Thursday, February 28, 2013

Creative Writing Workshop – January 28, 2013
By award-winning fiction writer and poet and creative writing teacher (Humber and George Brown Colleges) Richard Scarsbrook.
It is interesting to take a creative writing workshop by a writer who is both informative and a great speaker. With a creative personality sometimes I become bored but not this time.

If you feel discouraged write anyway. You can always revise your story. Sometimes Richard woke up and knew what the problem was and how to fix it.

Basically it’s all about the story. You want to write a story that’s emotionally rewarding for other people.

Writing Exercises
We did writing exercises in his workshop. He gave us cue words to write. The cue words reflected our life experiences. Richard explained that these words would evoke memories that we had strong feelings about.

He believed that with these cue words we would write a story that mattered. Later we learned these cue words made up the parts of a story and he hoped that we’d also included conflict.
When we needed more ideas that didn’t include our memories he played instrumental music and we were to go with our feelings and imagine a story. Some of his students had used this method and their story was published.


“I’ve written short stories. How do I put them together in a book?”
You look for similar themes and string the stories together. What is the theme that unifies them?

Plot line – is a critical decision that infuses the lives of the characters? Could it be what is destiny?
The story has to add up to something. What did I learn about the planet or humanity?  Why are you telling these stories? Every story is a blend of the author’s life. Why does this story matter? If it matters, it will connect with your readers.

How do you get a title for your book?”


1.      Always use great sounding words.

2.      Sometimes you’ll find the title in your body of work.

3.      Connect the title to something important that happens in your story.

4.      Use unordinary words together that will draw the reader in. Richard gave us the example of one of his titles: Cheeseburger Subversive.

5.      Create fiction in the title and makes the reader think what is this?

Some of the titles that Richard loved:

1.      Barney’s Version

2.      The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks

His favourite authors:

1.      Richard Banks

2.      Philip K. Dick

3.      Ray Bradbury

Richard said, “Don’t ever use the title My Summer Vacation.

At the February 24, 2013 HWG meeting, Judy mentioned that sometimes authors use lines from Shakespeare. She gave the following examples:
1.      What Disturbs the Blood by James Fitzgerald

2.      Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Judy and I talked about What Disturbs the Blood – how the title enticed us to read the book.

“How do I find my voice?”

It just happens. Don’t worry about it. It’s not that important. What’s important is finding a story that matters that has a strong emotional connection with your readers.
Style is secondary and style happens. Telling a great story is your job as a writer.

Story is the most important thing. The Skin of a Lion (is a novel by Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje) is brilliant. You want to finish reading Dan Browns books ‘cause he tells a compelling story.

You’ll find your voice when you write a good story. Don’t let finding your voice cripple you and prevent you from writing. 

“How important is Spelling and Grammar?”
He says the same thing that my editor says: know the rules so you can break them. You can always get help to fix your spelling and grammar.

Mostly, you want to use the active voice but sometimes you want to use the passive voice.
When you’re writing action scenes use short fragmented sentences.

Check out HWG blog:
for more information on upcoming workshops at the Orangeville Library.

Next workshop at Orangeville Library is Monday, March 25, 2013 -
Writing, Revising & Editing and Words: The Writer's Tools

March Break Creative Writing Workshop
at The Milton Public Library
Thursday, March 14, 2013  - 1:30 – 4:00 p.m.
A creative writing workshop and Q and A session for
aspiring writers.



Monday, February 25, 2013

Creative Writing Workshop for Adults: Session 1

Join Canadian award-winning author, teacher and entertainer Richard Scarsbrook for the first in a four part series of creative writing workshops for adults (18 years and older). This two hour workshop focuses on Writing, Revising & Editing and Words: The Writer's Tools.

Richard Scarsbrook has published a number of works of poetry and fiction, including Cheeseburger Subversive, Featherless Bipeds, Destiny's Telescope, and The Monkeyface Chronicles - winner of the 2011 Ontario Library Association's White Pine Award. He teaches creative writing workshops at Humber and George Brown Colleges. His latest novel, Indifference League, is due to be released in 2014. 

Light refreshments provided. No registration required.

For more information about Richard Scarsbrook:
  • Date: Monday, March 25, 2013
  • Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
  • Location: Mill Street Branch - Meeting Room (lower level)
Follow up sessions scheduled for Monday, March 25th; Monday, April 22nd;, Monday, May 13th; Monday, June 10th.

Jayne Self speaks at Orangeville Library

150th Series: Author Jayne E. Self

150th Series: Authors and Artists @ the Library presents Canadian award-winning author Jayne E. Self at the Mill Street branch of the Orangeville Public Library on Wednesday, March 20 at 1 p.m. in the Meeting Room.

Local author, speaker and musician, Ms. Self will discuss what's involved in writing a mystery, where her ideas come from, and how she picks her victims.

Having published two novels in her Seaglass Mystery series: Murder in Hum Harbour (2011) and Death of a Highland Heavyweight (2012), Self is the proud recipient of the 2012 Christian Writing Award for Best Mystery for Murder in Hum Harbour.

Admission is free. No registration required. Light refreshments provided.
  • Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
  • Time: 1:00pm
  • Location: Mill Street branch - Meeting Room (lower level)