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    Writing & Publishing Fantasy

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    We are now oh so very close to Writers' Weekend 2014, our day-long celebration of all the local writer resources that can possibly be stacked into six hours. At this point of final preparation there isn't much else we can say about how wonderful and inspiring our expert presentations + Resource Fair will be, except that we can't wait to get started. And speaking of getting started, we do want to remind everyone coming out for the first presentation, Writing & Publishing Fantasy, at 10am, that the Central library's front doors do not open until 10am. With the Weather Network forecasting a high of -9, please don't wait outside for the library to open to access the John Dutton Theatre. Our theatre entrance on Macleod Trail, just a few steps down the block, will be open early so please come upstairs and settle in.

    And if you aren't registered for Writing & Publishing Fantasy, our opening presentation from bestselling author Jodi McIsaac, you'll be missing out on tremendous insight into the craft of urban fantasy, as well as perspectives on new dynamics of publishing it.

    And one more heads-up:

    If you're like me and coffee is required prior to and during Jodi McIsaac's presentation, the coffee shop inside the Central library does not open until 10am either... so... yes, coffee en route. See you all Saturday!

    Screenwriting 101

    by Phil

    We are now 7 sleeps away from Writers' Weekend 2014 so I thought we ought to take a look at one of the more specialized, unique presentations this year has to offer. Screenwriting 101 will take the stage from 2 - 3pm, promising an inspirational introduction to the form. Our presenter is Geo Takach, an award winning filmmaker, author, script consultant, and instructor that we are thrilled to be hosting.

    Unlike many forms of writing that require nothing more than a blank sheet and a pen to get started, the art of screenwriting requires a certain knowledge and framework to have a chance at success. Other than a brief attempt to make sense of Final Draft software I have no idea what tricks and rules and format a screenwriter must know to produce their work. Which is exactly what Writers' Weekend is all about - inspirational guidance from someone who does know.

    Whether you are an experienced writer, perhaps looking to polish up a submission for the WGA's Alberta Screenwriters Initiative, or a beginner full of ideas without the proper container to work them out, come to Writers' Weekend 2014 and connect with the information you need to keep moving forward. One hour with Mr. Takach, of course, cannot possibly cover all the ground aspiring screenwriters might need flattened out. In between the presentations on February 1st visit the Writers' Weekend Resource Fair - a gauntlet of local literary groups in the theatre lobby - and we'll work together to get the answers you need. In the meantime, here are some of the library's newest titles under the heading of "Motion Picture Authorship". Homework!

    The 21st Century Screenplay, by Linda Aronson

    The 21st-Century Screenplay is a comprehensive and highly practical screen-writing manual. It covers classic to avant-garde scripts, from The African Queen and Tootsie to 21 Grams, Pulp Fiction, Memento, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Whether you want to write features, shorts, adaptations, genre films, ensemble films, blockbusters, or art house movies, this book is your road map, it takes you all the way from choosing a brilliant idea to plotting, writing, and rewriting a successful script. Featuring a range of insider survival tips on creativity under pressure, time-effective writing, and rising to the challenge of international competitions, The 21st-Century Screenplay is essential reading for newcomers and veterans alike.

    Essentials of Screenwriting, by Richard Walter

    Hollywood's premier teacher of screenwriting shares the secrets of writing and selling successful screenplays. His students have written more than ten projects for Steven Spielberg alone, plus hundreds of other Hollywood blockbusters and prestigious indie productions, including two recent Oscar winners for best original screenplay. In this updated edition, Walter integrates his highly coveted lessons and principles with material from his companion text, The Whole Picture, and includes new advice on how to turn a raw idea into a great movie or TV script - and sell it. There is never a shortage of aspiring screenwriters, and this book is their bible.

    Story, by Robert McKee

    Robert McKee's screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Writers, producers, development executives and agents all flock to his lecture series, praising it as a mesmerizing and intense learning experience. In Story, McKee expands on the concepts he teaches in his $450 seminars (considered a must by industry insiders), providing readers with the most comprehensive, integrated explanation of the craft of writing for the screen. No one better understands how all the elements of a screenplay fit together, and no one is better qualified to explain the "magic" of story construction and the relationship between structure and character than Robert McKee.

    **book descriptions lifted from the library catalogue

    Teen Writing Contest

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Are you a young writer (13 - 17) looking for an opportunity to take your creativity to the next level?

    Is there a young writer budding in the family? Someone who can transform this creepy photograph into 500 words and earn a batch of very sweet prizes?

    Complete contest details can be found in the Teen Zone blog, which also has a bunch great posts related to developing your creativity and connecting with Calgary's writing community.

    The winner will be announced on Saturday, February 1, in the middle of the library's upcoming Writers' Weekend. If you haven't already registered for this inspiration-packed day, check out the full listing of presenters here.

    And good luck to everyone who enters the contest!

    How iRan

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    This winter the library, High Performance Rodeo, and Productive Obsession are offering Calgarians the experience of story like we've never seen, heard, or read before. Created by Ken Cameron, HOW iRAN is "an interactive, site-responsive, nonlinear installation-story" delivered through iPods.

    How this will work I have no idea but I imagine some combination of Choose Your Own Adventure books (except with much heavier, more interesting content), one of those guided audio tours through Alcatraz (except it's the Central Library), and a travel narrative with real political relevance. At High Performance Rodeo's website we are introduced with teasers to three main characters:

    "Meet Emily the librarian, an American Quaker who protested the Vietnam War. Get inside the head of Ramin, the Persian security guard with an engineering degree. Follow the fate of Hossein, who used internet journalism to challenge authority in a brutal regime."

    No registration is required. Just come to 4th floor Information desk at any of the showtimes listed here. There will be 24 opportunities on eight different days from January 23 - February 1.

    You may also reserve a listening/viewing time through High Performance Rodeo.

    Questions? Please call 403-260-2742.

    Developed with funding from Calgary 2012 and the Canada Council for the Arts; written and produced by Ken Cameron.

    Also from Ken Cameron...

    Harvest, and other plays

    The Art of True Crime

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    On the morning of June 30, 2009, police in a small eastern Ontario city made a ghastly discovery: four females dead in a car submerged in a shallow canal. Sisters Zainab Shafia, 19, Sahar Shafia, 17, Geeti Shafia, 13, and Rona Mohammad Amir, 50, floated serenely inside the car, seemingly the victims of a terrible accident. That morning, Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba and their son, Hamed, arrived at the Kingston police station to report the four missing. In a sweeping covert investigation that spanned three continents, police uncovered layers of lies in the Shafias' story and they developed a horrifying theory: Zainab, Sahar, Geeti and Rona had been the victims of a meticulously plotted family murder -- Canada's first mass honour killing...

    On Saturday, February 1, don't miss the opportunity to hear award-winning journalist Rob Tripp present a behind-the-scenes look at the world of true crime writing. "Breaking Into True Crime" is the fourth presentation making up this year's Writers' Weekend and we are thrilled to be able to offer this unique window into a naturally mysterious process.

    What kind of background is required to become a crime journalist?

    How does a reporter gain access to such sensitive information?

    How can a writer organize all their facts and research to produce a gripping read?

    Come get some answers at Writers' Weekend 2014.

    Follow Rob Tripp on Twitter.

    ... In Without Honour, award-winning journalist Rob Tripp draws on three years of exhaustive research and exclusive interviews to make sense of a senseless crime in a way no other writer could. His unprecedented access tells a story beyond anything the jury heard: a story about a patriarch who fled war and strife in Afghanistan but who did not leave behind his devotion to repressive tradition. Tripp was the first journalist on the scene as the news broke and the only reporter to attend every day of court sessions, through to the convictions of Shafia, Tooba and Hamed on four counts each of first-degree murder, fuelled by what Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Maranger called a twisted notion of honour. In this gripping and compassionate account, Tripp reveals the heartbreaking and stunning truth about the desperate lives of four women who died in the pursuit of freedom.

    **book description lifted from library catalogue

    Resource Fair, Part 2

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Here is part two of two of our Writers' Weekend Resource Fair participants for 2014. There will be so much going on outside the theatre make sure you don't miss any of the 6 expert presentations. These local writing groups will be set up all day on Saturday, February 1, to take your questions, explain what they do, and guide you forward.

    Magpie Haiku and Tanka Poets

    Seven magpie ladies from Alberta... their haiku and tanka are humorous and powerful. They fly high with black shiny wings.

    Authors of the anthologies "Weathered Wings" and "A Piece of Eggshell".

    National Novel Writing Month

    NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

    People’s Poetry Festival

    Launched in 2011, The People’s Poetry Festival is a celebration of poetry in Calgary. Showcasing local poets and poetry organizations, as well as amateur and aspiring poets and spoken word artists, The PPF seeks to tear apart the notion that poetry is reserved for academic elites and enlightened beatniks.

    Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

    SCBWI is a non-profit organization which is one of the largest existing organizations for writers and illustrators. It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia.

