Yeah, it’s not writing. But working for my writers’ group (we run a short story contest every year that is very cool), a writers’ festival (WWC encourages cross-fertilization among a zillion different writers’ organizations) and teaching adults how to write novels (through the Alexandra Writers’ Society) can also be very satisfying. So–okay–no fiction this week. But next week, for sure!
Had a great opportunity to participate in a reading at Shelf Life Books. I was the MC and my writers’ group, IFWA, had eight members read very short pieces on the Mayan Apocalypse. I only wish my friend, Ann, had written the story she was considering, about “alpaca lips.” Oh, well. The rest of the stories were very good, and great variety. We had about 10-12 people out to the event, so need to do better next time.
Where do I start to rave about When Words Collide? Our numbers were up–over 400 attendees. The Keynotes were inspiring, especially Adrienne Kerr’s and Anthony Bidulka’s. Personally, I sold 4 paintings, read at my own reading, two book launches (and had a new story come out in OnSpec) and IFWA’s Bedtime Stories, attended a really well-run Aurora Awards banquet (I didn’t win for best short story, but congratulations to Suzanne Church, who did! Woot!) and some really fun parties. AND, I launched my first collection! But of course, the best part, as always, was the incredible energy of the participants from so many different genres of writing. And exhausting, but very satisfying weekend.
What an opportunity twelve of us had, to have our cover letter, synopsis and five pages of novel critiqued by Adrienne Kerr, acquisitions editor for Penguin Canada. First, just reading everyone else’s submissions was an education in itself (they were all very different), and I learned tons just from putting myself in an editor’s shoes and thinking about why I would or would not ask an author to send me more material. Then there were the critiques themselves, listening to everyone explain their thinking on pieces I had already made my mind up about–very eye-opening. Next, there were the critiques I got on my own writing–thanks, everyone! And finally, there were Adrienne’s observations, from the position of someone who does this work professionally every day. An unforgettable experience.
So the Write-Off–IFWA’s semi-annual writers’ retreat–was awesome. Managed to revise a whole short story and re-submit, as per the editor’s request–fingers crossed!