Writing Quote of the Week by Christine Duncan

“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” Martin Luther

It will have an effect

Lockdown is coming to an end (hopefully) and I’m not quite ready. I don’t feel like I’ve used the time well – I wrote, but not as much I wanted to. I spent an lot of time just curled up with a book.

But – as I read the other day – we’re living through a crisis that will be talked about forever. They’ll make films about it. People are already writing books about it. The history textbooks will be massive and in fifty years time school children will write essays and learned scholars discuss it.

So, just getting through it was enough. And now we can see a glimpse of the end, I’m thinking – so, I didn’t write. Probably because I was busy just getting through it. But I will write. Everything I learned and read, everything I went through and experienced (and will experience – it’s not quite over yet) will influence what I write for the rest of my life. Whether or not I write about these two years (and yes, it will be two years once it’s over) they will have an effect on whatever I write – or choose not to write – on the years to come.

House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Happy Easter by Christine Duncan

The First Inspiration

I dreamed I met an author last night. Victoria Holt. All through my teen years and twenties I devoured her books (and her books under the name Jean Plaidy) and she inspired my first attempts at writing. I asked her for some advice and she said ‘keep going. Keep writing. Whatever happens, keep writing’

It’s good advice.

What about you? If you met the author that first inspired you to write, what would they say? Probably much the same thing. But it might be nice to go back and think about who is was that first inspired you to pick up a pen, and what it was you learned from them.

House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

QUOTE OF THE WEEK By Christine Duncan

Okay, this particular quote has nothing to do with writing. It just fits with how I feel today.

“and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring….” EE Cummings

Think about the end

What kind of ending do you want? Do you know how your work will end as you start to write or does it come as a surprise to you?

Do you want everything wrapped up neatly and explained, or are there things you are happy – even want to – live unresolved?

What will happen to your characters? Will they live? Will they die? Will they achieve they want? Will we know all their secrets? Will they have kept their moral compass? Will the love story be resolved?

Is this the end of the story or is there going to be another one after it?

You may not have answers to all these questions when you start to write – but they’re questions you should keep in mind as you write and you should have answers by the end.

A good ending is just as important as a good beginning.

House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Writing Quote of the Week by Christine Duncab

“I almost always urge people to write in the first person. … Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.”
—William Zinsser

Lockdown writing

Lockdown, for some of us, will be over in a few months. Of course for some it’s over already – and there’s always a chance it’ll be extended. But are you looking back at the work you did during lockdown? Did you write? Did you not write?

Whatever you did – if you don’t think you did well enough, you’re wrong. This has been a unique time in our lives. Most of have never lived through anything like this before and hopefully won’t have to again. If you started lockdown with a plan to write everyday and in the end didn’t manage to write anything at all – that’s not failure. That’s a product of the unique circumstances we are in.

I’ve read two books that were written and published during lockdown. One was as brilliant as all the author’s other books. The other lacked the author’s depth and insight. Lockdown writing had benefited one but not the other. So don’t knock yourself for not writing during this time. It probably wasn’t the right time and circumstances for you to do so. Once we are back to some sort of normality, the writing will be back.

House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Blizzards by Christine Duncan

it is snowing here in Colorado. Seriously snowing. The last time I checked we were approaching 2 feet snowing.

The wind is blowing, the bushes are smashed by heavy snow and my boss has already told everyone not to bother coming in tomorrow. So am I writing? Except for this blog, no.

I have cooked, done laundry , incessantly checked the internet for snow totals, paid bills, messed with the computer to fix an email problem while sneaking peeks at Facebook to see snow totals, shoveled snow twice (a real waste of time as you now can’t see that I shoveled at all) and tried to read.

Apparently, my lack of writing is not about lack of time. Huh. Who knew?

Tell them you’re a writer!

Here’s a story about the dangers of being a writer – specifically, a crime writer….

I have large flip chart sheets stuck up on my wall with a list of ‘Victims’ and murder methods and motives and lines and quotes – mostly to do with murder and for the latest one ‘I’m not evil but I will be if you want me to be’ scribbled all over it. This is an aide memoire for my work, so I don’t forget something important.

Normally, I take these down when someone visits. However, in lockdown I’ve got out of that habit as no-one visits. I just leave them there and forget about them.

But this week, I had someone in to do some repairs. It was only after I left I realised that a) I hadn’t taken down the list of victims and murder methods and b) I had not explained, at all, that I’m a crime writer. As far as he’s concerned, I’m just an ordinary person with a list of victims and proclamations about evil on my wall…

So I guess the message is – always make sure to tell everyone you’re a writer and not an insane weirdo hatching a murder plot (of course there have been some crime writers who did also murder people, but that’s another story)

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad