Getting Words On The Page

It’s all very well having that clever idea, or lots of clever ideas, but how do you get them on the page? Sometimes, writing a whole book seems like a daunting task. Here are a few tricks I use to get writing.
0. A really nice notebook and pen. We all know the type. A book with smooth pages and a pen that just rolls across the page. Writing just feels so rewarding.
0. Do it in ten minutes bursts in between doing something else. Read a chapter of another book, then set a timer for ten minutes and just write, then read, then write.
0. Don’t start at the beginning. Start somewhere in the middle. Write a random scene. Write an ending. Write blocks of text than put them together.
0. Take a notepad with you. Write on the bus, write in the doctors waiting room. Anywhere that you’re usually bored.
0. Write a plan of what you’re going to do and stick it up on the wall where you can see it all the time. It’ll prompt you and show you what you’ve done already and what’s left to do. Just remember the plan is not concrete, you can change whatever you want whenever you want.
0. Rewards! One chapter – one chocolate. 1000 words – watch some TV. 10000 words – have a long lie in. You’re going to need it!

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

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Eavesdropping by Christine Duncan

I loved Michelle’s last post about listening in to people on the bus. I have done this!]
Sometimes, I’ve listened to just get a certain dialect down in my head. The last time I visited the East Coast, I tried to pick out all the people from Philly. It didn’t matter that I was in Washington, or Florida. I was listening for a South Philly accent, and I found it as I traveled through. So it was easier to write the then work in progress, set at the Jersey shore. I had grown up on the East coast, but years out West made me lose the accent, unless, as my kids tell me, I am talking to my sisters. So I tried to isolate what I was hearing.
I have listened to people who sat at nearby tables at restaurants. (Admit it! You’ve done this!) and made up whole stories about them in my head. “Poor Janice, she put up with him for years! She deserved better!” I’ve used this stuff as writing prompts sometimes. You have to try that one. It can really get you going on those days when you just don’t know what to write.

It’s Not Being Nosy If You’re A Writer

See that woman in a blue dress over there? Why do you think she bought it? Was it a special occasion? Is it her favourite dress, or her comfy dress (we all have clothes for those days we can’t be bothered to dress up)? Why did she choose that colour?

Plug your headphones in so everyone on the bus thinks you’re listening to music. Don’t switch the music on. Instead, listen to the conversations around you. Who’s lying? Who’s bored? Who’s in love? Who has a secret?

Sit in the park and watch the dogs. Those dogs really like each other but the owners won’t even talk. Why not? What happened? Will the dogs bring them together?

You got post delivered to the person who lived there before you. What an intriguing name. Why are they getting post from that company? Why haven’t they told them they’ve moved.

In anyone else, all this is nosiness. But for writers, it’s research.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Author Quote of the Week by Christine Duncan

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” Samuel Johnson

Interesting Times

Reality is just unreal.

I used to think a good place to get ideas for my crime novels was the news. Of course, I’d have to spice real life up a bit…but lately, it seems like every time I watch the news, I’m faced with a story I’d never get away with in a book. Real life just seems to be becoming more and more bizarre. If I was to write a ‘ripped from the headlines’ story now, I’d have to tone it down, not spice up.

So what’s a writer to do? Well, write reality and put in a foreword to say ‘no, this really happened, honestly!’ or generations from now, no-one is going to believe your book.

Or go with the flow, make your book as outrageous and unbelievable as possible and see how long it takes reality to catch up.

Ignore reality, write sci-fi or historical, and then wait to see how close to reality your book has come despite being ostensibly set in a totally different time and place.

We all know the Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times’. Well, that’s happening to us. Our job, as writers, is to either reflect it or escape from it.

Either way, no-ones ever going to believe any of it was real.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Happy Memorial Day Everyone by Christine Duncan

Thanks to all who have served!

The Path

All writers have a different path. That sounds terribly pretentious and vague and the sort of inspirational crap that goes on a coffee mug, but let me explain.

Some writers have written successful debut novels by the time they’re 25. Some don’t even start writing until they’re retired. Some plan and plan. Some just sit down and start writing. Some know exactly what books they want to be writing and in what genre. Some play with genres and ideas until they find the right one (or invent their own genre). Some wait years for success. Some are overnight successes.

But the point of it all is – something is written. I can’t say the path doesn’t matter, because finding the right path is key. The path can be long and difficult and you may make a lot of wrong turnings. But not all paths are the same. Just because someone else found success doing things a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to too.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad