Tag Archives: writing process

I’m Excited for the Kamloops Young Writer’s Festival

Today I finished up my creative writing workshops for the Kamloops Young Writer’s Festival and I’m really excited about the two workshops I will be leading for older teens. For fun, I’ve put together a powerpoint with some great vids, along with some really creative and fun interactive exercises all designed to help the students with any current projects they might be working on, whatever their chosen genre.

Talking to Students and teaching creative writing –Satisfying!

Roadtrip! On Thursday morning, Norma Charles is picking my up, then we will scoop up Lee Edward Fodi and Lori Sherritt-Flemming, grab some java and hit the road, arriving in Kamloops in time for the Welcome Reception, that involves wine, cheese, nibblies and good conversation. Altogether, there will seven of us running workshops to cover both elementary and secondary students. Here is the list of presenters and I’ve seen most of them in action, so I know the kids are in for a treat. Prepare to be amused and creative!


Lee Edward Fodi
Lori Sherritt-Fleming
Norma Charles


Denise Jaden
Crystal Strangahan
Julie Burtinshaw
Susan Buis

In the meantime, I’ve got a toothache because I got a crown today and my torn tendons continue to force me to hobble around in an ankle brace. I’m hoping Kamloops will distract me from the world of hurt 🙂


Filed under Events and Readings

Writing a First Draft: To Outline or Not to Outline

There is no right or wrong way to begin a novel. Some authors like to begin with a detailed, chapter-by-chapter outline, some, and I count myself among these, find an outline restrictive and just dive straight into the story. Recently, at the request of a publisher, I had to create an outline for the new book I am working on and although I found putting the plot down on paper to be an arduous task, I was surprised how helpful it was for me to identify the main plot twists in my new story.

Because most of my books are character, not plot driven, I always have the sense that, like a Seinfeld episode, nothing really happens; my characters move through their lives without leaping from airplanes, chasing down bad guys or solving crimes. Yet, this is simplistic and not true at all – things happen to and because of my characters – huge life-changing events, like in The Perfect Cut when Brian must struggle with his sister’s death, or smaller, but difficult to deal with problems, like the pressure Cole feels to be perfect in the darkness between the stars.

Know where the road leads to

Actioni contrariam semper et æqualem esse reactionem: To Every Action there is an equal and opposite reaction. By creating a plot twist outline, it helped me to identify the motivations behind the decisions, often deceivingly small, but life-altering, made by my characters. It helped me to get to know them better, because I spent hours thinking about who they are and what makes them do what they do.

In the end, although I was reluctant to write an outline, it didn’t do me any harm at all and may actually have helped me with my writing process.

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Filed under Writing Tips