Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is Writing Sayings – Truth or Nonsense? I share my thoughts about “never judge a book by its cover” and “write what you know” amongst others. I also share a couple of sayings I’d like to see added to the canon of useful writing “proverbs”. See what you think! Comments welcome in the CFT comments box.

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How do your characters handle crises in their lives? Brilliantly, badly, or do they somehow just muddle through? How does handling such events change them and does it do so for better or for worse? Do they have coping “aids” (e.g. chocolate, wine etc) and do they really help the characters cope?

If they were rich, how would they handle losing their wealth? If always enjoying good health, how would illness affect them after they’ve got over it? Would it dent their confidence, changing their behaviour and relationships in other ways? How do other characters handle the change in them?

Change is crucial to any story. Something changes, conflict arises (there’s always someone who will resist change), and lo and behold you have your story, but that is thanks to how your characters deal with this event.

My favourite characters are those who battle against the odds and win. They don’t necessarily have to be charismatic, but they do need grit and determination. This is kind of appropriate given every writer needs tonnes of grit and determination to cope with rejections etc!

Fairytales With Bite – When The Truth Costs Dearly

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is called Writing Sayings – Truth or Nonsense? and I think some of the well-known sayings relating to writing really are nonsensical! See the post if you want to find out which I debunk!

It is a sad fact of life that truth so often is not welcome and that many people pay a very heavy price for it. Does this mean we shouldn’t portray this in fiction?  I think not.  Where it is appropriate to the story to do so, I think you should portray it.  Indeed, it would be difficult not to given every hero has to have something to be a hero about and so often it usually is fighting for the truth about something to come out etc.

So the story here then is what is the truth as it relates to your characters and their world?  Why is it being suppressed and by whom?  How does your hero/heroine ensure the truth does come out?  What price do they pay for doing this (and there is bound to be one, probably a very heavy one at that.  I always liked the ending of The Lord of the Rings where it is made very clear Frodo has been changed so much by his adventures, that more change, another journey, is necessary for him.  I don’t really want to say more than that in case you haven’t read it or seen the films).

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This World and Others – Truth or Nonsense?

My latest post for Chandler’s Ford Today is Writing Sayings – Truth or Nonsense? and it was great fun to write.  I discuss well known writing sayings and debunk a couple of them!  But the “truth or nonsense” bit of the title made me wonder about how this can be shown in our fiction.

What would be considered to be truth in your fictional world?  Does everyone have to subscribe to one faith or one political view?  What happens to the outspoken?

Is there “room” for nonsense in your world?  Is humour encouraged?  Or is it clamped down on because it can be subversive (and great satire is, of course.  It has never gone down well with everyone!)?

Are your characters truthful?  How do they handle having to lie if it is vital they do so?  What nonsense does the government come up with (and every regime from time immemorial has come up with nonsense in its time!)?  Do the people “buy it” or have they seen through it ages ago?  Who controls the media and is it responsible, giving good investigative journalism (to name one example), or does it rely on the government telling it what to say?

Food for thought there I think.



I can’t over-emphasize the importance of loving what you do as a writer.  It can help keep you going when all you get in your inbox (or even still these days your letterbox) are the inevitable rejections all writers get.  Treasure any specific comments you receive on rejections as these can be invaluable for showing up weaknesses etc.

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One thing I love about writing for Chandler’s Ford Today is it has helped me work to a deadline (and a relatively short one at that). Most story competitions give you a reasonable amount of time in which to submit your tales. CFT is weekly.

I have brainstorming sessions every so often for ideas for my flash fiction but I also have some for potential articles for CFT. It takes me a while to work through them too, which is good.

There has to be a link to the local area but that link sometimes is me, especially when I’m interviewing other authors from outside the area.

Writing articles for your local online magazine could be a good place to start and it can lead to you having a track record (always handy for publishers, if you’re submitting work to magazines etc). Okay so you don’t get paid but you do learn a lot from it. I know I have.


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One of the lovely moments in story writing is when you discover you really like your characters and find yourself rooting for them. And you know how the story ends too!

I’m currently editing a story about two ladies of a certain age and love the pair of them! Mind, it probably helps no end I’d probably be in that “certain age” bracket now…

What appeals to you about your own characters? What drove you to write them in the first place? There has to be something special to get you to do so (and that includes villains too. Many a writer has fallen for their own evildoers!).

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Facebook – General

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is called Writing Sayings – Truth or Nonsense? I look at old favourites like never judge a book by its cover and write what you know amongst others. Link to go up tomorrow.

I did find some lovely and useful sayings relating to writing I hadn’t come across before and I share those too (from Mark Twain and Margaret Attwood amongst others). I also share a couple of sayings I’d like added to the canon of wise thoughts.

I enjoy writing all of my posts for CFT but this one was great fun and I hope there will be some good comments after the piece goes live tomorrow.


Books invite you into their world - image via Pixabay

Books invite you into their world. Image via Pixabay.

What new scenes will a book show you - image via Pixabay

What new worlds and scenes will books show you? Image via Pixabay

Some very strange characters can be found inside a book - image via Pixabay

Some very strange creatures are in books. Image via Pixabay

Good advice here - all writers need to fail better - image via Pixabay

Good advice. Image via Pixabay.

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What would I like flash fiction to achieve?

I would love it to tempt reluctant readers into developing a lifelong love of stories and books.

I would love it to tempt the “gadget freaks” into reading it on Kindle (and even via something that needs no batteries at all – the good old paperback!).

I would love it to show those who claim they have no time to read, well actually you do. Flash fiction really does not take that long! (They’d have to think of another excuse not to read then, wouldn’t they?).

I would love it to show that great characterisation does not mean having to use hundreds of words.

Flash fiction is, I think, the ultimate proof that less is more!


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Do you have a favourite writer and, if so, who and why? I’m torn on this. I love P.G. Wodehouse and Terry Pratchett for their humour and ways with words yet their story worlds are so very different! (And that’s another reason I love them both. It’s always good to visit more than one fictional world!).

Whoever your nominee would be, I strongly suspect it is something special about the characters produced by that writer, which would be your deciding factor. (And if that doesn’t settle the argument over character -v- plot, I don’t know what will! Without well drawn characters, any plot falls down badly).

I don’t know about you but I find when recalling a story I’ve not read for a while, I may not remember every single detail about the plot, but I do recall what I loved about the characters.


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Facebook – From LIght to Dark and Back Again

The dash to write a piece of flash
May result in a wonderful tale
But you need the edit to slash
At your draft so your work may not fail.
Cut the rough and know after all
No great work is achieved overnight
Every word must seek to enthral
Out comes anything that might well blight
You find the real tale from that first draft
This is where you develop your craft.

Allison Symes – 15th February 2018

Not arguing with this saying - image via Pixabay

Not arguing with this! Image via Pixabay

Well, would you - image via Pixabay

Well, would you? Image via Pixabay

Too late for me but a saying worth considering - image via Pixabay

Alas, too late for me! Image via Pixabay

Goodreads Author Programme – Blog

Reading, of course, educates, informs and entertains us. I think all three aspects are vital and should feed off each other.

This is where things like the Horrible Histories series have done so well – information presented with humour goes down better, especially with youngsters, than straight facts presented in a more traditional way.

I read chiefly for pleasure but I also read to research and to expand my knowledge on things I may well write about, either in fiction or for Chandler’s Ford Today at a later date.

Things I know I will want to read later I will either download straight to my Kindle or send to it (and this is so useful. I often catch up with reading here when on train journeys).

So does literacy and the love of books still matter? Of course, it does. It always will.