Seriously, Another Social Media Hangout? by Christine Duncan

This one came out of the blue. I was flipping through Facebook last week when a writer I used to blog with came out with it. She was missing hearing from people on Facebook and was now going to join MeWe to catch up with them.
Just what I needed, another social media place. I know that as authors we need to keep up with this stuff, but I do not need another place to promote. I still haven’t figured out how or why people promote on Pinterest. I go there of course, but it is more to look at the planters made out of pallets, not because I think anyone wants to check out my book cover there.
As for instagram…forget it folks. I can’t keep up with my family’s pictures there. I have a b-i-g family. Besides, I am famous for taking blurry photos. You can’t promote with blurry photos.
And then there was Triberr. Am I the only one who never got the hang of Triberr? Is that even how you spell it? I went. I joined. I flunked out.
I never even made it to Snapchat.
Sigh. MeWe huh? I wonder if there is a short course.



I wish….

I wish I had time enough to write.

I wish I had motivation to write when I do have the time.

I wish the sun would shine so I could go to the park to think.

I wish publishers would take a risk sometimes.

I wish my favourite pen didn’t run out of ink the minute I get to an exciting part.

I wish my characters behaved as I expected them too.

I wish I could turn out a perfect first draft, full of layers and complexity and insight and no spelling mistakes.

I wish I had a cat. And a desk. And a coffee machine. A cat who would make coffee and bring it to my desk.

I wish I had confidence in my work.

I wish I knew the future. Not in detail, just enough to stop me lying in bed at 3am, staring at the ceiling, convinced I have failed, am failing, will continue failing.

I wish for luck. All writers need luck.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Escapism by Christine Duncan

4/20 was this week and since I live in Colorado where marijuana is legal the crowds at outdoor festivals celebrating it were huge. It made me think. There are a lot of people into escaping their lives.
Think of it. Alcohol and weed aren’t the only escapes of course. Reading is also a way of escaping.
How real is your fiction? Can people escape into your world?

Writing Advice

There’s so much writing advice out there. Something I hear a lot is ‘write what you know’

Well, imagine if we all did that. There’d be a glut of books about frustrating office jobs, the trip to the local supermarket and relationships that are not quite right but we can’t figure out why.

I think it’s better to write what we don’t know. I think it’s better to get ourselves into the head of someone completely new. If they’re historical, we can research. If they are different to us, we can interview someone. If they are fantasy, we can let our imagination run wild. Write what we don’t know. Be someone else.

Also, that advice about not writing long descriptions? I love long descriptions. I love that part in Bleak House where Dickens writes about the fog for pages. Describe away. I’ll enjoy it.

Writing advice can be useful, especially when it’s ‘back up EVERYTHING’. But it’s not absolute gospel. If you read that you ought to plan every page and you’re a bad writer if you don’t, someone else will tell you to not to plan a single word. Following your instincts works well too.

And please put the long rich descriptions back in. I cannot emphasise enough how much I love them.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Writing Quote of the day by Christine Duncan

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”Benjamin Franklin
I’m guessing preferably both.


Backstory. I love a character with a rich backstory. And I don’t need to know all of it. Just some of it. I don’t need every detail explained. I just like knowing its there.

However, some readers not only like to know it all, but it know it at the beginning. To not reveal parts of a character until the end – or not even until books two or three, can draw accusations of an unreliable narrator (I love unreliable narrators) or of hiding the facts from a reader (look at the accusations Agatha Christie got of hiding things from the reader in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. As a matter of fact, she didn’t. She just cleverly slipped them beneath our notice).

Only one thing is important – that you know the backstory. You don’t need to know all the details. You don’t have to have all the answers. You just have to know that there is a backstory and roughly what it is. Believe me, if you know it, the reader will sense it.

And don’t worry about when or even if you tell it. You’ll know when the right time to tell the story is.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Don’t Forget the Description by Christine Duncan

I witnessed something last week that I found pretty funny. Four year old Max sat screeching in my living room. His seven month old sister, Millie, matched him screech for screech. The two were communicating and Millie was glad.
However their 11 month old cousin Isabelle was not so sure. Apparently Isabelle, who also has an older brother who can and does screech on occasion, was not used to screeching as a form of talking. She sat, lower lip projecting, watching, trying to decide if she should cry or not. Seeing me, smiling, she decided maybe not.
It reinforced a lesson that as a writer, I know, but do not always use. Communication is not always words, or even tone. Sometimes it is more to do with body language. I tend to write quickly, in a hurry to get the essence of a scene down. I have to remind myself to go back and add description. I may add a picture of little Belle, lower lip projecting, to my desktop, as a way of reminding myself. Body language is important too.