The blogs I’ve written about writing are HERE.
Here is the companion ebook for my Finding Inspiration and Voice and my Prompt Poetry workshops: 123 prompts for poets and novelists.
PLANNING TOOLS for PANTSERS (WWC 2021 workshop resources):
I have adapted my own planner based on a variety of strategies and techniques. It’s 2 parts. I brainstorm the basic plot elements first, then add with the specifics of the character arcs. Using that information and structure, I add details into specific chapters noting a timeline and specific locations. This is for a 15 chapter book (my Laketon novellas), adapt for whatever you require. You can download it for personal use here: ShawnBird-bookplanner Please ask for specific permission if you want to use it in classes or workshops. Use the CONTACT ME form. There is an excellent guide to explaining character arcs on WritersHelpingWriters.net There is room for these elements in my planner.
Here are some additional planning resources that might be of interest to you:
- 6 stage plot structure from Michael Hauge
- 7 point story from Dan Wells (etc)
- Blake Snyder beat sheet and explanation
- John Truby’s 22 step plan
- Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake method
WORKSHOPS & CONFERENCES:
Here are a few conferences where I routinely present or just attend. It’d be great to see you there!
Surrey International Writers’ Conference Third weekend of October. Surrey, BC
Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival Second weekend in May. Salmon Arm, BC
When Words Collide, Second weekend in August. Calgary, AB
I love presenting to groups of all sizes and formats. 🙂
Writerly Kits offer a curated subscription box full of inspiration and encouragement for writers that arrives at your door every 2 months. From Canada.
Scribbler offer a curated subscription box full of inspiration and encouragement. From US.
LINKS TO HELPFUL WRITING SITES:
Grammar- University of Ottawa’s HyperGrammar (also useful for teachers!)
Writers’ Union of Canada Their package on interpreting contracts is a fantastic resource, available to non-members as well, now instantly by downloadable pdf.
National Novel Writing Month offers some inspiration and structure if you’ve been procrastinating with a goal to complete 50,000 words in November. Camp NaNO in April and July allows you to set your own goals.
Writers’ Market.com’s query letter clinic is very useful and clear.
Joseph Konrath’s excellent A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.
Jane Friedman’s very thorough blog Helping Authors
Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn blog is full of helpful stuff.
Editor’s Association of Canada offers all sorts of information about hiring an editor including the different tasks editors perform, an editor contract sample, and a fee schedule.
Writer Beware is a fantastic site managed by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. They monitor agencies and publishers, recording complaints and investigating issues. Check their site before you sign so you know whether the company you’re looking at is legit.
A great place to hang out with other writers and learn, learn, learn is the The Lit Forum. Diana Gabaldon got her start there when it was the “Compuserve Books_and_Writers_Community.”
Diana Gabaldon has a few articles on her website entitled “The Cannibal’s Art.” The first is here, but be sure to look on the right side bar on her site for the other posts in the series.
Stephen King video: http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2015/02/24/stephen-king-everything-you-need-to-know-about-writing-successfully/
Neil Gaiman is concerned about creative people who don’t make wills, read his post and download a sample to take to your lawyer. I did!
The following are books in my personal library that I can recommend.
BOOKS TO HELP YOU WRITE OR EDIT:
Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi- The Emotion Thesaurus, 2nd ed, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Urban Setting Thesaurus, and/orThe Rural Setting Thesaurus.These are practical and helpful resources for creating depth in your writing and avoiding cliches.
Donald Maass- Writing The 21st Century Novel or
Donald Maass- Writing the Breakthrough Novel
Strunk & White- The Elements of Style
BOOKS THAT ARE INSPIRING FOR WRITERS:
Ray Bradbury- Zen in the Art of Writing
Natalie Goldberg- Writing Down the Bones I use this book in my Writing 12 classes as a text. It encourages new or timid writers to dare to write from the depths.
Anne Lamott- Bird by Bird Encouragement for those whose inner voices are extremely critical.
Stephen King- On Writing. I think I dog-eared half the book. I’ve never met a writer who didn’t find it profoundly encouraging.
POETS and CRAFTING POETRY CHAPBOOKS:
Ted Kooser- The Poetry Home Repair Manual. Incredibly helpful articles that offer practical tools to improve your poetry.
Robin Behn & Chase Twichell- The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach. This is a wonderful book full of poetry exercises, suitable for all levels of writers. I am using or adapting several for my class room and workshops.
Hedi Kyle & Ulla Warchol- Art of the Fold. This is a GORGEOUS book! It will teach you how to make amazing folded art books, that you can use with beautiful papers to turn into beautiful, one of a kind, poetry art books. Here’s a video of me showing some of the little practice books I made, while learning the techniques.
I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I earn a bit when you buy any of my recommended resources through the links above.
INFO for WRITERS:
Pop over to read this interview with Sally Harding of the Cooke Agency about what she looks for and how her agency works.
Attending writing conferences is a great way to make contacts in the writing world and to stay current in the business of writing, as well as getting tips on how to write, and how to sell your writing. I am particularly fond of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference which is usually the 3rd Friday of October. The conference allows you to,
- Network around the meal tables with other writers, editors, publishers and agents.
- Attend workshops.
- Pitch your novel or article to publishers, editors, and agents.
- Have a writer ‘blue pencil’ a sample of your work, giving you a professional critique of his/her first impressions.
And yes, it works. I’ve had very positive results from developing connections and contacts forged at conferences and workshops. For example, as a result of pitches at conferences, I’ve signed contracts with publishers and with an agency. I have also met enthusiastic members of the Western Canadian writing community, and been invited to present at other events as a result.
Another good writers’ conference is run by the Shuswap Association of Writers. It is held in the spring. Read the details here.
I also attend When Words Collide Writers’ Conference in Calgary each August. A very welcoming community, particularly for beginners, though writers of all experiences will find something of value. Least expensive conference I’ve ever heard of- under $50 for 3 days if you buy early. Something like 400 workshops and events for $50? Yes, please! They have a Youtube channel where you may watch some workshops here.
WRITERS TO SHARE:
In my literary journey, I have had the privilege to discover many fine writers who are worthy of sharing. Several of the following are not just talented authors, but they’re real people I have met, studied with, or corresponded with. Some of them are even my own talented former students. I am happy to recommend each of them to your attention.
Gail Anderson-Dargatz: literary fiction
Diana Gabaldon: epic historical romance and adventure
Nancy Hedberg: Christian fiction
C. C. Humphreys: historical fiction
Crawford Kilian: blogger, teacher, non-fiction
Kay McCracken: reflective
Carol Mason: women’s fiction
Stephenie Meyer: young adult, sci-fi
Ishbel Moore: young adult
J. K. Rowling: children & young adult fantasy
Andrea Spalding: children’s
Crystal Stranaghan: children’s
Sylvia Taylor: creative non-fiction
Ian Weir: literary fiction
AUTHORS MEETINGS AND MINGLING AT ASSORTED EVENTS: