Editing Workshop Follow Up

Thanks to all the folks who came out to the session on editing–I so enjoy hanging out with authors and talking writing!

For those who couldn’t make it, here are the top three things to know:

  1. Your edits should fit your voice & tone. In other words, it’s great to have people talking about vivid description, but if verbose prose about trees and leaves aren’t within the wheelhouse of your character, then honour your character.
  2. Check your ego at the door. If you’ve got Beta readers telling you there are issues with plot or character, then as hard as it is, make those changes.
  3. Take your time and don’t over-analyze. Sure, maybe it should be “sped” instead of “strode’ but when you’re nickel & diming yourself on synonyms, it’s time to stop editing and start submitting.

Questions? Email me at regionalwir @ gmail.com



Editing Workshop at St. Albert Library

© Shershellka | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Shershellka | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

When: Wednesday March 27, 2013 @ 7:00 PM in Forsyth Hall

Join me for a discussion on the most common errors writers make with their prose. Learn how to edit for content and make your characters more vibrant, your writing tighter.

And don’t forget, all who attend can enter to win a copy of Pauline Gedge’s The King’s Man!

Michael Ondaatje Talk Tonight

The award-winning poet/novelist and author of The English Patient will be doing a talk tonight on his latest story The Cat’s Table. You can find out more & buy tickets here.

I know it’s a super snowy day here in Edmonton, but it promises to be an informative and entertaining talk.  I had an opportunity to join the morning workshop he held at MacEwan University this morning and thought I’d offer a few of his interesting perspectives.

Did you know:

Ondaatje encourages the reading of authors who are not in your genre to both expand out your knowledge and skill?

He begins his stories with an image and sits in the scene, writing it out until he gets another image (and so, he doesn’t actually write with the entire story in his mind).

He’s a huge believer in re-writing (“that’s how I save my books,” he says with a laugh.)

He writes out all his stories by hand and says he’s faster at handwriting than typing.

Once his work is published, he doesn’t read it again.


Words in 3D – May 24-26

A Wise and Witty Address

Who better to give a keynote address on new ways of editing and publishing than one of Canada’s premier editors, Rosemary Shipton?

Shipton has a multitude of accomplishments under her belt—she is an award-winning editor of trade and scholarly books and has received three teaching awards from Ryerson University, where she coordinated the publishing program for 17 years. In honour of her life’s work, she received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, University of Toronto in 2007.

And Shipton writes as well—in 2012 her essay The Mysterious Relationship: Authors and Their Editors, was published in a book entitled Editors, Scholars, and the Social Text, published by the University of Toronto Press. Shipton admits to loving the arts (she has edited several stunning art books) and teaching, because it keeps her in touch with younger generations. She attributes her success to her “very curious mind” and her love of learning something new every day, something we are sure the audience will experience in this address from a wise and witty woman.

Rosemary Shipton will be giving the Saturday morning keynote address Publishers, Writers, and Editors: A New Configuration. Check out our other fantastic keynote addresses:

Early Bird Deadline April 3!

It’s full steam ahead for the Words in 3 Dimensions conference, which is being co-hosted by the Get Publishing Communications Society, the Editors’ Association of Canada – Prairie Provinces Branch, and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, on May 24–26, 2013.

With the Alistair MacLeod kick-off event still 10 weeks away, more than half of the conference spots have already been snapped up. And no wonder!

The lineup is spectacular, and includes the editor and co-founder of Eighteen Bridges magazine, Curtis Gillespie, poet (and organic farmer) Jenna Butler, and copyright lawyer and author, Jeananne Kathol Kirwin. These three Edmontonians lead the way for a bevy of writers, editors, and publishers who hail from across the country.

Register today. Our chat rooms and pre-conference sessions allow limited registration and are filling up quickly. The early bird deadline is also fast approaching. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity.

Making Your Mark at the Blue Pencil Cafe

Saturday’s Blue Pencil Cafe provides a forum for conference goers to meet face to face with a professional writer or editor to ask questions about writing and editing.

The Blue Pencil Cafe’s author-mentors will review and give feedback on writing samples up to three pages long. They can also answer your questions about the literary life and publishing, and respond to your ideas for books, articles, and projects. Editor-mentors will explain the ins and outs of a career wielding the editor’s pen, whether it be blue or red, real or electronic.

Here are three reasons why the Blue Pencil Cafe is such a popular session (and why you should sign up early):

  1. You will receive practical advice that is straight from the heart.
  2. You will meet interesting and accomplished professionals who share your passion for words.
  3. You will realize that it is possible to make a living using words as your tools.

Learn How to Promote Like a Pro

Gone are the days when publishers spent wads of cash promoting books. These days, promotion is often left up to authors, though thanks to the Internet, there are many ways for authors to promote their work. If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t despair. Words in 3 Dimensions offers a lifeline.

Attend Stop the Presses: Publicity in Our 3D World presented by professional publicist Rachael Sentes, whose speciality is building her clients their own personal publicity platform. In this session, you will learn how to make websites, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube work for you and you will get practical advice on how to navigate the choppy waters of the publishing world.

You can also register for the pre-conference session Personal Branding: Get Taken Seriously by Taking Yourself Seriously. Liz Greenaway and Pam Brierley will help you build a personal branding toolbox that includes professional looking photos, targeted bios and relevant social marketing presence.

