Sunday, November 30, 2008
What was and wasn't said today:
The first thing Richard said was, "Thou shalt not be boring."
- Inside there are truths and they are unique to you. Stories come from the dark places within us. Start with the truth, then say "what if..." and that's where the story comes from. The main character is a version of the writer.
- The more you are aware of your own story, the more integrated as a society we are. We are looking inside ourselves and our own memories to get our stories on paper.
- Inside you there is sadness, sorrow, loss, anger, fear. These are the story lines. Lots of good writing is revenge writing.
- When you are writing a story you are revealing yourself. It is like a striptease. You want to entice the reader; you want to seduce the reader. Take the clothes off one button at a time. How many surprises are there at the end of the striptease? You want to lead the readers along so they want to know how this is going to be different. Slow down. Bring out the character, something we can identify with. Have the reader connect with the character.
- There are 3 stories [I thought there were 7]: The Journey Plot, The Stranger Plot (the stranger could be cancer, a letter, news, not necessarily a person), The Lost Plot. Actually, all stories are about loss.
- Stories are all jokes. Your job is to tell the joke the right way.
- The worst thing you can do is to tell too much about the character. The more you tell, the less interesting the character would be. Examples: The character House - his cane makes the character. Tony Soprano - he's not just a mob guy; he's a mob guy in therapy.
- Kids and adults have the same emotions. Stories happen when things go wrong.
- A writer has to be a good liar, a thief (steal characters from your past or present, their names, their characteristics, change their sex), a terrible parent (you want your own children to be boring; we want something bad to happen to our fictional children).
- All stories have a secret that is hidden from some of the characters in the story. Sometimes the readers are in on the secret. It's like a time bomb we are waiting to go off. It's the secret that draws the story.
- Writing is like a striptease, but it can also be a prayer.
This was for the benefit of those who were not in attendance. You heard a lot of this said at our meeting... if you were there. Nancy, feel free to add stuff since you took more notes than I did. LOL! I have now exhausted my list of new quotes that would have lasted me a couple of weeks so consider this today's Quote of the Day.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Following our luncheon we will be meeting at the library at 1:30. Instead of our usual writing session we will be playing Balderdash which is, in essence, a game for writers but a whole lot of fun.
Family members are welcome. Please RSVP advising how many members of your family will be attending so I can make the reservations at The King's Buffet. Time is flying by quickly so please respond to my email address as soon as possible.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
The following comes from the Christmas Miracles Book's website. You can submit your story by clicking on the link.
Christmas Miracles is a book project we have contracted with St. Martin's Press for late 2009 release. We seek true stories of miracles that took place at Christmas. They must revolve around that special time of year.
We prefer first-person narratives.
This is an excellent opportunity to see your writing in a book with other outstanding authors.
You must follow these guidelines:
- Deadline for stories is December 24, 2008.
- All entries must be double-spaced, 12-point font, Times New Roman, Word document.
- Stories may run from 900 to 1,300 words. We will not consider longer pieces.
- We will edit all stories we accept so that they have a unified voice.
- Your name will be listed with your story and you'll have a four-line information/resume paragraph at the end of the book.
- Every story must have a positive solution that results from a miracle through events or timing at the Christmas season.
- Every story must have a positive application. That is, you must tell us what you learned from that miracle or how it changed your life.
- You may send an original or a reprint. (If a reprint, please tell us where it was published and assure us that you own the reprint rights.)
If we accept your story, you will retain rights. You'll also receive a $50 honorarium and a free copy of the book when it is released in October 2009.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A closet writer for five years, at first, I was terrified to read my writing. What I learned is that it’s part of the process of writing. You write – you read. I feel that I’ve grown as a writer and a public speaker. At my daughter’s wedding this year, I read a speech that I’d written. After I sat down, I realized that I had experienced any anxiety.
At Ed’s writing workshops, we always brought our writing from home and read it. The late Janet Bellinger and I would be up at 6:00 A.M. working on a piece of writing that we would read that day. We didn’t want to disappoint Ed.
I would encourage you to bring your writing to read at our writing sessions (twice a month) at the library.
Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind has an excellent piece in reading aloud.
If you have a good experience of reading aloud, please feel free to add a new post explaining how it has helped you.
Happy writing and reading aloud --- Keep writing, be happy.
We used to collect money only at Christmas. Once we decided to donate a Commencement Award for the late Janet Bellinger– we started to donate money each week and we opened a bank account.
Commencement Award for The Late Janet Bellinger Memorial Award – Janet was a founding member.
At Christmas, we give a small gift to our secretary and Webmaster whose donation of their time allows the rest of us time to write.
It’s for any supplies that we need or cakes to celebrate our successes.
We appreciate your donations. Please reply to my recent email re our Christmas donation.
Next year will be our last year of donating $200.00 towards the Award.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
to speak about his fiction, non-fiction, and memoir writing, specifically his book
'The Closer We Are to Dying'. He'll do a reading, talk about his writing, and take
questions. A car-pool invitation from Heart Lake Road/410 in Brampton is available.
Guests from Headwaters are welcome to join the talk.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The bio of "Bill Bennett: Pioneer Bush Pilot and Outfitter" is due from the printer this month and if I have received my complimentary copies I will bring it to the meeting as well.
My publisher has agreed to publish another bio I've written, "Bernice Walker, Woman of Courage" (working title) in 2010 and is currently evaluating the young adult novel, "A Trout for Tyler" for publication. My article about Flower's River, Labrador will appear in the Spring issue of the Atlantic Salmon Journal.
There are currently no writers groups in North Bay and I am thinking about starting one. Canadore College and Nippising University are nearby and I'm thinking this would be a good source for people who want to write and socialize with other writers. The local independent book store is supportive. I've also been invited to speak to Books by the Bay next July about my role as Mentorship Chair of the Outdoor Writers of Canada, its benefits, and how to become involved.
Many of you will recall Sherri, who visited us during my workshop last December. She has been published in Outdoor Canada and has her foot in the door with the editor, so I believe we'll be seeing more of her work there in future.
One of my good friends, Ron Pitts, is showing his striking photography at the Dufferin County Museum and Archvesuntil November 16th. If you want to experience some eye-opening and breathtaking nature photography you should visit there before it closes. Tell him I said Hi.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
its participants to share the evening with a few friends. So I invite my colleagues
at Headwaters Writers' Guild to hear Wayson Choy speak about his writing, teaching,
and publishing career. His published memoir recounts growing up in Vancouver, B.C.
in a cultural minority.
December 3, 2008 7:00 - 10:00 pm
Car Pooling available from Brampton
(410/Heart Lake Road & Sandalwood Parkway)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Area residents are invited to participate in the Humber Orangeville lecture series, taking place each Friday from noon to 1pm at the Mill Street Library. (Only one hour???)
The one lecture I thought might be of interest is November 28th, Lies Reveal Many Truths - bringing out the story within us, examining why we act the way we do, who we are and what we should be doing about it. Taught by author Richard Scrimger.
Visit www.orangeville.humber.ca for more information.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
FREELANCE SUCCESS STORIES CONTEST
It's that time of year again when I start asking for submissions to the Freelance Success Stories contest for the next edition of Writer's Market. I love reading about all the successes, but what really gets me every time is just how many routes to success there seem to be.
This year's contest has a deadline of December 31. It's open to any writer and should be between 800-1,500 words in lenth. As usual, there is no entry free. An exciting development is that the first place prize has been increased to $500 along with publication in the 2010 Writer's Market!
Entries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Freelance Success Stories Entry" in the subject line.
Check out a 2009 Writer's Market for previous winning entries, but success stories have to be nonfiction and personal (your success story, not someone else's). It can be about your first byline, first big sale, moment you realized you made it, odd writing gig, etc.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Cheques payable to: Brian Henry, 110 Reiner Road, Toronto, On M3H 2L6
Reserve by email: email@example.com
1:00 pm - 4:45 pm (registration 12:45)
Oakville Central Library, 120 Navy St, Oakville
Fee: $36 in advance, $40 at the door
cheque payable to Brian Henry, 110 Reiner Road, Toronto, ON M3H 2L6
"Whatever you're writing--fiction or non-fiction--readers only care about your story if they care about your people"
"learn techniques for creating fictional or real people"
"breathe life into the page so that your people start telling you how the story should go"
10 am - 4:00 pm
Appleby United Church 4407 Spruce Avenue, Burlington
Fee: $40 in advance $44 at the door
cheque to :Brian Henry 110 Reiner Road, Toronto, M3H 2L6
"meaty enough for experienced writers, how to use dialogue for more dynamic, dramatic stories"
"whether for fiction or memoir, bring characters alive by mixing dialogue & narrative"
"learn the best tricks of the trade so you'll never write a lifeless scene again"
A writers' group would have the great advantage of keeping you up to scratch like Weight Watchers does, or Alcoholics Anonymous. If you have to turn up with something written every Wednesday, then it's easier to keep your schedule than if you only had to deal with yourself. - Maeve Binchy
The second article is an interview with award winning novelist, Sheridan Hay. The idea for her novel, The Secret of Lost Things came from...(drum roll please)...a writing exercise. See? Writing exercises can lead to great things. (Oh, and by the way, Diane, that novel takes place in a bookstore.)
Sometimes I've wondered what the point of all those writing exercises and prompts is. I am not really a big believer in exercises. I learned to knit by making a sweater, not practice swatches. I figure I can learn to write by writing stories, not through writing prompts.
BUT (and yes, it's a big but!), at my very first writing group meeting, back on January 27th, 2007, led by Nancy, one of the prompts was "I have a confession." I only wrote a couple paragraphs at that meeting but I was intrigued with the character I had created. I dug the paragraphs out a few weeks later (when I was running early for the writing group I might add) and kept going with it. That writing prompt turned into my story "Freedom From Gravity," which placed second in The Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards contest.
So, there you have it. Writing groups lead to book deals, writing exercises and prompts lead to awards. Bring on the prompts!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Also, there will be no lunch bunch gab session this Saturday, November 8th. Hope to see you all again at the library on Sunday, November 16th. (An email I sent had wrong dates as someone changed my calendar over to December. Sorry!)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Dublin Street United Church
68 Suffolk Street W, Guelph, 519-821-0610
Cost: By donation
To reserve a spot, contact Sheryl Spencer at sspencer (at) sentex (dot) net
At a Writing the Sacred workshop you'll be invited to a fresh encounter with the Hebrew Psalms. Ray McGinnis will show you some of the ageless poetic elements present in the Psalms alongside other examples of sacred poetry across the centuries. You'll hear read cries of the spirit inviting you to express your own longings for God on paper. Whether you are a seasoned writer or have never put pen to paper, you'll be expertly guided, step-by-step, to a place where you'll emerge
with your own new psalm/sacred poem. You'll leave with tools for how to use poem-making as a tool to write your own new Psalms, and as a companion on your own spiritual, prayer life and devotional journey.
Signed copies of Writing the Sacred will also be available for purchase at this workshop for $26.50, cash or cheque.
Ray McGinnis is a poet and has written in journals all his life. He has taught over 7,000 people how to write prayers, poetry, and autobiographies, all the while guiding them to bring their whole heart, mind, and spirit to the process. Writing the Sacred is in its second printing.
For more information about his workshop and book visit www.writetotheheart.com
Published by Northstone, an imprint of Wood Lake Publishing
Writing the Sacred ISBN: 978-1-896836-73-7
"Ray McGinnis has a finely tuned ear for the deep meaning of the Psalms... as a veteran workshop leader he has a knack for drawing out bursts of imagination out of people that may not know they had it in them..." - Douglas Todd, Spirituality and Ethics writer, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, British Columbia
"Writing the Sacred is rich with insight, power and meaning. Ray McGinnis gives us a great gift by showing the Psalms to be a living language, a poetic language vital for today. These pages are permeated with our human story - our raw and beautiful longing for God...(and) acts as a healing balm and creative catalyst to help you reclaim your soul's voice." - John Fox, author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making