First Three Chapters

I am teaching a course at the Alexandra Centre called The First Three Chapters, and had my first class this week. Awesome group of students–7 out of 8 of them have a very clear idea about the novel they want to write. And a new student enrolled this week, so I will have 9. This should be tons of fun!

Query Workshop

I had a ton of fun today, working for the Alexandra Centre, doing a drop-in query workshop. Actually, I had two clients booked, but saw five in 3 hours. Each brought a query letter and I did a “blue pencil” style critique and talked to them about various strategies for getting an agent, writing a synopsis, and other elements of the business of writing. An awesome day!


A weekend in Ottawa for Can*Con was time well spent. Caught up with old friends (breakfast with Sheila Williams, coffee with Sam Morgan, partying with Mark Leslie), met new people, sat on some panels, launched Strangers Among Us (and sold out every copy there, thanks to Bundoran Press, who allowed us to put our books on their table), saw a light show at the Parliament Buildings, toured the National Gallery, saw a boat make its way through the locks on the Rideau canal…and more! Thanks to Derek Kunsken and Marie Bilodeau for organizing!

Whitefish Retreat

Four writers, six days, no responsibilities: this is the third year I have been invited by good friend and writer, Mike Gillett, to his Whitefish cabin for a Labour Day long weekend of silence and keyboard tapping. This year, I managed to write an entire novelette (okay, I had written 3 scenes before coming) AND plan book 2 of the Prayer Stones Saga. Other than type, sleep and eat a couple of meals, we had many writerly conversations over dinner, and we did a bit of reading aloud of our weekend work on the last night there.

It was AWESOME!!

Planning for fall teaching

The Alexandra Centre has confirmed my teaching gig this fall: a ten week course on “The first three chapters.” The registration is full with a waitlist, so I will have ten students. I’m really looking forward to the class–it’s one I haven’t taught before, so I did some preliminary preparation this week.

The curriculum is only described very briefly: ten weeks, ten words (plot, setting, character…) and there will be no, or very little, critiquing (because the opening of a novel is a delicate thing–it can be destroyed so easily), so I added a few items of my own. For instance, I think I’d like to take the students through quilting, pantsing, and planning; we’ll have a brief look at the end at the audience–things like that. I also have a great new reference for them to explore: “Wired for Story.”

World con is, again, fantastic

Not only did the SFWA Board get a ton of work done at its Board meeting and have a great turnout for its Business meeting, but I got to touch base with lots of old friends and make new ones. Also, I taught the Writers’ Workshop again, which is always fun. But the weekend has gone by in a blink and I head home tomorrow. Where does the time go?

Strangers Among Us–First Launch

Sunday was the first of four launches for Strangers Among Us and it went swimmingly. Julie Czerneda interviewed each of the authors regarding how they came up with the ideas for their stories, and the accounts were very moving and uplifting. The launch was well attended and the conference sold out of our copies of the book. Yay!

My Blog Post is Out!

Yay! My blog post, The Pleasures of Anthology Editing, is out on the SFWA site!

Nonfiction sale

Yay! My blog post on editing an invitation-only Anthology sold to the SFWA site–should be up shortly. Second sale for this year.

Story plotted

A bike ride is an excellent method for getting over plot dysfunctions. The key is: you have to have been working on the issues so they are in your brain before you go on the bike ride. Then, the lowered stress and increased oxygen do their thing, and the solution pops into your brain. A solo walk can do the same thing. So, now the last plot holes are filled, and I’ve used Daniel Abraham’s method to plot out the entire story, ready for writing.