Spotlight: Relishing flash fiction with Allison Symes

Today on the blog, I’m delighted to be hosting Allison Symes. She’ll introduce herself in the next paragraph, but suffice to say, she’s right about Swanwick, and I’m so glad we keep catching up, year on year… So, it’s over to Allison, to tell us about her writing:

Allison Symes and published works

Many thanks, Jennifer, for the blog invite. I’m Allison Symes, flash fiction writer and blogger. Jennifer and I met at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. We knew within hours of going to our first, we’d be back at the next, the one after etc. Four years later…

I blog for Chandler’s Ford Today, an online magazine, usually on topics for writers. My other writing passion is flash fiction. My From Light to Dark and Back Again, was published by Chapeltown Books in 2017 (”A collection of very short stories to suit every mood”). [A quick note from Jen here, I reviewed Allison’s first collection on the blog here, if you want to find out more!]


I love the challenge of writing a story to a tight word count. Flash fiction has made me “up my game” when editing as I hunt down wasted words (we all have them). I wish I could stop writing the wretched things but I know what they are and out they go on the edit.

I’ve written 25-word stories but my favourite flash type is the drabble aka the 100-worder. I’ve no idea why they’re called drabbles but I pity my fellow flashers who write 50-worders. Why? Because they’re known as dribbles! I am a flasher and a drabbler but they…. it doesn’t sound great, does it?!

I think technology has helped flash fiction take off as it is easy to read on screen. I hope it may prove to be great at bringing in reluctant readers. When you can get someone hooked on reading, who knows where that journey will take them but they will get so much joy from it! If flash fiction can be a way in for someone, I’d be thrilled. The potential is there.

I like Jennifer’s idea of visiting places to inspire your stories. I have one problem though. A lot of my flash fiction is fantasy or fairytale based! That’s another reason why I love flash so much. I can set my characters in any genre or time I like. All I watch is the word count.  I have written flash tales in or based on the following areas (to date):-

  • Crime
  • Horror
  • Fairytale/fantasy/nursery rhyme
  • Historical
  • Reflective/character studies
  • Humorous

I write a lot in the first person for flash. It’s immediate and suits the form. I can also show you the character’s thoughts and attitudes and those shape what the reader will make of them. Whether the reader is right is another matter as the other thing flash is great for are twist endings and I love those.

I’m working on further flash fiction collections and am thrilled The Art Critic (humorous fairytale) and Dignity and Injustice (historical) will be in The Best of Cafelit 8 in December 2019 (published by Bridge House Publishing). I’m looking forward to finding out where flash fiction takes me next.

About Allison

Allison Symes, who loves writing and reading flash fiction, is published by Chapeltown Books, Cafelit, and Bridge House Publishing. She is a member of the Society of Authors and Association of Christian Writers.  A round-up of her writing is at and she blogs for Chandler’s Ford Today – and her Amazon Central page can be found at


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