Murphy’s Law For Readers

Time for some lightheartedness I think… hence my CFT post. More in a moment.

Image Credit:  As ever, all images are from Pixabay or Pexels unless otherwise stated.

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

I thought a lighthearted post would be useful for my slot on Chandler’s Ford Today this week – hence Murphy’s Law for Readers! Hope you enjoy this and do send in your own Murphy’s Law suggestions for Readers via the CFT comments box.

The post takes in readers and books, readers and libraries, and readers and book events etc and so I’ve taken a broad approach here! Hope you enjoy.

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It is always good fun to write humorous posts for Chandler’s Ford Today and I hope the Murphy’s Law For Readers which is this week’s piece amuses you! It amused me when I wrote it so I hope that’s a good sign! (I wrote a piece on Murphy’s Law for Writers a year or so ago so that is everyone on the reading and writing fence covered now I think).

Many thanks to our church for sending a Good Friday service sheet for us to use at home today. It was great but must admit to missing seeing everyone and I hope it is not too long before we meet again. It really does not feel like Easter to me. Mind you, the weekends don’t really feel like weekends either at the moment.

I would be glad to have a writing routine anyway as I am one of life’s planners (as much as possible at the moment anyway) but am finding having this routine now to be incredibly useful. It’s a bit of normality in what is an abnormal situation for us all.

Nice lot of cheering in my neck of the words for the frontline workers. Well done all. (This is happening ever Thursday night at 8 pm in the UK for the duration of the lockdown here – I don’t know whether anything similar is happening elsewhere but I do think this show of appreciation is a very good thing indeed).

Looking forward to hearing where my choices for the Classic FM Hall of Fame come in this year’s chart. They count this down over the Easter weekend. My choices were:-

1. Jupiter (from the Planet Suite) by Holst
2. Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Vaughan Williams.
3. Danse Macabre by Saint Saens (and used as the theme for Jonathan Creek and the book trailer for my From Light to Dark and Back Again – see below! So this music will always have special meaning for me!).

Need a sort out of my writing desk so that is on the cards for me to do tomorrow. Yes, have been putting it off. I refuse to believe I’m the only writer who does that.😆😆

Have resumed playing tennis on the old Nintendo Wii to help with my exercise levels. Well I say playing… let’s say I give it a go! Lady doesn’t like it though and goes and hides while I “strut my stuff” here. Of course it won’t help she can’t possibly get the ball here and no collie will like that.

Writing wise, am working on a book proposal for my non-fiction idea but that will take a while to do. Am also fleshing out ideas for a flash piece for a competition so plenty to be getting on with.

My CFT post this week will be a lighthearted one about Murphy’s Law for Readers. I wrote one about a year ago for writers so it is only fair readers get their turn! Link up on Friday.

Am slowly getting back to reading again which is good. I’ve had no problems writing but think my focus has been on ONE creative activity rather than two.

Reading is a creative activity in its own right in that, for fiction, you should be able to engage with the characters. For non-fiction, you should be gripped by what you are discovering and hopefully go on to find out more about the topic you’re engrossed with.


Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Am happily drafting a flash fiction piece for a competition at the moment. Have got the character and her voice as I like it. But she’s spouting on a little bit too much for the word count requirement so she is going to be shortened! It is one of those cases where I know she can be shortened without losing her style and indeed her style will come through better at the reduced count.

This is where I need to work out what is VITAL for the reader to know. Anything that is not something I could honestly call vital comes out.

This is why I do like writing the longer flash fiction stories too as those give you a bit more room to play with and there you can have characterisation that adds depth and strengthens the story. This is where you can have that “little bit more” which adds flavour to a story.

I think it is a good thing to write a mixture of word count stories so you get a real feel for writing short and spare tales and longer ones with added “value” that you simply can’t put into a shorter story. But what I do know is when I’ve got my character and their voice right, the word count has to suit that. I know I can simplify what I’ve drafted for my current story and I should do that anyway. It should take me to the required count but there are times I really can’t get a story down any further without losing something important – so I don’t! You do get better over time I think at working out when to call it a day.

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One thing I have found useful with regard to having an Amazon Author Central page is having my book trailer on it for FLTDBA. I very much hope later in the year when hopefully Tripping the Flash Fantastic is out that a book trailer for this will also appear.

I have had some fun on my website with book trailers too. (

As well as the ones for FLTDBA and the Bridge House/Cafelit/Waterloo Art Festival Writing Competition collections I’ve been involved in, I have created a basic trailer for one of my stories from FLTDBA. I hope to do more of this as and when but I mention it because flash fiction is ideal for this kind of thing! You want something nice and short that is easy to read on a screen… hmm… on to a winner there I think!


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What do I like best about story and flash fiction collections?

I like the range of moods that can be contained in one book (which directly inspired the title for my own From Light to Dark and Back Again of course).

I love being able to dip in and out of such a book, whether I read it in paperback or via the Kindle.

I love them as they are brilliant for those times when I don’t have time to read or don’t feel like reading a huge amount. Indeed it is often the collections that get me out of the latter mood and into reading novels and non-fiction again.

I also just love the whole idea of reading a book full of little self-contained worlds with a host of characters. They are just fun!

They’re huge fun to write too!

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Fairytales With Bite – 

What Fairytales Have Done For Me

I’ve loved fairytales for more years than I care to remember, encouraged no doubt by my parents buying me The Reader’s Digest Complete Collection of Fairytales. This is a two volume set which I still have. (One of the books is bound up with tape to keep the spine together!). I spent hours reading the stories and admiring the wonderful illustrations. So what have fairytales done for me as a writer then?

  1. Fairytales have a strong message which they get across without lecturing and in an entertaining way.  I find that inspirational (and a challenge to always “raise my game” here).
  2. Fairytales don’t shy away from calling something evil that is evil. There is no mistaking the goodies and baddies here. The characters are clear cut and their actions and thoughts are consistent. That’s all useful stuff for writers.
  3. Fairytales have endings which are appropriate. Generally these are happy ones but there are exceptions and that’s  okay too. What matters is the ending is appropriate to the story.
  4. When magic is used in a fairytale, it is always used to assist and it is rarely the first resort. Characters still have to use their intelligence and take advantage of others forms of help coming to them.


This World and Others – The Arts

What place do the arts have in your fictional “other world”? Is there music? Painting? Creative writing? Are these things valued or despised? Does everyone have access to them or only the privileged few?

For your characters, what do the arts mean to them? What role can the arts play in their story?

When fleshing out your creation, think of the arts as a way of adding culture and depth to your created world. You can always use things like statues as well known landmarks your character has to reach to meet someone etc. That tells a reader there is sculpture in your world at least (and therefore likely to be other art forms too. It also reveals there is at least some appreciation of these things and this is a good indicator of likely intelligence levels too).

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The Kindle. Has expanded my reading (no more worrying about how many books I can take on holiday either!). Image via Pixabay.



Things No Character Ever Wants to Hear gives a short list of statements guaranteed to chill the blood and sink the confidence of any character.  This is particularly useful information for any character about to be sent off on a quest (and who have no idea why they were chosen.  This list gives reasons!).


Appreciating the Arts was a post inspired by some wonderful comments which came in as a result of my recent Chandler’s Ford Today post on My Top 10 Classical Music Greats.  Some fantastic pieces of music have been added to that list – and there is always room for more, hint, hint!  In this post though, I discuss what role the arts has in your fictional setting and ask how accessible the arts are to your characters?  This could be useful in helping you flesh our your world and could give useful pointers as to how your society works.  Is there an elite that keeps the arts for themselves?  Are there some arts only the “commoners” enjoy and so on?


I discuss response to my CFT post, fireworks (loathe them – because my border collie does, which is reason enough!) and share my thoughts on Ben Macintyre’s The Last Word.  I’m currently reading this on Kindle and it shares some wonderful insights as to the development of the English language.  There are some fantastically funny examples of pidgin English too.

The world of the imagination should play a role in your stories. I can't imagine any world without some form of the arts. Image via Pixabay.

The world of the imagination should play a role in your stories. I can’t imagine any world without some form of the arts. Image via Pixabay.


One of my favourite book images. They really are magical. Transportation into other worlds and around this one in a few hundred pages. Brilliant! Image via Pixabay.



When a Character knows they’re in trouble is another of my “sum it all up in the title” posts! A short, sharp list of points for a character to ponder – do you agree with what I’ve come up with?  Can you add to the list?


Reviewing Characters is another sum it up title!  I appear to be on a roll with these tonight!  But it occurred to me it would be no bad thing for writers to review their characters every so often.  Are the characters still coming across the way you want them to do so?  If not is this because they’ve developed and do you need to change your story to handle that development correctly?  Characters should change and develop of course, it’s the classic sign they “live” (and as a result so does the story), but a check to see the character is still “up to the job” is no bad thing I feel.


I was really pleased Andy Murray won in Vienna.  I discuss my thoughts on that and the creative arts in my FB page tonight.  A strange mix?  I don’t think so.  Sports people can be creative in how they play after all (AM is a great example of that.  Some of his shots take my breath away in a “how the hell did he do that” kind of way).  I also love the fact that there are so many forms of creative arts, so much so there is bound to be at least one to suit most people!

When I'm not at my desk, I'm likely to be in the swimming pool or walking the dog (never both at the same time!). Image via Pixabay.

When I’m not at my desk, I’m likely to be in the swimming pool or walking the dog (never both at the same time!). Image via Pixabay.

Where all stories start, regardless of technology - the blank page. Image via Pixabay.



Asking the Awkward Questions is one of those titles that says it all really.  My rebellious fairy godmother, Eileen, is the expert at this and as a result always lands herself in it it.  Characters like that are huge fun to write about.  But in this post I list a few awkward questions that could be asked within the magical world.  One example is “can’t you use your magical powers to end hunger, all diseases etc?”  How would you get your magical characters to answer that?  Can you add to my list?


The Musical Arts explores more on music within your fictional world and the status of musicians/composers.  I explain why I don’t have a favourite composer and ask what role music would play in the feasts and festivals your fictional setting would have.


I discuss why I don’t have one overall favourite story/book but also nominate the one how-to writing book I happily recommend to anyone!  Inconsistent?  Moi?  Surely not!  But I find it impossible to name any one fictional work I’d always put above any others. The Lord of the Rings is probably the closest but even then I have to be in right mood for an epic quest!  Still that is the great thing with stories – there really is at least one out there to suit every mood!

Well, what IS your story?  Image via Pixabay.

Well, what IS your story? Image via Pixabay.






Shelves of Stories. Image via Pixabay.



Part 3 of my mini series on conferences in the magical world looks at what would be on offer for the wizards.  Not sure I’d like to go to one though.  I suspect there would be a clash of egos!  What do you think?


A fairly short post tonight but I hope to expand further on the theme of the arts in the fictional world in further posts.  I ask if the arts are supported by central/local government in your settings and if all characters have access/can take part in the arts or if this is restricted.  Whatever your world, there should be some form of art in it somewhere.  The more intelligent the creature the more need there is to express itself.  And that is where art does come into its own.


I discuss how a good piece of writing makes me feel and relish the challenge of trying to produce good writing myself.  Can I make others laugh?  Can I make them think?  Can I entertain them?  The great thing is whether you write fiction or non-fiction (0r both), challenging yourself to produce the best work you can is good for (a) your writing and (b) you yourself.  Why?  Stretching yourself mentally is good for the brain.

Notebooks old and new - image via Pixabay.  Ideas have to be jotted down somewhere!

Notebooks old and new – image via Pixabay. Ideas have to be jotted down somewhere!