Wondering What You Missed at Last Night’s Session?

Thanks to everyone who braved the soggy weather and came out last night.  For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are “Three Things About Plot.”

  1. Plot is a series of ACTIONS–your character is doing something.
  2. Plotting is a great way to do a spot check for character/story holes
  3. It’s also great if you’re looking to be traditionally published–if you know your plot, you’re ahead of the game when it comes time to write your blurb/synopsis/query.

If you’re looking for further reading on plotting, try:

How to Write a Damn Good Mystery, James N. Frey

The Weekend Novelist, Robert J. Ray

Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass

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Photos from the Saint City Writers Anthology Launch!

@sc_library, @stalbertlibrary, @FSaskLib, @EPLdotCA

Congratulations on the launch!!!

The Saint City Anthology!

The Saint City Anthology!

 

Saint City Writer co-founder John Betton & Heather Dolman, Public Services Manager

Saint City Writer co-founder John Betton & Heather Dolman, Public Services Manager

Anne Stewart, reading "After Life."

Anne Stewart, reading “After Life.”

Iris McNiven, reading "Gossip."

Iris McNiven, reading “Gossip.”

Troy Sherdahl, "the magpies"

Troy Sherdahl, reading “the magpies”

John Dolman, reading "Blink, Blink"

John Dolman, reading “Blink, Blink”

The Saint City Writers!

The Saint City Writers!

Poetry Institute of Canada – Contests!!

OVER 130 PRIZES TO BE AWARDED, PLUS A **NEW** BONUS PRIZE OF AN eREADER (brand/style TBA).

1) 20th Annual Open Ages Poetry Contest (all ages)

Line limit 24
One entry per poet
Entry must be your own original work and not previously published
Full name/mailing address and age must be on entry

PRIZES:
Ages 18+
First prize: $500
(5) Second prizes: $50
(10) Third prizes: $25
(20) Fourth prizes: Medallion
(32) Award of Excellence Certificates (honourable mentions)

Ages up to 17 (**NEW** prize category)
First prize: $100
(3) Second prizes: $50
(5) Third prizes: $25
(8) Fourth prizes: Medallion
(10) Award of Excellence Certificates (honourable mentions)

DEADLINE: July 31, 2013

E-mail entries to poetryinstitute @ shaw.ca (no spaces)

Or mail entries to:
Open Ages Poetry Contest
PO Box 44169 – RPO Gorge
Victoria, BC V9A 7K1

Courier address, if needed:
Open Ages Poetry Contest
320 Obed Avenue
Victoria, BC  V9A 1K4

2) Annual Adult Creative Writing Contest (ages 18+)

Word limit 850 words
One entry per writer
Open theme (use your discretion)
One entry per poet
Entry must be your own original work and not previously published
Full name/mailing address and age must be on entry

PRIZES:
Ages 18+
First prize: $250
(4) Second prizes: $50
(8) Third prizes: $25
(24) Award of Excellence Certificates (honourable mentions)

DEADLINE: July 31, 2013

E-mail entries to poetryinstitute @ shaw.ca (no spaces)

Or mail entries to:
Adult Creative Writing Contest
PO Box 44169 – RPO Gorge
Victoria, BC V9A 7K1

Courier address, if needed:
Adult Creative Writing Contest
320 Obed Avenue
Victoria, BC V9A 1K4

All first, second, third and fourth prize winners in the contests above will receive a copy of the anthology.

~//~

If you are between the ages of 7 and 18, you may wish to visit our Young Writers Website as well for information regarding our Annual Young Writers Poetry- and Short Story Contests. Please click here to go to our Young Writers website
 
Our young writers division is holding a “NEW” chapbook contest. This contest is open to ages 13-18. Please visit our young writers website for more details.

$10,000 Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts

Philadelphia-based publishing company Quirk Books has announced a new competition for unpublished manuscripts. Called ‘Looking for Love’, the winner will receive US$10,000 (an advance on future royalties) and publication of their work.

The competition is open to both professional and amateur writers, and entrants can be of any nationality and based anywhere in the world. Manuscripts must be at least 50,000 words, be written in English and feature a love story.
Visit the Quirk Books website to download the entry form or for further information. Entries close Tuesday 1 October 2013.
Quirk Books was founded in 2002 and publishes around 25 books each year. Their bestselling titles include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

I’m still learning a thing or two about pitching (and so can you at EPL)

I like to think of myself as a very good pitcher. If pitching magazine stories was baseball, I’d be batting .533 — which is kind of impossible (and also now a mixed metaphor).

I spend a lot of time on my pitches. I research for hours. I pre-interview subjects. I write first, second and third drafts. I line up my destined publications in a neat spreadsheet so the second it’s rejected I’m tweaking it and pitching it to the next editor.

But, you know, what? I’m still learning how to do it better.

I’ve always been a believer in following the writers’ guidelines of a magazine, which usually says to send your pitch to a general mailbox for submissions and submissions only. Now I’m learning that you should ignore this rule. (Follow the rest though, and don’t tell editors you heard this from me, please.)

