A moment I've hoped to achieve for more years than I care to recall...

MOODS AND THEMES

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I finish my mini series on Writing Tips tonight with A to Z of Writing Tips Part 8 where I cover W to Z!  I discuss Writing, X-Rated (fiction),  Young Adult (fiction) and Zero Heroes.  By the latter, I refer to those storeis whre the hero is not particularly likeable but clearly the best of a bad bunch.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In Moods and Themes I look at writing to a theme and discuss how often mood can emerge from a story, taking even its author by surprise.  That’s happened to me quite a bit!  I’ve often written to a theme but rarely write to a mood.  How can you decide to write “funny”, for instance?  The “funny” has to emerge naturally or it will come acrsoss as artificial.

FACEBOOK PAGE – GENERAL

A bit of a mixed bag tonight.  I pay my own tribute to Brian Cant, who was one of my favourite children’s TV presenters when I was growing up.  I also discuss my holiday reading plans.  Whether they actually happen is another matter!  I also make a plea for dogs to stay at home in the very hot weather we’re currently having in the UK.  Dogs can literally cook in minutes if left in cars – regardless of whether you leave the windows open.  It really is kinder for the dogs to stay at home if you can’t take them with you.

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I discuss moods and themes again here tonight.  I also look at how easy (or not) coming up with titles is and throw that question open to you.  Comments welcome!  I have to have a title to work to, even if it changes later (and it often does).  It’s almost as if I need a “peg” from w hich to hang my story!

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REASONS TO READ

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

A to Z of Writing Tips Part 7 covers T through to V.  I’ve a little time in hand to work out what to write for X and Z when I come to them!  T = Theme, U = Using Your Characters (I discuss whether this is acceptable and what your characters should be doing for your story), and V = Vital Information.  Yes, I know I could have gone for verbs but I didn’t really want to write a “grammar” post.  Under Vital Information I look at what your readers need to know and whether you do need to tell them everything or if you should leave clues for them to work things out.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Reasons to Read (as if you need any!) was the obvious follow up to my earlier post on Reasons to Write.  I look at the benefits of reading well from a writer’s viewpoint.

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY/FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I’m pleased to be back to more regular blogging and tonight’s Chandler’s Ford Today post was a real joy to write.  It is also hopefully going to be the start of a mini series.  I interview Anne Wan, children’s author (Adventures of the Snow Globe:  Vanishing Voices) and over the course of both parts of the interview will look at the joys and woes of writing for children.  Later in the year I hope to be interviewing a historical fiction writer and look at the delights and tribulations of writing for that genre.

I have to say Anne was a joy to interview and tonight’s post shows how much hard work is involved in writing and publishing a book.  Part 2 (next Friday) will share, amongst other things, Anne’s  love and loathing of editing.  I seriously doubt if any writer will disagree with her thoughts!

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

One nice thing that came out of interviewing Anne Wan at Bay Leaves Larder was seeing my book there (including a well thumbed copy – I hope whoever that was enjoyed the stories!).  I have managed to get the book in at our local Post Office and Andersons and I hope soon to have adverts up for the book signing I will be holding at the local railway station (yes, really!).  But tomorrow I’m off to the Winchester Writers’ Festival for a jam packed day full of writing – can’t wait!

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FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

PUBLICITY NEWS:  The book is back on Writing Magazine’s Subscribers’ Showcase. As a subscriber, I had two months’ free publicity on this.  After that you pay a small amount per month and I’ve committed to the next six months.  I think this is an excellent idea and a great way to help writers.

 

Anne Wan and Allison Symes at Bay Leaves Larder

Anne Wan and I enjoying a chat and cups of tea at Bay Leaves Larder.  Interviews can be so much fun and this one was lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

REASONS TO WRITE

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

A to Z of Writing Tips Part 6 looks at R and S only.  R =Reading, which all writers should (a) do and (b) encourage in others.  We can’t really expect others to read well if we don’t! S= Short Story (to include flash fiction) and I’m glad the shorter tale is enjoying a bit of a revival.  From a writer’s viewpoint it is nice to be able to get work out there while working on, say, a novel.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Reasons to Write looks at reasons why people start writing.  I’m sure you can think of others but these were the ones that immediately sprung to my mind.  I think a lot of us start writing for a combination of reasons.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I talk about the ease of switching moods when writing flash fiction and how writing it gives a real sense of immediacy.  You write now, only a short piece, but you get a reaction to what you have written.  In a very few words, you have created a mini world and the characters and they have an impact on you and then you go on to create the next story!  And I can’t think of a better way of learning to “write tight” and cut out the waffle than to give flash fiction writing a go.

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN#

I share a little on future plans and my follow up book.

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HANDLING GRIEF

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

A to Z of Writing Tips Part 5 covers O to Q (queries before you ask, some pun intended!).  I look at originality, publication and, as mentioned, queries.  I include self publication under P too.  One great development has been the need for authors to do more on publicity.  Now I’m not the world’s most outgoing author but even I can see the need to engage with potential readers and this development I think is a good thing as it will make us do so!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Handling Grief looks at how characters deal with this emotion and asks what your created societ expects from them with regard to this.  Are there people your world expects your characters to mourn, regardless of whether they want to do so?  What is the punishment for those refusing to conform (and there would be punishment!)?  Do your characters keep their grief to themselves or are they very open with their emotions?  Show why your characters are like this.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I talk about slowly getting back to blogging (there will be a Chandler’s Ford Today post tomorrow night about one-liners) and I play tribute to my dad, who supported my writing and was always so pleased at any publication successes.  The funeral is tomorrow and yes it did shape my post for This World and Others (though I think answering the questions I pose will create some really good stories).

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I talk about what makes a “successful” flash fiction piece and, funnily enough, I’m not talking in publication terms.  See what you think!

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My debut flash fiction collection from Chapeltown Books

My debut flash fiction collection from Chapeltown Books

 

 

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

FLASH FICTION ADVANTAGES

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

Part 4 of my A to Z of Writing Tips covers L through to N. I look at literacy (and by implication libraries), memory and notebooks!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I talked a little about one advantage of writing flash fiction on my Facebook page but expanded the idea here in Flash Fiction AdvantagesI’m sure you can think of other advantages but a major one for me is writing flash fiction has taught me to “write tight”.  As the word count is limited (especially if you write 100 words stories as I do), every word must count and so useless ones show up very clearly.  My weak words are “very”, “that” and “actually”.  They do nothing for the story.  They convey no information, change of mood etc so out they come.  And I reduce my word count!  (Also words like this slow pace down so removing them for that reason improves the story too).

CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I hope to have a post ready for the end of the week.  I’ve needed a short break due to a family bereavement.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL and FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

From today – this post is again focusing on using flash fiction to help you spot your weak words and remove them from whatever form of writing you do.  This post started out on my book’s Facebook link.

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From yesterday – I discuss how Doctor Who has been consistently right over the years with regard to monsters.  This is partly my response  to the recent horrible terror attacks in Manchester and London, but I also show why the Doctor has long been one of my heroes.

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Says it all - via Pixabay

Good range to start with any way!  Image via Pixabay

 

WHAT REALLY MATTERS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

A to Z of Writing Tips Part 3 covers the letters I to K and included in this are my thoughts on the role of the imagination and the Kindle.  I also look at the role imagination plays in non-fiction writing.  J is for Joking.  Do your stories have a joker in the pack and what is their role?  Are they there as “light relief” or do they irritate the hell out of the other characters?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

What Really Matters asks what values/beliefs/faith do your characters have and whether these put them at odd with the society you’ve set them in.  How important are families and friends to your characters?  What matters to you as the writer regarding the story?  What do you want to come across through it and why?

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

Attitude is everything – well it is according to my border collie, Mabel.  I also talk about feeling relieved to be slowly getting back into reading and writing again, after the death of my father, and, yes, it is proving therapeutic.  Dad was a great supporter of my writing so I know he’d be pleased I was getting back to it.

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I discuss the point of storytelling and look at its value as a form of escapism, also of trying to make sense of things.

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Poetry conjures up images so beautifully. Image via Pixabay. See Sandra Lyn Gordon's wonderful poem on Chandler's Ford Today for another example of great imagery.

Poetry conjures up images so beautifully. Image via Pixabay. See Sandra Lyn Gordon’s wonderful poem on Chandler’s Ford Today for another example of great imagery.

A TO Z OF WRITING TIPS

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I started a new series yesterday (31st May 2017) and share the links here for Part 1 and Part 2 of my A to Z Series of Writing Tips, which I hope you find useful.  Part 1 covers A to E and I look at things such as how useful being published in anthologies can be, just to name one example.  Part 2 covers F to H and includes my thoughts on heroes/heroines and that they need to be fully rounded characters who have off days, the same as the rest of us (!), yet there should still be something about them which makes it clear they deserve to be cast heroically.

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

The Right Title shares some of the ways in which I come up with titles for my stories, and again I hope this is of use.  I use some of my stories in From Light to Dark and Back Again as examples (though if you want to read more of the tales, you will have to buy or borrow the book!  Having said that, and if you would like a taster of what I do, one of my stories is on my book’s trailer, which I share below).

FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN – BOOK TRAILER

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CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

I hope to resume blogging for CFT in the next week or so.  I have taken a short time off all writing due to a family bereavement and am only beginning to get back into things again.  (Am glad to be writing again, it is so therapeutic at times, but I know it will take me a little while longer to get back into writing my feature articles again).

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I talk about moods tonight.  I either write to my mood or sometimes deliberately write against it.  Both can produce good stories (and make you focus on anything other than the situation that triggered the mood in the first place!).

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

Topic for you to consider – are the best characters the ones where the author actively dislikes them?  I think so!  For reasons why see the link and comments with your views on this would be very welcome.

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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

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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