Culturama, a weekend arts festival at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, California is all online this year. Organiser and professor at the College, John Brantingham, prolific writer of amazing poetry and flashfiction, who was a runner up in the 2019 Bath Novella in Flash Award, with his novella Inland Empire Afternoon and who, with poet, Grant Hier gave a fantastic workshop at our 2018 Flash Fiction Festival, has asked me to run a workshop. I’m very happy to be running another version of my popular Dreams Into Fiction workshops, on Friday November 20th from 9.00 am – 10.30 am PST, which is 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm GMT. All welcome from around the world and it’s FREE. You just need to register on the site. The arts festival actually runs over three weekends in November and many great workshops are on offer.
My workshop will be a fun and interactive and you’ll come away with three drafts based on your dreams and new ideas to write more.
To get you thinking in advance, why not look at this photograph I took from the garden of my house as if it were an image from a dream you had last night. What’s the story?
It’s Day 3 of my Notebook writes series. Because May is my birthday month I am offering daily prompts and colour coordinating with outfits. I found a shiny red notebook in my unfinished notebook stash and it was fun matching it to some of red clothes I’ve had for years with a touch of black thrown in.
Today is International Dawn Chorus Day and I went out at 5.00 am down the lanes to catch the first songs. Several blackbirds at full warble, always perched on the apex of roofs. Lots of other birds and many songs I didn’t recognise.
The prompt today is to write a story based on a time when you were up at dawn, maybe recently, maybe a long time ago. Include a word or words from the list and one or more items from the table. I’ve placed ‘The Roster’, by Debra A Daniel, the novella in flash highly commended in the 2019 Bath Flash Fiction Novella in Flash Award, on the table as it has a nice splash of red on the colour. And it is a very good book. You can read more about this in the interview with Debra on the Bath Flash Fiction Award website. And there’s some lovely songs her husband wrote, inspired by the book linked there too.
Remember that if you write a story inspired by this prompt or any of the others already posted, and get it published at any time, let me know and I will give you a free entry to Bath Flash Fiction Award (for another story).
As an added bonus for the rest of the day (I am posting this in the afternoon) here’s another challenge. I’ll give a free Ad Hoc Fiction anthology to the person who guesses the number of marbles in the yellow vase ( to the nearest amount).
I am running my trial Zoom writing class on Tuesday 5th May from 10.30 am to 12.00 pm. If you haven’t yet got Zoom fatigue, do have a go. It is suitable for beginners and experienced writers. During the class I’ll offer more prompts and feedback and we have Alison Woodhouse dropping in to talk about writing a winning drabble (100 word story). Contact me on my email asap.
As a distraction during the last weeks, I have been having fun colour coordinating outfits to flash fiction books published by Ad Hoc Fiction,the small press I direct, which focuses entirely on publishing short fiction. Check out the gallery of pictures I posted on the Bath Flash Fiction Site of Series One: The Older Writer/publisher Dressing Up To Go Nowhere
Series Three, which I have just begun today, will continue all May, and I will colour coordinate outfits to some of my large stash of unfinished notebooks. I will also offer a daily prompt. I know others like me who are enticed by the lure of a new notebook but never fill up the pages. Today’s notebook is one I bought in 1995 to record dreams. Plenty of blank pages in that one and some interesting dreams, many still on the same themes as today!
As it is May 1st, a day steeped in ritual and tradition, the prompt is to write a flash fiction story based on a superstition. Include some or all of the words on the list pictured below and any of the items on the table. If you are interested in taking up this writing challenge and you complete the story and get it published, I will send you a free entry (for a different story) for any round of the Bath Flash Fiction Award. Just send me the link to the story or your email with the offer of publication. It could be from any online or print magazine, or a flash fiction competition. For anyone wanting more prompts and story feedback, I am shortly beginning a two-hour Zoom class following the structure of the popular face-to-face classes I ran in Bath before lockdown began. Two writing prompts and in-class fast writes. Feedback by the group on two or three first drafts of flashes submitted in advance. A story example to study. Fun. We’ll have a trial go at this, and then subsequently it will be £15 a session. Maximum ten people. Contact me via my email asap if you are interested.
Your chance to sow some seeds for a longer piece of fiction this year. I am running a series of four flash fiction sessions from 10.30 am – 12.30 pm in Bath Central Library on February 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th. The focus is on writing a longer piece in flash (the flash fiction novella or memoir). But it is suitable for anyone who wants a New Year boost and to learn more about flash fiction. Exercises and ideas to get you going, plus feedback. Additional input from Diane Simmons, whose novella-in-flash ‘The Inheritance’ is published by V. Press this February and also from multi award-winning short story and flash fiction writer, Alison Woodhouse, whose novella-in-flash was longlisted in the 2019 Bath Flash Fiction novella-in-flash Award. Fun and friendly.
For more information and for me to send you details to pay via bank transfer, contact me on my email asap
I’m hosting hosting a celebratory evening of flash fiction readings on 28th September from 7.30-10.00 pm at St James Wine Vaults, Bath where we will be launching ‘All That Is Between Us’ the stunning new collection of Flash Fiction by Bristol based author and writing tutor Ken Elkes.
I’ll be reading here too, along with Flash Fiction Festival team members, presenters and volunteers Diane Simmons, Santino Prinzi, Alison Woodhouse, John Wheway, Grace Palmer and Carrie Etter who are all widely published flash fiction writers. Free entry, free glass of wine, nibbles, late bar, Ken’s book and other books published by Ad Hoc Fiction for sale with cash or card. Do come! There’ll be a great variety of flash fictions to listen to and you never know, you might just get hooked!
Want to find out more about writing short short fiction this New Year? I’ll introduce you to different styles of flash fiction, (stories of 1000 words and under), we’ll write drafts in the session and you can bring pieces for feedback from a supportive group of keen writers. The sessions take place on Wednesdays 12.00 pm – 2.00 pm at The Ram Public House in Widcombe, Bath. We meet in a quiet room, take a short break for lunch, and have fun. The Winter/Spring series begins Wednesday January 16th and meets weekly, ending Wednesday 17th April. Payable by paypal or via any card
£96.00 for the first eight sessions, then decide if you want to join the block of seven sessions continuing until Easter. Maximum twelve people.
Dates of first eight: Jan 16th, 23rd, 30th, February 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th, March 6th.
The Autumn series of flash fiction sessions is up and running at The Ram, Widcombe Bath 12.00 pm – 2.00 pm on Wednesdays. Contact me at my email address below, if you want to drop in. There’s sometimes room. You’ll learn about writing fiction under 1000 words. We’ll read different examples of the form, I’ll prompt you to write, you’ll get feedback on your drafts and learn ways to hone your pieces ready for submission to magazines or contests. Continue reading “Adventures in short-short fiction”
It’s raining today at the beginning of my birthday weekend — the day itself is on Monday, but the whole month has been particularly sunny with successes and fun events. I was delighted that my flash fiction ‘Winter Spider’ won the Flash 500 quarterly competition and now, encouraged by people’s comments, I plan to write a longer sequence around the characters. Less organising and more writing is the mantra for June. Could this happen, I wonder, with the Flash Fiction Festival coming up in July?
In other writing news, my story ‘The Ways of the Flesh’ was selected for the National Flash Fiction Anthology, 2018. I’m very, very happy to be included in this with a great line up of writing friends. Also, my tiny micro, ‘Wings of Desire’ — which does, yes, reference the film directed by Wim Wenders, received a highly commended in a new micro contest judged by write and editor Jayne Martin in Bending Genres magazine. And was fun to write.
The evening of readings of Ad Hoc Fiction winners for Ad Hoc’s third birthday earlier this month in Bath went brilliantly with great readings and a birthday cake with a sparkler made by Diane Simmons. This length of micro (150 words) works very well read out loud when there are a lot of readers. Eleven came from around the country and Louise Mangos came from Switzerland. The pace and the energy was perfect. And many people said how much they liked the variety of fictions and how much could be said in so few words.
Last week, I had the privilege of going to the Saboteur Festival Day last week and was stunned and so thrilled that Charmaine Wilkerson won the novella category for her novella-in-flash ‘How to Make a Window Snake’. And I am very pleased for Ad Hoc Fiction who published this beautiful collection of novellas-in-flash last June and has had this acknowledgement.
This month, I also went to the reception for Creative Bath finalists where Bath Flash Fiction is a short-listed in the publishing category. Results in June at a party in Queen’s Square, Bath. Fingers crossed.
Finally, if you like — check out my mini-interview with Tommy Dean where I brave a messy desk picture — not the tidied up version seen on another post on this site.
