Does it seem like an odd thing to do for a writer to regularly analyze stories? Does it take the joy out of reading? I suspect many an English Literature student, at whatever level, may well say yes to that, but I feel that would be a shame. It certainly isn’t the point of analysis.
One great thing about playing Scrabble is it does increase your vocabulary. It’s amazing just how many three and two letter words there are. I play on a mobile app so there are no worries about losing any of the tiles either!
Mind, there have been times many years ago when I’ve played the traditional board game when I would happily have stuffed the Q, X, V, and Z somewhere I could guarantee they’d not be seen again but that’s another story! I’m less hostile to the Q now I know you don’t always need the U to go with it.
I’ve also recently discovered the word “xeno” which means strange. I’m looking forward to using that one at some point. It should score well!
What are your favourite types of fictional characters? Mine include:-
1. The deserving hero/heroine. (This is one reason why I love fairytales, they’re full of these!).
2. Those who ensure justice is meted out to those meriting it but in the right way. Sam Vimes, Terry Pratchett’s wonderful creation in Discworld, is a great example of this kind of character.
3. Characters who develop over several books so you can see their progress (or lack of it). Vimes, again, is a classic example. Over a few books he goes from a drunk to a hero and there is much more to his development than that but I would happily urge you to check the Vimes novels out. (Good place to start is Men at Arms where Vimes really begins to get into his stride).
[Read more…] about Character Types – and Why It Matters to Get Them Right
Do you like adaptations of your favourite stories? I guess the answer to that is “yes, if it works” and then it is up to us to decide whether it does or not.
Famously The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock is an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s short story of the same name so it isn’t just about novels being “translated” to a different media. [Read more…] about Adaptations
Why is the weather always a topic of conversation in Britain? I think this is due to:-
1. We have such a variety of weather (and often in the space of one day), it simply has to be talked about. I’ve experienced a wide range of weather in the space of an hour especially when I’ve been in Scotland. They’re hardy souls there for a reason! [Read more…] about The Weather and Its Uses in Fiction
I’ve talked about my writing journey before but how about the reading one? Do you remember which book you first read by yourself or the one that was always read to you as a child because it was your favourite?
I can’t remember what was the first book I read myself though it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a picture book. Once you pick up a few words, going through a picture book to find those words for yourself because you can now read them, is special. This is yet another reason why a well produced picture book is important in a child’s reading development. They build confidence in reading and with that comes the wish to read other things. A child that lacks confidence in reading will be reluctant to try something they don’t already know. [Read more…] about Reading Journeys
Right now is the height of the pantomime season and I’m looking forward to seeing The Chameleons’ production of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves soon. It should be great fun (as Robin Hood was before). One common element to pantomimes is the use of magic. It comes in somewhere to make the character change directions or to rescue them from what seems an inescapable problem.
So let’s pretend the fairy godmother has turned up for us and, being the kindly soul she is, offered us three wishes. What would you go for? Firstly, the ground rules (you knew there would be some, bureaucracy gets everywhere!). [Read more…] about Three Wishes
Over the years, you pick up many useful writing tips and then you need to work out which are the most useful to you. Following on from an earlier CFT post of mine about writing tips, I thought I’d take a look in greater depth at why I use the tips that I do.
In general, I don’t look at those tips for playwrights, given that’s not my specialism, but one that is aimed at them (read your work out loud) is good advice regardless of what type of fiction you write. It also works well for non-fiction given it can help you pick up on whether your prose flows as well as you thought. So how do you deduce which writing tips are the most useful? [Read more…] about Tried and Tested Writing Tips
One of the things I love about this time of year is that it is a wonderful time for stories. The weather’s cold and grim, it can be getting dark by 3.30 pm (which I find depressing), there’s not much on TV, so what could be better than keeping cosy and warm while reading a good book?
Naturally the publishers try to tap into this. It is with very good reason the Christmas book market is a major “pay day” for publishers and long may that continue. Book sales now should help fund the discovery of other writers and fabulous books later. [Read more…] about Christmas Stories – Allison Symes
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of the most iconic stories of all time. Centered on the miserable and rude Ebenezer Scrooge, the book – oh who am I kidding, everyone knows the story. There have been countless adaptations of the story and everything from The Muppets to Blackadder to Doctor Who have tackled it. [Read more…] about Review by Ben Williams: A Christmas Carol by Chandler’s Ford MDG Players
My favourite versions of it (and there have been many produced over the years) are The Muppet Christmas Carol (Michael Caine playing Scrooge) and the version starring Patrick Stewart. It is a question of getting Scrooge’s hardness of heart right without it spilling over into melodrama, something both knights of the realm did fantastically well. [Read more…] about A Christmas Carol – The MDG Players – Review by Allison Symes
I enjoyed a very entertaining evening yesterday when I went to watch A Christmas Carol by the Chandler’s Ford MDG Players. It was held in the Dovetail Centre of the Methodist Church, and this venue facilitated an intimate theatre experience.
The production followed Charles Dickens’ famous story using acting, narration, carol singing and audience participation for the sound effects, which was great fun! The play was brilliantly adapted by James Reynard. [Read more…] about Review by Hazel Bateman: A Christmas Carol by Chandler’s Ford MDG Players
In this final section of my mini-series, Jennifer C Wilson, Val Penny, Anne Wan, Wendy H Jones, and Richard Hardie continue to share their thoughts on different aspects of writing the series novel. Tonight we look at how to ensure each novel can be read as a stand-alone book, specific things my guests love and loathe about writing series, and whether they know, ahead of time, how many books are going to be in their respective series. [Read more…] about The Joys and Challenges of Writing Series Novels Part 3
It was a great joy last week to introduce my fellow writers and contributors to this series which looks at the joys and challenges of series novels. Amongst tonight’s topics for Jennifer C Wilson, Val Penny, Anne Wan, Wendy H Jones, and Richard Hardie to tackle are the challenges of writing a series and what are the issues which arise in trying to promote a series. (Trust me it is challenging enough promoting a single book!). And as ever many thanks to all of my guests for supplying the author pictures and book cover shots. [Read more…] about The Joys and Challenges of Writing Series Novels – Part 2
The joy and challenge of writing flash fiction is creating a short story out of nothing, with a proper beginning, middle and end, to a tight word count.
The joy and challenge of creating a novel is conjuring up your own world out of nothing and having an enthralling story set there, which usually comes in at the 80,000 to 100,000 word mark. (So your story must be strong to literally go the distance). [Read more…] about The Joys and Challenges of Writing Series Novels – Part 1
The world of literature would be much poorer without its fantastic fiction and its realistic opposite (and I am including non-fiction in what I term reality writing). Both show worlds we can identify with in some way.
For example, in The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic fantasy work the way Saruman attempted to destroy the natural world to make his weapons and build his power is a direct reflection of how things have been on our own planet time and time again. I needn’t name the dictators and while Tolkein always denied any comparison to the build up to World War Two, you can see why people made that link. An absolute evil had to be destroyed. An unlikely hero did so. (Who would have thought Britain would win the Battle of Britain? We weren’t supposed to!). [Read more…] about Fantastic -v- Reality Writing
How is your eyesight? How is your imaginative “vision”? Both well, I trust. This post looks at views, both literal and metaphorical, and how a writer can develop their “eye” to generate ideas, regardless of whether they write fiction, non-fiction or both. [Read more…] about Favourite Views
Following on from last week’s post about the best and worst decisions made regarding writing, I thought I’d share here some of the most useful writing tips I’ve picked up on my writing journey to date. The great thing about making mistakes is, if sensible, you learn from them. It is true of life in general you learn what to do by getting it wrong first!
[Read more…] about Writing Tips
This is my look back at the recent Hursley Park Book Fair. Many thanks to Glenn Salter (aka author Simon Fairfax) for organising the Fair. So much hard work (and generally unseen at that) goes on behind the scenes to make these events happen. For an inaugural event, I thought the Fair worked well but more on that shortly… [Read more…] about A Look Back at the Hursley Park Book Fair
Don’t forget the inaugural Hursley Park Book Fair takes place this weekend.
Amongst the authors taking part are Richard Hardie and I. Two former interviewees of mine, Anne Wan and Felicity Fair Thompson, will also be at the event. [Read more…] about Reminder Post: Hursley Park Book Fair – 23rd and 24th June 2018