Exposing my essentials with the DIYMFA Launch Team

How’s that for a provocative title? As Geroge Takei would say, oh, myyyyyy!

So here was week 12’s prompt:

QOTW 12: What Are Your Essentials?

You don’t need to own every book in the world, but there are some essentials that every writer should have on his or her shelf. Today, I want to know: What are your essentials? What are your go-to “read like a writer” resources?

content_QOTW-12

Okay, and here I defect to another of my writerly mentors, K.M. Weiland. Kate wrote this post back in 2014: the ten commandments of reading like a writer. I’d start there. But then, I’d grab a paperback of Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics. You won’t really be able to get the most out of it with the ebook version.

Kate, in analysing and annotating Jane Eyre for WD, shows you how to read like a writer. And, she gives you worksheets and questions, and—well, let’s just say I learned a lot from this book 🙂 I reviewed it, too.

Another a-MA-zing (and yes, you heard the angels singing on that capitalized MA) resource is her Story Structure Database. In each entry, a different novel or movie is analyzed in terms of story structure. Most entries Kate writes herself, but some are submitted by readers. Treasure trove.

And that, my friends, is all you’ll ever need to help you dissect a story with your big, squishy, writer brain.

Essential writing craft books:

Anything by Donald Maass

Anything by Natalie Goldberg

Anything by Ursula K. Le Guin (she’s written a lot about writing—LURVE!)

All the Nail Your Novel books by Roz Morris

Outlining your Novel and Structuring your Novel, plus both workbooks by K.M. Weiland

Page After Page and Chapter After Chapter by Heather Sellers

Take Joy by Jane Yolen

On Writing by Stephen King

The Right to Write by Julia Cameron

Self-editing for Writers by Browne and King

The Artful Edit by Susan Bell

Sometimes the Magic Works by Terry Brooks

Adventures in the Screen Trade and What Lie did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman

Story by Robert McKee

I think I’d better stop there. I have to confess to being a writing craft book junkie. It’s half of my informal learning on the subject 🙂

As far as novels and stories that I read . . . egads, I have five shelves full in my office alone. You don’t want to know how many Rubbermaid tubs I have in my basement (cause I don’t have room for them anywhere else). And don’t get me started with ebooks.

In short, I read everything. Most of my reading will be in my chosen genre, but even so, I try to alternate YA and adult fantasy, and different sub-genres of fantasy. I read classics, historical fiction, the occasional mystery and even romance novels. I read literary novels, science fiction, and the occasional horror, though I can’t confess to loving that last. I read thrillers, though I don’t enjoy them as much as some of the other genres I read. I’ll read short stories, but again, they don’t tend to be my favourites, at least so far.

I try to learn something from everything I read.

I also do the nutty and read multiple books at once. I’ll even listen to them on Audible while I walk, or work at something non-noisy, like stripping and refinishing stuff. I usually have to pause for the sanding bits, though 😀

I can’t even list my favourite authors anymore without filling a page.

And since I read so much, I have to be selective about the books I review, because I’d really rather be working on my WIPs. You know, day job and all.

So that’s Mellie’s wild world of reading.

See y’all tomorrow! Have a lovely, warm summer night!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 12-18, 2016

Your writerly goodness for the week.

Most common writing mistakes, part 51: one-dimensional characters. K.M. Weiland. Helping writers become authors. Kate returns with these eight tips for editing other writers’ work while remaining friends. And . . . for the hat trick: grab readers with a multi-faceted characteristic moment.

Writing “linked novels,” a series of standalones sans spoilers. Katy Rose Guest Pryal on Writer Unboxed.

Cassandra Khaw is vexed about voice. Terribleminds.

Kristen Lamb explores using time as a literary device.

Angela Ackerman guest posts on Writers in the Storm: how to deliver critical backstory using setting.

This is where I was last weekend: Mark Medley reports on the Canadian Writers’ Summit. The Globe and Mail.

I’m also a professional member of the CAA, so here are a couple of CWS bits of news relating to the CAA literary awards (which were presented there):

Alexis Daria covers the do’s and don’ts of querying your novel. DIYMFA.

Janet Reid warns against shopping an offer. And over on Query Shark, she posted no, no, and no.

Kameron Hurley engages in some real publishing talk: author expectation and entitlement.

Choosing the best categories for your book sales on Amazon. BookBaby.

Ceridwen Dovey wonders if reading can make you happier. The New Yorker.

Misc Magazine: The future according to women.

The Heroine Bookstore interviews A.M. Dellamonica.

John Glover writes about the life and afterlife of horror fiction on Postscripts to Darkness.

J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech.

 

Now it’s time to get writing 🙂

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 22-28, 2016

Another wonderful week of writerly goodness!

Roz Morris helps writers avoid this plotting pitfall when writing drafts at speed. Nail Your Novel.

Everyone’s getting into video. Should you? Jane Friedman on Writer Unboxed.

Barbara O’Neal makes the case for journaling. Writer Unboxed.

Dan Blank advises you to invest in yourself. Writer Unboxed.

John Vorhaus tells us how to write like the Buddha. You guessed it. Another great post from Writer Unboxed.

Lawrence MacNaughton guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. Five questions you need to ask if your story is stuck. Later in the week, Janice is back with how to keep your characters compelling beyond the first draft.

Angela Ackerman explains how to deepen your protagonist by challenging her moral beliefs. Writers helping writers.

Sara Letourneau offers part six of the developing themes in your stories series: the inciting incident. DIYMFA. Later in the week Amy Bearce shares five marketing tips for introverts.

K.M. Weiland also wrote about theme this week: how to create a complex moral argument for your story’s theme. Helping writers become authors.

Chris Winkle shares seven great sources of conflict for romances. Mythcreants.

Steven Pressfield offers his advice on drafting: cover the canvas.

Nina Munteanu shares part two of her writer-editor relationship series: five things writers wished editors knew—and followed.

Marcy Kennedy guest posts on Christine Frazier’s Better Novel Project: five times Katniss nailed deep point of view.

Kameron Hurley confesses that she’s thought about quitting . . . but, don’t quit.

Over on Tor.com, she shares an excerpt from the recently released Geek Feminist Revolution. It’s awesome. You should read the post. And then you should buy the book 🙂

All of us toilers need reminders like this: Rick Riordan on his ‘overnight’ success. It’s from 2007, to give context.

Emma Straub was born to be an author. Alexandra Alter for The New York Times.

Kim Vandels shares the secret to writing great science fiction. The spinning pen.

Airship Ambassador interviews Kate Heartfield about her story “The Seven O’Clock Man” in the Clockwork Canada anthology.

BookBaby offers some tips on how to promote your science fiction on social media.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is an Indigogo success story. The Guardian.

Mental Floss explains why reading makes you a better person with an infographic 🙂

Leila Fadel reports on the delicate task of restoring one of the world’s oldest libraries. NPR.

Louisa Young grew up in J.M. Barrie’s house: we longed for Peter Pan to come for us. The Guardian.

Judith Shulevitz reveals the Bröntes’ secret for The Atlantic.

The teaser trailer for Disney’s live action version of Beauty and the Beast. I’m looking forward to seeing what Emma Watson does with Belle 🙂

 

Here’s the Ghostbusters UK trailer.

 

The Little Prince is coming to Netflix August 8 🙂

 

Laura Prudom explains how Outlander created its most powerful and devastating episode yet. Variety.

And that was Tipsday.

See you Thursday. *waves*

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 13-19, 2016

A little craft, a little business, and a lot of writerly randomness 🙂

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to trim your novel’s word count (part 1). Helping writers become authors. Later in the week, she helps us learn how to write deep and rich story conflict.

C.S. Lakin explains how novelists can benefit from using cinematic scene structure. Live, write, thrive.

Carly Watters interviews Susan Spann for her things I wish I knew series: navigating publishing contracts.

Mike Shatzkin posits that as the industry changes, publishing houses must make changes, too.

Selena Kitt exposes Kindle Unlimited scammers.

How to write an award winning, bestselling novel. Nathan Filer’s TED Talk:

 

Neil Gaiman discusses how stories last. BrainPickings.

Yann Martel invites us into his writer’s room. The New York Times Style Magazine.

Books about white, middle-class men send our students the wrong message. Olivia Eaton for The Guardian.

Bustle presents six reasons reading is amazing for your health.

This is just darling: The Chronicle Books Blog shares images of dogs mesmerized by the magic of reading.

Mental Floss lists 40 highfalutin H-words to heighten your vocabulary.

On the other end of the scale . . . cunty, cuntish, cunted, and cunting are added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Jezebel.

Things men say when a woman author confesses her profession. Lenny.

Oooh! Ima see this! Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

 

And that’s Tipsday for this week! Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty!

Tipsday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Jan 17-23, 2016

Oh noes! I’ve rediscovered YouTube and the videos have invaded . . .

Canada is named the second best country in the world. How Canadian 🙂 We’re excited about coming in second. Global News.

Some of our new Syrian friends enjoying tobogganing for the first time:

 

Peter Denton wonders, where have all the readers gone? The Globe and Mail.

Dear parents: Everything you want to know about your son or daughter’s university, but don’t. Michael Enright interviews Ron Srigley for The Sunday Edition on CBC.

Education is performance art. Penn & Teller share their thoughts in The Atlantic.

When Trent Hamm thinks of the times he’s been the happiest, he notices two common threads. The Business Insider.

The powerful benefit of exercise that’s rarely discussed. Guess I’d better get my ass in gear. Quartz.

Dinah Laprarie of NISA champions mental health in Sudbury. CBC.

Cyndi Roberts of The Elephant Journal shares seven steps to easing anxiety without a pill.

Anna Lovind finds her own way to divine guidance 😉

So now a new study says smoking pot doesn’t lower adolescent IQs. IFLS.

Watching a water bubble freeze (in Finland):

 

Space-X attempted another booster landing last Sunday. And then this happened. Phil Plait, Bad Astronomer, for Slate.

That weird star with the Jupiter-sized planet and the suspected . . . something else orbiting it? Well the more they learn about it the stranger things get. Slate.

A constellation has been named for David Bowie (though it’s not officially recognized yet). IFLS.

Check out this planetary alignment through February 20. IFLS.

Phil Plait features this alignment on his Bad Astronomy column too. Slate.

xkcd charts possible undiscovered planets.

Rick Mercer’s rant on anonymous comments:

 

Gypsy Vanner horses:

 

Ms Mr performs “Reckless.”

 

And that was your week’s edutainment.

Hope you enjoyed it.

See you on Saturday for more CanCon 2015 reportage.

Thoughty Thursday

Sundog Snippets: Renny DeGroot launches Family Business in Sudbury

Renny reading

Renny reading from Family Business

After the Tweet chat and HVC, I shot downtown to catch what I could of Renny’s book launch for her novel Family Business at the Fromagerie Elgin.

I managed to be in time for her reading and to purchase a book and get it signed.

Renny signing a book for a fan

Renny signing a book for a fan

The afternoon also included performances by one of the tenors Renny manages, and a classically trained pianist.

Music feeds the writerly soul.

Artisan cheeses, fruit, and baguettes were provided.

Though smaller than her Toronto launch, the afternoon met Renny’s expectations and generated additional publicity for her novel.

You should really check it out.

 

 

 

 

Here’s what Amazon says:

Family Business

Family Business

Set in the Netherlands against the backdrop of the Great Depression and through World War II, Family Business follows the story of Agatha Meijer and her sons, André and Johan, as they build their textile business, a business Agatha is determined her sons will carry on, regardless of their own desires. Family tension comes to a head when the boys each take a stand, sending all their lives spinning in directions none of them would have ever anticipated, and making each of them question the true meaning of loyalty, love, and freedom.

 

Saturday night keynote: Jim C. Hines

I’d encountered Jim C. Hines before, on the pages of John Scalzi’s and Chuck Wendig’s blogs.  I was curious about his penchant for cross dressing and why he would write a book about a libromancer.

So, of course, I was eager to find out more about the man.  His Saturday night keynote did not disappoint.  Several people I spoke to reported tearing up not once, but several times during the address.

Did I?  I’ll never tell 😉

As I mentioned, I do not have an eidetic memory.  I couldn’t give you the blow by blow of the speech and truth be told, I was listening to and enjoying it rather than taking notes.  Mea culpa.

Fortunately, I don’t have to. Jim has posted the text and links to a three-part recording of the keynote on his blog: http://www.jimchines.com/2013/10/my-keynote-from-siwc2013/

The essence of Jim’s keynote was that stories matterOur stories matter.  There is a reason we are called to this crazy life of writing.

One anecdote was about a teacher who had a young man in one of her classes.  He refused to read.

She wrote to Jim that she put a copy of his book Goblin Quest on her desk and left it there

Goblin Quest

Goblin Quest

in plain sight.  The student asked about it one day and the teacher said that he probably wouldn’t like it.  The student picked it up and not only read that one, but asked for and read the rest of the books in the series.

The experience of reading Jim’s books changed this young man’s life.  Not bad for a series which features a protagonist with a nose-picking injury 🙂

Jim also wrote a short story for an anthology of humorous fantasy.  Oddly enough, he chose the topic of cancer, but after reading the story, an audience member approached Jim and told him that her father was dying of the same cancer.

She asked for a copy of the story, took it to her father, and the two of them laughed until they cried.  It was cathartic and comforting.

Our stories matter.

Take heart and keep writing.  Your stories matter too.

SiWC idol 2013

The idea behind this session (the sixth annual, I believe) is for Jack Whyte to read the first page of anonymously submitted stories in his mellifluous accent and sonorous voice.  A panel of four agents: Michelle Johnson, Patricia Ocampo, Nephele Tempest, and Bree Ogden listen until they hear a reason to stop.  At that point, the agent raises her hand.  If two or more agents raise their hands, the reading stops, and the agents explain why.

I am not possessed of an eidetic memory and so I must beg off repeating verbatim the content of the stories or their critiques except to say that the first two were brilliant and made it through the full reading.  On several occasions, including the first two, agents asked for partials on the basis of the reading alone.

What I will do is to share what the agents liked and disliked.  I made fairly detailed notes on that.

The Good

  • A distinctive voice
  • Scene-setting
  • Originality
  • Sensory detail
  • Pacing that accomplishes several things in alternation: dialogue, action, and description used to world-build, offer snippets of back-story, create atmosphere.
  • Raise questions
  • Make the reader want to know what happens next.

The Bad

  • Too much description
  • Not enough action
  • Inauthentic/unrealistic situations, characters, etc.
  • Someone waking up – kiss of death
  • Not identifying the narrator/POV character
  • Too much effort
  • Beautiful writing with nothing behind it
  • Tell us what’s happening – don’t be coy.

The Ugly

Did I submit my first page? Why yes, I did.

Did my first page make it through the reading? Indeed, but one of the agents raised her hand.

The verdict: overwritten.

Truth be told, I felt ill.  Not the end of the world, though.  As we shall soon see.

Next up: The Bestseller Banter panel.

Writing to prompt: Amanda Socci called me a Brainiac!

So, first things first:

Amanda is participating, with Nina Amir, in the NaNoWriMo alternative, Write Non-Fiction in November, or WNFIN 🙂

Here’s the lovely pic:

Write Non-Fiction in November

Write Non-Fiction in November

As part of the lead up and promotion, Amanda has gone plum prompt crazy!  She’s even giving us prompt-interviews!  I think it’s a fabulous idea (that’s why she’s the Creative Idea Gal).  For those of you who may not have perused my pages, it’ll give us a chance to get better acquainted. Plus some of the answers won’t be found on my pages, so bonus info!

Here’s what Amanda posted on Wednesday.

Here are my answers 🙂

(1) Does the title of your blog, Writerly Goodness, have a special significance?

Writerly Goodness is my creative alter ego.  In my day job, I work in the corporate learning and development world, which is related to, but distinct from, the creative work I do in the evenings and on weekends.  I need to compartmentalize and separate my two working worlds and so, like a pseudo-super hero, I “change costumes” and transform into Writerly Goodness, which is also what I hope to produce 😉  I address this in a post: Do you dress for success?

I’m also an introvert.  Big time.  It’s another part of my daily transformation.  I have to put on the extrovert for my work, especially when I deliver training, and just need to hole up when I get home.  Fortunately, the interwebz give me the virtual distance to engage all my online friends and family without distress.  I haven’t written a lot about introversion yet, but I’ve just finished Susan Cain’s Quiet, and will begin to share some of the insights I’ve gained in the reading.

