Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine September 2021

Page 66

Frames in Fiction by Allison Symes I often use frames for my tales. By that I mean I set boundaries. Some frames I use include:relatively short period. The dates are natural scene breaks and don’t use up much of my precious word count.

1. Using a diary format. Instant framework there. I must start with a date. The final part of the story must end with another. There must be at least two dates for a diary to work.

Thinking inside the box set up for my story makes me dig deeper into what drives my character. Better plot ideas can come from that. So setting boundaries can be great for encouraging creative thinking.

2. I use a question which must be resolved. 3. I start my tale with a promising closing line and then work out options to take me to the beginning. Having the ending first means my frame has the bottom bit filled in and I just need to add the rest.

For flash where you have one immediate boundary, the word count, it pays to find ways to make the most of what you have to “play with”.

4. I’ve come up with a promising opening line. I work out different options for a satisfactory conclusion. This is classic linear writing. A to B and all that but I like to mix things up and writing B to A can be an interesting challenge.

Talking of frames…

5. I sometimes use an object as a frame and the story has to show why this object matters.

This month’s theme is Frame. What could you do with that? One tip is to write down as many ideas as you can. The first few will be “obvious” but those that follow will be where you dig deeper.

6. Writing to a specific word count. I’ve recently returned to my first love in flash writing - the drabble aka the 100-worder. The word count is my frame here.

Let’s give an example but I won’t use this month’s theme and make things too easy (though I recommend listing ideas. What follows can be a useful template).

Putting any limit or frame around my writing seems a strange thing to do. Doesn’t it stifle creativity?

Example Subject: Stealing Example Ideas

I’ve found the opposite is the case. Having limits has fuelled my story writing. Why? Because I’ve learned to think laterally to resolve the issues thrown up by the frame I’ve chosen.

1. Someone steals a precious object - would be interesting to look at why and not go for obvious answers such as greed. If they are desperate, that would make for a more intriguing take on this.

For example, the diary format, for me, works best with a reasonable number of entries over a - 66 -