Friday, November 27, 2009

Blog Roll-Up: Best of the Week's Writing Blogs

Sorry to have missed last week, but I've got lots of great blog posts to share with you this week.

First off, in case you somehow missed it, is all the hoopla about Harlequin's new self-publishing endeavour. Jane Freidman of There Are No Rules offers this indepth post: Harlequin's Self-Publishing Venture: Is it the Future of Publishing?

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent offers her take on it all with Self-Publishing: A Rant and a Q4U, and her follow-up post, My Final Thoughts About Self-Pub.

And if that's not enough info about self-publishing for you . . . 

If you're considering self-publishing your own book, don't miss Pimp My Novel's post, Self-Publishing...Great Idea or Worst Idea Ever? and There Are No Rules Jane Freidman's 3 Self-Publishing Paths You Should Undertsand.

While we're discussing the future of publishing, take a look at Nathan Bransford, Literary Agents post, The Top Myths About E-Books, which includes why you won't go blind from reading them, and they aren't hot to the touch.

Whether you are self-published or have gone with a traditional publisher, you'll need to market your book. Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent offers a three-part series about Four Major Marketing Principles:
  • Part 1 of 3: Marketing Principle #1: You Must Shock Broca
  • Part 2 of 3: Marketing Principle #2: If You're Not First, Forget it and Marketing Principle #3: Website Blunders to Avoid
  • Part 3 of 3: Marketing Principle #4: Olympic Caliber Networking
Agents and Traditional Publishing
When can you query agents? How do you know your project is ready? Chuck over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog answers these questions.

Have you read a book that is similar to yours and want to pitch the author's agent? Chuck also offers you Three Ways to Identify the Literary Agent of any Book.

Pimp my Blog offers this glossary of publishing Terms to Know.

And finally, Casey McCormack goes back to basics on Literary Rambles to give us the answer (or remind us) to the question How Do I Format My Manuscript? Be sure to double-check before you submit your latest project.

Are you writing about family, history or family history? Check out this guest post on Christina Baker-Kline's A Writing Life blog, Laura Schenone on Writing About the Past.

Jane Freidman's weekly Tweet Roundup: Best Tweets for Writers (week ending November 20th) on There Are No Rules.

The Guide to Literary Agents blog has a new recurring column, 7 Things I've Learned So Far. This installment features an inspirational post by Lynnda Ell, a former engineer who built a new career as a writer at the age of 62.

Member Blogs
Diane Bator's had a rough time creatively over the last couple of weeks. Read about her Little Creative Blocks. The Three-Ring Circus has also had a quiet couple of weeks post-wise, but returns with some editing help in this week's Links Tent and a Quick editing Tip about Word's Find feature.

Last But Not Least
The blog roll-up would not be complete without at least one link to Janet Reid's blog. This literary agent, also known as the Query Shark, offers some fail-proof advice about How to Get No More Rejections. You won't want to miss that!

Did I miss your favourite blog? Drop me a line and let me know, and maybe we can include a link in next week's roll-up.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Children's Literature Award Winner

My aunt (by marriage), her niece Marthe Jocelyn won Children's Literature Award. Check it out here:

Linwood Barclay On Writing

First posted on November 2009

Linwood Barclay joined The Toronto Star in 1981 and in 1993 he became the paper’s humour columnist. I always read his column.

On Monday, November 23, my husband and my daughter (an avid reader of Barclay’s books) attended his talk in Toronto at the S. Walter Stewart Library.

My husband woke me up to tell me that Barclay is the best author he’s ever heard. My daughter raved about him and I asked her to share any writing tips that Linwood might have mentioned.


He starts work at 9:30 A.M., takes a lunch break, and works until 5:00 P.M. just like any other job. When people tell him that it took them seven years to finish a book, he wonders what were they doing?

He’s always finished his book before his deadline. Once he wrote a book too fast, and his editor told him that he could write a book from scratch faster that you could edit that book.

His favourite novel that he wrote is Fear the Worst. He writes mostly thrillers.

He won’t be writing another book in the Bad Move series (my daughter’s favourite books), as they weren’t selling. As a beginner writer he understood that this happens but he had to try something different.

No Time for Goodbye was the Number 1 Bestseller in Britain and they’re waiting to release the Bad Move series. When he writes he wants it to poplar worldwide.

Lots of people get shot in his books but he never describes the shooting graphically. He’s not made for horror.

CLARE MCARTHY - Benefits of Joining a Writing Group

Please check out the above article. Make sure you support Pat by clicking on the I like it button.

In the article, Pat has listed 10 benefits of joining a writing group. Under her support and encouragement benefit, she maintains that when you’re published you know that your writing group will support you by purchasing your book.

The late Janet Bellinger left our writing group for a few months but when she had her book launch at Booklore for Teacher on the Run, and we all showed up, she returned. She mentioned it was our support of her book launch that had encouraged her to return.

We have encouraged Clare McCarthy’s writing process during the beginning, middle, and ending of his book The Hurleyville Taxi (Two Thousand Pounds Of Bacon and Bone).

