September 2013 INK STAINS

Dear HB Creativity Alumni and Friends,

Welcome to the September 2013 version of INK STAINS. This month you will find a special survey for clients decide which of three day-long workshops will be offered this October. There are also opportunities, with an update about the new Instant Hook Literary Award sponsored by HB Creativity. Remember it costs nothing to enter this competition; there is a cash prize of two hundred and fifty dollars ($250.00) plus a sodalite keychain (sodalite is reputed to be the writer’s stone) and it’s a fun and intriguing way to test out the first page of your novel-in-progress. See “Opportunities” for full details.

Live 8 Week Novel Writing Workshop Series

Our new live 8-week novel writing workshop series will begin on September 4, 7 pm. Together we will workshop all the aspects of plot, narrative style, tense, point of view and dialogue etc. These explorations will be married to a genuine understanding of where the work fits in terms of genre, and therefore the publishing world. Classes are small (5 maximum) so attention to each participant’s work will be generous. This workshop series is for you if you have an idea for a novel, a partial draft, or a full draft that needs dedicated work, rewriting and indepth, focused feedback. You will benefit from a supportive atmosphere, traveling with others along the same voyage, while experiencing quality advice and in-class editing. Call 693-0118 or email for more details or to register. One place remaining at time of writing!

Guided Online Writing Course

The estimated duration of the course is 8-12 weeks. Places will continue to free up during September. Contact me for availability and work at your own pace. 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 focus on plot development to make sure that you are keeping reader interest. Call (709) 693-0118 or email for more details or to register.

Survey for Day-Long Writing Workshops

Which workshops would you rather see offered in October though HB Creativity?

A. Focus on Dialogue: allow gripping dialogue to replace unwanted explanation. We will look at samples of natural-sounding and dramatically effective dialogue, explore the uses of subtext, and examine extracts of your work in this light.

B. Author Intrusion: when is the author showing his/her hand too much and how does it break the spell? This is an issue which hampers most writers’ best efforts whether they are aware of it or not. Most effective fiction relies upon the reader being completely submerged in the world the author creates, and author intrusion can snap the reader out of that world. Participants will send (in advance) extracts of their work and we will work out how to keep the reader more completely in the story.

C. What’s in a Synopsis? Agents and publishers always ask for one, and very few of us know how to write one. The good news, though, is that a synopsis is not only a necessary requirement for submissions, it’s also a great working tool for the novel-in-progress allowing the writer to examine plot, theme, character and every other aspect of his/her work. Synopses will be sent in advance and workshopped in class.

Alumni News

Debbie (Kate) Robbins’s 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


Introducing the Instant Hook Literary Award (2013):

The first entrants are already arriving. All will be opened after the December 2 deadline! Entrants are encouraged to submit the first 250 words or less of an unpublished novel. As the competition title suggests, the goal is to create an opening that demands reader attention, and makes the reader wish there was more. For the sake of this competition, though, there will be no more; the word limit will be strictly adhered to, so the aim is to create an opening so intriguing, so compelling that it will promise a wealth of ingenious, absorbing, beautifully-written prose to come on its heels.

Sound like fun? Good, because, prize aside, this is the point. The idea is that, whether you are a winner or not, the excercise will make those creative juices run and give you something to work with for many weeks, months, and years afterwards.

Here are the rules; please read carefully!

  • The awards are open to any resident of Canada who is over 18 at time of entry.
  • The submission must be sole-authored, from the very beginning of a novel, and no more than 250 words.
  • The novel opening can have been written for the competition or may be part of a manuscript already completed. But it cannot have been published, and cannot have been accepted by a publisher at time of entry.
  • These awards are open to new or established, already-published, authors (it does not have to be a first novel).
  • This is a blind-judged competition. HB Creativity must not have seen any part of this novel prior to entry; it must not be a work for which I personally have provided tutoring or editing services. I cannot absolutely guarantee I will not recognize a writing style, but I must not recognize the writing, the characters, or the plot.
  • Please use 12 Times New Roman font and double space your entry.
  • Send your entry by mail only (no emails please) to Paul Butler, HB Creativity, 41 Cornwall Ave, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, A1E 1Y4 (make sure you have “Paul Butler, HB Creativity” as well as the address) with a postmark date no later than December 2, 2013. Winners will be announced in February 2014.
  • Please do not put your name on your entry! Enclose in a separate envelope your name and contact (email and phone), plus the title of your entry. This envelope will be opened after the winners have been decided. Along with your name and contact please indicate whether you wish to receive our monthly INK STAINS news bulletin (whether or not you wish to receive INK STAINS will not affect the judging of the competition).
  • Do not send your only copy. Copies without sae cannot be returned. If you do not want your entry returned, it will be shredded and recycled.
  • There is no cost to enter.
  • Copyright remains with the author. We may ask for permission to publish an extract of the winning works on this website but this will not be done without the author’s express permission. Withholding permission will in no way invalidate the entry or disqualify it from winning a prize. By entering you merely give permission for me to use your name and the (provisional) title of the work.
  • One winner will receive a cash prize of $250.00, plus a sodalite keychain donated by Open Earth Designs. Sodalite is the stone reputed to give inspiration to writers. Two runners-up will receive a free hour tutorial by phone, in-person (depending on location) or over Skype.

Other Opportunities

Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, plan now for the next deadline of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards on the second last Friday of November (22nd November) 2013. Keep tuned to the Arts and Letters website for details.