I joke in my welcome message that I might have a multiple personality disorder, which is more appropriately called a dissociative identity disorder, but while that is not true, I am host to other mental illnesses, most notably depression.  I actually talk about mental illness quite a bit, what experiences have contributed to my condition, how mental illness intersects with creativity, and what I’ve learned in the process of managing my depression.

Finally, Writerly Goodness has a decidedly canine aspect to her: loyal, patient, dedicated.  I can tell her to “fetch, girl!” and she will inevitably return with the words I need 🙂  So maybe WG is the embodiment of my muse?  Oooh!  Hadn’t thought of that before.  Thanks, Amanda!

(2) You write frequently about Caturday Quickies. What does that mean? What is Caturday?

Caturday emerged from a web site called I can has cheezburger?  It’s one of the original sites where LOLcats can be found (cute pictures and animated gifs of cats, or kittehs, as they’re called, with humorous captions).  The site’s mascot is a gorgeous Russian Blue with a hopeful look on his (or her) fuzzy face and with the caption that eventually became the name of the site.

Instead of Saturday, the day became Caturday.

I used to visit “I can has” every day for my feline fix, and eventually their sister-site, I has a hotdog (which gave rise to Sundog instead of Sunday in the same way) for my puppeh pick-me-up.  Eventually, I couldn’t keep up with the number of new posts in a day and realized it was more of an addiction than an entertainment.  Now, I see enough of the shared memes on social media to keep me happy.

I’m an animal lover and I used to own serve two cats. Right now, I have my dog, Nuala, but more on her in a bit.

(3) Are you inspired by your training coordinator job? Do you write about your job?

My day job intersects interestingly with my creative work.  As a writer, I always think stories should educate as well as entertain, and the things that I learn as a trainer contribute to my stories.

Also, my writing translates into instructional design.  I’m a fan of story-based instructional design (surprise, surprise) and I’ve been able to help write a course that won me and my team a Silver Award of Excellence in 2012.

More recently, my grammar Nazi nature has been able to come out and play as I’ve taught five sessions of Business Writing Made Easy to participants in two different business lines.  The second last one was a training-for-trainers version of the course, where I was introducing colleagues to the training material so they, in turn, could deliver it to other staff members.

As a training coordinator, I’m constantly writing reports, training plans, proposals, and briefing notes.  It’s completely different work than writing a story, poetry, or a novel, and my background in rhetoric (BA, Laurentian University 1995, cum laude) has come into play.

I have a category devoted to my learning and development (L&D) side: the Learning Mutt.  As you’ve been so kind as to ask me about that, I’ll write to that point more directly later on.

(4) Why do you call yourself a writing geek? Why do you call yourself a keener?

I’m a writing geek for many reasons, only a few of which I’ll mention here (don’t want to bore y’all).

I love words.  In my university years, I took several courses on the history of the language, old English, middle English, Shakespeare, and 18th Century literature (the days of the first dictionaries).  I love etymology.  I love the evolution of the language—English is such a mutt language, we’ve stolen from or been contributed to by nearly every language at one time or another.

I love the physicality of language, where the sounds are produced.  It’s different for each stage/evolution of English: back in the throat, up in the nose, forward in the mouth, up front through the teeth.

I love accents and dialects.  I love pidgin languages.

You can smell the smoke when I start thinking about words 🙂

I adore the writing process, mine and others.  Nothing makes me more #furiouslyhappy than to read the posts of other writers who share their workspaces, work habits, revision strategies, etc.  I’ve been glued to Elissa Field’s blog while she’s been writing about her revisions.  Endlessly fascinating.

I also love learning about writing.  I’m constantly doing it, even though I have an MA in English literature and creative writing.  I read craft books (and everything else I can get my hands on—I’m a book addict) and I read like a writer, looking for clues, analyzing structure, teasing out the reasoning behind creative choices.

I’ve got a subscription to Writer’s Digest Tutorials and have recently started taking courses, from Dan Blank’s Platform Building course, to a selection of Wana International webinars.

