BEING CREATIVE

There’s a definite theme tonight!  (Sometimes I don’t plan that, a theme emerges from the different things I’m writing but this theme was planned and is inspired by my wondering if, when you’ve been creating works such as stories for some time, do you still appreciate the joy of doing so?  Anyway, more to follow).

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This week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post talks about creativity being good for you. It is too!

Being creative has proven health benefits (mentally and physically) and my post talks about that and why creativity is a wonderful thing.

I do sometimes wonder if we appreciate it enough at times (which is my inspiration for writing this post). Whether you bake cakes, write stories, play music or what have you, if you have been doing this for a long time, can you end up taking the joy of creating these things for granted?

I think so and I hope my post helps to give us all a renewed sense of enjoyment about what we do creatively.

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My CFT post this week will be on the theme of creativity being good for you. And it is – mentally and physically. I feel much better once I’ve completed something creative during the day – whether it is flash fiction, a Facebook post (😀), or baking a cake.

The nice thing about creativity is anyone can join in and you can find your own level where you want to be. For those wanting to develop creative skills further, there are courses, online as well as the traditional evening classes/OU etc. I’ve found that though my major creative interest is in writing, I have a greater appreciation of all of the arts, music especially.

I also think if you are involved in one art form, you have an appreciation of the hard work that goes unseen behind others. I learned years ago that if a piece of writing looks easy to read then you can bet that author worked their socks off to get it to that point. (Other hosiery accessories are available!).

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What is the most helpful aspect of a book review? To be fair, there is more than one! There is obviously the publicity aspect but when people have said what they liked, or what they felt didn’t work so well, that has been what I’ve found most useful to know.

Okay nobody is going to please all of the people all of the time and there are many sound reasons not to even try doing that, but a general consensus does mean you are on the right lines (or not, as the case may be!).

Incidentally I can vouch for the fact Dawn, Paula and I do all appreciate the reviews we have had for books where our stories have appeared!

Paula Readman, Dawn Kentish Knox and Allison Symes and books - with kind permission from Paula Readman - Copy

Paula Readman, Dawn Knox and I at the recent Bridge House celebration event. Many thanks to Paula for the image.

Such appropriate decor for the Bridge House event in a pub room

This was part of the pub decor at the place where Bridge House had their event. Very apt! Image by Allison Symes

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At the back are some of the other books I’ve appeared in. Image by Allison Symes

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Am currently listening to the wonderful Planet Suite by Gustav Holst on Classic FM. Each piece of music within the suite tells its own story. (My favourite piece is Jupiter, the bringer of jollity. It also contains what many will know as the hymn tune for I Vow To Thee, My Country).

Holst used music to convey his thoughts. Writers of course use words. But the way you put them together (and the order) makes a huge difference to meaning. So are your words having the impact you actually mean them to have? Of course, this aspect can be “sent up” for comedic effect (hence the pun, the innuendo etc) but it is true you do have to know the rules before you break them!

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Why does editing always take longer than you think it will? Answers on the back of a postcard… Seriously though, I do give myself plenty of time for this and it STILL takes longer than anticipated. I think there must be an unknown Murphy’s Law for Writers happening here. Talking of which:-

1. You tell people you’re a writer, they suddenly need a pen for something, and you cannot find one on you for love or money. Cue one embarrassed writer!

2. Your printer cartridge always runs out halfway through the printing of the story or book you are desperate to get out to your publisher.

3. You know you have more printer cartridges, you remember ordering them, but you filed them somewhere safe and now cannot remember where that place is!

4. You have a power cut just as you are getting to the end of your story and you forgot to back up so you lose what you’ve just written and have to start again from where you HAD last backed up. You discover you have words in your vocabulary you make a mental note NOT to use in front of the vicar when they next call in.

Guess which of these have happened to me!

Contributions to the Murphy’s Law List for Writers very welcome!

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What is your favourite way to start a story? I must admit I don’t have one single way. And so much depends on whether I’m writing flash fiction or a standard length short story.

I am very fond of being right inside my main character’s head from the start. I like to think of this as hitting the ground running.

I also like to start with a brief sentence or two scene setting. Using a time as part of this can be handy as if the opening line says it is 4 am in mid-summer, you’ve got an immediate image of light levels, whether it is likely to be warm or not and so on. Setting place names can be great too. Mid-summer in the UK is vastly different to mid-summer in Australia, say.

I always look for the words that give me the strongest images whichever way I start though. It saves on word count and has the greater impact on your reader.

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I sometimes use the opening line in a short story competition to inspire my flash fiction. (Sometimes I write up the short story and enter the competition!).

It can be an interesting challenge to see what you can do with an opening line meant to generate a 1500-words short story and see if you can make it work for a tale of under 1000 words (and in my case usually around the 100-words mark).

I must admit I much prefer opening lines competitions to those where you have to finish with a certain line. I think there is more freedom in taking an opening line and running with it rather than being told where you have to stop!

What competitions do you prefer?

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The challenge of writing a complete story in the shortest number of words is not a new one but it does make you increase your vocabulary. (As a flash fiction writer, you will always be on the lookout for those words that can convey stronger meanings than others or can convey more than one meaning. Saves on the word count (!) and the rightly chosen words will give your story a more powerful impact).

Does that mean you’ll never write longer fiction again? Not a bit of it but working to a tight word count helps develop your editing skills and that is always useful, regardless of what you write.

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I have too many favourite characters to name them individually, as I expect is the case with most of us, but I do like particular types.

My overall favourite is the unexpected hero. Think Bilbo and Frodo Baggins! I admit being on the short side myself, I probably was always going to favour the idea of a hobbit as a hero!

I also love those characters who suffer injustice but win through in the end. That covers everything from Cinderella to the Prisoner of Azkaban to The Man In the Iron Mask.

I don’t have a problem with talking animals in stories as long as they make sense! Ideally, I prefer it when the animals know more of what is going on in the story than the hero does. (Hello, Puss in Boots!).

Characters have got to be appropriate to the fictional world in which they’re set so hobbits could only be in a fantasy world. Mind, if I had to live anywhere in fiction, I can think of far worse places than The Shire. (Mordor, for one!).

So what are your favourite character types and why?

 

Fairytales with Bite – Appreciating What You Do

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week looks at why creativity is good for you and it was inspired by my wondering whether when you’ve been creating, say, stories for some time, do you still appreciate what you do as much as perhaps you should?

I think it is easy to take the joy of creating anything for granted and I hope this post encourages all of us to take a fresh look at what we do creatively and almost, if you like, fall in love with it all over again.

I also think it is a good thing for writers to be open to trying different forms of writing.  It flexes your writing muscles, you may well discover a form you become addicted to (in my case, I found flash fiction or maybe it was a case of flash fiction finding me!), and you get to find out what you really want to write.

It also means when successes come your way, no matter how large or small, you appreciate those more too and that can never be a bad thing.  One way of appreciating what you do is read your work out.  If you are gripped by the tale, others will be too.  Images below were taken by me and are from the Bridge House celebration event.  The range of stories read out was great.  I took part too.

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Gill James reading from her January Stones collection. Image by Allison Symes

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Dawn Knox reading some of her flash fiction. Image by Allison Symes

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Margaret Bullyment read a wonderful justice story at the Bridge House event in December. Image by Allison Symes

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Robin Wrigley read a poignant, character driven story. Image by Allison Symes

Lovely having an appreciative audience, pic taken by Dawn Kentish Knox

I read three stories from From Light to Dark and Back Again. Many thanks to Dawn Kentish Knox for the picture!

This World and Others – Enjoying the Creative Process

My latest Chandler’s Ford Today post takes a look at why being creative is beneficial (and for science as well as the arts too).

I think it is vital to enjoy the creative process to get the most from it.  That doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult at times.  You will feel like swearing (and may do so!) when the words don’t seem to flow so easily as they usually do, but if, generally, you love what you do as you create your characters and stories, then you can know you’re on the right lines. That love will keep you going (along with support from other writers whether that’s online or in a good wriitng group) throughout those tougher times and the inevitable rejections we all collect as if they were going out of fashion.  The one great thing is I can’t think of any writer who hasn’t felt in need of that support at times.  You are definitely not the only one!

It is difficult to say what my favourite part of the creative process is but I do feel elated when I know I’ve got a character right.  I know then that what I get them to say or do is right for them, and their story will flow much more easily as I am writing from deep knowledge of who and what and why they are the characters they are. I also think that will come through in the writing itself and make for a better read for future readers.  I also feel elated when I’ve got a first draft down as I know I’ve got something to work with then (and it can only get better!  All first drafts need work, even Shakespeare’s would have done!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Facts and Fiction

Post up a night early as at a retreat this weekend.  I look at facts and fiction and how one strengthens the other.

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My CFT post is a night early this week but I take the chance to look at how non-fiction can and does inspire some wonderful fiction. I also look at how a working knowledge of history, of how things work etc, can inspire you as you create your own fictional world, and why looking into historical records can also trigger ideas.

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What is the nicest aspect of writing? Well, one obvious answer would be good reviews of your book(s) or positive feedback to a blog post etc. I treasure those, as most writers do!, but I also love the feeling that a story has been completed, I can’t add more to it, it is now ready to go out into the big bad world. It’s an even better feeling when you realise you have enough stories for another collection!

 

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What is it about a character that draws you to them? For me, it is always the heroic underdog that fights against the odds to win through. Think Bilbo and Frodo Baggins!

I like unexpected heroes, the ones that come from the “wrong” background yet still prevail. I guess there’s a certain amount of having something to prove that drives a character on and really shows what they’re made of when push comes to shove.

If I’m in any doubt about any of my characters, I draft a quick scene (which may or may not make it into the final story) where I drop said characters right in the mire and find out what they do to get out of it again. By the time I’ve drafted this, any doubts about the characters have long gone as by then they’ll have proved themselves (to me at least). (And the great thing with draft scenes like that is they may be strong enough to work into a piece of flash fiction!).

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One flash challenge I must have a go at when I remember (!) is the 140 character kind of story. Now there is a restricted word count!

But the biggest thing I’ve gained from writing flash fiction, and what I think I love most about it, is that it has taught me to write “tight”, to cut out wasted words and to never be afraid of a darned good edit! Those are good things to have regardless of what you write!

 

Good books should bring illumination to a situation, make you see things as you haven't before - image via Pixabay

Aiming for more “magic” from my stories this year! Image via Pixabay.

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Side view of my book stand. Image by Allison Symes

Feature Image - Flash Fiction - Books are Gateway - image via Pixabay

Says it all really and applies to non-fiction equally as fiction. Image via Pixabay.

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I suppose what I love most about flash fiction is knowing that opening line is going to take me, and hopefully readers (!), on a short, sharp journey to an appropriate ending. Sometimes that’s happy, sometimes not, sometimes it’s a twist ending, sometimes it’s a poignant full stop. (Usually for the character too!).

But unlike a novel where it will take you several chapters to get to a resolution (though in fairness that IS the charm of a novel!), with flash, it is an almost instant conclusion. And sometimes stories are genuinely not long enough to be anything other than flash fiction. So rather than waste them, I am so glad of flash as a format as it gives me a home for those mega short tales.

 

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The point of a story is to show a pivotal moment of change in a character’s life. That is where the story is. What is that change? Does the character resist the need to change? What happens if they succeed in this resistance? (I would expect their life/future happiness to be held back in some way because of the unwillingness to accept change). So the point of flash fiction is to illuminate an even briefer change. It really is the lightbulb moment for the character and no longer than that.

