Why Write and Using Writing Prompts

Facebook – General

Scribblers Books also shared details of the special offers on my writing available for this week only, folks!  A reminder about these offers follows shortly.

One of the nicest things a writer can experience is signing one of your books for a reader! Congratulations to Jim Bates who will be receiving a signed copy of my From Light to Dark and Back Again in due course. (You don’t tire of signing books for things like this!).

And a huge thank you to everyone who has supported my being author of the week for Bridge House by sharing posts, sending congratulations etc. Much appreciated!🙂💐💐♥️

BOOK OFFER REMINDER

Book news! I’m Bridge House Publishing/Chapeltown’s author of the week and there are free books up for grabs AND special offers on others. What’s not to like?

I’ve had the great pleasure of being published by BHP/CB in various anthologies as well as with From Light To Dark and Back Again. These form the basis of the package below.

BOOK PACKAGE: There are SIX, count them SIX, publications where I have work on offer for £4.00, all as mobi-files. This includes To Be…To Become (the Waterloo Festival competition, anthology), Baubles (BH anthology), The Best of Cafelit 4, 5 AND 6 and From Light to Dark and Back Again, my first flash fiction collection.

And for those of you who would like print paperbacks there’s an offer for you too.

PAPERBACK OFFER: My first published story was A Helping Hand in Bridge House Publishing’s Alternative Renditions. That isn’t available on Kindle BUT is in paperback and that along with From Light to Dark and Back Again is on offer at a mere £7.00 for the two!

GIVEAWAY:  Still available,  I’m giving away one signed copy of:-

Alternative Renditions OR
Baubles OR
One of the Best of Cafelit books I’m in.

 

If you’re interested email my lovely editor, Gill James, at editor@bridgehousepublishing.co.uk with your contact details. Also let her know which of the books you would like and Gill and I will take things from there.

All of the above books are available on Amazon.

And if you would like to try some of my work out first, head over to Cafelit at http://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/…/l…/Allison%20Symes

 

Scribbler also shared the links to my Chandler’s Ford Today author page where I often write on topics of interest to the writing community (such as The Benefits of a Good Writing Conference, Creativity is Good For You, Fiction -v- Non-Fiction etc etc)

Next challenge? Get more out there! Pic below is of my flash fiction collection on sale at last year’s Swanwick Writers’ Summer School Bookshop. Always a thrill to know your book is in there!

Oh and the offer ends this Friday, 18th January.

What Barbara Large's writing classes will help writers discover - what is their story - image via Pixabay

A good writing group will help you discover this. Pixabay image.

Loving the writing prompts in my diary. (Pictures like the woodland and other landscape ones below are great for suggesting atmosphere and therefore what type of story I’m likely to come up with). Looking ahead a little, there is a nice mixture of picture prompts, suggestions of words to use to create an opening for a story or poem (flash fiction in my case), and pieces asking you to describe something in a setting (for example a journey in winter, which is the one for this week). These are going to make a nice challenge for me. 52 new flash fiction stories at least then this year!

I like coming up with title ideas every so often and will come up with a dozen or so. Then I write the stories to suit. I deliberately choose “open” titles, open in terms of what the mood/setting of the story could be. I like to have plenty of possibilities to play with and then I go with the one I like best. The other ideas I will revisit at a later date. They may suit another story.

Why write?

1. Because you have to. There is just something hardwired into your brain driving you to write.

2. To give something back to the wonderful world of stories you’ve enjoyed (and still enjoy) being part of.

3. Because there are characters and stories you simply have to develop. (Ties in with 1 above though 1 can apply to non-fiction writers just as much).

4. Because you read something awful and know you can do better. So you rise to the challenge and do it!

5. Because it’s a joy to do, whether you seek publication or not.

6. You always loved inventing stories at school so why stop there?

7. To see if you CAN do it and then see if you can improve on what you do.

8. To explore what it is you actually want to write and maybe discover areas of writing you had not known about before.

9. You come across a writing competition you really like the sound of and you think it may have your name on it. There’s only one way to find out if that’s right!

