Thursday, November 7, 2019

Writing Prompts from November 3, 2019

Writing Prompts

1. Things I should have said, things I could have said, and things I would have said. We all have these stories in us - the stories of what was left unsaid. Write about one of them (and the regrets or impact it had on you).

2. By the time the officer arrived, Jacob had done his dirty work.

3. I thought I had a perfect (marriage, career, etc.) and then, Fate, as Fate so often does, threw a wrench into the works.

4. If I could just make it home before David opened the letter, our lives could continue as they were.

5. Finnigan, my father's long-dead gray cat, always appeared in the house just before someone in the family died. Who had it come for this time?

6. That night, she put the beautiful porcelain doll, the one she'd bought at the antique fair, in a chest of drawers in her sitting room, and went to bed. Some time in the night she got up when she heard a sound like a child crying, and found the doll lying on the floor outside her bedroom door.

7. She stared into the crumpled car at her own mangled body, when a woman in a pale blue suit appeared and said, "You must come with me now." She protested vigorously so the woman said, "We will let you live this day over again but you must discover the one moment in it that could have changed this outcome, not just for you but for many others as well."

8. Hannah dropped the hitchhiker off in front of the house where she said she lived. It was a cold rainy night, so Hannah watched her as she ran up the driveway toward the front door, to make sure the girl was home and safe. But the girl never made it to the door - she vanished into thin air.

9. The turbulence was the worst she'd ever experienced on a flight and she was glad when they touched down safely; but when she entered the airport from her gate, everything looked, not radically different, but subtly and disturbingly different. This couldn't be Toronto. A passing flight attendant assured her that it was.

10. If you could go back in your life and relive one day in your past, what day would that be?

Next Meeting
Sunday, November 17th

Headwaters Writers' Guild 2020 Meeting Schedule

Below is the schedule of meetings for 2020. Leaders are not listed here. That copy was emailed to group members.

2020 Meeting Schedule
All Meetings at the Orangeville Public Library, Start time 1:30pm

Sunday, January 5th
Sunday, January 19th
Sunday, February 9th
Sunday, February 23rd
Sunday, March 8th
Sunday, March 22nd
Sunday, April 5th
Sunday, April 19th
Sunday, May 3rd
Sunday, May 24th
Sunday, June 14th
Sunday, June 28th
Sunday, July 19th
Sunday, August 16th
Sunday, September 13th
Sunday, September 27th
Sunday, October 4th
Sunday, October 25th
Sunday, November 8th
Sunday, November 22nd
Sunday, November 29th – Christmas Social

Friday, November 1, 2019

My First Writing Conference by Diane Bator

This feels a bit like an essay I did once in school.  What I Did This Summer by Diane Bator. Remember those? Only this one is about something I did for the first time as a published writer. I attended a writer's conference. Yes, it's taken me eight novels to finally get to one!

I've read posts by friends who travel to conferences all over the place but was lucky that the Writers' Community of York Region sponsored one in Newmarket, Ontario this past weekend. This was the first event the WCYR had ever hosted and it was well attended by over 100 writers from all over Southern Ontario including Patricia and I.

We started the day in the atrium of the Newmarket Town Hall with coffee and muffins and received a great new folder to take notes in. After a few brief words from on of the coordinators, we broke into groups for our chosen morning sessions.

Our first session was with romance novelist Zoe York, author of more than 50 romance novels. She discussed Marketing for Genre Fiction. A lot of writers in the room were either looking to publish a novel or had published 1 or 2 novels. The one thing I found most interesting were the questions she gave us to think about no matter where we were at in our journeys.

  1. What genre do you want to be writing and what type of books do you want to write? ie. genre, heat level, setting, tone, etc.
  2. What are the next 5 books you want to write?
  3. Can you group thematically or do they exist in the same world? Explain that world in a common theme in a sentence or two. ie. small town romance with sexy cowboy.
  4. On a blank piece of paper, list all of your work to date, published or unpublished, finished or in draft/dream stage.
One of the other things they offered throughout the day were 20 minute Blue Pencil Meetings. The opportunity to sit with a fellow writer or editor (including our own Marilyn Kleiber) and ask them questions as well as getting feedback on their novel. I passed on the chance for this conference, but Patricia was very happy with the feedback she received.

Lunch was simple, soup and sandwiches along with some yummy chocolate chip cookies for dessert. While we ate, we were also able to purchase raffle tickets and enter them to win several beautiful baskets donated by sponsors, including the writing group I belong to. Draws were made at the end of the day. I didn't win any, but Patricia did!

After lunch we were treated to a keynote speech from Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans and two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. He is a huge fan of being a Plotter when he writes his books. In fact, he plans them in great detail before he writes something I don't think I could ever do! I'm part plotter, part pantser. One thing he said that surprised many people in attendance was that he still works full time. After writing seven novels and receiving many awards, he still must hold a 9-to-5 job.

I was a bit concerned about the afternoon session. The handouts we'd received the week before suggested a very academic-style of session. Luckily, Kate Freiman, author of romantic fiction, was entertaining and the whole afternoon was more interesting than I expected. She discussed blending genres and story structure. Hard to believe I was the only self-professed mystery writer in the room.

Back in the main banquet room afterward, winning tickets were drawn for the gift baskets then my friend and I left. On the way out the door, we received a swag bag with some bookmarks and the like as well as three books. These were mine!
  1. Lac Athabasca (a play) by Len Falkenstein
  2. Doc Christmas by Neil Enock
  3. Mad Men and Philosphy, which is an anthology.
Yay! More new-to-me authors!
I have one year until the next (fingers crossed!) York Writers Conference. I may do some searching and find a couple more I can fit into my schedule. 

In the meantime, I won't quit my day job, but I won't stop dreaming and writing either!

Looking for more New-to-You authors or familiar authors? Visit my blog every Sunday for Escape with a Writer Sunday at

Feel free to check out my books at

author of Wild Blue Mysteries, Gilda Wright Mysteries, and Glitter Bay Mysteries.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Meetings October 5th and October 20th

October 5, 2019

Virginia informed us that the anthology is too short. Some people only gave one submission. You are able to submit more than one piece of writing so if you have more, please forward them to Virginia. We have extended the deadline to December 31st. If we still don't have enough pages to make a book we will hold it over until next year.

Marilyn is holding a free workshop on self-publishing at the Orangeville Public Library on Saturday, November 9th from 10am-2pm. Register with Shannon McGrady at

On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at 7pm, join the library for An Evening with Maureen Jennings. Maureen is the creator of The Murdoch Mysteries. She will be discussing her new book Heat Wave.


The Trouble with Turkeys and Other Table Terrors

1. The trouble with turkey is....

2. Never make a pumpkin pie with the insides of a Jack O' Lantern.

3. My mother-in-law finally gave me her recipe for stuffing. Now I know why they can't get enough of it.

4. How was I supposed to know candied yams weren't made with candy?\

5. I thought it would be great to pick up some fresh corn from the stand outside the farm, but when I peeled back the husks, I was shocked at what I found.

6. Usually I open a can and let gravity pull out the gelatinous mold we know as cranberry sauce, but with my son bringing his gourmet chef girlfriend for Thanksgiving this year, I knew I had to step up my game.

7. Gravy can usually cover a multitude of culinary sins, but this year I was going to have to make mine using holy water.

October 20, 2019

Diane has HWG mugs available for purchase.


1. While driving my car, I noticed....
2. When I was a teenager, all I wanted was....
3. What the hell are you doing here?
4. When the judge looked at me I prayed for the first time in many years.
5. When I awoke on the couch this morning I didn't know where I was.
6. The rain came on so suddenly I couldn't...

