Marty Chan’s FAQs

Q: I’ve always wanted to write, but I’ve been too busy with work and life. What advice can you give someone who wants to start writing?

A:  If the story you want to share with the world is important, make time to write it before you do anything else. Get up 20 minutes early and sit down at your computer, typewriter or notepad and write for at least 15 minutes. Then you can get on with your day. If you do this often enough, writing will become a part of your routine. Increase the time you write by 5-minute intervals and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to the first draft of a novel, short story, stage play, poetry collection, screenplay, etc. Remember, it’s never too late to start.

Q: Will you give me feedback on my writing?

A: Yes, that’s my job as the Metro writer in residence. Please limit your submissions to 5 pages (12 point font, single-sided and double-spaced).

Q: How do I submit my writing sample?

A: Please contact me first. The best way to reach me is through email at or You can also leave a voicemail at (780) 240-1194. The easiest way to send me material is via email.

Q: What are your office hours? Can I drop in?

A: My hours will vary from month to month. I’ll post them on my door or post them on this webpage. Your best bet of getting a meeting is to email or call ahead.

Q: What kind of writing can I send you?

A: I’m happy to read anything you’re willing to submit. It doesn’t matter if you’re six, sixteen or sixty, you can send me your work. I’m open to reading any genre, but keep in mind that I’ll probably give the most constructive feedback in my areas of expertise: theatre, radio, television and kids fiction. If you want to get a sense of what I write, please visit my website ( or check out one of my books from the library.

Q: When you give feedback on my writing, will you make me cry?

A: Only if you want me to. No, I won’t. I’ll be gentle with notes.

Q: I have a great idea, but I don’t know how to write it. Will you write it for me?

A: And cheat you out of the joy of writing? No. I couldn’t do that to you. The only person qualified to write your story is you. I would be a poor substitute and I wouldn’t do your story justice. Plus, I have my own projects to work on and I need the time to convince Susin Nielsen to write them for me.

Q:  Can I meet with you about anything other than my writing sample?

A: Yes, I’m a fan of zombie movies and barbecue rib recipes. If you want to talk about the business of writing, we can talk about whatever is on your mind.

Q: Can you find me an agent or publisher?

A: No, but I can point you to some resources to help you research agents and publishers.

Q: Do you know the secret of how to get published or produced?

A: Yes. I also know the meaning of life, the secret location of Bigfoot, and the real reason planes and ships go missing in the Bermuda triangle. On a serious note, there is no one right path to success. The joy is in the journey, even in the missteps. If I had one secret to divulge, it would be that all successful writers share one trait: a passion to write even in the face of rejection.

6 thoughts on “Marty Chan’s FAQs

  1. Mr. Chan,
    Thank you for providing these FAQs. It’s very helpful to know how you’re able to help as a Writer in Residence, including what you don’t do.
    I like what you have to say about it never being too late to start writing. Author Lorna Page sold her debut novel, “A Dangerous Weakness,” at the age of 93.

  2. Hi Marty,
    Would like to know at which library locations you will be seeing people with their writing. Are you at any of them on a Sunday?

    • Hi Shirley,

      My home base with be the Strathcona County Library in Sherwood Park (401 Festival Lane). I won’t be in Sundays, but here’s my schedule for January.

      Tuesdays 6:00 – 9:00 pm
      Wednesdays 6:00 – 9:00 pm (except for Jan. 20)
      Fridays 6:00 – 9:00 pm
      Saturdays Noon – 5:00 pm

      Shoot me an email and we can set up a meeting.

      Take care,


      • Hi Marty,
        Thanks for emailing me back with this information. I have already emailed Wayne and I am waiting to hear back from him.

  3. Hi Marty, I would really like to meet with you regarding my book. I am not sure if u are able to meet at Highlands, Clareview libraries. I look forward to meeting you.

    • Hi Caroline,

      Thanks for your note. I’m based out of the Strathcona County Library until the end of April. If you want to meet me and can’t get out to Sherwood Park, we could do a phone meeting.

      Also, Wayne Arthurson is the EPL writer in residence, and he should be able to meet with you in the city. I’m not sure if he travels to different branches, but give him a shout through the EPL website.

      Either way, I’m happy to help. Just give me a shout at and we can set things up.


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