Dr. Seuss is a Birthday Cake We Should Always Eat & OWC Agent Pitch Workshop!

Oh, the fun you will have. Oh, the places you’ll go. If you just let your hair down, at least on one side.

Is one ever too old for Dr. Seuss? This may be one of the most fascinating philosophical questions of the 21st Century. Or it may just be a device I thought up to write this blog post. But it truly is a very good question to ask—especially if one is a writer. In fact, I might just be a genius to have come up with it. Especially on such a Seussical day as this. If the good Dr. were alive today, I’d make him the biggest great cake that he ever did see. I’d decorate it in such an extravagant way, and perch it way high in the highest big tree.

Happy Birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you finest of men, you elegant worder. You wielder of pen, you magic rhyme herder!

A note to all writers out there in the land of Seuss: Go to the bookstore, go to your shelf, pick up a Seuss book, go back to your core! Be a fine word elf, indulge in a language that turns in on itself. ABCs or Horton or Who! Wherever you wander, you’ll run into you.  “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere” in the great land of Seuss.

Be a child today, pick up a Seuss. Try to remember that this thing you do, this writing thing, is something you do because you love words. If you’re anything like me, Seuss has a lot to do with your love of language. Don’t forget your roots. And whatever you do, never grow up! And when words drive you crazy, just never give up!

One more thing before I go!

There is a fantastic Ontario Writers’ Conference PRE-CONFERENCE workshop taking place on APRIL 3rd, at the Oshawa Campus of Trent University! Noelle Bickle will lead workshop attendees through the agent pitch! I’ve taken a WCDR After Breakfast Mini-Workshop in which Noelle taught the elevator pitch. It completely opened my eyes, both to the importance of the pitch and the essence of distilling your manuscript down to the size of a pitch. Now, you too can attend a workshop that will walk you through the agent pitch. Learn how to approach an agent properly. This is an Ontario Writers’ Conference sponsored workshop—which will nicely prepare those OWC 2012 Conference attendees for agent pitches on conference day, but it is also open to any and all who would like to attend. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to improve your chances with an agent. All the details are available on the Ontario Writers’ Conference website (along with a Paypal Link to allow you to register online for the workshop).

The gist is:

A workshop to help you create a captivating 30-second pitch!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
6:30 – 9 pm

Learn how to pitch a story idea, manuscript or screenplay to editors, publishers and producers WITH CONFIDENCE!!!
Cost: $45 ($40 WCDR/WCYR/WCSC/HHWEN)
Location: Trent University – Oshawa
55 Thornton Road South
(parking is free)


Write the Story You Need to Write…the Whole Story.

I need to talk about something.

For years, I’ve been suggesting to my writer friends that they write the story the way it demands to be written. But I have been running away from this advice the whole time. So much so that one of my novels was accepted and in edits before I finally got the courage to say to the editor—“Wait! This and this happened because of this!”

The novel in question had several beta readers, it won an award and was heavily workshopped (MSWord is telling me that workshopped is not a word, but what does it know! My novel was neither worshipped nor works hopped.). One editor friend who beta read it even said she felt there was something missing. She said there’s a missing deeper layer. I knew exactly what that missing layer was, but I was trying to escape from my own past. I put one of my characters into a situation I didn’t want to talk about. So, in essence, I was completely leaving the reader out of the picture. I put that character through hell and left out the reason he was in that hell. It was the missing element of my story. That element, if included, would make the story so much stronger.

So, to the one friend who asked the question, “Is there something you’re not telling the reader?” The answer is an emphatic YES. There was something I definitely was not telling the reader. You, friend who probably knows who you are, were right. You will be happy to know that at the eleventh hour I somehow found the courage to say, “STOP THE PRESSES!” I gave my character the background the reader needed to fully understand the impact of his past. I thank the editor who allowed me to write in this change in the manuscript. I thank the friend whose words were ALWAYS eating away at me after she asked that question.

Can I suggest something to writers out there who love sharing what they learn and offering advice to other writers? Please, please…follow the advice you give. If you feel it’s important enough to mention to others, it’s also important enough to mention to yourself.

From this point forward, whatever I write is going to be the ENTIRE story, however difficult the subject matter will be. You can’t count on your readers being in the room with you while they’re reading. My editor recently gave me that piece of advice. Such a solid nugget of advice it is, too! I loved it. It cracked my world open. You can’t write a story and leave out the element you just don’t want to deal with, especially when that element puts all the pieces together for the reader. When the reader is sitting alone in a room reading your work, you don’t want them to feel the need to turn to you and ask, “What am I missing? Is there something you’re not telling me?” Because, dear writer, you are NOT going to be there. Tell the story you need to tell. The whole story. Leave nothing out. The reader knows when something is missing. They know when there is something the writer is just not telling them. GO DEEPER. When you go so deep that it hurts to tell the story, climb past that wall of pain and GO DEEPER STILL.