For details on these sessions and on the many other opportunities that await you at Words in 3 Dimensions, visit the conference website.

Pitch Perfect: 10 Tips for Your Next Magazine Pitch

“Pitching” editors may sound simple – and it is, if you take the time to understand the unwritten commandments of pitching and the science behind it.

Since sending my first magazine pitch nine years ago (to Mad Magazine, about alternatives to rock-paper-scissors —  rejected) I’ve learned that there is a formula to good magazine pitches. The formula won’t always win, but it will likely earn you consideration, which is all you can ask for when you’re coming to a magazine editor cold.

Join me at the brand new Jasper Place EPL branch (9010 – 156 Street) on March 27 at 7 p.m. for a free talk on the perfect magazine pitch. For more information, click here.

In the meantime, here are 10 tips to hold you over:

  1. Know the difference between a topic and a story.
  2. “Pitch small stories to big magazines, and big stories to small magazines.” – Dan Rubinstein, former Canadian Geographic editor
  3. Study the ‘book’: Know the magazine and its audience. The only way to do this is get your hands on back issues and study, study, study!
  4. Do your research: A strong pitch often takes hours of reading, calling, pre-interviewing and distilling.
  5. Write it in the style you would the story.
  6. If your story has superlatives, use them.
  7. Give it a headline.
  8. Attach selected clippings: Don’t give them a reason to Google you if your best work doesn’t rank high in search results.
  9. Send it to an editor in the middle of the masthead: The editor-in-chief might be too busy to read your pitch in full, while a junior editor might not have the office clout to make it fly in a story meeting. But the ones between are just right.
  10. Have a B-plan: I use a colour-coded spreadsheet that shows me when I last sent my pitches, their statuses, and who to consider sending them to next. It helps me plan long-term and keep momentum after I’m rejected.

Literary nonfiction contest: What does soccer mean to you?

Image from HamiltonScores.com

Canadian soccer magazine The11.ca invites you to write a story, 1,500-words or less, about your passion for the Beautiful Game. There is no fee, but it could win you a $150 prize.

Click here to enter, or read about it below.


What does soccer mean to you? What does it mean to Canada? We want to read your stories — and share the cream of the crop with our community of readers.

Great soccer journalism is part reporting, part analysis all bound together by wonderful writing. And we want to celebrate the craft with our first-ever open call for submissions. We want authentic, lively essays about the game in Canada. Your submission can be about playing the game in Canada, supporting the gamein Canada or the struggle of trying to advance the game in Canada. Historical pieces are fine, too. We want to see great creative non-fiction.

E-mail submissions to teamworkpress@rogers.com. The winning submission will be published on the site in June and the author will receive an honorarium of $150. And, we’ll make that essay look good. The winning entry will feature illustrations from famed Canadian soccer artist Eugene Abrams (CLICK HERE for more on Eugene). The deadline to enter is noon MT, May 15, 2013.

• We are looking for a story that’s more than a story about soccer. The winning pieces will transcend the sport. Our judging panel will consist of people who follow the game, and those who don’t. A winning essay will engage judges who don’t normally follow soccer — or follow soccer at all.

• The essay must have some link to Canada. No, it doesn’t have to be about a Canadian club or even centre on a Canadian player, but there must be something in it that speaks to a soccer supporter in this country. The writer of the piece DOES NOT have to be Canadian, though.

• There is no entry or reading fee for single submissions. If multiple entries are submitted from the same e-mail address, the second entry and each subsequent entry will each be subject to a $10 CDN reading fee.

• The winning essayist will receive $150. In exchange, The 11 and Teamwork Press receive worldwide right to distribute the work through The11.ca. Basically, we enter into an agreement to buy your work. By entering your story or essay, you agree to the terms of the agreement. [CONTINUE TO CONTEST SITE]

Query Session Follow Up & Author Visit

Before we do a follow-up, a quick note that Sci-Fi author Robert J. Sawyer will be in Edmonton to celebrate the release of his 21st novel, Red Planet Blues. You can find him on Tuesday, April 2, at 7:00 p.m. at Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Avenue.


Thanks to all the folks who braved the snowy conditions and came out to the session on querying agents & editors.

For those who couldn’t make it, here are the top three things to know:

1) DO YOUR RESEARCH. Make sure you’re sending your manuscript to the appropriate agent/editor (and make sure you’ve done your check to ensure the person is legitimate).

2) Remember that your query letter is your resume on a page. Be professional and to the point.

3) Start on a new project as you’re querying–it’ll help alleviate your anxiety as you wait.

For more info on how to put together a blurb, head here, and for information/examples of queries and synopsis, head here.

Questions? Email me at regionalwir @ gmail.com


March Book Launches & Author Networking

Karen Spafford-Fitz New Release:

Orca Book Publishers has just released Vanish, Karen Spafford-Fitz’s second middle-grade novel for 10 to 14-year-old readers. To celebrate the occasion, Audreys Books in downtown Edmonton is hosting the book launch celebration on Sunday, April 14th at 2:00 pm. 

Events @ Walterdale Theatre

Burning Vision by Marie Clements at Walterdale Theatre
Wednesday, April 10 at 8:00pm – Saturday, April 20 at 10:00pm at Walterdale Theatre Associates