You are here: Home > Blogs > Writer's Nook

Latest Posts

On Line

Select another pool to see the results

    Single Onion #101

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Gotta take a little break this week from the onslaught of preparations for Writers' Weekend 2013 to highlight Single Onion's first installment in a new season of their incredibly impressive lecture series.

    The first event in the series is happening this Thursday, January 17. It is being curated by Calgary's Poet Laureate Kris Demeanor and he is bringing in the songwriting genius of Geoff Berner to tackle the topic of "Poet as Songwriter".

    Where else could you possibly hear Sylvia Plath compared and contrasted to Jon Bon Jovi?

    For complete details go the Single Onion website.

    For Geoff Berner's music available at the library click the album cover below...

    Writing and Publishing Your Children's & YA Novel

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    One crucial strength of our annual Writers’ Weekend, an entire day dedicated to informing and inspiring Calgary writers, is that we try to offer something new every year. No matter how well received last year’s presentations were, we always get right back to work on making the next one better. After the first few years I can’t imagine how many comments and suggestions came back to us looking for more help on writing children’s books. After all, isn’t everybody working on their own children’s book? Isn’t everybody reading the most recent YA phenomenovel?

    We finally did it!

    This year marks the very first time we’ve been able to offer a session exclusively for writers working on the Children’s and YA novel and we are bringing in one of the very best in his field – Simon Rose.

    On Saturday, February 2, Mr. Rose will take the stage from 2 – 3pm to enlighten us on the transformation of idea into story, on getting started as a writer, and getting on the path to publication.

    Register for "Writing and Publishing Your Children's & YA Novel" here.

    Go to simon-rose.com to learn more about his prolific career, which includes the publication of 7 novels, more than 20 non-fiction titles, and a tireless approach to workshop coaching, school presentations, and inspiring young and old writers alike all over town and far, far beyond.

    The Time Camera The Alchemist's Portrait The Doomsday Mask The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction: Volume One

    Writers' Weekend 2013 - Ask the Editor

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    There's a lot to look forward to in the 2013 installment of Writers' Weekend. We've got presentations lined up all day long on Saturday, February 2 aimed at inspiring and informing writers of all kinds at any stage in their writing life. In the next few weeks I will take aim at each of the six presentations so that anyone who can't spend the entire day with us can plan accordingly and take as much advantage of the opportunities as possible.

    I wanted to highlight the twelve noon session first because I think this one might fill up really quick.

    One of the most mysterious aspects of the writing process is how the world of publishing works. How does that giant stack of paper get into the right hands, get read by the right person, and find its audience? And what does an editor do to help a writer get there?

    What questions do you have about the job of an editor? What mysteries of publishing do you need to solve?

    ASK THE EDITOR!

    Book editor and writer Sandra McIntyre will take the stage at noon for an insightful question and answer session.

    Register here.

    You may already recognize Sandra from appearances on Breakfast Television or last year's Writers' Weekend.

    Previously, she was the managing editor of Atlantic Canada’s largest independent publisher, Nimbus Publishing, and started Nimbus’ fiction imprint, Vagrant Press. In 2007, she co-edited The Vagrant Revue of New Fiction and received the Halifax Mayor’s Award for Cultural Achievement in Literature. We are now anticipating the May 2013 release of a very exciting anthology - 'Everything Is So Political', featuring twenty short stories by Canadian writers that explore the intersection between politics and the contemporary short story. Check out a preview of the anthology from Roseway Publishing.

    To find out more about Sandra McIntyre go to sandralit.com.

    For the complete lineup of Writers' Weekend presentations, click here.

    Want A Hot Date this Saturday?

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    There’s a lot to love about filling Station.

    They publish innovative work of emerging artists. They give local writers a stage, voice, and audience every month through the Flywheel reading series. They’re a volunteer-run non-profit that only seems to care about building and energizing Calgary’s literary community. And filling Station is a great, refreshing read.

    That’s why I got giddy excited when I found out the collective was bringing their new event – Hot Dates with Blank Pages – right here to the Central library. The idea of ‘Hot Dates’ is to get writers out of their dusty, dim-lit, cramped, coffee-stained, solitary workspaces and into some of Calgary’s most stimulating, inspiring spaces in the company of like-minded friends you didn’t know you already had. In the words of the fS website:

    Hot Dates with Blank Pages is a new literary event hosted by filling Station that will be held on the first Saturday of every month in different locales around Calgary, locales meant to get the creative juices flowing again.”