Next Meeting is Sunday, November 3rd
1:30pm to 3:30pm

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts from the past 3 meetings:

August 18th

1. ABCDFEGMNRWY - write a piece using words in sequence beginning with these letters.
2. Repeat as above using letters in reverse order: YWRNMGEFDCBA,.
3. Repeat exercise 1 using the letters from the word HIPPOPOTAMUS.
4. Repeat as in exercise 2 using the letters SUMATOPOPPIH.
5. Use words generated in exercises 1-4 in any order to write a short story. You may throw in words of your own choosing to be creative in this part of the exercise (try to include as many of your words as possible).

September 8th

1. I don't know how to tell my friend that I'm imaginary.
2. Jim receives a note under the door and is intrigued, especially because it's the closet door.
3. She packed the box carefully.
4. He was great at starting things, but not so good at finishing them.
5. She pushed the cart through the automatic doors and steeled herself for the task ahead.
6. All the world is a stage.

September 28th

1. Think of one of your favourite possessions. Do one of the following:

  1. Write about why it is special to you.
  2. Make up a story about its history.
  3. Imagine you are from another planet and found this item while exploring. Write about the item from that point of view.
  4. Imagine you are an archaeologist in the future and find this article in a dig. Write about your observations and conclusions.
  5. Imagine that in a time experiment gone wrong, the article was sent back to prehistoric or ancient times. Write a story about someone living at that time finding it.
2. I never believed in love at first sight until it happened to me.

3. Grace had mixed feelings about going to her high school reunion. She had few happy memories of her teenage years. But she was curious how her classmates had turned out.

4. When I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark. That's when the monsters came out. My dad told me there was no such thing as monsters. "See?" he said, turning off the light. "No monsters." He couldn't see them, even while they were reaching for him. He didn't see them as they followed him down the dark hall. He didn't notice when they turned around and came back toward me.

5. May people dream of exotic holidays, cruising down the Rhine or around the Caribbean, exploring the streets of Rome or Paris, tramping through the Scottish Highlands or the jungles of the Yucatan. Yet if they looked, they would find at their own doorstep sights to attract the most fervent tourist.

Next Meeting
Sunday, October 6th, 1:30-3:30pm

Meeting Updates

I know I haven't posted meeting notes for the past few meetings so I am going to try and summarize what has been discussed at the last few meetings.

We have created a coffee mug of The Headwaters Writers' Guild for promotional purposes. If you are interested in purchasing a mug, we need to order at least 10 of them to keep the price down to $10. We will not order unless we have 10 orders. Pictures of both sides are below:

Please contact Patricia at to add your name to the list.

The CBC Short Story Contest deadline is drawing near. The deadline is October 31st. Here is the link:

The Caledon Public Library will be accepting submissions from October 1st to October 31st. The link is here:

THIS SATURDAY, September 28th, 1:00pm to 3:00pm, The Orangeville Public Library as part of their WOW program is holding a Crime Writers Panel. Please come out and support if you can.

The Orangeville Public Library has 3 writing workshops this fall. Marilyn Kleiber will be the instructor for the Saturday, October 5th workshop (10am-2pm). This workshop is called "Building Words: Make your stories possess life and entertain your readers". Please register at the library at

Two more workshops take place on Saturday, November 9th, 10am-2pm, "Self-publishing: Difficult to find a publisher to accept your manuscript? Learn how to do it yourself - professionally." And the third on Sunday, November 24th, 1:30pm to 3:30pm, "Writing is a Contact Sport: Good writing doesn't happen in isolation. A writer needs to get out and explore and connect with themselves, the world and the things we can't always see."

As we continue to work on producing our new anthology, discussion was brought up about possibly creating a writing prompt book with space for writing, and possibly producing a new one every year. It was decided that we would focus on our current project and reconsider another book next year.

Prompts from the past 3 meetings will be in a separate post.

Our Next Meeting is
Sunday, October 6, 2019, 1:30-3:30pm

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Write-a-thon for Charity

Ok. Just sending out a feeler here. If I were to organize a 12-hour write-a-thon for charity in the late spring of next year (details to be determined and announced), how many of you would be interested in participating? Please email me at, if you're intrigued and excited by the idea. Cheers, all!