Last Words

We all know first lines are important, but what about last lines?

I was thinking about this at the weekend, when I was writing a short story and spent an hour agonising over the exact structure of the last line. I wanted it to leave an impression, to close the story and yet leave a tease so the reader would go to the next story.

I thought of my favourite last lines, such as

‘Well, I’m back,’ he said

From The Lord of the Rings. It’s so simple and yet so final – after all the adventures, Sam has made it home.

Or from 1984

‘He loved Big Brother’

Again, utterly simple, and yet chilling and echoes everything that went before.

Gone With The Wind is good

‘After all, tomorrow is another day!’

An evocation of everything Scarlett O’Hara is.

And my favourite last line all of time (incidentally, from the book that gives me one of my favourite first lines) from Dickens Tale of Two Cities

‘. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known’

It is a reflection of everything that has gone before, the battles that have been fought, the souls ripped apart in those horrific times and the final, good act of a careless drunkard. It makes me sob every time.

So I think spending just as long on the that last line as I did the rest of the story was worth it.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Instagram Anyone? by Christine Duncan

I have come to the conclusion that I don’t use my social media as well as I should for writing. I started out with the best of intentions. But it has devolved to my using Facebook to keep in touch with family, other writers and to do political rants.

Twitter is semi-writing oriented in that I do promote this blog there. But I usually check it to see what the news is.

And Instagram is fairly new to me, and to be honest I don’t have a clue how to use it. Someone told me that they post photos of what they do during the day–a sort of photo journal of their writing. I thought that sounded great so I signed up. Besides, I suspected I was missing some great pictures from my family.

Then reality set in. A photo journal of my writing would consist of only two pictures. One picture would show me madly typing. The second picture would show me, staring off into space somewhere, trying to decide what I need to type next. I could post that one over and over and over.

So all of you great promo folks out there, what do you use Instagram for? I could use a clue.

Procrastination and Obsession

Things I do rather than sit down and writing:
Watch cat gifs
Sharpen pencils
Watch penguin gifs (specially that one where one penguin casually slaps another penguin walking behind him)
Make cheese on toast
Watch goat gifs
Think of a quote for #shakespearesunday
Read every single article on Facebook
Clean the toilet

Conversely, these are the things I should have been doing but stopped doing to write;
Eat breakfast
Reading a book
Getting on the bus
Working at the day job
Listening to The Archers
Cleaning the house

The ” target=”_blank”>House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Write an Essay, Win a House by Christine Duncan

Have you seen that meme on Facebook where they show you the cabin in an idyllic setting and ask you if you could spend 30 days there with no TV, no Wifi, no phone?
I, like many others, drool at the thought of it.
So I was excited when I saw the NY Times article telling how you could write a 200 word essay and possible win a house. There was a 149.00 entry fee but no problem, right? All I had to do was craft the perfect entry so I could tell the couple selling the house how winning this vacation cabin in the Catskills would change my life.
I had the essay half written in my head, when I read the rest of the NY times article and came down to earth. They included little details like property taxes of $11,000.00 a year (No wonder I live in Colorado. I can’t afford NY! Who knew all you folks were rich!) The article went on to talk about the income tax consequences of winning a house and I realized I couldn’t afford to be that lucky. Sigh.

But for a few minutes of dreaming, I was a full time writer. That’s exciting, isn’t it? Oh, and for those of you still dreaming, here’s the link to the Dream Home contest

Make Love to an Author

One of the things I love about writers is how supportive we are of each other. We share ideas, we proof read, we talk over plots, we give encouragement when it all seems hopeless.

One very good way to support an author you love is to leave a review. Amazon, Goodreads, Waterstones, whatever your chosen place. Good, bad or indifferent.

You see, those reviews, not just the praise but the number of them, show that the book is being read, and that’s what matters to the publishers. The more reviews a book has, the more popular it is, the more chance the author has of selling their next book.

I admit, I can be slow in leaving reviews. But if I love a book now I do make an effort to leave a review, because I know now what a difference it makes.

As the Twitter quote, so frequently shared, says ‘Make love to an author. Leave a review’

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Writer’s Block? There’s a Quote for That by Christine Duncan

Often we writers act as though the act of writing is magic. We talk about writer’s block as though it is something we can’t help. This week, I came across some quotes that make it a little less mystical, so I thought I’d share.

“If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.” Anne Tyler

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

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” Larry L. King

And my favorite is “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

I don’t know about you folks, but I’m going to go turn on the faucet or find a club or I don’t know… Read.