Facebook – General

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.

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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.

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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…!












Says it all really. Image via Pixabay.



The Delivery shares news of my latest short story to appear on Alfie Dog (Fiction).  The link takes you to my Writer’s Notes page, where there is a brief interview with me and a list of the stories I have on Alfie Dog.  The Delivery is about a favoured servant of the Dark Lord, who has fallen out of favour.  Not a good place to be…

I also talk about how vital it is writers do deliver on their stories, whether it is getting them in for a competition or what have you.  If your story is humorous, is it still funny when you review it just prior to sending it off?  Likewise if it is horror, is the tale scary?  This is where having a writing buddy (ideally one who writes in a format/genre different to your own) can be invaluable.  Equally if you’re entering a competition and they offer feedback, then seriously consider going for this.  I’ve always found this kind of feedback helpful.


Guest Blogging talks about some of the advantages of doing this.  This came about as my recent Story Structure post on This World and Others has been shared with my blessing by Valerie Penny on her marvellous book review site.  Valerie’s site reviews some prestigous books and gives good writing advice so I am flattered she wanted to share this post.  I met Valerie at Swanwick earlier this year. Indeed she took pity on a lost looking soul (me!) arriving at Derby Railway Station and looking around wildly for where the Swanwick coach might be parked up!


It has been a busy writing day as the two notes above show.  My post on FB tonight again shares the news and the links.  Am very pleased with Valerie’s sharing of my post and the new story on Alfie Dog.

I thought I would share my feature image from this week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post as I think I can safely say, with all the positive things that have happened recently, I’ve travelled a few more miles up the writing road this week!  (Important thing is never to end up in a cul-de-sac though!).

My Chandler's Ford Today post for this week looks at where I am at currently on my writing journey, Image via Pixabay.

My Chandler’s Ford Today post for this week looks at where I am at currently on my writing journey, Image via Pixabay.




The Best of Cafelit. Image by me.



A Good Day for a Fairy Godmother lists what someone like my rebellious Eileen would consider was a “good day in the office”.  You just don’t want to be the other side of the metaphorical desk when she has a really good day…  Oh, and if you happen to be a monster or other foul fiend, you can rule out having a long life expectancy.  Her good day is your nightmare.  She prides herself on it after all.


High Days lists some of the special steps I’ve experienced as a writer.  Where you know you are going to face rejection after rejection (it is in the nature of writing), being able to have positives to refer to can help enormously.  And the nice thing is even if you are just starting out, as long as you keep going, get feedback and not be afraid to change/get rid of what’s not working in your fiction, then those positives will happen to you too.


The Writer’s Journey shares what has happened writing wise since I went to the Swanwick Summer School in August.  This period has easily been the busiest and most productive writing time I’ve known – so far anyway!  I also share a new flash fiction story, The Magician, and I suspect all pet owners will be able to identify with it.  Hope you like it.


I share news of my CFT post and look forward to the Bridge House/Cafelit joint book launch/celebration event (Baubles and The Best of Cafelit 5) in London on 3rd December.  Last year’s event was huge fun.  I love this sort of event as I get to meet new people and it is lovely talking with folk who love writing at least as much as I do.

Baubles - the new anthology by Bridge House Publishing. My story, Helping Out, is in there. 2016 has been my most successful year for acceptances to date and I hope I can build on that. Image supplied by Gill James of Bridge House Publishing.

Baubles – the new anthology by Bridge House Publishing. My story, Helping Out, is in there. 2016 has been my most successful year for acceptances to date and I hope I can build on that. Image supplied by Gill James of Bridge House Publishing.