Monday, December 19, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Dennis Fitter talked about the Backspace Agent-Author Seminar that was held in New York City last month. He enjoyed the experience and received valuable information about query letters, pitches and the first two pages of a manuscript. He encouraged us to join the Backspace online writing community. An annual subscription of $40 provides access to discussion forums with over 1600 writers from New York Times Bestsellers to aspiring authors in all genres. Dennis also gave each of us a copy of his book, A Colorful Shade of Gray. Great holiday reading!
Patricia Anderson talked about her misadventures when she participated in the OHBA Humanitarian Build in the Dominican Republic last month. Can you find her on Youtube?
The magazine, Our Canada, is sponsoring their first Short Fiction and Poetry Contest. Entries are due December 16th. For more details, visit their website.
The deadline for the Open Heart 6 Poetry Competition is December 25th. They are looking for poems that include a heart theme. All styles are welcome. Poems must not exceed 36 lines.
The deadlines for the Mysterious Short Story Contest is December 31st. To be considered, a short story must contain an element of mystery and be identifiably Canadian. All winning entries will be published in an anthology.
The deadline for the Here be Monsters Anthology #6 is January 16th. They are looking for unpublished works of speculative fiction in any genre.
Written by Joanne Guidoccio
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Upcoming Events and Contests...
- On Thursday, November 3rd, Edeet Ravel will be reading and discussing her work at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. The fireside chat starts at 7:00 p.m.
- On Thursday, November 10th, Eveline Adomait will be reading and discussing her books at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. The fireside chat starts at 7:00 p.m.
- On Tuesday, November 15th, Anita Rau Badami, Wayne Johnston, and Ami McKay will be reading at Norfolk United Church. Tickets are available at the Bookshelf Cafe.
- On Thursday, November 17, Nicholas Ruddock will be reading and discussing his books at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. The fireside chat starts at 7:00 p.m.
- On Sunday, November 20th, Cindy Carroll and the Guelph Write Now group will conduct a workshop on pitches at Lucie's Restaurant. The workshop starts at 1:00 p.m. Visit the website for more information.
- On Tuesday, November 29th, the eReader and eGifting Options presentation will take place at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. It starts at 7:00 p.m.
- The magazine, Our Canada, is sponsoring their first Short Fiction and Poetry Contest. Entries are due December 16th. For more details, visit their website.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
A knowledgeable speaker, Mortenson referred to a number of films among them Jaws, Nightmare on Elm Street, Lizzie's Story, Carrie, Fatal Attraction, The Good Son, Psycho, Hostel, Pet Cemetery, Silence of the Lambs and The Stepford Wives.
Here are some of his tips for wannabe horror writers...
- Readers are afraid of death and losing control. In your writing, play with the illusion of control and make the reader confront the unknown.
- Fear inspires the most action.
- Take the everyday and turn it diabolical. For example, in Stephen King's novel, Kujo, a dog gets rabies and starts attacking people. Keep in mind that any animal can turn.
- Great horror is built on anticipation. In Jaws, the music played whenever the shark was approaching.
- When you limit what the reader knows, he/she will fell helpless.
- Anyone is capable of murder.
- Effective horror tries to bring out lessons.
- Play with...How much do we take for granted?...How much can go wrong?
- To make an even greater impact, have no definite conclusion or closure. For example, in Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal is not caught. The unknown makes everyone uncomfortable.
- If you are looking for a topic, ask yourself: What scares you? What do you fear?
- Play with the idea of science going bad. For example, what could be put in food? How terrifying would it be to lose all consciousness?
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Welcome back to Dennis Fitter. We wish him the best of luck with his pitch for Mexico City at the Surrey Writers Conference later this month. Keep us posted!
Upcoming Events and Contests...
- On Wednesday, October 12th, Erik Mortensen will facilitate a workshop entitled "Inspiring Screams: Horror Writing" at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. The two-hour workshop starts at 7:00 p.m.
- On Thursday, October 13th, Linwood Barclay, Maureen Jennings and Peter Robinson will read from their latest books at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. The readings start at 7:00 p.m.
