Write What You Know and Give It a Twist with Diane Bator

As writers, we are often told to write what you know. In Diane Bator’s February presentation, she talked to us about writing what we know, then giving it a twist.

Before the presentation began, the WCYR Board had a few announcements to make. First, the Board thanked members who have stepped up recently to volunteer for various positions. Our community runs on volunteers willing to give a few hours a month so that we can have the meetings, workshops, and write-ins that we all enjoy. Second, the Bookshelf is coming back! The WCYR is planning an in-person event for August 21st, and an online event on August 22nd. Pre-registration for members is is now open. Finally, the York Writers’ Conference will also be back this fall! It will be entirely virtual, held from October 23rd to 24th. The YWC committee is proud to announce the keynote speaker will be Andrew Pyper. Terry Fallis will also be back as our honorary patron!

After all the exciting announcements, Diane began by sharing who she is as a person and a writer, then we moved into her stories: cozy mysteries. She defined “cozy mystery” for us – a story about an amateur sleuth in a small town, solving a murder, no gore, very little blood. Diane went on to explain how she takes real life experiences and turns them into her novels. When Diane says, “write what you know and give it a twist,” she asks, “what if?” For example, when a protagonist moves to a new town, what if she was on the run? An author would need to craft a scenario requiring good knowledge of the geography of the town, including its downtown streets and shops. Familiarity with real-life places can inspire locations in a story, such as a coffee shop with a unique personality or a run-down house. What might have happened there? Another situation. What if a secretary was a naturally nosy person and found a body? Diane noted the protagonists of cozy mysteries are often “naturally nosy,” and she shared tips for adjusting real life to fit fictional worlds.

People are not always who they appear to be, especially in fiction. Diane’s suggestion is to apply the “what if” question to people you encounter while walking down the street. What if they hate the town where they live? What if they love shopping? What if there is a secret under their stairs? Is everyone a writer meets at risk of being in a story? Maybe so.

When you’re writing what you know with a twist, you add more flavour to the story. You can make it spicy. Or sweet. Or savoury. What flavour will your story take? You can decide.

Find Diane:

Upcoming Events:

BAM! Branding and Marketing for Indie Authors with Patti Jefferson – April 11, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Annual General Meeting 10th Anniversary Edition – April 11, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Writing Comedy with Steve Shrott – May 2, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Diving Deep into POV with Kim McDougall – May 27, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Free for members.)

Announcing All That Shines by Diane Bator

About the Book:

When Sage Miller’s sister Laken decides to host a fashion show as a grand opening for the new location of Vintage Sage, she’s not amused. Even less so when she discovers her sister hired a Hollywood fashion designer to help. Not only does the designer show up in the middle of renovations, but he drags along his protégé.

Then she finds Sebastian Hayward the Third dead in her store.

Suddenly it seems half of Los Angeles—all unwelcome guests from Laken’s past—appear in Vintage Sage seeking something Sebastian had in his possession. Sage has to deal with renovations, a fashion show, and a murder before she and Laken come unglued.

All That Shines was released in March 2021.

A bit about Diane:

Diane Bator is the author of several mystery novel and series. She’s a member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime Toronto, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers Union of Canada. When she’s not writing, she works in a small, professional theatre which will one day be subjected to immortality in a whole new series.

Find All That Shines:

Find Diane:

Sequential Storytelling with Allison Danger

In January, we welcomed admirers of comics, graphic novels, and other sequential stories. Allison Danger took us on a journey through sequential storytelling. Since we are a group of writers, Allison skipped over idea generation and story arcs, and got right to the meat of it.

Sequential storytelling is a team job. There isn’t just the writer, there are the artists. Potentially, there are contributors involved in drawing, colouring, lettering, and more. There might be an editor overseeing it all, because the writer and everyone else working on the project need to mesh.

Part of sequential storytelling is writing for your artist. You have to think about how they will interpret your words. Some writers use turn-arounds, the artist’s interpretation of the character descriptions, to discover if they have landed on the right artist. Allison shared her process for how she finds an artist she can collaborate with. She also explained there are two common methods used to create sequential stories, the Marvel comics plot style and the DC comics full script style. Allison described the pros and cons of each option, and which one appealed to her under what circumstances. Need an example of good sequential storytelling? Allison recommended taking a look at DC’s Kingdom Come.

A great comic book writer can make you feel like part of the conversation. As with other storytelling formats, avoid telling the reader what’s going on. The art and words will show them what’s happening. Wondering about “bam” and “pow” and all the other sound effects colourfully illustrated? Allison talked about those too! Sound effects can be presented in any way you want. Though be aware, they can alter how the reader interprets the story. This was an enlightening evening, learning another way to craft a story.

Find Allison on Instagram or at Glass Cabinet Creative

Upcoming Events:

20 Social Media Superchargers with Anne McLachlan – March 14, 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Marketing Yourself & Your Work (Fiction & Creative Non-fiction) with MJ Moores (Free for Members) – March 25, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

BAM! Branding and Marketing for Indie Authors with Patti Jefferson – April 11, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Annual General Meeting 10th Anniversary Edition – April 11, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Writing Comedy with Steve Shrott – May 2, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

March 2021’s Page Turner

Page Turners

Page Turners

by Val Tobin

Agents and editors will often decide whether a book is for them by reading the first page of a manuscript. Many readers also decide to buy a book based on that critical first-page sample. Each month I post the first page of a book and you can vote on whether or not you’d read the book based on the sample.

After you vote, I’ll let you know the title of the book, my reaction to the sample, and why I’d keep reading or why I’d put it down. The goal is to have fun while we explore the beginnings of a variety of books and what compels readers to keep reading.

While I won’t divulge the title or author until you’ve read the piece, I will include the genre and any preliminary items (for example, quotes) you’d see when opening the book on your own.

NOTE: Set aside your preference for or against any specific genre and just focus on the writing. Does it compel you to turn the page and find out what comes next? Base your decision to turn the page on the excerpt’s writing alone.

Today’s Excerpt

Genre: Historical Fiction

No one took any notice.

None of the merchants, moneylenders or friars strolling by in the twilight around San Francesco il Grande noticed the slovenly, ill-dressed man who hurried into the Franciscan church. It was the eve of a holiday, a market day, and the inhabitants of Milan were busy gathering provisions for the coming days of official mourning. Under such circumstances, it was only natural that the presence of yet another beggar left them unconcerned.

But the fools were once again mistaken. The beggar who entered San Francesco was not an ordinary man.

Without giving himself a moment’s respite, the ragged man left behind him the double row of benches that lined the nave and hurried on toward the main altar. There was not a soul to be seen inside the church. At last he had been permitted to see a painting, The Virgin of the Rocks, that few in Milan knew by its real name: the Maestà.

He approached the altar cautiously. His heart beat faster. There, utterly alone in the church, the pilgrim warily stretched out his hand, as if he might be forever united to the sacred scene. As he cast his eyes on the celebrated painting, suddenly a detail caught his attention. How strange! The pilgrim was overcome by a vertiginous feeling of horror. Someone had meddled with the Maestà.

The pilgrim did not dare move a muscle but remained frozen to the spot at the sound of the dry, deep voice behind him. He hadn’t …

Would you turn the page?

Read more

Announcing Homicide on the Homestead, by Nanci Pattenden

About the Book:

A farmer’s cries of murder burst through the station house doors, shattering detective Hodgins’s quiet day. Someone has bludgeoned elderly “Bucky” Buckingham and left him for dead in the barn.

Despite the deceased being a kind and gentle man, Bucky’s death reveals a long list of suspects. Detective Hodgins must hunt for the truth farther away from Toronto than ever before into Elora, Kleinberg, and Collingwood.

It’s up to Hodgins to unravel veiled secrets held, all while dealing with a distracted constable convinced his sweetheart may be returning home in someone else’s arms.

Homicide on the Homestead was released on January 22, 2021.

A bit about Nanci:

Nanci M. Pattenden is an author of historical crime fiction. After digging into her own genealogy, Nanci uncovered a story about a young ancestor, sent to Canada from an English workhouse, who ended up on trial for murder.  This sparked her interest in writing fiction, and launched her into the world of novel writing.

Nanci currently has four books in the Hodgins series and is co-authoring a new humourous paranormal series D.E.M.ON. Tales. Her interest in genealogy, local history and love of Victorian murder mysteries have merged to create a new Canadian Victorian murder mystery writer. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and the Writers’ Community of York Region.

Nanci has completed the creating writing programs at both the University of Toronto and the University of Calgary. She currently resides in Newmarket, Ontario with her fluffy cat snowball, and is semi-retired. She can be contacted through her website at www.nancipattenden.com.

Find Homicide on the Homestead:

Find Nanci:

Announcing Hell Hounds Don’t Heel by Kim McDougall

About the Book:

Critter wrangler rule #7: Some monsters just have to die.

Someone is plotting to put all gargoyles in jail…or six feet in the ground.

For decades gargoyles have patrolled the night in Montreal Ward. They are dubbed Guardians by the humans and fae who live on the fringes of society, those who survive in neighborhoods the police don’t care about. But when a Guardian is accused of murder, their reputation blackens.

Mason promised to return from France with the one weapon capable of killing the formidable witch who was reborn from the bloodstone, but no one has heard from him in months. Now Polina gathers forces. Without Mason or the Guardians, Kyra has no backup as she tries to solve a murder and face off against new and terrifying monsters…all while caring for her growing menagerie of extraordinary critters.

A new adventure in the In-between, where magic is the only rule of law. Hell Hounds Don’t Heel is the third book in the Valkyrie Bestiary series.

A bit about Kim:

If Kim McDougall could have one magical superpower, it would be to talk to animals. Or maybe to shift into animal form. Definitely, fantastical critters and magic often feature in her stories. So until Kim can change into a griffin and fly away, she writes dark paranormal action and romance tales from her home in Ontario, Canada.

Kim continues to volunteer with the WCYR, co-chairing the upcoming York Writers Conference, while creating fantastical tales like Hell Hounds Don’t Heel. We thank Kim for everything she has contributed to the community and look forward to her new book and other upcoming releases.

Find Hell Hounds Don’t Heel:

Find Kim:

February 2021’s Page Turner

Page Turners

Page Turners

by Val Tobin

Agents and editors will often decide whether a book is for them by reading the first page of a manuscript. Many readers also decide to buy a book based on that critical first-page sample. Each month I post the first page of a book and you can vote on whether or not you’d read the book based on the sample.

After you vote, I’ll let you know the title of the book, my reaction to the sample, and why I’d keep reading or why I’d put it down. The goal is to have fun while we explore the beginnings of a variety of books and what compels readers to keep reading.

While I won’t divulge the title or author until you’ve read the piece, I will include the genre and any preliminary items (for example, quotes) you’d see when opening the book on your own.

NOTE: Set aside your preference for or against any specific genre and just focus on the writing. Does it compel you to turn the page and find out what comes next? Base your decision to turn the page on the excerpt’s writing alone.

Today’s Excerpt

Genre: True Crime

1. MISSING PERSON

“I honestly think if it hadn’t been that day it would have been another.” – Bob Jessop

Just before cottageland Ontario funnels into the sprawling stretch of concrete that makes up Toronto and its satellites, nature takes a last breath. That breath includes Queensville, one of a tiny strip of villages clinging to the northern rim of the city in a hopeless last stand against the spreading ooze of strip malls and subdivisions. A couple of dozen contracting kilometres of field and forest stand between the country and the four-lane expressways that make up the exoskeleton of Toronto.

The first sign of Queensville is its cemetery, located high—by Ontario standards—on a ridge. From a distance, the gravestones stretch as long and symmetrically as a white picket fence, conveying the impression of a substantial settlement. The impression is false. Queensville is little more than a dusty intersection whose main service to the region is as a final resting place. Until late 1984, few passing through had ever paid much attention to the village. Resignedly taking note of the dearth of antique stores or ice cream “shoppes” to break up the drive, the traveller considered the only issue of importance: Can I get through this backwater without shifting into third gear? Is there some red-faced York Regional cop lurking, engine running, in the lee of an old shed?

On the northern edge of the village, just past the cemetery, was the home of Alphonse and Ida Morin. They had bought the house in 1978, after the landlords of the much-adored, rambling home they rented in Toronto announced they were tearing it down. Perhaps in the long run it was fortuitous. Alphonse had grown weary of Toronto traffic, Toronto pavement and Toronto pretentions. He was so tired of the telephone ringing that he had it removed. Up here in the country, there were few disturbances. Alphonse and Ida’s six children could wander into cornfields …

Would you turn the page?

Read more

Your Poetry Toolbox with James Dewar

Publisher, producer, teacher, editor, and writer, the WCYR was happy to welcome James Dewar to the January meeting. James took us on a journey through the poetry toolbox. Wanting this to be an interactive workshop, James had us spend the first three minutes writing down where we were with our writing, not just what we were doing, but how we felt about it. James wanted us to keep our pens/fingers moving. We then spent five minutes writing in prose.

These activities showed us that we approach writing differently depending on our objective. When we write prose, we assume that it will stay prose. But it doesn’t need to. You can take a beautiful prose piece and transform it, by crafting it into a poem.

Before the meeting, James sent attendees a selection of poems to read. Using different aspects of poetry, James took us through each poem. We broke them down, and studied them, to understand what James looks at when he edits and what he looks for in poetry. (They were a lovely group of poems that were thoroughly enjoyed.) James gave us excellent advice and direction on how to understand the craft of poetry. We examined word choice, form, and enjambment. A poet creates connection. It can be the ultimate “show don’t tell.” Use the senses. Sensuous details generate the emotion the reader will feel. However, poems can also be silly. Maybe joy or laughter is what the poet wanted you to experience.

James emphasized that a poem is clay; you can remold it however you want. The first draft of a poem, like a lot of writing, is just getting it down. The poetry toolbox comes out during revision. James provided valuable insight into what makes a poem and we thank him for joining us on a cold January afternoon.

Find James:

Upcoming events:

Sequential Storytelling/Graphic Novels: A Writer’s Perspective with Allison Danger – January 28, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Write What You Know then Give it a Twist with Diane Bator – February 21, 1:30pm – 4:30pm

20 Social Media Superchargers with Anne McLachlan – March 14, 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Marketing Yourself & Your Work (Fiction & Creative Non-fiction) with MJ Moores – March 25, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Staying Connected During a Dis-Connected Time

Open Mic @ Cardinal Press
WCYR Meeting
York Writers Conference
Member Workshop
WCYR AGM 2019
Holiday Social
Toronto Comicon Panel
The Bookshelf 2019

Writers in Lockdown

By MJ Moores

Things won’t always be like this … at least, that’s what we have to tell ourselves in order to keep functioning.

We’re not wrong.

Change is happening all the time, and while life right now may be challenging (at the very least), we’re learning to cope any way we can.

As writers, outsiders look at us as ready-made introverts wholly unaffected by the world at large. We’re often seen as keeping to ourselves, typing or writing what our latest muse has presented to us by a cozy fire with our favourite animal or human nearby.

But we know better, don’t we?

Sure, some of us write like that, but some of us thrive on the coffeeshop culture (see the BBC Worklife article HERE), and we’ve formed or are looking to make connections with our personal tribe even as we write. Often, just being in the presence of other writers, talking shop, brainstorming ideas, or sharing our latest efforts brings a sense of community and reassurance that we’re not in this alone.

One of the ways the WCYR has been combating introvert-fatigue (yes, I made that up) has been by transitioning to a virtual platform. Since we can’t meet in person, we’ve jumped on the wild-ride that is meeting online. We’re not only offering our seminars and workshops virtually, but we’ve gone beyond that basic programming…

We have embraced our social media tribe with Facebook LIVE Q&A sessions, and we’ve started virtual Write-Ins. Now, neither of these ideas is new by a long shot, but not all writing communities have ventured over to these online connections.

Our live Q&As are a great way to follow up with a speaker or participate in a short event when life demands so much of our time. It’s empowering to know that we’re participating in a writerly event, even if only briefly.

And, within a matter of five months we’ve gone from struggling to entice writers to attend physical Write-Ins to hosting two amazing 2-hour timeslots for members to meet virtually on the Zoom platform (Mondays at 7pm; Sundays at 9am). Now, it’s not for everyone, but a significant number of our WCYR members have gravitated to this new medium as way of sharing creative space. We do writing sprints; we talk shop; and we connect.

Being alone and being lonely are two very different things (as most introverts will tell you). Sometimes, just knowing that someone else who shares our passion is only a glance or a word away helps keep the muses happy long enough to celebrate getting a few more words on the page.

So, try to keep an open mind about different ways you can stay connected to your tribe – to help fuel your creative energy. Even if you’re not able to write right now, inspiration for the future might just be on the other end of that online call.

Currently, we’re working on pulling together a virtual Open Mic where we can share new work, old work, and writerly comradery as we pay tribute to our craft. Look for more information in our newsletter and via social media.

If you have an idea for another way to keep our tribe connected or you’d like to try hosting a Write-In on a new day/time that works better for you, please contact chair@wcyork.ca and let our Co-Chairs Gary and Mit know. The volunteer team at the WCYR is always looking for more ways to stay connected.

Happy Writing.

Celebrating WCYR’s mini-NaNoWriMo 2020

Two months ago, the writing world embraced National Novel Writing Month in November. For the past several years, the WCYR has contributed to NaNoWriMo by holding our own mini version, in conjunction with the word-wide event.

What’s a mini-NaNo?

Basically, we do a “Camp NaNo” to support writers who would like to participate, but who would prefer to set their own goal or challenge for the month. The team at NaNoWriMo also encourages this, or they have in more recent years, often during their “camps” in April and July.

But sometimes joining a vast community like the NaNoWriMo network can be daunting and scary, or even lonely and intimidating. The special events team at the WCYR wants to make sure everyone feels included and comfortable achieving their personal best.

After our first mini-Nano many moons ago, we decided to change our Facebook group name from “Mini-NaNo” to “Word by Word,” a WCYR member online sub-group dedicated to helping and encouraging all of our writers to blossom and grow with continuing support all year round – not just in November 😉.

And so, November 2020 saw our biggest member goal-setting NaNo yet!

We had thirteen members officially register their goals with us by the end of the first week, and ten of those celebrated their achievements with final word counts at the end of the month. Throughout November, we had several more members pop-in and join the weekly fun, as we chatted about words on the page, story ideas, favourite writing beverages, and more!

We added a second Write-In session on Sunday mornings (9am-11am), to complement the one facilitated by M-C Perron on Monday evenings (7pm-9pm), to help all members – NaNo-ers or not – with a virtual support group as we wrote together in timed sprints and networked on our breaks. Both Write-In session were so successful the WCYR is continuing to run them. You can learn more by visiting The WCYR Members’ Corner Facebook group.

Our mini-NaNo group even held two draws! One draw was in celebration of those members willing to state their writing goal for the month, and the other congratulated those who logged in their accomplished word counts. The two winners (Rae and Diane), received the debut ebook novel, Feeding Frenzy, from member Maaja Wentz, plus their choice of an ebook from any of the WCYR’s published authors.

And, finally, we wrapped up by sharing quotes and snippets from our works in progress. Below are five teasers created in honour of the hard work each writer did during our mini-Nano. MJ Moores, Nanci Pattenden, Melissa Small, Val Tobin, and Paul Yanuziello, gave their permission for the memes to be built and shared publicly. I encourage you to celebrate the WCYR’s mini-Nano-Ers by taking a peek at these wonderful teasers.

Hope you can join us next November, or feel free to stop by and check out Word By Word for a little extra fun and support any ol’ time.

January 2021’s Page Turner

Page Turners

Page Turners

by Val Tobin

Agents and editors will often decide whether a book is for them by reading the first page of a manuscript. Many readers also decide to buy a book based on that critical first-page sample. Each month I post the first page of a book and you can vote on whether or not you’d read the book based on the sample.

After you vote, I’ll let you know the title of the book, my reaction to the sample, and why I’d keep reading or why I’d put it down. The goal is to have fun while we explore the beginnings of a variety of books and what compels readers to keep reading.

While I won’t divulge the title or author until you’ve read the piece, I will include the genre and any preliminary items (for example, quotes) you’d see when opening the book on your own.

NOTE: Set aside your preference for or against any specific genre and just focus on the writing. Does it compel you to turn the page and find out what comes next? Base your decision to turn the page on the excerpt’s writing alone.

Today’s Excerpt

Genre: Science Fiction

1

THIRD

“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”

“That’s what you said about the brother.”

“The brother tested out impossible. For other reasons. Nothing to do with his ability.”

“Same with the sister. And there are doubts about him. He’s too malleable. Too willing to submerge himself in someone else’s will.”

“Not if the other person is his enemy.”

“So what do we do? Surround him with enemies all the time?”

“If we have to.”

“I thought you said you liked this kid.”

“If the buggers get him, they’ll make me look like his favorite uncle.”

“All right. We’re saving the world, after all. Take him.”

The monitor lady smiled very nicely and tousled his hair and said, “Andrew, I supposed by now you’re just absolutely sick of having that horrid monitor. Well, I have good news for you. That monitor is going to come out today. We’re going to take it right out, and it won’t hurt a bit.”

Ender nodded. It was a lie, of course, that it wouldn’t hurt a bit. But since adults always said it when it was going to hurt, he could count on that statement as an accurate prediction of the future. Sometimes, lies were more dependable than the truth.…

Would you turn the page?

Read more

Announcing Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes by M. R. Noble

About the Book

Blindsided by an attack that destroys her home and blamed for murder, Karolina Dalca, a half-vampire, escapes, only to plunge into the magical societies from which she was sheltered.

Betrayed by those around her, she abandons her dreams of becoming an investigator and flees, trusting only herself. Her police internship would never prove more useful. Hoofing it through the wilderness, she makes it to her university dorm, disheveled but delightfully deflowered.

Enter a full vampire: one wielding dark magic and a ride out of Canada. A fugitive from the law, Karo complies with his demands to escape, unsure whether his requests are bewitched. She vows to clear her name and avenge her mother’s death, but Karo’s family secrets aren’t so easily left behind.

“This book grabs you by the throat and does not let go! A fast paced, enthralling journey through a hidden underworld of vampires, werewolves, and other beings of the night. I Highly recommend you acquire this book and hole up somewhere safe for the ride.” —Stuart Rutherford, actor from “What we do in the Shadows.” 

“Fans of Kim Harrison will be drawn into the imagery of Noble’s first book of the Dark Eyes series. In between bouts of fighting and the intensity of paranormal, dark fantasy, there are moments of comedy that make this series opener a real page-turner.” —Booklist.

A bit about M. R. Noble

M. R. Noble has played a tug of war between science and art her whole life, but the rope broke when she wrote the first line of the Dark Eyes series. Immersed up to her keyboard in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, she enjoys blending the real with the surreal. The only drawback is she misplaces her mug while dreaming up her next scene, and soon finds herself six cups overpoured.

Keeping to her Lake Simcoe roots, she is a member of the Writers Community of York Region (WCYR), where her muse is made not found . . . Over a hefty cup of coffee.

Find Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes:

Find M.R. Noble:

Writing Practice with Vicki Pinkerton

Writing, like any skill or talent, can be improved with practice. The practice does not have to involve your current story/book/project. Vicki Pinkerton explained that writing practice is about getting words on the page, though it’s not about the art of the craft. Writing practice gets personal. It can be like yoga or meditation, helping you reach into your psyche to find the story you need to tell.

Many writers participate in prompt writing, whether in a group or on their own. The rules for writing practice are a little different. Writing practice is more personal. The recommended tools are a good pen – the one you love, the one with magic in it – and a light, portable notebook. Not a computer, if that’s possible, though there are circumstances where a computer is necessary. The important thing is that you write however you can.

Why writing practice? It will spark ideas and it will get the words flowing, finding what you need. A regular writing practice will build confidence. You will understand the power of writing for just ten minutes (or any minutes). You will find depth in your writing. Writing practice can do so much for a writer. Also, as Vicki was quick to remind us, if you write, you’re a writer.

Vicki reminded us to be aware of our “monkey mind,” our inner critic, the part of us that wants to edit the words even as they come. Everyone has it, but don’t listen to it. Don’t let the doubts creep in. Keep writing.

Vicki provided us with some rules, which she tweaked from author Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones. Free the writer within. You aren’t getting marked, this isn’t a test. You don’t need the best words. Lose control. Don’t think. Keep your hand moving! You can’t do it wrong.

Check out Vicki’s website for her “pop-up” writing. Fifteen minutes of prompt writing, with two or three prompts, yet another way Vicki can help you get your creative juices flowing. Find more information about Vicki and her writing on her website.

Upcoming Events:

Your Poetry Toolbox with James Dewar – January 10, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Sequential Storytelling/Graphic Novels: A Writer’s Perspective with Allison Danger – January 28, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

20 Social Media Superchargers with Anne McLachlan – March 14, 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Marketing Yourself & Your Work (Fiction & Creative Non-fiction) with MJ Moores – March 25, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Announcing Dervishes Don’t Dance by Kim McDougall

About the Book:

Sometimes you just need to hug your fire dervish. Like when he protects you from brownies. Or goes down into the scary basement with you because he’s proud to be your apprentice. Or when he saves the world.

Kyra Greene, pest controller to the extraordinary, is back with a new adventure!

A Guardian is dead. Fae are missing. And someone has let a golem loose in town. Ride along with Kyra Greene, the only pest controller qualified to deal with the strange and wonderful creatures that come out the shadows when magic flares.

Dervishes Don’t Dance by Kim McDougall, our former WCYR program coordinator, was released on October 13, 2020. It is the sequel to Dragons Don’t Eat Meat and the second book in the Valkyrie Bestiary Series.

A bit about Kim:

If Kim McDougall could have one magical superpower, it would be to talk to animals. Or maybe to shift into animal form. Definitely, fantastical critters and magic often feature in her stories. So until Kim can change into a griffin and fly away, she writes dark paranormal action and romance tales from her home in Ontario, Canada.

Kim continues to volunteer with the WCYR, while creating fantastical tales like Dervishes Don’t Dance. We thank Kim for everything she has contributed to the community and look forward to her new book and other upcoming releases.

Find Kim

Queries, Twitter Pitches, and Contests with Farah Heron

Querying is a daunting task for any writer. It was exciting to hear about a writer’s successful journey. Author Farah Heron helped the writers of the WCYR with this anxiety-inducing task. Farah covered a lot of information. She discussed the basic path to traditional publication, agents, query letters, Twitter pitches, contests, and more!

Step One: Write an excellent book.

Before writing a query letter and sending it off to dozens of agents, Farah stressed the importance of learning about the process before you’re ready to start. There are a lot of hurdles to jump over. Farah outlined the steps (hurdles) to traditional publication. You have to ask yourself if traditional publishing is the right path for you. If you have achieved step one (writing an excellent book), anyone can follow these steps. Remember, none of these steps are easy, however, if you want to be published with one of the big publishers, you need an agent. Keep in mind, agents are in your corner for more than just finding you a publisher, they advocate for you along the way. Agents negotiate your contract, help you understand royalty statements, and advocate for you during editorial disputes. Agents are also entitled to 15% of your earnings, they are hard to find, and they might not be necessary for small publishers. It’s important to do your homework when it comes to finding an agent.

You’ve written an excellent book, and done your research, what else do you need? You need to write a kickass query letter!

If you keep getting stock rejections or no responses, your query letter might be the problem. Do your research on how to write one. Remember, this is a business letter, so keep it professional. Farah was meticulous at taking us through the important parts of a query letter, from the blurb to formatting. 

Want to go beyond the query letter? Farah went on to explain Twitter pitch events. There are several out there, but the most well-known is #PitMad, administered via Pitch Wars. Each pitch event has its own rules. Again, do your research so the right agents will see your pitch. When it comes to contests, also do your research. With any opportunity to get your work seen, research is your first task.

Farah gave us lots of useful information that will help all of us get better at querying.

Find Farah:

Upcoming Events:

Your Poetry Toolbox with James Dewar – January 10, 2021, 1:30pm – 4:30pm

Sequential Storytelling/Graphic Novels: A Writer’s Perspective with Alison Danger – January 28, 2021, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm FREE

20 Social Media Superchargers with Anne McLachlan – March 14, 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Marketing Yourself & Your Work (Fiction & Creative Non-fiction) with MJ Moores – March 25, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm