Why Using Someone Else’s Brain is So Fantabulous

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This blog has seen a huge hiatus but thankfully, I’m back on the bandwagon. Hip hip hooray!

A little over a month ago I had the most amazing opportunity. Along with eleven other author attendees I was part of a workshop that was presented by Adrienne Kerr Commissioning Editor, Penguin (Canada). This post is written with her permission but has not been reviewed by her. The two day experience I had truly showed me the immense value of picking someone else’s brain, most especially after they’ve read your work.

With eleven other brains giving me in-depth critiques of my query letter, sample pages and my synopsis I had so many “Ah-ha” moments I lost count. It really helped that it was such a diverse group of writers. I found it interesting that sometimes even they disagreed on different aspects of my novel. But I learned quickly that if many people were saying the same thing it was time to sit up and pay attention. I’m still currently sorting through all the information and help that all of these writers have given me. It’s amazing that so much of what was specifically said helped in so many other aspects of my writing.

Never underestimate the value of new eyes coming to a piece of work. As a writer everything makes sense in your head. All the pieces fit together. New eyes can pick up on so many times where hands skipped over a crucial piece of information that is still in your head. Another person’s brain can also sometimes see themes or ideas that you may or may not have wanted in your novel. I was so excited and happy to have been able to go. This workshop will definitely have to go on my “I must do this every year for my writing” list. 😀
(Don’t underestimate the value of a good iPhone app too. So happy I used voice record and can now play back exactly what everyone said about what I had written).

In addition to all of the above it was truly wonderful to be able to work with Ms. Kerr and have not only so many of my questions answered but have her look at my writing as well.

Needless to say the workshop has really put a burr back under my butt and my writing is really starting to become part of my life again. I’m realizing how much I’ve missed it, and I’m so glad to be back!


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Writers Groups

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So as of right now I am a member of two different writers groups. One is here in Kamloops, and the other is in Calgary where I used to live and will be moving back to this summer or fall.
These groups are: (if you haven’t already checked them out in my handy dandy box this way>> )

IFWA – The Imaginative Fiction Writers Association – Calgary
IAG – Interior Authors Group – Kamloops

Why do I love them and think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread? Because you get to meet other writers. You can bounce your ideas off someone else’s head. You hear amazing other stories. It’s that much easier to learn all about writing and publishing and the whozits and whatzits of the writing world. All of a sudden you don’t feel so isolated.

Sure blogs are a great thing, there’s lots of research and online friends and groups you can join. I love this and I love discovering new writers and awesome new blogs. But nothing can beat a straight up idea, hashing out, promotion or dishing on a new book session face to face with another writer.

The best part? Both of these group are extremely reasonable for their membership fees (especially when you consider the extreme amount of zeros in many other writer groups, conferences etc.)

IAG is designed for any writers from all walks of life and they meet once a month. It’s an amazing thing to discover this whole other group of people existed in a town you call home.

IFWA also meets once a month and it is for writers whose works have some sort of speculative element. This means there needs to be some sort of ghosts, zombies, vampires, unicorns, fairies, werewolves, aliens -you get the drift- in your writing. Things that don’t exist in real life but in the world of your writing they do.

Here’s hoping that all writers wherever you are find someone you can meet with face to face who loves writing just as much as you do. 😀

If not, know that there are lots of blogs just like mine, where all us writers stick together.

Cheers to all those groups that support such a wonderful art!

Oh and btw? It T-minus 5 days to Leap Into Chapter One!