- On Sunday, October 16th, Cindy Carroll and the Guelph Write Now group will conduct a workshop on pitches at Lucie's Restaurant. The workshop starts at 1:00 p.m. Visit the website for more information.
- On Wednesday, October 19th, Kevin Nunn will spearhead the next session of The Sound of Writing at the EBar in the Bookshelf Cafe. Matthew Wren will be reading from his latest work. Email Kevin at email@example.com for more details.
- On Tuesday, October 25th, Maligie Koroma will read from his latest book at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. The reading starts at 7:00 p.m.
- The deadline for the CBC Writing Contest is Tuesday, November 1st. The First Prize winner will receive $6,000, courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts, and will have his/her story published in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine and on the Canada Writes website. The 4 runners-up will each receive $1,000, courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts, and their stories will be published on the Canada Writes website. Submissions to the short story category must be between 1,200 and 1,500 words.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
He provided us with two hours of excellent tips and suggestions for writing and publishing short stories. Special thanks to Kevin Nunn for organizing this event.
Here are some of Doug's tips...
- Sell as few rights as possible for as much money as possible. You have only one opportunity to sell first rights.
- Find a good home for your work, preferably one that pays professional rates (at least 5 cents a word).
- Science fiction and fantasy writers can search for markets at ralan.com.
- All writers can find markets at Places for Writers and Duotrope.
- Before sending out your work, check each link on the site and make sure you understand all the submission guidelines. Check out the competition at archived issues of the publication. Make sure that your story is a reasonable fit for that particular market.
- Pick out your top five markets and start sending out your work.
- Keep your cover letter short. In the first paragraph, inform the editor that you are attaching or pasting your short story. Use the second paragraph, to talk about your publication credits. In the third paragraph, thank the editor for his/her time.
- Do not send simultaneous submissions (i.e. two markets at the same time).
- If you have not heard in three months time, send an email asking for an update.
- Set up a tracking system for your short stories. Doug uses a large spreadsheet to keep track of the titles, dates sent and responses.
- Keep writing and keep sending different short stories out on a regular system.
- Do not revise your story to reflect the feedback you have received. Each editor has different preferences and needs.
- There are only two things a writer can control: quality of the stories and the contract signed.
- Read the contract very carefully before you sign it. Point out anything you do not like or wish to have changed.
- You can sell second rights or reprints of your story for less money. Anthologies will often take reprints.
- Check out Doug's list of foreign markets.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Last night, five of us gathered at Symposium Restaurant to discuss our writing and enjoy the wonderful food. The conversation was animated as we covered a range of topics--everything from editing to metaphysics.
Welcome to Matt and Dave from the Guelph Write Now group. We enjoyed listening to Matt read from his novel. Good luck with the second draft!
On Sunday, September 18th, the Eden Mills Writers Festival will take place in Eden Mills. Visit the website for more information.
On Wednesday, September 21st, Doug Smith will facilitate a free workshop, Marketing Short Fiction, at the Guelph Public Library. The workshop starts at 7:00 p.m.
On Saturday, September 24th, Brian Henry will run his popular How to Get Published workshop at Harcourt United Church in Guelph. I attended this workshop in Woodstock last month and enjoyed it immensely. Visit Brian's blog for more information.
Written by Joanne Guidoccio
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
- Kevin Nunn has organized a third Sound of Writing session for Wednesday, August 24th. Jo Prescott, Gemma Files and Sephera Giron will be reading at the EBar in the Bookshelf Cafe. Jo is the editor of The Glass Coin, an online magazine; Gemma is the Black Quill award winning author of A Book of Tongues and A Rope of Thorns; Sephera has published many novels and short stories. Readings start at 8 p.m.
- Guelph Write Now will hold its anniversary dinner celebration on Tuesday, August 30th. The group has been around for two years and welcomes all members--old and new--to the celebration at Symposium Restaurant. Dinner starts at 7 p.m.
