Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 23-29, 2016

The informal writerly learnings are here!

Your #NaNoWriMo round up for the week:

Danielle Daniel discusses her memoir, The Dependent, with the ladies of The Social.

Sudbury’s Poet Laureate, Kim Fahner, writes in defense of school libraries. The Republic of Poetry

K.M. Weiland: how to properly motivate your bad guy. Helping Writers Become Authors

Roz Morris shares some thoughts on book marketing. Nail Your Novel

Robin Lovett explains why deadlines are not your worst enemy. DIYMFA

James Scott Bell: writer, this is your job. Kill Zone

Barbara O’Neal explores writing with the knowledge of time. Writer Unboxed

Dan Blank: dealing with a slump. Writer Unboxed

Karen Woodward writes in defense of constraints.

Janice Hardy guest posts on Writers in the Storm: how filtering point of view affects show, don’t tell.

Marcy Kennedy blogs about conflict.

Veronica Sicoe continues her storyworld design series with transportation technologies.

Chris Saylor returns to Marcy Kennedy’s blog with his monthly editorial clarification post: “I could care less.”

Jamie Raintree shares her path to publication (part two!).

Janet Reid addresses the issue of young writers. “Publishing will break your heart. Writing will fill your heart.” Truer words . . .

Joanna Penn interviews Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith on The Creative Penn podcast.

Tamerra Griffen unpacks a situation of academic racism on Buzzfeed: a professor circles the word “hence” on Tiffany Martinez’s paper and notes “This is not your word.” Bonus: here is Tiffany’s response to the incident (linked in the Buzzfeed article).

Foz Meadows explores the relationship between romance and queerness, and the difference between genre and device. Shattersnipe

Meg Elison: if women wrote about men the way men write about women. McSweeney’s

Katherine Langrish explores death in classic fantasy. Seven Miles of Steel Thistles

Sadness. 2016 has taken so many great creators from us. Sheri S. Tepper, 1929-2016.

Award news:

The Governor General’s Award winners announced.

The OAC presents its indigenous arts protocols:

 

Joseph Boyden speaks out for the #WeMatterCampaign

 

Baihley Grandison shares a lovely infographic with untranslatable words from other languages. Writer’s Digest

Rajeev Balasubramanyam states that the Nobel committee got it wrong: Ngugi wa Thiong’o is the writer the world needs now. The Washington Post

Christopher Marlowe will be credited as Shakespeare’s co-author in New Oxford editions of the Henry VI plays. Dalya Alberge for The Guardian.

Connie Verzak considers Tobias Menzies to be the Snape of Outlander. The Daily Record

And that concludes my first and last Tipsday for the month of November.

The next Tipsday will be coming your way on December 6th, after the furor of #NaNoWriMo has subsided.

Be well until then, my writerly friends.

Honour your creative path.

Virtual hugs to the awesomesauce that is you!

tipsday2016

CWS 2016: Grants for writers

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you see anything that needs correction or clarification, please email melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll fix it post-hasty.

jackillingworth

Presenter: Jack Illingworth, Literature Officer, Ontario Arts Council (OAC)

The majority of funding dollars go to written works. The budget is approximately four million and that hasn’t changed significantly since the nineties. Programs are fiercely competitive. In general, 11% of applicants receive funding.

Apply often and apply widely.

There are three streams of funding for literary creation.

The Canada Council of the Arts is moving to a non-disciplinary model in 2017.

Don’t put yourself in a box.

The writers’ works in progress grant offers up to $12,000 to work on a specific project.

For poetry, we want to see 15 pages of your work. For prose works, we want to see approximately 40 pages.

Juries assess the applications on relative artistic merit.

October 18 is the next deadline. There is also funding set aside specifically for northern writers and for comic arts (graphic novels). These have separate deadlines. You can’t apply to more than one type of works in progress grant, though.

Prose and poetry juries are separate. I try to have a “wild card” juror on each. For fiction, it’s a jury of four and for poetry, it’s a group of three.

The program could change in 2017.

We may add funding for an additional specialized genre.

Our current anonymous assessment model could go for the sake of equity and diversity. How can we ensure equity and diversity without knowing the identities of the applicants?

For the work in progress grant, there is an emerging writer category. We ask for one published work (novel or collection) or three publications of short fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

We may be adding self-published works to the eligibility requirements.

There is also the writers’ reserve. This is not assessed by a jury, but by the participating publishers. It runs from September 1 to January 31 of the next year. Please see the OAC website for our list of participating publishers. It’s wide open genre-wise.

Approximately 10% of applicants receive funding. The available funding is divided among the publishers.

We hope to have an online application coming soon, but technological change is slow to come.

Juries for the WIP grants are selected after the applications are received to avoid conflict of interest. There are six considerations for equity: persons of colour, indigenous writers, disabled writers, francophone writers, and regional writers (in the case of the northern WIP grant).

Keep your application professional in tone. Don’t be pretentious. The synopsis is optional.

Also keep your eye out for the Chalmers Art Fellowships. They’re offered one time a year (currently TBA) and are interdisciplinary grants intended for research and development. For artists with up to 10 years of practice, the funding amount is between $10,000 and $25,000. For artists with over 10 years of practice, the funding range is between $10,000 and $50,000.

And that was the last session I’ll be reporting on from the Canadian Writers’ Summit. The rest of the presentations I attended didn’t lend themselves to reportage and the rest of the events were key note speeches or awards ceremonies.

As I implied last week, I’m going to take some time to vary my programming before I dive into WorldCon sessions. Next week, I’ll get into the current reno Phil has undertaken and something else of a more personal nature. The following week, I’ll probably finish my review of mid-season TV and offer my thoughts on a few more movies I’ve seen in the past year or so.

And then it’s time for another next chapter update. Gosh, time really does fly, doesn’t it?

Be well!

Ad Astra 2015 day 2: Paying your grocery bill: Grants and writing grant applications

Panellists: Amanda Sun, Karina Sumner-Smith, Sandra Kasturi, Chadwick Ginther, Bob Boyczuk

SK: I apply for Toronto Arts Council (TAC), Ontario Arts Council (OAC), and Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) grants for ChiZine and as a writer. OAC runs the Writers’ Reserve. There’s also the Works in Progress (WIP) grant. There are three deadlines a year. If you’re successful, you can’t reapply for two years.

KSS: The first time I applied for a grant, I did everything wrong. Reframe your application in literary or academic terms. I went from applying for a WIP grant so I could write my science fiction novel, to applying for funding to support the creation of post-apocalyptic literature.

SK: The jury changes every round. Keep applying, even with the same application. If you’re turned down in one round, you may be successful the next depending on who’s on the jury.

CG: CCA is the most open to experimental projects, I find. The OAC is the most conservative.

SK: The Writer’s Reserve runs from September to January every year. You send your manuscript to select publishers and one form to the OAC. Publishers get a set amount. ChiZine gets $13,000. That means we can publish about nine books.

KSS: The Writer’s Reserve has funds set aside for residents of Ontario outside of the GTA.

SK: The Speculative Literature Foundation offers two grants per year.

A: Actually they’re up to four now. Check them out.

BB: For the TAC, they ask for five copies of the manuscript and your name is not supposed to be on them anywhere. The judges actually sneak a peek.

SK: Guidelines may be hazy.

Q: What can you tell us about reporting?

SK: It varies between grants and organizations.

CG: There are also literary awards. The CCA runs the Governor General’s Awards. Generally you have to have a publisher to put your book forward for awards.

AS: Register for Access Copyright and the Public Lending Right programs as well.

Mel’s notes: Municipal arts councils will vary in the amount of support they can offer. TAC has money because it’s a big city (may go without saying, but . . . ). The Sudbury Arts Council has to be more selective in the projects it supports and has more limited funding. Provincial arts councils also vary widely. I’ve heard great things about the Edmonton Arts Council and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Other arts organizations, like the Canadian Authors Association, offer literary awards. Check out the individual sites for further details. Finally, the CCA is currently restructuring its funding programs. Check them out.

