Six of the seven books my stories have appeared in (okay in the case of Limerick Nation, one limerick!). Baubles is the other book. Image taken by me.

LITTLE THINGS/REALISTIC DIALOGUE

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Little Things, I discuss those little traits that reveal what a character is really like.  Some of these things will be unconsciously done. Others may be deliberately put on to try to reinforce what that character wants other characters to see about them.  (A kind of “building up the image” reaction).  Little things like this can back up the main portrayal of a character or flatly contradict it.  (Personally, I think the little things really do give people and characters away).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Realistic Dialogue is, for me, writing speech clearly and not necessarily as we actually speak it.  Too  many “umms” and “errs” make for a boring read.  Using slang or regional accents can be problematic.  Clarity is the most important thing of all.

PUBLICATION NEWS

Received my copies of Baubles today, this year’s anthology from Bridge House Publishing.  My story, Helping Out, is in there.  Love the cover.  Have shared the link to the Baubles Facebook page.  Am looking forward to going to the joint launch (with Cafelit) in London on Saturday.  I also have a story, Telling the Time, in this year’s The Best of Cafelit 5. 

https://www.facebook.com/Baubles-204986853276063/

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And for the Baubles book trailer:-

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I discuss how long my Kindle battery lasts (!) and talk about the arrival of Baubles.  My stories have now appeared in 7 different books.  Am very pleased with that and hope to build on it.

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Love the cover for this. Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

Love the cover for this. Image supplied by Bridge House Publishing.

 

 

 

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One of the best ways to escape is with a good book. Image via Pixabay.

WHAT NOT TO SAY TO A MAGICAL BEING

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

What Not to Say to a Magical Being is full of advice to prevent magical disaster hitting you.  The temptation to let your mouth run riot when faced with a magical being who may or may not be past their prime must be resisted.  If you want to see the next hour that is…

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Closing Lines is a follow-up post to yesterday’s Revealing Opening Lines.  A good closing line ends the story at an appropriate point, leaving you wanting more (but deep down you know the writer is right to finish there, anything else would be padding). I share an example of one of my closing lines.  In this particular case, it would also make a good opening line for a second story and I must look into that!  But that is often the way with a good closing line – it can give you the spark for a new tale.

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I discuss tag verbs tonight, following a conversation I had via FB with another writer, Geoff Parkes from Southampton Writers’ Circle.  I share my approach to this.  For me, the golden rule is clarity.  If it is clear enough from context who is speaking, why bother with a tag verb?  Equally “he said/she said” is absolutely fine most of the time.  Comments welcome!

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This statue reminds me of myself when I was a lot younger. Okay I wasn't made of stone (I'm still not!) but I did always have my head in a book. (And do so as often as I can now!). Image via Pixabay.

This statue reminds me of myself when I was a lot younger. Okay I wasn’t made of stone (I’m still not!) but I did always have my head in a book. (And do so as often as I can now!). Image via Pixabay.

 

 

Where stories emerge these days... Image via Pixabay

TOP 10 TRAITS FOR FAIRY GODMOTHERS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I list my Top 10 Traits for Fairy Godmothers tonight.  At least they’re the traits you would want  your fairy godmother to have if you were fortunate enough to have one turn up on your doorstep announcing they’re there to help you!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Revealing Opening Lines gives some examples of opening lines that give a lot of information in a few words.  Two of them I’ve invented for this post.  One is the start of a flash fiction piece, George ChangesMind Mind, which will appear in my flash fiction collection, From Light to Dark and Back Again (Chapeltown Books – (UK)).

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I discuss Argentina’s winning of the Davis Cup (am so pleased for Del Potro) and share one of my favourite memories relating to my late mum and Andy Murray’s first Wimbledon win.

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Where stories used to start... image via Pixabay.

Where stories used to start… image via Pixabay.

 

 

You can't beat pen and paper when it comes to brainstorming ideas. Image via Pixabay.

BRAINSTORMING IDEAS AND CHANGING CHARACTERS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I look at Brainstorming Ideas and share a few thoughts on why I find this useful.  I never worry whether I have a scrap of an idea (it can be enough to get a flash fiction piece written!) or if I have a few paragraphs on something.  I just write with no restrictions in this kind of session.  After all, nobody else has to see the results.  Brainstorming can also be incredibly liberating too.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In Changing Characters I list 10 things I like to see in any character in any story.  This includes always having good (if only to them) reasons for acting the way they do (especially important if you want to avoid your villain being a cardboard cut-out).  Then there’s the ability to learn from their mistakes too.  What else could you add to my list?

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I discuss my favourite Terry Pratchett character (and why I chose them) and why I think his Going Postal has one of the great all-time openings.

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Creative writing includes blogging but also brainstorming sessons to generate future ideas. Image via Pixabay.

Creative writing includes blogging but also brainstorming sessons to generate future ideas. Image via Pixabay.

 

How the very best fairytales start... Image via Pixabay

A DASH WITH THE FLASH

I do have a soft spot for rhyming titles so when I get the chance to write one…

Tonight’s theme is flash fiction.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I share a new flash fiction story, The Magician, on FWB and discuss why I love writing flash.  Hope you like the story.  Let’s just say pet owners will identify with this one.  I love flash because I can use it as a format for writing moments which simply aren’t enough in themselves to sustain a standard length short story.  The Magician I think is a good example of that.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Moments in Flash describe what I look for when writing a flash piece.  I need a moment to get me started or finished and I can work from there.  Flash is the only format in which I sometimes start with the ending and work backward to the start point.  It is also brilliant for using a punchline (and I love those).  I sometimes use the Hemingway six words story exercise to get me started on a piece.  I also share how I started writing flash fiction.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I’m pleased to share news of a local author book launch for this week’s post.  Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway by Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts is being launched at the Independent Holiday Shop in The Brooks, Winchester on Saturday 3rd December.  The book is aimed at armchair travellers and railway fans.  I’m only sorry I can’t go but it is for the best reasons.  I’ll be at the Bridge House Publishing/Cafelit joint book launch for Baubles and The Best of Cafelit 5 respectively.  I have stories in both of these and am looking forward to catching up with everyone again.  I very much hope the launch in Winchester for Messrs. Kyrle and Roberts goes well.  I also hope the launch in London for Bridge House and Cafelit also goes well.

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Again I share news about the Jottings book launch.  I also report I’ve sent the proof back now on my flash fiction collection (and it looks good!).

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En route.  Image via Pixabay.

En route. Image via Pixabay.

 

Fairytale heroines. Image via Pixabay.

FAIRYTALE HEROINES

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Fairytale Heroines shares what I like most in said characters – everything from being intelligent and resourceful to not just relying on Prince Charming.  One of my recent favourite heroines is Princess Fiona from Shrek.  (Incidentally, I don’t really know why she clearly thought she was ugly as an ogre – she wasn’t!).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Structure shares my thoughts on story structuring.  I prefer to think of it as the “edit where I check my story makes sense” but appreciate that is something of a mouthful.  I also share how many edits I carry out on a story and why.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

My post this week is to share news of a local author book launch.  Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts are bringing out Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway in a fully illustrated book.  Their launch is in Winchester in early December.  More details in the post which is due to appear tomorrow.  Always good to share news of a local author launch (and given I’ve got a book coming out I won’t pretend to be unbiased here!).  I hope this launch goes well.

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I share my thoughts on Andrew Marr’s recent series, Paperback Heroes – Sorcerers, Spies and Sleuths (I think I’ve got that in the right order, apologies if not but the three elements are definitely correct!).  I also share my thoughts on creative writing courses which this series linked to via the Open University.

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Listening to an inspiring crative writing talk... Image via Pixabay

Listening to an inspiring crative writing talk… Image via Pixabay

 

 

 

Whatever quest they are going on, I discuss 5 things no fairytale character should be without. Image by me!

FIVE THINGS NO FAIRYTALE CHARACTER SHOULD BE WITHOUT

Short and sweet posts from me tonight…

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I do love titles that tell you all about the contents of the post and I think my Five Things No Fairytale Character should be Without fits well into my “collection”!  As ever, can you add to the list?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Fantastic Flash Fiction again fits in my with my “title tells you all you need to know” theme!  I list several reasons why I think flash fiction really is a fantastic form of storytelling.  Do you agree?

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I discuss Ben Macintyre’s The Last Word, which includes a very funny study into George W Bush’s unique take on the English language.  It is also a thoughtful study and a great read.  Highly recommend.

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There must be some truly fantastic fiction here.  Image via Pixabay.

There must be some truly fantastic fiction here. Image via Pixabay.

 

 

 

Do your characters know in which direction they're going? (Border collie is optional!). Image via Pixabay.