- The deadline for the Surrey International Writers Conference Contest is September 9th.
- The deadline for the Creative Keyboards Short Fiction Contest is September 30th.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
We worked on an activity from the Writers Digest. If you are interested, visit Your Story and submit your own entry for the contest.
Congratulations to Dennis Fitter! He completed the first draft of his novel and will be polishing it up in Mexico. He will return in September.
Upcoming Events and Contests
- Cindy Carroll and the Guelph Write Now Group will be meeting at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 17 at Lucie's Restaurant. Visit the website for more information.
- The deadline for the John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award is August 1st.
- The Chicken Soup for the Soul Series is looking for more inspirational stories. There are a number of deadlines throughout the summer. Visit the website for more information.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
We were treated to three dynamic readings by Doug Smith, Marcy Italiano, and Andrea Shalay. Their storytelling abilities were evident as they read from previously published short stories.
Thanks to Kevin Nunn for spearheading this reading series. The next group of readings will take place on Wednesday, August 17th.
Written by Joanne Guidoccio
Monday, June 13, 2011
We gathered for Danielle Gavan's workshop on self-publishing. The presentation was a dynamic one and we were all impressed by Danielle's enthusiasm and willingness to share her extensive knowledge with us.
I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed by the information, but I took good notes and hope to implement some of her excellent suggestions.
- Start promoting yourself the minute you write the first sentence of your book.
- Create Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.
- Start a blog and talk about your writing process. Post some of your chapters and invite readers to comment.
- Pay a professional to edit your book. A reasonable fee is $1 to $1.50 for every 300 words or $350 for an entire book.
- Post a chapter or more of your work on Wattpad or Smashwords and invite readers to comment.
- Visit the Savvy Authors website. Here, you will find other authors, editors, cover artists, agents and publishers. Every genre is represented. You can also sign up for online workshops. A few times a year, the site will sponsor pitch sessions where you can pitch your latest work. Premium membership is $35 per year, an excellent investment according to Danielle Gavan and Cindy Carroll.
- Get honest feedback from beta writers. A beta writer is a person who reads a work of fiction with a critical eye. She helps improve the grammar, spelling, characterization and general style of writing prior to the release of the book.
- Consider (POD) or Print-on-Demand publishing. The initial fee is $35 and you only pay for the books ordered.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Marcy Italiano lives in Waterloo, Ontario with her husband Giasone and twin boys. Books available: KATRINA AND THE FRENCHMAN: A JOURNAL FROM THE STREET - June 2009. This is a true story about Marcy and Giasone’s experience in New Orleans when Katrina hit, proceeds going back to Common Ground Relief. SPIRITS AND DEATH IN NIAGARA – May 2008. A non-fiction collection of ghost stories, stunts and death in and around Niagara Falls. PAIN MACHINE - 2003. The Pain Machine can read pain from one person and give it to another so doctors in the ER can diagnose right away. But what happens when people have different levels of tolerance? What if someone has Fibromyalgia? Marcy has also written many dark fiction stories, the most recent publication is “Dance at My Funeral” in the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, Issue 4. She has published poetry in both magazines and online. She also works on songwriting with Giasone. Marcy is still a Web Designer (www.theweblizard.com). To find out more please visit www.marcyitaliano.com.
here's a bio for Doug Smith;
"Doug Smith is, quite simply, the finest short-story writer Canada has ever produced in the science fiction and fantasy genres, and he's also the most prolific. His stories are a treasure trove of riches that will touch your heart while making you think."
—Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Hominids
Doug is an award-winning Toronto-based author of speculative fiction, with over 150 short story sales in thirty countries and two dozen languages, including appearances in Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, InterZone, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Baen's Universe, Postscripts, On Spec, The Third Alternative, Cicada, and anthologies from Penguin, DAW, and others.
His newest collection, Chimerascope (ChiZine Publications, 2010), is currently a finalist for the 2011 Aurora Award. His first collection, Impossibilia (PS Publishing), was a finalist for the 2009 Aurora Award.
Doug was a finalist for the international John W. Campbell Award for best new writer, and has twice won the Canadian Aurora Award. A short film based on his story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" toured festivals in North America and internationally in 2010 and 2011, winning several awards.
His website is www.smithwriter.com and he tweets at twitter.com/dougsmithwriter.
The readings start at 8 and should be finished by 9 leaving plenty of time to socialize and network.
There is no admission fee, but donations will be welcome to help defray costs for importing writers from further away, and as always I encourage attendees to buy the speakers a drink and take to opportunity to speak with them about the craft.
Hope that covers the bases! Don't hesitate to drop me a line with any comments or questions.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Kevin Nunn
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Upcoming Events and Contests
Graham Freeman, Cindy Carroll's friend, will be directing his play at Guelph Little Theatre. The One Act Festival takes place on Thursday, June 9, Friday, June 10, and Saturday June 11. Showtime is 8:00. Cindy will be there all three nights. If you are interested, email her.
Cindy Carroll and the Guelph Write Now group will be meeting at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 12th at Lucie's Restaurant. One of the members will be presenting a workshop on e-publishing and self-publishing. Visit the website for more information.
On Wednesday, June 22nd , Kevin Nunn is spearheading a gathering of writers at The Bookshelf. Three writers--Andrea Shalay, Marcy Italiano, Douglas Smith--will be reading in the EBar. Admission is free. Readings start at 8:00 p.m.
The deadline for the Writers of the Future Contest is June 30th.
The deadline for the Eden Mills Writers Festival Contest is June 30th.
The deadline for the John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award is August 1st.
Written by Joanne Guidoccio
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
A special welcome to Nikki Everts-Hammond, a writing instructor, who inspired us with her observations and suggestions. We hope to see more of her in the future.
I enjoyed catching up with everyone and learning more about their writing journeys.
Cindy Carroll and the Guelph Write Now group will be meeting at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 15th at Lucie's Restaurant. Bring a pen and be prepared to write. Visit the website for more information.
Written by Joanne Guidoccio
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sarah talked about the "rules" for being a professional author. She borrowed the following suggestions from Robert A. Heinlein and Robert J. Sawyer:
- Finish what you write.
- Send out what you write.
- Keep sending it out until it sells.
- Keep writing new work.
- Don't quit.
- Treat it like a job, not a hobby.
- Schedule time and/or set deadlines and work to meet them.
- Learn to work independently (not to external deadlines or peer pressure).
- Always READ the market's submission guidelines.
- Always FOLLOW the submission guidelines.
- Create a goals list. Ensure that all goals are specific and measurable. For example, "Write 100 words per day for the next month" instead of "Write more."
- Keep a progress log.
- Reward yourself each time you achieve one of your goals.
- Use the following free online markets: ralan and duotrope.
- On Wednesday, April 20, Kevin Nunn is spearheading the "Sound of Writing " at the Bookshelf Cafe. A number of writers will be reading in the EBar. Email Kevin at email@example.com for more details.
- The deadline for the Canadian Writers' Journal Short Fiction Contest is April 30th.
- The deadline for the Writers of the Future Contest is June 30th.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
We gleaned many interesting facts from the interactive presentation.
- A survey of 108 science fiction and fantasy writers were polled about advances from their publishers. The advances ranged from 0 to $40,000 with an average of $5000.
- J.K. Rowling received a $3000 advance for her first Harry Potter book.
- In a survey of 185 professional writers, more than half managed to find agents/publishers without connections.
- Agents will negotiate contracts with publishers, work on revisions, and help you plan your career. Some agents can also sell film/TV/foreign rights for your book.
- It takes anywhere from six months to a year (sometimes longer) to get a book out there after it has been bought by a publisher.
- Vast majority of self-published books sell less than 100 copies.
- Independent bookstores such as The Bookshelf may stock self-published books if there is a local connection.
- Short story writers do not need an agent. They can sell directly to magazines such as The Atlantic and The New Yorker.
- Get an agent if you have decided to go with a major publisher.
- Research agents before sending out query letters.
- Get a critique of your query from Evil Editor.
- Query at least 100 agents for your book.
- Send out five query letters at a time. If you don't get a positive response, consider revising your letter.
- While querying, start working on your next book.
- Legitimate agents will not charge for reading your book.
- Check out the background of editors on the Predators and Editors website.
- Ask your friends and relatives to read your reviews and only send you the positive ones.
- For more information e-publishing and self-publishing, visit J. R. Konrath's website and blog.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Welcome back to Dennis Fitter who has completed 75% of his novel. His Mexican working holiday was a roaring success.
Welcome to Paul and Sandra. We enjoyed hearing about your writing adventures and hope you will return next month.
A few upcoming events and contests...
- Sarah Totton will be presenting an Aspiring Writers workshop at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library on Wednesday, March 9th at 7:00 p.m. No registration is required.
- Cindy Carroll will be facilitating a critique workshop on Sunday, March 20th. Contact Cindy if you are interested.
- The deadline for the Ten Stories High Contest is Thursday, March 31st.
- The deadline for the CAA Travel Writing Contest is Tuesday, May 31st. Write your favorite travel story in 200 words or less and you could win an exotic tour.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
A few examples...
Scenario--If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?
If I were a vegetable I would probably be a potato. I've certainly been mashed, boiled, baked and fried more than a few times in my life. There's nothing very special about me but I'm positively unavoidable. I don't do raw very well. I prefer to be dressed, buttered up and well seasoned. I work well with others. Put me in a group or soup...whatever you may call it.
I don't mind coming from dirt, being rather plain in appearance, functional, dependable. I have a thick skin, don't bruise too easily--sometimes. It all depends on what you expect from me.
I have eyes in the back of my head--or so I 'm told. I have a large family and we're a loyal bunch, lots of little tater tots in the family now...
Scenario: You are in a closet with a door closed behind you. A time machine takes you to the past or future.
Of course it's a time machine. It's where all the luggage is kept--in a large dusty closet under the basement stairs. The two large Samsonites with the airline tags still attached to the handles and their bright Christmas bows so that we'll recognize them amid all the other luggage rotating happily on their airport carousels. The carry-on bags are also in there, along with the snorkeling equipment still covered in gritty, white Jamaican sand. If I crawl into the closet and close the door behind me, I can still smell the musty smell of damp clothes, bathing suits that never dry in the moist Mexican humidity.
If I close my eyes and wish hard enough can I get there--that beach in paradise--without all the hassles of planes, trains and automobiles, lineups and snotty customs officials, passports and paperwork. Why can I not in this day and age of high tech gadgets just close my eyes and say: Beam me up Scotty, there's a poolside bar stool waiting for me somewhere.
Written by Patricia Anderson
Sunday, February 13, 2011
A two-day writers workshop will be held at the University of Guelph on Thursday, February 24 Friday, February 25. The workshops are free to U of G students and staff. Members of the general public can pay $30 per workshop. Visit the website for more information.
Written by Joanne Guidoccio
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
There was new energy in the room. We were joined by Cindy Carroll and two other members of the Guelph Write Now Group--Kasia and Kevin. Matthew Wren, one of Dennis' students from the last creative course also joined us. Our own prodigals--Bonnie and Sarah--returned and gave us updates on their writing and non-writing lives. Congratulations to Bonnie who is a regular contributor to a Puslinch paper. We hope to see some of her articles on this blog.
Cindy has invited us to her group's events. Visit the website for more information.
A few upcoming events and contests...
- Sarah Totton will be presenting an Aspiring Writers workshop at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library on Wednesday, February 9th at 7:00 p.m. No registration is required.
- The deadline for the Postcard Contest is Monday, February 14th.
- The deadline for the Annual Ultra-Short Contest is Tuesday, February 15th.
- There will be a Creative Explorations workshop at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library on Wednesday, February 16th at 7:00 p.m. No registration is required.
- The deadline for the Toronto Star Short Story Contest is Sunday, February 27th.