    The January installment of “Hot Dates with Blank Pages” is taking place this Saturday, January 5, at the Central library.

    For complete details, go the filling Station website. Issue 54

    A Writer's Resolutions

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The ultimate resolution that writers gravitate towards at the end of every year seems to be: 'Make More Time to Write'. Sounds like a great idea, but if I’m looking for a resolution I’m actually going to keep I’m going to stay way far away from the impossible task of fabricating time. Days may be getting longer as we roll into the new year, but only in terms of light. We’re not gonna see any 25-hour days or 8-day weeks in 2013, so I’m gonna fall back on the two promises I can never seem to keep:

    - READ MORE -

    - GET OUT TO MORE LOCAL LITERARY EVENTS -

    Catching up on the long list of books I must read should be an easy one to follow through on, but this promise is not to be taken lightly. Anyone who has ever sought advice on writing has surely heard in the darkest bold letters – READ. Whether it’s the type of work you strive to create or the complete opposite, there’s nothing more important to a writer’s development than devouring as much literature as possible. Makes sense. Want to be a chef? Taste a lot of food, understand what makes it delicious. Want to be an athlete? Play a lot of sports to develop the right muscles and figure out the game’s structure.

    Easy.

    Unless you aren't sure what to read next. But the library has the answer for that - NEXTREADS - a booklist newsletter service that sends customized reading suggestions directly to your inbox. Stay on top of all the latest greatest releases in your selected field and discover exciting new authors.

    Getting out to more local literary events is a sweet, easy resolution too. For the most part we engage in a necessarily solitary process but somewhere along the way the support of community, however you define community, is essential. Every week in Calgary there is at least one author reading, one group meeting, one book launch, or one opportunity to meet like-minded individuals in a stimulating environment, often a pub. I just found out today that filling Station magazine is bringing their next installment of "Hot Dates with Blank Pages" right here to the Central library on Saturday, January 5.

    Here in the Writer's Nook we are always looking out for next week's best-looking events so if your resolutions look anything like mine, I will hopefully see you out there. And please leave a comment if I'm missing any of the shows and events you're excited about. And happy new year!

    Writers' Weekend 2013

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    How can I reach a larger audience?

    What does an editor do?

    How can I get an audience, at all?

    Should I self-publish?

    What font should my manuscript be submitted in?

    What is an oxford comma?

    How can I improve my writing?

    __________

    No matter what stage your writing life is at, what type of writing you work on, or what you hope to accomplish with it, there will be questions. The answers aren't always easy to find and even when you think you've got things figured out there's a good chance of finding another, different answer in our rapidly changing, information overloaded world.

    Lovingly devoted to Calgary's aspiring (and established) writers, the library wants to help.

    We do this every winter: round up as many local experts as possible in the John Dutton Theatre for a full day of free, inspirational presentations. This year our Writers' Weekend will take the stage Saturday, February 2 and registration has just begun. Every year I say there's no way we'll be able to top last year, and then we do. Here's the lineup for Writers' Weekend 2013:

    My Story - Writing Memoir and Biography

    Join Brian Brennan, acclaimed historian, best-selling author, and award-winning journalist as he discusses the art, craft, and fundamentals of memoir and biography writing. 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. REGISTER.

    Engaging An Audience Through Online Writing

    Join Lonnie Taylor, Huffington Post Canada blogger, for an introduction to connecting to an audience through social media platforms in creative ways. 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. REGISTER.

    Ask the Editor

    Join book editor Sandra McIntyre for an insightful question and answer session about what editors do and how publishing works. 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. REGISTER.

    Ask the Writer

    Join experienced writers Lori Hahnel, Naomi Lewis, and Debbie Willis for a dynamic question and answer session on the diverse elements of the writing process in the current publishing environment. 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. REGISTER.

    Writing and Publishing your Children's and YA Novel

    Join acclaimed writer Simon Rose and learn how to turn ideas into stories, get started as a writer and get on the path to publication. 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. REGISTER.

    Covered - Clothing for your Book

    Join Derek Mah, celebrated illustrator and book cover designer, for insight into the collaborative process required to achieve the perfect first impression for your book. 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. REGISTER.

    You can also register for any or all of these sessions by calling 403-260-2620 or in-person at your local branch.

    Stay tuned for all my upcoming blogs on this year's presenters!

    filling Station's Flywheel

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Tomorrow night, the first night after no living person will see three identical numbers marking the date, is also the second Thursday of December. And the second Thursday of every month is the day when filling Station magazine takes over the upstairs of Pages bookstore for the Flywheel reading series.

    If you aren't familiar with filling Station, this homegrown, 100% volunteer-run magazine focuses on the support of local emerging writers and the publication of innovative poetry, fiction, and non-fiction (creative non-fiction, reviews, articles, interviews...).

    The best way to learn more about this wonderful situation would be to either go check it out in person tomorrow night for the...

    DECEMBER FLYWHEEL

    "...the last flywheel of the year with readings from Alberta writers:

    Judith Pond, Jani Krulc, Jason Lee Norman, and Patrick Horner!"

    Thursday, December 13th
    7:30 PM
    Pages on Kensington
    (1135 Kensington Drive NW)

    ...or come down to the Central library where you'll find issues of filling Station new and old, as well as a full selection of all the amazing literary magazines coming out from all over Canada.

    Canada Writes

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's annual 'Canada Writes' competition has opened their mailbox to submissions of Creative Nonfiction. Besides an impressive award of $6,000 dollars for the winner this competition also boasts the offering of a two-week residency at The Banff Centre's Leighton Artists' Colony. Pretty sweet stuff for the writer who can produce a winning entry.

    The nature of Creative Nonfiction can be an elusive beast, ranging in form from the personal essay to feature articles, which is what makes this competition such an alluring invitation. From the Canada Writes website, the CBC describes the criteria as "memoir, biography, humour writing, essay (including personal essay), travel writing, and feature articles. While the events must be real and the facts true, creative nonfiction conveys your message through the use of literary techniques such as characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, narrative, and personal reflection".

    In the endeavour to produce the best 1,200 - 1,500 words possible your library awaits, housing all the guidance, inspiration, and source material you need for a confident, glowing submission. While the form allows a writer extreme freedom in the choice of topic there is one part of Nonfiction that's pretty strict: the facts. Having stamped myself strictly a writer of fiction, it's pretty easy to let research sit on the backburner, or make something up, to make way for uninterrupted forward progress in a narrative. But if I did have a research question slowing me down I know exactly what I would do: send it to the library via the 'Ask A Question' service. Here at Central we are constantly tackling tough research questions and nothing makes the job more rewarding (at least for this particular Reference Assistant) than freeing up time for writers so they can get back to the tap-tapping.

    If it isn't research assistance you need, but fundamentals, try some of these new titles:

    Storycraft, by Jack Hart Crafting the Personal Essay, by Dinty Moore The Lifespan of a Fact, by John D'Agata You Can't Make This Stuff Up, by Lee Gutkind

    With the fundamentals in place, and a librarian working on your fact check, you might need some inspiration. Here's some of our recent favorites from the world of non-fiction:

    Walls, by Marcello Di Cintio Magic Hours, by Tom Bissell Slice Me Some Truth: an anthology of Canadian Creative Non-Fiction

    If you've got your fundamentals, facts, and inspiration, wouldn't six grand and two weeks in the mountains be nice?

    The Finishing Touches

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    So you’ve successfully locked out your inner editor for an entire month to focus entirely on the production of pure, forward, relentless output. Whether you come out of National Novel Writing Month with 50,000 words or fifty, whether your rough draft needs a complete makeover or minor tweaking, the time will come to figure out what kind of structure the plot, characters, and settings you’ve created need in order to reach their absolute full to the brim potential.

    In most cases, unless you're William Faulkner, this is the hard part.

    Luckily, there is no shortage of places to turn to for help.

    Right here at the Central Library a group of aspiring writers meets once a month to share their work. While turning to family and friends for a critical read might result in some of the glorious praise you deserve, you'll benefit a lot more from a fresh set of critical eyes at our Creative Writing Club. Registration for the new season will begin December 17 and is limited to 40 participants.