A NEW DIRECTION

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

A New Direction asks about how your characters handle those situations where they must take a different path to the one they were on/wanted to stay on.  Do they resent having to change?  As for those characters who act as guides to others, are they reliable?  Do they do their work well?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Building Up discusses the need for characters to build on any successes or failures they have had.  Do our characters learn from their mistakes and move on (the way we all should!)?

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I’ve sent off details of my most recent publication news to an online newsletter.  Hope they take it.  I will use the basis of what I have sent tonight for publications which I know share Members’ News and spread the word a bit.  It has been a busy but productive few months, the best I have had to date, and I hope to build on that for 2017.  Hence my themes for tonight’s website posts!

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How do your characters handle matters when forced to change direction and take a path they had not expected or wanted? Image via Pixabay.

How do your characters handle matters when forced to change direction and take a path they had not expected or wanted? Image via Pixabay.

Images from the magical world... Image via Pixabay

WHEN YOU NEED MORE THAN A MAGICAL WAND (TO KEEP YOU OUT OF TROUBLE)

I had fun with one of the titles tonight!  Care to guess which one?!

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

When You Need More than a Magical Wand (to keep you out of trouble)… now what could that possibly be about?!  I list those moments when your magical character(s) will realise a magical wand is not going to solve the problems they are in at that time.  As ever, can you add to the list?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Judging by Appearances is something most of us have been guilty of at times (and certainly from my experience I have always been wrong when I’ve done this).  In fairytales, of course, it is common for the ugly or mild-mannered one to either be the most powerful magical being around or turn out to be the hero/heroine.  But there is nothing to stop you getting your characters to judge each other.  After all, isn’t all human frailty demonstrated in stories?  So why shouldn’t this one be as well?  I could see great comic and tragic stories coming out of this.

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A bit of a news update on this.  I share news of how I’m getting on with my proofreading.  I also share my views on Grammarly (a free add-on for Firefox) and on predictive texting.  I also list my favourite Chandler’s Ford Today post of the year.  A little early for that?  Maybe but I’m not sure the one I listed will be surpassed.

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Writing in many forms...  Image via Pixabay

Writing in many forms… Image via Pixabay

 

 

Says it all really. Image via Pixabay.

MAKING HISTORY

Just want to say, as a tennis “nut”, I am thrilled Andy and Jamie Murray have ended the  year as world number one in the men’s singles and doubles.  Fantastic, historic achievement.  I’m also pleased to see hard work, persistence, not giving up etc paying dividends for them both.

Also glad to report issues I had yesterday with titles on my Weebly websites (especially This World and Others) appear to have been resolved.  Am now hoping that is not going to prove to be my famous last words!  I’ll know tomorrow…

FIREFOX ADD-ONS – ROAD TESTING!

Just to also add I have added Grammarly to my Firefox toolbar (it’s free) and am finding it very useful in picking up odd typos but mainly my grammatical weaknesses.  Have only been using it for a couple of days but you have a green icon appearing whenever you type something.  Get something wrong and that green icon becomes a red one.  Hover over it and you get a description of what you need to amend.  Very helpful so far.  I do occasionally test free add-ons like this.  The last one I added on was E-Pub Reader for Firefox and I find that useful too.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Making History refers to the Murray brothers’ excellent achievements this year but also discusses how our characters should make history.  The point of any story, regardless of genre, is to show moments of change (which lead to conflict and drama).  The point of any character is to contribute to that in some way (otherwise why write them in?  Even the most minor of characters must have a role they and only they can play in your tale).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Boring Traits discusses why the virtues of persistence, patience and so on are vital, whether you want to achieve success as a sportsman or a writer or as a character in a story.  Even your villains must have determination, a clear aim, patience (nobody achieves all they want immediately) and so on.

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Again I celebrate the Murrays’ achievements.  I suppose the thing I like most is that their persistence has paid off.  I love it when virtue gets it own reward.  It doesn’t always, sadly.  I also discuss how persistence is vital to a writer.  None of us can foresee how things will actually pan out.  I still haven’t published my novel but am thrilled to bits my first flash fiction collection will come out soon.  I didn’t foresee that!

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Never give up, work hard, be disciplined... all valuable traits for success, whether you're a tennis player, a writer or a character in a story! Image via Pixabay.

Never give up, work hard, be disciplined… all valuable traits for success, whether you’re a tennis player, a writer or a character in a story! Image via Pixabay.