Events

506 Writing Contest

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The Ashdale Writers Group, a group I have been a part of for years, is hosting a writing contest in conjunction with Beach Metro, Toronto Public Library, Gerrard India Bazaar and The 506 Streetcar Project.

Myself and my fellow writers in the group will be serving as judges and the theme is related to the 506 streetcar here in Toronto.

The deadline is tight, entries must be submitted by March 21st, but we have a great prize of publication in the Beach Metro News and $100 cash sponsored by the Gerrard India Bazaar BIA.

For more info or to enter check out our group’s website!

Also, the winner will be invited to read at our Ashdale Reading Night on the 31st of March. Members of our group will be reading along with the winner of the contest.

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Story Notes

Amako

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I’m excited to announce that my story ‘Amako‘ is now available for purchase at Found Press, a delightful online publisher with a fabulous library of short stories from many outstanding and talented writers.

My collaboration with Found Press has been amazing, this is definitely the first time I’ve had a story completely edited head to toe with the help of an editor (a very talented one in fact – Byran Ibeas). We bounced the story back and forth many times and Bryan made loads of amazing suggestions that I feel polished my story into a gleaming sea pearl.

It was an exciting process because editing is awesome. It’s an art in and of itself (as I have been learning from the ongoing editing of my debut novel with my lovely agent) and if you are working with the right person it can be a fun learning experience. I loved getting the benefit of Bryan’s perspective and I walked away with a much better story because of his editing wisdom, thanks Bryan!

Another thing that’s exciting about this publication is it’s my first interaction with royalties. I put a lot of time and effort into writing short stories and it’s not often that I see much in the way of monetary reimbursement. Now I don’t write fiction with money as my starting goal, but I am certainly happy when I can make some (who isn’t?). So for the very first time I can say that with the purchase of either a subscription to Found Press or the purchase of Amako, you will be supporting me directly (and Found Press’s continued publication of great fiction)!

And finally a quick story note about Amako…

I was inspired to learn more about Ama (Japanese pearl diving women) when I read an article by a photographer who went home to Japan to document their lives. I can’t find his article now, but I wanted to link to some pictures that were similar to those that inspired me.

Events

Upcoming Reading: The EW Reading Series

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On Tuesday the 8th of September I will be sharing the stage with some fabulous writers at the Emerging Writers Reading Series in Toronto.

The reading is in a pub on Bloor St. West so you can get some food and drink. I will be hitting the stage last at 9:30pm but there are three other readers before me, so come at 8pm to get in on all the literary action!

I hope to see you there.

Date: Tuesday September 8, 2015
Time: 8pm
Location: Duffy’s Tavern – 1238 Bloor St. W. Toronto
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Writing an outline

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I’ve decided to write an outline for my next book.


It’s a weird feeling. Usually i just dive headfirst into a novel, emotions in front, ready to do battle. That approach has served me well. I’ve gotten three books out of it, books I like, books I’m proud of. 



So why the outline?


Because I’m tackling something new: science fiction.

I wrote a short story based on a concept I learned about in an astronomy class I was auditing at U of T and I loved the idea so much I knew I had to make it into something bigger. But the thing about science fiction is that it requires…science. And to make my science fiction even remotely scientific, I need to do some research. Also, because my story will be set in a time that is beyond ours it requires a little world building. I’m working from the outside with this concept because it’s an idea about the universe itself, not about a single character, which is my usual approach.

I have to say I’m a little bit intimidated by the idea of the outline. It makes writing a book seem more like work. I write outlines for corporate clients, web videos and projects. I know when I finally sit down with it I’ll get into it and things will be fine, but right now it just seems liked a daunting proposition.

So why do I feel as though writing should be a purely emotional pursuit? It seems like a foolishly romantic notion: this idea that I should be some poet in a coffee shop spilling my guts in a moleskin notebook. It’s also unrealistic; I like structure, order and a good understanding of my direction in life—so why shouldn’t I like it in my writing?

Maybe I think an outline will restrict me. But it would be an imaginary restriction, because if I make it, I can destroy it. Maybe I think it will be too formal, that I will get bored of it if I have my whole path charted for me. Maybe I think writing is more exciting when it’s a mystery. But if that were true then I wouldn’t need to know the ending before I start a story…and I always know the ending before I start.

So where is the resistance coming from?


Writing a new genre is daunting, I’ve only written two or three pure science fiction stories before. Writing in a new format is daunting too. An outline is a new skill that I have yet to master.

But ultimately I think it will be good for me. The fear of trying new things has never stopped me before.

So watch your back outline…I’m coming for you.


P.S. Any tips or hints on good ways to outline a novel would be appreciated. If you have any just drop them in the comments section!

Story Notes

Story Notes – The world of her own making

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My story ‘The world of her own making’ was published recently in A cappella Zoo (Issue 14) and I was so excited.

To read the story just head A cappella Zoo and order up Issue 14.

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at A cappella Zoo before reading the notes.

About ‘The world of her own making’

I love origin myths; the expansiveness of the claims and the simplifying of all the complexity of the universe into something completely human centric. Our gods are so often personifications of us, with all of our most basic (and sometimes terrible) traits; jealousy, lust, rage, hunger. Any origin myth we’ve conjured up is such a great indication of our humanity—our desire to connect with something bigger than us, our wish for the simplicity of a god-like figure.

I wanted to write a story of a girl who ate the world and naturally, as I was writing it, it turned into an origin story. A new world from the old, not something from nothing but something born from a normal girl who simply got hungry.

I can’t imagine a universe where something comes from nothing. I think ultimately that makes me a believer in an infinite multi-verse which has its own issues but I like the idea of a new universe coming from something pre-existing because a lone god in an empty void creating all of existence is even more confusing and definitely less science-friendly.

I liked being able to really get into the texture of things in this story, assigning common tastes to objects that aren’t meant to be eaten and I enjoyed the ultimate grandeur of the tale. I guess thoughts of the universe are never far from my mind because they creep into my writing at any given opportunity.

Story Notes

Story Notes – Leadership Camp

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My story ‘Leadership Camp’ was published recently at Maudlin House and I was so honoured to be included with all the other wonderful stories in Issue 5!

To read the story just head on over to Maudlin House and check it out!

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at Maudlin House before reading the notes.

About ‘Leadership Camp’

This story was inspired by a call for submissions for a local Toronto anthology looking for stories with the subject ’20 Somethings Going Nowhere’. My story didn’t make it into the anthology but I’m actually happy about that because it found an amazing home at Maudlin House!

The truth is I don’t usually write stories with large casts. I find too many people hard to manage and I have a bit of a distaste for dialogue tags and try to avoid them whenever I can. Usually I stick to smaller interactions between one or two people, but this theme (in my mind) called for an ensemble so I wanted to give it a try. I tried a minimal style because I wanted it to be as dialogue heavy as possible (sort of like a script)—partly for the challenge and also because I thought the situation called for it.


A zombie apocalypse just popped into my head and honestly I usually try to avoid writing about apocalypse scenarios as much as possible because I worry they will come across as cliche. But as Ben always says, the most interesting thing about a zombie film is the interactions between the living. So I tried to focus on that and I think it turned out pretty well in the end (although the character’s actual fate is up to you to decide).

(Image by: Miquela Davis – miquelacomics.tumblr.com)