Next week: Self-publishing 🙂

CanWrite! 2013: Day 1 Publishing Panel

For the most part, for the panels and sessions, I’m just going to be transcribing my notes, as written.  I’ll attempt to offer some context, however.

After the morning writing circle and some networking time at lunch, it was onto the Publishing Panel.  On the panel were Halli Villegas, publisher of Tightrope Books, Christie Harkin, children’s book publisher and editor at Fitzhenry & Whiteside, and Anita Chong, senior editor at McClelland & Stewart.

In later panels, I noted the speakers, but for this first one, I didn’t have the presence of mind to think of it.  My apologies to the publishers.

The panel was called Changes in the Publishing Landscape.

  • Larger publishers are finding that their biggest book-buyers are going to non-traditional (not brick and mortar bookstores) sellers to get their books (Costco, Walmart). Books are now competing with groceries (!)
  • Smaller presses are going back to events, launches, readings, etc.
  • Fewer stand-alone poetry books being published.
  • LGBT is gaining in popularity.  More mindful of the community they write for and have to market to.
  • Everyone feels like they have to dance to Amazon’s tune, though that may not be accurate.
  • Chapters/Indigo has a very short return policy now.  Books are being returned before they have a chance to get any traction.
  • Inventory control is important to the big booksellers.
  • Chapters/Indigo may buy 5000 copies of a book for all their chains.  Most come back (about 2/3).
  • Some publishers have to increase a print run, or go into a second printing to meet these orders.  This puts them further behind the eight ball.  They’ve suffered a loss before they’ve even got their books in stores.
  • All the indies order books too, increasing the pressure for a large print run.  Smaller publishers are suffering.
  • There is increasing specialization in publishing.  No more generalists.
  • What authors need to know most: DO YOUR RESEARCH!  All the information you need is on the websites of the publishers.
  • Go to the bookstore. Who’s publishing books like yours?  Look at the acknowledgements of these books: agents and editors are often among those thanked.
  • Don’t follow the trends. Erotic zombies?  (LOL)  Stick to your guns.  It’s not either/or but how far are you willing to go and how much are you willing to do?
  • Children’s books are not marketed to children, but to those who buy books for their children: parents, teachers, etc.
  • Print on demand (POD) doesn’t work in most cases.  There are restrictions.  Minimum print runs may still be required to break even.  POD kiosks offer poor quality product.  POD is not viable even at larger publishers.
  • Still on POD.  Short run = 250.  Medium run = 250-1000.  Watch how POD affects your contracts.  It has an impact on what’s considered to be in print.  If your rights don’t revert to you until after the book is out of print and POD technically means that the book never truly goes out of print, you may not get your rights back (!)
  • Electronic publishing is better, regardless of the venue chosen.
  • Publishers generally give 50% of their profits to distributors, booksellers, etc.  Publishing is not as lucrative as you think.  Ebooks lose only 30% (or less).
  • Publishers are looking for new talent all the time.
  • Unsolicited submissions can result in publication, but rarely.  Same with the slush pile.  DO. YOUR. RESEARCH.
  • Writers Reserve from the Ontario Arts Council.  $$ for writers.  Publishers apply for it and use the $$ to pay their authors.
  • Ask agents and publishers what they are looking for.  Write to order (if you can).

It was great to see three fabulous and articulate women take the stage.

Tomorrow: Publicity and marketing sessions: Good, bad, and downright ugly.

CanWrite! The Canadian Authors Association 2011 Conference

May 2-6, 2011.

Yes, I finally did it.  I managed to do something entirely nourishing to my writer’s soul.

I’d determined that I wanted to go to at least one conference week-long workshop last year and when the announcement went out in November 2010, I signed up right away.  Barbara Kyle, one of the workshop presenters, was also offering 20-page critiques for a nominal fee.  Again, I was in.

