On Writing

How to Write

Far be it from me to tell you how to write your story. The library and the internet are awash with books by people who offer such advice, and many of them do it very well. You’ll not find my name on the spine of any of those titles, and that is a good thing; I’m not that kind of  writer.

Why, then, would I have a page titled “On Writing” if I’m not going to tell you how to write?

I have been putting words together for a very long time. My portfolio consists of a couple of hundred songs, half that many poems, bundles of short stories, and two books.

My first bound offering, “The Rock in the Water” was published in 2009 and shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. In April of 2013, I joyfully launched my second book, “The Promised Land: a novel of Cape Breton“, and with the endorsement of one or more of the lesser dieties, it, too, made the Leacock shortlist, one of five books out of a field of 80 contenders. Other finalists were Arthur Black, Jane Christmas, Wayne Johnston and Steve Smith (Red Green). At the announcement luncheon in Orillia on April 25, I was pleasantly surprised to hear my book announced as the winner.

That list of credits still doesn’t give me the authority to tell you how to write, but I am glad to share things I have observed about the way I go about the process. Perhaps somewhere in the pages that follow you may find something that will help you avoid some mistakes that I have already made so that you can go on to make your own mistakes sooner.

As is often the case, my hopes for this page have not been met by corresponding actions, but I haven’t yet given up. Also in April of 2014 I conducted a series of Creative Writing workshops as part of the Seniors in the Studio program presented by St. Ann’s Bay Health Group Society. I am puttering away at putting some elements of that experience here. Again, not a writing course, but things I have observed about my own writing process that might be of use to others.

When I get to it, some of the topics I have in mind may include:

  • Gathering information
  • Listening for the Muse
  • Creating characters
  • Writing groups
  • First readers
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Writing versus editing
  • Polishing your story * * I’ll begin with this, possibly before the end of May. This year.
  • Nuts and bolts

If you have questions or comments, pop the into the Comments section at the bottom of the page.  I will do my best to respond to them in a timely fashion, and to the best of my ability. If things get busy enough, we may actually have a FAQs page one day. Wouldn’t that make a lovely line in a bio?

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One response to “On Writing”

  1. monasita says :

    Well it’s my hope too Bill that when you get a better handle on your website, you’ll share your insights on writing. I’m hoping that I’ll someday have a website of my own. Best Wishes 🙂

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