ve been published in both formats and so, naturally, I love both. Well you would, wouldn’t you?

My trusty old Kindle goes with me whenever I’m away at events or holiday (not that this is happening right now!). But when I want some comfort reading, I will nearly always turn to a trusty paperback.

Flash fiction and short story collections I nearly always have on the Kindle. Most of the novels I read are in paperback.

I have a nice mixture of ebook and paperback for non-fiction books. (And yes I do take advantage of special offers on ebooks. It can and does make the difference as to whether I buy a book at all at times and this is another reason why I have no problems with book format. I also don’t mind at all if my book and the anthologies my work has appeared in sell well in either format! Naturally, ideally I’d like them to do well in both!).

So however you read, enjoy.

Whatever you read, enjoy!

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FAVOURITE READING AND WHAT I LOOK FOR IN SHORT FICTION

Facebook Posts – General and

From Light to Dark and Back Again

 

I thought I’d share in full here my posts for tonight on Facebook.  I talk about my favourite reading and what I look for in short fiction.  Comments welcome, especially on what you look for in short fiction.  I look for impact, as you’ll see below.

 

Favourite Reading

Managed to catch up with some reading tonight so am pleased with that. When reading Writing Magazine when it first arrives, I turn to the letters pages and the Members’ News section immediately and see if there is anyone I know in there. It is a real pleasure to see more friends turn up in the latter.

Favourite reading does depend on how much time I’ve got. If not long, then flash fiction is key. Short, sharp and focused – that’s how I like my stories! If I’ve more time, then I like good sensible how-to articles on aspects of writing and novels. You can never have too much time for reading but you can have not enough time to read as well as you like. 

Reading is the flipside to writing. I’ve read many an article where ideas for stories have sprung out of the item. So I get to learn from the article and have ideas for future stories – what is there not to like about that?!

Reading - says it all really via Pixabay

Short Fiction

When reading very short fiction what am I looking for? I look for impact and I have this in mind when I write my flash fiction.

The impact can be funny, dramatic, spine chilling or what have you. A really powerful flash story can cross these effects. I have read 100-word stories where I am moved by what the character has told me but I also know or can guess at the situation they would face if the story went on and that can lead to anticipation of horror to come.

Sometimes the impact is on the reader (as was the case where I “felt” for the character who thought they were over the worst of what they would face but I knew they were not). Sometimes the impact “hits” a character who may be “off stage” (but where you know if the story continued, there would be a major scene as a result of that impact).

I always ask myself what impact do I want my readers to feel as a result of reading my flash stories and then write accordingly!

Classic Books - image via Pixabay

Escape with a good book via Pixabay

 

 

 

Books are the gateway to other worlds. Image via Pixabay.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly are all found in classic fairytales, probably the best example is Beauty and the Beast.  The good is Beauty, the bad is the witch who cursed the prince and Beast is the ugly one, though I’ve always loved this tale for its message that what you look like should not be the be all and end all.  (A side message is be careful when offending someone who looks harmless as they might not be and turning someone else into a monstrous being is one of their specialities!).  How can you use these elements?  I have a look at that in this post.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I look at rituals and habits in At the End of the Day and ask what do your characters do at the end of their day?  Do they follow their own habits or is everyone expected to follow a set routine?  (If the latter, you know the world you’ve created is run by a control freak!).  How your characters wind down for the night (or day as appropriate) can reveal much about them and how they differ from others in stories.

FACEBOOK PAGE

Today saw one of those lovely moments in the life of a writer:  that moment when you open a parcel of books you’ve ordered but your story is in them!  My flash fiction piece, Telling the Time, is in The Best of Cafelit 5 (available in print and electronically).   The link takes you to the Amazon page.  My story is one of my 100 word stories but there’s a lovely mix of very short stories like that and longer ones so there should be something to suit all tastes in short story length!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAllison.Symes.FairytaleLady%2Fposts%2F792342744202040&width=500

The old way of writing a story! Image via Pixabay

The old way of writing a story! Image via Pixabay

 

 

Escape with a good book - and Roald Dahl's were amongst the best. Image via Pixabay

SHORT FICTION

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Short Fiction I discuss why fairytales fit a short story format so well and what fairytales and other short stories have in common.    One thing I forgot to put on is that both fairytales and other short stories should have a strong emotional response on your readers.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In Legacies, I look at legacies in terms of the impact characters have on your story, other characters and so on.  I discuss Roald Dahl’s legacy briefly (I could have written much more about that!).

FACEBOOK PAGE

I discuss Roald Dahl in more detail here and share the  YouTube clip of the opening and closing credits for his Tales of the Unexpected.  I also list some of my favourite Dahl stories.

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The most important advice of all when it comes to books whether you are just reading them or trying to write your own as well. Image via Pixabay.

The most important advice of all when it comes to books whether you are just reading them or trying to write your own as well. Image via Pixabay.