Category Archives: Writing

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

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Writing Quote of the Week by Christine Duncan

“A profession writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Richard Bach

I Don’t Know Her Name

Still thinking about names – not mine this time, but my character’s.

I have a new story. I know the main character. I know what she looks like, what she likes to do, her belief, her background. I know her assistant’s name, and how they met up. I know her dog’s name. But her name – no, it isn’t there. It just won’t appear.

Normally I’d pick a random name. But this is my major character. I’ll be writing the name a lot. It needs to feel right. It needs to feel like it suits. And it needs to be so utterly evocative of her that I never forget it. (I have been known to entirely rename a character half way through writing because I’ve forgotten the original name and just gone with what I think they’re called).

I hope it’ll pop up. With luck I’ll dream it (its happened before). But I feel strangely discombobulated. I’m already writing scenes for her but I have to leave a blank space for her name.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Happy Mothers Day by Christine Duncan

Hidden Me

I’m writing a new series and I’ve been advised I should try to sell it under a new writing name.

I’m not sure about this. I like using my real name. I like seeing my name on a book. I’ve already built up a following on my name. I have a Facebook page!

And yet – I’ve always rather liked the idea of going incognito. I like the idea of being a secret writer, of having a second identity (this is what comes of being addicted to superheroes comics. I’ll be getting a batcave next. I seriously considered using the name Selina Kyle). And it would be a chance to start again, knowing all I know from the first time. And what’s to stop me running the two identities side by side?

But I mourn the loss of me, my name, my identity. It will be like I’m a hidden writer.

Still, whatever helps me to get my work out there will be good.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Writing Quote of the Week by Christine Duncan

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
—Nathaniel Hawthorne

Library or Book Storage

I’ve read about some libraries that store all their books far away, and books have to requested and can take a few days to arrive. But this takes away that pleasure of browsing and the facility to search.

Sometimes all you want is a reference, or a line. You’re not quite sure where to find it, but you know the kind of book it’ll been in. So you go to that section of the library and flick through the books until you find what you need – and discover a lot more on the way. How can you request a book, and wait for it to arrive, if you’re not sure what book you even need?

And then there’s browsing for pleasure. I’ve discovered so many authors that I just found by wandering around the library and seeing what caught my eye. We don’t always know what we want when we go in, we know we fancy a crime or a romance, but we’ve read all our favourites. So we go in and walk around until a cover or a title catches our eye. (And this, incidentally, is why we have cover designs. If we don’t choose books this way, why wouldn’t all books have a plain paper cover?). Browsing the shelves in a library is my favourite way to find new books.

I hope they bring the books back. Because if they don’t, they are not a library. They are just book storage, and there is a world of difference between the two.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad