All images from Pixabay/Pexels unless otherwise stated. Book cover images from Chapeltown Books and Bridge House Publishing. Screenshots taken by me, Allison Symes. The autumnal weather has really set in here in the UK. I look ahead this time to a flash fiction workshop I’m running, discuss the writing life, including when work is turned down, and ask if you like fact or fiction or both.
Facebook – General
Am looking forward to running a flash fiction workshop for Elgin Writers via Zoom tomorrow night.
As well as my Chandler’s Ford Today post coming up on Friday, I’ll also be blogging for More than Writers, the blog spot for the Association of Christian Writers. Link to that is due to go up on Thursday. I’ll be looking at Seasons of Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness for that one and the impact of this on writers.
For the various blogs I write for, I work out a writing schedule so I draft my pieces in good time. Again, as with my fiction, I give myself enough time to edit properly before submitting the posts. It pays to do that. Often I have had useful additional ideas to strengthen a piece on having another look through my original draft.
You have to give your imagination time to work. And imagination still comes into play with non-fiction writing, even if it is a case of asking myself have I presented the information in the best way possible? Sometimes changing a bit of the running order can help something I’ve said stand out more so creativity I think comes into play there.
Hope you have had a good start to the working week. Strange weather here today – sunny, blustery, windy, cold – a right old mix. Not that Lady cared. She got to see her Hungarian Vizler pal again today so she (and her pal) were happy.
For Chandler’s Ford Today this week, I’m looking at the topic of Favourites. I wanted, after a rightly more thoughtful piece last week, to show that reflection can have its positive side too. I enjoyed my trip down Memory Lane for this week’s post and hope you do too as I look at favourite books, films, sweets etc. As ever comments are very welcome in the CFT box. Link up on Friday.
Heard today my flash story didn’t make it on to the listings for The Bridport Prize. At some point, I’ll take another look at my entry, see what I can do to improve it, and submit it somewhere else. I’ve mentioned before I have gone on to have work published doing this.
Rejection doesn’t have to be the final word. It can be the chance to polish a piece of work up and try it out there in the big bad world once more. (Incidentally I’m sure I’ve heard later than usual for this – I hope that means something positive!).
I have found you get more used to this kind of thing and that helps. It is all part and parcel of the writing life. Having been on the other side of the judging rostrum, I know it isn’t easy for judges to make their selections. And that’s how it should be. The stories should be as good as possible.
And there is nothing to stop you submitting the piece elsewhere. Another judge may think differently about your work but do take the chance to review your story before sending it out again. I’ve found ways of strengthening a piece when I’ve done this and I’m sure that is what has led to the story then going on to be accepted elsewhere.
Many thanks for the comments coming in on Good For Something, my latest tale on Friday Flash Fiction. Feedback is very welcome and the support from the writing community on this website is great. Do check it out.
Every writer needs some sort of affirmation that their writing is hitting the right note with readers. We know we’re not going to please all of the people all of the time. Nobody does that. What we’re after is knowing we are pleasing someone! So it is a joy to receive feedback and I enjoy giving feedback too.
There is nobody like another writer who will understand the ups and downs of the writing life. Added reason to go to writing groups, courses etc and meet up with other writers. I’ve made many friends this way (bless you, all!) and I hope to continue making other writer pals along my own writing journey.
Today would have been the 62nd wedding anniversary of my parents. Do you use special dates in your fiction at all?
I’ve sometimes written stories involving a birthday. I ought to try and do more with anniversaries as that can cover all manner of things – weddings obviously but also the anniversary of when you met someone special, a historical event and so on.
Also your characters can give a date meaning so stories could be found from exploring that meaning and whether your character treasures it or dreads it but can’t avoid it.
You can also use a a date as a deadline for your characters and put time pressure on them. Okay not so dramatic as a countdown in minutes but you could give them less than 24 hours to achieve something.
You could also think about something that makes a date special for you but would have not meaning to anyone else and try the same kind of thing with your characters. The date can be their driving force to do something because…. Fill in the blanks!
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Hope you have had a good day. Lady and I got a bit of a soaking (I say bit because it could have been worse!) earlier. Not that she worries – one good shake off her coat and she’s done (according to her anyway!).
Looking forward to giving my flash fiction workshop to Elgin Writers via Zoom tomorrow night. I often read a couple of my flash tales as part of things like this. The best way to show what flash is, and can be capable of doing in terms of impact on a reader, is to read some.