Flash fiction does help you focus on what is really important for your character and why. As every word has to “earn” its way into the story, motivations must be powerful enough for a reader to believe in them. What drives your character must be understood (if not necessarily agreed with) by your reader.

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Fairytales With Bite – When is Enough Information Enough?

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week, Facts and Fiction, looks at how a good knowledge of non-fiction can and does inspire ideas for stories.

The big danger, of course, is having such a fantastic time looking up all the details, working them into your story and so on, that you lose focus on what you are meant to be writing in the first place!  What I’ve found useful here is to write down a list focussing on the main things only.  Naturally I then get my first draft down and then begins the lovely editing process!  There is always something to be cut out!

So feed your imagination by reading widely and then be selective what you draw on to create your characters and fictional worlds.

This World and Others – Shouldn’t All Fiction Just Be Made Up?

Well, yes it should, of course but the best fiction is stronger when it is backed by non-fiction.  I talk about this more in my Chandler’s Ford Today post for this week called Facts and Fiction.  I look at, for example, how a working knowledge of history can and has inspired some wonderful works of fiction.

So yes you make things up when story telling but you also draw on what you know about how people act and behave to create credible characters.  Sometimes historical or scientific facts can be the pivot around which a short story or novel is based.  To be able to use your imagination to make things up for stories, you need to feed that imagination and, by far, the best way is to read and read widely, in and out of your own genre.

Think about what draws you to create the characters you have.  Who are your favourites?  Those for whom upholding justice is vital? Why is that so?  Does it reflect your own love of justice and fair play or a wish that more of these things were seen in our world and, since you can’t fix that, you can put it into your fiction?!

When you create your worlds, what knowledge are you using of this one to help you work out what your fictional one should be like?  So yes, fiction should be made up but there is all sorts of unconscious thoughts influencing what you write.  And this is based on what you know and what you find out.

The really great thing about all this?  There is no limit to how much you read, how much you feed your imagination and so on so, go on, have a “feast” here!  Your future characters will reflect what you know and what you experience both directly and what you read about so the more widely  you read, the bigger the area you can fish from for ideas for your characters and stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FLU, INTERVIEWS, MUSIC AND MOODS

Sorry for the longer gap between posts than normal.  I’ve been recovering from flu and have felt as if I have the stamina of your average wet lettuce leaf all week!  So lots to catch up on including news of an interview, my latest CFT and Goodread blogs and new posts on my Fairytales with Bite and This World and Other websites too.

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A busy night tonight. Firstly, my Chandler’s Ford Today post this week looks at music and moods and how I now avoid having my mood changed when writing. (It does depend on what I listen to!). I share some of my favourite pieces too and why I used Saint Saens Danse Macabre as the music for the book trailer for From Light to Dark and Back Again.

Secondly, I was interviewed a little while ago by fellow Chapeltown author, Aly Rhodes (aka Alyson Faye). Her Chapeltown book, Badlands, is due fairly soon (though is available now on Kindle). Her interview with me is now up on her blog and many thanks to her for hosting me. (It’s always nice when the boot is on the other foot!).

 

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Not been around much for the last couple of days as seem to have a bad case of the dreaded lurgy. Am not a happy bunny when poorly.

I want to be “up and doing” as Mr Groat would say (from Terry Pratchett’s marvellous Going Postal – do check it out . I think it has one of the best openings to a book ever and I can’t say more than that without giving a major spoiler away so shan’t! It’s also the only book I can think of that gets away with more than one prologue and both are crucial!).

The one good thing has been enforced early nights have meant I have caught up with some reading. I am having a major history “fest” right now (The Mythology of Richard III, The Wars of the Roses, both by John Ashdown Hill and the updated version of The Maligned King by Annette Carson. Excellent reads all of them and if you want some “facts ” about Richard III thoroughly debunked, do start here.).

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

Can’t beat the notebook and pen for quick notes. Image via Pixabay,

Tower of London Book Cover

Jennifer C Wilson’s first book. Image kindly supplied by Jennifer C Wilson

Feature Image Part 2 Jennifer C Wilson Stepping Back in Time

One of my earlier CFT posts. Good historical fiction will make you seem as if you are in that world. Image via Pixabay.

Feature Image - Pivotal History Moments - Bosworth

Another older CFTpost shows how moments in history can literally change everything.. Image via Pixabay.

A fallen knight - Richard III was the ultimate one - image via Pixabay

A fallen knight – and even his enemies acknowledged Richard III as this. Image via Pixabay. Richard III is the lead in Jennifer C Wilson’s Kindred Spirits: Tower of London novel.

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The muse sometimes deserves a good kick up the backside.
It should not be spoilt, pampered or given a free ride.
It needs some pushing to show up for work when you do
As working in tandem is ideal for both of you.

Allison Symes – 9th January 2018

Facebook – from earlier this week…

Will be really glad when this flu is finally over with. Am struggling not to feel tired all the time. I am catching up with some reading in bed though, which is about the only positive thing to come out of this week!

Having said that I did complete my CFT post for this week earlier today and that will be about mood and music. This has proven to be more apt than I thought it would be when I first decided to write it! More details tomorrow.

Am on final edits of my second book. Hope to have these done in next week or so. Feel very bad about being so behind but I must say I haven’t felt this ill in a very long time, thankfully. To everyone else out there with this wretched bug, take care and get well soon!

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One thing reading history soon teaches you (whether you read fiction or non-fiction) is how vital it is to keep a sense of perspective. (Something Thomas More failed to do with his “history” of Richard III – and Shakespeare even more so).

I’ve also come across some jaw-dropping leaps of “faith” when someone is trying to sum up a person. Charles Dickens in his A Child’s History of England roundly condemns Mary Stuart for being a murderess. He also condemns Elizabeth Tudor executing Mary Stuart. Okay, Charles, just WHAT was Elizabeth meant to do then especially with Parliament hounding her to have the sentence carried out?

Oh and out of interest he does write about Victoria’s early years on the throne. No criticism whatsoever that I could make out! Was he after a knighthood I wonder? (He should have had one of course but not for this particular book! I’ve always seen this as proof every writer has one bad book in them. The clever bit is trying to ensure it never sees the light of day!).

So how does that affect my fiction writing? All of this acts as a warning bell to me to make sure I am telling my character’s story, that they are not over-embellished (there is a place for ham villainy, it’s usually in the panto. Oh yes it is….😁) and to ensure the perspective shown is a reasonable one, at least from the character’s viewpoint.

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Dark stories, light ones, or those that fall somewhere in between? I love them all and, of course, From Light to Dark and Back Again, has them all in! You have to write what you write. I don’t think, for example, you can write “funny” to order. What should happen is you write a story and your natural humour comes through your characters. It reads more naturally that way too.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again – Interview by Alyson Faye/Aly Rhodes

Lovely to be interviewed by fellow flash fiction writer and Chapeltown author, Alyson Faye (aka Aly Rhodes), on her blog tonight. Her book, Badlands, is out in Kindle format now and will be out in paperback. As with all Chapeltown books, it has the distinctive frame around a central image.

Meanwhile, it was lovely for this questioner of other writers to be on the receiving end, so thanks again, Aly!

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I don’t know about you but my reading moods tend to be one genre at a time, then I switch to another for a while and so on.

At the moment my reading list is mainly history (non-fiction), but almost inevitably when I want a change from that, I’ll go to something almost diametrically opposed to it. (Probably humorous fiction, knowing me and then it’ll the usual crime fest with appropriate body count etc!).

I see all of this as immersing myself well and truly in the world of books and that does have benefits to my fiction. Ideas cross-pollinate, influences that lead to good story ideas can come from almost anywhere (so reading widely really means just casting your imagination’s net out that bit further, which is rarely a bad thing!).

So whatever you are reading enjoy it! Who knows what ideas it might inspire in you for your own writing? (All I know is you’ve got to be open to the prospect of ideas coming in!).

