Happy Veteran’s Day Everyone by Christine Duncan

Thank the Veterans in your life today.

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Other way to do NaNoWriMo

How’s NaNoWriMo going? I think those of you doing it are amazing – that’s a lot of dedication and work, and I know there’s some amazing writing being produced.

I rarely do NaNoWriMo myself, because November is usually when I’m editing. However, if you want to take advantage of the ethos of NaNoWriMo, but can’t commit to the word count or the daily write, I have some ideas.

⁃ don’t commit to a daily word count, commit to a weekly one. That way you can catch up at weekends.
⁃ Don’t aim for a full first draft – aim for a fully detailed plan and character list and a detailed synopsis and the first three chapters.
⁃ Do writing stuff that’s not writing. For example, going through old notes to find those ideas you’d written down and forgotten. Edit an old piece of work. Do in-depth research – even visit a few places. Read a lot. Prepare and sort out your pens and notebooks. Sort out the writing folder on your laptop. Clear away all your tasks and chores. Get ready for Christmas so you can spend the time off work writing.
⁃ You don’t have to do NaNoWriMo in November. Do it in May if that suits you better.
NaNoWriMo is amazing. I love seeing all the writers come together on social media. But don’t feel you have to do it if you just can’t. It’s a very flexible idea.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

NanoWriMo by Christine Duncan

It is that time of year again. Time to take a break from the normal. Time to sit for a while. Time to do NanoWriMo.
Me? I’m going to sit this one out.

The Beginning

The moment when I first sit down to write a book is always special.

Perhaps I’ve researched it, or perhaps I’m just diving right in. Perhaps I’ve been thinking about it for ages or perhaps it’s just a spontaneous thought.

Either way, there comes a moment when I sit down, pick up a pen and begin to write. I always write the first draft by hand, I find the ideas flow better.

I pick up my pen and there is a little moment – a shimmer in my mind, everything falling into place, the ideas pushing themselves to the front of mind and I know this is it, this is where the story begins. It’ll be wonderful and thrilling and frustrating and exhausting but at the end of it l, hopefully, I will have a book. And this, this moment, this first mark made on the paper, this is where it begins.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Writing Quote for the Day by Christine Duncan

“Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Louis L’Amour.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Perfect Line

I was discussing on Twitter this week perfect lines – the line in a book that gives you shivers, you know this is a special moment, and it somehow encapsulates everything a book is about. I mentioned one of my favourites is at the beginning of the Haunting of Hill House ‘Hill House – not sane’ (I was very happy to see that they kept that line right in the beginning of the new TV series)

You read that line and you know what is to come will chill you and be nothing like you’ve ever read before.

Perfect lines don’t have to be at the beginning. ‘Reader, I married him’ is near the end of Jane Eyre, and it rings with the certainty that she made her choice, she controlled her life and she is talking to us.

I do have a perfect line in one of my books. Perfect for me, anyway – but it’s near the ending so I can’t tell you the context. All I can say is that some one who seemed so meek and complacent suddenly snaps out ‘Even I’m bored of you now’

The thing is, there’s no trick to a perfect line. You can’t force it. It’s a force of nature, not just a spark but a whole lightning strike of inspiration. You’ll know when it appears on the page and you stare at it gleefully and shiver a little and wonder how that ever came out of your head.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Writing Quote by Christine Duncan

I have always wanted to follow Ernest Hemingways’s advice “Write drunk, edit sober.” Unfortunately, I find that when I am drunk I don’t do much of anything. I mean, that is the point of drinking too much, right? And after being drunk, I’m worth even less, as I am sick. So needless to say, being drunk is something I’ve tried to avoid, since I was in college anyway.

But I do get his point, you do want to lose your inhibitions when you write. You want to feel the feelings so you can write them down. You want to say the things you would never really say or do.

But you know, I’ve met a couple of people in critique groups who did that and they scared the stuffing out of me. Really. Not that their work wasn’t great. It was. But how did they ever think of it? And why? I didn’t want to be in a room alone with these folks.

It didn’t take much pondering to decide I needed to be careful what genre my critique group was. But that brought me back to my own writing.

I do want to write the stuff that makes people say, “Yeah, I felt like that.” What to do? What to do?

I guess I fall back on another of Hemingway’s quotes. I write it anyway, believing as he said that “The first draft of everything is shit.” I’ll fix it later, right?