A TIME TO REMEMBER, A TIME TO FORGET

ANNOUNCEMENT

Just to say that for the next week or so, posts to all of my websites will be spasmodic.  I’m arranging my late father’s funeral at the moment.  Amongst many things I will miss is his support especially of my short story writing.  He had to have a copy of any book my stories were in and I am so glad he got to see From Light to Dark and Back Again.  It has meant my late mum got to see my first published short story and my dad has seen my first published book.  Am also posting spasmodically on Facebook at the moment.  I’m also taking a short break from Chandler’s Ford Today though I hope to be back later in June with author interviews etc.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I’m starting an occasional new series here – the A to Z of writing tips! I kick off with A to E.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

A Time to Remember, A Time to Forget looks at what your characters would remember/deliberately choose to “forget”.

I hope to get back to normal daily postings after 9th June.

Worlds, real and imaginery, are found in books - image via Pixabay

 

 

 

Advertisements

STORIES IN TROUBLING TIMES

NEWS

Just to say the reason for my spacing out my blog posts recently has been due to the illness and now, sadly, death of my father.  I will continue to post as and when I can but expect not to be able to blog daily for certainly the next week or two.  I must admit I am relieved to blog when I can.  Writing can be amazingly therapeutic at times.  And I do hope all those poor souls caught up with the Manchester bombing can find peace and help to cope with what they have come to terms with too.  The arts can be very soothing in times of trouble.  I would also like to thank my fellow Christians for their support and I have been awestruck by the many who have helped those in Manchester.  There is great good in the world, as well as great evil.

I am not posting much to Facebook at the moment so will only share with my websites for the time being.  I am also taking a mini break from Chandler’s Ford Today but look forward to writing and blogging fully later.  My father was a keen supporter of my writing and had to have a copy of any book I had a story in.  I shall miss him very much – and indeed do so already.   And to all who have lost loved ones, especially this week at Manchester, may you know God’s peace and comfort now and in the future.  My deepest sympathies to you all.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Stories in Troubling Times shares what I think the role of stories can be in times of stress.  They can and do help people relax, find a form of escapism etc.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Loving What You Write looks at why it is important to do exactly that and I also share how I work.

water-768498_640

 

 

WHAT EVERY GOOD STORY MUST HAVE IN IT

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I list four things that should appear in every story we write and explain why.  Please feel free to comment if you can think of other things that should appear, regardless of story length or genre.  None of the four things will come as a surprise!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Why Fiction Matters shares my views on this topic.  It also ties in with my Chandler’s Ford Today post for this week.  More on that below.  As for this post, I look at how fiction can present truths in a way that can make them easier to accept at times.  And never despise stories that are “just” entertaining.  Those kind of tales bring much needed relaxation to anyone under pressure (I find this myself at times).  The nice thing with this is writing those tales can also bring much needed relaxation!

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

This week’s post is one I’ve wanted to write up for a while and I look at why children’s fiction matters to all writers.  I write for adults yet know the vast majority of my audience will have been brought up on books as children and kept the reading habit going.  Adult fiction writers do owe a huge debt to children’s fiction writers for this.  I also share some of my favourite childhood books.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

This refers to my CFT post for this week.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAllison.Symes.FairytaleLady%2Fposts%2F976287022474277&width=500

FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

Has been a busy week on the book front this week.  I’ve managed to place some books in a local outlet (as well as putting postcards there).  I’ve also submitted a Press Release about my upcoming book signing on 8th July at Chandler’s Ford Railway Station and the local Discovery magazine, w hich gets put through every door in the area, has agreed to take it!  I hope to submit the PR elsewhere but am very pleased with this.  I also discuss briefly why I like flash fiction.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffairytaleladyallisonsymes%2Fposts%2F538239639898182&width=500

Special Note

Family issues have meant I haven’t had as much time to write as normal, which is why I’ve not been posting quite so often to my websites and to here.  I hope to rectify this as and when I can but I will be aiming to post three times a week when I can’t do so nightly.  I also still hope to sort out a mailing list for a newsletter where I plan to share exclusive material not found here such as story extracts, good writing advice from old CFT posts and so on.  Still not certain about timing due to ongoing family issues but will put a note up when it is ready.

Feature Image Why Children's Fiction Matters

 

I write fairytales with bite as flash fiction and short stories in particular. Image via Pixabay.

THE POINT OF IT ALL

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

The Point of It All discusses one aspect where fiction is very clearly shown to be fiction.  This is the fact that the main character (and usually more of your “cast”)  know the point of it all in terms of their story.  They know where they are heading.   Also if they were to forget, there is someone else who will always remind them.  Frodo Baggins and Sam are the best examples of this that I can think of.  Think about how your main characters regroup and refocus (and who helps them to do that) when they lost sight of their goal in the story.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Nothing but the Best discusses the fact that we have to present the very best material if we have any hope at all of being published.  So do our characters come across the way we mean them to do?  The very best characters, whether they are evil or good, will ring true in all they say and do (even if they are being false!).

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I look at character studies tonight and why flash fiction is a great vehicle for them.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAllison.Symes.FairytaleLady%2Fposts%2F974386565997656&width=500

FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

Am making progress with advertising my latest event – the book signing at Chandler’s Ford Railway Station on 8th July!  Will share more news as and when I can but am pleased with how things are going so far.  Also looking forward to the Winchester Writers’ Festival which is next month.  Have not entered any of the writing competitons this year as far too busy on the book (and family circumstances have taken up the rest of my time) but am looking forward to catching up with old friends, hopefully making new ones, as well as enjoying the courses.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffairytaleladyallisonsymes%2Fposts%2F536424936746319&width=500

castle-2115425_640

FAIRYTALE MISMATCHES AND SURPRISES

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I share some examples of Fairytale Mismatches tonight.  What might happen when the Three Bears, just having had their house vandalized, meet a crone never before seen in the area selling suspiciously shiny food?  Hmm…  What might happen if Cinderella is confronted by the elves who helped the shoemaker for being careless enough to lose her glass slipper?  I think there could be some very unhappy ever after endings here!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I met Mark Miller of the Three Rivers Rail Community Partnership unexpectedly today and this was lovely as they are supporting my book signing session at Chandler’s Ford Railway Station on 8th July. It was great to meet him.  I like surprises like that.  Talking of which, in Surprises – Nice or Otherwise, I ask how do your characters react to surprises?  If you write twist in the tale stories as I do, is there a twist and one that is reasonable based on the premise of your story?  Life is full of surprises, many of which are life changing.  How do your bring those into your story and how do your characters handle them?

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I love interviewing other writers for Chandler’s Ford Today and I particularly relish finding out what inspired them to write in the first place.   I talk more about this in tonight’s post.  (Oh and yes I do love pictures of beautiful libraries incidentally!).

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAllison.Symes.FairytaleLady%2Fposts%2F972451146191198&width=500

FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

Two posts here tonight.  I talk again about meeting Mark Miller but also share a link to my review on Chandler’s Ford Today a while ago of the wonderful guide book, Station Walks, which is fully supported by the Three Rivers Rail Community Partnership.  I recommend both the book and the Salisbury walks in it, though I’d like to find time to try out the other walks listed.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffairytaleladyallisonsymes%2Fposts%2F534644423591037&width=500

My second post lists some of the advantages of flash fiction.  This includes being easy to read both in terms of mobile devices (the stories look great on here and scrolling down is a doddle) but also, with print books, being easy to dip into as and when.  (Yes, I know I’m biased!).  Also there are more flash fiction competitions these days and you can even use flash as a way to draft a blurb for a book.  See my post for more.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffairytaleladyallisonsymes%2Fposts%2F534647433590736&width=500

wizzard-1818815_640

 

REVIEWS – AND WORLD BUILDING PROBLEMS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I discuss world building problems that need to be overcome.  These include working out what your system of government is, how well educated (or not) your people are, and what limitations on magic there are.  There will need to be some magical limitations as if all problems can be solved with the aid of a wand, there is no conflict and, so, no story.   You will also need to work out how people exist in your world

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Odd thing happened tonight.  I had written a post on reviews but it vanished.  I have since rewritten the post.  I discuss the importance of reviews as it links into my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week and ask whether there is any such things as reviews on your fictional world.  This kind of thing would give a good indicator to the reader that your world is generally a literate one.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY/FACEBOOK GENERAL

I talk about the importance of book reviews in tonight’s post.  (I like to spread the word!).  I share some wonderfully acerbic comments from Mark Twain (who knew a thing or do about honest writing!).  I also share why reviews, if they are going to be meaningful, must be clear and truthful at all times.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAllison.Symes.FairytaleLady%2Fposts%2F971773096259003&width=500

FACEBOOK PAGE – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I share news of my CFT post which is about the importance of reviews.  To mean anything though, the reviews have to be honest but they don’t have to be lengthy.  If you want to help the writer in your life, reviewing their book is a good way to go!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffairytaleladyallisonsymes%2Fposts%2F533993553656124&width=500

 

Glorious books to read and review - image via Pixabay

 

 

GOING AWOL

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Going AWOL, I discuss why I’ve been off site for a while.  (The good news is life has become somewhat hectic and I’m preparing for my physical book launch for From Light to Dark and Back Again).   I ask about your characters finding the right balance between promoting material and getting on with writing new material.  I know I haven’t got the balance on that one myself!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Back in Business looks at how your characters react to the changes to their lives the story has put them through?  How do characters, sent away on a quest, react when they have to come back home and try to resume normality? How do villages etc react to characters coming back to them (especially given all characters change)?  Can life ever be as it had been for your characters?

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I flag up this week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post (appearing tomorrow), which will be about the art of the book review.  I also share in this post some wonderfully honest and acerbic comments from Mark Twain.  Now there was a man who could write an honest review…!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAllison.Symes.FairytaleLady%2Fposts%2F970997453003234&width=500

FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I share Valerie Penny’s review of my book tonight.  It ties in beautifully with my CFT post as a great example of an honest review.  I met Valerie at Swanwick last year and will do so again this year!  One side benefit of writing events – you get to make friends!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffairytaleladyallisonsymes%2Fposts%2F533314520390694&width=500

Worlds, real and imaginery, are found in books - image via Pixabay

 

CONVINCING CHARACTERS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I think I’ve just written what will be one of my favourite posts for this site as it combines a review of a Doctor Who episode and talks about characterisation, two of my favourite things.  Convincing Characters reviews the recent episode of Doctor Who where the always brilliant David Suchet plays “the Landlord”, a character that is doing evil things but not for evil reasons (he’s actually trying to save someone he loves).  I then go on to discuss the importance of our characters being totally convincing with regard to their motivations.

David Suchet is totally convincing with regard to his performance (as he always is – from Lady Bracknell to Poirot!) but the writing of the Landlord character is simply brilliant and brings out the best in him, I feel.  The Landlord character, for me, is the definition of a character knowingly doing the wrong things but doing them out of desperation and, as a result, the character IS evil but sad with it.  I think most would see where the character was coming from and that is precisely what we all need to do with our characters.  Brilliant work all around.   Highly recommend seeing this.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Doing One’s Bit discusses character loyalties with one another and I use one of my favourite examples (Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee) to illustrate my point.  The Lord of the Rings is so realistic (despite being an epic fantasy!) for showing how the relationship between these two comes to breaking point thanks to the evil influence of that wretched ring.  I also ask what makes your characters stay loyal.  Have they known betrayal and are determined not to do that themselves perhaps?

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

Many thanks to all who shared the recent piece about From Light to Dark and Back Again in Writing Magazine – and a quick hello to all at Southampton Writers’ Circle too.  I discuss my recent review of A Comedy Trio (The Chameleon Theatre Group have put this on their website with permission – they liked it then!) and I am looking forward to hopefully getting to see more National Theatre Live, especially Shakespeare, as the year goes on.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAllison.Symes.FairytaleLady%2Fposts%2F969132119856434&width=500

FACEBOOK PAGE – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I share an extract from some notes I wrote for the flash fiction workshop I gave to the Southampton Writers’ Circle earlier this year.  I discuss starting lines.  Hope you find it helpful.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffairytaleladyallisonsymes%2Fposts%2F531457997243013&width=500

 

Hercule Poirot via Pixabay

Hercule Poirot (based on the style of portrayal of David Suchet.  Image via Pixabay)

 

 

READING FOR PLEASURE AND QUICK TIPS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Reading for Pleasure shares reasons why doing this is one of the most important things any writer can do to improve what they do.  (I think it is the most important thing).  Reading opens your mind to other worlds and so on.  What do your characters read for pleasure?  What books and stories would they choose?  Use that to explore more about them.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I share three Quick Tips which I hope you find useful.  I discuss reading your work out loud (and why it matters).  I also discuss marketing and not panicking about it – if you have a book out, you will be marketing it in different ways (without driving everyone nuts!) not just in the short term but in the long term too.  I also discuss the need to find the right balance between marketing, getting on with your writing commitments and finding time to write new work.  This last one I am struggling with at the moment but I know I will find the right key eventually.  When I do I’ll stick with it!

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I didn’t get time to blog much yesterday but my current article for Chandler’s Ford Today is a review of A Comedy Trio staged by the Chameleon Theatre Group.  This consisted of three short but very funny plays, all of which I found entertaining and were excellent character studies too.  I also enjoyed playing “spot the reference” in some of them.  One of the plays in particular had a distinct nod to the Rocky Horror Picture Show!  Another had me sympathising with not just a hostage victim but the hostage taker too and yet it was funny.  Really well done by the Chameleons and some excellent writing.

FACEBOOK PAGE – GENERAL

Yesterday, Friday 5th May it was about my Chandler’s Ford Today post.  Today I discuss the joys of the Kindle and why I always seem to forget to take it with me when travelling because I’m too busy enjoying reading from it the night before and consequently leave it behind!  Oh, the joys of human fallibility!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAllison.Symes.FairytaleLady%2Fposts%2F966821280087518&width=500

FACEBOOK PAGE – PUBLICITY NEWS

I’m in Writing Magazine this month in the Members’ News Page plugging both From Light to Dark and Back Again and Baubles, the Bridge House Publishing anthology for 2016.  My short story, Helping Out, is in there. The piece looks good and thanks go to friend and fellow Swanwick devotee, Jennifer C. Wilson (author of the excellent Kindred Spirits historical ghost fiction – it’s a great mix, go and have a look!) for sharing the page all over FB!!

Always enjoy spotting a familiar face in Writing Magazine!

Image may contain: 1 person

FACEBOOK PAGE – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

Again I share news of the Writing Magazine spot and some images I thought appropriate to go with it (some of which appear in the book trailer).

In a separate post I discuss how I got into flash fiction in the first place.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffairytaleladyallisonsymes%2Fposts%2F529534257435387&width=500

 

wizzard-1818815_640

Flash fiction should make a positive impression, no matter how brief it is!  Image via Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLAYING THE GAME

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Playing the Game means to me how your characters act in their fictional life.  Do they play the game well (i.e.  do they act honestly and honourably or are they cads?).  How do your honourable characters handle those who will cheat and scheme?  Do the latter win through their cheating or do the honourable ones win eventually?  One thing I love about fairytales is that justice does tend to win out.  The villains get their comeuppance and so on.  Perhaps this is how we can tell it is a fairytale given what life can be like at times!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In The Way We Are, I look at whether nature,  nuture or a mixture of both make us what we are.  I believe it is always a question of both incidentally.  I ask what are the mistakes that have shaped us/our characters and which have changed the way we see the world?  Why are your characters the way they are?  (“Just because” isn’t a good enough answer!!).  The great thing with answering a question like this well is it will then give your characters the depth that will make them appeal to your readers so it is worth digging deep and finding out why your characters “tick” the way they do.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

My post tomorrow is unique in that I review three short plays in one post!  The plays were huge fun and I take the chance to look at why they work in terms of being able to identify with characters, sympathetic portrayals and so on.  More tomorrow…

FACEBOOK PAGE – GENERAL

I share news of a book signing event coming up and I am in the pages of a national magazine today too.  Writing Magazine has a subscribers’ section where you can share your latest writing news and I, of course, have shared news about From Light to Dark and Back Again.  I also shared news of the classes I ran for the Southampton (UK) Writers’ Circle.  (One nice thing is I know my publisher also subscribes to WM so she will be pleased when she spots this, especially as there is a nice picture of the book too!).

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAllison.Symes.FairytaleLady%2Fposts%2F965202480249398&width=500

FACEBOOK PAGE – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

As well as the news above, separately on the book’s FB page, I discuss what makes the perfect start to a story.  Have a look and see if you agree!

Incidentally there is an Email button on this page so if you would like to contact me directly, this is probably the best way of doing so.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffairytaleladyallisonsymes%2Fposts%2F528902750831871&width=500

 

water-768498_640

Is everything in your fictional world as serene as it looks or are there hidden depths?  Image via Pixabay