Saturday, December 7, 2019

Seventy-seven Great Gifts for Writers

For the seven very best gifts for writers, see here

Sleep tight – you know you want a quilt that looks like book shelves – available here. Or go for a variety of blankets for writers here


Fingerless gloves for writing ~ they come in
Alice in Wonderland, Hamlet, The Raven...
Stocking Stuffers
A gift bag of coffee or tea and snack foods, because writers have long thought that caffeine and sugar are their best friends. At the annual Briar's retreat in November, we determined that Hawkins Cheezies are the best junk food ever – and they're Canadian. Yum.
Healthy snacks, because sugar is not truly your bff.
If you're crafty in the kitchen, try some of these homemade treats here.
A bottle of Writers' Tears Copper Pot Irish whisky.

Books, of course! Always a great idea for writers, And don't forget that writers have kids who also like books.
If you're looking for Christmas books, Penguin has a boxed set of six Christmas classics: A Christmas Carol by Dickens, Christmas at Thomspon Hall by Trollope, The Night Before Christmas by Gogol, The Nutcracker by Hoffman … here.
You can find a selection of kids' Christmas books here.
For a non-classic children’s Christmas book, try: Twas The Night Before Christmas: Edited By Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century. This is a non-smoking version of the classic narrative verse by Pamela McColl, writing/editing under the pseudonym Santa Claus. See here.
Hanukkah books for kids here. 

A gift certificate to Tim Horton’s, because a comfortable cafĂ© is often the best place to write.
Fingerless gloves (type and have warm fingers). You can also get a Pride and Prejudice scarf, a Sense and Sensibility pillow cover, a Black Beauty baby blanket ... here
Reading is Sexy button … here
Timer for writing sprints
AquaNotes waterproof notepads (for shower ideas—yes, these really work!)
Pens 
A stamp with a happy face for critiquing your fellow writers 

Board Games & Creativity Helpers
Apples to Apples is a great creative game; you need to match a noun card in your hand to a given adjective card and convince the dealer that your (absurd) choice really is the best. We had a hoot playing this at the end of the day at the Algonguin Writing Retreat last June. ~Brian
Dixit may be the most popular writing board game out there. Players have to convince other players that their story card is the best way to tell the story.
With 540 cards, the Storymatic feeds the imagination. Just pull out cards from each category (such as “Obstacle” and “Whatchoowant”) and let the storytelling begin. Great for writers experiencing writer’s block and collaborative writing groups.  
Writer Emergency Pack. It includes 52 cards with fantastic illustrations and loads of ideas. Whenever you’re struggling with a story, you can pull out a card and get inspiration! (Or at least a giggle.)
The Game of Things  makes everyone write. You’re given a category like “Things that Jiggle” and everybody has to write down a funny or crazy answer. Then the leader of the round reads them anonymously and you have to guess who wrote what. If you play with the right people, it’s fun and funny.
In The Writer’s Toolbox, there are 60 games to play to inspire writers to create — be the first to create a story based on “First Sentences, Non Sequiturs, and Last Straws.” Also, use one of two spinners to generate a random detail that you have to include in your story. 
In Once Upon a Time, the leader plays cards to start a story, trying to guide the story toward his end card. Other players try to jump in and play their cards. First one to use all their cards up wins! Great fun for creative writers.
Bananagrams anagram game … here
Scrabble Magnetic Refrigerator Tiles … here
The Writer's Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the 'Write' Side of Your Brain ...here

For Writers Who Outline
Index cards
Notebooks
Corkboard &  pushpins
Whiteboard with dry erase markers and eraser

Technology Helpers
Programs like Scrivener (Windows and Mac) for organizing and word processing
Drogon voice recognition dictation software.  
Typing program (learn to type faster!), such as KeyBlaze.
Wireless/ergonomic keyboard or mouse
Virtual keyboard for mobile use

Big Ticket Items
New computer
Bigger computer monitor
Ergonomic desk chair
Cover design or editing costs for self-published authors


Writing Craft and Publishing-Related Books
The Art of Fiction, John Gardner
The Art of War for Writers, James Scott Bell
The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron
Bird by Bird: some instructions on writing and life,  by Anne Lamott.
Conflict, Action and Suspense, William Noble
The Elements of Style, William Strunk and E.B. White
The Fiction Editor, Thomas McCormak
How Stories Work, James Woods
On Writing: a memoir of the craft, Stephen King
The Sense of Style, Steven Pinker
Spunk and Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold Contemporary Style, Arthur Plotnik
Writing Down the Bones, Natlie Goldberg
The Thesaurus books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (The Emotion ThesaurusThe Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus)
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley

Miscellaneous Suggestions
Comfort clothes (robe and fuzzy slippers, sweat pants, but be careful; you may never change out of them. See here!)
Gift basket full of writing-related ideas (pens, notebooks, special beverage and glass, inspirational items or quotes, etc.)
Gift cards for books
Gift cards for office supply stores
Subscription to music source; such as Spotify
Lithographs: Shirts and totes printed with images and the text of your favourite novels. Tattoos available, too … here.

Out of Print Tee’s: T-shirts, tote bags, iphone cases – all sorts of things, decorated with your favourite book covers (here).
Premium level of online service (Dropbox for automatic backups, Amazon Prime for free shipping/lending library, etc.)
Entry fee for a writing contest
Massage gift certificates, a back or foot massager
A head scratcher  – which surely no writer can do without! (Dogs love them, too. Cats will tolerate them.)
Writing time (anything from babysitting to a writers’ retreat to a
housecleaning service)

But for the very best gifts for writers, see here.

