Tag Archives: Creative Writing

Good News

My novel is going to be published. Wooo-hoooo!

NeWest Press, a literary publisher based in Edmonton, has picked up my book. We’re looking at a 2016 release. Between now and then there’s still work to be done, including:

  • more editing.
  • cover design, layout, etc…
  • marketing plans.
  • clearing copyright for song lyrics (although I’ve already started that process and I don’t think it will be too tedious).

But I wasn’t really thinking about all that when I got off the phone with Paul Matwychuk, NeWest’s general manager. I was thinking, “Woo-hoo!” And “I should phone my mom.”

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Stories

I took in the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild conference this last weekend. It was a great conference, and I had all kinds of interesting conversations with other writers (topics ranged from bar fights to politics, which is sometimes kind of the same thing, I guess).

Anyway, one thing that stuck with me was Tim Wynne-Jones’ comments on how people become writers. Basically, it’s like playing basketball – when you start out, you’re having fun, and you’re a slightly better shot than the other kids, or a little quicker, etc… At some point you have to work hard to develop that talent, but in the beginning it comes down to a love of the game and what might be a slim advantage over your peers.

And I thought that metaphor really rang true. When I think about why I became a writer, it probably comes down to a love for good stories. And  my grandma, Mary Guenther, is the first person who helped me develop that story ear.

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Revise

Last weekend my editor got back to me with the suggested revisions for my novel. This is my seventh round of revisions, but they’re not nearly as extensive as the first few rounds. I can see the finish line.

One of the biggest issues to tackle was the ending. I went from having a lengthy, expository ending in an earlier draft to an abrupt ending that would have left readers feeling like they’d fallen off a cliff. Neither was very good.

I hate it when writers tie up every loose string at the end of their books, and so that was what I was trying to avoid with the last draft.

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Blog Hopping

My colleague Anne Lazurko recently asked me to participate in a blog hop, which is a project where writers answer a few questions about their projects. Anne is not only an award-winning ag journalist, but she also has a historical novel coming out with Coteau Books next fall. I’m excited to read her novel, and if you’re at all into Canadian fiction, I’d suggest checking out her blog at annelazurko.com.

Here’s what I have to say about my project:

What is your working title?

Friendly Fire.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Ugh, here goes:

Darby Swank’s life is idling in neutral until her aunt’s murder forces her to dig through her family’s history and take a stand in her own life.

That was difficult.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

It started such a long time ago that I’m not entirely sure anymore. I was working at a campground at Brightsand Lake for the summer, and this character, Darby Swank, just strolled onto a blank page (in those days, I still wrote my rough drafts with pen and paper. How quaint).

I wasn’t sure what her story was at first, but I knew she would bear witness to something terrible at that lake. After banging my head against my keyboard for over a decade, it eventually sorted itself out.

What genre does your book fall under?

I think it could fall into the mystery bucket. Or literary fiction. We’ll see.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

If you like horses, cows, rye whiskey and beer, music, fisticuffs, cheating women, murder, and drought, this is the book for you.

Continue reading Blog Hopping