A nice mix of posts tonight I think!
Facebook/Chandler’s Ford Today
I have to smile. I am being invited to add myself to the “Allison Symes” Team. Err… Facebook, I AM Allison Symes and I AM the team. Me and… well that’s it! Oh well, perhaps this is something I need to aspire to – to have people, other than me, to add on to the said team? This could take some time…
Meanwhile, my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post shares my thoughts on why book launches are important to an author and Anne Wan’s report on her most recent one at Waterstones in Southampton. I suspect most writers, published or not, will identify with this but comments would be welcome via the CFT comments box.
Anne writes the children’s series Secrets of the Snow Globe and has just launched her second book, I had hoped to get to Anne’s launch but couldn’t in the end so this is a bit of a strange post in that I’m sharing a launch I didn’t go to! Anne’s report only made me wish I HAD been able to go (which is a sign of a good launch if ever there was one).
Anne is on the left in the image with her illustrator, Dawn Larder, on the right. Dawn came back from Spain to be at Anne’s launch. Now there’s commitment for you!
Image Credit: All images in my CFT post tonight were kindly supplied by Anne Wan.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
I’ve discovered, thanks to the smartphone, there is no such thing as dead time.
I had to take my car into the main dealer today and while I was waiting for the necessary works to be carried out, I was happily writing away on the said phone (I’m becoming used to the stylus now!) and have drafted another story for my follow-up book to FLTDBA.
I didn’t manage to complete the story but I am almost there on it and I know where I’m going with it. (It will be one of my longer flash pieces too). This is where technology comes into its own. I was also pleased to be able to email what I’d written back to myself for an instant back-up. So even time waiting for a garage fix can be put to good use!
I talk about the joys of non-fiction this week.
Much as I love reading a wide range of fiction, I must admit it has been my tastes in non-fiction that have expanded in recent years.I am reading more history now than before and loving it. Ironically perhaps, reading more straight history, so to speak, has made me appreciate historical fiction more.
I am reading more history now than before and loving it. Ironically perhaps, reading more straight history, so to speak, has made me appreciate historical fiction more.I think it makes it easier to see or guess at the depth of research a historical fiction author has to do to be able to set the scenes of their “world” properly and to carry their readers with them. Get one historical detail wrong and that whole world could crash.
I think it makes it easier to see or guess at the depth of research a historical fiction author has to do to be able to set the scenes of their “world” properly and to carry their readers with them. Get one historical detail wrong and that whole world could crash.This is the big advantage of fiction, of course. You can and do totally make it up! But set a story in a known historical setting or with known historical people, then the details must be authentic.
This is the big advantage of fiction, of course. You can and do totally make it up! But set a story in a known historical setting or with known historical people, then the details must be authentic.
I like the fact that non-fiction has been, in recent years, using more of the techniques in fiction to catch readers’ imaginations. Non-fiction should never be a deadly dull list of dates and facts.
Good non-fiction opens up the world it is written about and makes it real to the reader. This is very similar to a fiction writer portraying characters the ready can really identify with. Catching the imagination is vital whatever genre you write in then.
Fairytales with Bite
I look at the reality behind fairytales for this week’s post.
Can there be reality behind fairytales? I think so.
Writers are always advised to write about what you know (which can be difficult for authors of sci-fi, horror and fantasy in particular when you stop and think about it! We are inventing new worlds. How can we possibly “know” something that does not exist except on our pages? I suppose the what we know here is knowing in good enough detail the world we’ve created and inventing characters readers can identify with. Knowledge of human nature is crucial here).
But there is reality in fairytales. Not just of character types. Whatever world you write about, characteristics do not change much. There will always be those who lust for power, the oppressed, those who fight back, those who go on seemingly impossible quests because they have to save something/someone and this is the only way to do it and so on. (Great stories come from the last category alone, think The Lord of the Rings to name but one).
When I think of a realistic fairytale, my mind nearly always turns to Hans Christen Andersen’s The Little Match Girl. Definitely not one of his cheerier tales but, without giving too much away, to be able to write this as well as he did, he had to know something of poverty (which he did) and I strongly suspect he actually saw real match girls which inspired this tale. To me this story is a barely disguised report on something he saw and his underlying jibe at people being allowed to suffer like this girl did is as hardhitting now as it would have been when he first wrote the tale.
Often with fairytales it is the message behind them that is the realistic bit. I think this is why fairytales have always resonated with people and always will.
This World and Others
I talk about being well prepared for this week’s post (and I was!).
The importance of good preparation is something that comes up in my Chandler’s Ford Today post tonight where I talk about book launches and share a report from a recent one by children’s author, Anne Wan.
Does this mean you should never write “off the cuff”? Funnily enough, no.
I have brainstorming sessions every so often which I find incredibly useful for producing potential ideas for future stories and blog posts. There is no planning or preparation for this whatsoever.
This is unlike everything else I write though. I do sketch out a structure for the articles I write. I have my beginning, middle and end in mind before I start writing.
I outline my stories (sometimes in lots of detail, others with “broad brush strokes” and yes I’ve done this for my flash fiction work too!).
I find this kind of preparation, whether it is for fiction or non-fiction, helps me produce more work, not less. I think it helps me write more efficiently when it comes to producing the actual piece. This blog post, for instance, I knew I would share something of how I work as a “peg” to hang the rest the piece from. And that to me seems a good place to end this other than to say comments on how you work, what preparation you find useful etc would be most welcome.
Have a good writing week!
Book Reviews – From Light to Dark and Back Again
May I take this chance to say a very big thanks to all who’ve reviewed my book so far in either paperback or Kindle format. Whether it’s a one-line or a one paragraph review, they are all much appreciated! The link takes you to the Amazon page showing both formats. I am also pleased I now have my copies of The Best of Cafelit 6 where I have a flash story but I’ll share more on this on my next post. This week has been busy but enjoyable, writing wise.