Word Games

Image Credit: As ever Pixabay/Pexels, unless I say otherwise.

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

I set some anagrams and other word puzzles in this week’s CFT post, Book Games.

I also share some memories of word games played on car journeys when I was a kid (and most of them you could still do now, once we’re out and about again).

I also look at why word games can be helpful to a writer. Having fun with the language is a good thing! And for flash fiction writers like myself where I often want more than one meaning to words for punchline endings and the like, playing with words and exploiting those meanings is vital.

I’ll be putting up the answers mid-next week. No prizes but kudos to anyone getting them all.

Hope you enjoy.

Feature Image - Book Games

It was great fun setting some word puzzles for this week’s CFT post. I used to invent word searches for the church magazine when I was in my teens. (The last T-Rex had just left the planet. You get the idea of how long ago it was!).

I love playing with words and will often unwind by playing these after a writing session. Of course with the likes of Scrabble, you can get a side benefit of improving your vocabulary as you look up what those strange two and three letter words that ARE valid actually mean!

Looking forward to sharing a new Cafelit story from me which is due on site tomorrow. Have just submitted a short story to a competition. Need to pick on another one to have a crack at. I like writing to themes set by others. It’s a good discipline and makes me up my game here, which is never a bad thing.

Am also looking ahead with prepping material I know I’m going to need later in the year so busy, busy.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend writing/reading/both wise, have fun! Writing is hard work but it should be fun, most of the time anyway.

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W = Wonderful characters created by you.
R = Realistic or fantastical worlds? It’s entirely up to you.
I = Imagination stretched – yours and your readers!
T = Tension increasing as all manner of obstacles get in your lead character’s way but it is fun to drop them right in it!
I = Inventiveness is a great trait in your lead character(s) as they overcome what you’ve thrown at them.
N = Nearing the end of the story, the tension should not let up. There must be a proper and satisfactory resolution. It doesn’t have to be a happy one necessarily!
G = Genre – there are so many of these to write in but what will you choose and why?

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I’m sharing some anagrams and book title puzzles in my CFT post this week. I’ll also be looking at word games in general, how they’ve long been a part of my life, and why I think they’re good for writers. Link up on Friday. (Will post the answers in the comments box on this post at about this time next week. No prizes but plenty of kudos if you get them all).

Lady had a lovely day playing with a border collie lad and then went on to have a “girlie” party in the park with her best buddie, a lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback, and a golden retriever friend. Fab time had by all. It was great to watch them “at work”. None of them were sorry the temperature has dropped! Must admit though it felt more like autumn at times out there today.

Do you find it easier to write in the summer months or when the nights draw in? I try to be fairly consistent but it is easier to focus at your desk when there isn’t the temptation to stay outdoors so I guess that says something positive about autumnal like weather after all!

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I’ve been talking about word games this week in CFT. So how do they help me when I write flash fiction?

Firstly, for my punchline ending tales, I’m often reliant on a humorous one-liner and for those to work best, double meanins of words come into their own. So I have to know ALL of the meanings of the particular words to come up with something suitable for my character/story.

Secondly, I’ve found that playing around with words via crosswords, Scrabble etc., can trigger story ideas and I’m never sorry to have plenty of those to work with!

 

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A = Always think of flash as being focused on the most important character, the most important situation they have to face.
C = Characters make a story so what is special about yours?
R = Reactions to your flash tale – what are you seeking to achieve here? Think about impact on your readers. What would be appropriate for this character and this situation?
O = Originality – it is said there are seven basic plots but what you bring to the mix which is unique is your writing voice. The more you write, the sooner you will discover what that voice is and then you can use it to great effect.
S = Story, story, story. What will keep your readers with you to the end of your flash tales?
T = Tension is even more important in flash fiction. You have ground to cover in fewer words. How can you use these to maximum effect? The tension should not let up until the resolution.
I = Imagination. As flash needs to be character led, flesh out your characters a bit before you write their stories. Make sure you know what they’re capable of and then have fun putting them in situations they have to resolve. Do or die? Literally maybe but not always. There are other ways a character has to overcome something and it is still absolutely vital. What can you explore here?
C = Change. Stories are about the most significant point of change in your character’s life. That literally is their story. So what matters to your character? What has to change and why? Does your character react well to that?

Happy writing!

 

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I suppose the biggest thing getting in the way of writing for me is if I’m really tired. One thing I do when I’m “buzzing and raring to go” is draft blog posts and flash fiction pieces so I have something to post fairly quickly. It makes me feel better (which in itself can help lift some of the tiredness. Feeling down because you’re shattered – well, it doesn’t help).

On days when I’ve been particularly busy, it’s a case of being kind to myself and not expecting too much. This is where having material good to go helps. A bit of polishing finishes the material off nicely and I feel as if I have done something positive. And THAT is always a good thing.

 

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Fairytales With Bite – 

What Triggered Your Love of Fairytales?

I have the nagging feeling I really should have asked this question a long time ago!
For me, the trigger for my life-long love of fairytales comes from The Reader’s Digest Collection of Fairytales which came in two volumes. Both are hefty hardbacks and you wouldn’t want to drop them on your foot!

I loved the stories and beautiful illustrations. These books were given to me by my late parents. I still have the books. The spine on Volume 1 in particular has been bound up by tape! I’m probably going to leave the building long before these books do!

The stories are those collected by Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, as well as originals by Hans Christen Andersen etc. I remember the shock at discovering fairytales didn’t necessarily have to have happy endings when I first read The Little Mermaid.

My favourite overall fairytale is Cinderella. Mind, my first published story was A Helping Hand in Bridge House Publishing’s Alternative Renditions anthology. I look at the Cinderella story from the viewpoint of the younger stepsister who is not best pleased with the fairy godmother turns up again. Great fun to write and, being my first published story, it will always have a special place in my heart. I still love writing fairytales from different viewpoints. It’s good fun!

Looking at why you love stories can help inspire you write your own (and do so better!).

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This World and Others – 

Putting a Fictional World Together

The basic building blocks for putting a fictional world together are, for me, as follows:-

Species – Who will live in this fictional world? One species, a couple, many? If more than one, how do they interact with each other and if they don’t interact at all, what is the reason for that? If you have only one species, how are they sub-divided? Do you have the majority of the species living in an area and a minority live elsewhere? What are the reasons behind this?

Government and Society – This ties in with 1. How are your species governed and by whom? Are they governed well or badly? Can governments be changed? How is society organised? What is expected of everyone and does that vary from species to species? If so, what are the differences and why do they exist? What happens to rebels? (You can pretty much guarantee there will be those who do not like the status quo and won’t accept it so what happens to those who do this?).

Survival – How do the species survive? What do they eat/drink? Is their world an agricultural one and what shape does this take? Do they farm crops as we would know them or farm something very different? Climate and weather and their impact can come into this category too. How much do your readers need to know?

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What Books Mean To Me

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

It’s an absolute pleasure to share Part 1 of my latest series for Chandler’s Ford Today called What Books Mean To Me.

A big thank you to my fabulous guest authors for taking part, especially as I asked them which ONE book they would have to save above all others in the event of a disaster.

Come on, which author would only ever save ONE book?! Still at the end of the three part series I do get to answer that question myself.

The series also explores what reading means to us as readers and as writers. I’m very much looking forward to sharing the remaining two parts of this series.

And if the series gives you some ideas for presents for the book lovers in your life, even better! See it as a shopping list!

My featured authors include YA writers, children’s fiction writers, Scottish crime authors, flash fiction writers (not just me!), paranormal fiction, writers of women’s commercial fiction, and fantasy. Several of my guests wear more than one writing hat (do check them all out!) and some write short stories and flash fiction as well as novels. (Do check them out too!).

I hope you have as much joy in this series as I did in putting it together.

Image Credit: The library and books images are from the marvellous Pixabay. A huge thanks to my guests for supplying their images.

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I start a three part series on Chandler’s Ford Today called What Books Mean to Me. A big thank you to all of my guests who are taking part in this. It was great fun to put together.

I asked writer friends three questions:-

1. What is your favourite book and why?

2. What does reading mean to you?

3. How has reading helped you develop as a writer?

For Question 1, my guests could only pick one book and the deciding factor was it HAD to be the one above all others they would save in the event of a disaster.

Really looking forward to sharing the links over the next three weeks. I will say now there is a wonderful eclectic mix of books chosen too.

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Many thanks, everyone, for the congrats yesterday on the Slimming World result. Much appreciated.

Awful day today. Had no water for a few hours. Now you know what Murphy’s Law is at work here. The moment you know you can only flush the loo ONCE until the water is back on again, you suddenly find yourself keeping on wanting to go! Oh well…

Yes I do feel sorry for the engineers sorting things out. It wasn’t just our house, it seems to be a major part of my postcode area and just when people were coming home for the day too.

Not impressed with a certain water company’s Customer Services. Let’s just say that’s an hour of my life I won’t get back and I was cut off during one call just to add insult to injury so had to go through the queuing system again. Yes, I had to queue. The numbers on the website take you to Customer Services and that’s it. No direct quick response emergency number. That strikes me as odd to say the least.

I tell you, it’s a relief that I’m now about to turn to writing for the evening… I really DO want to escape into something creative and therapeutic! Writing can and does come into its own for enabling you to escape for a while. Bliss!

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

The love of stories (of all lengths) is what drives most writers to want to come up with some of their own – and to keep going when there seems little point in doing so.

I should also add there is some fabulous non-fiction out there which uses fiction techniques very effectively to get their facts across without being in the remotest bit boring. So when book shopping, check out the fiction AND the non-fiction aisles!

I’ve used actual events to inspire flash fiction stories and plan to keep on doing so. There is a lot of history to be inspired by after all!

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Hope to draft some new flash fiction over the next week or so. I am almost there with another collection but would like to add a few new pieces to it.

Unless I’m entering a competition with a specific word count, I never know how long a piece is going to be until I’ve written it. Sometimes what I think will work well at 100 words actually works better at 50 or 250.

It’s always a case of getting the story right first, then worry about the word count. Where a story is better at a longer word count than what you might have envisaged, well there are always open competitions and flash fiction markets with longer word count requirements. There will be a suitable home!

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Ten things I love about flash:-

1. It is direct. No waffle whatsoever. (No room for words like whatsoever either!😀😀).
2. It can be set in any genre or time you want.
3. It has to be character led so if you like inventing people, this is for you!
4. There are so many categories within flash there is bound to be at least one to suit you.
5. There are more competitions and markets for flash fiction now.
6. It is ideal to read on a screen (which is handy when travelling and could be a good way to tempt in a reluctant reader).
7. The form is flexible too. I have written flash tales in acrostic form to name just one. (Yes, it can be done in poetic form too but some would rather keep poetry to poetry and prose to prose and that’s fair enough too. I have written the odd poetic flash fiction story but it’s not something I do often).
8. If you like showing character thoughts and attitudes, again this is a great vehicle for that. It isn’t for long conversations though!
9. The form forces you to focus on what is really important and only that goes in your story. There is no room for more.
10. If you want to find out how to edit, REALLY find out how to edit, then flash fiction is a good way to go!

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Fairytales With Bite –

What Triggered Your Love of Fairytales?

I have the nagging feeling I really should have asked this question a long time ago!

For me, the trigger for my life-long love of fairytales comes from The Reader’s Digest Collection of Fairytales which came in two volumes. Both are hefty hardbacks and you wouldn’t want to drop them on your foot! I loved the stories and beautiful illustrations. These books were given to me by my late parents. I still have the books. The spine on Volume 1 in particular has been bound up by tape! I’m probably going to leave the building long before these books do!

The stories are those collected by Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, as well as originals by Hans Christen Andersen etc. I remember the shock at discovering fairytales didn’t necessarily have to have happy endings when I first read The Little Mermaid.

My favourite overall fairytale is Cinderella. Mind, my first published story was A Helping Hand in Bridge House Publishing’s Alternative Renditions anthology.  I look at the Cinderella story from the viewpoint of the younger stepsister who is not best pleased with the fairy godmother turns up again.  Great fun to write and, being my first published story, it will always have a special place in my heart. I still love writing fairytales from different viewpoints. It’s good fun!

Looking at why you love stories can help inspire you write your own (and do so better!).

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This World and Others – What Books Mean To Me

I’m starting a new three part series on Chandler’s Ford Today called What Books Mean to Me. It has been a great joy putting this together and I hope you enjoy it.

What do books mean to your characters? Is their world a literate one or is the oral storytelling tradition the strongest influence? Are stories welcomed or do your characters have to stick strictly to the facts and imagination is discouraged, punished even?

Can your characters read any books they like or do they have to stick to an official list? Is there a secret underground world of books where banned items can be read?

Do your characters treasure books themselves or do they leave that to others? If so, why?

Attitudes to books and stories can reveal so much about characters and their world settings. There are stories to be written here – lots of them ideally!

Image Credit:  All images from Pixabay.  Captions over on CFT (as are the pictures of my guests this week).

 

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