Stories and Storms

Image Credit:  As ever, unless otherwise stated, the images are from Pixabay.

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My favourite adaptation of stories are:-

1. The Lord of the Ring films.

2. A Muppet Christmas Carol.

3. War of the Worlds – the album by Jeff Wayne. (We still have it. Richard Burton was the narrator/lead. He had a lovely voice).

I’d like to sneak in a mention for The Daughter of Time on radio but it’s not really an adaptation. It’s a wonderfully produced reading of a great book set against some evocative music (The Princes in the Tower by William Walton). It is repeated every so often on Radio 4 Extra. Well worth checking out if you like history, detective fiction, or, if you are like me, you love both!

Adaptations are just great ways to enjoy stories in other formats but the ones that work for me are the ones where you sense the people behind them really do love the originals.

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I don’t know about you but it already seems to me as if January has been here forever and we’re still under the halfway point! What is it about January that makes it seem to drag…?!

Making good progress on one story I’ve got in mind for a competition. Have got an idea for another competition but that needs fleshing out.

I have found it to be true the more you write the more ideas you generate (and reading well boosts that further). I will often have ideas for stories pop into my head while drafting my Chandler’s Ford Today posts (and other blogs) so I just make a note of these and come back to them later.

Yes, I do get ideas for non-fiction articles while drafting stories! I think it must be an unspoken rule of writing that, when you write more than one type of thing, you will get ideas for whatever it is at the time you are NOT working on! Again I just make a note of these. Can you have too many notebooks? Definitely not!

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Lady set a new world record for quickest and shortest evening walkies this evening, encouraged by her owners! She’s not fazed by storms, thankfully, but we can be! (It truly is a night for writing “It was a dark and stormy night”!😀). Hope all is as okay as possible wherever you are. If I knew where my hatches were, I’d be battening them down.

Still I guess it is the perfect night for settling in with writing to be getting on with and reading to enjoy later on.

My CFT post this week will be Numbers into Writing Will Go. Sometimes a post proves to be more fun to write than I anticipated and this was one such. I enjoy writing all my posts of course but I love it when one just “takes off” and this one has. Link up on Friday as usual.

The image of Lady I would caption as “There’s a dog in here somewhere!” (All other images from Pixabay).

 

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I’ve sometimes talked about writing tips I’ve found useful but what have you come across in the writing world which is anything but helpful?

1. No publishers will take work unless you have an agent. Not true. There are plenty of indie publishers who will! It is a question of seeking these out and following their submission guidelines to the letter. Yes, the very big publishers will want you to have an agent but always look out for submission windows. Some of the big publishers have imprints which have these windows so it is worth keeping an eye out for these too.

2. Blogging will open doors in the publishing world. Ahem. Blog because YOU want to. I like blogging as it is a great way to share thoughts and advice. I am not expecting it to pave my way to fame and fortune. That really is not the point of it. It is an outlet, a place where you can share publishing news etc. See it first and foremost as a useful tool for you. Also see it as a way of engaging with potential readers and potentially building up an audience. It is important to be consistent so people know when to expect your posts. Think about what audience you would like to reach and tailor your posts so these will be of interest to them.

3. Short stories have no market. A big no to that one. Yes, they do. Magazines are still the main one but there are indie publishers who cater for short story and flash fiction collections. There are online markets too (and these can be a great way to raise your profile). It is true you have to be a big name to have a big publisher bring out a book of your short stories. But there is always room for good quality anthologies out there. I know, much as I love the novel, I like to read story collections too and I refuse to believe I’m the only one!

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I don’t always set out to write flash fiction. I know that sounds odd coming from me but occasionally I will set out to write a standard length short story (1500 words) and realise it has far more impact if I leave it at 150!

But that’s fine. It is the impact on the reader that matters the most and I try to have the needs of the reader in the back of my mind all the time. Yes, I write what I love to write but I also want to get it to an audience if I can so the happy situation here is to write something you love that is likely to have others liking it too.

Easier said than done I know but what I have found has helped enormously:-

1. Is knowing there’s no time limit on practising your craft and trying to hone it. I’m not in a race with other writers. I need to get to a point where my voice shines through in what I write at the pace that I can manage. If it takes two years rather than two months, so be it. I have found trying to submit work regularly means I’m getting that practice in regularly. It mounts up.

2. The really important thing is to enjoy your writing. If you enjoy it, someone else will too. From your viewpoint, if you enjoy it, you will be able to sustain your writing.