Clare McCarthy, one of our favourite long-time members, has his book launch on Monday, November 30 at 7:30 PM at Booklore.

Please join us to celebrate his success as only writers who know the writing process, can.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Contests, Classes and Markets

Writers Digest has a couple of contests that might be of interest to you.
On the Premises has launched a "delicate" contest. Write a short story of between 1000 and 5000 words in which one or more characters have to handle an object, person or situation that they consider "delicate" for your chance to win. Contest deadline is January 30, 2010.

Linda Formichelli and the Renegade Writer bring you another FREE teleclass: Secrets to Essays that Sell with Amy Paturel.

Writers' Digest has again compiled its list of 24 Agents Who Want Your Work, and it's now available online.


Thank you to Sue for sending the following information:

My name is Matt Jackson. I'm the owner of a small publishing company inVancouver called Summit Studios.

We have a travel & outdoor story writing contest going right now, with a final deadline of Midnight on Sunday,January 31, 2010.We have one Grand Prize of $1,000.00 and five second prizes of $200.00 each. All six winning stories (and possibly some others) will also be featured in a new travel and outdoor humour anthology to be published in Fall 2010.

Would you be so kind as to direct your group of outdoor writers to the contest page of our web site? All the instructions are there for them to download at www.summitstudios. biz

Thanks,Matt Jackson
SUMMIT STUDIOS#105, 2572 Birch St.
Vancouver, BC V6H 2T4Tel: (778) 371-8510
Email: mailto:matt@mattjackson.%20ca
Web Site: www.summitstudios. biz


Forget A Christmas Carol, The Blind Side is the definitive Christmas movie to see this year. It’s about overcoming immense adversity and using your God-given talents with a lot of help from your adopted family.

It’s a true story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American born to an addicted crack mother who becomes enrolled in an all white Christian school. Leigh Anne Touhy (children belong to the same school) brings him home when he’s walking in the rain and realizes he might not have a home. She’s one tough cookie.

Michael’s schooling was affected from being homeless. Leigh Anne helped him overcome his struggle in school to become the Baltimore Ravens linebacker. Leigh Anne Touhy is a passionate woman, and somebody to admire.

The story is heartfelt and it's reflective of the power of one to make a difference in one person’s life. The movie is entertaining. It shows rather than tells Michael’s story.

How does this movie relate to writing? It is a screenplay that I would have been proud to write. What about your talents? Are you hiding them because you are afraid? Do you have a story to tell that is heartfelt and might touch another person’s heart?

Why not write that story that you’re passionate about?

In the meantime, don’t forget to see The Blind Side. Take your children, too. It’s entertaining, inspirational and reminds us of the goodness that humans can possess.

Check out –The real Michael Oher and his real family.

Check out a more in depth review of the movie.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


A must for any creative being.

Why not sign up for their free newsletter?


Check out the Writing Tips from Donna Ippolito along with other articles.

Writing tips from Donna Ippolito, Long Ridge instructor.
Donna Ippolito has been writing, editing, and teaching others to write for more than 20 years.

From 1985 to 2001, she was editor-in-chief at FASA Corporation, a Chicago publisher that packaged best-selling science fiction and fantasy novel lines for Penguin Books and Time-Warner. These included the popular BattleTech, Shadowrun, Earthdawn, and Vor series. So check out her websites at and

Prior to that, Ms. Ippolito was an editor at the Swallow Press, a prestigious publisher of both literary and commercial titles. Writers published by Swallow include celebrated novelist Ana├»s Nin; Jungian analyst Linda Leonard; futurist Robert Theobald; Zen poet Lucien Stryk; and distinguished anthropologist W. Y. Evans-Wentz. She also worked as a senior editor for Consumer Digest Magazine and was a founding editor of Black Maria, a quarterly journal of women’s writing.


Best advice I've ever read. Please check it out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Woman Behind the Twlight Series

For those inspiring to sell 85 million books worldwide - check out the interview on Oprah.


Check out the excellent book reviews and everything concerning books.

Stephen King - Under the Dome

"Stephen King is one of the greatest storytellers of our time, and his terrifying and masterful new novel is more proof. The book is almost 1,100 pages long, but there's not a wasted word in it." Robert Wiersema - The Globe and Mail

For all you sci-fi fans check out the book review.

Interview with Alice Munro


A Conversation with Alice Munro

Q: What draws you to short stories as opposed to novels? What do you find that the shorter form enables you to do that a novel perhaps would not?

A: I seem to turn out stories that violate the discipline of the short story form and don't obey the rules of progression for novels. I don't think about a particular form, I think more about fiction, let's say a chunk of fiction. What do I want to do? I want to tell a story, in the old-fashioned way--what happens to somebody--but I want that 'what happens' to be delivered with quite a bit of interruption, turnarounds, and strangeness. I want the reader to feel something is astonishing--not the 'what happens' but the way everything happens. These long short story fictions do that best, for me.

Q: Where do you get the idea for a story or for a particular character?

A: Sometimes I get the start of a story from a memory, an anecdote, but that gets lost and is usually unrecognizable in the final story. Suppose you have--in memory--a young woman stepping off a train in an outfit so elegant her family is compelled to take her down a peg (as happened to me once), and it somehow becomes a wife who's been recovering from a mental breakdown, met by her husband and his mother and the mother's nurse whom the husband doesn't yet know he's in love with. How did that happen? I don't know.

Q: What are your writing habits--Do you use a computer? Do you write every day? In the morning or at night? How long does it take to complete a story?

A: I've been using a computer for a year--I'm a late convert to every technological offering and still don't own a microwave oven--but I do one or two drafts long hand before I go to the keyboard. A story might be done in two months, beginning to end, and ready to go, but that's rare. More likely six to eight months, many changes, some false directions, much fiddling and some despair. I write everyday unless it's impossible and start writing as soon as I get up and have made coffee and try to get two to three hours in before real life hauls me away.

Q: What advice would you give to young writers?

A: It's not possible to advise a young writer because every young writer is so different. You might say, "Read," but a writer can read too much and be paralyzed. Or, "Don't read, don't think, just write," and the result could be a mountain of drivel. If you're going to be a writer you'll probably take a lot of wrong turns and then one day just end up writing something you have to write, then getting it better and better just because you want it to be better, and even when you get old and think "There must be something else people do" you won't quite be able to quit.

Q: What writers have most influenced you and who do you like to read?

A: When I was young it was Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, Katherine Anne Porter, Flannery O'Connor, James Agee. Then Updike, Cheever, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Taylor, and especially and forever, William Maxwell. Also William Trevor, Edna O'Brien, Richard Ford. These I would say are influences. There are dozens of others I just like to read. My latest discovery is a Dutch writer, Cees Nooteboom. I hate doing lists like this because I'll be banging my head soon that I left somebody wonderful out. That's why I speak only of those who have influenced, not of all who have delighted me.

Q: Cynthia Ozick has called you "our Chekhov." How does that comparison make you feel?

A: I have recently re-read much of Chekhov and it's a humbling experience. I don't even claim Chekhov as an influence because he influenced all of us. Like Shakespeare his writing shed the most perfect light--there's no striving in it, no personality. Well, of course, wouldn't I love to do that!

Q: Many critics have praised you for being able to create an entire life in a page. How do you achieve such a feat?

A: I always have to know my characters in a lot of depth--what clothes they'd choose, what they were like at school, etc . . . And I know what happened before and what will happen after the part of their lives I'm dealing with. I can't see them just now, packed into the stress of the moment. So I suppose I want to give as much of them as I can.

Q: Most of your stories have not strayed very far from home--your native Ontario. What makes where you live such fertile ground for so many different stories?

A: I don't think of myself as being in any way an interpreter of rural Ontario, where I live. I think there's perhaps an advantage living here of knowing more different sorts of people than you would know in a larger community (where you'd be shut up, mostly, in your own income or educational or professional "class"). The physical setting is perhaps "real" to me, in a way no other is. I love the landscape, not as "scenery" but as something intimately known. Also the weather, the villages and towns, not in their picturesque aspects but in all phases. Human experience though doesn't seem to me to differ, except in fairly superficial ways, no matter what the customs and surroundings.

Q: Memory plays a key role in many of your stories. What is it about the power of memory and how it shapes our lives that most intrigues you?

A: Memory is the way we keep telling ourselves our stories--and telling other people a somewhat different version of our stories. We can hardly manage our lives without a powerful ongoing narrative. And underneath all these edited, inspired, self-serving or entertaining stories there is, we suppose, some big bulging awful mysterious entity called THE TRUTH, which our fictional stories are supposed to be poking at and grabbing pieces of. What could be more interesting as a life's occupation? One of the ways we do this, I think, is by trying to look at what memory does (different tricks at different stages of our lives) and at the way people's different memories deal with the same (shared) experience. The more disconcerting the differences are, the more the writer in me feels an odd exhilaration.

Q: Do you have a particular story or stories that are especially close to your heart?

A: I always like the story I'm trying to write at the moment the best, and the stories I've just published next best, In my new book, I'm very attached to "Save the Reaper" and "My Mother's Dream." Among the older ones, I like "Progress of Love" and "Labor Day Dinner" and "Carried Away" a lot. And actually many others.

About the Author
Alice Munro was born in 1931 in Wingham, a small town in southwestern Ontario, to a family of small farmers. She received a scholarship to the University of Western Ontario, but left before graduating in order to marry another student, James Munro. The Munros raised three daughters and for several years ran a bookshop in Victoria; they eventually divorced and Alice Munro married Gerald Fremlin, a geographer. The Fremlins divide their time between Clinton, Ontario--not far from Munro's hometown of Wingham--and Comox, British Columbia. Alice Munro is the author of one novel and six collections of short stories prior to Open Secrets and The Love of a Good Woman. She is a three-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award, Canada's highest; the Lannan Literary Award; and the W. H. Smith Award, given to Open Secrets as the best book published in the United Kingdom in 1995. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages.

