Image Credit: Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.
Now there’s an interesting combination of topics for the letter R in my In Fiction series.
Now there’s an interesting combination of topics for the letter R in my In Fiction series.
I use questions a lot in my storytelling and, to a certain extent, for blogs like this. How? Well, it is appropriate I set a question to start this piece!
Paragraphs and punctuation may not be the most immediate things to spring to mind for the letter P in my In Fiction series but they have important roles to play in creative writing.
You really don’t want to miss this show. There are still 3 shows till Saturday.
Allison Symes and my family and friends watched this on Thursday night. Amazing show; amazing music; funny and warm; lots of surprises. I last checked the website Chameleon Theatre Company and there are still some tickets left. Some of you may want to grab the tickets and I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time.
The pantomime has been moved from January to April due to Covid. This brilliant show is really worth waiting for. [Read more…] about The Chameleons – The Dragon of Wantley Till 30th April 2022. Don’t Miss This Show!
Is there such a thing as original fiction? Hmm… you may think that’s an odd question for me to ask and the answer to that must be “yes”.
Names are as important in fiction as they are to us in life. Names give us a sense of who we are. They are a major part of our identity and names can reveal so much about ourselves.
Names can indicate someone’s likely social class, whether they’re traditionalists or not, and something of their family background too. Writers can play on that to help add depth to their characterisation. Names can also indicate the genre of a book. Well, you’re not going to find the likes of Frodo Baggins turn up in a Jane Austen novel, are you?
It is the irony of all fiction writing that, while everyone knows the stories are made up, people want characters they can believe.
These characters must be true to life so a story writer’s job is to make their characters seem real enough that, if the situation could happen in reality, these would be the characters who would also exist in reality.
I watched the 2019 David Copperfield film recently, having bought the DVD because it was on offer in Tesco. It highlighted, or so the trailers had had me believe, the humour of Dickens’ work. Yes, there is humour in Dickens, it’s not all over-long descriptions and no pictures.
The cast looked promising (Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Paul Whitehouse) and it was directed by Armando Iannucci. What could possibly go wrong? [Read more…] about Not the film review slot
Laughter is one of the great joys of life and it has a huge range. This is reflected in fiction too. There are the laugh out loud stories, those wonderful moments of irony, slapstick, the great one-liners and so on. What matters in stories is that humour arises naturally out of the characters and the situations the writer has put them in (and often the greater the height from which the author has dropped their characters in it, the better).
Forcing humour never works. Something is funny or not, as the case may be. When I interviewed Fran Hill and Ruth Leigh on this topic, their insights showed how difficult writing writing humour can be though both ladies manage it magnificently despite writing in different genres. Fran writes memoir with humour. Ruth writes women’s fiction with humour.
On a recent trip through the Midlands recently, I managed to slip in a long-promised visit to Burton Dassett Country Park, just of the M40 between Banbury and Warwick.
This was a popular venue for family outings when I was a child, but I’ve not been there for about 50 years. It is still as wonderful as I remember. The hills aren’t particularly high or steep – nothing is in that area – but on a clear day they give fantastic views in all directions.
Of the many hand gestures, from the encouraging thumbs-up to the vulgar V sign, there is one that drew me to the history of the Popes; the sign of benediction. With the hand held aloft, palm forward and the thumb, index and middle fingers extended, and the little and ring fingers curled into the palm, the priest intones the benediction and blessing. See the diagram below.
The three-fingered sign of benediction and of damage to the ulnar nerve.
Strangely the same hand posture is also a sign of damage to the ulnar nerve. The ulnar is one of two main nerves supplying the skin and muscles of the hand. It is usually damaged the elbow. Most of us have banged our ‘funny bones’ and experienced unpleasant tinglings in the ring and little fingers. That is a temporary bruising of the ulnar nerve. [Read more…] about Hand Gestures
My topic this time for the In Fiction series is a study in contrasts.
Kindness and killing feature heavily in fiction, the latter particularly in the crime and horror genres. Kindness turns up in the classic fairytales and in fantasy and will often be those moments in a story when our hero/heroine has to rely on someone else to help them through a difficult time. It is that break, that help, which enables them to go on and successfully complete their quest etc.
This acts as a reminder to us that no man is an island, we all need help and kindness at times, and that kindness can reinvigorate us. Fiction should reflect that.
I’ve recently returned from the Scottish Association of Writers (SAW) conference, which was held at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld from 18th to 20th March 2022.
How come a Hampshire based lass ended up here? Two reasons really:-
1. I am a member of History Writers, an online group only meeting once a month on Zoom. This group is affiliated to SAW. I gave a talk to them this month on historical flash fiction. I have written some historically based pieces, hope to do more, and have a general interest in history anyway.
2. Wendy H Jones! I know Wendy thanks to the Association of Christian Writers and she is president of SAW. She also set up the History Writers group. Now I’ve mentioned the importance of networking as you make wonderful writing friends and opportunities can arise too. Let nobody say I don’t take my own advice!
Wendy invited me to judge one of SAW’S competitions – the Margaret McConnell Woman’s Short Story – and to run a flash fiction workshop. I was only too pleased to accept.
The spring is sprung, the grass is riz
I wonder where the birdy is
The bird is on the wing
Don’t be absurd
Everyone knows the wing is on the bird
We’ve been in meteorological spring since the beginning of the month and today, 20th March, is pretty close to non-meteorological spring (which probably has a better name). And the weekend’s weather has also been spring-like too, for the first time this year.
What better time to visit Hillier Gardens at Ampfield and see the flowers starting to emerge from their winter’s sleep.
Here are a few photos from today’s wander. I’m not a botanist so some of my descriptions may be a little haphazard. Sorry, Wellie. [Read more…] about Spring is here, spring is here. Life is skittles and life is Beer
Update: The market on 02.04.2022 has been cancelled.
Chandler’s Ford Market is back – Saturday 19.03 at the Age Concern Hall, next to Fryern Arcade, (behind Co-Op), from 10am to 1pm. Well done for Steve Allen for organising the local market in the past few years.
Come and meet the local crafters of Chandler’s Ford and the local areas.
You’ll find all kinds of homemade crafts and produce made by local crafters.
This post is timely because by the time this goes out I will be up in Scotland again for the Scottish Association of Writers’ Conference. I’m running a flash fiction workshop there and have judged one of their competitions (the Margaret McConnell Woman’s Short Story).
I hope to interrupt my In Fiction series to report back on how things went soon. And yes I loved the train journey (Waterloo, King’s Cross, Edinburgh, Croy) – the scenery on much of the route is amazing. It’s the second time I’ve been up to Scotland in the last few months as I was at the Brechin and Angus Book Festival back in November.
They say that a picture is a thousand words but don’t discount those words. For one thing, one thousand words is a flash fiction story! An artist paints with oils, watercolours etc., whereas a writer paints with words. And those words can make a powerful impact on readers.
By inventing characters readers can identify with, we can use those characters to convey deep truths in what we get them to say and how we get them to act. We can also use those characters as representations. Allegorical tales are the classical example of this.
One aspect of fiction, whatever its genre or length, is it does reflect on our behaviour. It isn’t flattering either, most of the time. The classic fairytales, for example, call evil out for what it is and the kind of evil shown in them (such as cruelty to step children) is something we see only far too often for real.
Stories tell us what we know. Even in the most fantastical of settings, there will be something we can identify with (otherwise, why would we read such things?).
And human behaviour is the direct reason for any story. We use stories to try to make sense of the world we know (and perhaps more than ever in crisis times such as the one we’re going through now with the situation in Ukraine).
Geography may seem unglamorous but it plays a major role in many great stories. The Lord of the Rings would not work without its geography of The Shire, Rohan, Gondor and, of course, Mordor. (I’ve always loved the map at the start of the book too).
Wuthering Heights wouldn’t be the same without its geography and The Hound of the Baskervilles would not work nearly so well if the story wasn’t set in a bleak setting (to intensify the mystery as to what the hound is given it’s easier to hide something monstrous on a moor!).
The definition of framework is an essential supporting structure of a building, vehicle, or object. Well, that can be extended out to include stories. They need a structure to make them work.