I like to take in as many exhibitions and events as I can and it has dawned on me I never make a note of these. Today I’m fixing that and starting with what I’ve been to this week.
I visited the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh to view the Ian Rankin archive which is on show until the end of the month. The author had donated his personal archive to the Library in 2019 and it goes all the way back to the 1970’s. It included his manuscripts up to 2018, handwritten notes, correspondence and awards.
Highlights on display include the first manuscript Empty Capital, which was retitled Black and Blue when it was published. In 1997 this won the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger award, the start of a hugely successful career. There is also his notebook used for his thoughts on writing. I really enjoyed seeing the various bits and pieces and noted how the influence of music and song lyrics has featured in his writing, and this has been featured in the displays. Fascinating stuff and seeing this gave me a boost and has helped inspire me to keep on writing. I think we all need such a lift at times in our writing journeys and this exhibition was ideal for me.
When at the Library I took in another exhibition, which was on pen names. This covered the thinking and background over the use of pen names when writing and featured some well-known writers who have adopted the use of another name to write under for different reasons. It was something I thought about before becoming published and decided that I liked the idea of using my initials followed by my surname. It was a close call though. My first name is regularly misspelt, and I did think of using it just to make the point (Inside the Fiction Factory Part 8 has further detail on spelling). However, I’ve made my decision and as my blog and social media handles reflect this, I don’t intend to change now. Whether I would publish a future work under another name is open though. I may find it appropriate to do so and I’m not ruling it out. I have works in progress which are very different from what I am currently promoting, and it maybe the right thing to do. Something to keep in mind should I choose to work up such writing to the point of publication.