All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated with many created in Book Brush. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes.
Hope you have had a good week. Looking forward to my interview with Hannah Kate going out on air on 4th March. Find out below how a technical hitch added useful material to my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week. Trust me, this does not happen often!
Facebook – General and Chandler’s Ford Today
Pleased to share Deadlines – How to Make the Most of Them For Chandler’s Ford Today this week. Am relieved too. There was a technical hitch earlier in the week and I had wondered if I would be able to post at all. Still, do see what use I made of this incident in the post itself. In some ways it was timely! I share my thoughts and tips on deadlines, which are a normal part of the writing life. It is just a question of how we handle these and I hope my tips prove useful. I know I have found them so.
Deadlines – How to Make the Most of Them
Hope today hasn’t been too hectic. Pleased to have another Zoom workshop booking in for May. These are great fun to prepare and do. Also got my name down for books to go into the Book Room at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in August – pays to do that early mainly because it makes sure I don’t forget to do it! So looking forward to seeing everyone at what is my writing highlight of the year.
Technical hitches are a pain, right? Well, for my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week, one such thing has helped me prove a point in my text for Deadlines – How to Make the Most of Them! Not something I expected either – find out how when I share the post tomorrow. Also proves material can come to you in unexpected ways. See above.
One thing I discovered early on as a writer was how much I didn’t know about the writing industry and how important it was I rectified that. I did so by joining the Society of Authors. I wanted someone expert in the field to turn to when I needed advice and that so paid off for me. They stopped me signing up with a vanity publisher which would have cost me thousands. I had no idea what vanity publishers were or even that they were out there. I know now.
Time spent in finding out about the writing industry and being prepared to ask questions is never wasted time. I’ve always seen this as steps taken to help me avoid the rogues, find out useful links and connections, and to help me develop my writing.
Never be afraid to ask awkward questions. They can save you a small fortune.
I’ll be talking about Deadlines – How to Make the Most of Them for Chandler’s Ford Today on Friday. I share thoughts and tips and hope people will find it useful. See above. I find deadlines useful, other writers loathe them, but I believe you can use them to help your creativity.
Glad to say the March edition of Mom’s Favorite Reads is now out. March sees International Women’s Day on 8th March so this issue of Mom’s celebrates women. You’ll find my flash fiction column on Page 60 and do check out the fabulous stories in based on the theme. This particular topic of Celebrating Women was great for flash non-fiction too and I was glad to see examples of that come in too.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
It’s Friday. It’s the end of a busy working week (for many of us). Time for another story of mine from Friday Flash Fiction. Hope you enjoy Learning The Trade where my character explains their career choice to a disappointed parent.
As well as taking part in pen Prose Mic Nights when I can (flash is ideal for these, you can’t go on for too long so that pleases the audience too!), I will read a flash piece or two as part of any workshop I run.
Why? Because it is the ideal way to demonstrate what flash can do and be. I mix up the pieces I choose. I like a mixture of funny and those which definitely are not!
Flash is a great vehicle for storytelling moods. I can mix these up along with my characters and what they get up to in my tales, which is something I love doing. I can and do set my characters, and their moods, anywhere I wish.
Flash is liberating like that. It’s only the upper word count you need to watch.
Pleased to share the link to Hannah Kate’s website. I’ll be on her show on Saturday (between 2 and 4 pm) on North Manchester FM. You can get to the Listen Again service via her website though I hope to have a link to share after the weekend. Naturally I’ll be spreading the word about flash fiction again!
When I was first on Hannah’s show back in 2021, I had to pick three books for inclusion in her Library at the End of Days/Apocalypse Books feature. It was hard picking the three books I had to save no matter what but it really made me think about what I picked and why. (I’d still pick the three I have too). Go and have a look at the fabulous collection of books on there. It is impressive!
North Manchester FM: Hannah’s Bookshelf, Saturday 4 March, 2-4pm
Fairytales with Bite – The Perfect Ending
Would you say the perfect ending was the traditional happy ever after of the fairytale world? I would say it could also be considered a new beginning. Part of me also wonders what would happen once the “magic” has worn off. Now I appreciate this kind of tale would not be aimed at children but I like alternative renditions where you see “after the happy ending” played out where people have to work things out as we have to do and this time without the intervention of the fairy godmother!
Having said that my first story in print was called A Helping Hand (Bridge House Publishing – Alternative Renditions – 2009) where I do get the fairy godmother sent back to Cinderella’s youngest stepsister because she wasn’t so unkind as the elder one. That was fun to write. I was so thrilled it was published.
So think about what would make a perfect ending for your characters. Is it really all about the magic, the glitz and the glamour, or for when all that has settled down and your characters have to get on with life by themselves?
For me the perfect ending for any story is when the loose ends are tied up. You know what has happened to the characters. The problem/conflict in the story has been resolved satisfactorily (though that doesn’t necessarily have to be happily. Some of your characters are bound not to be happy at how things turned out – the villains especially!).
