CHARACTER RELAXATION

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I talk about Character Relaxation being a way of showing your readers more about your characters.  What do they do as hobbies?  Are they obsessed by them?  How do they treat others who get in the way of their “down” time?  How do their hobbies relax them to cope with whatever quest you are sending them on?

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Encouraging Creativity  ties in with my Chandler’s Ford Today post tonight given I talk about a poetry competition in that (more later).  Here I expand the topic to look at what we can do when we lose our spark and need to encourage our own creativity to come back!

FACEBOOK AND CHANDLERS’S FORD TODAY

I share news of a children’s poetry competition being organised by my local writing group, Chandler’s Ford Authors, in association with Hampshire Libraries and The Hiltingbury Extravaganza (a major fair in the area).  There are two age categories – 8 to 11 and 12 to 15 – and there will be prizes!  There will also be a presentation at our local library in September and it is hoped the winning poems will also go on to be published online by Chandler’s Ford Today.

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I talk about my trip to Swanwick Writers’ Summer School.  Really looking forward to it and catching up with old friends again.  Also hope to make new ones!  Am planning to catch up on writing the follow up to From Light to Dark and Back Again.  Have got quite a bit of that written but would like to get a complete first draft done.

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Feature Image - Children's Poetry Competition News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Getting Away from it All I look at what makes your characters feel they’ve got to get away and whether their break helps them or not.  I also discuss how we need to get away from our stories for a while so we can read them with fresh eyes to spot the flaws and the virtues of what we’ve written.  Hopefully putting the flaws right will increase the virtues of the tale and make it much more saleable!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

Titling looks at what I like to see in my titles.  I have to have a working title before I write the story (but if what I’ve come up with doesn’t seem quite right I remind myself it can be changed later.  I seem to need a “peg” to hang my story on!).

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I talk about twist in the tale stories tonight and how I usually start with the twist and work backwards to get to the start of the story.  The trick is finding a twist that isn’t too obvious!

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FACEBOOK – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I discuss my use of the first person in writing flash fiction (it’s more immediate, it’s like an instant short cut into the story and given the restricted word count, that’s invaluable).

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At my book signing.  Image taken by me.

 

 

STORY ENDINGS AND MAKING AN IMPACT

Am definitely on a theme tonight!

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Story Endings I look at how I finish a flash fiction piece. I’m looking at the impact my story will have on a reader and it does influence how I write the story. I also discuss the classic “happy ever after” fairytale ending and how these days I am much more sympathetic with the “happy for now” approach.  (For one thing it is more realistic!).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

In Making an Impact (I told you there was a theme!), I again discuss story endings and their impact but I also talk about the advantages of outlining here.  You can work out what impact you want your story to have and, given there is bound to be more than one way you could achieve that with your characters, you can work out what you feel would work best and then go with that.  (This approach can save a lot of rewriting later – and has done for me).

FACEBOOK – GENERAL AND FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

The theme continues!  I also share another joy of flash fiction, which is, having written your piece, there is nothing to stop you from developing it further into a longer, standard length short story or even a novel if the premise/characters are strong enough and you love the story enough to do so. (Both aspects of that would be necessary as the plot really does have to be strong enough and you’ve got to be prepared to put the work in especially for a novel.  This is where your loving the story so much you have to write it up as a book will help you enormously, but it can be done).

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Back cover of From Light to Dark and Back Again

Back cover of From Light to Dark and Back Again

 

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Flash fiction has the capacity to make a very strong impact quickly – image via Pixabay

 

 

WHY READING FAIRYTALES MATTERS

Couple of shortish posts tonight.

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

In Why Reading Fairytales Matters I list five main reasons. Out of these I think my favourites are that characters don’t usually get away with villainy and also they are rewarded for heroism/doing the right thing.  If only life were like that!

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

I talk about The Writing Journey tonight and celebrate the fact that each writer has a unique one.  Gives us plenty to talk about when we meet up at writing conferences, doesn’t it?!  On a more serious note, I look at (briefly) how being on a journey like this is not just about loooking backwards (at what you have done) but forwards (at what you hope to do).  I find that very positive.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL

I ask a couple of questions here tonight – how do I know when I’ve written a character “right” (no apologies for the grammar!) and how do I know when my dialogue sounds right.  See what you think.  Comments welcome.

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FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

Nothing specific on Facebook tonight (I forgot!) but am glad of the latest reviews on Amazon.  Thank you everyone.  Link takes you to the page for both the paperback and Kindle editions.  I haven’t forgotten about having a monthly newsletter either but hope to sort this out by the end of the year and (once up and running) it should be no problem producing it.  It is the getting started here.  I’ve not used Mail Chimp before (though I do like it, I receive a number of author newsletters on it myself).

FromLightToDark_medium-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

STORY BACKGROUND

FAIRYTALES WITH BITE

I talk about Surprises in Books tonight (which also ties in with this week’s Chandler’s Ford Today post).  I look at what a writer wants to achieve in surprising their readers (and without annoying them!).

THIS WORLD AND OTHERS

To write a story of any length with conviction, the writer must know enough of the story background and characters before writing.  In Story Background I look at why you need to  know more than you actually show the reader and the importance of drip feeding information.

FACEBOOK – GENERAL AND CHANDLER’S FORD TODAY

My post on Chandler’s Ford Today this week is about collecting books.  This post is inspired by my going through my late mother’s collection of books and discovering some nice surprises.  For example she had a copy of, all things, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller in leather bound hardback.  Beautiful book and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Mum also had Chekov’s Short Stories which I’m also looking forward to reading and, for those of you who are thinking wasn’t Chekov in Star Trek, wrong one and time to go to your local library I think!

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FACEBOOK PAGE – FROM LIGHT TO DARK AND BACK AGAIN

I ask whether technology is a good thing in writing and show one way in how you can make yourself feel really, really old.  (I discovered how to do this at my book signing back in early July!).  I look back at how I used to have to do a manual word count (which would practically guarantee I would get a phone call at exactly the wrong moment) and share the joy of not having to literally cut and paste any more!  (This could be part 1 in a new mini series called Old Writer Remembers When…)!

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ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN WRITERS – MORE THAN WRITERS

Sorry, forgot to do this earlier.  My post (for late July) was called The Gratitude Chip and why I think we should have one implanted!

 

GC - If only we were chipped

What a Gratitude Chip could look like.  Image via Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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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