A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a teacher at a local high school and asked if I would give a presentation to a group of students who love writing. I jumped at the opportunity because I strongly believe in encouraging young writers.
After the initial invitation, it turns out that I will now be giving four workshops for an entire day, which is evening more thrilling. As I prepare my notes, though, I find myself asking a key question. What should I tell them?
With over 35 years of writing and publishing experience, plenty of ups and downs, and a pretty good grasp of the challenges facing new writers, it would be far too easy to lapse into the disappointments and horror stories that many writers have endured. On the other hand, I don’t want to mislead the students into thinking that it’s all wonderful and profitable. Somehow, I’ve got to find the middle ground. The obvious strategy is to be candid and as positive as I can, but also realistic.
For the most part, I’ll be focusing on the nuts and bolts of writing and editing. Two groups will be spent discussing character development. The other two will concentrate on plotting, point of view, dialogue, themes, tense, and so forth.
At my request, I was sent a list of questions that the students have compiled, which includes getting published and making money, as well as dealing with writers’ block, making time to write, inspiration, and career choices. I hope I can give a well-rounded viewpoint in what is often a crazy frustrating business. But really, the day is all about writing and learning to express ourselves in the most meaningful way possible for each individual. Maybe I should lead with that.
Fall is one of the most energizing times of the year for me. There are many terrific events to attend…book launches, conferences, workshops, readings, book clubs, and so on. It would be impossible to list everything happening in this blog, but if you live in Metro Vancouver, take a look at the Events listings from the Federation of BC Writers HERE.
One of their listings is for the Golden Ears Writers & Readers Festival on Sun., Sept. 30 from 10:00 – 3:00 p.m. There will be workshops, speakers, a blue pencil café, the Great Canadian Literature Tea, and of course books for sale. I’m delighted to be part of the blue pencil team again this year. It’s a fun event held in Maple Ridge at The ACT Arts Centre, 11944 Haney Place in Maple. Check out their Face book page for more info HERE.
The annual WORD Vancouver festival is back from Sept. 26 – 30 (the main event is on the 30th) This celebration of literary and reading will feature many author readings, bookselling tables, workshops, panels, and all kinds of fun stuff. It’s a free, family-friendly event that’s held both outdoor and indoors down at and around Vancouver’s main public library on Georgia St. Crime Writers of Canada will have a table there as usual, and what I’m sure will be a lively panel discussion about crime writing. You can learn more about the festival HERE
The annual Vancouver Writers Fest is also back with another lineup of big-name authors that include Ian Rankin, Jodi Picoult, and Miriam Toews. The festival runs from October 15 – 21st and some of the tickets are already sold out, but there are still plenty of terrific authors to see. The events are set at different locations in Vancouver, so check out their website HERE.
So get out there and have fun!