Erica Jong's 20 Rules for Writers

Erica's 20 Rules for Writers
1. Have faith--not cynicism
2. Dare to dream
3. Take your mind off publication
4. Write for joy
5. Get the reader to turn the page
6. Forget politics (let your real politics shine through)
7. Forget intellect
8. Forget ego
9. Be a beginner
10. Accept change
11. Don't think your mind needs altering
12. Don't expect approval for telling the truth -(Parents, politicians, colleagues, friends, etc.)
13. Use everything
14. Remember that writing is Heroism
15. Let Sex (The Body, the physical world) in!
16. Forget critics
17. Tell your truth not the world's
18. Remember to be earth-bound
19. Remember to be wild!
20. Write for the child (in yourself and others)
There are no rules

Erica Jong

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Definition from

the ordinary form of spoken or written language, without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse.

matter-of-fact, commonplace, or dull expression, quality, discourse, etc.

Liturgy. a hymn sung after the gradual, originating from a practice of setting words to the jubilatio of the alleluia.

of, in, or pertaining to prose.

commonplace; dull; prosaic.

Verb (used with object)
to turn into or express in prose.

Verb (used without object)
to write or talk in a dull, matter-of-fact manner.

Stephenie Meyers - The Twilight Series

Did you see her interview on Oprah on Friday?

The most interesting revelation is that Stephenie read every genre except horror and she has no idea how Vampires stories ever got into her head. On June 2, 2003 she had a one of a kind dream about a beautiful sparkly boy and a regular girl. He was a vampire. He talked about wanting her blood and loving her at the same time.

The dream images captured her and Stephenie was hooked on their story. She’d never even written a short story before. She never intended it to be a novel, she wrote for the fun of it.

It was a one of a kind opportunity and Stephenie’s glad that she didn’t ignore it. She loved spending time with her characters in fantasyland. Obsessed with her characters, in the beginning she kept her writing a secret from her husband as she thought she was crazy.

For those of us who have excuses for why we are not writing, she had three small children (1, 2, and 5) that were constantly ill when she wrote Twilight. She was trying to reconnect with herself.

Stephenie was an avid reader and she read Gone with the Wind when she was eight. She always told herself stories but thought that everybody did this. She’d never wanted to be a writer because she knew you couldn’t make a living by writing so why bother. (85 million books sold . . .)

It took her two years and three months before Twilight was published. She received nine rejections from agents, five no answers and one agent requested to read more.

All of the girls at Oprah’s South Africa school were reading it. One girl informed Oprah that it was delicious reading. Oprah has read the series.

Stephen King said during an interview, “The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good."

I work, I write, I spend time with my family and when I read I want to be entertained. The Twilight series is Young Adult Fiction. To me, what matters, is a good story and Stephanie is a great storyteller. It’s all about the story.

As I read paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy, I enjoyed every moment that I spent reading the series but you don’t have to like these genres to enjoy these books. When Twilight the movie first came out my husband also a fantasy addict refused to see the movie. I told him, “You’ll like it. It’s a great story and it has a lot of action.” He loved the movie.

We can't wait to see New Moon.

Stephenie kept a dream journal beside her bed so that she could record ideas that she received in the middle of the night. Many writers pay attention to their dreams to aid them in their writing. Writers Dreaming (Twenty-six Writers Talk About Their Dreams and the Creative Process) by Naomi Epel is an excellent book that describes this process.

Keep dreaming – Keep writing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Our Friday After Hours Forum is on November 20. Let’s talk about revision – how, when, when do you stop? In our Spotlight section, check out Janet Wellington’s great article on how to analyze the romance lines to see if your book fits.

Donna answers Linda’s question about what books are best for writers.

Carmen Goldthwaite, NY Times stringer, writer of historical and travel pieces, is our guest THIS WEEK on the Post a Note board.

The First Batch of Pumpkin Prompt stories are up! Check them out.

In our Market section, check out the new ezine published by a LR graduate: The Zanier!
Suzanne offers us the Failbetter Tenth Anniversary Novella Contest.

Survival After Death, by Jo Ann Schermerhorn is available now and Tony Burton of Wolfmont Publishing offers you a 10% off Coupon for a new book on writing by writers – good until November 30.

Remember…this is just an update. The actual Newsletter with links and even pictures is up on the website in Writing Craft: Newsletters at: To unsubscribe from my updates, simply click here or paste this URL into your browser and click on ‘unsubscribe’:


I cannot count the number of people who have spoken to me about the “end of the world” that supposedly occurs on December 21, 2012 according to the Mayan Calendar. This belief to me is similar to the 2000 hoax regarding the YK2 problem or as I like to call it “The 2000 Version of the Emperor’s New Clothes". Do you remember the Nostradamus eclipse of 1999? No shocking event happened after it.

Could 2012 be like the YK2 problem that once the Mayan calendar cycle is set to zero, it will reset itself like an odometer or clock striking midnight? Or like the YK2 problem the computer resets itself to 2000 without any help from the programmers?

Being a sci-fi addict, I enjoyed the movie 2012. It’s about the biggest expiry date known to mankind and it is another example of fear controlling the masses. (Similar to the H1N1 flu shot phenomenal.)

The movie's storyline is believable. The action and special effects are amazing. The movie provokes thought such as what is important in my life? We get to view a world gone mad and see the resulting climax. I give this film high marks for entertainment.

Since my second near-death experience in 1996, I've thought a lot about expiry dates. In the movie, Blade Runner, the robots searched for their maker, in order to obtain their expiry dates.

What does 2012 have to do with writing? If you knew your expiry date, would it prompt you to finish your non-fiction book or novel or any dream that you have for your creative life? Do you wish to arrive at heaven’s door with regret? If you died tomorrow what would be your greatest regret? What would cause your heart to ache? What would cause your soul to tremble and ten thousand tears to fall? Even if you stood before God, you would remember it.

Most people when dying speak of things that they didn't do with regret.

Live your dream. Begin today. Make peace in your world.
Life is too short to
harbour regrets.

Prose Defined by Brian Henry

From the creative writing teacher's mouth . . .


My defintion of prose is crude: not poety, meaning not rhythm.
More specifically it's geared toward creative writing,
meaning the kind of thing people read because they want to
as opposed to informational material that people read because
they need to.

The workshop also tilts more toward fiction than non-fiction.

For this workshop, I usually have Jean Rae Baxter as
my guest speaker, and she does a supburb job on this topic.

Brian Henry

Monday, November 16, 2009

Notes from Our Meeting Nov 15, 2009

We had a laughter filled meeting as always. Lots of things going on in Nov/Dec before we take a little break for Christmas:

Kudos to Harry Posner on his big win last weekend at the Poetry Slam - we hope his ears were burning as we praised his many talents! We hope he'll grace us with his presence at the next meeting and give us a recital.

Our own Clare McCarthy's book launch is Nov 30, 2009 at 7:30pm at BookLore. You can see a sneak preview of it in In The Hills Winter 2009 on page 47. He is in the middle of the page surrounded by our own Nadine (Anouska) Fry with Sebastian and the Spider King and a friend of mine Alyxandra Harvey with her new book Hearts at Stake. Congratulations to you all!

Another bit of news it the Headwaters Writers' Guild Christmas Luncheon on Dec 5, 2009 at King's Buffet in Orangeville. Please let Nancy know if you are coming and if you are bringing a guest! There will be tons of good food and interesting conversation.

In 2010, we are hosting another Brian Henry workshop on Writing Well. This grand event will take place March 6, 2010 with location to be announced. Keep your eyes peeled.

Our next meeting will be Nov 29, 2009 with Clare leading. Hope to see you all there for the last meeting of the year!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blog Roll-Up: Best of the Week's Writing Blogs

Stop Making Excuses
Christine Baker Kline's blog, A Writing Life has a couple guest posts this week about making kids your excuse for not writing. Louise DeSalvo's on Why Having Kids is No Excuse and Lisa Romeo Adds Her Two Cents to the Writer-as-Parent Manifesto. Are you rake leaves rather than write?

Social Networking
Jane Friedman of There Are No Rules posts her weekly Best Tweets for Writers. Most of these are links to some great online articles and blog posts.

Are you on LinkedIn? Freelance Folder explains why you might want to be in The Freelancer's Guide to Getting Started on LinkedIn.

Fiction Writing
On, Elana Johnson offer tips for finding your voice in Don't Use that Voice With Me!

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent, talks about Giving Your Characters Life.Their own life, not yours.

Query Letters
Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent, suggests you Get the Big Stuff Right. He swears that agents won't reject you at the first hint of a typo.

Over at BookEnds, LLC, Jessica Faust helps you get one of the big things right: An Author's Credentials. What do you put in your author bio, especially if you don't have much to add? The good news is: it's all good news.

Just to be on the safe side, A Victoria Mixon, Editor, talks about Getting Credentials that will impress potential agents.

Book Review
On Writing Forward, Melissa Donovan discusses A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver.

Member Blogs
What Colour is Your Palette? Diane has been at a painting all this week and shares her experience over at Pens, Paints and Paper. The Ringmaster of the Three-Ring Circus has been busy writing and posts about NaNoWriMo Success.

Weekly Laugh
And finally, The Rejectionist presents the winners of the best rejection letter contest: Author-friends, We Have a Winner.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The late Ed Wildman attended a workshop by Natalie Goldberg in Taos, New Mexico and the Headwaters Writers’ Guild sessions/meetings are based on this workshop.

At my first workshop with Ed (October 25, 2001) he claimed that if you followed her principal of writing practice that you’d never have writer’s block again. I’ve cut and pasted the principals below. They are listed on our website

(From a workshop Ed took from Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones)

1 Keep Your Hand MovingFollow your strongest thought. The faster you can go the better -- Sprint from start to finish.
2. Abandon NeatnessThis is the messy school of writing. I write on every second line because when my writing practice really takes off I sometimes have a terrible time trying to decipher what I have written.
3. Lose ControlThis is not the time for forethought, planning or making demands on yourself. Just follow your mind and see where it leads you.
4. Never Cross OutSometimes as Gord L. once remarked, the pen has a mind of its own, a mind which comes up with totally unexpected things.
5. Don’t Worry About Grammar, Punctuation or SpellingWe want first thoughts, original mind, and none of the old school requirements have a place here.
6. Write What Hurts, What MattersNatalie Goldberg speaks of going for the jugular. You’ll find the originality and the energy that makes for exciting writing.
7. Feel Free To Write the Worst Junk in the WorldWriting practice is a time to suspend your judgement, to take risks, to write nonsense if it comes up, to laugh out loud or cry if you want to but forget about worry, about the significance. This is a form of play and your only job is to have fun doing it.
8. Be SpecificAs you settle into your writing practice try to give things their proper names: I.E. Oak rather than tree, rose rather than flower, but don’t sweat this, particularly at the beginning. If your first thoughts are general, let them flow. You can get specific when you decide to write.
9. Relax Have Fun
10. Find Someone Or a Group And Read What You’ve Written AloudSomething special happens when you read your writing aloud to another person.

Positive Feedback We encourage and inspire our members and everything that happens in the group stays in the group. (This was added as we live in a small community.)

At the first session and whenever new people attended Ed's writing workshops, we started with the prompt— What I remember is . . .

Why not try it and see where the pen takes you?

Keep writing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quote for the Week

This week I've had the pleasure of attenting an acrylics workshop led by the energetic Claudia Jean Mccabe The first day of the course, she gave us two wonderful Clauda-isms that has stuck with us during the week and are as applicable to writing as they are to art.

1) If you have a plan, how can you be surprised by joy?

2) How can you be afraid of getting lost if you don't know where you're going?

Happy writing!

Contests, Classes and Calls for Submissions

Editor Unleashed/SmashWords "Why I Write" essay contest: I know I posted the link before, but now the official rules are up and the contest is open. 50 best essays will be included in a "Why I Write" anthology, and the grand prize winner pockets $500. Deadline: December 31st.

Equisite Corpse Collaboration Award: Thanks to C. Hope Clark for posting this one on her blog. Entry fee is $10. The winning collaborative team receives $500 and publication in a forthcoming issue of Washington Square and/or on the website, depending on the medium of the selected work. Submit one collaborative project (two or more creators). Some portion, or the entirety, of the work must include creative writing (fiction or poetry). Deadline: January 1, 2010.

There were lots of other great contests listed on last week's Contests! Contests! Contests! post.

The Renegade Writer is offering another free teleclass: Breaking into Food Writing on Wednesday, November 18th from 8:30-9:30pm. Monica Bhide will discuss how to break into writing about food, where the opportunities for writers are, and what skills you need and how to develop them. There will be time for a Q&A at the end. Also, Monica will be making a special offer for teleclass attendees only!

Calls for Entries/Markets for your Writing!
Rethinking Every Magazine, a magazine about personal, life-altering change, wants your stories of self-initiated change. Pay is $100. Submission guidelines are available online.

Random House offers a list of literary markets that accept submissions.

Do you write for kids? Kid Magazine Writers has an informative website that includes a directory of children and teen markets.

Duotrope's Digest has an extensive, searchable database of magazines accepting submissions. You can search by genre, pay rate and more.

Writer's Gazette features markets, calls for submission and contests, all in one place.


For all of those people who didn’t attend Stephen King’s interview live on the big screen last night you missed a great opportunity to listen to the King of Horror and a man gifted with the ability to pen great stories.

Stephen King looked great for a man who had sustained a horrific accident years ago although he did have a small limp. His humour surprised me and delighted the audience.

As I didn’t take notes, I cannot quote him exact.

New York Times book critic Janet Maslin interviewed him re his new book Under the Dome. She mentioned that Under the Dome would be considered a “literary” book.
Please check out:

When answering a question from the audience King said that when you’re teaching it saps your creative energy. A lot of writers have menial jobs such as dishwashers or something that won’t sap your energy. (He was a high school English teacher.)

In answer to another question from Mississauga, ON, he concurred that he reads novels by beginning writers but only if the book is good. “Too little time, so many books.” He likes to “pay it forward” as a publisher took a chance on him.

Another person asked if he had an idea that was so horrific and glory and did he ever decide to NOT use it. He pondered for a moment and said something like “Sure, I’ve had some stuff and thought his isn’t good for human consumption.” He pauses and then smirked. “But I used it anyway.” Everybody laughed.

A lot of the interview centred on his new novel Under the Dome, which sounded like another great story.

He plans on writing another book re the Dark Tower series.

On Writing

He has been interviewed with other authors who plot their novel and make detailed character synopsis. He wings it. He thinks it’s a great day when he knows what’s happening in his book for the next writing day. Character – he puts the character in a situation and then sees what the character will do. He writes mostly by situations – the idea much like Sci-Fi writers who start with an “idea”.

His “Virtual” Office

It’s nothing like his real office because his office is really messy. What a relief. I'm not the only writer with a messy desk.

