Friday, 25 May 2012

The Prediction - It's getting hot in here!

Wow, the temperature has been rising and I'm not talking about the weather! Some sizzling entries for last week's Prediction even with that curve ball of a word Cockle. Hoping that the book is a bit kinder this week. Yet that didn't disturb our intrepid Predictioneers and you left me with a headache, a very welcome headache, in my debut week as judge, jury and executioner due to the quality of writing throughout.

Anyway, you don't want to hear me prattle on, you want to know who the inaugural winner of Phlambler's Prediction is. So, after much deliberation, let me put you out of your misery.

My winner is Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw with her entry which was literally To Die For. Veronica - I loved the description in this piece and felt like I was living through the characters as I read it. Superb and well deserved.

I have two runners-up this week with two different yet compelling pieces. The first is Shaun Adams with A Tale From Bile County Part 2 . Shaun - my heart was caught in my throat as I read this piece. The stolen child and the dying wife were such strong totems and the promised revenge gave a chilling finish.

My second runner up is William Davoll with The Mighty Have Fallen. The last entry of the week was packed with a superb concept mixing science fiction and the occult. William - I felt that this one could build into something much bigger and the character of Tower Block Lily was genius.

So my congratulations to my winner and runners-up for the week and to everyone else who entered; I lost count of the number of times I changed my final decision!

So, onto this week's Prediction. Already this tome is feeling so comfortable in my hands and it almost seems as if it is whispering to me; maybe one day I won't even need to open the pages to get the words. And here they are springing forth:
  • Barge
  • Saint
  • Quiz
The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction. All variants and use of the words as stems are fine.

You have until 9pm (UK time) Thursday 31 May to get your entries in. The winner will be announced at 9am Friday 1 June ready for the bank holiday weekend when new words will then spill forth. If you can, please tweet about your entry using the #fridayflash #100words or #flashfiction hashtags and blog if you feel like it. Please tell your friends and do give feedback to your fellow Predictioneers - everyone appreciates it!

I can't wait to see what tales you are going to punt my way this week.....

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Prediction - Ready, Steady, Flash!

Hello, hello, is this thing on, testing, testing.

Well welcome everyone to the new home of The Prediction; I'm so glad that you've made it safely. Do pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable. And please invite friends around, there's plenty of room; all are welcome as long as they play nicely.

Before I begin I have to say a huge thanks to Lily Childs, not only for hosting The Prediction for the past two years, but also for all the encouragement she has given me in the past year with my own writing. In the words of one of The Prediction regulars, bravo!

For the final winner(s) of Lily's Prediction do go and visit Lily's Feardom. My congratulations go out to everyone for such a fine collection of writing last week.

So, onto the new Prediction, what's changed, what happens next? Well, other than the decor and the host, not a lot. The same rules apply:

100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words I will give you below.

I'm after tales from the dark to the fantastical, from the everyday to the farthest flung galaxies or dimensions; horror, fantasy and science fiction all have their place here. One thing I will say though is that violence to children is a no-no here otherwise write wherever the words take you.

Now I sit here with Lily's old tome in hand, magically transported overnight, and it's only now that I find I hadn't realised quite what it had been bound in, such a leathery feel to the cover........and the words, what type of ink is that they are written in...oh!

Your words this week dear Predictioneers are:
  • Cockle
  • Shake (all forms fine, eg shook, shaken, shaking)
  • Lily
Now how did that last word sneak in there? (A personal influence for one week only). Use them as you will but use them wisely; that 100 word limit rushes up on you quickly!

You have until 9pm (UK time) Thursday 24 May to get your entries in. The winner will be announced at 9am Friday 25 May and new words will then spill forth. If you can, please tweet about your entry using the #fridayflash hashtag and blog if you feel like it. Do give feedback to your fellow Predictioneers - everyone appreciates it!
I can't wait to see you flexing your literary mussels this week......

Friday, 11 May 2012

One week to go!

Getting a bit nervous now as it is just one week to go until the responsibility of hosting The Prediction comes my way. For those who did not read my earlier post, it is a weekly 'competition' where people write some wonderful 100 word flash fictions based on three words with a winner chosen (no prizes, just satisfaction of winning and reading the other great entries) and everyone is welcome; just play nicely!

Lily Childs has been an amazing host for the past two years at The Feardom and I hope I can carry on the tradition in a similar vein. It's kind of fitting that during Lily's last week of hosting The Prediction that National Flash Fiction Day falls on 16 May; a lovely piece of cosmic symmetry at play here. I'm personally going to miss Lily hosting things but she's promised that she will pop by here from time to time with some of her delicious, home-baked horror for us to sample when the words are ripe.

Anyway, what are you doing still reading this? You should be hot-footing it over to Lily's place to see what words she has chosen for us all to play with one final time........

Monday, 7 May 2012

Reading Roulette

Want a quick and easy way to find new authors or books? Well here's a suggestion from me which works quite well. I like to call it Reading Roulette. There are six simple steps to follow:
  1. Choose a number between 1 and 100;
  2. Go to your local bookshop or library;
  3. Go to the genre section that you prefer to read in (optional);
  4. Starting from the first book in that section count along the books until you have reached your chosen number from before;
  5. Choose said book and take it to the counter for purchase/loan;
  6. Go and read it!
Couple of things you may need to work around:
  1. The book is one you've read before;
  2. The book is number three in a series and you haven't read the previous ones.
Simply choose the book directly before or after said book on the shelf.

I've done this and came across Broken Angels by Richard Morgan which I would never have picked up before. Really enjoyed it and quite enjoyed the randomness of finding a book; almost like going on a blind date. To really spice it up don't restrict yourself to a genre.

I'd love to hear from others who try this out and what books they came across; good and bad!

I'm going to plug this on Twitter with the hashtag #readingroulette and it would be great if others could share.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Plotting

I discovered a very simple but important lesson today. The other week I started to write my first novel. Ok, not as casual as that may sound. I've had an idea knocking around in my head for a good while and knew roughly where I wanted it to start, what the end point was and who the main characters would be. I've also spent the past year practicing my writing with short stories and flash pieces whilst reading a variety of writing advice on numerous blogs.

Armed with my overarching plot I started to write and figured I would fill in the blanks as I knew my A to B on the journey and this was the tactic I take with short story writing. So with the first chapter finished I suddenly found I could start chapter 2 but was really ambiguous on where I should head from there to eventually get me to B.

So I took time out today to start writing the plot out and do a chapter by chapter plan with story arc points (introduce quest/reason, introduce threat, introduce hope, remove hope, etc). I'm not finished doing this yet but it has suddenly given me some real structure for the piece and it all feels less daunting!

So my simple lesson to myself. Take the time out to plot the story otherwise you have a lot of flesh with no bones to structure it around.