Often when I am at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, it take the opportunity of picking up flash collections there to add to my own reading list. Love reading them and I learn a lot from them myself.
You do need to read widely but I would also say you need to read in your genre as well as out of it. Best of all, it’s fun and I find doing this inspiriting. There is never a time when being inspired is ever a bad idea (at least not when it comes to reading books and stories!).
It’s Monday. It’s been a blustery day weather wise. It’s getting darker earlier. We haven’t even turned the clocks back yet here in the UK. Definitely time for a story and here is my latest on YouTube. Hope you enjoy Glad to Get Away. Members of the ACW Flash Fiction Group may recognize this as this tale is based on an exercise I set last week based on the closing line.
One of the joys of leading the Association of Christian Writers Flash Fiction group is setting exercises. Usually I prepare my “answers” in advance to give an example of what can be done with the topic I’ve been talking about. I’ve found having examples has helped me a lot when someone has set a writing exercise for me. It gives you a kind of rough route map and I’ve always found that useful. I then get on with a draft knowing I am heading in the right kind of direction. I don’t want to be “way out” on this.
This time I did something different (and it will certainly be something I will do again). This time I set the exercises but didn’t prepare my answers. I wrote “live” when the others at the group did so we all had rough drafts to take with us and work up into something. So I have a few drafts to work on which will be fun to do.
Don’t forget I issue an author newsletter on the first of the month where I share tips (many of them as relevant to flash fiction as to standard length short stories), links to my flash stories, and so on. If you’d like to sign up head over to my landing page at https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com – would be glad to have you aboard!
Just occasionally when I set an opening line writing exercise or respond to one, I come up with a line which makes a story all by itself. Those are great for sharing on Twitter. Sometimes I go on to extend the story out but it is lovely to have the choice here.
Goodreads Author Blog – Fact or Fiction?
A good book is a good book regardless of whether it is factual or not. I was late to the party when it comes to reading non-fiction but I am glad I’ve discovered the form, I’m also fond of those stories which are based on truth – historical fiction is wonderful for this. I was sorry to hear of the death of Dame Hilary Mantel. I loved Wolf Hall.
The best non-fiction books often read as if they could be a novel (and this is where creative non-fiction is a genre I definitely want to read more of). The irony here though is that fiction can share truths which non-fiction cannot because those truths can’t be “scientifically” verified.
I love it when a character “rings true” and I can put myself in their stead and think yes I would’ve done that too. Of course you sometimes come across a character where you almost want to shout at them “don’t do that”. That’s the fun of fiction though! You can get behind the characters. You don’t necessarily need to agree with all they say and do.
The best non-fiction will show you aspects of a historical character you might not have considered before. The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey is fiction but it is a rare example, for me, of doing just that for Richard III.
Today would’ve been my parents’ 62nd wedding anniversary. Do you use anniversaries, birthdays etc in your fiction?— ACW (@ACW1971) September 24, 2022
Could you use how your character reacts to such things as the basis for a story? If they loathe birthday celebrations, there has to be a story in why that is, yes? pic.twitter.com/nvpTwTgHPk
liked Allison Symes's blog post: Fact or Fiction? https://t.co/LDSbJOOp1r via @goodreads I look at the joys of fiction, non-fiction, and creative non-fiction this week. I share thoughts on the roles of good characters and how non-fiction can show you aspects of renowned figures. pic.twitter.com/AmaxrqcUZ0— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) September 24, 2022
How well do you know your characters? I like to know major traits (and what could happen due to having these).— ACW (@ACW1971) September 25, 2022
I don’t worry about birth dates, but if your character’s birth date ties in with associations they like/dislike, then there could be stories to be written about that. pic.twitter.com/P9vn3KTDll
Think about what a date means to you. Could you get a date to have a similar meaning for your character? Will their story end positively or not? Can your character change what the date means to them? pic.twitter.com/s3FjCOG7X2— ACW (@ACW1971) September 26, 2022
It’s Monday. It’s blustery. It’s getting darker earlier. We haven’t turned the clocks back yet. Time for my latest on YouTube – Glad to Get Away. Members of the ACW Flash Fiction Group may recognize this. It's based on a closing line exercise I set.https://t.co/R36QKljEKj— Allison Symes (@AllisonSymes1) September 26, 2022