Image Credit: As ever, unless otherwise stated, images are from Pixabay or Pexels.
Facebook – General – and Publication News
Am thrilled to announce two stories of mine, Humourless and The Green Door, will be appearing in The Best of Cafelit 9 later on in the year. A big thank you to all who voted for my stories.
Many congratulations to all of the other writers whose work will be in this. The Cafelit books are a wonderfully eclectic mix.
Do check them out and to start you off with, here’s the link for Cafelit 8! Available in Kindle and paperback and a darned good read, though I do so say myself. But don’t just take my word for it!
And yes I am in here too!
To round today off beautifully, there is another of my fairytales with bite on Cafelit today called West Wood Story. Hope you enjoy!
Not a bad start to the week, I think!
I look forward to sharing more publication news soon. Always nice to start the week writing that!
Making good progress on my next competition story as well so happy with that.
My CFT post later this week will be my thoughts on Zoom and I’ll also share a few tips on cyberlaunches which I hope will prove useful. Link will be up on Friday.
Loved the tribute to Tim Brooke-Taylor on Radio 4 tonight. Favourite Goodies episode? Hard to say but loved Kitten Kong and Goodies Rule UK? amongst many others.
I can’t recall the name of the first story I wrote when I took up writing seriously. All I do know is it definitely would not have been published! To begin with I focused on proving to myself I could complete a story. Then I wanted to see if I could do more etc. It took quite a while for me to pluck up the nerve to start submitting stories for publication or into competitions.
What has been important is learning from feedback received, reading loads of useful writing tips, and studying what has been published. Reading is so useful for a writer in terms of being able to see what HAS made it “out there”. You pick up subconsciously how dialogue is laid out etc and can apply that to what you do.
BUT, you knew there’d be one (!), it is important to read contemporary work to make the most of that. Styles change. Long descriptive passages, appropriate in classic novels, are not apprropriate now. You need to get into scenes quickly. You need to hook your readers with your characters quickly too.
But making writing friends helps here a lot. After all in reading their books as you will naturally want to do, you are of course helping them but it also brings your contemporary reading levels up too. Win-win!
Am well into the first draft of a standard length short story for a competition. I love those times when “in the zone” and my fingers just seem to fly across the keyboard.
I loathe those times when it seems to take a huge effort to get a single sentence out. (I know now that, on the thankfully rare occasions this happens, it is because I’m tired so I know just do what I can, go to bed early and look forward to a better session at the keyboard next day. That always pays off. When I first started writing, I used to panic when I was struggling at the keys. I know now in a way that I didn’t then the inspiration and imagination WILL be back. Dips are normal. We’re not robots after all).
Lady has done very well on her walks today (we calculate 10 miles between the three of us spread out over the entire day. Is one happy but tired dog). I rarely get ideas for stories when out walking her. I’m busy keeping an eye on her of course but the fresh air and exercise perks ME up as well as the dog and that can help inspire the old creative writing muscles on my return from walkies.
It’s just a pity that writing in itself is not a huge calorie burner! I would be svelte… oh well!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
My flash fiction piece, West Wood Story, is now up on Cafelit. Hope you enjoy. I always enjoy writing fairytales like this with a twist to them.
For a twist to work for me, whether I read them or write them, it has to be believable. I have to be able to go back through the story and see that the clues were there. It’s not the author’s fault if I miss them!
I do love being able to second guess how a twist will be but I love it even more when a writer wrong foots me. Credit where it is due and all that! This then triggers me to study the story in even more detail to try to work out how the author did it of course! There is always something to be learned (which is one of the great joys of writing and reading for me).
When writing, I often start with a twist ending and then work out how to get back to the beginning of the story. This is where I will use spider diagrams to help me work out different possibilities and I always go for the one which I like best which is always the one that has the most emotional impact on me. If it makes me react, it will make a reader react. And that is always good!
It is just as well that stories don’t necessarily reflect their authors given I’ve written the following as flash fiction:-
Horror stories (albeit on the lighter end of the scale).
Poetic justice tales.
I think it is important to emphasise, that unless you are specifically writing memoir, it’s Write What You Know/Write What You Can Imagine and NOT Write What You Are!😆😆
Mind you, I do sometimes wonder at what I come up with at times and I know I’m not the only author who does that. Best thing to do? Trample on that thought and get on with writing the stories!
Given the title of my book, do I find it easier to write light or dark tales?
It depends! Being in the right frame of mind does help enormously when it comes to writing humorous tales BUT I have also found writing a light story is wonderful therapy for when I’ve had a rotten day.
Sometimes though, especially when I’ve written a number of lighter tales, I absolutely have to write something darker! Terry Pratchett once referred to “tragic relief”. Full quote below.
You can’t build a plot out of jokes. You need tragic relief. And you need to let people know that when a lot of frightened people are running around with edged weaponry, there are deaths. Stupid deaths, usually. I’m not writing ‘The A-Team’ – if there’s a fight going on, people will get hurt. Not letting this happen would be a betrayal.
Whether I write light or dark tales, it is vital to write “true” – true to your characters. Fiction may be “make believe” but there has to be reality behind it. Readers have to feel as if your world could be real, as if your characters could exist etc. I’ve occasionally come across a character that simply does not ring true for me. That is when I DON’T finish reading the story.
I have to be convinced a character rings true early on and of course knowing what I like here helps enormously when it comes to developing my own.
I’ve mentioned before that one of the things I love about flash is the freedom it gives you to explore other genres.
Given flash has to be character led, you can set your characters anywhere in time, the universe, fantasy worlds etc etc – and I have! You are only limited by your own imagination.
And the best way to feed and stretch that imagination?
By reading of course!
The more you read, the wider you read in terms of genre, the better a “pool” you will have to fish from when seeking ideas as to where to put those wonderful characters you’ve invented! (And you will make the authors you read very happy bunnies too so win-win!).
Paperback, Hardback, or Ebook?
For me, it is all three of course, as I’m sure it is for you.
If I did have to pick one, it would have to be the paperback. I remember the joy, when I was younger, of being able to buy two paperbacks for the price of one hardback and being the book lover that I am, this appealed a lot. (Frankly, it still does!).
I must admit I didn’t rush out to buy a Kindle when they came on to the scene but would not want to be without one now.
It is useful for whenever I’m away and features such as being able to increase font size and bookmark your place are useful. (No more worrying what books to pack either any more. I can take everything I want with me electronically!).
Having said all of that, the hardback is special. It really does feel like a “proper” book. I prefer those with jackets. There is some great artwork on those. My favourites are probably the Josh Kirby covers for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld canon.
Favourite paperback? Hmm… so hard to pick but The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey merits a mention as it is the only novel I’ve ever read which changed my mind about someone (and in this case Richard III).
The Lord of the Rings trilogy merits a special mention too (and yes it is a very heavy paperback!).
Favourite hardback? Hmm… Probably Wodehouse: A Life in Letters. A wonderful book.
Favourite ebook? Hmm… this one is tricky because I have so many wonderful novels and story collections on there amongst others but I think mention must go to Operation Zigzag by Ben Macintyre. I love history in all its forms but this combines non-fiction with a wonderful storytelling technique. Love it.
Whatever you read, I hope this strange period in our collective history might lead to more reading being done.