All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Many thanks to Hannah Kate for kind permission to use the Three Minute Santas photo. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes.
Weather turning cold again here. Christmas preparations going okay but still much to do! Still time for stories and writing though….!
Facebook – General
Posting early today as am off out to my church’s Carols by Candlelight village sing-along later. It’s a lovely informal event with plenty of Christmas cracker jokes in between the singing. Last time we held this event was in the week of Christmas 2019. It is so good to have this back!
Those who follow the Friday Flash Fiction website – look out for the results of the Christmas competition soon. Normal submissions will resume in the New Year I would’ve thought. (Please note the normal submissions button isn’t there at the moment on the understandable grounds the editor needs time to count up the votes for the competition and get the results out!). I’m preparing pieces to submit in January to give myself a bit of a head start here – always useful to get some drabbles written!
I did get my submission in for the Writing Magazine Grand Flash Prize a while back, following my own advice to take some time off the official closing date. Good luck to all who have or are about to have a go at this one – deadline is the end of the year.
Hope you have had a good start to Christmas week. Looking forward to sharing my Festive Flash and Other News post for Chandler’s Ford Today on Friday. There will be a couple of new flash pieces in there from me plus I take a look back at some highlights from my writing year.
Will start winding down on the writing for a few days from Saturday. Looking forward to doing plenty of reading over the Christmas break too.
I often use this time of year to ensure I’m up together with my blogs and have started drafting others for the start of the New Year. I don’t just keep a stock of stories to hand!
And I’m looking forward to a social evening on Zoom for the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction group later this month. It will be a nice way to wrap up our writing year there.
Am also getting my January newsletter ready. If you’d like to sign up for hints, advice, stories etc do head over to my landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com
It’s my turn on the Authors Electric blog today. This time I look at Stories in Song. The carols inspired me here as so many of them have a clear narrative but there are other songs which have long been favourites of mine due to their lyrical quality. See what you think via the link and do send in your favourite stories in songs in the comments.
Hope you have had a good day. Many thanks to Hannah Kate for including my story, First Night on The Round, on her Three Minutes Santas show on North Manchester FM today. Hope to be able to share a link soon but meantime you can use their Listen Again service to find the show.
Please note Hannah’s show is in two halves for the benefit of the Listen Again service. I’m first on for Part 1. Great fun listening to all of the other stories here too. Well done to everyone included in the show. And do check out festive flash fiction – it is great fun to write, read, and/or listen to bit don’t just take my word for it. Give it a listen here!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Twist endings work especially well for flash fiction. The impact is greater given the restricted word count. I love writing humorous ones, the “character gets comeuppance” type, as well as the character coming up with something unexpected kind, which is not quite the same thing as getting their comeuppance.
In my George Changes His Mind from From Light to Dark and Back Again I end the tale with the dragon given their viewpoint on the proceedings. Great fun to do and a lovely “left field” ending to that tale!). So think about what you want your twist ending to do and how you want it to impact on your readers.
I do this and find writing this first, then working out what could lead to it works very well. It means I stick to the point and everything that proceeds before my big reveal has to make sense and be logical, even in the most fantastical of settings.
19th December – Second Post
Oops! Almost forgot to share my latest YouTube video. Hope you enjoy New Experiences.
It was lovely at the Carols by Candlelight service yesterday. First one since Christmas 2019. The singing was fantastic.
Do your characters like to sing and, if so, what would they sing? What songs have special resonance for them?
Resonance comes into my flash fiction too. I have to know where my characters come from to be able to write them up at all. Some of their attitudes and actions have got to resonate with me, even if I still don’t approve. You don’t necessarily need to like your characters. You do have to understand them to be able to get into their heads and so write up their tales though.
Have been doing a little admin in adding books to my website book page and my Book Brush Reader Hub. That’s a nice task – Evergreen – an Anthology is now on there. Plus I’ve notified ALCS and my Author Central page has been updated by Amazon. They are usually pretty quick to do that when you notify them.
A week to go to Christmas and I’ve enjoyed one pre-Christmas treat – re-watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. Fabulous film and to me one of the best adaptations of Dickens’s classic tale. Lots of lovely little moments as the film goes on (Miss Piggy giving Scrooge a piece of her mind is just one of them!) and, of course, little moments is what flash fiction is about. We focus on the single most important thing, which is a little like looking at the cameo and focusing on that rather than on taking in everything about the main film. (That’s the job of the novel!).
Writing flash fiction is a great exercise for any writer for another reason – it does make you focus on the single important thing and it can show you perspectives you might not have considered before. Later on this evening, I’m reading a wonderful poem called Shepherd by Lisa Debney for the Carols by Candlelight service at Abbey URC, Romsey.
The poem is lovely and it focuses on one viewpoint – that of the shepherd – but it shows a perspective I had not considered before I read this poem. (There can be some links between poetry and flash in that both forms need to use words to specific and deliberate effect and we are using the word count restrictions to their best advantage).
My story on Three Minute Santas, hosted by Hannah Kate on North Manchester FM, was broadcast today. 17th December – and see links above. For this submission, I had to submit a story which came in at a maximum of three minutes. So how to do it? Simple! I used Zoom to record myself reading my story, I ended the meeting with myself, and Zoom then turns the file into an mp4 file. Not only can I play it back to hear how it sounds, I’ve got the timing of my story right there!
Mine, First Night on the Round, came in about 2 minutes 50 seconds. When I first started writing, I used Audacity to play back stories of mine so I could check if the words flowed as well as I thought. Doing this is a great way of picking up on clunky dialogue etc. I see it as part of my editing process.
Goodreads Author Blog – Santa’s Reading List
Now we all know many of the presents on Santa’s sleigh are books. (The rest I suspect would be chocolate, toys, socks, and stuff for pets!). But what would Santa himself want to read after all of those deliveries have been done or would like to read if the books existed? We all deserve to put our feet up with a good book after all. (He would have already read A Christmas Carol and The Nativity stories of course and would re-read them each year).
Lounging in the Sun – would make a change from his usual environment, yes?
How to Bake the Perfect Mince Pie – suspect he might leave this book as a present when what he is offered as refreshments is below par. Bound to come across the odd shoddy few.
Reindeer Management – What You Need to Know – wonder if he’ll find a cure for Rudolph’s red nose here.
Postman Pat – Any of these classic children’s stories would go down well with the great man. Would make a change to read stories from someone else with deliveries to sort out.
Getting Away From It All – You’d want to after dealing with the workload for another year.
The Haynes Guide to Sleigh Maintenance – The Haynes manuals are very well known especially in the UK. They even have one for the Star Trek Enterprise and the Millennium Falcon so why not do one for Santa’s sleigh?
Hope you have plenty of book shaped presents under your Christmas tree this year!
🎙️ #OnAir now on Hannah's Bookshelf #3MinuteSantas Special:— Hannah Kate (@HannahKateish) December 17, 2022
🎅 First Night on the Round by @AllisonSymes1
🎅 Lost Christmas by @Dryadula pic.twitter.com/a22mgpmRTy
Huge thank you to all our #3MinuteSantas 🎅🎅🎅 writers: @AllisonSymes1 @Dryadula @noodlebubble @kimbannerman @IanTaylor70 @KatieLHWrites @jennyhsanders @antonyharriso20 @aen1mpo @Amanda_S_Writer Martin Elder, Julian Edge, Jocelyn-Anne Harvey, Liz Kolbeck & Dorinda MacDowell! pic.twitter.com/5npkeaxpL7— Hannah Kate (@HannahKateish) December 17, 2022
Absolute joy to take part. Many thanks @HannahKateish https://t.co/w8eBw3QKdH— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) December 17, 2022
liked Allison Symes's blog post: Santa's Reading List https://t.co/Cwf3F1s4Hm via @goodreads Hope you enjoy my lighthearted thoughts for Goodreads this week on what could be on Santa's reading list. pic.twitter.com/GUTQc6c6UT— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) December 17, 2022
Authors Electric: Stories in Songs by Allison Symes https://t.co/KCZwJIbXUv The carols inspired me as many have a narrative but there are other songs which have long been favourites due to their lyrical quality. See what you think and send in your favourite stories in songs too. pic.twitter.com/FVUthUQmtI— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) December 18, 2022
It's a dark, rainy Monday. Time for my latest YouTube video. Hope you enjoy New Experiences.https://t.co/sfOxoyLqbt— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) December 19, 2022
ALLISON SYMES – BOOK BRUSH READER HUB