    Unfortunately, the library's 2012 Writer-in-Residence season with Brian Brennan has ended, but watch out for Mr. Brennan at this year's Writers' Weekend, the library's annual day dedicated to aspiring Calgary writers, featuring free presentations all day long from local experts. Details remain tba on Writers' Weekend 2013 - I shouldn't even be talking about it - but I will say that it's happening February 2 and registration will begin December 17.

    Until the library's next Writer-in-Residence is announced, there are other residencies available:

    Deborah Willis will be in residence at the University of Calgary until June 15, 2013, through the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program.

    Lori Hahnel will begin a residency at the Alexandra Writers Centre Society in May 2013.

    The Alexandra Writers Centre Society also offers a wide range of writing courses year round, as well as a Manuscript Review Service.

    The list of resources available to Calgary writers seems to grow every day, and the more I search the more I find, so I certainly won't attempt to mention them all here now. But remember to take a break from the brain pounding work once in a while to enjoy the work of local authors making a difference in Calgary's literary scene, paving the way. I will do my best to pass along every exciting event I hear about, here at the Nook, and in the meantime please visit the upcoming events listing of two of Calgary's favorite literary venues:

    Pages Books on Kensington.

    Shelf Life Books.

    In terms of events, we might see a bit of downtime around the holiday season, which makes it the perfect time to check out some of our favorite, most useful of books for writers that landed on library shelves in 2012...

    Escaping into the Open, by Elizabeth Berg Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript (Writer's Digest)

    2013 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market

    Interview With A Wrimotaur

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It's a busy time for anyone involved in November's NaNoWriMo, especially the amazing volunteer Municipal Liaisons who work their tails off to create a special experience for writers in their region. MLs are veteran Wrimos who organize in-person meet-ups and parties, send out regular pep-filled emails, answer questions, and generally serve as the cheerleaders for the region and beyond. Here in Calgary we are lucky to have the leadership of two MLs: Naiya Azurewater and Xanateria.

    Click here for Calgary's regional website (www.calgarynano.ca).

    Xanateria recently took the time out of her busy schedule to enlighten us on the expansive, welcoming world of NaNoWriMo, in Calgary and beyond...

    _________

    WRITER’S NOOK: The basis of National Novel Writing Month seems straight-forward, to produce a short novel in the month of November with the support of hundreds of thousands of people, but in its thirteenth year NaNoWriMo has grown to become much more. Can you tell us why the project has been so successful?

    XANATERIA: One of the great things about NaNoWriMo is that it means so many different things to participants. But, the results are about more than just words on a page. As a municipal liaison, I’ve seen teens find the sheer joy of writing for pleasure, and develop a real love of the written word. The structure of NaNoWriMo allows many participants to finally let go of the idea that what they write must be perfect. Stripped of the ability to be their own worst critic, participants who honestly believe they aren’t creative at all get to experience the magic of telling their story. That can be a powerful mechanism for change. And that’s the biggest benefit of all, I think. Crossing the NaNoWriMo finish line is often a huge confidence boost. For a person who didn’t think they could manage 5000, managing 50,000 makes them ask, if I can do that, what else could I accomplish? And that confidence spills over to all areas of life, not just creative endeavors.

    WN: Last I checked there were 2,489 members signed up in the Calgary region, which seems like a strong response (even though Edmonton is beating us, per capita, yikes!). What can Calgarians look forward to by getting involved in their regional NaNoWriMo group?

    XT: Writing is often seen as a solitary undertaking. For NaNoWriMo Calgary, nothing could be further from the truth. We have a core group of die-hard regulars, with more enthusiastic newcomers every year. We welcome any person who wants to attend, regardless of the challenges they face. All our in-person events are held in venues accessible to people with disabilities, and you will never find participants who are more welcoming and friendly.

    The Office Of Letters and Light, the organization that runs NaNoWriMo, only requires us to host a Kick Off Event, a Thank Goodness It’s Over (TGIO) party, and one in person write-in per week.

    Due to demand from our members, we take things a bit farther. There’s Newcomers Night (held in October to help lessen panic and confusion for first-timers), a Midnight Kick-Off held on Halloween Night, a Midway Bash, 2 in-person write-ins per week, and a Marathon Write-In (at least 8 hours). For those who can’t make it to in-person events, there are also 2 virtual write-ins per week, held in the regional chat room.

