Just finished revising chapter 22 out of 31 chapters. It’s going very smoothly. Hope to have it to my critique group very soon! Excited!

Also, the library’s writers’ workshop last weekend was great. I attended an excellent seminar on writing humour, and touched base with several writers’ groups and old friends. A good time was had by all!

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My course on writing speculative fiction began at the Alexandra Centre on Tuesday and will run for 10 weeks. I have 7 students and am very excited to be working with them. Our first stories for critique are already submitted!

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Thanks to excellent friends and awesome writers, I got a fantastic critique of a novel that was rejected for submission (with an offer from the editor to look at it again). What I needed was another take on the 3 paragraph critique the editor sent me to clarify with fresh eyes the things she wanted me to change. Of course, I was also pleased to get fresh insights from my critiquers, as well. The result was a very clear and manageable set of suggestions that have completely energized me! Thanks to great writers and great friends!

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I was wondering how to incorporate the back story into my novel, and this morning at 5:00 AM I woke up with the idea in my head and came downstairs and wrote it down. I’m not doing it in exactly the way I first thought of it, but I have a variation I think will work. Feels good! Also, this week I got asked to teach 3 more courses at the Alexandra Centre. One is new to me, but the other two I’ve done before. Looking forward to them!

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Very much enjoy revising my novel. I know I have a ton of work to do, but it is always so rewarding because the work gets better!

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Heather helped me get into my website from my iPhone. Yay!

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I got a new iphone and I seem to be learning how to use it fairly easily. I did need help with a couple of things, but both seem to be working themselves out. Hopefully, it will allow me to do a bunch of things I would normally do on my computer when I am away from my computer. That would be nice!

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Other than submitting my art to the Calgary Stampede Western Art Show for next summer (wish me luck: they select the artists and pieces to display by March), I have had a restful holiday. Finished Among Others, by Jo Walton, a thoroughly enjoyable read, and started 419 by Will Fergusson, Read a little Asimov’s, and worried away at my traditional Christmas jigsaw puzzle. I only allow myself a jigsaw puzzle once

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Had an excellent writers group meeting on Tuesday at which we discussed blurbs: each of us wrote one or more for books we are working on, and we sampled several published ones. We each made a list of qualities that seemed to be important in a blurb, discussed our list, then applied these criteria to the blurbs each of us had written. Then we discussed whether we’d buy the book based on the blurb, and if it gave an accurate indication of what the book was about.

It was very cool, not only for improving our blurbs (which are notoriously hard to write), but for focussing on what the book is about. We told one of our members that the inciting incident was buried toward the end of his blurb and should be closer to the top. The author said, “the increasing violence in the world IS the inciting incident.” No, the point where his brother goes missing is the inciting incident, because this makes the world’s problems personal: the increasing world violence is only setting, but the personal connection turns it to plot. The author had a real “aha!” moment and decided to go back and re-write chapters 1-3, but was very happy to do so.

Here’s the list we generated:

  • short but clear, readable (no long elven names); not a plot summary
  • present tense, active verbs
  • instant, fresh images
  • surprise: a sense of normal and change, a “shock” word (eg; Mars) or a key word that indicates tone / genre
  • central character choice; what drives the character
  • strong voice
  • one classic, short line

The central idea we came up with is: if the protagonist is the entry point for the reader to everything in the book, then the main thing the blurb must accomplish

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Thanks to Randy McCharles, twelve authors from a variety of genres with books out in the last few months did a reading at the Owl’s Nest Book Store on Thursday. It was a great success! Three authors did 3-minute readings, followed by 5 mins of visiting/networking/shopping, rinse, repeat. During the breaks, a wonderful duo performed. There were tons of people there, so lots of fun–like a party!–and I was able to meet and talk to writers from a lot of different backgrounds. It was great!

I read from “The Gift,” my story in The Urban Green Man, and the story went over really well. :)

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