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Flash of Inspiration

March 6th, 2020

My children’s novel has been quietly simmering on a back burner for eight years. Last year I decided a writing course would help stir it up. Check it wasn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan (whilst working on my extended metaphors). So I enrolled on a Writers Bureau course, and seven modules in, I still look forward to every assignment. But the course has stirred up more than I’d anticipated. It’s given me an itch to write just for the sake of writing. This is how I found flash fiction. And I’m a little bit besotted.

Six months ago I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what flash fiction was. So where has this infatuation come from? For me, it’s the ability of the genre to capture fleeting inspiration and either hold it within its tiny frame, or let it grow into something new. Read the rest of this entry »




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For the Love of Flash

February 7th, 2020

When Diana kindly asked me if I would contribute to the WB blog I was a little stumped, considering my amateur status in the world of fiction, on what to write about. Recently, I have had success in placing in the WB Flash Fiction Competition, so with this in mind I thought I would share with you why I think writing flash fiction is invaluable to any aspiring writer.

With a word limit tending to range between 200 – 1000 words, flash allows you to lay down a complete first draft in one sitting, often in under twenty minutes, so you can create a fully formed piece of fiction in your lunch break. You gain a sense of accomplishment and are well on your way to having a piece ready for competition or publication. More importantly (for me at least) you are able to go through the complete writing process in miniature (re-drafting, proof reading etc.)  building on skills like editing, that you may rarely get to use when writing in longer forms. In going through the process, I’ve found that I enjoy the re-drafting more than writing the initial draft. This has given me more hope in completing the first draft of my novel, which (as I’m sure some of you have found) can be a painful process. At the end of the week you could have a fully realised piece of fiction ready to go. Read the rest of this entry »




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Gone In A Flash

March 16th, 2018

I don’t consider myself to be a ‘flasher.’ In fact, when I first heard the words ‘flash fiction’, I didn’t know what was meant. I’d seen something (on Twitter probably) called ‘Bath Flash’ and thought it was a cleaning product rather than a writing competition. But I was intrigued. I wanted to know what it was.

I discovered flash fiction is stories under 1000 words. It goes smaller. Some flash says 500 words or less, other flash hovers around the 300-word mark. Then there are Drabbles: 100 words or less. Some micro-fiction goes further. Whatever the miniscule word count, I was struck by the challenge of writing a complete story in so few words and thought I’d give it a go. Read the rest of this entry »




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In Praise of Competitions…

February 16th, 2018

In summer last year I chanced upon a short story competition and decided to enter. I hadn’t even appreciated that such things existed.

I didn’t win. In fact, I heard nothing back from the organisers, save for an acknowledgment of receipt. But I enjoyed the experience; it piqued my interest, and I searched for more.

Before long, I had a list of potentials and aimed to come up with entries for each. These were stories that I would never have written were it not for the spur of the contests. Read the rest of this entry »




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Clocking up Some First-hand Experience

April 7th, 2017

A while back – maybe a year maybe two – I’d listened in to a radio article about the public clocks in Edinburgh and how they were all to be fully automated by the end of 2016. I wrote a flash fiction out of that listening. Then early this year I re-read the flash and thought there was a fuller story to be told, so I started in on it… only to discover how little I knew about clocks and big mechanisms. I needed to do some research.

Usually my research involves trawling the internet, but what was missing for my story was the feel and the smell and the sound of turret-clocks. There are no records for that. I needed to see for myself. I wrote to St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. I knew they had one such clock and I knew they did tours of the Cathedral, but I did not know if these tours took you inside the clock-tower. I was put in touch with David, The Beadle. Read the rest of this entry »




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