New At the Carrot Ranch: What To Do When You’re Told Reading And Writing Are Not Your Friends

I have a new post up on my column, Diversity With A Twist, at the Carrot Ranch.

What To Do When You’re Told Reading And Writing Are Not Your Friends.

Click on the image below to be taken straight to the post.

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

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

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How Blogging and Rod Serling Helped Me Conquer Dyslexia – From My New Column At The Carrot Ranch

What does Rod Serling and Blogging have in common? They both helped me overcome my fear of being dyslexic.

I’m delighted to announce that my first post, ‘How Blogging and Rod Serling Helped Me Conquer Dyslexia‘ has now been published on my new column, Diversity with a Twist, over at the Carrot Ranch blog. Click on the image below to be taken straight to it.

Diversity with a Twist Banner showing some coloured straight lines and pens on a white background
Hugh’s new column on the Carrot Ranch blog

The post has received lots of comments, and you’re all welcome to come on over and join the discussion.

I’ve closed comments off here so you can leave any new comments on the original post.

I look forward to seeing you at the Carrot Ranch.

Copyright © 2021 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.

Why Books And Libraries Can Be Terrifying Places

Every time I walk into my local library to pick up some recycling bags, I feel like I’m entering a world that doesn’t want me there. Or is it that I don’t want to be there?

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

For me, libraries can be terrifying places. Just like picking up a book and opening it can be a terrifying prospect. As an author and writer, you’d think that both would be something I’d get a lot of pleasure from.

Why I’m terrified of libraries and books?

Dyslexia – that’s the answer. As somebody who is dyslexic, reading and writing are two things I have always found difficult. When I enter the library and am faced with all those books that can introduce me to new characters and transport me to different worlds, I feel like a big door is being slammed shut right in front of me. Why? Because I know that I would find it difficult reading many of the books on the shelves.

How does being dyslexic affect me?

Being dyslexic affects me in many different ways. For example, I often find myself struggling to know what a word or its meaning is. Even when I try saying the sounds the letters make as they appear in a word, it doesn’t always come to me. Struggling on a word in the middle of a sentence can literally stop me on my reading track and, sometimes, make me feel a failure. It’s as if the word is some sort of barrier preventing me from carrying on reading.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Occasionally, when I pick up a book, I find myself coming across too many words that I don’t understand. They can be the simplest of words, yet my brain can not work out what the word actually is.

If I have to go back to the beginning of a page or chapter because I don’t understand the plot or what’s going on, I will almost certainly give up on the book. I may have another go, but more often than not I will never pick up that book again.

It’s not only about reading

When it comes to writing, one of the strangest things dyslexia does to me is not putting certain letters in the correct order. I seem to struggle if a word has both an ‘A’ and ‘C’ in it. For example, I can write the word ‘because’ in a blog post lots of times, yet Grammarly will underline every ‘because’ I’ve written because I’ve incorrectly spelt it. It’s always the ‘A’ and ‘C’ in the wrong order. I have trouble with other words where ‘A’ and ‘C’ follow each other too.

Not all is lost

I’m pleased to say that I don’t have problems reading all the books on my ‘TBR’ pile. I seem to go through peaks and dips with them. Recently, after reading a book review by author and blogger Teri Polen, I read ‘Call Drops‘ by John F. Leonard.

Not only did I get pulled into the story quickly, but I also whizzed through it in two sittings. Maybe it was the way the book had been written, but I didn’t struggle with any of it. It was the first book I’d read from start to finish in a while. Of course, I also left reviews on Goodreads and Amazon for it.

Am I reading another book?

You bet. I’m currently reading, and enjoying, The Jack Lockwood Diaries by Geoffrey David West.

A library was the setting for a piece of flash fiction from my first collection of short stories, Glimpses. Set in the future, it’s a story about a teacher who takes her pupils to a library where she reveals the truth behind the disappearance of trees.

