Escape with a good book. Image via Pixabay

THINGS NO WRITER WANTS…

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I look at aspects of life in a magical world that no fairy godmother, worth her training, would want to come across.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Things a Writer could Well do Without is a lighthearted look at some of the irritations writers come across.

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I’ve shared news of my More than Writers blog post for the Association of Christian Writers.  I talk about some of my favourite hymns and their imagery.  I also share news of my forthcoming Chandler’s Ford Today post which will be another in my Away Days series.  More on that tomorrow hopefully.

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The Roman Baths at Bath, the subject of my Chandler's Ford Today post for this week. More to follow tomorrow. Image taken by me.

The Roman Baths at Bath, the subject of my Chandler’s Ford Today post for this week. More to follow tomorrow. Image taken by me.

 

 

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The scribe's tent at the Medieval Weekend held in Hampshire earlier this summer. Image taken by me.

ON BEING A FAIRYTALE WITCH

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Continuing with my Ideal Candidate series, tonight I look at the role of the witch in the fairytales.  Advantages you include never having to moisturise and knowing  you can curse as much as you like because the latter is precisely what is expected of you!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I share which fictional characters I would interview if it were possible to do so.  Who would you choose and why?

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I was delighted to discover on reading the most recent Road to Agincourt Project newsletter that Chandler’s Ford Today and I are in it!  My Facebook author page shares the link on this.  And thanks again to the Road to Agincourt Project for this.

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The scribe's tools of the trade in medieval times. Image taken by me.

The scribe’s tools of the trade in medieval times. Image taken by me.

 

Heavenly books. Image by Pixabay

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

The above title is not a reference to the US elections, honest!  Instead, my post, The Ideal Candidate for being a Talking Animal in a Fairytale, gives some thoughts as to what a talking animal in a fairytale should be like.  It definitely has to be more intelligent than your average human….

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

This post, What a Good Character Will Do For You, outlines some of the things I’ve found to be true about a really good character.  Though I say “good character”, this post also refers to the well portrayed villains too, without whom there is no story.

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I discuss my tendency (in the past) to over edit a story or an article.  It is a form of procrastination and the only way to make progress in writing is to send your stories out there and see what happens.  Learn from the comments you may attract.  What I do now is write the piece, edit it, put it aside for a few days, then look at it again and then get the piece out there.  If there is one thing I have learned as a writer, it is that nobody ever writes the perfect piece of work.  They can’t.   Neither can I so you aim for as near perfection as you can get.

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The classic beginning for all stories... Image via Pixabay

The classic beginning for all stories… Image via Pixabay

 

Shelves of stories waiting to be discovered. Image via Pixabay

IDEAL CHARACTERS AND FAIRY GODMOTHERS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I share what I think makes up the perfect qualities of the ideal fairy godmother.  What do you think?  Do you agree?  Are there qualities I’ve missed out?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Continuing with the theme of idealism, I ask what makes the perfect character from the writer’s viewpoint.  Amongst other things I suggest that the writer should be sympathetic to their character’s flaws but not be annoyed by their virtues.  Do you agree?  I remember reading Agatha Christie became thoroughly fed up with Hercule Poirot.  So how as writers do we remain in love with our characters enough to keep on writing about them?  That is really relevant of course for series writers but see what you think of my suggestions here.

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I share what I like about classical music and admit I don’t know that much about it!  What matters is that I know what I like when I hear it.  And the same can go for writing to an extent.  I know what I like when I read it.  And that goes for my own stories as well as those of other writers.  It’s definitely time to move on to another story if you are not gripped by it.  And this is something to watch for when editing your tales.  Is your story gripping you? If not, it won’t grip anyone else!

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From paper to PC, characters and stories must grip you as the writer first if they are to have any hope of gripping readers! Image via Pixabay

From paper to PC, characters and stories must grip you as the writer first if they are to have any hope of gripping readers! Image via Pixabay.

Notebooks - ancient and modern. Where characters start to take shape. Image via Pixabay.

WHEN THINGS GO WRONG

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

When Things Go Wrong takes a look at those moments when certain fairytale characters would have known they would have been far better off staying at home that day. (But alas didn’t!).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

A Bad Day sets out some story ideas as to what could go wrong for your characters and above all how they handle this.  At the very least the thoughts here might give you ideas for how to flesh out your characters more because true character is shown when someone is put under unexpected stress.  The pretences, the cover ups all come crashing down.  If you really want to know what your characters are made of, drop them right in it!  How do they react?

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Tonight’s theme is the joy of outlining.  I also share which Scrivener tools I use to help with this process, which I find particularly helpful for the standard short story.  For flash fiction, I give myself one line and the “mood” of the story as the outline and away I go but Scrivener has some useful templates short story writers might find useful.  I do anyway.

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Have notebook. Will jot down ideas for how to drop my characters right in it and work out how they get out of it again. Image via Pixabay.

Have notebook. Will jot down ideas for how to drop my characters right in it and work out how they get out of it again. Image via Pixabay.

One of the exhibits at the Steam Museum, Swindon. Image taken by me.

PRACTICAL WORLD BUILDING

Tonight’s posts all have a being practical theme to them.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I look at Transport in the current post having visited a railway museum today.  Magic would be an obvious form of (a) fuelling transport systems and (b) actually being the transport system.  But there is a downside to most things in life, including transport, so where would that be in your fictional creation?  How much magic does it take to enable someone to fly?  Can everyone in your world manage it?  Just a few thoughts to consider…

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I look at Practical World Building and set a few questions that I hope may help anyone who is starting off on the process of creating their own world but may not be too sure of where to start.  It is a big undertaking when you think of it – a whole world out of nothing except what your fertile imagination can invent.  But this is where looking around at the world we live in can be such a good place to start.  What is your world’s equivalent of the trains for example?  And Terry Pratchett famously started by working out what the plumbing would be for Ankh-Morpork (the waste has to go somewhere and fresh water, or as fresh as possible, is crucial of course).

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I talk more about my railway museum visit and speculate what it is about history (including things like the history of transport) that I love.  It is all about stories.  The story of this, the story of that, when all is said and done but there are fascinating tales in our past, any one of which can be used as inspiration for kickstarting our own ideas into play.

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At the Steam Museum, Swindon. Women at work during WW2. Image taken by me.

At the Steam Museum, Swindon. Women at work during WW2. Image taken by me.

 

 

A beaten knight but Richard III's injuries at Bosworth would have been far more horrific. Image via Pixabay.

IMPOSSIBLE INTERVIEWS

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

Tonight’s post is the start of a new occasional series, Impossible Interviews, in which I interview historical figures.  My “guest” tonight?  Richard III!  Maligned or monstrous?  What do you think?  For anyone with a love of history I think it is fair to say you can’t be impartial about the king.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I take the Impossible Interviews theme a bit further with my post here tonight.  Called Impossible Interviews – In the Magical World, I look at who I would interview in such a setting.  I would quiz those who set the magical standards as to why they have set them the way they have and also chat to those who are very low down in the magical pecking order.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In Doing the Impossible: Listening to Characters, I ask if it were possible for you as the writer to listen to what your characters have to say to you, would you do so?!  Are they happy with the way you’ve portrayed them and if not, why not, and what will you do about it?!

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I share the link to my Chandler’s Ford Today post.

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The Bard tells a cracking story but that doesn't mean any of it is true! Image via Pixabay

The Bard tells a cracking story but that doesn’t mean any of it is true! Image via Pixabay

 

Fiction or not, books are the gateways to other worlds. Image via Pixabay.

THE WORKING LIFE

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Unwinding at the End of the Day is tonight’s post on Fairytales with Bite.  I look at how characters unwind and ask what might happen if their lives are turned upside down so any chance of unwinding goes completely (think Frodo Baggins knowing he’s got to go on a quest he’s unlikely to survive to try to get rid of the Ring of Power – just how do you cope with that?).  Also given we all need to unwind, so do our characters and this aspect should show more of their personalities, always helpful in the overall portrayal.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

The Working Life by contrast looks at this aspect of a character’s life.  What work do they do?  In a magical world, what is done workwise without the aid of magic given to use that kind of power all the time is bound to be draining on the practitioner?  Also who carries out the lowly jobs that need doing but where using magic is probably going to be overkill?  (In any world someone has to take out the bins for example!  Do you really want to use magic for that?!).

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I discuss the one thing that makes a good story or book as far as I’m concerned – the quality of the characters.  Are they believable?  I also share a brief thought on villains and on characters that are too good! Do you agree?

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A beautiful place in which to read stories - image via Pixabay

A beautiful place in which to read stories – image via Pixabay

 

 

 

Fairytale magic. Image via Pixabay

THE FAIRY GODMOTHER’S TO DO LIST

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Any fairy godmother who ever hopes to survive long enough to make a career out of her role knows there is nothing that can beat research and thorough preparation.  So she and her colleagues all have to-do lists.  My post looks at what you could expect a fairy godmother to have on hers.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Moods and Meanings looks at how music can create and affect moods.  The post also discusses how we can disguise our real meanings except from those who know us really well. Can your characters do that and who do they want to hide things from and why?  Plenty of food for thought there.

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I go back to my childhood in my post tonight and look back at the fiction I really loved all those years ago.  I caught up with Dahl thanks to my son loving his books but for me I suppose it was the fairytales and the Famous Five that most grabbed my attention.

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The way to the magical realm perhaps? Image via Pixabay

The way to the magical realm perhaps? Image via Pixabay

Heavenly books. Image via Pixabay

MIXING IT UP

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Tonight’s post is called Mixing It Up where I discuss variety in writing in terms of what you write and also in terms of short stories. After all there are markets and competitions now for the very short story and the much longer one so have a go at both!   I also share news of a flash fiction piece of mine, Telling the Time, which first appeared on the Cafelit website now being available in their annual anthology, The Best of Cafelit 5

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Not the most imaginative title I know but my post tonight called Ten Writing Tips I’ve Found Useful sums up this blog nicely!  Hope you find at least some of the tips useful.

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Again I share news of The Best of Cafelit 5 on my Facebook Author page tonight but I also refer to Baubles, the upcoming Bridge House Publishing annual anthology, where I’ll also have a story appearing.  More details on that when that book comes out.

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A world of technologies means more places for stories to appear! Image via Pixabay

A world of technologies means more places for stories to appear! Image via Pixabay