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Must admit I struggle a bit in the heat, due to being asthmatic (much easier to breathe in cooler air). But then I still don’t really associate Britain with heatwaves, really. It just doesn’t feel right for this country.
And yes I do remember the summer of 1976. Government appointed a Minister for Drought and within about a week the heavens opened. Someone liked a laugh there!
I don’t tend to use the weather in my stories but how your characters react to (a) standard and (b) unusual conditions can help your readers find out more about them. I wilt in the heat. Others get edgy. How do your characters react? Does their behaviour and attitudes change notably?
Food for thought when outlining your characters as, even if you don’t use this in a story directly, just knowing how they would react helps you as a writer to show something of that in the situations you do put them in.
Time really does fly – hard to believe it’s July already. Still, on the plus side, it’s just over a month to the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. Really looking forward to that.
Need to get some more submissions out so will try and focus on that. (Third flash fiction book coming along nicely though). Am also beginning to look at some non-fiction work I’d like to do. Would like to make good progress on that by the end of the year.
Am reading well, which is great. I see reading as the fuel to writing. How can you know what you like to write unless you know what you like to read? Deliberately mixing up my reading formats. Sometimes I focus on the Kindle, other times good old fashioned paperbacks, still other times catching up with magazine reading. All wonderful material.
When you first start out as a writer, you look to improve what you do (and this is something you continue to keep on trying to do). Then you aim for publication. Then you see if you can be published again and again and again etc.
All the time you are trying to improve what you do in terms of output and quality. You are also getting to grips (or trying to!) with marketing and promotion, arranging book events, using social media effectively to attract a readership and so on.
So at no point in the writing journey are you standing still and that is a good thing.
But it does pay every so often to stop and look at where you are and what you would like to do next (and then go for it!). Focus on enjoying what you write – that enjoyment will help you keep going through the tougher times.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Flash fiction is a good outlet for one liners which sum up a character.
One of my favourites comes from Making the Grade: “Still, as I told Mother, if this is what I can do when I’m honest, just think of the possibilities when I’m not!” Attitude to life, feisty character all in one line!
Flash fiction is the epitome of economical writing! This is another reason why I love it. It challenges me to convey as much information as possible in as few words as possible. All good fun!
I love an intriguing first line
Be it in flash or short story.
But what is wonderful and fine
Is the ending in its glory.
Allison Symes – 1st July 2018
I’m partial to some doggerel too! Having said that, intriguing first lines are fabulous but the story has to follow through on them. The story must never peter out. The ending must back up all that has come before. You want your reader to feel they’ve had a satisfying read, whether it is a funny tale or a grim one.
Flash is a great vehicle for sci-fi and fantasy, even though both are known for (a) epic novels and (b) world building (which leads to the size of said epic novels!). Why?
Because you can conjure up a world with a few well chosen words and leave the rest to your reader’s imagination. In my The Truth, I refer to a Mark 3 Intergalatic Spacecraft with the latest time warp technology. I haven’t room in this 100-word story to tell you more than that, but the great thing is YOUR vision of what such a spacecraft would be like is as valid as mine would be. And you can picture the kind of world that would have such a thing in the first place.
I like to have fun with my flash stories in giving the one telling detail a reader would need to know and leaving it at that! I’m not being rotten, honest. I think a reader engages much more with any story if they have gaps to fill in. I know I love this when I have to fill in gaps on stories I read.
N.B. Do you think they have trouble changing head light bulbs on your average UFO given the trouble most of us have trying to do the same task on our cars? Just a thought…!