My next challenge was how to pay for the venture.  I applied for a Northern Arts Grant for professional development from the Ontario Arts Council, but was not accepted.  So, credit it was.  As far as conferences go, the CAA conference wasn’t expensive.  Even with my day job, I don’t make enough money to drop a thou and not feel it.  Still, it was time and long past that I made a substantial investment in my creative self.

Throughout February, March, and April the CAA conference organizers held little writing contests to get participants in the creative frame of mind.  I submitted to two of the three and though I didn’t even manage an honourable mention, they were interesting exercises and did serve to build a lovely feeling of anticipation.

I made my leave request at work as soon as I could, but operational requirements made it seems unlikely that it would be approved.  As the date of the conference approached, I began to worry that I’d have to withdraw.

Then my father passed away, April 9, 2011 and thoughts of the conference vanished.  For the week previous, Mom, a family friend, and I took turns watching vigil.  Dad had originally gone into the hospital March 18, 2010, and though he never recovered sufficiently to come home, his final illness and his ensuing struggle were completely unexpected.  Needless to say, Mom and I were devastated.

To paraphrase Forrest Gump: that’s all I have to say about that.

In the dizzying days following, my leave was miraculously approved.  Now the conference had a second purpose: I needed to get away and do something that did not involve Dad, his funeral arrangements, or my mom’s uncertain financial situation, all of which were consuming my life in large, ragged mouthfuls.

The drive to Grand Bend from Sudbury, though long, was relaxing.  There’s some beautiful country in Bruce and Gray counties, and now, there are lovely windmills and solar panels dotting the landscape.  I don’t understand the public resistance to wind and solar.  They’re some of the cleanest, greenest sources of energy around, and I didn’t find them ugly at all.  I rather thought them graceful, alien guardians, standing sentinel over the people and the land.  In any case, I arrived at the Pinedale Motor Inn in time for the evening meet and greet, and welcome barbeque.

I discovered that that year’s conference was a departure from previous years.  It was set up as a writers’ retreat with workshops and events, but with the afternoons off to enjoy the town and to write.  No maddened dash to attend competing workshops, this.  Never having attended any conference before, I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but it seemed like exactly what I needed.

I won a bottle of wine in a raffle.  We were off to a good start

The first workshop presenter was Sandy Plewis.  Her session was highly interactive with lots of writing exercises, but she depended heavily on secondary sources in her lectures.  She seemed pleasantly surprised at the willingness of the conference attendees to dig deep and write.  There was not a still pen in the house when it came time to complete an exercise.

Then came time for my critique with Barbara Kyle.

Globally, she was complementary.  My characters were interesting, their conflicts dynamic and immediate, but then, as the critique commenced, the shortcomings emerged: the pacing was too fast, my scenes lacked a sense of place, and I didn’t go deep enough into my characters’ hearts and minds.  And I was too subtle.  While I got a lot of good advice from Barbara, by the end of it, I was dizzy, hardly able to breathe.  I think it was a panic attack.  I wasn’t able to think about things clearly until much later in the day.

Barbara’s workshops, one based on The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, and the other on her own experiences as a first draft survivor, were illuminating.  Though not heavy on the writing, they were professional, and informative.  I had a revelation.

I’d read Vogler’s book, and its inspiration, Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey.  The guardian at the gates has been a repeated part of my development as a writer, and my past experiences with those guardians informed my inner critic, the biggest, baddest guardian of them all.  That’s what happened in the critique session.  Though intellectually, I knew that Barbara was giving me exactly what I needed to head into the next revision of my novel, to make it stronger, and better, emotionally, every negative that emerged seemed a confirmation of my worthlessness.

So … I confessed.  Spastically and awkwardly–which is the only way I can confess the deeply embarrassing–I told everyone about my struggle.

That afternoon, Lightning Strikes, a series of mini-workshops, took place, and in the evening, at the Mock Awards Ceremony, I received the “Best Attempt to Make Us Cry” award.

Even the annual general meeting was interesting.  As a professional member, I had a vote.

Overall, the CAA conference was a very rewarding experience, and one I hope to repeat.

Conferences can be fertile experiences.  Have you made a breakthrough at one?  New friends?  Networked connections?