I follow Grammar Girl.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

(5) How does being an experiential learner affect your writing?

This is going to be a short one: I learn by doing.

I write, therefore I am.

The only way to improve is to write, and to write every day.

(6) You mentioned that learning and writing go hand in hand. Can you describe how you tie both into one on your blog?

I think I addressed this in my answer to question 3, above, but here’s a little more about it:

When I was back in university, I was amazed at how everything I was learning, from astronomy and biology, through philosophy and psychology, to English, music, and art, intersected in bizarre and wonderful ways.

I find this to be true with my work, as well.

Besides, if I’m going to spend most of my waking hours doing something that is not writing, it better feed my muse in some way.  I just stay open to the possibilities.  Mental popcorn.  Wheee!

(7) You list several cultural references on your blog (Ukrainian Christmas, Algonkian conference, etc.). What inspires you to write about those cultures?

I think the reference to Ukranian Christmas was probably about a friend of mine, who celebrates it, or in my discussion about how I developed my religions/spirituality for my fantasy novel.

The Algonkian Conference is actually a pitch conference that has nothing to do with the Algonquin people.  Though I may have referred to the Ojibwe and Cree nations in my discussion of how I invented some of my languages for my work in progress.

In general, I’m very open to religion and spirituality.  I was raised Christian (Lutheran, specifically) but now identify as agnostic with pagan leanings.  I don’t blog about it too much, though, because I think that both religion and spirituality are very personal things, and while I admire the devout of faith, I don’t think that anyone has the right to tell anyone else what to believe.  That is between the individual and the God of their understanding.

I think I’ll shut up now, before I offend anyone :0

(8) What is the learning mutt side of your brain? How does that impact your learning or writing?

The learning mutt is my day job personality, but it’s more than that.  It’s the part of me that watches the Discovery Channel, follows Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, and was enthralled by Commander Hadfield’s social media campaign from space.  It’s the part of me that reads.  It’s the part of me that takes courses and webinars.  It’s the part of me that wants more, more, MOAR knowledge, regardless of what it might be.

I’m a pop culture junkie, a trivia queen (maybe princess), and creative connections pop out at me from everywhere (mental popcorn mention above).

I don’t have an eidetic memory, or speed-read, or anything, but my brain just wants to fill itself with everything out there, so it is very much like a mutt: a little bit of everything goes into it.

I hope most of it stays there too, another reason I try to keep learning 😉

(9) Does your pup-child Nuala inspire your work? Have you considered writing a non-fiction book about dogs?

All of my dependant quadrupeds, feline or canine, have held special places in my heart.  My husband and I are childless-by-choice, and in a way our pets fill the place of children in our lives.

I also believe that dogs, in particular, are here to teach us how to love unconditionally.

I haven’t thought about writing a non-fiction book about dogs yet.  I don’t think I have enough experiences to fill up a book right now.

I do have an idea for a middle grade book that features a dog as its protagonist, though.  It’s kind of like a Desmond the Dog Detective meets Watership Down, with maybe just a dash of Animal Farm.

Yup, that’s the kind of thing I think up 😛

(10) Your curriculum vitae is impressive! It is also a non-traditional addition to a blog. Has posting your c.v. helped you get noticed, get writing work, be featured on other blogs?

Thank you, but actually, it hasn’t resulted in any of that good stuff.  Nobody’s even “liked” it yet.

When I started my blog, I didn’t have any books that I could promote, so I thought the CV would speak for my experience as a writer.  It was key to my application for professional membership to the Canadian Authors Association.  Maybe when I start querying, agents will start looking me up?  One can only hope 😀

I’ve since added a page to feature the two anthologies including my poetry of which the publisher still has copies to sell, but that hasn’t really resulted in much action either.  At least the publisher hasn’t let me know that he’s run out of copies, or that my page has, in any way, influenced the poetry-reading public 😉

This must be tempered with the fact that a poetry best-seller in Canada means 500 copies sold.  NeoVerse accomplished that goal, if nothing else.

Thanks for giving me this opportunity, Amanda!  This was fun!

What do the rest of you think?  Did you enjoy finding out more about me, or did it leave you cold?  Regardless, I’d love to hear from you.

