Category Archives: Writing

Be Weird

Do you ever get told ‘that story is just too strange, that wouldn’t happen?’ Well, for a start, I bet you won’t get told that after this year.

When I did my research I found all kinds of odd, true stories – so odd I couldn’t put them in a book, although they did actually happen. (Baboon escaping from a garden and running amok around Whitechapel same time as Ripper Murders? No, not Edgar Allen Poe – that actually happened)

Besides, right now, people don’t want stark reality. They want joyful coincidences and mysterious events and symbolic messages of hope and all kinds of wondrous and strange things. We need an escape. Be weird. Tell the odd stories. Give us escape.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Happy Memorial Day, Everyone!

Remembering all who served with gratitude.

Trust your characters to show you the way

I’m in the middle of writing a story where at least two of the characters currently seem to have no motive for their actions. Now I know they have to have a motive, but when I started writing, it just wasn’t there.

But as I write more and more, the motives become clear. Even motives I thought I already knew change.

Trust your characters. If they live in your head, when you put them on the page, then when you write them, they’ll reveal things about themselves. You don’t have to know everything before you start writing. Let your characters reveal themselves.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Working through Writer’s Block by Christine Duncan

I don’t know about you, but I am easily distracted. I used to have a routine. I would start by just writing anything that popped into my head whether it was poetry or a snippet of my work in progress.

Now I’m starting to collect sites to help me get started. And I’ve started to exercise just a little discipline. Here are my new rules. We will see how long they last.

1. I won’t waste time on the internet. Call it research if you want, I spend too much time just reading. I’ve had to limit myself especially since this pandemic started. Sigh.

2. Writing prompts help me sometimes. I am presently trying writer’s digests prompts (https://www.writersdigest.com/prompts Reading about writing can get me started too.

3. Editing yesterday’s work (or whatever work I need to start on) can get me going. Being in the story seems to help me.

4. I have to limit phone calls and cleaning too. It is amazing what I will do to avoid writing!

I sometimes just need to stop defeatist thinking too. This whole world has changed so much lately, it is difficult to write or even read a story set in the before time. Shoot I was just recording expenses in quickbooks from early March and couldn’t believe that world.

But I know it will be back soon. So I need to get back to work.

Secrets

Secrets are a good point to build a story around. Secrets known, not known, whispered, shouted, concealed, revealed. Scream them from the rooftop, write them in a letter to be burned, hunt them down, dig them up, lie, cheat, steal and kill to cover them up.

They don’t even have to be big secrets. Little secrets in the wrong time and place can be devastating too now. The big things we covered up in our youth seem so petty now. What would have destroyed someone’s career twenty years ago now seems a minor peccadillo. A tiny secret is as dangerous as a big one, in the right hands, in the right time and place.

They can be enough to build a whole story on. They can be the ultimate motivation. The only thing with secrets is – don’t reveal them to the reader too early – but so reveal them by the end. Even if it’s only the reader who gets to know – the reader must know, or they will never understand everything else

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Happy Mother’s Day by Christine Duncan

Step back in time

Sorry about last week. I’ve completely lost track of time.

I wish I had something to say. As it is, I currently stumble from one day to another, never quite sure what is going on or what I’m thinking

I’ve taken the opportunity to revisit an old manuscript. It got left behind she’s ago when I started work on something else, but I’m finding a lot of comfort in a story that’s already written, that just needs editing and fixing. Creating from scratch is rather difficult but working on something I’ve already started and just need to polish is rather easier.

This may be the time, if new work is beyond you (and you’re not alone, a lot of people are struggling) may be look at some old work? It may be a nice distraction.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad