owls that come from nowhere

I realised today that birds almost always appear in my stories. Birds call, hop and peck, or even swoop past in the night (like the owl in my latest story). But I never plan it. I never think to myself, ‘O-ho, I might just stick a bird in here. Yes, perhaps a magpie.’ It’s not like that at all. The bird just appears.


Thinking about the birds got me pondering just how much I love writing (when I’m not hating it, that is). I love the fact that I sit down with only the vaguest idea what I’m going to write about, and then characters appear and do things, and even birds arrive and do birdlike things. It’s like a movie the way it all pans out. And once I’ve worked on a story for awhile, it becomes so real and true in my head, I almost believe it all actually happened (I don’t truly believe it; I’m not crazy. Or so I tell myself).

So I’m wondering if other writers have recurring creatures or objects? I don’t mean themes or topics, I mean the weird mouse that’s always in the corner or your characters forever eating cheese. What is your ‘bird’? I’d love to know.

2 thoughts on “owls that come from nowhere

  1. I don’t know that I have a ‘bird’ or a mouse or anything that keeps recurring, but I’ll have to think more about it. Maybe it’s music as that features in my first novel, and also in every other idea I have for future novels, so that might be my ‘thing’. It’s nice that yours is a bird—a symbol of freedom and endless possibilities. I love how these things surface without our knowledge or conscious decision. Sometimes, the things we don’t plan in a story, the things our subconscious reveals, are the best things about what we write!

  2. Ah, music! How lovely to keep returning to that in your work! And how wonderful that you have future novel ideas, too …
    It uplifted me to think of my birds as representing ‘freedom and endless possibilities’ (perhaps the three rejection emails in the past couple of weeks took their toll more than I realised!), so thank you for your thoughts – they were a real comfort xx

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