- Character versus Plot debate. Forget it. Without well rounded characters there is no plot. There is no story. Get your characters right and the plot faills into place. It is possible to write an excellent plot but the characters aren't strong enough to make the most of it so I've found it best to ensure my characters are what I meant them to be. They then drive the plot.
- It Pays to Plan. I outline short stories, flash fiction as well as novels now. I find an outline clarifies my thoughts and I'm less likely to go off at a tangent. I also find as fresh ideas occur I can jot them down and see whether they fit into my outline and if so at what point. Equally if the new idea is better than something else on my outline, it replaces it. Incidentally I don't plan out every last detail but the major points I've got to get to in the story. That gives freedom for other ideas to come in and most of the time they slot straight into my outline with no problem.
- Accept that the First Draft of anything should not be seen by anyone other than yourself. Most of the time, the first draft isn't total rubbish but it is very rough, which is its purpose. Nobody has to see that but you. I never show anyone work until I've got it to the point where any changes are likely to be relatively minor. I once made the mistake many years ago of explaining a story which I was still working on. The inevitable happened. I had to make significant changes and then had to explain why the story wasn't as I'd originally said. I'm not making that mistake again!
I'm Allison Symes and write fairytales with bite, especially novels and short stories.