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Reeling In Your Reader

April 26th, 2019

I have to admit that I love a bit of fiction. Don’t you? There’s nothing like being whisked away to exciting new worlds, or going on thrilling adventures. Equally, there’s something special about a love story that gives you that happy glow and makes you feel that all is right with the world.

Now, I love reading books, but I also like a short story. In today’s world, life seems to be galloping along, and we barely have time to breathe, but we all have the odd five minutes to spare. And five minutes is all it takes to read a short story and to lose yourself in someone else’s life.

It’s the first couple of sentences that usually sucks me into a story. Take this example:

“I didn’t mean it. Please…please don’t hurt me,” the young girl said, her dark eyes welling up with tears.  

 “You should have thought of that before,” the man said, advancing towards her.   Read the rest of this entry »




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Hooked-up In Your Writing

March 23rd, 2018

First, thanks to Sherry for last month’s blog. The thing that I found most interesting was her suggestion of experimenting with different word-lengths to find what suits your idea best. Many people sit down and if they’ve decided to write a 2000-word short story, that’s what they go for. If they’ve decided to write 500 words, that’s what they write. But there can be so much to gain from a little experimentation – making sure that your story is written in the right number of words to do it justice. There’s no point dragging out a pithy, epigrammatic idea to thousands of words or condensing a character-reliant, romance down to a summary. I get so frustrated when I start watching a series on TV, think the set-up is good and then gradually realise that what’s being told in six episodes would have been better kept to four. I don’t want to waste two hours of my life on padding! Read the rest of this entry »




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What’s In A Name

August 25th, 2017

One of the most exciting things about starting a new short story is the god-like capacity you have to create any character you want. You have the power to name them, dress them, decide where they live and so on.  At least you think you do. Until, that is, you get up the next morning after an evening of inspired writing to discover that your sensible Dr David has transformed himself overnight into trendy, jeans wearing Dr Nick. After a prolonged keyboard quarrel, you give up. OK you think, if you want to be called Nick then so be it. And Marion hates her name too. Please can she be something less staid like Naomi. And while you’re at it, there’s no way she’d live in a bungalow.

It happens a lot and the interesting thing is that the characters usually know best. Some of them don’t like swearing, or curry or red shirts. Mostly I’ve given up arguing and go with the flow.

And then there are the ones who won’t go away. You finished their story months ago, but they don’t like it. Raymond for example has never forgiven me for getting him arrested for being drunk and disorderly.  It wasn’t his fault he was drunk – his wife had just left him – he wasn’t responsible for his actions and the least I could do was make it clear to the readers. So I’m rewriting it from his point of view and he’s quite pleased with it so far.

And then there’s the sad, the lonely, the overlooked. I think of them often – Mr Pollock, Joyce, Benjy and Pierre. I wonder what they are doing now that I’ve abandoned them to their respective fates. I hope they’ve found happiness. Last week one of my writing group wondered how Daniel was getting on now he’d returned from Switzerland. I wonder that too. Maybe he’ll pop up in a future story and let me know.

I hope so.

 

Christine loves writing whether it is short stories, flash fiction, plays or poetry and has been successful in a number of local, national and international competitions. She has had two short plays performed and has read her work at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and on local radio. She recently published a book of short stories on Amazon  entitled ‘The Road Ahead




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Literary Vending Machines

August 18th, 2017

First, thanks to Elise for last week’s blog. It just goes to show how different writing for film or TV can be from writing a novel. In the former, you have to be able to produce something visual for your audience whereas when writing a novel you are providing the structure and the ideas which will allow your readers to use their own imagination to understand and visualise your story.

I read an interesting piece this week in Writing Magazine about vending machines having been installed on 35 French railway stations. But these aren’t your standard machines offering drinks, sweets and crisps – instead they provide short stories. If you get to the station and have forgotten your book, or don’t want to fiddle with your mobile phone, you can press a button and print out a story. And you’ve even got a choice of length – do you want a one minute read, a three minute read of a five minute read? (Don’t worry, if you’re train is delayed you can always go back for another as they’re free!) Read the rest of this entry »




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Ten Top Tips for Writing Short Stories and Getting Them Published

November 9th, 2015

Short_Story_TipsDo you ever finish a job and think: ‘Ooof – that was hard?’ I do it all the time, most recently with a story I (eventually) entered for the Aeon Award just last week. As some of you may remember, I started The Little People for a competition in Writing Magazine way back in September last year, but when the first draft came in way over the word count, I had to find a plan B, and this was it. Read the rest of this entry »




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