I could spend many a happy hour here - the library at Prague. Image via Pixabay.

FAIRYTALE PR FAILURES

Apologies for the no-show yesterday – all due to the dreaded lurgy.  Feeling better than I did but definitely not ready for any decent singing sessions right now!  Yesterday it sounded as if I’d been on helium!

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I take a humorous look at Fairytale PR Failures tonight and, amongst others, look at the failures of Cinderella’s fairy godmother and those authorities who thought it not worth mentioning their woods had a talking wolf in them with a penchant for dressing up in human clothes.  It doesn’t matter what world you live on, that behaviour is distinctly odd!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

The Point of It All by contrast takes a serious look at self-evaluation. I share questions I think every writer serious about trying to get published should ask themselves.  Why?  Partly so you know what you are trying to achieve, but also so you are ready when others may ask the same or similar questions of you.  If you can think of questions to add, please comment!

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Short post on here tonight so thought I would just repeat it here, rather than share the embed link.

The dreaded lurgy got me yesterday, so much so I sounded as if I’d been on helium for most of the day. Strongest thing I WAS on was tea!

To Southampton Writers’ Circle, whom I’m due to see tomorrow night to run a flash fiction workshop, I promise not to breathe all over you (!) but am glad to report voice is a lot better than yesterday so I won’t have to mime what I was intending to say! (Just as well really, I always was hopeless at charades).

To all who have had/are suffering from this wretched bug, get well soon!

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.

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

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN WORLD BUILDING

Tonight’s theme is asking questions – lots of them!

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Questions to Ask When World Building, I share some useful pointers that should be considered when planning out a new world.  (This is one of the lovely things about fantasy and science fiction – we create our own worlds!  Horror and crime are based generally on what we already know but with fantasy and science fiction, the possibilities are endless).  I look at how the world is governed, what rights do people have and how wide a variety of peoples are on the world you’ve created amongst other topics.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Putting Yourself on the Spot shares three questions I think every writer should regularly ask of themselves.  I look at why am I writing this, am I writing this in the right way and can I do what I am doing better?  The answer to the last question is inevitably yes!  The middle question is really about whether you’ve chosen the right format for your story.  For example some of what I write is punchy so flash fiction is generally the best vehicle for that.  Others are more thoughtful piece so a standard length short story (1500 to 2000 words) is usually better.  And the first question reminds you why you were enthuasistic about the idea in the first place, which is no bad thing to be reminded of especially if you’re feeling bogged down.

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I discuss my current Kindle read – Westminster Bones, which is a fairly scathing look into whether the bones in the urn in Westminster Abbey are really those of the Princes in the Tower.  Let’s just say I wouldn’t put a bet on at the bookmakers after reading this book!  But it is a very good read, the arguments are well set out and I must admit I would like to see some proper DNA testing done.

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Books really are the gatekeepers BUT they can also be investigators as Westminster Bones clearly is. Image via Pixabay.

Books really are the gatekeepers BUT they can also be investigators – for example  Westminster Bones is trying to establish truth . Image via Pixabay.

 

A very proud moment, one all writers of fiction dream of - holding the first copy of your own book. Image by Adrian Symes.

BEING QUIZZED

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Being Quizzed I share details of my interview by my fellow scribe, Jacci Gooding.  Usually, I ask the questions for Chandler’s Ford Today but it was a real joy to be on the other side of the fence.  Jacci put some great questions to me and I am delighted to share the link to her blog here.  I also discuss networking (I met Jacci at the Winchester Writers’ Festival a few years back, neither of us could have foreseen an interview happening but I am so glad it did!).  I also ask how your characters react to being quizzed.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I link into my interview again in New Directions (given being interviewed is very much a new direction for me!) but also ask about what new directions your characters are facing.  Are they facing these willingly?  What are the consequences of these new directions for them?  How your characters handle change, especially unlooked for change, could and should reveal a great deal about them.

WEBSITE NEWS

I’m currently working on a From Light to Dark and Back Again page for Fairytales with Bite.  Once I’ve got this up and running I will copy it across to This World and Others.  The idea is to have all interviews, posts, book signing news etc all on this one page.  It will take me a while to get things together but please visit and feedback would be welcome.  I intend to include a FAQs slot, what led me to write the book etc etc.

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I talk about Jacci’s interview here and how it was odd for me to be the other side of the fence.  It was a great odd to experience though!

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you-really-do-enter-another-world-when-reading-image-via-pixabay

Books, whether you’re reading or writing them or both, are simply magical.  Image via Pixabay.

 

 

WISH FULFILMENT

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Wish Fulfilment discusses how would your characters react to seeing others having their wishes granted but not their own?  Also, how would they react if their own were granted?  What are the criteria a fairy godmother or character of that ilk would use before deciding to grant a wish?  This post came about as my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week talks about a major wish fulfilment of mine – the publication of From Light to Dark and Back Again by Chapeltown Books.  More below.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Small Steps again links to my CFT post but also discusses the value of small steps in any writer’s development.  I’ve learned over time not to undervalue these because, though they seemed insignificant in the overall scheme of things at the time, I know now that I wouldn’t be where I am writing wise without them.  I also discuss the value of persistence, patience and being open to new writing ideas.  When I started, I had one fixed idea in my head – to get my novel The Trouble with Mother published.  I still want to do that at some stage but I decided to try short story writing, which led on to flash fiction, and non-fiction thanks to the CFT posts.  So keep going and celebrate all small steps – they can and do lead to bigger ones!

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I share my latest CFT post – Published – My Debut Flash Fiction Collection – and discuss what that means to me.  I also share my steps to publication – there were many of them!  And the great thing with writing is you never stop learning or wanting to improve on what you do, so I very much hope I’ll have many more small (and bigger) steps in the years to come.

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Again links to my CFT post.  Anyone would think I was thrilled to be published!  (Err…  this is my example of understatement for tonight!).

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A moment I've hoped to achieve for more years than I care to recall...

A moment I’ve hoped to achieve for more years than I care to recall…

This statue I like... a lot. Image via Pixabay

INTRIGUING FIRST LINES

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I share some intriguing first lines, which I hope you have fun with!  A good line should make you think of different possibilities as to where to go with the story idea.  These can cross genre and forms of fiction too.  I may well have a go at least some of them myself!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I talk about mixing things up in tonight’s post. The lines in Fairytales with Bite this evening can equally be used as finishing lines.  Equally, you could do both with each line and see what you prefer.  Above all, have fun with your writing.  It really does show through.

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I talk about why I love writing short stories and flash fiction tonight.  Do you agree?

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Shakespeare had his quill, modern writers have their laptops. Image via Pixabay.

Such a familiar look. Image via Pixabay.

 

 

 

 

Fairytale heroines. Image via Pixabay.

HAPPY EVER AFTER? MAYBE NOT…

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Happy Ever After? Maybe Not...  I list 10 examples where there definitely wasn’t a happy ever after ending for characters.  From the boiled wolf in The Three Little Pigs (can you imagine the horrendous stink of that incidentally?!) to Cinderella’s stepmother and sisters, you can guarantee to find someone who didn’t like the way the traditional tale ended!  Okay, a lot of these characters brought this on themselves but I do have a sneaking sympathy for those unfortunate souls trying to sell spinning wheels in Sleeping Beauty’s kingdom.  They’d have got short shrift from the girl’s parents at best!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Setting Goals looks at those targets characters might set themselves.  Do they achieve them?  Even if they do, do they find the happiness or whatever it was they expected on attaining their goals?  This thought came to mind as one of my long-term goals has always been to have a book on my shelves with my name on the front cover.  The publication of From Light to Dark and Back Again by Chapeltown Books achieves that, though I hope it will be book 1 in a series of books.  Later this week, I hope to share news of my interview with fellow author, Jacci Gooding, who put some searching questions to me.  My goal?  To answer them!

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I talk about how seeing certain books when I visit my dad always remind me of my late mum.  Books can be very evocative after all.

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Heaven on earth? Image via Pixabay (of the library at Leeds Castle)

Heaven on earth? Image via Pixabay (of the library at Leeds Castle)

 

 

The ultimate Book Circle - now where to start?! Image via Pixabay.