Check out the following websites:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Clare McCarthy BOOK LAUNCH

The Headwaters Writers' Guild originally was formed to offer support to fellow writers.

I am pleased to announce the book launch for The Hurleyville Taxi (Two Thousand Pounds Of Bacon and Bone) by Clare McCarthy at Booklore on Monday, November 30, 2009, 7:30 PM.

It would be wonderful if everybody could attend.

We've watch the beginning, the middle and now the end of the writing process of this book with Clare.




On the publication of his latest novel, “Under the Dome,” celebrated storyteller and best-selling author Stephen King (“Just After Sunset,” “Duma Key,” “The Stand,” “The Shining” and more than 50 other novels) talks about his career as a novelist, screenwriter and columnist and discusses his new work, a tour de force set in a Maine town and featuring more than 100 characters who encounter a supernatural element as baffling and chilling as any the author has ever conjured. Interviewed by New York Times book critic Janet Maslin.

Got a question for Mr. King? Send it to!


TIP # 1 From guru Dan Poynter

Self-publishing isn't new. In fact, it has solid early-American roots; it is almost a tradition. In the early days of the U.S. , the person who owned the printing press was often the author, publisher and printer.

Some authors have elected to publish themselves after being turned down by regular publishers. However, many more have decided to go their own way from the beginning. Some have started as self-publishers and sold out and some have built their own large publishing businesses. See Books That Were Originally Self-Published, Document 155 for examples.

Self-publishing is good business. Writing a book is a creative act; selling it is a business. Some people can do both while others are more creative than businesslike. You have to ask if you want to be a publisher. Do you have an office, the time to conduct the business and a place to store the books?

There are many more tax deductions available to the author-publisher than there are to the author. There are more write-offs for entertainment, travel and electronic toys.

But, what about bookstores? Small and medium-sized publishers use distributors to get their books into bookstores. Since distributors have sales reps, these publishers have the same access to the stores as the large publishers. See Wholesalers, Distributors and Bookstores.

Self-publishers make more money on their effort, get to press sooner and keep control of their work.

If you invest the money in your manuscript, you can make a lot more than what you would get from a publisher in a royalty-nearly 40% of the list price. Why accept 6 percent to 10 percent in royalties when you can keep much more? Why share the profits?

Most publishers work on an 18-month production cycle. Can you wait that long to get into print? Will you miss your market? The one and a half years don't even begin until after the publisher accepts the manuscript. Why waste valuable time shipping your manuscript around to see if there is a publisher out there who likes it? Publication could be three years away.

Once you turn your manuscript over to a publisher, you lose control. They sometimes decide to save money by leaving out some illustrations and they often change the title and lose the theme of the book.

Dan's web site is


Newsletter Click here to read it or paste this into your browser:

Highlights from this week’s Newsletter: Remember – It’s on the LR Website for you to read, this isn’t the actual Newsletter! On the LR website, click on ‘Writers Life Support’, then ‘Writing Craft’, then ‘Newsletter’

GREAT INFORMATION and I suggest that you check it out. It's a weekly newsletter.


On Saturday November 7, 2009, Judy and I attended the Words Aloud Poetry Slam Fest at the library in Owen Sound.

Our own Harry Posner performed. His performance was ranked 4th. He has a professional stage presence and we were disappointed that the judges hadn't rated him higher.

We delighted in listening to all the spoken word artists. There’s something magical when poetry is read aloud.

Barbara Adler's performance amused and entertained us. She is a Vancouver Spoken Word Artist, writer, musician, and workshop facilitator. She is a founding member of the band, Fugitives.

The second Poetry Slam was held on Sunday, November 8, 2009 in Durham and I have cut and pasted Harry’s email to Judy and I.

I just wanted to thank you for coming up to Owen Sound to support my first foray into slam poetry. It was great having your energy to back me up! Finishing fourth was awesome, as well. Now...awesome as that was...the next day (today) in Durham, I managed to win the whole damn thing! It was only a two rounder (I did the jazz poem and the howl poem), but still an amazing result for my second slam ever. Just wanted to pass my joy on, and say thanks, again.
Cheers, Harry aka Monster of Mayhem

I would recommend the Words Aloud Spoken Word Festival for all poets and storytellers. Workshops were held during the festival. Please check out
I’m sure Harry will let us know about next year’s festival.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blog Roll-Up: Best of the Week's Writing Blogs

I don't make it to our meetings very often, and sometimes I even feel like I'm doing okay on my own. And then I come across a post like this, One is a Lonely Number--Why You Need a Writing Mentor on Write to Done, and I'm reminded of not just what the group can do for me, but what I can do for the group.

Do you Tweet? Do you blog (and if you do, let me know so we can add you to our blog roll)? Should you? The Guide to Literary Agents blog answers these questions with another post from the South Carolina Writer's Conference: Literary Agents Talk Blogging, Twitter and More. If you need more incentive to check out Twitter, then head on over to for an explanation of how TweetMyJobs Changes the Game and Freelance Folder sends out a Call to All Freelancers to get included on a Freelance Folder.

Also, make sure you head over to There Are No Rules by Writers Digest's Jane Freidman for her list of Best Tweets for Writers. There are tweets about craft and technique, getting published, self-publishing and marketing and promotion--and more!

Are you looking for new markets for your work? Are you trying to break out as a freelance writer, or even as a short story writer? The Freelance Writing Jobs Network offers 15 Places for Freelance Writers to Find Magazine Markets (note: you can use these for fiction markets as well) and 10 Ways to Get Your Freelance Writing Foot in the Door. The Renegade Writer is offering a New FREE Teleclass: Breaking into Food Writing.

Men With Pens is hosting a special fiction writing week with posts about Creating Character Flaws and Creating a Setting. Be sure to check out the full week's posts!

If dialogue is your weak point, C. Patrick Schulze brings you a couple of posts that should help: The Hidden Secret to Dialogue and How to Punctuate Dialogue.

Rachelle Gardner has some suggestions for Writing a First Draft in honour of NaNoWriMo, and The Three-Ring Circus posts this week offer tips for writing that draft quickly. Diane, our prolific writer updates us on the progress of her work, and the Brian Henry workshop over at Pens, Paints and Paper.

Finally, if you need a little inspiration, head over to Jennifer Lawler's Finding Your Voice blog for a quick lesson in The Power of Yet. And if you prefer your inspiration in laughter, definitely check out The Official Rejectionist's Death Match of Wittery, a tongue-in-cheek contest to find the best rejection letter. Scroll down to the comments to find them.

Tips from Writer's

Before you submit anything, here are a couple of tips from Writer's

Quick tip #1:
Always check a listing's website before submitting. Submission guidelines, subjects covered, and even contact information can all change at a moment's notice. So be ultra-professional and double check before making your submission.

Quick tip #2:
Focus on the main sotry and characters when writing your query and cover letters. Think of your query as similar to the description on the back cover of a book or DVD. Don't get lost in the details, but make editors and agents want to read more.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Brian Henry Workshop in Orangeville

About 30 people attended Brian's Nov 1st workshop . Aside from a couple of technical difficulties - the room was freezing and tea was accidentally dumped all over our table - it was a fun afternoon.

We did an exercise on creating prompts which led to a discussion about writing short stories and why entering the Toronto Star Short Story contest is a waste of time. We used some of our new prompts in our first exercise which was to actually write a short story. Brian's definition of a short story was: a prose narrative between several hundred and several thousand words that aims to achieve a single, concentrated effect.

After our break, we discussed plotting novels. His basic 3 step approach to writing a novel is:
1) Brainstorm
2) Organize
3) Write
Few writers will go these steps only once. For some of us, it's an ongoing process until we get to The End.

One of the most helpful things to do as you brainstorm is to create character sketches. The more important the character's role, the more detailed you want to be. This is also the stage to develop a 500-1000 word synopsis that highlights all the major and minor crises as well as the climax. Tracking your scenes using a flow chart or cue cards is helpful in keeping your novel moving smoothly.

Keep your eyes open for the next workshop!

Contests, Contests, Contests

Agent-judged contest! I'm not sure if there is a prize other than being noticed by Anna Webman, agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. During's last similar contest, one of the winners went on to sign with the literary agent in question. Send the first five pages and a synopsis of your complete YA novel for consideration. Contest starts November 10th, and only the first 70 entries will be accepted.

C. Hope Clark from Funds for Writers shares this contest that's a little different: You know how you set the volume on the TV at a comfortable level and then BAM! a commercial blasts through? Well, SRS Labs wants you to write a 500-word story about that experience. Three winners will receive a VIZIO Home Theater Speaker Bar featuring SRS TruVolume and their stories will be eligible to be chosen as the creative motivation for a future SRS commercial. Details are on Hope's blog. Deadline: November 17, 2009.

Women on Writing hosts a quarterly flash fiction contest. Enter your story of between 250 and 750 words for a chance to win prizes. Entry fee is $10. A critique is also available at an additional cost. The contest judge is literary agent Noah Lukeman of Lukeman Literary Management Ltd. Full contest details are available on the WOW website. Deadline: November 30th.

Show your thanks and win a free essay writing course from Amy Paturel, one of the instructors over at Renegade Writer. Send your essay about what Thanksgiving means to you. Full contest details are available here. Deadline: November 26th (American Thanksgiving).

Glimmer Train is looking for unpublished stories from writers whose stories have not appeared in publications with circulations of over 5000. Entry fee is $15. First prize wins $1,200 plus publication in Glimmer Train. Deadline: November 30th.

Editor Unleashed and Smash Words are teaming up to present a writing contest with a theme: Why I Write. The 50 best essays will be published in an anthology, and the Grand Prize Winner will receive $500 and promotion on both websites. You can find full contest details on the Editor Unleashed blog. Deadline: December 31st.

Glimmer Train's quarterly Fiction Open contest offers a first prize of $2,000 plus publication in Glimmer Train. The contest is open to all writers. Entry fee is $20. Deadline: January 2, 2010.