3. By thinking about what I want to read and why I have the preferences I do, I can use that to inspire the creation of my characters. It is nearly always characters that fascinate me enough to make me want to find out what happens to them. So I spend time in getting my characters as right as I can manage in terms of being able to see how they would appeal to readers. I find the Scrivener character templates really useful here but you can create your own. Think about what you need to know about your characters. Think about what you like about other writers’ characters. Story analysis is worth doing.

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What I love about flash fiction is being able to glimpse into a character’s life for a brief period and still being able to work out a great deal about them, when that is not part of the story. (It’s a sign of a great flash tale when you can do that. So much has to be implied but there should be plenty of implications for you to pick up on).

Flash fiction is like a mirror held up briefly. You get one glimpse and that’s it until you pick up the mirror again. Repeated readings of a flash tale should enable you to pick up on clues and inferences you missed on the first read. (A good book or film is always worth re-reading or re-watching for precisely that reason. You are focused on finding out what happens on the first reading/viewing.You pick up more on nuances on repeated reads/views).

 

There was an impressive flash of lightning tonight, while I was out with the dog, that lit up the whole sky. (Naturally these things would happen while I was out as opposed to being nicely cosy indoors but this is Rule 1 for the Murphy’s Law for Dog Owners. You WILL get a soaking every time the heavens even think of opening! Rule 2 is you can never have enough towels for drying the dog).

The ideal flash fiction story should also show an impressive amount of information even if at first read it doesn’t appear to do so. I usually find on subsequent re-readings, there’s more to a character than I first thought and I love that. I also love picking up on the little details that add “oomph” to the story which I may not have given enough attention to on the first read. (I’m too busy trying to find out what happened!).

But I have found it always pays to re-read stories, your own and others, as you will pick up something new. You can then look at what you could add to your own stories to give your own “oomph” factor.

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Am re-reading my Tripping the Flash Fantastic and looking forward to sharing more news on that as and when I can.

I am planning to change the title of this Facebook page later on when I know roughly when my second flash fiction collection will be out.

I have thought for a while that, given I focus on flash fiction advice and tips here, that a title based on that would be preferable anyway. Will let you know more on that later in the year. (It is lovely having plans like this though!).

 

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Goodreads Author Blog –Reading Preferences

My reading preferences depend on what mood I’m in. I will go through a spate of only wanting to read humorous prose, then go through another where I’m on a diet of crime stories, before moving on again.

I often find the spark for moving on to a different genre for a while will come from something I’ve read in a writing magazine. An interview with an author can lead me to checking their work out but also going on to read more in their genre once I’ve read their book.

One thing I will try and do better on during this year is posting reviews. I do appreciate receiving reviews myself. It’s remembering to post them that’s the issue and not just for me I suspect.

As for where I prefer to read, that’s easy enough – in bed at the end of the day. It’s the perfect way to relax before sleeping.

Do I ever dream about what I’ve read? Not usually though I occasionally get strange dreams where it’s clear something of what I’ve read has seeped in. The problem with those kind of dreams is they are disjointed and I’m not sorry I can’t remember them!

My overall reading preference is to keep on reading widely and well. I’d like to read more non-fiction this year too. Have you set any reading goals this year?

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All About Time

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My latest CFT post looks at time management (and oh I would love to be better at that!) and at time travel. Naturally a certain Doctor makes an appearance in the post and I also look at if time travel were to become possible, where would you go and why? What would you do while there? Comments as ever welcome on the CFT page.

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I discuss the art of time management and time travel in this week’s CFT post. (I suppose thinking about it further, you could say one of the earliest forms of time management in the UK was when the railways standardised time for us all).

On the assumption time travel ever becomes possible (and I’m not counting the gags that say something like travelling on XXX railway makes you feel as if you’ve gone back to the 1860s!), where would go and why?

Thinking heads on. Link goes up tomorrow. Comments welcome in the CFT comments box when post goes live. (If you’re really keen it goes live at just after midnight but you may have to wait to get a reply from me! Unlike Cinderella, I know where I’m going to be at midnight and it won’t be at my keyboard… ah the joys of middle age!).

One good thing about the dark nights coming in earlier is it does encourage reading and writing!

I don’t need much of an excuse to curl up with a good book or get on with various writing projects as it is but the lighter evenings during the summer months can make me feel a bit guilty about not getting more gardening done etc. Note the “a bit”. Easy enough to squash so I can get on with reading and writing! I just wish I could stop feeling the slightly guilty feeling at all!

I often prefer lighter reading and writing during the darker months too. Contrast in mood perhaps? Whatever, it’s definitely time to get on with some writing once again!

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I often use lightning flashes in my photos for posts like this, given I think they reflect accurately how a flash fiction story illuminates and impacts on the reader. Very briefly and then over, but you don’t forget the impact.

A short story (say 1500 words+) to me is like shining a torch around – more light for a greater period of time but the impact can be diluted.

Sometimes you want that – you want the story as a whole to impact on your reader and you can only know if it‘s done that by reading and re-reading the whole thing.

The novel is like having a great big light on constantly. When you switch it off (stop reading it), that’s when you think about the impact it has made on you. Or that is how it has always seemed to be to me. I didn’t really appreciate the greatness of The Lord of the Rings until I’d finished reading it. You then take a mental step back and realise the huge scale of the trilogy.

Flash fiction makes you focus on the little details but the great thing with that is you can take this and use it to sharpen your longer works of fiction. No dull bits ever, thank you! The sections that are necessary to link the action should still carry the reader with them. The reader should be as keen to read those sections as they are the main scenes. Flash makes you tighten up your writing and this is enormously useful for ensuring your longer stories flow as they should.

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Time is the theme of my CFT post this week (time management and time travel. If the latter ever becomes possible, you will have to be really good at the former to make said travelling work well for you!). I’ve used time as a theme for a few of my flash fiction pieces – Telling the Time (there’s a clue somewhere here!) and Time Waits for No Man (likewise!).

My main use of time though for flash fiction is deciding on when I’m setting the story. Am I going to tell it as it “happens” to the character or will I get the character to look back on an event? I use both regularly and usually it is clear which would work better. So much depends on the character A reflective type would be best suited to looking back at something that had happened (which I do in They Don’t Understand). An active “go get them” kind would probably be better off telling the story AS it happens, implying the passing of time as we go through the events with them.

What do I look for in an opening line for flash fiction? I don’t necessarily need to know who the lead character is funnily enough, but I DO need to know the setting, the attitude of the narrator (especially if this is a first person piece), and some indication of what the problem is. That problem and how it is overcome IS the story of course.

Something about the narrator/lead character has got to intrigue me enough to make me want to read on. A great piece of flash fiction will make you ponder whether YOU would have acted in the same way as the character you’ve just read about!

Fairytales with Bite – Favourite Times

What are your characters’ favourite times? Curling up with a good book? Lazing in the bath? Going for a good walk with the dog?

Use questions like this to help you establish your character. The answers may not appear in your story but knowing something about the character before you start writing about them will be enormously helpful. You don’t need to know each and every little detail. What you want is enough information that you can write clearly for them, knowing how they would react to a situation and why. The reader will pick up on the fact you really do know your character (even if they do this subconciously, in many ways it is better if they do pick up on this that way) and the writing will flow better as a result.

Of course, working out what your characters’ favourite times will tell you so much about them. Do they curl up with a good book because they can’t face what is their real life? Why can’t they face it? Dig deep. Maybe you will surprise yourself with what your characters show you about themselves. Use that.

This World and Others – Time

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week talks about time management and time travel.  Guess which one I want to get better at!  Joking aside, this led me to think about how we use time in stories.

A lot of my flash fiction stories are set within a very short time period (appropriately) and are written in the first person, precisely because I want to achieve a sense of “immediacy”.  For other pieces I have the lead character looking back at their lives and being reflective so the time within stories like that is longer, “stretched” if you like, and the pace of the story is slower.  What grabs you with those kinds of tale is the character – something about them intrigues you enough to make you want to find out more.

Time in itself can make a useful theme for stories (too little of it, too much of it etc) but I’ve found it helpful to think about the kind of story I want to tell and then work out what the best time frame for that tale would be.  In my Pressing the Flesh the opening line is “It was 3 am”.  The impact of that is to make you wonder (a) why the time is important and (b) to assume the character concerned is unlikely to be up to any good at that time of night.  (Quite right too – see my From Light to Dark and Back Again for the whole story!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHORT STORIES

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When editing a story, I tend to check if my main characters are coming “through” well enough. I love using thoughts as a way of showing what my “people” are really made of (and it’s even more fun when they’re deliberately hiding this from the other characters in the story. You’re left wondering whether the others will find out the truth or not and this can be a great source of conflict if they do!).

If, by the end of the tale, I’ve got a clear picture of who my characters are, what drives them, and they engage me, then hopefully other readers will feel the same way and like them too. (Or in the case of villains love to hate them, which is also good).

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A great short story has to have:-

Strong, memorable characters

An intriguing start

A middle that wants to make you keep reading to see what
happens next (definitely no saggy middles)

A powerful and appropriate ending (and I do love twist endings as they end the story with a “punch”. Sometimes I’m pleased when I see the ending coming and basically, my guess turned out to be right, but I’m even more pleased when the writer wrongfoots me).

The right word count for the type of story it is. I like short stories to be 1500 words or so. Flash fiction is 1000 or under but I must admit I feel a bit short-changed if a short story comes in at 1200 words or so. It feels to me like the story hasn’t quite got the “legs” to go the proper distance.

(Many thanks to Dawn Kentish Knox for the picture of me reading from From Light to Dark and Back Again at the Bridge House event in December. Huge fun!).

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Some more Murphy’s Laws for writers:-

1. Your old PC will always play up when you’re trying to save the latest version of your MSS, especially something of novel length – and you have to save several times to make sure you HAVE saved it. (No longer the case for me I’m glad to say!).

2. You’re waiting eagerly for news of how you did in a writing competition. You check your inbox as often as possible at the relevant time. Nothing. You leave the PC for two minutes to go to to the loo, hear the unmistakable sound of more email coming in, get back to your desk as quickly as possible, only to find the new mail is selling you something you didn’t want, or offering you a date with a “hot” babe, which you also don’t want. The latter offers incidentally don’t seem to mind which gender they target.

3. You’re waiting for the author copy of your book to arrive. The days you stay in – guess what? Nothing turns up even though you know it is due. You pop round to see a neighbour or go to the local shops and come back to find… the “Sorry we missed you card” on your mat. Your vocabulary tends to veer into the brusque at this point!

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About a week ago, I set up a quick poll as to what was the most important part of a story, regardless of word count. Many thanks to all who voted.

I asked whether an intriguing start or a twist ending was the most important component. And the results are:- (Ta da… imaginary drum roll here!)

83% An intriguing start
17% A twist ending

I’m not surprised by that. After all, if the start of a story doesn’t grip you, the chances of you getting to the twist ending are slim indeed!

Having said that, an intriguing start still has to be well supported by what follows. There has to be “follow through”. If the ending disappoints, would someone read another story from that author even though the start seems very promising? I think there could be a case of “once bitten, twice shy” here.

So my view? I am a little torn on this one as I sometimes write the ending to a piece of flash fiction first and then work backwards. One great thing about doing things that way is you definitely have the twist ending and you can then work out the intriguing start that led to it.

Overall though, I would go for the intriguing start (as I also love coming up with a strong opening line and seeing where it takes me).

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Am glad that flash fiction has really taken off as a format and that Chapeltown Books now has a good range of publications to its name.

I love the “frame” around the powerful central images (see link) and think this is a great form of branding. The stories are pretty good too… Now I know I’m bound to say that but I wasn’t just referring to From Light and Dark and Back Again, honestly. Go on, check them out. Available in paperback and Kindle.

The small independent presses are a lifeline for authors and Chapeltown has particularly encouraged quirky fiction. Fine by me! I am a quirky writer…

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When is a tale a piece of flash fiction as opposed to a shortened story? When it has a “proper” beginning, middle and end and doesn’t feel as if more could be added to it.

I try to leave my stories on either a twist or punch ending (they’re not quite the same thing) so there really is nothing left to be said. I like people to be able to feel that the ending was an appropriate one (which, of course, is not the same thing as a happy one necessarily!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STORIES – AND A WRITER’S THREE WISHES

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My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week will be Part 2 of my interview with crime writer, Val Penny. She discusses how much research she does and why networking is invaluable for all writers, amongst other topics. Will put the link up on Friday.

I was thinking, for my new Goodreads blog post, which went up earlier this evening, about why I love short stories and flash fiction so much. I think it may be because I’m impatient! With a novel, you have to wait for the tension to build and build… With a short story (and even more so for flash fiction), you get the impact nigh on immediately. That probably says a fair bit about me!

Let creativity spill out - image via Pixabay

Let the creative process flow! Image via Pixabay

Hunter's Chase book cover

Val’s latest crime novel. Image supplied by Val Penny.

The fantastic world of books must include non-fiction too - image via Pixabay

The wonderful world of writing should include non-fiction, which benefits from creative techniques too. Image via Pixabay.

Feature Image - Facts and Fiction - image via Pixabay

What writing triggers will help you create your new worlds? Image via Pixabay

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What do you find most difficult to do – start a story or finish it?

For me, it’s finding the right starting point. Once I’ve got that, I’m up and running, I know I will generally end a story on a “punch” ending (and often a twist in the tale at that). As the story progresses I can sense myself getting to that bit, so finishing a tale is usually okay. I’m the same with blog posts. Get me started and I’m away!

I try to start anything I write with a “hit the ground running” approach. I often will go straight into the main character’s head so “they” can show a potential reader what state/mood they’re in, what crisis they’re facing etc. I find that really useful.

Other opening lines can include a brief indication as to the setting, but I keep that as short as I can. Later, if I need to go back and fill in more details, I do but I am wary of too much description. In flash fiction, there’s no room for it anyway!

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I created a poll a few days ago about whether an intriguing start or a twist ending was the best for a story. Please do vote if you haven’t already. I’ll discuss results in a few days’ time.

Have submitted my follow-up book to From Light and Dark and Back Again. Really glad to have that done. Would like to focus on my third book and getting more stories out there. Would like to do something with my non-fiction articles too at some point. Always good to have plenty to be getting on with!

Only wish? As ever, that I had more time. Now, this is where I could do with arranging for one of my fairy godmothers to become real and grant all writers three wishes. What would those wishes be?

1. Whatever time you need to write with NO interruptions or disruptions.

2. You will never suffer a dodgy internet connection again.

3. You will also be given as much time as you want to read whenever you want again with NO interruptions or disruptions.

Sounds good to me!

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What do you think is the most important part of a story, whether it is standard length or flash fiction?

I’ll leave this poll up for a few days and report back later in the week. I’ll give my view as part of that.

An intriguing start
A twist ending
This poll ends in 2 days

Goodreads Author Programme – Blog

I’ve loved short stories for years. Flash fiction has been a fairly recent innovation and I quickly became addicted to both reading and writing it.

As you can imagine, I was thrilled to be published for the first time last year with Chapeltown Books for a flash fiction collection (From Light to Dark and Back Again).

Now I have nothing against the novel. You can’t beat the novel for a satisfying, longer story when all is said and done.

But sometimes you just want a glimpse into a character’s life (rather than have the whole “spiel”) and this is where short stories, and especially flash fiction, come into their own.

They really do pack a punch when you consider their limited word count. (Even the longer short story is still short when compared to your average novel).

I love to write my stories knowing they will have an impact, whether it is to hopefully make readers laugh or, if the tales are darker, to make them shudder!

The big problem with a novel is keeping impact going without it seeming artificial and ensuring the final impact happens at the right moment. It is possible to write a final scene for a book and then decide you’ve just got to add this, or that, and thaen the final impact is diluted.

You can’t really do that with short stories (and you certainly can’t for flash). You have the big, final moment and that’s it. But to me that is a huge advantage as a writer. I know when to stop then!

The images below were taken at the Bridge House celebration event last December.  We all know the value of stories!

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My stories are in The Best of Cafelit 4, 5 and now 6 and also by Bridge House Publishing (Alternative Renditions). My first collection From Light to Dark and Back Again is published by Chapeltown Books.

FLASH FICTION/SHORT STORIES

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Am enjoying reading The Best of Cafelit 6 and looking forward to catching up with some of my fellow contributors at the Bridge House/Cafelit joint celebratory event in December. Nice mix of flash fiction and short stories. All that I’ve read so far conjure up powerful images within their first few words, a sure fire way to keep you reading. Not that I’m biased or anything… 😁😉

What do I like most about the short story (flash or longer)? I suppose it is because they are their own self-contained world. What is nice about a collection of them is you can enjoy visiting many different worlds by different writers and this is particularly good if your reading time is limited. Also, short stories are a fantastic way to try out an author’s work before going on to read their novels etc.

Keeping the short story alive is one of the great things about the independent presses. They want diverse voices. We as writers can let them have that. More short stories get out there. Okay, we still have to do the publicity but we would have to do that with a novel anyway. My own gut feel is that short stories (flash perhaps especially) can be a great way of tempting reluctant readers in so the more short stories there are out there available for people, the better.