There’s a certain magazine that I read religiously. Few publications in Canada can hold a candle to it, and I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to pitch them no fewer than eight times in two years. I always followed its guidelines, plus I read the magazine, suggested a department, gave it a little headline, included samples of work. I even researched its competitors to see what they’ve written on the subjects. And then I sent it to the general mailbox and waited to hear back.

Every. Single. Time. A polite but probably automated rejection.

But two weeks ago I decided to fly direct — to an editor I’ve never met, with whom I’ve never corresponded and have no inroads.

Guess what? I got the assignment today.

Most surprising, it was on a pitch that I had sent the magazine before and that it had rejected. (I did tweak it to be more current though.)

So, the lesson? Don’t be intimidated to go straight to the source.

Find this and many more tips and tricks to successful magazine pitching on June 12 at EPL’s Riverbend Branch from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. The event is free.

Pitch Perfect

Entering the magazine industry starts with “pitching” editors. This may sound simple – and it is, if you take the time to understand the unwritten commandments of pitching and the science behind it. Know the audience and study the “book” are just a few, but how does one distill a thoughtful, lasting story into a couple of tight paragraphs that make the editor clamor for more.

Join WiR Omar Mouallem, former associate editor of Avenue and a National Magazine Awards finalist, for a seminar will get you one step closer to your favourite magazine.

June 12, 7 pm, Riverbend Branch

Free, Drop in – No registration required

Hardcopy!: Edmonton’s only zine fair

There are zine fairs across the world but none in Edmonton.

Lame.

But lame no more?

Come out to Latitude 53 (102 Ave. and 106 St) this weekend to find out what’s happening in Edmonton’s underground publishing circuit.

Hardcopy: Edmonton Artist Book and Zine Fair is the first annual event of it’s kind in this region and has brought together more than 25 of Edmonton’s own artist book and zine makers for a show and sale. It is our endeavour to offer a community based platform for artists to come together, collaborate, sell their works while also providing a space to showcase the diversity of practices that exist.

 

Zine fairs exist all over the world as a way to help the public encounter the diversity of publications which often fall outside the scope of mainstream venues. Events like these showcase a host of innovative approaches being explored by artists and writers, and gives these alternative projects a voice. For artists and writers working within the community of small and/or independent presses, book guilds, artist run centres, and independent bookstores, zine fairs offer rich opportunities for connection and  collaboration. In response to an absence of book and zine fairs in Alberta, Hardcopy was formed.

hardcopy

Guest Post – Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

 The Romance of Research, The Marriage of Writing

I’m known as a writer, but here’s my secret: I often like research more.

Research can feel like a series of romantic crushes – all exciting and new and full of dopamine hits of discovery.

Writing, especially on big book-length projects, is a marriage. There are days when it flows and you feel all lovey-dovey, but there are also slogs when you feel like all you talk about is the mortgage.

But eventually in the writing process, as in life, you want to move from the casual to the committed. That’s when you have to step away from Google, say goodbye to your librarian and archivist friends, and stop chasing down interviews.

When does that day come? Every project – like every relationship – is different, but usually when you start finding the same information repeating itself, it’s time to stop researching and sit down to write. A looming deadline or an irate editor is also a very good reason.

And if, like me, you love the gathering stage, take heart: as in many good marriages, you still get date nights. There are usually times while you pound out your article or manuscript that you realize you need to fact check something, or delve deeper, or find one more piece of evidence to support a statement.

Once you find that information, though, pry yourself away from the stacks and the search engines, and get back to that draft. Until the next project…

1. The Craft of Research by Wayne C. Booth. A great place to start if you’re new to research, or want a refresher.

2. The Joy of Writing by Pierre Berton. This memoir/how-to book by one of Canada’s most popular historical writers is sure to give you the inside story on tips and pitfalls, as well as inspiration to keep going.

3. Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide by Donald A. Ritchie. If you’re doing interviews or oral histories, this could be useful.

DMC headshot_croppedDanielle Metcalfe-Chenail is a writer and historian who loves to tell stories connected to Canada’s past. She is the author of For the Love of Flying and Polar Winds (forthcoming), and was Writer-in-Residence at Berton House Retreat in Dawson City. She also regularly publishes articles and essays, and currently writes columns for Homes&Living (Calgary) and What’s Up Yukon. She lives in Edmonton. Get in touch at www.daniellemc.com or @danicanuck

 

 

June Writing Prompt

Thanks to http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/ for this:

Up for grabs this month: Marie L. Reed’s And Not to Yield.

Marie's BookTo enter the draw, email your name to regionalwir (at) gmail.com, or stick it in the designated boxes at the EPL/St. Albert/Fort Saskatchewan/Strathcona Library. Winner will be announced on June 1st and will have a month to collect the items from St. Albert Library. If they don’t collect the books by June 30, the prizes will go to the next name drawn.

PLEASE NOTE: You do NOT have to enter the writing prompt to be entered in the draw. However, those who submit a writing prompt will be automatically entered to win.