10. You believe most people have some sort of creative/artistic “bent” to them and writing is the most natural for you.

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Is it harder to write a book or promote one? Answers on a…well I don’t think a postcard would be big enough.

Both have their challenges and rewards of course. Getting the balance right between doing both is tricky. Always has been, always will be, and I think every writer has to work out what works for them.

It is one of those things that when I first started writing seriously for publication, everything was still sent by snail mail. These days practically every story I submit anywhere is by email.

And to not be involved with social media in some way (even if you focus on one, say) is a serious disadvantage. What I like best about social media is the way it can help you to engage with other people and ultimately isn’t that what we’re trying to do through our writing, whether it is for educational or good old sheer entertainment purposes?

(No time for trolls though – the only place for those is in a fairytale!).

When writing light stories, what are you looking to achieve? I want to write stories that make people smile (I’m not necessarily aiming for the laugh out loud moment). The impact I want to leave on a reader is one of them having had a hugely enjoyable read. I know I’m always cheered up no end reading stories like that.

As for the dark stories, I sometimes want to make the reader shudder, I want to make them see how and why my character would act the way they are, and then be glad they’re not in the situation I’ve put the characters in!

I like a balance of both types of story in my books and I also like reflective character study pieces too. I find, when reading this kind of story by other writers, they’re the stories that make me think the most. The “would I have done that in those circumstances?” kind of story has a quieter impact than the funny or scary tales, but the impact is there all the same.

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When writing a story in flash
Don’t decide you’ll be oh so rash.
By just writing everything down.
Tangents occur to make you frown!
Plan your ideas, a note will do,
Sketchy, detailed, it’s up to you.
Stories are stronger if they’re planned.
Saves many a tale being panned!

Allison Symes – 14th January 2019

This one comes from direct experience! Sometimes my outlines are as little as a sentence. For longer stories, I go into more detail. I deliberately don’t plan everything out. I want to encourage the imagination to “fire up” and not stifle it but a plan sends me in the right general direction.

I love the Scrivener templates for character and setting outlines. I draft those and they get me into the world of my story idea so quickly. But there is no reason why, if you don’t use that kind of software, you can’t think of a useful template of your own. Think about what you need to know about your characters before you start writing about them. Base a template on that. It will come in handy many times.

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Echoes can be useful in flash fiction. In my Pen Portrait I refer to a character that follows the “Shirley Williams school of thought rather than Margaret Thatcher’s” when it comes to caring for hair!

If you recall both of those politicians, you will remember they had very differing hair styles. I’m sure the latter’s would not have moved an inch even in a hurricane. (Also for those who don’t recall but wish to do so, it’s easy enough to look up pictures of these two. Indeed you only need to look up one of them to get some idea of what the other would be like here).

What’s useful is the mention of these two politicians will give a reader an idea of the age of the character without me spelling it out, as well as what their approach is to brushing their hair!

Think about what you could use to convey information across to readers like this. Echoes are a great word count saver!

Goodreads Author Blog – Good Books

What defines a good book for you?

For me a good book is one that fulfils its purpose, whether that is to make me laugh, show me a world I did not know previously, or help me improve my history knowledge etc.

It has to keep me gripped to The End. I have to be eagerly looking forward to reading the next chapter when I read in bed. (And be mightily miffed if the Sandman comes along a bit early and I don’t get to read for as long as I’d like).

A good book will have writing that takes my breath away with the joy of how it is put together. P.G. Wodehouse is the master there as far as I’m concerned.

Humorous books have to not only make me laugh out loud, but to keep me smiling until The End. I love books which are obviously funny but which raise smiles by their subtle use of language, puns etc. Again Wodehouse is brilliant here and so was Terry Pratchett.

Crime fiction has to bring out the “I’ve got to find out what happens next” feeling. And it must deliver on its promise. Historical fiction has to make me feel “yes, it could have been that way” and so on.

Good books I always re-read. Maybe that is the true test of a great read.

Says it all really and both must balance out Pixabay image

So true. Pixabay image.