And please do visit/participate in WNFIN if you are so moved.  That’s Write Non-Fiction in November with Amanda Socci and Nina Amir, just in case you forgot 😉  It’s been a while (long post, whew!).

Tomorrow: Review of Dead Air, and sommat about my trip last weekend.

Wordstock Sudbury

Today, I was pleased and privileged to be a part of Wordstock Sudbury, the first of what is hoped to be a biannual literary event.  At the Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC), Wordstock took over the main stage, lounge, and lobby areas for readings, workshops, and the essential selling of books.

If you would like to have a look at the full schedule, it is available on the site linked above.

I attended primarily to support my friend, poet Kim Fahner, and my fellow members of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild (SWG).  I also read the recently revamped opening of my novel.

Kim read with former Sudbury Poet Laureate Roger Nash, and Charlie Smith from Massey, all of them published by Your Scrivener Press (YSP).  The theme of their reading was Home and Away.  Though all three have very distinctive voices, the reading went well and had a seamless feel.  It’s always a pleasure to see such consummate professionals perform their works.

KimFahnerOf course, Kim was fabulous 🙂  She has a way of addressing the audience, slightly self-deprecating yet hilarious, that establishes a relationship.  We feel instantly at home with her, and completely comfortable as she shares pieces of her life in verse.

After a brief break, Sudbury Arts Council (SAC) president, Vicky Gilhula took the stage and presented the youth writing contest winners with their prizes.  One young man (forgive me, but I forget his name) came prepared to read and his story, based on his grandfather’s life in Sudbury and his career in the mining industry, was spectacular.  Amazing: a thirteen year old young man had the confidence and presence to bring us to tears.

He was that good.

Next, the SWG took over the auditorium, beginning with Rosanna Batigelli, who read a RosannaBatigellicouple of chapters from her historical novel, La Brigantessa.  The novel’s protagonist takes to a life of a brigand when she is assaulted and forced to leave her home by a tyrannical general.  Rosanna is in the process of revising her novel for publication.

EmilyDeangelisEmily Deangelis read from her middle grade/young adult novel about a young girl who loses her father in a car accident and subsequently experiences supernatural visitations when she is left with her great-aunt in Manitoulin Island’s Meldrum Bay.

Irene Golas read a selection of her poetry and flash fiction.IreneGolas

Tom Leduc read a number of his poems centering on his experience of Sudbury and its mining industry.

MargoLittleMargo Little from Manitoulin Island read some of her works published through projects of the Manitoulin Writers’ Circle including one on the War of 1812 and how the soldiers of the time became enamoured of their muskets, called Brown Betties.

Janice Leuschen, a member of both the SWG and of the JaniceLeuschenProfessional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) read one of her stories, and Heather Campbell, also a member of PWAC, finished off the session with a discussion of creative non-fiction.

I read just after Margo and just before Janice.  I don’t have any pictures and I’ll reach out to my fellow guildies to share any pictures they may have of me at the event.  It would be a lovely remembrance of the day.  Sincere thanks in advance 🙂

As I mentioned, I read the revised opening of Initiate of Stone; it was my first public presentation and I received some excellent feedback from Kim and Emily.  The technical director of the STC also found me in the lobby and complimented me on my reading.

I have often been told that I have a great voice.  It’s one of the things that helps me both as a corporate trainer and as a writer, a learned skill from my days as a poet, honed by years of practise.  I tend to a literary style, even though I write genre, and the voice creates an appropriately dreamy backdrop for my words.

After the SWG session was over, playwright Matthew Heiti took the stage to host a series of readings from plays in which one friend, Paulette Dahl, was reading from a play by another, mutual friend, Louise Visneskie.

The English Arts Society of Laurentian University also hosted a reading, Heather Campbell hosted a workshop on the creative process, and Roger Nash and Daniel Aubin, Sudbury’s current Poet Laureate read their poetry.

And all of that wasn’t counting the Friday night cabaret, the children’s and young adult programming on the patio, or any of the other workshops and events that I couldn’t attend.

Though attendance was modest, I think that it was a good start.  The hope of the organizers is to grow Wordstock into a full literary festival at a larger venue, or at several venues throughout the city.  I wish them the best and applaud them for this year’s event.

I had a blast 🙂