ODD COMBINATIONS AND FLASH FICTION TERMS

Again, a mixed bag for you!

Facebook – General – and Chandler’s Ford Today

My latest CFT post combines two things in a review, which I never anticipated I would ever combine – the Famous Five and William Shakespeare! Yes, really.

I review Five Go Mad for Shakespeare staged by the MDG Players at the Dovetail Centre in Chandler’s Ford last Thursday. They were ably assisted by the Romsey Players with their “play within a play”, which is another nod to the Bard!

The evening was a mixture of spoofs, well known scenes from Hamlet and Macbeth, and songs. It was good fun and very well put together.

MDG NOTICEBOARD

The MDG Players cast and notice board. Image by Allison Symes

MDG NOTICEBOARD PART 2

All the seats were taken at the show. Image by Allison Symes

Programme Front

The front cover of the programme. Image by Allison Symes.

Programme - What is on offer during the show

A mixed menu of delights in the show are listed here. Image by Allison Symes

THE GAME CARDS FOR WOULD WE LIE TO YOU

The green and red cards were used for a game during the show, Image by Allison Symes.

Facebook – General

Went to see an April Trio of Plays by the Chameleon Theatre Company tonight. Review on CFT next week. This week will be a review of Five Go Mad For Shakespeare put on by the MDG Players last week. So yes, I’ve been out and about and seeing some wonderful plays! I like this. I like it a lot! (Hope it won’t be too long before I get to see some National Theatre Live productions again too).

Facebook – General

One of the problems I face with writing is prioritising! Writing for Chandler’s Ford Today helps as I know I’m posting on Friday so I plan my posts so usually I’m carrying out final checks on Wednesday.

However, it is fitting everything else in that I’d like to do, both for fiction and non-fiction, that is the problem. The one comfort? I know I’m not alone in this. (And things like using Evernote on a phone on a train does help me get a lot more done with time that would otherwise be wasted. Just how much staring out of the window can you do?!!).

The one good thing is I am well ahead on coming up with ideas for stories for what I hope will end up being my third flash fiction collection. I’ve also drafted some of the stories out. (I hope some of them will appear online at some point).

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

There are times I wish there were better terms for flash fiction writers. We’re flashers for a start! Anyone writing 100-word stories is a drabbler and I have occasionally written at the 50-word mark too (though this has been more for my second collection which is under submission).

Therefore, this makes me a flasher, a drabbler and an occasional dribbler. Doesn’t sound good, does it?😀 Does anyone know who came up with these terms in the first place?!

Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

I’ve talked before about one benefit of writing flash fiction being that it shows up your wasted words. This carries over into any other creative writing you do as you learn to look out for these wasted words and they’re the first to be cut out.

However, another huge benefit to writing flash fiction is having to write with absolute clarity. As your word count is limited, you want every word to carry its weight so your readers pick up the meaning you intended.

That clarity can (and I think should) carry over into other writing too. Also, because flash fiction really does have to be character led, it beefs up your ability to create convincing characters! They have to “lead” the story, there simply isn’t the room for an elaborate plot. But the great thing is genre isn’t an issue. I’ve written flash fiction pieces in fantasy, fairytale, crime, horror, and so on.

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Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again

Managed to draft another flash fiction piece while waiting to give blood this afternoon. Best thing to come out of the afternoon too given there was trouble with my veins and I had to come home without donating. Ah well… try again. (I cherish the thought if the National Blood Service had trouble with my veins, so would your average vampire! You have got to find the things to use them!).

That aside, I’m pleased with the progress I’m making on this batch of stories and hope to submit some more to Cafelit before long.

Goodreads Author Programme – Blog – Childhood Books

I sometimes review local theatre productions and a recent one was called Five Go Mad for Shakespeare. Good fun, and I enjoyed the references to Enid Blyton’s adventure series, and to the Bard too.

I used to collect the Famous Five series as the local newsagent stocked them. (Those really were the days… the newsagent’s shop was big compared to the ones I come across now. Its book section was reasonably generous in size).

I loved reading the Five’s adventures and I think those books, plus the fairytale collections I had (and still have!), are the fiction volumes that have had the most affect on me. Of course, the moment I’d got my hands on the latest Five adventure, I had to read it as soon as possible. I don’t remember reading them in one sitting but I know I would’ve been ready for when the next book was due in the newsagent’s!

So what childhood books have had the most impact on you? Have you re-read them since then?

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Fairytales With Bite – Why Children’s Fiction Matters Even When You Do Not Write It

My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week is a review of a show called Five Go Mad for Shakespeare and it was good fun.  I never expected to review something that combined Enid Blyton’s Famous Five with the Bard of Avon but there you go…

This led me on to thinking about the importance of children’s fiction, even for those who do not write it.  My first loves in terms of children’s books were the classic fairytales and the Famous Five series.  I also liked Heidi, Black Beauty, and other classic children’s books.

I think it can be forgotten sometimes that anyone who, like me, writes for adults, “owes” our audience to children’s writers.  Why?  Because most people who read regularly have always read since they were children and all that changes as they become older is their tastes in books!

While I’m sure it does happen, the majority of readers don’t suddenly go into a bookshop and pick out a book to read.  They are going into stores or ordering books online because they already have a love of reading they are developing further.  That love of books nearly always starts in childhood with the classic children’s stories.

This World and Others – What Makes a “Fully Rounded Character”?

You hear the phrase “fully rounded characters” a lot, well I have (!), but what does it actually mean? My take on this is:-

1. You can identify with the character.
2. The character has clear virtues and flaws. (This is usually why you can identify with them!).
3. The character makes mistakes and, usually, learns from them. Often they make the same mistakes more than once before they learn from them, but then so do real people!
4. Their behaviour and attitudes make sense, given the way the writer has portrayed them.
5. You can imagine how this character would live outside of the constraints of the story.
6. They interact with other characters in a way that makes sense, even if the interaction itself isn’t good. (This could be because the character really does not get on well with others or the other characters aren’t great at “people skills”).
7. The character has feelings, tastes in music, food etc so you would feel they “could be” a real person if somehow characters could come to life.
8. The character has emotional depth. Basically this means the reader can see if the character is shallow or is capable of more complex emotions and attitudes. Shallow characters can be appropriate to a story. It’s just their emotional depth isn’t very deep!
9. You can’t imagine the story without them. (Always a good sign).
10. The character has real struggles and difficulties to overcome and finds different ways of overcoming them. (Unless they are a shallow creation, they don’t give up at the first hurdle).

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