Story #28: The Library – by Hugh W. Roberts


“And this is the library.”
The students stood open-mouthed.
“So, these are books?”
“Yes, these are books, Trudy.”
“How many are there, Mrs Millar?” inquired Tommy.
“Nobody has ever counted, but we think several million,” replied the teacher as she nodded slowly. “And paper is what every one of these books has in common.”
“So, this is the main reason why all the trees disappeared from Planet Earth?” asked Trudy.
Mrs Millar continued to nod her head while admiring the books.
“Yes, and each and every one of the authors that was alive when the last of the trees disappeared, was put to death for the crime they committed,” smiled the teacher.

Click here to buy Glimpses.

Happy endings

I allowed dyslexia to suppress my love of writing for far too long. In February 2014, when I published my first blog post, I felt like I had conquered it. Maybe I can do the same with reading books and visiting my local library?

I’ve often heard it said that people with dyslexia have unique imaginations. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it’s been a happy ending for me.

©hughsviewsandnews.com

Now it’s over to you

Are you dyslexic? How do you manage with your reading and writing? What book are you reading at the moment? Tell me about them by leaving me a comment.

This post is my entry to the Sunday Stills challenge, hosted by Terri Webster Schrandt. This week’s theme is ‘For the Love of Reading and Books.’ Click here for full details.

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Creating Atmosphere In Fiction – by Esther Chilton

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Esther Chilton to my blog.

While I’m putting the finishing touches to my next short story collection, Esther kindly accepted my invitation to write a guest post. This is a must-read for anyone who is in the process of writing fiction, whether it is for an upcoming book, competition, for publication in a magazine, or as a blog post.  Esther gives lots of great writing advice and tips over on her blog.

#writingtips #writing #authors
Image Credit: Pixabay

To be successful, a short story or novel needs to develop a strong sense of atmosphere. This draws your readers into your story so they can imagine this world you are creating. It also sets up expectations for them and gives them information about the characters they’re likely to meet in your story.

Here are some ways to help you ensure your readers feel as if they’re right there alongside your characters, experiencing the story for themselves:

Setting   

Setting isn’t the same as atmosphere, but it is a big part of it and can help to shape the mood of the story. A story set in an abandoned warehouse immediately evokes a sense of eeriness and isolation, of neglect and dreariness.

Make sure you choose a setting which suits the type of story you’re writing. Different settings create different atmospheres. In a ghost story, you want the atmosphere to be creepy and one of trepidation. An ideal setting is an old theatre or graveyard. A setting on a crowded beach in Malaga induces a very different atmosphere.

Description

You can’t create atmosphere without description. But this doesn’t mean you need paragraphs and paragraphs of purple prose to ensure your readers can picture the scene. A few powerful adjectives and adverbs will effectively make your readers feel part of the story.

Perhaps you have chosen a hotel as your setting. Using different words can dramatically vary the atmosphere created. For example, look at the following description of the hotel:

She eagerly hurried inside, her eyes soaking up the sumptuous sofas, gleaming floors and dazzling chandelier taking centre stage. 

This short passage gives an image of light, of space and a pleasant place to stay. From this passage, your readers can also imagine the type of people the main character will meet e.g. smart businessmen and wealthy women.

The following describes a contrasting hotel and produces a very different mood:

She gingerly stepped inside, her eyes widening at the sagging sofas, the filthy floor and dull, flickering light.

Here, the hotel comes across as dingy and dirty. Your readers can picture this hotel’s patrons as seedy and up to no good.

Five Senses

Sight and sound are often used to bring a scene to life and for impacting upon the tone of a story. But the senses of smell, touch and taste can also affect a story’s mood. A rundown cafe might smell like a mixture of sweaty training shoes and over-fried chips. The menu may be caked in sticky sauce and clammy mashed potato. Perhaps the tea tastes like stagnant water.

Your readers will be able to imagine themselves there, smelling the vile scents, feeling the congealed food on the menu and tasting the liquid being passed off as tea.

Weather

The weather is a useful tool for producing a certain type of atmosphere. A gloriously sunny day immediately conjures up feelings of warmth and joy, where something happy is about to happen. This may be the atmosphere you want to create for a wedding in your story. Though, perhaps it’s a wedding doomed not to take place. Again, you can use the weather to change the mood of the story and build up a mounting sense of tension, with the wind gathering momentum and thick clouds charging across the sky.

Time

The time of day can make a difference to the type of atmosphere your readers feel. For example, you can darken a story by setting it at night. There’s always an extra sense of menace, of threat and uncertainty in a story that takes place at night.

First Person Viewpoint

A story written in the first person can be very effective in creating a sense of atmosphere and making your readers feel as if they are part of the story, seeing and experiencing everything along with that character. Take the following example:

I looked at the garden, at the weeds weaving their way towards the house, merging with the ivy-coated walls. Something tugged at my memory. A smell – of unwashed skin, of bad breath and of something worse. Much worse. I shuddered, shivering and shaking. I remembered.

See how you share in this character’s horror, seeing, smelling and feeling everything she is.

So now you have some tools for ensuring your story is an atmospheric masterpiece!

About Esther Chilton/Newton

#blogger #author #writer #books
Author, writer and blogger Esther Chilton

I’ve always loved words and writing, but I started out working with figures in a bank. I was on an accelerated training programme and studying banking exams, which meant I didn’t have time for writing so it wasn’t long before it was a thing of the past – or so I thought. My love affair with writing ignited again when I had an accident and seriously injured my back. It meant I could no longer carry out my job working in the bank and it led me back to writing, which has now become a daily part of my life.

I’ve now been working as a freelance writer for nearly twenty years, regularly writing articles and short stories for magazines and newspapers such as Freelance Market News, Writers’ Forum, Writing Magazine, The Guardian, Best of British, The Cat, and The People’s Friend to name a few.

Winner of Writing Magazine, Writers’ News and several other writing competitions and awards, I have also had the privilege of judging writing competitions.

As well as working as a freelance writer, I have branched out into the exciting world of copywriting, providing copy for sales letters, brochures, leaflets, web pages, slogans and e-mails.

I love writing, but equally, I enjoy helping others, which I achieve in my role as a tutor for The Writers Bureau. I feel like a proud parent when one of my students has a piece of writing published. Some of them have gone on to become published authors and have achieved great success.

In addition to tutoring, I work as a freelance copyeditor offering an editing, guidance and advice service for authors and writers. I’ve edited novels, non-fiction books, articles and short stories.

If you’d like my help or would like to know more about what I can do for you, please get in touch: estherchilton@gmail.com

Connect With Esther

Blog: https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com

Twitter: @esthernewton201

Linkedin: Esther Chilton

The Siege and Other Award-Winning Short Stories:

Blurb: After launching her short story collection, ‘The Siege and Other Award Winning Short Stories’ as an e-book, freelance writer and The Writers Bureau tutor, Esther Newton, received numerous requests to bring out a paperback version.

#books #shortstories

‘The Siege and Other Award Winning Short Stories’ paperback features a further six short stories, as well as the original twelve from the e-book, offering more drama, more tension, more laughs and even more emotion.  From the heart-rending story of a young girl who’s never had a friend, to some special letters to Father Christmas, to a woman running away from a violent man, each story will keep you reading on straight into the next.

The collection includes prize-winning short stories from Writing Magazine, Writers’ News, The Global Short Story and Ouze Valley Writers competitions, amongst others.

Buying Links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

And all other online stores. The book can also be ordered through all good bookshops. Additionally, Esther has copies of the paperback for sale at £5 each. You can order one directly through her. If you’re interested, please contact her at: estherchilton@gmail.com

Esther is currently working on her next collection of short stories, A Walk in the Woods and other Short Stories. It’ll feature some prize-winning stories, as well as some new ones. Look out for it later this year.

If you have any questions or comments for Esther, please leave them in the comments section.

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Lost Things

It wasn’t only her false teeth she’d lost. She was speechless and had now lost all her words. Why had she said those things?

Bleeding to death, it wasn’t long before she lost her world. Losing your tongue was painful, but a great meal for the executioner’s cat who licked its lips.

52 Weeks: 52 Words Writespiration 2017

Written in response to Writespiration #99: The 52 Words in 52 weeks writing challenge set by Sacha Black

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