INK STAINS JUNE — Literary Competition Teaser

Dear HB Creativity Alumni and Friends,

Welcome to the June 2013 edition of INK STAINS with upcoming workshops, alumni news, writing opportunities and — to get you thinking — a brief teaser for a new literary award with a monetary prize which will be officially announced in August and will be funded and administered by HB Creativity.

New! Live & Online Combo Novel Writing Workshop Series

This exciting new novel writing workshop series combines the in-depth feedback of the online course with the buzz and camaraderie of the live workshop. We begin on the evening of September 4, 2013 with a live workshop during which we will discuss your project, clarify its strengths and its challenges and set achievable goals. Through the following eight weeks you will submit eight short sections (2,000 words) and receive in-depth notes. You will also exchange select extracts with the class. The process will workshop all the aspects of your novel’s plot, narrative style, tense, point of view, and dialogue. At the halfway stage there will be a webinar which will gather and analyse the class consensus regarding the direction of your work. At the finish there will be a live workshop in St. John’s. This is the workshop series for you if you have an idea for a novel, a partial draft, or a full draft that needs dedicated work, rewriting and in-depth, focused feedback. You will benefit from a supportive atmosphere, traveling with others along the same voyage, while experiencing quality advice and editing. Call 709 693-0118 or email paul.butler@nl.rogers.com for more details or to register.

Guided Online Writing Course

The Guided Online Writing Course is full for the summer, but places will begin to open in August if you would like to book a spot in advance. Estimated duration of the course is 8-12 weeks. Receive extensive evaluation of your writing and on-going advice as you work. The Guided Online Writing Course is designed for writers who want a significant portion of a draft of their novel, or non-fiction project, completed by the end of the course. Feedback will cover all the aspects of plot/structure, narrative style, tense, point of view, dialogue, and we will work hard on plot development to make sure that you are keeping reader interest. Call 693-0118 or email paul.butler@nl.rogers.com for more details.

Alumni News

Debbie (Kate) Robbins soon-to-be-released novel, Bound to the Highlander, is already a finalist in a literary competition! This racy and enthralling must-read has been shortlisted by TARA (the Tampa Area Romance Authors chapter of the Romance Writers of America RWA!) The contest, open to published and unpublished authors, will announce a winner in September. Bound to the Highlander is due for ebook release by Irish publisher Tirgearr Publishing in October.

Mary Pike has won the Percy Janes first novel award for her novel Never-Ever-Land  set in an Engish language school in Korea. Congratulations Mary, a well deserved accolade to a dedicated and talented writer!

Congratulations to David Kennedy who has had a wonderfully creative year already, having published three books in 2013: The Little Girl Whose Arm Was A Star (a fairytale); Ancient Steel: Scry Tharg Rises (a sci-fi novel about a Corner Brook man with cancer who becomes a 4000 year old galactic swordfighter); and the bay    the moon    the heart (a book of poems). All these fine books (hard copy and electornic) are available on amazon.com.

HB Creativity alumni. Linda Abbott (The Loss of the Marion, Flanker Press), Tara Nanayakkara (Priya’s World, Inanna Publications), Eric Colbourne (Disappeared, Michael Grass House) and Lesleyanne Ryan (Braco, Breakwater Books), an Atlantic Book Awards finalist, have all continued to do well in their second year of publication!

Alumni: Don’t forget to let me know if you have news!

Upcoming Opportunities

1. In preparation for our new literary award to be announced in August, have a think about the most gripping opening paragraphs to a novel you have ever encountered. When you are restlessly perusing the shelves of a library or bookstore, what makes you stop and root yourself in place as you race through the lines before you? Now imagine you are the writer whose job it is to grab the world-weary reader. How are you going to do it?

If you are over 18 and a Canadian resident you will be able to enter this competition. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or a seasoned novelist, it will be open, free to enter, fun, blind-judged, and it is designed to leave everyone — winner or otherwise — with something to work with.

2. The Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) in partnership with the Literary Arts Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador is calling for submissions to one of the country’s most lucrative literary awards for unpublished writers: the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers. If you have a manuscript near to completion, don’t miss this opportunity! The Deadline is June 14th, 2013. A list of rules and regulations can be found at Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador.

3. Poets, short fiction writers and emerging novelists, plan now for the next deadline of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards on Friday  November 22, 2013. Keep tuned to the Arts and Letters website for details.

Workshop Facilitator: Paul Butler is the award-winning author of nine novels including Titanic Ashes (Flanker Press). Titanic Ashes reached # 2 in the Halifax Chronicle Herald’s bestsellers list and was given highly positive reviews by such magazines as Quill & Quire and Historical Books Review. See Titanic Ashes on amazon: Previous novels include Cupids (Flanker Press) Hero (Nimbus), 1892 (Flanker Press), NaGeira (Flanker Press), Easton’s Gold, Easton, and Stoker’s Shadow.

INK STAINS — Salon, Opportunities and Alumni News

Dear HB Creativity Clients and Friends,

Here is our special May INK STAINS with details and photos from our May 12 Writers’ Salon, upcoming opportunities for writers, and a lot of wonderful alumni news! A lot of fun was had at the writers’ salon and we were treated to readings from Gerard Doran (from his novel-in-progress about the famed record-breaking Outer Cove regatta crew Stroke in Time), Linda Abbott (from her bestseller The Loss of the Marion), Melanie Martin (from her moving novel-in-progress about set during the First World War), Valerie Francis (from her exciting young adult novel in progress Nature Knights), Debbie (Kate) Robbins (from her stirring romantic adventure Bound to the Highlander– see alumni news for some exciting news about Debbie’s novel), and Lesleyanne Ryan from her highly-acclaimed and Atlantic Book Award-nominated first novel Braco, set in the Balkans after the fall of Srebrenica in 1995.