    Needless to say, my co-municipal liaison and I don’t get a lot of sleep until after TGIO. But, even after that, our members enjoy our in-person events so much; we now meet once a month year-round. Our members have formed lasting friendships, even a few romances, but more importantly, we support each other every step of the way. For example, a few years ago, one of our members was already behind, and then lost a big chunk of work on the final day of the month. Upset and discouraged, he logged into chat to share that he had given up. His fellow Wrimotaurs lifted his flagging spirits and took turns cheering him on. He’d come to enough events that people knew how important finishing NaNo was to him. Those in the chat recruited each new arrival to help until he crossed the finish line a winner. Quite simply, they wouldn’t let him quit.

    The same is true at in-person events. Any time you are stuck in a scene, someone has ideas how to help you get out. If you are lacking motivation, someone will help you find more (and probably hand you caffeine).

    WN: Libraries are the ultimate place to write… The leisure and domestic distractions of home are eliminated, the calm-yet-lively atmosphere nurtures focus, and you surround yourself with all the glorious material you could ask for in terms of research and inspiration. Is there anything else about the library that makes it the perfect place for participants of NaNoWriMo?

    XT: It’s true that the library means you have fewer distractions and plenty of research material (though some of our participants would say researching is the ultimate distraction), there are a couple of other good reasons Wrimos write at the library. For one thing, like our participants, there are library branches all over the city. Branches are accessible, and come with friendly staff who can help you put your hands on the right material much faster than many of us can on our own. And unlike some other venues, libraries are filled to the brim with people who love the written word, so are much less likely to minimize, or even ridicule, your fantastic literary undertaking. As much as I love NaNo, I’ve seen how hard it can be when friends or family just don’t see the value in trying it. The library gives you another option to find a supportive environment.

    WN: What is the difference between a Wrimo and a Wrimotaur ?

    XT: Wrimo refers to any person, worldwide, who participates in NaNoWriMo. The regional group here in Calgary chose a mascot who is a cross between a writer and a Minotaur. So, our participants are known as the Calgary Wrimotaurs.

    WN: What do you have to say to stubborn, old-dog type of writers who are going to write their brains out all month long regardless of November and would rather not get distracted by the goal of a 50,000 word count? What will I miss out on?

    XT: Well, for one thing, you would lose the chance to meet the most dynamic group of writers I’ve ever been privileged to meet. But as one of their leaders, you might think I’m biased on that score. Seriously though, the true benefit of NaNoWriMo is not the 50,000 word goal. Rather, it’s the idea that in order to meet it, you must lock up your inner editor, put writing first (for at least the month), and put the words on the page. In fact, many of our Wrimotaurs set goals both below or far above the 50,000 mark. NaNo is a self challenge, so any number that challenges you personally would do just as well. We have some members who do a double NaNo, and pull off 100k, and others move up to triple and beyond. Others, who have multitudes of jobs, school, or children set their goal to 10k, or a half NaNo and are perfectly content with that.

    During NaNo, what you produce might not be literary gold, but the lack of pressure to be perfect can pave the way for higher productivity. Experts say it takes 30 days for an action to become a habit, so if you participate in NaNo you will hopefully have made writing every day a habit. Even if you plan to write all month, it can still be very difficult to make writing a priority in an already busy life. The magical thing about NaNoWriMo is that it gives you an easy way to explain why you have put writing ahead of all the other obligations. Granted, your friends might forget what you look like and your laundry pile might be mistaken for a mountain, but in the NaNo world, that’s considered normal.

    __________

    Xanateria (who also answers Josie or Josiah on Facebook) first attempted NaNo in 2005, but didn’t log her first win until 2006, when she discovered the hugely supportive community in Calgary. When she’s not helping pull NaNo together every year, she works as a home support worker for seniors and enjoys spending time online reading far too much fanfiction. For those of you who have yet to meet her, she is easy to pick out: just look for the mobility assistance service dog in the bright red harness next to her. Look as much as you want, but please don’t touch: Declan is adorable, we know, but he is working and needs to be left alone.

    567891011121314Showing 91 - 100 of 202 Record(s)