Adaptations and What I Look For in a Fictional World

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What do you think about adaptations? Are they good or do they stifle new work coming through?

See my thoughts on that topic in my latest CFT post. I also discuss remakes, share my favourite adaptations and discuss what makes for a good one (and what makes for a bad one!). See what you think and do share your favourite adaptations via the CFT comments box.

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Just enjoyed listening to Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens on Classic FM. This is the theme to my book trailer (so wonderfully produced by Chapeltown Books) for From Light to Dark and Back Again and is fondly remembered for being the theme used for Jonathan Creek. Every time I hear the piece, I smile – I guess it’s a kind of “my song” moment!

Saddened to hear of the death of Andre Previn today. The Morecambe and Wise Greig Piano Concerto sketch with him was comedy genius and my favourite comedy sketch. Previn’s look of frozen horror is just fabulous. I automatically think of this sketch when this concerto is played – as I suspect most people over a certain age do!

I write with classical music on in the background and find it helps me relax and get into the writing mindset. That and a nice drink helps very nicely!

When is a adaptation a good one? I’ll be looking at this later this week with my CFT post. (I’ll also be sharing my thoughts on what makes a bad one!).

I suppose one thing about writing flash fiction is you know they’re never going to be make a film out of your work. The best you can hope for is a series of shorts!! Appropriate somehow I think…

Give some thought as to what your favourite adaptations are and why. Comments will be very welcome over at CFT.

I like to see a good balance between adaptations and new work coming through, whether it is in books, for radio, TV, or what have you. You need the new blood coming through but tried and tested favourites have got to be that way for a reason and shouldn’t be discarded.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I discuss adaptations in my CFT post this week. Short stories are often adapted for the screen (The Birds by Daphne du Maurier is probably the most famous example). Maybe it is a matter of time before a flash fiction piece is adapted – okay it probably will have to be a short but that’s fine!

Ironically, I’ve used moments from film to inspire my flash fiction stories so maybe there can be a two way process going on here.

One of the challenges facing a flash fiction writer is resisting the urge to bring too many characters into the story. Flash fiction works best with one to two characters only (and I love to get my people to refer to others who never actually appear in the tale. The mention is important to the plot but the absent character isn’t actually needed to turn up and “perform”).

The great joy with having a bigger cast of characters is being able to get so many interactions going but that really is best left for the longer short story and, even better, the novel. Flash fiction has to pinpoint and focus sharply. I’ve found it best to focus on one lead character and take things from there. I ask what is important for this character to know, to do, or to say that will bring the story to the right conclusion. Whatever doesn’t fit stays out.

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I have a Dogs calendar on my desk which has an appropriate “Thought for the Day” on it. (Or should that be “bark for the day”?). All coming in at well under the 50-words mark. Flash fiction with bite, anyone?

Given I put up Street Cred about cats the other day, I should redress the balance and put up a story about my favourite pet, dogs.

She collected specimens, whether they wanted it or not. They didn’t get to argue for long. They didn’t have to be alive for a start. Tell them that and she usually got their co-operation.
So why was this one being so belligerent? She couldn’t remember when someone last argued with her. She did know nobody ever got to tell the tale. All she had to do was inform her supervisor there was an awkward one. Everyone back home understood that.
Well nobody was going to make a dent in her track record. She whipped out a light gun and aimed it at the miniscule creature in front of her. It was a stupid looking thing. All fur, floppy ears, and big brown eyes. Goodness knew why the bosses wanted it.and then she found out.
The puppy sat, whimpered, and held up a paw. There was a husk of some sort in there.
She put the gun down, gently removed the husk, and was rewarded with a big lick across her three pink noses.
She scooped the pup up in her elongated pink arms. ‘Sod the bosses. You’re staying with me. Let’s find you something to eat.’
The pup squealed and wagged its tail. She smiled. She’d not had anything nice happen for a long time. She’d focussed on just getting the job done.
There were going to be changes around here.

Allison Symes
27th February 2019

Hope you enjoy! Lady is generally more appreciative of walks and playtimes in the park!

Inquisitive Lady -1

Inquisitive Lady. Image by Allison Symes

Fairytales with Bite – Ideas and How to Find Them

This is by no means an exhaustive list but this includes some sources I’ve found most useful when generating story and article/blog post ideas.

1.  Proverbs and sayings.  What can you come up with, say, to fit the proverb “love is blind”? A book of proverbs is great for dipping into for themes you’d like to try to write to and generally are not that expensive to buy.

2.  Classic fairytales.  Look for the themes behind them.  A common one is that of wrongs being righted (see Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel to name but a few).  How could you use that theme?  And that is just one to play with!  There are others.

3.  Films.  Again look at the theme but also look at the theme of the sub-plots (there will be at least one in any good movie).

4.  Advertising slogans.  Don’t copy word for word but adapt.  (This ties in nicely with my CFT post this week on Adaptations!).  For example, in the UK, there was a slogan from years ago which was “go to work on an egg”, advertising the virtues of eating eggs.  Your theme could be something like “go to work on…” and name a foodstuff of your choice or a vehicle we don’t see on Earth etc.  Let your imagination run riot!

Happy writing!

This World and Others – What Do I Look For in a Fictional World?

This can only be a brief summary but the important points I look for in a fictional world are:-

1.  Characters.  They can have three heads, two noses or what have you, but the important point is I’ve got to be able to root for the characters, whether it is to cheer them on to success or hope they come crashing down.  There has to be something about them I love or loathe but makes me want to read on to find out what happens to them.

2.  A sense of how the world is governed.  I don’t need all the details, they’ll get in the way of the story, but I need to know that your characters know the rules of their world and how these affect them as the story progresses.  For example, in a world where there is no oxygen, what do your characters breathe instead?  DO they breathe (or are they water dwellers)?

3.  The details given are relevant to the story.  Enough said I think!

4.  A sense of what it would be like to live in that world.  I don’t necessarily have to want  to live there.  I may be very glad I don’t in fact but this sense of what it would be like is enough for me to create my own mental images of what your fictional world might look like.  That in turn helps me engage with that world and the characters you’ve put in it.

5.  A sense that it could exist somewhere out in the universes.  No matter how unlikely, the possibility should be there!  This means that there has to be a sense of a world that can sustain itself, possibly trades with other worlds and so on.

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