Rule of Three by Christine Duncan

You know, when we started this blog, we had three writers. Narelle lives in Australia and she balanced Michelle (Great Britain) and me, (U.S.) But Narelle moved on and Karen (Australia) came on board. Then Karen left too. I have put off looking for a replacement for a long time, and I guess the biggest reason is that I see a lot of people start blogs but very few actually keep at it. Even just writing for a blog once a week, requires discipline. You have to have an idea and you have to show up with it week after week. I’ve been on other multi-writer blogs and they bit the dust. And to my shame, I have to say, I helped contribute to that with one of them.
I learned my limits. I can and will write on this blog. But once a week is all I have to give.

So are any of you looking for a blog home? Would you like to write a writing related post once a week? Let me know!

A lot of writers says it’s a good idea to write under a pseudonym.

I can see the attraction of this, and I’ve thought of it myself. It keeps your privacy. You can go anywhere, and hand over your credit card, or your driving licence, and no-one will recognise you. No one will wonder if you’re putting them in your book. You can sit and watch the world go in utter peace, undisturbed and no-one will know that you are, in fact, putting them in your book. (This also saves the indignant scenes when someone confronts you and says “I’m not like that, how dare you!”).

But, on the other hand, I kind of want people to know it’s me. I’d like my old friends to know I’ve done what I always said I would do. I’d like the teacher who said I could write know that I did, and the teacher who inspired me, that the inspiration led somewhere.

I’d also like the teacher who told me I was utterly useless, and would never succeed in anything, who said I wouldn’t even get my English A-level, let alone my degree, to know that he was wrong. (I got the A-level and degree too).In fact, I’d quite like a lot of the people who have told me I am useless that I’ve succeeded. I know that sounds like showing off – but when you’ve been a failure for a lot of your life, a little showing off when you succeed is forgivable, surely?

I haven’t decided yet. Privacy is being set against showing off. They’re both strong forces.

Getting In the Mood by Christine Duncan

I’ve written here before about how I try to read books that are seasonal to keep my self anchored. I tend to be at least half a season behind, so presently I am somewhere around the end of summer. The weather isn’t cooperating either. It’s been in the seventies and low eighties, and the trees are hanging on to their leaves. Yet, Halloween is only a few weeks away.
This is your chance fellow writers. I need a mystery book with a fall setting to read. Do you have one? Brag on!

To Talk or not To Talk

Sophie Kinsella wrote a great article for the BBC website, ten tips for a writer. One of her tips is never to discuss your book, whilst it’d being written, with anyone. She only ever discusses with her husband, over cocktails, when she’s stuck.

So I went and discussed this with my writer friend, who’s part of a book club. In that club they discuss their ideas and work all the time. She said that someone in the club found it very useful to discuss the work as she went along, so that she didn’t have to change it later. She liked the feedback to be immediate, and she would change her plan accordingly. She prefers this to having to go back to edit.

I’m the opposite. I hate discussing my book when it’s a work in progress. In my mind my plan is on train tracks, and any feedback along the lines of ‘why do that, why not do this?’ is likely to push the entire thing off the tracks and stop the writing completely. I prefer to write to the end, then go back if anything needs changing.

So which do you prefer? Talking and editing and accepting feedback as you go, or wait until the end, when you feel it’s ready before showing it to anyone?

Jumpstart by Christine Duncan

Have you ever written something, even had it published and then just forgotten it? I have. Today I came across something I wrote several years back and not only did I not remember a word of it, it was as though someone else wrote it just for me today.
It’s odd how that can work. Need a peptalk to get your writing going? Maybe you’ve already written something that will inspire you back to work. Go back through your old manuscripts and see. Sometimes, all you need to get back going is to give yourself a good swift one.

Finding your Genre

It’s odd that I’ve become a crime writer. That’s how I define myself now – a crime writer.

I’ve always loved crime novels. Right from when I was very little and I read the Famous Five and Secret Seven. (We may think of them as children’s books, but they are also mysteries). Then came the Hardy Boys, then I graduated to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes and by the time I was 17 I knew enough about crime books to write about the Golden Age of detective stories in an exam completely off the cuff.

I still love crime books. I’m always overjoyed to discover a new crime writer, especially one who has a lot of books for me to read. But I never wrote them before.

My first book I wrote was when I was seven, and it was about a bunny rabbit. Despite my nature, I presume it wasn’t too distressing, as it was intended for the nursery class. I kept writing – but I wrote fantasy. I wrote sci-fi. I wrote love stories. I wrote ghost stories. I wrote a lot of ghost stories. I love writing ghost stories. I never wrote crime. I could never think of a plot, or characters. I don’t think I thought I was clever enough.

Then one day, about two years ago, I had an idea for a detective. Around the same time I had an idea for a villain. Nervously, I began to write. I wrote a crime story.

It didn’t come easy. I had to work at it. My agent had to give me a lot of tips. But it got written, and for the first time, I was properly satisfied with what I had written. I felt I had found my voice – and my voice was a crime story.

Now I’ve started writing crime, my head is full of stories. I reckon I’ve got enough crime stories in my head to keep me going for at least ten years, and the stories aren’t stopping, and I feel like I’m writing something decent. I’m happy with this work.

It took me time to find my genre – but now I’ve found it, my writing is coming on in leaps and bounds. You have to keep going. Keep writing everything, try everything, don’t be afraid to switch and change genres and styles. Eventually you’ll find your perfect fit, and then your writing will soar.

Priorities by Christine Duncan

I did a lot of things this weekend. I mowed the lawn. Applied weed and feed. Babysat. Grocery shopped. Did laundry. Cooked and cleaned. Rearranged the furniture. Put a bunch of photos up on the wall. Ran 6.2 miles today, and 4 yesterday. What I didn’t do was write.
And somehow or another, that seems to be the thing that stands out about the weekend. Sigh. You’d think that would teach me.