    The Canada West chapter includes members in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

    When Words Collide Festival

    When Words Collide is a festival for readers, writers, artists and publishers of commercial and literary fiction, including genre, YA, Childrens books, and Poetry. Its purpose is to bring together the literary community, both readers and writers, in Calgary and beyond, for a sharing of information, for learning, and to build a sense of community.

    Writers' Guild of Alberta

    The Writers' Guild of Alberta is a provincial arts service organization that represents both professional and emerging writers in Alberta. Its mission is to inspire, connect, support, encourage and promote writers and writing, to safeguard the freedom to write and to read, and to advocate for the well-being of writers.

    Writers' Weekend Resource Fair

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    On top of the 6 presentations from local writing experts, Writers' Weekend 2014 will also offer the opportunity to meet many of Calgary's most helpful, friendly, and supportive writing organizations. From 10am to 4pm on Saturday, February 1, our Resource Fair will feature at least 13 representatives from a diverse range of Calgary's literary community. Here's who's coming this year (part 1)...

    Alberta Playwrights Network

    APN exists to nurture Alberta playwrights and provide support for the development of their plays.

    Alexandra Writers Centre Society

    "A place for all writers", AWCS has been serving the Calgary literary community for over thirty years, helping aspiring writers learn the skills they need to grow and evolve.

    Calgary Association of Freelance Editors

    CAFE is a professional association dedicated to the promotion and development of freelance editors in the Calgary area.

    Calgary Association of Romance Writers of America

    The purpose of CaRWA is to help members become published and establish and build careers in romantic fiction. We provide continuing support for members both individually and in the romance publishing industry. We also promote excellence in romantic fiction.

    Calgary Crime Writers (find us on Facebook)

    "Crime and mystery writing mostly, but post your news about any writing classes, launches, author appearances, blog posts, and other news of interest to Calgary and area writers."

    Crime Writers of Canada

    Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) is a national non-profit organization for Canadian mystery and crime writers, associated professionals, and others with a serious interest in Canadian crime writing. Our mission is to promote Canadian crime writing and to raise the profile of Canadian crime writers with readers, reviewers, librarians, booksellers, and media.

    Imaginative Fiction Writers’ Association

    “IFWA” was founded in 1988 to help imaginative fiction writers hone their skills and expand their knowledge base. To this end, IFWA engages in many activities including critiquing written work, providing marketing advice, suggesting writing games and exercises, and notifying members about interesting events, contests and writing opportunities, amongst other things.

    **All group descriptions lifted from their websites

    Stay tuned for more!

    And register for Writers' Weekend here.

    Writers' Weekend, 2014

    by Phil

    With the Winter program guide now released, so too is the lineup for Writers' Weekend 2014 - a full day of presentations taking place in Central library's John Dutton theatre on Saturday, February 1. You can register for all six starting December 23.

    Writing and Publishing Fantasy

    10 - 11 a.m.

    Jodi McIsaac, best-selling author of the Thin Veil urban fantasy series, kicks off the day with insight into the craft of writing and the new world of publishing.

    Don't Lick the Minivan! The Art of Humour Writing

    11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

    Leanne Shirtliffe, award-winning humour blogger, Huffington Post contributor and author of Don't Lick the Minivan shares her take on humour writing and writing about real life.

    Ask the Publisher

    12 - 12:30 p.m.

    Lyn Cadence, public relations strategist, publicist and coach with Frontenac House, answers your questions about what publishers do and how publishing works.

    Breaking Into True Crime

    1 - 2 p.m.

    Rob Tripp, award-winning journalist and bestselling crime writer, author of Without Honour: The True Story of the Shafia Family & the Kingston Canal Murders, gives us a behind the scenes look into the world of true crime reporting and writing.

    Screenwriting 101

    2 - 3 p.m.

    Want to see your story on the big screen? Join award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter Geo Takach, author and director of Will the Real Alberta Please Stand Up? for an inspirational introduction to screenwriting.

    Mike's Bloggity Blog: Blogging with the Best!

    3 - 4 p.m.

    Mike Morrison, creator of Mike's Bloggity Blog takes us into the world of Canadian entertainment blogging and the power of blogging to support our community.

    On top of expert presentations, the 'Weekend will also feature a Resource Fair showcasing more than 10 local writing groups. Stay tuned as we approach February for a closer look at this year's presenters and everything the day has to offer.

    Thank you Barb Howard!

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    December has come much too quick. While I'm thrilled to be on the way out of an odd-numbered year (they're the worst!), the last month of the year is also the first month since summer that the library, sadly, is without the services of its 2013 Writer-in-Residence, Barb Howard.

    On behalf of all aspiring Calgary writers who took advantage of this opportunity, whether through manuscript consultations, attending one of Barb's many author readings/presentations, or a Reckless Writing session, the 'Nook blog would like to say THANK YOU so so much for answering our endless questions and guiding us forward.

    Keep in touch with Barb Howard's wonderful work at, and pick up her books from your local library...

    The Dewpoint Show Notes for Monday Western Taxidermy Embedded on the Home Front

    It's going to be a long nine months before the 2014 Writer in Residence season begins, but anyone looking for more kick-in-the-pants guidance from local writing experts won't have to wait all the way to September. Next week, with the release of our Winter program guide, the lineup for Writer's Weekend 2014 will be announced. The date is set: Saturday, February 1, and this year will feature another 6 inspiration-packed expert presentations from local writers, as well as the opportunity to meet many Calgary writing groups. Details will follow next week.

    Barb - we can't wait to read more of your work.

    Things You Can Do With 50,000 Words

    by Phil

    Congratulations to all Wrimotaurs who met their goal this November for National Novel Writing Month. Now that the inner editor is allowed out to play there are a lot of options around town to help take your work to the next level, regardless of what that level may be. Sadly, the library's Writer-in-Residence services are now done for the year. Thank you so much Barb Howard for bringing your expertise to so many Calgary writers.

    For those who can't wait for CPL's 2014 Writer-in-Residence season to start up in September, there are other residencies available in the city. Sara Tilley is available at the U of C's Distinguished Writers Program through to the middle of June. The Alexandra Writers Centre Society will kick off Ashley Little's residency in May. AWCS also offers Manuscript Review Service and tons of writing courses. Another great place to find a little (or a lot) of editing guidance is through the Calgary Association of Freelance Editors (CAFE).

    And then there's us, the library! Year-round, we are the perfect writing headquarters. Bounce your ideas off new friends in the Creative Writing Club. Come down to our famous Writer's Weekend on February 2 (registration opens December 23). And check out all the latest and classic books to keep your writing projects moving forward. Here's a few go-to titles for writers:


    A visual guide featuring sample article and book query letters, nonfiction book proposals and novel synopses, exclusive tips from leading agents and editors, expanded and updated information on electronic submissions, invaluable tips for query research and platform building, genre-specific guidelines for children's writers, screenwriters, poets, essayists, and others.


    The biggest problem with creating books for authors interested in self-publishing is that most books on the topic are so far out of date after a year that they're no longer of much use. The market book model is perfect for the topic of self-publishing since its annual publication schedule allows us to make important updates in a timely fashion. Not only does the book show you how to publish on your own in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible (including digital-only publishing), but you'll also get insights into creating your own marketing plans and learning how other authors have found success. You'll learn about the different services available, as well as gain access to thousands of listings that detail freelance editors and designers, as well as production facilities that can help you produce your book.


    Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories. In this completely revised and updated second edition, Renni Browne and Dave King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own work. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, point of view, interior monologue, and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert editor would go through to perfect your manuscript. Each point is illustrated with examples, many drawn from the hundreds of books Browne and King have edited


    Legions of web designers and developers are choosing WordPress for building sites. That's because it's powerful, reliable, flexible, scalable--and more. This book is your complete guide to mastering WordPress theme development, covering everything from installation to leveraging the community and resources to improve your WordPress skills for years to come.


    [...] this book gives writers the tools to achieve a competitive edge and break into a wide range of markets. The second edition has been updated throughout and expanded to cover e-mail pitches, letters of introduction, pitching to international markets, how to pitch agents at conferences, and new markets such as greeting cards. [...] This indispensable resource provides writers with successful approaches to such topics as how to craft a query letter, create a nonfiction or fiction book proposal, approach newspapers with a column or syndication idea, get corporate freelancing jobs, and win a writing grant. Interviews with experts in a variety of fields and dozens of new examples [...] Beginning and experienced writers will find this the perfect one-of-a-kind, desktop reference for developing the market approaches they need to sell their work.


    A straightforward, practical reference for aspiring authors, 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected details the various reasons why editors and agents reject book ideas and pinpoints the mistakes that writers most often make in their proposals. This is an engaging resource for aspiring writers, delivering insider information on why editors and agents decline books and, more importantly, how to get them to stop passing on yours.

    **All book descriptions lifted from the library catalogue summaries.

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