THE CURSE OF THE FAIRY GODMOTHER

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

The Curse of the Fairy Godmother looks at those things which can be a curse to said fairy godmother (otherwise known as Murphy’s Law for said magical workers).  I include what happens when you pick up your wand in a hurry and how one downside of your role as a godmother is everyone expects you to be nice, when what you really want to do is zap someone.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Cause and Consequence looks at how the law of for every action, there must be a reaction, also applies to fiction.  Whatever your characters do, there must  be a reaction to it, for good or bad (maybe both!).  I also ask how your characters cope when  they are under pressure and do they have support in place (or know they can get support)?

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I discuss cameras tonight -and how now I wouldn’t be without my camera phone.

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

Working away. Image via Pixabay.

Books really are the gatekeepers BUT they can also be investigators as Westminster Bones clearly is. Image via Pixabay.

STORY ENDINGS WITH BITE

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I talk about Story Endings with Bite tonight and share one example from my book, From Light to Dark and Back Again.  You will easily guess the genre from the ending I share but it is what leads up to that ending which is the whole point of that particular story. I discuss the importance of the impact of the ending of the story and the methods I use when writing flash fiction in particular.  I sometimes start with the ending and work backwards, other times I start with an interesting line and see where it takes me, but the ending must be as strong as the beginning (and ideally stronger so you really finish with a “bang”!).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Truth and Lies looks at the fun to be had when reading a story for the first time as you try to work out which characters are generally truthful or not as the case may be.  Having an unreliable narrator is a great twist on this but the clues must be in the story that the narrator may not be all they appear to be.  The thing to remember is characters tell the truth as they see it.  The villain of the piece really does see that they are justified and will make out a case for it.  Great stories with lots of conflict can be had from working out why a character lies and what happens when their lying is exposed (which can come as a shock to them, if they honestly thought they had been right).

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A short, sharp piece tonight about one reason I love books.  (Got to limit it to one otherwise I could have written a long essay on that topic!).

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After a swim, I'm soon back at the keyboard. Image via Pixabay.

Back at the keyboard. Image via Pixabay.

 

 

This, for me, would be a magical place to be. Image via Pixabay

ONCE UPON A TIME…

BOOK NEWS: FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

Am pleased to say there is now one Amazon link to both the paperback and Kindle versions of my debut flash fiction collection, From Light to Dark and Back AgainThe Kindle version has the wonderful Look Inside feature on it (which I always use when I’m browsing books online).

OTHER NEWS

Sorry again for the no-show last night.  It has been one of those weeks but hopefully back to normal now.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Once Upon a Time discusses story openings.  I love the classic beginning of a fairytale but don’t use this myself.  I try to “hit the ground running” and I share an example of one of my story openings which will hopefully appear in my next flash fiction collection.  I also discuss what I like story openings to “do”.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

How to Annoy a Writer is one of those perennial themes.  I share some of what I’ve come across and also suggest what might happen to you if you annoy a crime writer, a fantasy/fairytale writer and a horror storyteller.  Any thoughts on what has annoyed you as a writer would be welcome.

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I discuss the one quality I like to see in any character in any genre.  What is it?  Go and see!  Do you agree with me?

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All books are gateways to other worlds, fantasy and science fiction especially I think. Image via Pixabay.

What is the ONE quality YOU look for in a character, regardless of genre?  Image via Pixabay.

 

One thing that has been true throughout history is the need for a good edit! Image via Pixabay

CONFERENCES AND FESTIVALS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Conferences, Festivals etc, I ask about the kind of events your characters might go to.   I love writing conferences and festivals and there are two, in particular, I try to get along to each year.  I always learn so much from them, it is lovely to immerse myself in the world of writing for a while and so on.  So what events would your characters enjoy?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

What Do Your Characters Do that Surprise You? is one of those topics where the answer shouldn’t be nothing!  Your characters should be capable of surprising you as this proves they have got a life of their own and, as a result, you thought them out properly.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

My post this week is called Vital History and I explain why I think it is.  For example, we all learn from those who have gone before us so there is some element of history in everything we learn.  Then there is the importance of Armistice Day and so on.

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I share details of my Chandler’s Ford Today post.

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My latest Chandler's Ford Today post. Image via Pixabay

My latest Chandler’s Ford Today post. Image via Pixabay