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.)

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When Loni isn't reading other people's words or running around after her two young children, she spends time writing stories of her own. She finds inspiration in the little things, but also in momentous events. Loni currently resides in York Region. Twitter: @LoniStorm Instagram: loni_storm Facebook: @LoniCameronWriter

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