Reblog: Why My Ears Work Better Than My Eyes When It Comes To Advice About Writing

I’m delighted to have been asked back by Charli Mills to contribute guest posts over at the Carrot Ranch blog.

If you have dyslexia or struggle with reading and writing, not all the advice you are given and read will work.

My post outlines two pieces of advice that don’t work for me. It also offers four tips that do work for me when it comes to writing and reading. Click the following link to be taken to the post.

Why My Ears Work Better Than My Eyes When It Comes To Advice About Writing « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Why My Ears Work Better Than My Eyes When It Comes To Advice About Writing « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Comments are closed here. Please leave any comments on the original post.

Banner for Reblog From Hugh's Views And News - Sharing the blog posts of other bloggers

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Dyslexia #Blogging Hugh Roberts | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine @sgc58

I’m delighted to have been a guest over on the blog of Sally Cronin recently.

My post is about my struggles growing up with dyslexia before the condition was recognised.

Please click the link below, which will take you to the post.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Dyslexia #Blogging Hugh Roberts | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Dyslexia #Blogging Hugh Roberts | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

The post has attracted lots of interest, attention and comments. Please leave any comments on the original post. I’ve closed them off on here.

My thanks to Sally Cronin for inviting me to write a guest post.

Do you struggle with reading and writing?

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Can You Solve The Mystery Of A Blackmailed Missing Husband And Father?

Don’t go looking in puddles.

Be careful when taking toys, that have the ability to communicate, from a child.

Are the unexpected calls from a missing wife and mother on a child’s toy phone for real?

My latest short story, ‘Puddles’, is this month’s featured story over on the blog of Marsha Ingrao in her ‘Story Chat‘ feature.

Can you solve the mystery of a missing husband and father who believes his 8-year-old daughter is blackmailing him?

Click on the image and join lots of other readers who have already left their answers and thoughts of just what is going on in the lives of an ordinary family who may not be who you think they are.

Image of a young girl holding a toy teddy bear and giraffe
Image credit: Marsha Ingrao

Puddles – by Hugh W. Roberts

After you have solved the mystery of the puddles, why not write a short story for Story Chat? Your story will be read by a new audience who will interact with you. It’s your chance to promote your writing, your blog and yourself.

Click here to contact Marsha for more details.

Comments are closed here. Please leave comments over the original post on Marsha’s blog.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How A Comment Left On One Of My Posts Got Me Questioning A Previous Life

Do You believe in life after death? What about life before life? Have you ever written yourself into a piece of fiction without knowing it?

Check out my latest post, ‘How To Write Yourself into A Piece Of Fiction Without Knowing It‘, on my column, Diversity with a Twist, at the Carrot Ranch. Find out how a comment left on one of my blog posts got me asking questions if I’d lived before and witnessed one of the biggest disasters of the Twentieth century.

Click the image below to read the post.

Diversity with a Twist Banner showing some coloured straight lines and pens on a white background
Diversity with a Twist

Many readers have already left comments, some of whom have shared glimpses of former lives.

Comments are closed here. If you’d like to join the discussion, please leave your comment on the original post.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Story Chat: Building Your Confidence One Short Story at a Time – A Guest Post By Marsha Ingrao @MarshaIngrao

Do you like writing or reading short stories? Have you heard of Story Chat?

My guest, Marsha Ingrao, has an invitation for you.

***

Image showing a group of readers around a table discussing a story they have all read.
Image credit: Marsha Ingrao

A Short History

Last October, I asked Hugh Roberts if he wanted to write a guest post for me. He agreed. We both thought a short story for Halloween would be fun.

When Hugh’s story got lots of comments, we thought it would be fun to do a summary post, turning the post into an event with a Book Chat ambience.

Authors Win

Story Chat helps authors. They get double promotion for their story and their overall story-writing ability. 

● First, the story itself is published by someone other than themselves, so it’s put in front of a brand new audience. That is a big deal that looks good on a resume if authors try to publish the traditional way. 

● Secondly, they get free feedback on the first published post. They have a chance to see the story from their reader’s perspective and interact with them and listen to what they say to each other. 

● Third, they get additional exposure when the recap is published. There are usually more comments on this post as well. There is always a resurgence of interest in the original post at this time, too, because after reading the recap, some people want to go back and re-read the story either because they missed it or missed a certain point that someone else caught.

Image of a quote from Hugh Roberts about a short story he had featured on Story Chat
Quote – Hugh Roberts
Quote from Geoff Le Pard about his story after it appeared on Story Chat
Quote – Geoff Le Pard

Story Chat Attendees Win

The commenters sitting around the table respond to each other and to the author. They bat the ideas around in the mishmash of hundreds of comments in the comments section.

After the story airs for a couple of weeks, my job with people reblogging and pushing it on social media is to pull the comments into something that follows in a natural sequence.

I list the attendees and link to one of their posts, and they have one more link to a different post on their first comment. 

Image of a quote from D. Wallace Peach after leaving a comment on Story Chat
Quote – D. Wallace Peach
Image of a quote from Charli Mills regarding the Story Chat feature
Quote – Charli Mills

What Do You Have to Lose?

I can’t see any way that you will lose with submitting a story or leaving comments on one of the featured stories.

All you have to do is send me an unpublished story – one that hasn’t been published on your blog or used in a writing contest. If you like, you can use outcrops of a longer novel you’ve written if that part was never published. You can write the beginning, middle or end of a sequel to a book you’ve already written. 

Word-count is 500-1,000 words, and in that time, you need to develop a setting, beginning, middle, and end to a plot and develop the characters. If you are accustomed to writing a piece of flash fiction for the Carrot Ranch 99-word flash fiction challenge, you shouldn’t have a problem in meeting the restrictions of 1,000 words.

Readers will have to do more than skim the story, or they might have to come back and re-read it. This is a fun but somewhat scholarly discussion. 

Image of a quote from Cathy Code after
Quote – Cathy Cade

Why This Guest Post?

The monthly Story Chat event is 100% dependent on readers and authors.

If no one submits a story, Story Chat dies. If the story is published on Always Write and nobody reads or comments on it, Story Chat dies. As the Story Chat event host, my only job is to give you a venue to have a deep discussion about a great story. If that doesn’t happen, then the event dies.

If there are ways to improve it to draw in more authors and commenters, deepen the discussion, lighten the discussion, change Story Chat in any way to meet your needs, please leave a comment for me on this post. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Image of a quote from Cathy Cade about Story Chat
Quote – Cathy Cade

We have two more Story Chats scheduled. Our May Story Chat author is Anne Stormont, a Scottish friend of mine with a short story romance with all the adventure you could cram into 1,000 words. I loved it, and I think you will too. 

Don’t be put off if you don’t care for a particular genre. I don’t like horror stories, but Hugh sent me a horror story right out of the shoot, and wow, what a great story it was. If you haven’t read it, it’s fabulous, and so was the discussion.

We have Australian writer, Debbie Harris, from Deb’s World for our June Story Chat. The stories come in two weeks or more ahead of publication so that I can check for edits and provide illustrations if desired. 

Some authors prefer no illustrations, so I give them an option now. I do not change spellings of English, American or Australian words.

Submit and Schedule Now

If you would like or have been thinking of submitting a story, procrastinate no longer. Submit your story by contacting me via the following link – Always Write Contact.

And if you have any questions about the Story Chat feature, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section.

***

Photo of writer and blogger Marsha Ingrao
Writer and blogger Marsha Ingrao

Marsha Ingrao is a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. Her all-consuming hobby is blogging which she says has changed her life.

Marsha’s friends live all over the world. In November 2020, she and her husband, Vince, sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ.

They live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with their dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince’s sister went with them and lives close by.

Masha says that every day is a new adventure.

Connect with Marsha

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Do you have any questions or comments for Marsha? Leave them in the comments section. She’d be delighted to hear from you.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How A Journey Of A Million Miles Showed Me The Value Of Home – A Guest Post by Paul Ariss @PaulAriss1

I’m delighted to introduce Paul Ariss to my blog. Paul is a songwriter, screenwriter and new to blogging.

Guest blog post by Paul Ariss

Paul shares a true story about travel which gave me goosebumps when I read it because I knew exactly what he was experiencing.

Over to you, Paul.


Image Credit – Paul Ariss

In the early evening of Wednesday, 28th October 1987 I walked into a bar in rain-sodden Flagstaff, Arizona with Randy Jones, a two-tour Vietnam vet.

I’d met Randy hours earlier that day, just minutes after midnight in Albuquerque bus station.

Randy was a mad-eyed but good-hearted individual who happened to be stopping off in Flagstaff himself on the way west to an altogether different destination. Randy and I were polar opposites.

Probably fifteen years older but with a lifetime more living, Randy had fought the Vietnamese in the Mekong Delta and had spent the last two months in a cave in the Rocky Mountains killing animals for his supper.

I was a pasty-faced young English office-worker whose closest shave with conflict was with a drunk in an airport who’d subsequently fallen over his own suitcase.

Yet somehow, me and Randy hit it off immediately.

After getting off our Greyhound bus and booking into our motels we decided to find a local bar, and there we laughed about the cultural differences between the US and the UK, and I let him tell as little as he felt able to share about his time as marine.

Mostly however he was fascinated about my overwhelming desire to see the country that had demanded of him as a young man to go and fight but had largely abandoned him since he returned home.

We were joined after a short time by a huge bear of a Native American man who largely just smiled and kept his own council.

But it’s true to say this night I was restless and struggled to stay convivial. After a couple of beers, I made my excuses and headed back to my motel. I had an inexplicable need to be alone.

By now the late afternoon had given way to early evening and the darkness through my motel window matched my state of mind.

Keeping Hold Of The Promise To Myself

Just ten years earlier I had made a vow to myself that I was now just hours away from fulfilling. At the time of the promise I was unemployed, and giving £5 of the £7 per week Social Security to my recently widowed father for board and keep.

Contrary to the punk counter-culture so many youths of my age were immersed in at the time, I was spending my days listening to the Eagles and dreaming of the open highways of America.

But I was a dreamer without substance. On the day I signed on for social security benefits, I was two-thirds of the way through an 18-months stint of unemployment.

Drenched by a steady drizzling rain, I needed something to aim for, something so far removed from my current situation to be almost too ludicrous to consider.

And then it came to me. I made the decision that one day I would get to The Grand Canyon.

Geographically it was over five thousand miles away from my small town in north-west England, though metaphorically it felt closer to a million. But right at that moment the thought of eventually getting there made the day feel that little bit more bearable.  

And so it was, with a decade of steady employment behind me and a modest but committed savings plan I had enough for the journey and sufficient fire in my belly to make the trip.

My anticipation had remained unquenchable and here I was finally about to satisfy that first.

So why was I so downbeat on the eve of seeing one of the most stunning areas of natural beauty on earth?

When The Final Step Is The Hardest

I was lonely. Not for company, but for home.

I had been travelling on buses for nearly three weeks criss-crossing from one exciting destination to another on a plan of my own volition taking in New York City, Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, Nashville, Gracelands, Dallas, Denver; almost every day a new adventure, a new place I’d always heard about but never thought I’d visit.

Yet now, the day before reaching the destination I had planned and saved for over a decade, was the time I most wanted to be home.

The irony was crushing. I sat on the floor of my motel room and wept. Just a little. This feeling wasn’t what I had planned for.

I turned on the TV, a recording of Billy Joel live in Russia from two months earlier, the first rock star to play there post-Glasnost. Though not a massive Billy Joel fan, his energised demeanour helped fire me up.

“Don’t take shit off no-one”, Joel told an ecstatic crowd, each one no doubt loving the feeling of finally being able to let loose after a lifetime of social repression.

Oddly, a spark re-lit within me, enough to pick my emotions up off the floor and settle them enough to sleep after my long day of travelling.

I awoke the next day and pulled back the curtains to a welcoming early sunrise.

A slightly worse-for-wear Randy joined me for breakfast, telling me how the Native American had carried him back to his motel room at 2am. It seems I was right to have left early!

Randy saw me get on the shuttle bus that left for the Canyon.

Image Credit: Paul Ariss

Less than two hours later with a barely controllable anticipation I walked through a huge double door to finally see the most incredible, majestic wonder I’ve ever witnessed.

I smiled broadly and said hello to the Grand Canyon. We had finally met. I had travelled the millionth mile.

Image Credit: Paul Ariss

It had been a long, long journey but worth every step.

Later I thought about Billy Joel, performing so far from home yet feeling a kindred bond with strangers who had lived a life so culturally at odds with everything he knew. And I thought of my new friend Randy who had met someone in me who had expressed a feeling for his own country he had maybe lost something of over the years.

I thought of the Native American whose forefathers had their land ripped from them by Randy’s ancestors, yet felt the simple human instinct to carry him back to where was safe.

And as I turned away from the Grand Canyon at the end of that day my mind went back to where this had all begun and where for me the greatest riches still lay.

Home.


Writer and Blogger Paul Ariss

Paul started off as a lyricist in a song-writing partnership, before branching out into writing scripts. He’s now back to music, writing and recording solo material.

As a songwriter Paul has had songs published as part of a partnership, and as a solo writer has reached the semi-final of the UK Songwriting Contest and had a track chosen as Pick of The Week on a New York based online radio station.

As a script writer Paul has had material used on BBC radio shows on Radio 2, 4 and 5, and has been short-listed in two major script-writing contests as well as working as a Shadow Writer on Channel 4 comedy-drama Shameless, where he also contributed to its online platform.

Paul is new to blogging after getting the blogging bug in May 2020. He plans to increase his output very soon! His blog is called Songs and Scripts and Dunking Biscuits and can be followed by clicking here.

Songs from Paul are now on Spotify and all major streaming platforms have music videos to accompany them on YouTube, all of which can be accessed via his song-writing Facebook page.

Click here to follow Paul on Facebook

Click here to follow Paul on Instagram

Click here to follow Paul on Twitter

Click here to follow Paul’s blog


Have you ever encountered the feelings Paul shared in his guest post?

My thanks to Paul for writing this guest post. If you have any questions or comments for Paul, please leave them in the comments section. He’d be delighted to hear from you.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Help An Author #AmWriting

Help An Author

For those who missed the post, ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ is a novel that I started writing in 2012. For 8 years, it has remained in the archives of my computer. I decided to publish the first 539 words of it on my blog and asked for feedback.

As a result, 539 words got reduced to 437 words. Thanks to feedback from Geoff Le Pard, it also has a new and (in my opinion) better opening. I hope it will hook in even more readers.

I’ve created a Page on my blog where you can read rewritten parts of the story. To access them, click on ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ on the menu bar.

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to work and live in London. You can find out more about Danny in the first part of the published story.

Each week I’ll be introducing new characters. This week, readers will be introduced to Dougie Marsh, a coach driver who plays an important part in Danny’s life.

Everyone is welcome to leave feedback on each new part.

A new part of the story will be published every week. Each one will be no more than 550 words, so it shouldn’t take up more than 10-15 minutes of your time to read and leave feedback. I will rewrite the part from the feedback and publish the new version on the ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ page.

If you’d like to know more or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment.

Thank you for your continued support and for joining me on this journey. I hope you will stay with me and find out what and who awaits Danny Johnson in London.

Tales From Under The Rainbow

Click here to read the first completed part of ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

8 Ways To Help Overcome Bloggers’ Block

It can happen to all of us. One week you’re full of blogging ideas, only to find a week later you have no idea what to blog about. 

Even I’ve suffered from bloggers’ block. And if you don’t do something about it, you may find your passion for blogging dwindling and people becoming less interested in your blog.

8 Ways To Help Overcome Bloggers’ Block

While generating engaging blog post ideas comes easy to some, many of us can sometimes find it challenging. 

Thankfully there are plenty of easy ways to develop regular ideas that will engage your readers. 

If you’re eager to break out of your ‘ideas’ block, here are a few suggestions to get you started.

1. Read and comment on other blogs.

Many bloggers do this every day, but looking at and reading other blogs is an easy way of generating ideas. 

While stealing the blog posts of other bloggers is a definite no-go area, there’s no harm in using some of their ideas as a starting point. For example, I started writing and publishing blogging tips after reading blogging tips posts.

Looking at photos on a photography blog has given me ideas for blog posts and short stories.    

Look at blogs similar to yours, branch out and look at entirely different blogs. While their content may be irrelevant and uninteresting to your readers, they may have ideas you can adapt.

2. Don’t just leave comments; read them too.

The comments left on blog posts can often be as interesting as the post itself. And, best of all, the comments section can be a brilliant source of ideas.

I take time to read comments that others have left because, often, what they say will spark ideas for new blog posts. 

Likewise, longer comments can often be a whole blog post in itself.

Read the comments on the blog posts you leave comments on and see if anything sparks a new idea. You’ll be surprised by the results.

3. Write and publish a questions and answers post. 

This is a great way to reach out to your audience and get them involved.

In my blog post Do You Have A Question About Blogging? I asked readers to leave me questions. I answered those questions in a new blog post. I also featured the blogger who asked the question.

It resulted in me getting many questions and generating many new blog post ideas. 

Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to answering all the questions, but I know I can always go back to them if I find myself stuck for ideas on what to write. 

4. Interviews.

We all have bloggers who inspire us with their blogs, so another great way to reach out is to ask for interviews and collaboration opportunities. 

Don’t be afraid of approaching somebody for an interview. You’ll be surprised by how many bloggers will agree. After all, you’re offering them and their blog some free publicity.

5. Use a memo pad.

Whether on your phone or in physical form, a memo pad is essential to a blogger’s arsenal. None of us knows when ideas will strike, but when it does, be ready to write them down before the idea is lost. 

Even if you don’t think an idea is currently functional, you can always go back to it at a later date. This is ideal for days when bloggers’ block hits you hardest or you’re short on time. 

If you write down every idea that comes to you, it shouldn’t take long to create a helpful inventory you can refer to.

6. Get your readers involved…again.

Another way of writing and publishing content your readers will enjoy is by asking them for their input. 

Ask them for their feedback on which posts they enjoy reading the most. 

Check your WordPress stats, as this will tell you what your most popular posts are. You may be surprised by the results you receive. 

You might discover that your readers respond and share your personal posts more than your how-to guides. You can also pitch ideas to them to see if there would be something they would be interested in reading. 

This can give you endless ideas and insight into what to write next.

Encouraging their ideas and feedback is also a great way of retaining loyal readers. Just remember to acknowledge them for their input.

7. Take up a challenge.

One of the easiest ways to overcome bloggers’ block is to participate in a blogging challenge.  

Over the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve participated in hundreds of blogging challenges hosted by other bloggers. They were fun and opened up new doors, which helped create new blog posts. 

There are hundreds of challenges on WordPress. My post, How To Make Your Blog Standout From All The Other Blogs Out There, gives details of some of the blogging challenges I’ve taken part in.

8. Check your draft folder.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably have lots of unfinished blog posts in the draft folder of your blog. Some of mine go back a few years.

There may be many reasons why you never finished drafting those posts, but reread them and see if now is the right time to finish writing them. 

Rereading them may even spark some new ideas. 

These are just a few ways to stay relevant and retain your followers. Make a habit of looking for inspiration from multiple sources to keep your ideas fresh and unique. That way, you’ll never be short of ideas again.

Conclusion

  • Many bloggers encounter times when they can not find any new ideas for blog posts.
  • Don’t just leave comments. Read the comments others have left. They can often spark ideas for new blog posts.
  • Looking at photos can often create ideas for a short story, poem or new blog post.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking other bloggers and writers for an interview or collaboration opportunity. After all, you’re offering them some free publicity.
  • Check the draft folder of your blog. It may contain posts that you can finish and publish.
  • Encourage your audience to ask you questions. Answering questions can generate new blog posts.
  • Consider taking part in a blogging challenge. There are lots of challenges available that are hosted by other bloggers.
  • Make sure you always have something available to write down any ideas for blog posts.

What about you?

  • Have you ever encountered bloggers’ block?
  • How do you combat bloggers’ block?

Join the discussion by leaving a comment that I can respond to with more than just a ‘thank you.’

Did you enjoy reading this post? Then you may also like…

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Blogging Challenges: Do They Work?

I’ve always been a fan of blogging challenges, whether it be to write something or to take a picture of something inline with a prompt or theme set by another blogger. 

Not only can these challenges improve the way you write or take photos, but they put you in touch with lots of other bloggers, all focusing on the same challenge.

Recently, one blogging challenge has got me on a new road to the way I write fiction; a path I thought I’d never travel. 

Not only have I been amazed by the results of this new writing journey, but so have many of my readers. They’ve given me valuable feedback about the new way I’m writing. 

How did it start? 

In the second week of January 2020, after Charli Mills published her 99-word flash fiction prompt, Doug, Sophie and Mike were created in my mind. 

Given that I intended to say goodbye to these three characters after pressing the ‘publish’ button, I was surprised they reemerged the following week.

If you don’t know Charli Mills and the 99-word flash fiction challenge she publishes every Thursday, then take a look at her blog and introduce yourself. Better still, join in with hundreds of other writers who participate in the 99-word flash fiction challenge every week. Click here for details.  

This was the challenge Charli set that week. 

January 9th, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a carried wife. Why is she being carried? Who is carrying? Pick a genre if you’d like and craft a memorable character. Go where the prompt leads!

#flashfiction #shortstory
Image credit: Charli Mills

Enter Doug, who is carrying his new wife, Sophie, over the threshold of their honeymoon suite. 

Everything looks merry and happy for the newlyweds, but not all is as it seems. Two floors below, a secret festers. That’s where Mike comes into the story. 

I’d given this piece of flash fiction a twist which not only did I love but so did many of my readers. Result! 

You can read the piece I wrote for the challenge by clicking here.

Only having 99-words to play with made this a tough challenge, but I had no idea that Doug, Sophie and Mike would reappear again the following week.

This is the challenge Charli published the following week. 

January 16th, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads! 

#flashfiction
Image Credit: Charli Mills

When I read the prompt, Doug, Sophie and Mike came into my mind. Should I carry on their story from where I had left them the week before, or should I create a brand new story?

It wasn’t long before I had the answer, although it was with the help of those three characters. However, I was about to make the 99-word flash fiction challenge even harder for myself.

How I turned a 99-word flash fiction challenge into something even more challenging. 

Given that I had three characters who all wanted to give their point-of-view of what was going on, I had to spilt the number of words I could use between all three. That gave me only 33 words to play with for each character.

At first, that seemed like an even tougher challenge than writing a piece of flash fiction in only 99 words, but with Doug, Sophie and Mike firmly embedded in my mind, I decided to take up my new challenge. 

Fast forward a few more weeks, and I found myself writing pieces of fiction in a completely different style to what I’d been used to. It was as if I’d unlocked a door to a new writing gift. 

#ThursdayDoors

I’d always thought that writers were in full control of the direction of their stories. However, here I was not in complete control of what was going to happen to Doug, Sophie and Mike each week. 

Every time I published the next part of their story, I had to wait for Charli to post the next prompt, of which I knew absolutely nothing about until publication.

During week seven of the challenge, I’d thought I’d have to call it a day and concede defeat. This was the challenge Charli published that week. 

February 20th, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a library cat named Rainbow who escapes. Use this situation to write what happens next. Where does this situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads! 

As Doug, Sophie and Mike were all based in a hotel, how on earth was I going to include a library cat named Rainbow into the story?

I also thought that a cat named Rainbow was something that was more suitable to a story in a children’s book (not one that had included spiking drinks, sleeping around, and lies).

Rainbow, the cat, proved to be a big problem for me, but I wasn’t going to allow this challenge to defeat me.

After a long, hard think about the challenge, I duly sat down, wrote something and wondered if my audience would like the new direction the story was about to take.

Given that I’ve published one more episode since Rainbow the cat first appeared (and I’ve another new episode lined up), I’ll let you be the judge of whether the introduction of a cat named Rainbow into the story was a success. 

Click here to read part one of the story, and follow the links to each part.

The icing on the cake

Last week, I received an email from a reader who ended their email with this –

 ‘…and I’ll continue to watch (with bated breath) how Doug, Sophie and Mike are doing.’ 

Not only do those few words tell me something, but I think they say it all. 

Thank you to Charli Mills who publishes her 99-word flash fiction challenge every week.

Not only do her blogging challenges help improve the way I write but they have now pushed me to think differently about the way I write.

Click here to read this week’s writing challenge from Charli.

#writer #blogger #author #flashfiction #shortstories
Author, writer, blogger, and head of the writing community at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills

And a big thank you to all the other bloggers who publish blogging challenges. You’re doing such an excellent service for the blogging community.

Do you publish a weekly or monthly blogging challenge on your blog? If so, leave a link to it in the comments section.

 Do you participate in blogging challenges? If so, which ones? Have they worked for you and changed the way you write or take photos? Have you had any success with them or do you think they’re a waste of time? Join the discussion and share your thoughts in the comments section.

The Power Of The Blogging And Writing Communities

The power of the blogging and writing communities is something I’ve never underestimated.

Ask for some support or help, and it’s guaranteed that the blogging and writing communities will gather together and help.

Needless to say, I’ve never been let down when I have asked for help or support on a writing or blogging matter. I’ve often been overwhelmed by the amount of help and support offered to me.

On December 9th, 2019, I launched my fifth annual Christmas charity appeal to the blogging and writing communities. I asked bloggers, authors and writers to leave me links to their blogs, blog posts, author pages and books. For every link left, I would donate £1 to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

I’m delighted to announce that bloggers, authors and writers helped me raise over £250.

During the last five years, bloggers, authors and writers have helped me raise over £1,250 for charity.

On behalf of Toby, Austin and myself, thank you very much for helping us raise money for charity over the last five years.

#dogs #pets #corgis #animals

Do you have any examples of the power of the blogging and writing communities? Share them with us in the comments section.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Where Do Your Ideas For Stories And Blog Posts Come From?

When I wrote my first short story, shortly after I started blogging in February 2014, I never gave much thought of where the idea for the story had come from. 

However, I remember the moment the story came to me and, since then, I’ve never really talked about it a lot. Why? Because it could have been the visit from a ghost that gave me the idea.  

There I was, ironing the third of seven shirts, and up walked Grace Simmons demanding that I write and publish her story on my blog.

Are the characters in our fiction the ghosts of our imagination?

Somehow, Grace had managed to get her story into my head and, within seconds, I’d abandoned the ironing board for the keyboard. 

An hour later, I’d written Grace’s story, published it on my blog, and the first comment had come in. Smiling, I thanked Grace, who had long disappeared to wherever it was she had come from, and I returned to the ironing board wondering if I’d just been visited by a ghost.

Who is Grace Simmons, and what is her story?

Grace is a character from, Last Train To Aldwych, the first story in my book, Glimpses.

What I’m not sure about is whether Grace Simmons is a ghost who visited me. I can’t say I physically saw her, yet the image of her is firmly embedded in my mind

About the story.

A journey on the London Underground takes Grace Simmons to an annual encounter with a ghost she always meets at Aldwych Station on the same date every year. However, with the prospect of further meetings never being able to take place, Grace must ensure that this final meeting is one where she and the ghost will never part.

I’ve often wondered if the story was born from an idea, an experience, or if I was just lucky enough to have stumbled upon it. Then again, was it told to me by the ghost of Grace Simmons?

#Glimpses #books #shortstories #fiction #scifi
Glimpses – The First Collection of short stories and flash fiction by Hugh W. Roberts

Grace’s story has not only had some wonderful reviews, but it is the story that went on to launch many more short stories from me. My readers loved the story and encouraged me to write more.

Where do lost ideas end up?

I don ‘t know about you (and I hate to say this), but many of the ideas I get for blog posts and short stories find their way to the ‘Door of the Forgotten.’ 

Why? Because I fail to write them down. 

Within seconds of arriving, an idea can be flying towards that open door, with me failing to pursue it. In this modern world of technology, you’d think that should never be allowed to happen, yet it still does. 

Many of the other short stories in my books came to me from ideas I’d get after reading writing prompts, participating in writing challenges, or by looking at photos. 

Even reading comments on a blog post can spark off ideas for short stories and blog posts. Some come to me within seconds, whereas some ideas can take weeks to reveal themselves. 

The mystery of Grace Simmons.

To this day, Grace Simmons remains a mystery to me. When asked, I still cannot answer the question ‘where did the idea for ‘Last Train To Aldwych’ come from?

For those of who not familiar with Aldwych, it was a station on the London Underground from 1907 until 1994.

#transport #London
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

When I sit down and think about it, one of the first things that come to mind is the number of times I had walked past Aldwych underground station in London. 

The office I worked in was a few minutes walk away, and I’d often visit the station at lunchtime to buy a cheese and pickle sandwich. 

Just inside the station was the sandwich kiosk that, to this day, made the best cheese and pickle sandwiches I’d ever tasted.

Another mystery. 

I’d enjoy talking to Margaret, the lady that owned and ran the kiosk, and most weekdays we’d catch up on our daily lives while trying to put the world to right.

It was a sad day when the station closed and even more tragic that on my way back to the office that day, I lost Margaret’s phone number. 

On the evening of 30th September 1997, by the time I realised I’d lost the piece of paper she’d written her home phone number on, Margaret and her cheese and pickle sandwiches were long gone.

I tried many avenues to find her, but all to no avail. 

The mystery of Margaret’s disappearance is as much a mystery to me, as where the idea for ‘Last Train To Aldwych‘ came from. 

Then again, did those daily visits to Margaret plant the idea for the story deep within my mind, only for it to resurface into a story many years later? 

Margaret had, after all, told me stories about her and her family and how they would shelter in Aldwych underground station during the blitz of World War 2. 

The following film was shot on the day that the last train to Aldwych actually ran. Can you spot Grace amongst the last passengers who made that journey with her?

Have I, at last, solved the mystery of ‘Last Train To Aldwych‘?

You can read ‘Last Train To Aldwych‘ in Glimpses, my first collection of short stories.

Click here to buy a copy.

Where do your ideas for blog posts and short stories come from? Share them with us in the comments.  

This was a guest post originally published on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. It has been edited and updated since its first publication.

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.