Thursday, December 1, 2022

Online: Writing for Children and for Young Adults, with Scholastic Books editor Anne Shone, Saturday, January 28

The Serpent's Fury. a midle-grade novel
by Kelley Armstrong a NYT #1 bestselling author
and one of Brian's students 

Writing for Children and for Young Adults

  ~ The world’s hottest market

With Scholastic Books Executive Editor

  ~ Anne Shone

Saturday, January 28, 2023
1:15 – 5:00 p.m.
Online via Zoom and accessible wherever there’s Internet

If you want to write the next best-selling children’s books or just want to create stories for your own kids, this workshop is for you. Learn how to write stories kids and young adults will love and find out what you need to know to sell your book. This is your chance to speak with someone within a publishing company in a small group setting and to pull back the curtain and see how it all works. Be sure to bring your questions – we'll have lots of time for interaction.

Special option: Participants are invited to submit the opening couple pages (first 500 words) of your children’s book or young adult novel (or up to 1,000 words if that gets you to the end of your picture book or to the end of your first chapter). Email your pages to me prior to our workshop. We want to do some peer critiquing for everyone, and Anne and I will publicly critique half a dozen submissions so everyone can see what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve your story-telling. If you’re not currently working on a children’s story, don’t worry, we’ll get you started! ~Brian

Guest speaker Anne Shone is the Executive Editor at Scholastic Canada, where she acquires books for publication. Anne has worked in book publishing for over twenty-five years, concentrating on children’s books for the last twenty. In that time, she has worked with many of the top children’s book authors and illustrators in this country. 

Recent highlights include: picture books (Choose Kindness by Ruth Ohi, Do You Wonder? by Wallace Edwards, and about-to-be released Smile So Big by Sunshine Tenasco, illustrated by Chief Lady Bird); graphic novels (The Good Fight, by Ted Staunton, illustrated by Josh Rosen); novels (Autumn Bird and the Runaway by Melanie Florence and Richard Scrimger; Eight Days by Teresa Toten; P.S. Tell No One by Vikki VanSickle; and the Hockey Super Six series by Kevin Sylvester); nonfiction (Keep Up, Katmai by Barrett Hedges and Pili Palm-Leis; and It Seemed Like a Good Idea….  by Ted Staunton and Will Staunton)—with lots of new and exciting things in development. 

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor, author, and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers and is the author of a children’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Tribute Publishing Inc). But his proudest boast is that he’s has helped many of his students get published.

Read reviews of Brian’s classes and workshops here.

Fee: $43.36 + 13% hst = $49 paid in advance by mail or Interac

To reserve a spot now, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See all of Brian’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

 

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Available soon: The 2023 Canadian Writers Contest Calendar ~ Just what every writer needs

Whether you're a beginner or an advanced writer, if you’re looking for places to send your work, you should put contests on your list. 

The Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar is a book that gives a full listing of annual writing contests in Canada arranged by deadline date. It lists contests for short stories, poetry, children’s writing, novels, and nonfiction – contests for just about everyone. 

The 2023 edition is expected to arrive by December 15. Get your order in now, and we'll ship it out to you the day after they arrive.

The Calendar costs just $29 by mail within Canada, all taxes & shipping included, or just $23 if you buy it at an in-person writing workshop, class or retreat.

To order, email brianhenry@sympatico.ca

See Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

P.S. Check out 7 great gifts for writers here; and 77 more  here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Seventy-seven Great Gifts for Writers

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

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 one of our writing retreatswe 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.

More books of course! Always a great idea for writers. According to Chapters you can find the best books of the year here. 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 or here or here ... There are a lot of Christmas books for kids.

Good lists of Hanukkah books for kids are hard to find. Try here or here, or just buy all of Eric Kimmel's books here. 

A gift certificate to Tim Horton’s, because a comfortable cafĂ© is often the best place to write {at least if you're not under lockdown because of a pandemic).
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

“The Story Engine” deck of cards with extension packs. Very helpful for new ideas here.

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 “What-choo-want”) 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
Post-It notes
Corkboard &  pushpins
Whiteboard with dry erase markers and eraser

For Writers Who Don't Always Write on Computers
Notebooks! Book stores often have great selections of notebooks and other essential writerly tools, and it's a good year to try to shop as much as possible at a bricks and mortar store.

Technology Helpers
Programs like Scrivener 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 or Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley
And don't forget, books are available at actual book stores.

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)

See also “The 7 very best gifts for writers” here.


See Brian’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Algonquin in June Writing Retreat at Arowhon Pines Resort, Friday, June 9 – Monday, June 12

 

Algonquin Park Writing Retreat

Friday, June 9 – Monday, June 12, 2023
Arowhon Pines Resort
Arowhon Pines Road
Little Joe Lake, Algonquin Park
Ontario, Canada

Give yourself a long weekend of writing time  a weekend of instruction, inspiration and creativity. Award yourself with time away from distractions, with no dishes to do and wonderful food at every meal, as you sit with your feet up and write in the most beautiful wilderness setting in Ontario. This is where the Group of Seven got its inspiration (Tom Thompson is buried just a couple of lakes over); it’s a wonderful place for you to find your inspiration, too.

The retreat will feature both instruction and guided writing exercises, plus one-on-one critiquing and coaching from Brian.  You’ll also have lots of time to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with your creativity.