Gerard Doran reads from A Stroke in Time

Gerard Doran reads from A Stroke in Time

Bestselling author Linda Abbott talks to Nature Knights author Valerie Francis

Bestselling author Linda Abbott talks to Nature Knights author Valerie Francis

Atlantic Book Award-nominated Lesleyanne Ryan (Braco) and Linda Abbott (The Loss of the Marion) listen to a reader

Atlantic Book Award-nominated Lesleyanne Ryan (Braco) and Linda Abbott (The Loss of the Marion) listen to a reader

Gerard Doran, Debbie (Kate) Robbins, and Melanie Martin chat about their writing experiences

Gerard Doran, Debbie (Kate) Robbins, and Melanie Martin chat about their writing experiences

These marvellous readings were followed by wine, tea, coffee and chat and a literary quiz. Participants vied to be the first to correcly identify iconographic novels from their opening lines. Thanks to Open Earth Designs for door prizes, a sodalite necklace(sodalite is said to provide inspiration to writers), and a pair of amethyst and white jade earrings, and to Flanker Press who donated the books The Newfoundland Dog by Robert Parsons, Camp 13: Working in the Lumber Woods by Byron White, Landslide: the Jack Hickey Story by Bruce Stagg, and A History of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic to 1818 by Shannon Ryan. See Flanker Press titles at http://www.flankerpress.com/. Open Earth Designs products are available at the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre on Water Street West.

Chris Rolton talks with Atanu Sakir about their writing

Chris Rolton talks with Atanu Sakar about their writing

Check out some of these writers on their own web pages and blogs:
Linda Abbott: http://www.flankerpress.com/labbott.shtml
Valerie Francis: http://valeriefrancis.ca/
Kate Robbins: http://katerobbinsauthor.com/
Lesleyane Ryan: http://lesleyanneryan.com/

Alumni News

Lesleyanne Ryan’s Braco has garnered a much-deserved nomination for the Margaret and John Savage First Book, part of 2013’s Atlantic Book Awards. Before publication Braco had already won the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Fresh Fish Award first prize for an unpublished manuscript!

Mary Pike has won the Percy Janes first novel award for her novel Never-Ever-Land set in an Engish language school in Korea. Congratulations Mary, a well deserved accolade to a dedicated and talented writer!

Debbie (Kate) Robbins has just signed with Tirgearr Publising of Ireland who will release her novel Bound to the Highlander this fall, the first in her Highland Chief series! Stay tuned for more details about this racy and enthralling, must-read debut! Also see the web page: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Robbins_Kate/

Writing Workshops

Guided Online Writing Course

Estimated duration of the course is 8-12 weeks. Receive extensive evaluation and advice based on your writing. The Guided Online Writing Course is designed for writers who want a significant portion of a draft of their novel, or non-fiction project, completed by the end of the course. Feedback will cover all the aspects of plot/structure, narrative style, tense, point of view, dialogue, and we will work hard on plot development to make sure that you are keeping reader interest. Call 693-0118 or email paul.butler@nl.rogers.com for more details or to register.

Upcoming Opportunities

1. The Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) in partnership with the Literary Arts Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador is calling for submissions to one of the country’s most lucrative literary awards for unpublished writers: the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers. If you have a manuscript near to completion, don’t miss this opportunity! The Deadline is June 14th, 2013. A list of rules and regulations can be found at Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador.

2. Poets, short fiction writers and emerging novelists, plan now for the next deadline of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards on the last Friday of November (22th November) 2013.

3. HB Creativity is about to launch a new literary award. Applicants will be invited to send a gripping first 500 words of a novel or novel-in-progress. Watch this space in the weeks ahead for details!

Reading from Your Novel

When you get asked to read from your novel, or novel-in-progress, at a public event, do you see it as an opportuntiy to shine, to really show people what your work is about? Or is it an opportunity to mess up, to reduce what you see as a complex and intricate piece of work to a bunch of words, rendered meaningless either by flat delivery or by the general lack of context?

Do you fret over how much background to give, whether the scene itself should hang mysteriously in space like a black hole and draw the listener in?

The trouble with giving context, of course, is that you’re creating work for the listener, a list of things they will have to remember for your reading to make any sense. The trouble with not giving context is that your listener will feel lost, will not have a clear idea of what is expected of them, intellectually or emotionally.

One ruse novelists sometimes resort to is reading only from the first chapter of the novel. Novel openings are often designed to be self-explanatory, or at least to provide the reader a fighting chance of guessing what’s going on; mysteries within openings are enticing rather than confusing. The trouble with this is it’s not a trick you can resort to too many times without being aware of the repetition and getting very dry (and is an especially bad idea if there are people in the audience who have seen you read before).

One complicating aspect you might suffer from as a writer is a sudden feeling, descending fatally while you are in front of a microphone, that the thing you are reading from has no connection to yourself. Suddenly you feel like Dr. Frankenstein responsible for a rampaging monster that claims you as its own but that — you protest — is not really of your making.

Well, sorry, Dr. Frankenstein, you did indeed create this and you have a responsibility not only to own up to your creation, but to love it. And that is quite a daunting responsibility.

So is there a way of getting over all these self-alientating problems? If so, I haven’t personally found them yet, but here are some notions:

1. Read something completely new every time, even if it means not reading from your latest published work but reading instead something you wrote yesterday, last week, or last month.

2. Be as chatty as you can be with the audience (much easier said than done if you are unsure of an audience or unsure of yourself in the setting).

3. Tell yourself beforehand you are using the text as a performance guide, that you will depart from the text if feels right, chopping sentences, making unscheduled additions. This carries the obvious danger that you might well end up misrepresenting your own work quite badly. But, then again, as you own copyright you are the only person in the world who has the right to do this, so taking charge could also be fun.