NaNoWriMo on the Slow Track

I posted a motivational blurb on the SCBWI Canada East website today, about slogging it through the last days of November’s novel-writing challenge.

I have never actually made the NaNoWriMo journey, meaning I’ve never done a start-to-finish draft in the month of November. I’ve started books, and I’ve finished books, but never both in November.

But I’m really fond of the whole idea and how it motivates so many people–because who couldn’t use a little more motivation?

My first children’s novel, Walking Backward, began as a NaNoWriMo effort. 
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Inktober for those afraid to Draw

It’s the first day of Inktober. Illustrators know this. The rest of us might not — but we should, all of us. Because Inktober is awesome. And it’s for everyone.

Inktober began in 2009, by artist Jake Parker, as a challenge to improve drawing skills and practices. The gist is simple: you make an ink drawing every day of the month. 31 days, 31 drawings. And you can share it all online.

Inktober is, obviously, intended for artists. But anyone who can make a mark on a page is welcome to participate. Doodlers, calligraphers, even writers. Read More

Writing Spaces

My tiny home office was featured in this week’s “Writing Spaces,” a regular blog post from The New Quarterly.

This is a fabulous weekly feature from TNQ that offers a peek into the working spaces of each issue’s writers, along with inspiring anecdotes and tips from the authors. Definitely a blog worth following.

My writing space is among the first of many to be featured in the coming weeks from authors whose work is in Issue #147 of The New Quarterly, released this summer.

My story, On Sulphur Mountain, is one of eight fiction pieces in the current issue.  (There are also great essays and poems.) Subscribe and get digital access to the magazine or a year’s worth of gorgeous print journals.)

Feel free to leave a reply here describing your workspace and what you love best about it. (I love the light in mine.)

Have a great weekend.

 

A Smattering of Evans

Me reading TNQ issue 147

I was thrilled to receive my contributor copies of Issue 147 of The New Quarterly this week. My short story, “On Sulphur Mountain,” is one of eight stories featured in this issue. I’ve had a chance to read them all, and they’re wonderful — so well-written and engrossing. I’m proud to have my work alongside them, set amidst a bounty of poetry and some great essays.

I couldn’t help but notice that the main character in another story, “Dome” by John Van Rys, is named Evan. Read More

Immersed in Student Writing

A stage full of awesome authors at the Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors Award Ceremony this week.

This Tuesday, I had the pleasure of calling the names of twelve young writers whose short fiction won places in the Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors Contest. What a pleasure to be one of this year’s judges and to read excerpts from the fantastic mix of winning stories: humour, drama, sci-fi, horror, and sad, sad contemporary realism. What talented young writers.

I’ve been immersed in student writing this season. Read More

The Art of Story: SCBWI Canada East Conference

SCBWI Canada East banner, artwork by Farida Zaman

I always look forward to my regional SCBWI conference. This year it’s especially exciting because I’ll be giving a workshop myself. My topic: revision.

I used to dread revisions. I loved drafting; I loved polishing; but I loathed the grunt work in between the two.

I spent the past year revising a middle-grade animal adventure novel, transforming it from something cute and fun into something with heart and soul. This novel taught me to love revision. It’s not all grunt work. It’s discovery and revelation. And it’s what I’m most looking forward to in my next work.

I can’t wait to pass on my newfound love and all I’ve learned about revision to the SCBWI Canada East conference-goers.

Art of Story illustration by Alice Carter

If you can’t face the topic of revision–or if you yearn for revision and so much more–you’ll want to check out the full lineup of workshops and presentations at the Art of Story conference. There are workshops hosted by editors, agents, authors, and illustrators, with topics ranging from craft to marketing. There’s a first-page critique session open to everyone, plus one-on-one manuscript critiques for those who register early. There’s even a party to kick it all off.

Check out the full conference schedule and the speaker lineup on the SCBWI Canada East website.

If you are a Canadian children’s writer, established or aspiring, come join us in Ottawa from April 27-29, to hone your craft, have some fun, and feel the love of the Canadian kidlit community.

Hope to see you at the Art of Story.

Awesome Young Authors in Ottawa

Yes, it’s on! The Ottawa Public Library is holding its annual Awesome Authors Contest for youth aged 9-17. If you’re a young person in Ottawa with something to say, get to work on saying it well.

(BTW, the 9-year-olds don’t have to compete with the high-schoolers. The contest is divided into three age categories: 9-11; 12-14; and 15-17. For each age division, there are fiction, poetry, and graphic storytelling categories in both French and English.)

The contest opened on December 1st, so there are bound to be young people already halfway through their second revision. But don’t worry. There’s lots of time to catch up. The contest is open till February 19, 2018.

There will be prizes for first, second, and third place (and up to 3 honorary mentions) in each genre in each age division. Every one of the winning pieces will be published in this year’s Pot-pourri anthology. (See my recent blog post for information on last year’s Pot-pourri.)

There are many rules to follow (no 8,000-word stories, please!), and specific requirements to enter. Be sure to check out the details on the OPL’s Awesome Authors webpage.

If you need a little help getting started or finishing up, come out to one of the Awesome Author writing workshops being held this month and next, led by the contest judges (including me):

Writing workshops for ages 9-12:

Writing Workshops for ages 13-17:

Hope to see you there!

 

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