But it should feel as it not another word could be added or taken away without spoiling the tale in some way, The story should linger with you too. Then you may have the perfect ending!
This World and Others – Resolutions to Conflicts
Conflict is the bedrock of storytelling. A conflict happens. Characters deal with it. There is resolution of some kind. But how does your world handle a conflict which has been imposed on it by outside sources? Is there such as thing as the United Nations? Or are conflicts always “slugged” out and whoever has the biggest army etc wins? (Must admit I find that thought depressing and limiting for storytelling reasons. If there is no hope of any other outcome, where is the story? It becomes a tragedy only at best I think. I prefer stories which have at least some prospect of hope even if it is isn’t actually delivered during the tale).
This is where knowing some of your world’s history helps. If your setting has a series of dreadful conflicts, did that lead to the founding of peace organisations and the like? Who would be behind these? How did they get these set up? There would be stories here since they would be found to face opposition from the “hawks”. That would be another conflict to resolve!
But stories like that can show so much about character, determination to do right by society as a whole etc. You could show how your world has evolved and got better thanks to having these things, despite opposition.
If your setting is facing a threat to its existence, how would it resolve that one? Would it have problems getting people to fight for it or would they be queueing up to do so? How can it deal with the threat? This is where I think a basic outline would help you to work things out.
I’m not talking about a detailed plan but notes on what your character are likely to come up with/be able to do to resolve the conflict. That kind of outline can help avoid “boxing yourself in “ as you try to work out how a character would resolve an issue. You’ve got some ideas from the get-go, even if you end up not using them as you initially jotted them down. I often find better ideas occur to me as I am writing a first draft but I do find notes a useful way to get started.
BOOK BRUSH READER HUB FOR ME. ALLISON SYMES – BOOK BRUSH READER HUB
MOM’S FAVORITE READS LINK – CHECK OUT THE MAGAZINE INCLUDING MY FLASH FICTION COLUMN HERE –
AMAZON AUTHOR CENTRAL – ALLISON SYMES
Good to see signs of spring appearing. Do the seasons have any bearing on your writing? One positive thing about winter is it is darker for longer, which gives me longer at my desk, and chances to get more done or to have more time on longer pieces of writing. Either is good! pic.twitter.com/P5REESN7QR— ACW (@ACW1971) March 1, 2023
Allison Symes – March 2023 – The Writing Life – https://t.co/zdfcA4GS7t— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) March 1, 2023
Coming up on this Saturday Hannah's Bookshelf on @normanfm1066, I'm catching up with Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) & reviewing two new books (including a collection from @Confingo), plus there's What Are You Reading? and a Library Haul: https://t.co/2gIDhvrKpd— Hannah Kate (@HannahKateish) March 1, 2023
It was great being interviewed by @HannahKateish once again. Looking forward to hearing it go out on Saturday! https://t.co/EcKmynkwb9— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) March 1, 2023
The March issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads is out. International Women’s Day is on 8th March so this issue celebrates women. You’ll find my flash fiction column on Page 60 and do check out the fabulous stories and flash non-fiction in based on the theme. https://t.co/J2uC9KILFP— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) March 1, 2023
Pleased to share link to Hannah Kate’s website. I’ll be on her show on Saturday (2-4 pm) on North Manchester FM. You can get to the Listen Again service via her website. Hope to have another link later. I’ll be spreading the word about flash fiction!https://t.co/i5ZLoHIOS1— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) March 1, 2023
I’ve learned to use those pockets of time we all get every so often to help with writing. Sometimes it’s a case of jotting down notes on my phone app while waiting to be seen for an appointment or if I’m on a train. Those pockets of time mount up so I try to put them to good use. pic.twitter.com/JeVI37ECRo— ACW (@ACW1971) March 2, 2023
Catch Hannah's Bookshelf on @normanfm1066 tomorrow at 2pm, when I've got News, Reviews & an Interview with Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1): https://t.co/2gIDhvrKpd— Hannah Kate (@HannahKateish) March 3, 2023
One good thing about using a phone app for note taking is I no longer waste time hunting for the pens I could’ve sworn I had on me somewhere. Those usually turn up, by the way, just as I’ve finished making my notes on the app. This is this writer’s life! pic.twitter.com/z9owhUGOlq— ACW (@ACW1971) March 3, 2023
It’s Friday. It’s the end of a busy working week (for many of us). Time for another story of mine from Friday Flash Fiction. Hope you enjoy Learning The Trade where my character explains their career choice to a disappointed parent.https://t.co/UE9y2h7hXQ pic.twitter.com/JaI2iBW8mx— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) March 3, 2023
Deadlines – How to Make the Most of Them https://t.co/kAHc1lX3h8 Relieved to share my CFT post after a technical hitch this week. See what use I made of this incident in the post. Deadlines are part of the writing life but how to handle these? I hope my tips prove useful.— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) March 3, 2023