Q&A with Richard Van Camp

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: My advice is that you read work that lights you on fire, listen to music that takes you places, watch a lot of movies and TV shows, listen to those who know and find out when you’re the best at honing your craft. Are you a morning writer? Are you a Night Cat? Are you a weekender? And honour this. Stick with it. Remember: you can talk yourself out of writing anything: the key is to get that first draft down. Think of it as wet clay. Once it’s down, it’s down. You can work on it from there.

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 regionalwir@gmail.com or metrowir.com. 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, but I will be in every Tuesday and Thursday from 1–4pm.  I’ll post my final schedule on my door or post them on this website. Your best bet for 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. I’m open to reading any genre, but please keep in mind that I’ll probably give the most constructive feedback in my areas of expertise: fiction, books for families, the short story, poetry, and creative non fiction. If you want to get a sense of what I write, please visit my website (richardvancamp.com) 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 tears of joy when I pile praise upon praise for you. 🙂

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

A: Sorry: you have to earn this yourself. I promise there’s no greater feeling than having a story choose you and you finding a way to take it to where it deserves to go.

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

A: Sure! I’m from Fort Smith, NWT, and I love to visit! Let’s visit. : )

Q: Can you find me an agent or publisher?

A: I’ll do my best.

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

A: This depends on where you’re at with your craft. Things take time. It’s best to use this time to focus and dive deep. I’m happy to be your biggest cheerleader. 🙂