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Fairytales With Bite – Music and Moods

I talk about music and moods in my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post.

What role does music play in the fictional world you’ve created?  Is it music as we would understand the term?  Are any of your peoples particularly for or against music on religious or other grounds?  Can anyone use music to influence the behaviour of others (and, yes, I am thinking about the Pied Piper of Hamelin story!).

We have our own history of great composers in different fields of music so what would your world’s equivalent be?  Is classical known but rock not?  Or is classical the big unknown or only for the elite?

This World and Others – Character Tastes – Music

My latest Chandler’s Ford Today post is about music and moods and how the former can affect the latter.  I take care what I listen to now as I don’t want my writing affected by what I’m relaxing to!

What are your characters’ tastes in music?  Musical tastes can be used to designate class (or lack of, you decide what’s appropriate here!).  What would win other characters’ approval or disgust?  What does everyone listen to in your created world?  What do they avoid?  Is there any crossover with the music we know and love/hate here?

Is there an  underground music movement (especially if the mainstream is tightly controlled by the authorities)?  Music has always had its rebels (Beethoven and Mozart were there long before punk rock!) so how would your world show this?  Do they get away with their rebelliousness?

WALKING, WRITING AND GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL

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My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is another one in my Hidden Hampshire series and looks at a lovely, local woodland walk. Let’s just say Mabel and now Lady were and are huge fans of it!

On a more serious note, I also put out a plea for dog owners here to be more responsible where this applies. There are no dog bins on this walk and the Council do NOT come and collect dumped poo bags (which I do see here) so please, please bag it and bin it at home! Then the walk remains nice for everyone, dogs included.

General forest walk shot but similar to Jermyns Lane, image via Pixabay

General woodland shot but typical of the Jermyns Lane walk I enjoy. Image via Pixabay

Mabel at Jermyns Lane

My late dog, Mabel, used to love walking at Jermyns Lane. Image by Allison Symes

Lady loves Jermyns Lane

Lady, my new dog, also loves Jermyns Lane. Image by Allison Symes

Typical of the main track at Jermyns Lane

Typical of the track at Jermyns Lane. Image by Allison Symes

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Is flash fiction a flash in the pan? I don’t think so. After years of everyone saying the short story as a form was dying, I think the advent of flash fiction has breathed new life into that too. Technology isn’t going to go away so there will always be room for a story format that is easy to read on a mobile or tablet.

I love flash fiction for its flexibility. For everyone who loves the 100-word form, there are those who prefer 75 or 50 or 500 and there is room for all. Long may that continue!

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Fairytales with Bite – Getting Away From It All

I often use walking the dog as a chance to get away from it all for a bit and my latest Chandler’s Ford Today post is another in my Hidden Hampshire series, which looks at a local, lovely woodland walk.

How do your characters get away from it all?  What drives the need for them to do so?  How successful or otherwise are they at this?  Does whatever is “bugging” them catch them up and overwhelm them or does the break away give them the respite needed to find a solution to their problems?

How often can your characters get away from it all?  Are regular mini breaks enough or do they have to get right away for a week or more?  How easy, or otherwise, is it for them to do this and what obstacles might get in their way?  Some good stories to be found in answering those questions I think!

Have a wonderful writing year in 2018.  I plan to!

This World and Others – Walking and Writing

This topic came about as a result of this week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post, which is another in my Hidden Hampshire series, and looks at a lovely, local woodland walk.

The big problem with writing, of course, is it is a sedentary activity (though very good for the brain!), so I walk the dog (a) because she needs it and (b) because I do too!  The break from the desk can and does inspire creative thought, which is another excellent reason to walk.

What kind of exercise do your characters do to keep themselves fit, assuming they do? What are their walks?  What hazards would they face in their world that simply wouldn’t happen on Earth?  What are the similarities?  Going to meet someone of course can be a pivotal point in many a story but where would your characters go if they needed secrecy and can they guarantee this?

Does your created government restrict where people can go?  What are the laws on land ownership, rights of way and trespass, if any?  These sort of details can help flesh out a realistic picture of the world you’re conveying to us as we can appreciate the equivalent of these that we have so it is easier to identify with this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS AND INSPIRING YOUR WRITING

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What do I love about author interviews? Well, firstly, you can learn a lot from them. I’ve found out about competitions this way and also was alerted to the joys of Scrivener. (It’s amazing how many writers use it). Often you can adapt the questions so you can ask them of your own characters and build their profiles up further. Thirdly the questions should make you think about what you write and why you write at all. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to take stock of that every now and again. I find it encouraging.

When I interview writers for Chandler’s Ford Today, I always ask for their three top tips. There’s a lot of overlap, of course, but what is fascinating is the priority each writer gives to each tip! No two writers are the same here!

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Facebook – General – Inspiring Your Writing

What inspires your writing? For me, it is not just one thing or person. There are the many authors whose books I’ve loved for years (and still do), writers new to me whose works I’m enjoying, and my general love of stories. Behind all of that is the debt I owe my mother for teaching me to read and instilling that love of books in the first place.

Why the need for stories at all? To try to make sense of the world is a valid reason but I’m all for stories being “just” for entertainment. Given the news is grim, always has been, unlikely to change anytime soon, stories that can take you to different places or times are a great form of entertainment (and possibly therapy too).

 

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Facebook – General – Chandler’s Ford Today post sneak peek

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week will be another in my Hidden Hampshire series. One lovely thing about owning a dog is discovering walks to take them on and that gives me material to blog about, so it’s a win-win situation for me! Lady likes it too, as did Mabel before her. More details tomorrow.

Lady currently curled up on the carpet happily dozing after a busy afternoon making new dog friends and generally having a ball (sometimes it was her own!) at the Rec earlier. Am blessing my late mum for leaving me a huge bundle of old towels as the Rec is currently a quagmire in places and the towels are proving extremely useful.

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again – Quizzing Your Characters

How often do you quiz your characters? I tend to ask mine what their motivation is (“darling”!) and it can surprise me just what is behind my initial thoughts as to why they’re acting the way they are. There IS a lot of psychology in writing! The chief thing I want from my characters is honesty. They have to be true to themselves whether they’re a heroine or an out and out villain.

What do you look for in your characters? What drives them and is that drive strong enough to overcome any obstacle in their way?

 

 

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again – Concentration Levels!

Does flash fiction, due to its brevity, mean less concentration is needed because there is less to read? Not a bit of it! If anything, I think more concentration is needed on the part of both writer and reader, as so much has to be implied.

I must admit I realised on re-reading one of my crime tales in From Light to Dark and Back Again that I had unwittingly written in more than one way for my heroine to achieve justice against the brute who had bullied her for so long. I just didn’t realise it until after I’d written the story! Not that I am sorry about this, but, had I thought about it more when I was writing the tale, I could’ve been more selective with my words. And that is where concentration is needed. Word selection counts for so much more the shorter the form of fiction you’re writing in!

 

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again – The Joy of the Writing Life

Can you identify with this I wonder?

When everything is said and done
This writing lark is such fun
But what nobody then tells you
Is that it can be hell too.

Characters won’t leave you alone.
You cut word counts to the bone.
You’re never sure a piece is done
Though acceptance proves you’ve “won”.

But something drives you on to write,
Work hard and get your piece right
As much as it could ever be.
You have to prove yourself, see.

Allison Symes – 4th January 2018

I can think of a few writers who can identify with at least some of the above!

Learning with others in a writing conference is huge fun, image via Pixabay

Sharing the joys and woes of the writing life. Image via Pixabay,

Note taking is an invaluable aid to retaining what you learn at conferences, image via Pixabay

Write, edit, write, edit… image via Pixabay

So many writing conference rooms look like this, image via Pixabay

A writing conference room. Image via Pixabay.