All writing levels welcome. Whether you are just beginning or have a novel in progress, please join us. 

This year, the retreat will again be limited to eleven participants. This will mean plenty of one-on-one time with the instructor.

The setting: Arowhon Pines is a peaceful, quiet resort nestled in the woods on Little Joe Lake inside Algonquin Park. There are no motorboats on the lake, except for the resort’s own pontoon boat which takes guests on occasional wildlife tours.

The resort is without TV and is far from the roar of traffic. The cry of a loon is the loudest noise you’re likely to hear all day.

Rates include charming accommodation (cabins have a mix of queen beds for one person or couples or twin beds for two people rooming together; rooms also have private bathrooms and each cabin has a lounge with fireplace to share with your fellow writers). 

Three all-you-can-eat gourmet meals per day are provided, featuring an abundance of fresh food prepared by master chefs and an inspired kitchen staff. (Bring your own wine or beer!)

All activities included. When you’re not writing, or for spouses who accompany you, there is plenty to do: canoe or kayak a series of lakes or hike trails to see wildlife (moose, loons, beaver, turtles, fox, deer), swim in the lake, sail, stand up paddleboard, play tennis, relax. For indoor activities there is a games room with table tennis, shuffleboard, books, board games. Your stay also includes access to all Algonquin Park programs and activities including a car pass for you to fully enjoy the park.

Check-in isn’t until 3 p.m., but guests can arrive in the morning to fully take advantage of the facilities (though the meals included in your package don’t begin until after check-in time, so lunch on Friday is extra if you arrive early). Each guest can borrow a day pass for Algonquin Park. The formal retreat will begin late Friday afternoon. On Monday, we'll have our last formal get-together at 11 a.m., ending at 12 noon. Check out time is at 1 p.m.  Most guests have lunch while the bellhops load the car. But once you’ve had lunch, don’t feel you have to rush off!

Participants are welcome to bring spouses, partners or friends, as there will be plenty to do while you’re writing – canoeing, kayaking or sailing, swimming if warm enough, tennis, reading and just plain resting and unwinding, enjoying the wilderness.

Read about a stay at Arowhon Pines here.

Instructor 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 Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors.

Read reviews of previous writing retreats at Arowhon Pines here (and scroll down). 

To see more reviews of Brian’s weekly courses and Saturday workshops, see here

Seminar fee:

For the full 4-day, 3-night retreat: $203.54 plus hst = $230

Accommodation fee (including accommodation and food, plus use of all the resort’s facilities):

$330 per person per night double occupancy ($660 per couple) OR $413 per night single occupancy, plus 15% service charge (in lieu of tipping), then plus 13% HST. 

Book early – space is strictly limited! Full receipts issued.

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

If you have questions or need more information about the accommodations,
phone the resort: 1-866-633-5661

Who can attend the retreat?

Everyone interested in developing their writing skills is welcome to attend, whether you're aspiring writer or an accomplished author or simply enjoy writing as a hobby. There is no requirement for you to have been previously published or even to have an intention to publish.

I'm a poet / playwright / other writer. Is this retreat for me?

The retreat is open to anyone who enjoys writing. Instruction will focus on narrative writing; i.e., stories, whether fiction or memoir. But if you’re an essayist or poet or whatever, you’re entirely welcome.  

Should I bring my work in progress?

Yes! If you have an on-going writing project, bring it with you. Bring more than you expect to get to; you'll have lots of time for writing. Besides, you may want to switch projects or share a project that’s just started or one that’s all done, except for reading it to a small, appreciative audience. If you’re not currently working on anything, don’t worry, we’ll get you writing.

Should I bring my laptop?

Yes, if you prefer to work on your laptop. If you prefer to work on paper bring that. Or go crazy and bring both your laptop and your notebook.

Can you cater to specific dietary requirements?

Yes, just let the staff at Arowhon Pines know beforehand about your needs.

I want to stay longer or arrive early. Is that possible?

If you want to stay longer, that’s fine. Just arrange it with the resort. I don’t Arriving early isn't possible, though, as our retreat is scheduled for their opening weekend. There is plenty to see and do in the park, and Arowhon Pines is a lovely base from which to explore. Arowhon will keep the same rate throughout your stay.

Is there cell phone reception and WIFI?

Arowhon Pines is an island of luxury, but in the midst of wilderness, so spotty cell phone at best and no WIFI, though there are landlines and there’s access to the resort’s Internet connection. (Contact the resort for details.) But be sure to have your writing projects on your laptop when you come, not stored in the Cloud.

How about alcohol?

Arowhon does not serve alcohol, but guests are welcome to bring their own wine, beer or whatever to have with meals or back at your cabin or wherever. (Though do note that Hemingway’s advice to write drunk, mostly produces drivel.)

Can I bring my spouse?

Certainly. Just let them know you’ll be spending most of your time writing, (though you will have some free time every day), and make sure they enjoy superb food, beautiful wilderness, and relaxing on the deck or the dock or out on a canoe as they glide past a moose munching on water lilies.

For more information about the resort, visit their website here.

For more information or to register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca 

To book your accommodation at Arowhon Pines, phone toll free: 1-866-633-5661
And be sure to tell them you're with the writing retreat!

Or you can book on-line here~ But be sure to also phone and tell them you're with the writing retreat!