Guest Feature – Allison Symes

It gives me great pleasure to welcome back, Queen of Flash Fiction, Allison Symes. Allison has come along to talk about her new release. Without further ado it’s over to Allison.

Tripping the Flash Fantastic

Allison Symes

Hello, Allison Symes, flash fiction writer and blogger for Chandler’s Ford Today, here. Many thanks to Patricia for inviting me back on to her blog. Further to my interview here, just over a year ago, I am delighted to announce my second flash fiction collection has now been published by Chapeltown Books.

Following on from my debut book, From Light to Dark and Back Again, my new book Tripping the Flash Fantastic takes you back in time. I also take you into some truly criminal minds, into fantasy worlds, and show you how motherhood looks from the viewpoint of a dragon. I hope you enjoy the journey!

I loved writing this book and it is such a thrill to see it published. Collections take a while to get together and, as with any book, so much unseen work goes on behind the scenes. It was also great to be working with indie publisher, Chapeltown Books, again.

What was nice here was having input into the cover design. The choice of image wasn’t my first, funnily enough. Due to the nature of Chapeltown’s square frame, I needed an image that would work well within that, my first choice didn’t, and so I looked again for another image. I think what I have chosen is better than my first idea. There’s a lesson to be learned there I think!

Why write flash fiction?

Flash fiction has been my great writing passion since I discovered the form in 2013. I had been writing short stories and having them regularly published on Cafelit, the online story magazine, when they issued their 100-word challenge.

My first thought on reading that was you have to be kidding me! How can you tell a story in so few words? A proper story that is! My second thought was well they wouldn’t have issued the challenge if it really was impossible, would they? Give it a go!

So I did and quickly became addicted to the challenge of writing the very short form of story. I think I love it so much because I’ve always enjoyed the character creation aspect of writing fiction. With flash, I’m inventing new characters all the time so win-win for me here.

Flash has to be character led simply because you haven’t the room for a lot of description but that in turn gives these short stories immediacy and pace, which I’ve always loved. The challenge of coming up with unforgettable characters and situations is always fun to try and meet! The great thing too is I can set my characters wherever and whenever I want to – for that, flash fiction is remarkably flexible. And even within the upper word count limit of 1000 words, there is much that can be done. I’ve written across the spectrum though my natural home is sub-500 words.

I’ll be holding a cyberlaunch for Tripping the Flash Fantastic on Saturday, 10th October between 7.00 and 9.30 pm. There will be quizzes and prizes amongst other fun things.  I also plan to share some of the stories from my new book and discuss how and why I wrote them as I have. If you have any questions about flash fiction, I’d be delighted to answer them. Hope to see you there! Join the event HERE

Where to Find Allison Symes

Amazon Author Central Page


Facebook Author Page

Facebook Book Page – Advice on Flash Fiction

Chandler’s Ford Today – weekly topics of interest to writers

Cafelit Page

Don’t forget the launch for Allison Syme’s new release, Tripping the Fantastic, is Saturday 10th October 2020 7:00-9:30pm over on Facebook.

9 thoughts on “Guest Feature – Allison Symes

  1. Lance Greenfield October 6, 2020 / 1:31 pm

    Swanwick Writers’Summer School provides the ideal environment to try something new. I gave Veronica Bright’s flash fiction course a stab in 2016 and entered her mini-competition. I didn’t win and I have yet to have one of my flashes published, but I completely understand what you have to say about enjoying the challenge.
    Every word counts!
    Great interview. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • allisonsymescollectedworks October 6, 2020 / 6:57 pm

      Many thanks, Lance, and I was at that very same course in the same year. Flash fiction writing stretches you and I think that is always a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia M Osborne October 6, 2020 / 1:43 pm

    The same goes for poetry, Lance, and by writing flash fiction or poetry it also improves novel writing because you become more economical in your writing.

    Thanks for posting. I’m sure Allison will be along later to respond.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lance Greenfield October 6, 2020 / 3:46 pm

      Yes. That’s what I’ve learned about poetry and you can see it in the writing of many of the great poets. However, I find that the challenges are different. I can let my poetry words flow naturally from the brain to the hand to the page. With flash fiction, and I don’t know if this is good technique or not, I let the words flow with economy in mind and I always end up with too many on the page. The interesting challenge is then to cut and cut and cut, including words that I don’t really want to lose, until the piece is the right length. At least the end product is squeaky tight.

      Liked by 1 person

      • allisonsymescollectedworks October 6, 2020 / 7:00 pm

        If it is any comfort, Lance, it is always better to have to cut than to pad out! I get the first draft down and then look at how I can polish and refine the piece. Mind you, sometimes I will have a flash at, say, 150 words that works really well at that length. So I leave it there. I just don’t enter it for the 100-word comps! But the nice thing now is there are a wide range of competitions etc out there and that 150 word piece will find a home somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia M Osborne October 6, 2020 / 3:49 pm

    If working from a prompt I tend to start poetry and flash fiction off the same way with a mind map. And quite often with both, the first few lines can be eliminated as that’s the warm up to find my way into the poem or story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lance Greenfield October 6, 2020 / 7:01 pm

      That’s great advice. I like mind-mapping. Also, in that first lesson, Veronica advised to write the story and then cut out the beginning or intro so that you go straight into the action. There’s no room for the build up that you might expect in a novel.


      • Patricia M Osborne October 6, 2020 / 8:47 pm

        Exactly. Even in a novel though, quite often that intro isn’t required but you need it to get you into the scene.


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