Below are images of the books I’ve been published in to date.

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My stories are in The Best of Cafelit 4, 5 and now 6 and also by Bridge House Publishing (Alternative Renditions). My first collection From Light to Dark and Back Again is published by Chapeltown Books.

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How do I like to start my flash fiction tales? Often it is with a name character carrying out some action, no matter how minor, as that immediately tells you the story is about X. (Also that the action is going to matter too, no matter how minor. Everything means something in flash fiction. There is literally no room for anything that doesn’t contribute to the story in some way).

Sometimes I go straight into my characters’ heads and show their thoughts. That will give the reader an immediate idea as to what this character is like (and from there you can make intelligent guesses as to what they might do/be capable of – for me, a lot of the fun in reading fiction by other writers is seeing if my guesses turn out to be right or not. While I’m always pleased when I guessed correctly, kudos must go to those writers who successfully wrongfoot me!).

My latest published story which is in The Best of Cafelit 6 sets a time and an immediate scene so I take the reader to where I want them to be. It also helps set the mood of the story.

So there are plenty of different ways to start your story but the common link is they are all designed to draw your reader in and keep them with you until they’ve finished reading your tale.

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My latest published story is in The Best of Cafelit 6.

 

Love the cover for this. Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

My last Bridge House story is in here. Naturally I hope there will be many more to come! Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

One of the best ways to escape is with a good book. Image via Pixabay.

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN WORLD BUILDING

Tonight’s theme is asking questions – lots of them!

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Questions to Ask When World Building, I share some useful pointers that should be considered when planning out a new world.  (This is one of the lovely things about fantasy and science fiction – we create our own worlds!  Horror and crime are based generally on what we already know but with fantasy and science fiction, the possibilities are endless).  I look at how the world is governed, what rights do people have and how wide a variety of peoples are on the world you’ve created amongst other topics.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Putting Yourself on the Spot shares three questions I think every writer should regularly ask of themselves.  I look at why am I writing this, am I writing this in the right way and can I do what I am doing better?  The answer to the last question is inevitably yes!  The middle question is really about whether you’ve chosen the right format for your story.  For example some of what I write is punchy so flash fiction is generally the best vehicle for that.  Others are more thoughtful piece so a standard length short story (1500 to 2000 words) is usually better.  And the first question reminds you why you were enthuasistic about the idea in the first place, which is no bad thing to be reminded of especially if you’re feeling bogged down.

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I discuss my current Kindle read – Westminster Bones, which is a fairly scathing look into whether the bones in the urn in Westminster Abbey are really those of the Princes in the Tower.  Let’s just say I wouldn’t put a bet on at the bookmakers after reading this book!  But it is a very good read, the arguments are well set out and I must admit I would like to see some proper DNA testing done.

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Books really are the gatekeepers BUT they can also be investigators as Westminster Bones clearly is. Image via Pixabay.

Books really are the gatekeepers BUT they can also be investigators – for example  Westminster Bones is trying to establish truth . Image via Pixabay.

 

This statue I like... a lot. Image via Pixabay

INTRIGUING FIRST LINES

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I share some intriguing first lines, which I hope you have fun with!  A good line should make you think of different possibilities as to where to go with the story idea.  These can cross genre and forms of fiction too.  I may well have a go at least some of them myself!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I talk about mixing things up in tonight’s post. The lines in Fairytales with Bite this evening can equally be used as finishing lines.  Equally, you could do both with each line and see what you prefer.  Above all, have fun with your writing.  It really does show through.

FACEBOOK PAGE

I talk about why I love writing short stories and flash fiction tonight.  Do you agree?

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Shakespeare had his quill, modern writers have their laptops. Image via Pixabay.

Such a familiar look. Image via Pixabay.

 

 

 

 

The virtual library. These days ebooks and emagazines are available at libraries. Chandler's Ford library are running surgeries about them. Image via Pixabay.

RULES FOR FAIRY GODMOTHERS AND UNRELIABLE CHARACTERS

It has been a wonderful writing week for me.  Firstly, I judged the Greensleeves annual short story competition run by the Southampton Writers’ Circle, who made me very welcome.  The stories were all great and all are capable of being published, following some further editing.  I prepared critiques for the stories and these went down well.  They’re planning on inviting me back!  This whole thing came about as a result of networking at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School earlier this year.  Now I am not the world’s most natural “networker” so I am especially pleased about this.  I very much hope I will see the stories again, published, in due course.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Rules for Fairy Godmothers lists those do’s and do not’s every fairy godmother worthy of her wand must know.  There is everything from not zapping just because you can to not being surprised your client doesn’t do exactly as you tell them (none of them ever do).  Can you add to the list?  My own favourite here is rule 7.  What do you think?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Unreliable Characters are something I love in fiction and in the recent Greensleeves competition I was pleased to come across excellent examples of these.  In each of the stories, I guessed at the ending after reading the first page or so but am glad to report I was wrong in every single one of them!  I love stories and characters that misdirect me like this.  It is partly because they keep me reading to see if my guesses are right or not.  It is also because, just as in life you get unreliable people, fiction should reflect that too.

BOTH WEEBLY WEBSITES

I update my News Pages on both websites every Friday with publication news and so on.  (Am conscious I should have mentioned this before!).

PUBLICATION NEWS – ALFIE DOG LIMITED

I’m delighted to say Alfie Dog Limited have accepted my short story, The Delivery, and this will be up on site in early December.  I plan to post more details and links nearer the time but am very pleased about another acceptance.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I’m glad to report my lovely editor has been updating author side bars and intros and now This World and Others is listed in mine.  Previously it had been just my main Fairytales with Bite website.  I’m looking forward to being able to add Author of From Light to Dark and Back Again,  my flash fiction collection currently being produced by Chapeltown Books, in due course.

Anyway tonight’s post shares events at my local library.  There will be a Books of 2016 discussion event and, separately, ebook and emagazine surgeries for those wanting to know more about these.   I hope all of these events go well and those going to them are both entertained and find them  useful.  My library recently linked up with a local school as part of the Story Shuffle Project, which is linked to the retelling of the legend of Sir Bevis of Hampton (Southampton’s legendary hero – think James Bond on tapestries, the very first comic book!!).

feature-image-cf-library-events-nov-2016

 

 

One joy of blogging is the ease of publication... Image via Pixabay

FLASH FICTION PERKS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Flash Fiction Perks shares what I think are some of the advantages of flash fiction.  Can you add to the list?  (I do love a list… but then you will have gathered that by now).  Flash fiction can be a great way of writing humorous incidents which, in themselves, would not be nearly long enough to make a standard story.  And there are plenty of markets and competitions out there.  What’s not to like?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Fiction Feedback shares what I look for in a good story adjudication.  I know, I know – another list! – but I hope this might help those trying to decide whether to go for a critique on their work or not.  (And where you can get word of mouth recommendation from another writer as to how good Publication X’s feedback is, so much the better).

FACEBOOK PAGE/A VERY BIG THANK YOU TO SOUTHAMPTON WRITERS’ CIRCLE

I had the great joy and privilege of judging the Greensleeves short story competition run by the Southampton Writers’ Circle this evening.  A huge thank you to all for the warm welcome and kind comments.  Look forward to seeing your stories in print in due course!!

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Whether you write flash fiction or other kinds of story, brainstorming sessions are invaluable. I have, less often, used them to generate ideas for non-fiction work. Image via Pixabay.

Whether you write flash fiction or other kinds of story, brainstorming sessions are invaluable. I have, less often, used them to generate ideas for non-fiction work. Image via Pixabay.

 

 

 

Where almost all stories spring from these days. Image via Pixabay.

MAGICAL COMPETENCE AND GOOD STORY CRITERIA

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I discuss what any magical being needs to be able to do in Tests for Magical Competence. Even the lowliest sprite can achieve the items in my list.  Of course the ones you’ve really got to worry about are those who are not only magically efficient, they are magically formidable!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I discuss the criteria for what I think makes for a good story in Criteria for A Good Story. Some of my items are interesting characters, a story that I remember (for good reasons!) long after I’ve read it and where the outcome really matters.  Do you agree with my list?  What could you add to it?

FACEBOOK PAGE

I discuss what’s coming up in my Chandler’s Ford Today post for this week and why I think autumn is not my border collie’s favourite season.

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CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

Due up on site tomorrow will be my Top 10 Classical Greats.  More details tomorrow.

A truly beautiful library but do the books in it meet my criteria for what makes a good story. I would hope so! Image via Pixabay.

A truly beautiful library but do the books in it meet my criteria for what makes a good story. I would hope so! Image via Pixabay.