May is looking great for flash fiction and related events. First up -Friday May 4th at St James’ Wine Vaults Bristol, 7.30 -9.30 pm. I’ve organised an evening of readings for Ad Hoc Fiction’s third birthday party with ten or eleven writers reading their Ad Hoc Fiction wins. One of these writers is Louise Mangos, who is coming all the way from Switzerland. She’s illustrated all three wins and her picture here goes with her story, ‘Heat’. Free entry, free wine and free birthday cake. Do come.
On May 16th there’s a reception in Bath for finalists of the 2018 Creative Bath Awards. Bath Flash Fiction Award is a finalist in the category of Publisher for the anthologies, pictured here, published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2017. You can buy them all at bookshop.adhocfiction.com Or if you’re in Bath, buy from Toppings bookshop and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. I applied for these awards at the eleventh hour and am thrilled to be a finalist.
May 18th- 19th is the Saboteur Awards weekend. These prestigious awards happen yearly and initially, they ask for nominations to create a long list and then afterwards, further voting for the best of writing and performing in several categories. Charmaine Wilkerson’s wonderful novella-in-flash ‘How To Make A Window Snake’, in one of the four anthologies published by Ad Hoc Fiction last year, is short-listed in the novella category. I’m off to London for the day to hear the outcome at the Awards announcements on the Saturday evening and hoping that she’ll win.Vote for her by the May 9th deadline.
I was also very pleased that my own chapbook, The Chemist’s House was longlisted for the Saboteur Awards short story collections category awards, and another Bath Flash Fiction anthology, ‘The Lobsters Run Free’ was long listed in the anthology category.
I’m also looking forward to the results of few flash fiction contests I’ve entered. I think they’ll be announced in May. My birthday is at the end of the month so getting writing recognition at my enormous age would be a bonus birthday treat. Further on this year and there’s the second Flash Fiction Festival I’m directing, to look forward to. Everything suggests it’s going to be another fab event. Book up at flashfictionfestival.com if you are a flash fiction friend and haven’t yet, because I’ll miss you otherwise…
January 2018 is starting off with a flourish. I am honoured to be interviewed as guest reader for Smoke Long Quarterly and am selecting a story from the submissions received from January 8th to January 14th. They suggested I could include a picture of my writing desk but didn’t use it eventually. Anyway, as it’s now a lot tidier than it was, here is the grand tour…
My Linux Ubuntu desk top computer. I abandoned Apple Macs last year for the delights of updating the Libre Office word processing software (just as good as Word) free. And the machine won’t need upgrading like Apples either. And it was much cheaper. It’s very fast.
On the first shelf facing outwards, the four books that Ad Hoc Fiction published in 2017. Ad Hoc fiction does all the background competition administration and web development work for Bath Flash Fiction, as well as Bath Short Story Award. I’m so excited they are now a small press, and published To Carry Her Home, Bath Flash Fiction Volume One early last February, How to Make a Window Snake, the collection of winning novellas-in-flash in June. And Bath Flash Fiction Volume 2, The Lobsters Run Free in December 2017 along with Flash Fiction Festival, One. And there’s more to come next year. Individual collections as well as the 2018 anthologies.
My debut pamphlet‘The Chemist’s House is up there on that shelf too. One of the highlights of last year was being published by V. Press.
The scented candle in the pink tin. Rose.
The re-useable water bottle. Going to really make big efforts to reduce buying plastic this year.
The extremely cheap Nokia phone I use for infrequent calls and texts. I use an iPad for everything else and am resisting a smart phone. The little orange book rests on a note pad which is supposed to detail what I eat every day. But I haven’t filled it in for several months.
The junk box. Full of junk. But pretty on the outside.
That little flowery box contains some jewellry.
Second shelf — the 1815 portrait of my ancestor, Hannah Hopkins. Probably should use this name as an alternative author name sometimes. Just for the luck of it. It’s next to …
the hedgehog frame containing a tiny picture of my parents, looking young. Too small to see.
A few book titles just about visible. ‘Sudden Fiction‘, my first intro to flash fiction. A Richard Ford novel, which is in the wrong place there. Should be on the alphabetical novel shelves. It’s next to Writing the Natural Way, one of the first books on writing I bought, years ago.
My hour glass has fallen behind the computer. You can just see a flash of glass and orange sand peeking out. I do plan to write fiction for at least 60 mins several times a week this year. And to make that a priority instead of the numerous other writing activities I am involved with. So I have given the hour-glass its own picture. If it’s visible, I won’t forget. And I want to submit more this year.