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

Curses and Blessings

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I look at curses and blessings in tonight’s post.  Who has the authority/power to carry these out in your world?  Does it have to be the most powerful witch/wizard?  Equally are curses and blessings the preserve of the religious community in your world and how do they handle this responsbility?  I share some pictures taken by me of the Roman Baths showing some ancient curses. Let’s just say they hadn’t heard of the concept of forgiveness!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In Time Management, I ask if your characters can manage time well enough or if they  need constant supervision by characters who can manage it.  I also look at how time itself is organized in your world and how this affects what your characters can and cannot do.

ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN WRITERS – MORE THAN WRITERS

Once a month, on the 29th, I blog for ACW’s More than Writers blog spot.  This month’s topic from me is all about gratitude, something some of my characters know very little about!

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I talk about the advantages of writing flash fiction tonight.  Well they do say you should write about what you know…

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I talk about my love of writing fairytales with bite and the fact that the scariest things are often the everyday items/situations you run into.

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A way into the magical realm, perhaps? Image via Pixabay.

The way to the magical realm, maybe?  Image via Pixabay.

 

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

WHY READ?

Why Read? was the obvous follow up post to write following Why Write? the other night!  (Though the thought of NOT reading is alien to me!).

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Well, I did it!  In A to Z of Character Creation Part 9, I tackle the last three letters – X, Y and Z!  X=X-rated (in terms of causing trouble), Y = Young (how does your world treat them? and Z = Zest (zest for life.  Where does your character get this attitude from?).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Why Read looks at various reasons why you should read.  To read for pleasure is my top reason but to read for education, to find out more about the world is absolutely fine and your characters could read for those reasons too.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

There’ll be few writers who won’t sympathize with my post tonight.  Is there any one who has NOT sent off a piece of work and then spotted errors in it afterwards?!

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I look ahead to going to the Swanwick Summer Writers’ School. My flash fiction piece, George Changes HIs Mind, started life as a draft piece at the school last year and ended up in From Light to Dark and Back Again.  Would like to complete draft of follow up book while away.

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A typical writing conference room. Image via Pixabay.

A typical writing conference room. Image via Pixabay.

The Hayes Conference Centre, Derbyshire.

The Hayes Conference Centre, Derbyshire.  Image taken by me.

 

WHY WRITE?

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In A to Z of Character Creation Part 8, I  look at U, V and W.  It is becoming more of a challenge to think of topics connected with character creation as I draw towards the end of the alphabet but I’ve managed it for tonight!  U is for Universally Loved/Hated/Despised, V is for Victim and W is for Witty and Wise (two “W’s” for the price of one there!).  I ask if your characters fall into any of these categories.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In Why Write?  I list several reasons for writing, any or all of which might apply to most writers.  I think it useful, especially when all that seems to be coming into the inbox or letterbox are rejections, to remind yourself why you write and what you love about it.  It can help keep you going!  And persistence is really key here.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY/FACEBOOK – GENERAL AND FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I look at writer co-operatives in tonight’s Chandler’s Ford Today post and why they are useful.  I also introduce a new local one I’m pleased to be part of – the Chandler’s Ford Writers’ Hub.  We will be holding a children’s poetry competition later in the year and hope to be at various local events in the next few months.  Hopefully it’ll be lots of fun!

 

So much marketing is done online - image via Pixabay

Writer Co-operatives often form to help several writers with publicity and marketing.  Much marketing is, of course, done online now.  Image by Pixabay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books make wonderful gifts. Image via Pixabay.

WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS DON’T WANT TO HEAR

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

It’s the turn of the letters R, S and T in A to Z of Character Creation, Part 7.   R = Reading and I look at how literate your world/characters are.  S = Style and I discuss what style your writing is – is it easy to read?  Do your characters come across well?  T = Timing and I ask how punctual your characters are and if any of them obsess about time.  That kind of behaviour reveals a lot about a person (not least of which is their being a bit OCD!).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

What Your Characters Don’t Want to Hear looks at characterisation from a different angle.  Your characters need to be needed.  If they’re not moving the story on or contributing to it positively in some way, they should be written out. Characters also need to be unique creations so no “lego” building of characters as this will also lead to cliche.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I am delighted to say one of my flash fiction stories will appear in The Best of Cafelit 6 later in the year.  This came as a very nice surprise!  In my post, I also talk about my follow up book to From Light to Dark and Back Again and  how I’m planning to use my time better at Swanwick this year.

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

Naturally I share my publication news again (!) but I also talk about getting back to resubmitting work more regularly once the summer is hope and I hopefully have sorted out my late father’s estate..  I also mention what the Chandler’s Ford Writer’s Hub will be up to in the next few months – I am now a member of this and there’s some very good events and ideas coming forward.

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Books help you wind down. Was glad of them after a stressful weekend. Pity this option is not available to my border collie. Still lots of cuddles did the trick there! Image via Pixabay.

Books help you wind down. Was glad of them after a stressful weekend. Pity this option is not available to my border collie. Still lots of cuddles did the trick there! Image via Pixabay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

SAGGY MIDDLES…

There really was only one title for tonight’s post – more to follow on saggy middles!

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

My A to Z of Character Creation has got up to Part 6 with the letters O, P and Q.  O is for Originality and I discuss why it is difficult to come up with truly original characters, given we all base our characters on what we know in terms of what people are like.  This means there will be a certain amount of natural shared human experiences in our characters but what, I feel, can and will make them unique is how you blend the mixture of traits, motives and other things that make up “your people”.  More on this in the post.  P is for parameters and I look at why boundaries are a good thing when coming up with characters.  Q is for Questioning.  Do your characters have a questioning approach to life and, if so, what kind of trouble can this land them in?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

And now we get on to saggy middles.  In Is Your Middle Saggy? I look at why the middle section of your story is, in many ways, the most important part of your tale. Yes, you need the gripping opening to bring your readers in and, again  yes, you need a satisfying ending that will hopefully make people want to read more of your stories.  However, if the middle of the story is lacklustre, readers won’t make it to the end of your story at all.  I like to think of the middle of the story as the loadbearing part of it.  I’ve found outlining the major steps of my story to be the way to ensure all parts of my story make my readers want to read further.  See the post for more.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I talk about how I review my writing and work out what I have achieved for one year and would like to achieve in the next one.  (The last two never ever quite tally!  I usually manage to cross one or two items off my Want to Write list but there are always plenty of targets to go for as a writer.  I think that is a good thing).  I also discuss why being open to trying new forms of writing is so important.

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I’m back to talking about saggy middles here.  Indeed I wrote this post ahead of my longer Weebly This World and Others one. It sounds odd, I know, but far from finding an outline restrictive, I find it fires up my imagination more, helps me ensure my story middles don’t sag, and I guess it is because I have given the old subconscious mind something to work with in planning things out.

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WHEN YOU KNOW A CHARACTER IS FULLY DEVELOPED

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In A to Z of Character Creation Part 5, I look at L, M and N.  For L, I’ve looked at libraries and learning.  Do your characters like learning?  Are libraries a part of their life or do they avoid them?  M is for Murder.  If you are going to bump your characters off, make sure the motive is strong enough.  And in N for News I ask how your characters react to breaking news.  Do they handle change well?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In When You Know a Character is Fully Developed, I share some pointers to look out for.  These include being able to imagine your character outside the confines of your original story and hearing a song thinking immediately Character X would’ve liked that.  More in the post..

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY/FACEBOOK GENERAL

My latest post looks back in time in Revisiting Medieval Hampshire in 2017.  I went to a Medieval Weekend held by the Road to Agincourt Project at the River Hamble Country Park.  It is only the second such event held there but I do hope these weekends continue.  I learned a great deal and it was huge fun.  The post gives an overview.

I talk about the Medieval Weekend again a little bit here and especially draw attention to the role of the Scrivener (aptly!).  If they did their job well, they would have known plenty of secrets.  If they were prepared to con people, they could have written anything in the letters they wrote for money!  I wonder if they ever did…

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Games from the Taverner's Tent

The Taverner’s Tent – the games had a long history too.  I love history.  Full of interesting stories.

              

 

The wonderful world of stories... Image via Pixabay.

FAIRYTALE CHARACTER TRAITS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In A to Z of Character Creation Part 4, I cover the letters I, J and K.  I look at whether your characters have imagination, can they think on their feet or do they need to stop and plan everything out.  (The latter type always have contingency plans too – and OCD is not unknown to them either!).   For J, I look at justice.  Do your characters care about it with a passion or only when the lack of justice directly affects them?  For K, I look at Kudos and ask if your characters have any!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Fairytale Character Traits is one of those posts where I could have gone on at some legnth.  I limited this post to three items and looked at how villains are always bad tempered and impatient (this usually leads to their downfall) and why it is vital your heroic characters always treat people decently.  Powerful wizards etc have a habit of disguising themselves as much older people to test your characters so your characters should be ready to pass that test!  I also look at there being a clear cut good and bad guy – the fairytales always seem to cry out for this – but that doesn’t mean your good guy is squeaky clean.  People should also be able to see where the villain comes from,  and even sympathize, while at the same time still root for the hero to win.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I look at writing in the first and third persons for flash and short stories tonight.

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I discuss reviews tonight and thank all those who’ve reviewed my book so more.  More reviews always welcome incidentally!  I also talk a little on why they matter and that I use reviews myself to gauge opinion on a wide variety of things including books.  They really do help.

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being-a-writer-should-not-mean-being-ripped-off-image-via-pixabay

…. and welcome reviews!  (Along with every other author on the planet but reviews, even one liners, really do help.  Support your local writer, review them!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

GETTING THE WORD OUT

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In A to Z of Character Creation Part 3 I tackle the letters F, G and H.  I look at Fiction, Genre and History and look at how these affect characters.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Getting the Word out looks briefly at publicity regarding your books/stories.  I suppose the thing I’ve taken most to heart since the publication of From Light to Dark and Back Again is the importance of not panicking!  I hope to write many more books and so will always be promoting whatever I have written.  Therefore I don’t/won’t be putting myself under an artificial deadline to get things done by. So do what you can publicity wise and do it well.  Nobody does all the different things you are “meant” to do in one hit anyway!

CHANDLER’S FOR TODAY, FACEBOOK (GENERAL AND FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN).

My latest CFT post, shared on Facebook and Twitter amongst others, is Why Have Book Signings? Report from the Station.  I look back at my first book signing at Chandler’s Ford Railway Station (last week!) and why such events are important and not just for the author.  I look at how signings can create community too.  I also take the chance to say a big thanks to the Three Rivers Rail Community Partnership for their support and without whom I would not have had my signing.

Feature Image - Why have book signings

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

EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In the A to Z of Character Creation Part 2, I cover D and E and look at whether your characters believe in destiny and if so how it shapes them.  E is for Effort.  Just how much effort do your characters go to and are they rewarded for it?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In Expecting the Unexpected, I look at science fiction and fantasy where the unexpected can be expected to turn up all the time!  I ask if your readers can get a sense of the world you’ve created from what you’ve told them.  They need to know what is normal for that world and what isn’t.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL and FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

A short, funny post tonight (which I also shared on the Association of Christian Writers’ Facebook page).  I share how writing flash fiction has shown up what my wasted words are and then promptly also share how I had to remove two of those words from this very post!  It’s an ongoing battle, people, it really is!  Do share what your wasted words are.

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The old fashioned notebook and pen still have major roles to play in interviewing - image via Pixabay

 

Creative writing takes many forms, including blogging. Image via Pixabay.

CHARACTER CREATION AND 5 QUICK TIPS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I’m starting a new mini-series tonight.  The A to Z of Character Creation will look at different aspects of coming up with memorable characters, using the alphabet as pegs for topics.  Tonight I start with A to C and look at Aliases, Beauty and Class.  Hope you find this useful.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

My Five Quick Tips focuses on issues connected with marketing, book signings etc.  For example, I look at the importance of “being yourself” when engaging with people.  I also talk about not losing the love of writing for its own sake and rehearsing what you can when preparing for an event as well.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I discuss what I think makes for good writing.  I see good writing as that which entertains or informs me (and it is even better when it can do both!). I look at what I’m seeking in non-fiction and share details of one of my favourite non-fiction reference books.

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I look at the different ways I came up with titles for my stories in the book.  I have sometimes used puns (and twisted the meanings of sayings).  Some titles came naturally out of the theme of the story.  With other stories, I knew the title and wanted to write to it. Hope you find this post useful as I have always found using a mixture of methods for title generation really helpful. Why limit yourself to only one or two tried and tested methods after all?

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

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