Note: Don't ever miss a post on Quick Brown Fox. Fill in your email in the Follow Brian by Email box to the right under my bio, and get each post delivered to your Inbox ~ Brian

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Raising the Stakes – How to tighten the tension in your story, Saturday, February 22, in Kitchener


Raising the Stakes
How to increase your story's tension 
Saturday, February 22, 2020
1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Forest Heights Public Library, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener, Ontario (Map here)

Ever stayed up all night reading a book? In this workshop, you’ll learn you how to build that kind of tension.  And we'll help you put into practice the techniques professionals use – on every page and in every kind of story – to create drama and raise the tension in each scene they write.

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University, and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors. 
See reviews of Brian's classes and workshops here.

Fee: $37.17 + hst = $42 paid in advance 
or $39.82 + hst = $45 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

How to Get Published, with literary agent Martha Webb, Saturday, April 25, in Guelph

The Innocents by Michael Crummy
represented by CookeMcDermid
How to Get Published
An editor & a literary agent tell all
Saturday, April 25, 2020
10 a.m. – 3:30 / 4:45
Harcourt United Church, 87 Dean Ave, Guelph, Ontario (Map here.)

If you've ever dreamed of becoming a published author, this workshop is for you. We’ll cover everything from getting started to getting an agent, from getting your short pieces published to finding a book publisher, from writing a query letter to writing what the publishers want. Bring your questions. Come and get ready to be published!
Special Option: Participants are invited to bring a draft of a query letter you might use to interest an agent or publisher in your book. You don’t need to bring anything, but if you do, three copies could be helpful.
And be sure to bring your elevator pitch! Following the end of the formal workshop at about 3:30 – 3:45, Brian Henry will be staying to help interested attendees, who didn’t have their queries critiqued earlier, write query letters that will get a yes, while literary agent Martha Webb will be listening to your pitches. Agents come to these events wanting to hear what you’ve got and hoping to find authors they want to represent.
Guest speaker, Martha Webb, is a literary agent and co-owner of the CookeMcDermid agency. CookeMcDermid represents  more than 300 writers, among them Man Booker nominees, Giller and Governor General’s award–winning authors, prize-winning journalists, New York Times bestsellers, international authorities in their field, and some of the literary world’s most notable names. 
Clients include Jen Agg, Omar el Akkad, Michael Crummey, Cherie Dimaline, Robyn Doolittle, John Irving, Rupi Kaur, Scaachi Koul, Karen Le Billon, Geddy Lee, Robert Munsch, Jordan B. Peterson, Alison Pick, Nino Ricci, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Jeff VanderMeer, and Jesse Wente.
Martha’s list focuses primarily on literary fiction, some upmarket commercial fiction, and narrative nonfiction, including memoir and true crime. She is especially drawn to approaches that are thought-provoking, controversial, change the conversation on a given subject or have the potential to create a positive impact on people’s lives.
Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University, and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors. 
See reviews of Brian's classes and workshops here.

Fee: $43.36 + 13% hst = $49 paid in advance by mail or Interac
or $46.90 + 13% hst = $53 if you wait to pay at the door
To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor,  Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Call for 10–15 minute plays for Page to Stage 2020

Page to Stage 2019

Call for 10–15 minute plays 
for Page to Stage 2020

Stage Write Burlington’s Fourth Annual Festival of rehearsed Staged Readings of New Short Plays 
To Be Held in Partnership with Theatre Burlington
At Theatre Burlington, February 23, 2020
Open to Burlington and Area Playwrights

Submission deadline: December 7, 2019

Accepting only one script per playwright, 
no more than 15 minutes in length 
with no more than 4 characters. 
No musicals or children’s shows.

Set limited to table and 2 chairs provided.

General stage lighting only.
No specials.
No sound support.

Send scripts in PDF or Word format to 
George Marciniak marciniakgeorge1@gmail.com

For more information, including photos from Page to Stage 2019,

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

You're invited to an author reading Saturday, Dec 7, in Oakville


Author Reading
Saturday, December 7,  2019 
1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Adonis Mediterranean Cuisine, 487 Pinegrove Road, Oakville, Ontario (Map here).
At this reading, graduates of Brian Henry's writing classes get to strut their stuff. Come hear some of the most amazing emerging writers in the Toronto area reading some of the best work you’ll hear this year. This will be a fun get-together and everyone’s invited. Don’t miss it!
And if you want to read from your own work, email me, and I’ll let you know if there’s still room on the roster. (But you must arrange to read in advance; you can’t just show up on the day and hope to read.)
We meet at the Adonis restaurant in Oakville. Plan to arrive at 1 p.m. for lunch (or a little earlier if you want to beat the rush), or if you’re just having a drink or coffee and a snack, please arrive by 1:45. The actual readings will start at about 2:15 and we’ll go to 4:30 p.m. 
Note: Because we’re monopolizing their space, you can’t order just a coffee (or they might not want us back).
If possible, RSVP as soon as possible and let me know you’re coming: brianhenry@sympatico.ca
I look forward to seeing you all there! ~Brian

This Janaury, there's a whole new round of classes from Introductory to Intensive: 
Burlington: Exploring Creative Writing, Thursday afternoons, Jan 23 – March 19. Details here.
Oakville: Writing Personal Stories, Thursday evenings, Jan 23 – March 19. Details here.
Burlington: Next Step in Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, Jan 21 – March 31.
  1st reading emailed Jan 16. Details here.
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings , Jan 15 – March 11. 1st readings emailed Jan 8. Details here.
Toronto: Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings, Jan 17 – March 13.  1st readings emailed Jan 10. Detail here.
    See details of all winter courses here,
To reserve a spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.