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Ask Vivek: Recap

November 21, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

Ask Vivek - Recap

This, sadly, is my last post as E-Writer in Residence. It’s been such a gift to connect with you in person at various libraries and events, and online through your writing. I feel fortunate to have been given this opportunity to read (and listen) to your words. I am immensely grateful for your trust in me. That said, my last day isn’t until Friday, November 25, so please keep sending me your writing!

When I began this position, my inspiration for the “Ask Vivek” posts was centered around you—I wanted to ensure that my posts spoke to questions you had about writing and art. I also think there can be so much mystery and solitude around writing. My hope was these posts would provide information to help making writing feel more accessible to you. I also hoped these posts would provide you a sense of support. 

For this final post, I have compiled a list of tips and highlights from my previous posts.

  1. On art making: Art is a powerful means to connect with others who have had similar, and different, experiences—others who want to share their stories.
  2. On writing prompts: Having a central question as a prompt can be challenging but can also give your writing or project a direction, as your goal then becomes answering this question.
  3. On songwriting: Spend the time in developing your own sound by writing constantly. The more songs you write, the better your songs will get.
  4. On novel writing: There might be days when you write only one sentence. This is okay. More than okay! This is part of the process. The most important thing is that you are committed to the writing and will show up again tomorrow.
  5. On comic making: “Make something that excites you—something that you would want to read! It can be good to start small. Make a one- or two-page story, where you can play around with your style and storytelling, and see if it's an idea you like enough to spend more time on.”
  6. On writing poetry: Reading works by other poets was useful as it allowed me to see how other writers were using the form and breaking “the rules.”
  7. On dealing with rejection: I remind myself that rejection isn’t personal. There are many factors as to why certain things get chosen over others and many of these factors I have no control over.
  8. On writing about the personal: When possible, I try to write ethically. I change the names of individuals and settings. I change the description of individuals’ appearances.

This past week has been a hard week. But I feel especially inspired by writers like Lawrence Hill who are speaking out about the various injustices that are taking place in the world. Please let me know what is inspiring you this week in the comments!

Ask Vivek: How do you write about the personal?

November 14, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

How do you write about the personal?

This week’s question is about how to write about the personal—specifically, how to write personal narratives based on or including friends and family.

Different writers approach this in different ways, but it is something many of us struggle with. In my case, I am often inspired by family and the people around me. But instead of worrying about asking for permission or how others will react, I focus on the writing. For me, it the story that I want to tell that is most important. 

When possible, I try to write ethically. I change the names of individuals and settings. I change the description of individuals’ appearances. 

When writing about my family, I try to write about them with respect and compassion, even when the story I want to tell is hard or unflattering. Sometimes I share these stories with my family but only after it’s been completed or published. This is so that I am not swayed by their opinion or emotions during the writing process. Other times, I have asked my parents to just not read certain books. 

I am less concerned when writing about violence that has happened to me. In these instances, I prioritize my right to speak about my experience over trying to “protect” the person who has hurt me.

One thing I am cautious about is writing about the experiences of others. Of course, I am inspired by events around me. But some stories aren’t mine to tell or take. 

So in short, I would say when writing about the personal, centre around the story you want to tell. Ultimately, when a story lands on the page, it becomes a form of fiction anyway. 

Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!

Lastly, this week I feel inspired by Vancouver-based poet Amber Dawn. She is someone who writes about the personal in various genres including memoir and poetry. What personal writing inspires you? Let me know in the comments!

Ask Vivek: How do you deal with rejection?

November 7, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

Ask Vivek - How do you deal with rejection?

This week’s question is about dealing with rejection as a writer and artist.

When I first started singing Western music, I began signing up for talent contents at shopping malls in Edmonton. Every talent show had multiple rounds (i.e. semi-finals, finals, etc.) with a giant prize.

I never made it to the final round. Sometimes I wouldn’t make it even to the semi-finals. It was always embarrassing to lose in front of my friends and family in a food court. I would feel sad, wondering what was wrong with me or my voice.

But I still would nervously approach the judges and ask for feedback for improvement. And the next year, I would sign up again. When preparing my selection for a new contest, I always tried to do something different than the previous year. One year I sang acapella, one year I sang Waterfalls by TLC, and another year I sang a song by Annie Lennox.

As an adult, I realize I learned a lot from these talent contests. Being an artist involves constantly putting myself out there and often having my work ignored or rejected. And the truth is, it doesn’t get easier to get rejected. I spend hours writing a poem or grant application, click ‘send’ and always hope for the best (I even have a Google notifier for when I should hear back). And when I do hear back, it never gets easier to read “This year we had a number of great entries including yours” and “Unfortunately yours wasn’t selected.” I complain to friends, I eat a lot of junk food, I complain more, I cry, I question the point of making art or writing.

But then, like my younger self, I slowly make my way back to the stage. I ask for feedback on my entry from judges. I ask for feedback from peers on my new entry. I try a new approach. I remind myself that rejection isn’t personal. There are many factors to why certain things get chosen over others and many of these factors I have no control over.

In recent years, I find myself applying for more opportunities because when I am rejected from one, it helps to know that I have other seeds planted. Maybe a different seed will bloom.

On that note, I highly encourage you to consider submitting to next year’s Young Voices Magazine. It’s a wonderful way to get published and the deadline is not until April 2017. This gives you a lot of time to work on your submission. I am also here to help you, so please feel free to email me your work for any support.

Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!

Lastly, this week I feel inspired by the performance by Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks at the Country Music Awards. Lemonade is a fantastic album and it’s great to see new sides to the songs with every live performance. What is inspiring you? Let me know in the comments!

Ask Vivek: How do I write poetry?

October 31, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

How Do I Write Poetry

This week’s question was about how to write poetry. This is a question that I resonated with a lot. Working on my recent book of poetry, even this page is white, I often felt lost and unsure about what I was writing, and if it qualified as poetry.

Given what I learned, my two big tips on writing poetry are as follows:

  1. Experiment!

I had been originally working on a novel but the writing didn’t feel right. Something felt missing or off. I wondered if perhaps the writing would be richer in the format of poetry. It’s important to listen to these inner nudges as often your intuition knows what is best for your work.

I dusted off the ol’ highlighter tool in my Google Doc and began highlighting any word or phrase that I felt stood out. Then I moved these words and phrases into a new document and started playing around with non-paragraph formats. In this new context, the writing felt stronger. The words clicked. Poetry was indeed the answer!

From here, I continued to play with words and structures. Play is important here and with any writing. As much as writing is hard work, it’s useful to remember that writing should also be fun! So, I got rid of unnecessary punctuation and conjunctions (ie and, but, so, etc). I experimented with different line breaks.

  1. Read!

Reading works by other poets was useful as it allowed me to see how other writers were using the form and breaking “the rules.” I was especially inspired by Audre Lorde’s The Black Unicorn.

There was a world of poetry beyond the couplets I had been taught in school. I learned about concrete poetry and list poems. By discovering so many different kinds of poetry, it gave me the confidence to keep experimenting.

Writing poetry often felt like making a painting but with words. The medium is flexible and open for you to make it your own.

Lastly, Gwen Benaway’s Passage is the best book of poetry I have read this year. Who are your favourite poets? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!

Ask Vivek: How do I make comics?

October 24, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

How do I make comics

This week’s question was about comics. I don’t have any experience making comics, so I thought I would interview two comic artists that I really admire: Michael DeForge and Eric Kostiuk Williams. Michael has created several comic books and zines and recently worked on Adventure Time. Eric has created a fantastic comic series called Hungry Bottom Comics and his debut book, Condo Heartbreak Disco, is out next year!

When did you make your first comic? What drew you to the medium of comic making?

Michael: I've wanted to draw comics for as long as I can remember. I learned to read and draw with the comic strip collections my family had. I made my first physical, finished comic when I was around 11 or 12. It was a 12-page horror anthology and the stories were all sports-themed. I wasn't a sporty kid, so all the comics were about, like, soccer teams kicking around severed heads, ghosts haunting the deep end of swimming pools, stuff like that.

Eric: In Grade 5, we had an assignment that involved creating a superhero character whose story related to saving the environment. This was probably one of the coolest and most random things I got to do in school! I called my superhero T.O.L.G. ("The Ozone Layer Guardian"). Once the assignment was over, I was still really attached to the character and ended up creating more comics on my own time, featuring him, and a cast of other characters.

I've always seen comics as such a powerful medium, because you're creating a fully realized world from scratch. If you think of a comic as a movie, you're actually the writer, director, set designer, casting director, costume designer, cinematographer, etc. This can feel very intimidating sometimes, but if it's an idea you're passionate about, it feels exciting to be so involved in its creation. The combination of words and images is a direct way to get your ideas across. Although the process of making a comic is pretty solitary, being able to then share your story with folks, and have them respond to it, is a feeling unlike anything else.

I also love making comics because they can be about anything! My early comics were focussed on superheroes, but since then, I've made science fiction comics, autobiographical comics, abstract comics... the sky's the limit.

Can you describe your process? Do you start with an idea or story first, or an illustration?

Michael: It changes a lot from story to story. Sometimes it starts as a loose idea or a character I want to run with, but other times a story will spring out of an image from my sketchbook. I work in my sketchbook a lot.

Once the ball starts rolling, I tend to improvise my stories as I go. I try to be very open to little accidents, or veering off course when I need to. I'm usually not writing very far ahead of what I'm drawing. I'll rough out a page in the morning with some noodley drawings and dialogue, then chip away at the finished version until the day is over.

Eric: Hmm, a bit of both, I'd say! Sometimes I'll draw characters in my sketchbook, and then I'll try to find a story for them to live in. Other times a story or theme will take shape in my head, and the drawings are a way of fleshing out those first ideas.

What advice would you give to someone starting to explore making comics?

Eric: If you're thinking of making a comic, make something that excites you—something that you would want to read! It can be good to start small. Make a one or two-page story, where you can play around with your style and storytelling, and see if it's an idea you like enough to spend more time on. You wouldn't want to find yourself in the middle of making a 30-page comic when you realize you're not into your story anymore! That's happened to me, and it's terrible! I would also say to do it in whatever way feels most comfortable. Some comics are mostly text, with less emphasis on the drawings, some comics are all illustrations, with no text! Sometimes a writer will team up with an illustrator and make a comic together, which can take a bit of the pressure off being responsible for the whole thing. There's no one right way, and that's my favourite thing about comics.

Michael: Self-publish, either online or in print. Make a cruddy zine, throw some strips up on Tumblr, whatever. I learned a lot from self-publishing, and comics have a particularly low barrier to entry. It's can be challenging to make the time to actually draw them, but once you do, they're dirt cheap. I can print the entire run of a mini-comic for the same price I pay to rent three hours of practice space for my band, for instance.

***

Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!

Lastly, Michael DeForge’s Big Kids is one of the best comic book I have read and is definitely worth checking out! What are your favourite comics? Let me know in the comments!

Ask Vivek: How To Write A Novel

October 17, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (0)

How To Write A Novel

Last week, I received a question (thank you!) about how write a novel—where to begin and how to finish.

This is a question I asked myself a lot when trying to map out my first novel, She of the Mountains. I think part of my draw to other literary forms like short stories and poems has to do with how daunting writing a novel feels. The process is so intimidating that even though I have done it once, I worry I will never do it again.

But it most certainly can be done! Here are some thoughts and ideas to help support you in your process.

  1.     I am not someone who outlines because part of the magic of writing for me is the discovery that happens when I am writing. That said, it is worth think about details like: Where does your novel take place? Who are the main characters? What is the intention behind your novel or the central theme or conflict? Spending some time mapping out these ideas before writing, even if you change your mind along the way (which most likely you will), will be useful.
  2.     I also approached my novel a bit like a puzzle. I made a list of all the pieces I needed. This can be a form of outlining. For example, I knew there had to be a section where the characters meet and another a section where the characters fight. Then I wrote about these sections separately. When all the sections were done, I began to organize them in my preferred order. The work then became about writing the sentences or paragraphs required to “glue” these sections together. This method was effective because it made the process less overwhelming. I didn’t start on the dreaded Page One and then have to build from there. Instead, I focused on breaking the novel into smaller parts, wrote each part, and then brought it all together.
  3.     While I think outlining can be helpful, I am hesitant to over recommend it. This is because staying in the outline mode can be seductive. You could plan forever. But at some point you have to take a leap and write your story!
  4.     Think about what you need to write. Do you prefer to write at night? In a cafe? In a notebook? I learned that I wrote better in the morning and at home. This meant blocking off mornings in my Google Calendar to write instead of going to the mall with friends. Writing and finishing a novel required making these kinds of sacrifices.
  5.     Time can feel limited, especially with other commitments like homework. But try to avoid putting off working on your novel until the right moment comes along. Don’t wait to write during Christmas or summer holidays, or after you graduate. I kept putting off my novel like this with the confidence that I would write it when the time was right. But eventually I discovered that there is no such thing as the right time to write a novel. My waiting for the right time was a bit of a procrastination strategy. It sounds silly but it was quite surprising to realize that my novel wouldn’t write itself. I had to carve out time to write!
  6.     There might be days when you write only one sentence. This is okay. More than okay! This is part of the process. The most important thing is that you committed to the writing and will show up again tomorrow.
  7.     For more inspiration, next month is National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo)! I haven’t tried it so I asked writer and actor Nathan Carroll to share his experience with it:

“Doing nanowrimo was one of the best things I've done because it allowed me to accomplish my lifelong dream of completing a novel. I think it's a smart strategy in how it removes self-editing and self-doubt or criticism from the creative process. It focuses on quantity over quality for a first draft, with the idea being that both increase when you focus on quantity. I found this to be true because there was no room to constantly evaluate. My biggest piece of advice would be to pick up No Plot, No Problem. It is written by the person who came up with the idea. It lays out the process wonderfully. Try to get ahead on the word count. Don't be afraid of writing more than the quota, especially in the first week.”

Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!

Lastly, one of the best novels I have read recently is The God of Small Things. What are your favourite novels? Let me know in the comments!

Ask Vivek: What is your advice for a beginning songwriter?

October 10, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (1)

Ask Vivek - What Is Your Advice For A Beginner Songwriter

I recently received a question regarding songwriting (thank you!) and decided to put together a short list of tips that have worked for me over the years as a songwriter.

  1. An important part of being a good writer is reading. Similarly, an important part of being a good songwriter is listening to music. This sounds a bit obvious, I know. But what I mean by listening isn’t just having music playing in the background. Make a list of your top ten favourite songs. Write down what makes each song so special to you. Is it the lyrics? Is it the chorus? If so, what about the chorus do you like? Try to be as specific as you can be in your observations while you are listening. It is equally important to pay attention to the songs you don’t like. What don’t you like about these songs? Learning what you don’t like in a song can be useful in helping you define what you do like and to create this.
  2. Similar to the above point, listen to a wide range of music. Admittedly, I listen to a lot of Beyoncé. But it’s been very useful for me to listen to music outside of my preferences, outside of what is being played on the radio, and outside of what my friends are listening to. The more different kinds of songwriting you are exposed to, the better and more creative your songwriting will be.
  3. The acoustic guitar / campfire test is a useful one: If you can play a song on just an acoustic guitar (or even just sing it acapella) and it’s strong, then it’s a good song. A good song is not one that should rely on the production or accompaniment. Instead, a good song is one that you could produce in a number of different ways and would still shine. A great example of this is “Show Me Love” by Robyn. The album version is stellar, but the acoustic version is also captivating.
  4. That said, playing around with production and recording can be fun and enhance your songwriting. Garageband is an pretty easy software that I recommend exploring. Even though I didn’t study music formally, there was a lot I could do in Garageband because of how intuitive it is. It is available on all Mac computers (and if you don’t have access to a Mac, check out the Digital Innovation Hubs at the Toronto Public Library). Recording my songs in Garageband is a useful way for me to go back and listen to a song. I can hear what is working or not working such as which lyrics I want to change. Recording your song will make it easier to add additional parts, like harmonies. Garageband comes with all kinds of cool, built-in sounds, so you can also add drum loops or sound effects to give your song a fuller sound. Don’t be afraid to try things out and have fun. Maybe your song needs a horn sound and the only way you will know is if you try it out.
  5. Look for opportunities to play your songs live, even for your friends at a house party. Or look for open mic nights in your area, like Queercab at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. This is a great way for you to hear your song in a different context. A song will sound different in a live atmosphere and hearing it in this context will give you a new perspective on the song itself and songwriting. This will also allow you to get feedback from your friends or audience members, build your performance skills and fans! You might also meet other musicians who want to collaborate with you, which will enhance your songwriting.
  6. While there is so much you can learn from listening to music by other artists, avoid falling into the trap of wanting to write someone else. The world doesn’t need another Rihanna, as spectacular as she is. The world needs YOUR unique perspective and voice! Spend the time in developing your own sound by writing constantly. The more songs you write, the better your songs will get. I wrote my first songs when I was thirteen and while I cherish those songs, my songwriting has only gotten richer the more I have done it.

Thank you again for your question. Please keep sending me questions and I will keep answering them here!

Lastly, some of my favourite songwriting this year is on the Case/Lang/Veirs album. What songwriters inspire you? Let me know in the comments!

Ask Vivek: What is your favourite writing prompt?

October 3, 2016 | E Writer in Residence 2016 — Vivek Shraya | Comments (2)

Ask Vivek: What Is Your Favourite Writing Prompt

Over the years, I have turned to writing prompts especially when I have felt stuck (a.k.a. “writer's block”). Writing prompts are a useful way to ignite the writing muscle, not unlike the ten minutes of stretching you do before hopping on the treadmill or begin lifting weights. I also use writing prompts as icebreakers in workshops.

My favorite writing prompt is this:

Write about YELLOW

Write about the colour yellow, without using the word. What comes to mind? What does the color yellow make you feel, what might it smell like, what associations do have with the colour?

What I like about this prompt is that it forces me to be imaginative. It is also challenging because colours are generally descriptive words. This prompt forces me to be descriptive of a description. Whew! I also like the versatility of this prompt—if I am not feeling inspired by yellow, I can write about turquoise or fuschia.

Writing prompts can be useful beyond warming up. During the writing process of many of my books, I have usually used a prompt in the form of a question. In writing my collection of short stories, God Loves Hair, my prompt was this: What incidents do you recall in your past that might have helped socially construct your gender (and/or sexuality)? Many of the stories I wrote were born from this prompt. While writing my book of poetry, even this page is white, one of my prompts was: “How would you describe racism in words?” Having a central question as a prompt can be challenging but can also give your writing or project a direction, as your goal then becomes answering this question.

Let me know in comments what are some of your favourite writing prompts. Or send me any writing that was inspired by my favourite prompt. Also, please keep sending me questions you would like to see answered here. Next week, we will delve into songwriting!

This week, I feel inspired by the new Solange album, A Seat at the Table. If you haven’t checked out Solange’s music, I highly recommend her last EP, True.

Vivek Shraya - E-Writer in Residence for Teens

September 18, 2016 | Susan | Comments (0)

VivekshrayaWe are so lucky that the multi-talented Vivek Shraya is the E-Writer in Residence for 2016. She is a writer, musician and filmmaker and will share advice and ideas for young artists on this blog during October and November. 

And if you've ever wished for someone smart, kind and encouraging to give you feedback on your writing, here's your chance. Send Vivek an email now at vshraya@torontopubliclibrary.ca with your stories or poems or songs, and she'll get back to you with insight and suggestions.

You can also attend a writing workshop led by Vivek Shraya at the Young Voices Writers' Conference on October 22. (Get a free ticket to the Conference here.)

If you haven't heard of Vivek, here's a bit about her:

Vivek Shraya is a Toronto-based artist whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. Her first novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books of 2014. Her debut collection of poetry, even this page is white, was released inn 2016. Vivek has read and performed inter­nationally, including sharing the stage with Tegan & Sara. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached.

Continue reading "Vivek Shraya - E-Writer in Residence for Teens" »

Young Voices Magazine- Congrats!

September 1, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

by Editorial Youth Advisory Group member Chantal

Young Voices Cover - FINALWhen an email titled Young Voices Magazine- Congrats! appeared in my junk folder, my first thought was that it must be a scam. But then my common sense kicked in and I figured that clicking on it was very worth my time. And it was true - my article "Chris Rock Rocks the Boat" was ready to be printed in the Young Voices magazine, making me an incredibly happy and proud published (for the first time and hopefully not the last) writer. Ironically, I’d come full circle, starting with a useless assignment from my seventh grade teacher asking the question. “What is one of your long term goals?” Now, as an eleventh grader, I’m filled with bigger dreams for the future. But as a twelve year old bookworm obsessed with all fantasy and sci-fi literature, only one thing came to mind; My goal was to become published in the Young Voices Magazine. Second question on the assignment? “How will you accomplish this goal?” and simply put, not really putting much effort into the actual assignment, I promised I would enter a submission each year. Although I didn’t exactly keep my word, I entered my short stories off and on with not much hope for publication, except that on March of this year during a teenage extisential crisis, I looked back on my life and the puny amount of accomplishments I have experienced and decided that this was the year to buckle down and make my seventh grade version of me proud.

I began my writing process by perusing the Young Voices archives and discovering the kind of writing pieces that were commonly chosen. Of course, I saw the wonderful short stories, poems and rants that filled each magazine but I noticed that each one also included one or two current events articles as well. It was March and the The Academy Awards had recently been broadcasted with a controversial opening monologue by the host Chris Rock, lamenting about the absence of nominations for black artists. As a minority actor in Toronto, I could relate and agree, wishing for their to be more well rounded roles available to actors of different ethnicities. A light bulb went off in my brain and I wrote my article, taking a longer time to think of an eye popping title than actually writing the article. Now here I am writing this post about my accomplishment and I can almost see the seventh grader version of myself looking down on me and smiling.

Watch for Chantal's piece in Young Voices 2016, coming this October!

Get published! Submit to Young Voices magazine now!

Write Like You Mean It - and Change the World!

August 12, 2016 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

 Kristyn-Dunnion-photo-by-Joanne-McArthur croppedIf you missed last night's Young Voices writing workshop at Toronto Reference Library with author Kristyn Dunnion, have no fear... Kristyn will be back to do three more workshops, including one tomorrow, Saturday, August 13!

You can go to any or all of them, they're free, and you can just show up!

Last night, Kristyn asked workshop participants, "If you could change one thing on the planet, what would it be?

Check out some of the answers she got:

Continue reading "Write Like You Mean It - and Change the World!" »

Tips for an Aspiring Teen Writer

July 6, 2016 | Youth Advisory Group | Comments (0)

by Editorial Youth Advisory Group member Melanie

Young Voices 2015

 

At High School

TCTE Short Story Contest: This contest is run by the Toronto Council of Teachers of English and is open to all TDSB secondary students. I found out about this contest through my Writer’s Craft class in grade 12, and submitted a short story I had written for that class. I ended up making it to the next round, so I had the unique opportunity to meet a Canadian published author and receive his feedback on my story.

Shakespeare Selfie Contest: This contest is run by the CBC and is open to all Canadian students from grade 7 to 12. The goal of this contest is to write a monologue or soliloquy about a current event or famous person, through the eyes of a Shakespearean character.

Newspaper: The school newspaper is an exciting and rewarding way to get published! I started writing for my high school newspaper in grade 10, then became a news editor in grade 11, and finally co-Editor in Chief in grade 12. So there is plenty of opportunity to work up to an editorial position, which gives more authority in deciding which ideas turn into published articles. Also, at least at my high school, there were no applications to be a part of the newspaper so any student could be a writer and get published.

At the Library

Young Voices: This magazine is published by the Toronto Public Library and is open to everyone 12-19 in Toronto. In grade 11 while studying Hamlet, I wrote a poem “Ophelia’s Reflection on the Reign of Taylor Swift,” which got published in the Young Voices 2015 issue. Then I became part of the editorial Youth Advisory Group, who decide on which submissions will be published in the upcoming issue. I loved this experience of reading the submissions, discussing the pros and cons with other eYAG members and a published author advisor, and then giving feedback to the teen author.

After High School

Keep on Writing: One of the hardest choices for me in grade 12 was deciding whether I wanted to pursue arts or science, because I have a passion for both creative writing and pathology. The best solution for me was the Arts and Science program at the University of Guelph, which offers a minor in a science and a minor in an arts field. This way, I can still pursue a medical career but also take creative writing courses, so that one day I can publish a novel! My best advice is that even if you don't want to focus your post-secondary education on writing, at least try to take English as an elective in first year, so that you can take creative writing courses in upper years. Keep on writing!!!

 Shakespeare_Selfie_2016_620


 

GET PUBLISHED! Submit to Young Voices by April 5 for the 2016 Issue

April 1, 2016 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

Wanna see your creative work published in 15,000 copies of Young Voices?

You have till Tuesday, April 5, 2016 to send us your best creative endeavours for consideration in this year's issue. Submit online now!

Young voices logo

Send poems, stories, rants, raps, comics, reviews, or black and white artwork or photos!

See full submission details here (PDF) or submit at any Toronto Public Library branch.

If you miss the deadline, don't panic! We take submissions all year round, so you can send us something for the 2017 issue!

Questions? Contact me, Ken Sparling, 416-397-5970, ksparling@torontopubliclibrary.ca

 

 

Imagine 15,000 copies of Young Voices magazine - with your story in it!

March 25, 2016 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

Why not go for it! We circulate nearly 15,000 copies of Young Voices every year!

Submit your story, photo, comic, artwork, poem, rant...

Here's some work from Toronto teens who were published in Young Voices last year to get you inspired.

Hypnotized_Rabaya Khan_age 15
Hypnotized, by Rabaya Khan, in Young Voices 2015

atmospheres
by Sivan Piatigorsky-Roth, age 15
-from Young Voices 2015

If all the world and night were blue
With twinkling stars, long overdue
Their deaths, like broken shards of glass
In gold, in silver, and in brass would
Cast their dusty fragments free
To fall on earth, the land, the sea.
I cannot sleep
For in your eyes
I find the stars take new disguise
And falling bits of dust and space
Find themselves a holy place
Wherein they dance, and airy light
They find a purpose in the night.
I won’t rest
I know it wrong
To play a melancholy song
In hopes that I might catch a glance
Of starlight in the window’s glass
And on your shining, gentle face,
If you appeared in such a place,
I’d see the lofty, cloudless skies
And find the stars wrote in your eyes.

Don't delay! Submit today! The deadline for Young Voices 2016 is April 5, 2016.

"No one deserves to be harassed. No one."

March 20, 2016 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

Human nature_jasmine zhang_age 14
Human Nature, by Jasmine Zhang, age 14, from Young Voices 2015

So ends Carrie Noble's rant in Young Voices 2015

Got a rant you want to share? Or a story? A poem? Artwork? A photo?

Send it to Young Voices for a chance to get it published in Young Voices 2016.

Need inspiration! Here's the rest of Carrie's rant to get you fired up!

A Rant
by Carrie Noble, age 18
-from Young Voices 2015

How unfair is it that I hate going out at night by myself, walking to the subway alone, or wearing my school uniform in public because I am afraid of the comments I’ll get. I shouldn’t have to feel scared. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty. And I shouldn’t have to feel unsafe. Male co-workers of mine don’t understand why I like to wait for them to walk a block to the subway, or to Rexall, or to anywhere for that matter. They don’t have to worry about that. As a girl, I do. And I have to worry more and more. The more I develop, and grow, the more I get followed and honked at. It scares me, and it makes me angry.

Continue reading ""No one deserves to be harassed. No one."" »

Show Off Your Stuff! Submit Your Artwork to Young Voices Now!

March 19, 2016 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

Submit online!

Or bring your artwork and a submission form to your neighbourhood Toronto Public Library branch.

Here are a few of the Toronto teens who got their artwork published in Young Voices last year:

 

Interstellar_brenden skripac_age 12
Brenden, age 12
Me melted by rain_chun shen_age 15
Chun, age 15
Structered_shawmiya sivaruban_age 17
Showmiya, age 17
Pug life_shrabanti biswas_age 14
Shrabanti, age 14



Check out more great Young Voices artwork and writing by teens.

Submit your work now for a chance to be published in Young Voices 2016!

Aneeqa got published when she was 14 years old

March 17, 2016 | Ken Sparling | Comments (0)

Young Voices Cover - FINALWanna see your writing or artwork in print?

Submit to Young Voices magazine now!

Aneeqa's story:

When the time is right
by Aneeqa Tahsin, age 14
-from Young Voices 2015

She liked her coffee black, no sugar.

We drove for five hours through small towns with no bathrooms in the stores. Teenage girls sat on benches, all hoop earrings and gentle rolls of fat protruding from underneath crop tops. Men in cowboy hats carried briefcases, smoking cigarettes and staring at women’s legs as they strolled by. I could get used to the chatters, squeaks, squalls, bitter laughter, whistles, calls that sounded like souls ascending to heaven. The air was thick with the smell of moist grass, car exhaust and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos drizzled with nacho cheese. I even bought a bag for myself. Henry was singing along with the rock station, a gentle choir tenor mingling with crackling static.

She had night-black hair falling to her waist and high cheekbones, slender hands that held me when I would cry.

Continue reading " Aneeqa got published when she was 14 years old" »

Young Voices March Break Writing and Arts Festival for Teens

March 12, 2016 | Susan | Comments (2)

March break fest header sized

 

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” — Albert Einstein

Yes! The eminently quotable Al Einstein nailed it! And this March Break, you can come to the library for a whole week’s worth of creative, intelligent fun. It’s the Young Voices March Break Writing and Arts Festival!

The festival is a series of 11 writing and art workshops at library branches across the city. Find details on all the workshops online — all are free and open to ages 12-19 and led by professional writers and artists.

All the Libraries Toronto book cover

One of the workshops will be led by Daniel Rotsztain, who went to all 100 branches of the library, drew pictures of them and then made a really cool colouring book called, All the Libraries Toronto. He’s an artist and mapmaker and his session is about exploring your own neighbourhood and creating art.

Pasha Malla
Pasha Malla

Or, you can learn to write devastatingly clever reviews of just about anything. Eat some weird food and review it! Review the library's ceiling! Author, journalist and Globe and Mail book reviewer Pasha Malla will help you express your opinion, whether you love something or hate it.

Ian Keteku
Ian Keteku


At the end of the week, come check out the Young Voices Open Mic with host Ian Keteku, a musician, artist and World Poetry Slam champ. You can sign up to perform when you arrive — but you don't have to perform! You can just come to be part of the supportive audience and applaud! If you do perform, you can read something you wrote, read something by a writer you love, play music, sing, dance, tell jokes, talk about that amazing picture you drew or show off any other talent you have.

After you’ve been to one (or 11) workshops and you are full of creative inspiration, consider submitting your amazing story or poem or comic or drawing or photo to Young Voices Magazine. The submission deadline is coming up on April 5th.

P.S. Did you know that Young Voices Magazine has been published every year since 1965? Be part of a proud Toronto tradition and get your stuff published!

Farewell to the TPL Teens e-Writer in Residence 2015 and a Final Contest!

December 9, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (12)

I can't believe that my time as e-Writer in Residence has come to an end. It feels like it passed in a blink. There were so many amazing moments, and I feel privileged to have been a part of this program. Thank you, Toronto Public Library for giving me this opportunity to connect and work with young authors.

 

First up was the launch event for the Young Voices Magazine, an eye-opening opportunity to hear young authors share their poetry and prose and to view incredible artwork created by young artists. I've read the magazine cover-to-cover more than once and I am in awe of the talent presented on the pages.

 

Next up was the Young Voices Writers Conference where I led a workshop on worldbuilding. The creativity and enthusiasm among conference attendees was energizing and fun. 

 

I had the opportunity to visit the Teen Writers' Group at the North York Central Library where some extremely talented young writers worked with me on writing exercises on worldbuilding and setting and then read their wonderful words aloud. Next up was the Teen Writers' Group at Brentwood Library where I was given a warm welcome. Enthusiasm and imagination soared as we focused on story beginnings and endings. Again, the attendees were generous in sharing their writing, and I had a wonderful time.

 

I'm thrilled to say that I received dozens of engaging email submissions from many teen authors—poetry, short stories, essays, novels—and I enjoyed the opportunity to read their pages and offer critique. Here's what Zoie from Zoie's Bookshelf had to say about working with me as e-Writer in Residence: 

I had always known that the TPL Teens blog had an e-writer in residence, but it was only until this season that I had truly taken advantage of that fact. I decided that this time around I would send my writing for Eve Silver to critique, as I was working on a story that I would really like some pointers on to see what worked and what didn’t. Also, it would be pretty cool to have a published author comment on something that had written. 

As expected, I was a bit nervous to send it in. This was a story I had been working on for a while, and it was very close to my heart. Not to mention that I hadn’t shared so many chapters of it to anyone before, and it was scary to just have it out there for someone else’s eyes. 

Luckily, my experience with Eve was nothing short of motivating. Her kind words and helpful advice really got me to believe that my work was actually worth something, and after reading through her overall impression of the chapters I had sent in, as well as the footnotes she so graciously tagged on, it got me thinking about all the different ways I could improve and shape my writing.

It was uplifting to see that she liked my writing and my characters, and that she believed it had potential. Sending in my work to the e-writer in residence was the push I needed to make the changes that were necessary to construct this story to the best it could be. For me it was definitely the write choice. (Pun intended!)

 

 I wrote/coordinated numerous blog posts and contests during my time as e-Writer in Residence. Thank you to HarperCollins Canada, Katherine Tegen Books, and authors Morgan Rhodes and Kelley Armstrong for donating the awesome giveaway prizes.

 

Here's a quick reference for some of the blog posts:

 

Publishing and Industry Posts:

 

Reflections:

 

Writing Prompts and Inspiration Posts:

 

Mechanics of Writing: 

 

Miscellaneous:

 

And as a final farewell, I'm running my last contest! Have a question you meant to ask and didn't get a chance? Have a comment you want to share? Did you have a favourite blog post? Did you send in your work for critique and want to leave a comment about the experience? Now's your chance!

One lucky commenter will receive the entire The Game series: Rush, Push and Crash!

 

Fotor120714554

 

 

Rules:

1. To enter, just leave your comment below. 

2. You must live in Toronto to win this contest. 

3. You must provide a valid e-mail address so you can be contacted if you win a prize, and you must be able to come to a TPL branch to pick up your prize (see privacy statement below for more information).

4. One entry per person per Contest - you can leave more than one comment, but only your first comment will count as a contest entry. 

5. Contest ends Thursday December 17, 2015 at 11:59 pm. 

6. Winner will be contacted on the following Friday.

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Public Libraries Act, s.20 (a) and (d) and will be used to administer the Library's TPL Teens contest. Questions about the collection or management of personal information should be directed to library manager Jayne Delbeek-Eksteins- 416-396-8858.

 

 

 

What Type of Publishing is Right for You?

December 4, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (0)

UnnamedSelf-published young author Dylan Doose offers a breakdown of the different types of publishing and some answers to questions about self-publishing.

 

Dylan's bio: Writer. Sculptor. Bad fitness advice. In between writing books I fill my not-so-busy schedule with the practising of martial arts, mountain biking, paddle surfing, weight lifting, and of course HBO, PS4 and increasing the size of my beloved personal library.

Dylan is the author of Fire and Sword, Catacombs of Time and a soon to be released third novel in the Sword and Sorcery series.

 

FIRE&SWORD_COVER_Final

Q: What are the different types of publishing?

A: Commercial publishing is the traditional approach where the publisher purchases rights to a manuscript. The author receives an advance against royalties. This is like a loan, where the author is given money up front and the royalties they receive for the sale of each book are applied against that amount until it is paid off. Once that happens, the author will receive royalties on the sale of each book. The publisher pays for the editing, production, cover design, shipping, etc. of the book.

Self-publishing is where the author doesn't just write the book, but also acts as the publisher. The author pays for the editing, copy editing, cover design, etc for the project. The author is also responsible for distribution of the book and getting it into readers' hands.

 

Q: Where can an author publish a book?

A:  With the rise of ebooks and e-readers, authors have a number of self-publishing options. Amazon Kindle, iBooks, and Kobo all offer platforms for authors to self-publish. There are also sites like Draft2Digital and Smashwords that will take care of loading an author's books on a number of platforms for a small fee. The benefit of this is that the author only has to load up their book once and these sites take care of the rest. Also, right now Canadian authors can't load directly to Nook, so a site like D2D or Smashwords can get a Canadian author's book on Nook.

 

Q: Can authors also publish physical copies (paperbacks)?

A: Yes. Most of my self-published sales come from ebooks, but I do sell a few physical copies. There are sites like Createspace, IngramSpark and Lulu that can help with this.

   

CatacombsofTime_COVER_V4

Q: What's the difference between self-publishing and vanity press?

A: With a vanity press, the author pays the publisher to have the books printed and bound and/or loaded on an ebook retailer. At first glance, this doesn't look any different than self-publishing or places like D2D. But there is a difference: with self-publishing, the author pays a small percentage  and keeps the majority of the profits. Also, the payment to Kindle or Kobo or iBooks doesn't happen until the author actually sells a book. Then the e-retailer takes a share and sends the rest to the author. With vanity publishing, the author has to pay a large amount up front. The vanity publisher makes a profit even if the author never sells a single book.

There's a great post on this at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

 

Q: Do self-published authors actually make any money?

A: Whether traditionally published or self-published, some books do well and some don't. Some great books just never get discovered. But there have been a number of success stories from self-published authors. The Martian by Andrew Weir was originally published chapter-by-chapter for free on his website before he put the book for sale on Amazon. Then he sold the book to a traditional publisher and he sold the movie rights. Other success stories are Wool by Hugh Howey, Amanda Hocking, and David Dalglish. These authors were originally self-published and went on to work with commercial publishers.

 

Q: Tell us about your writing.

A: I started reading late. I was eight and I had a hard time with anything and everything reading related. That continued right up until the age of sixteen. I had never read a book cover to cover because it took me too long and I would rather have been doing other things i.e. getting into trouble. This was until I—for a reason I can’t remember— selected the book The Magus by John Fowles for my grade twelve book report. This is not a light read, not even close, but after the first chapter, for the first time in my life I was driven to read every damn word of a book. When I was done, I was changed. The book simultaneously made me feel insignificant and fragile, whilst filling my head with the ambition of one day possessing great knowledge, enough knowledge to create worlds that breathe and bleed. I could go on to name over a hundred influential books since my first true read, but that is the one that matters. It signifies an end and a beginning. It planted the seeds of my dreams.

I wrote my first manuscript then. I kept writing manuscripts until I created one I was ready to share: FIRE AND SWORD. I had it edited by a developmental editor. I had it copy-edited. I had a professional cover designed. I worked out a marketing plan. And I kept writing.

 

Q: Thanks for all the information. Before you go, share a last word of advice.

A: “Once you’ve got a task to do, it’s better to do it than live with the fear of it.” —Joe Abercrombie.
This is a quote from the legendary barbarian Logen Ninefingers; this character has given me a great deal of life advice.

 

What Libraries Mean To Me

December 2, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (0)

1950-north-york-memorial-hall-1956As a kid, I hung out at Toronto Public Library’s Centennial Branch and North York Central Branch searching out sequential volumes of Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books and Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. Libraries were my refuge, my haven, the most wonderful place in the world. Books, books, and more books...perfect.

 

As a teen I devoured V. C. AndrewsEdgar Allan PoeDaphne du MaurierAnne Rice and any romance novel I could get my hands on. The library was the place I could find any world I wanted to enter. But they were more than that. I went to high school and university in a time before the internet. Libraries were the place to go for answers to questions both simple and obscure. Books held the secrets of the world, the universe, and librarians held the key.

 

The library helped get me started along my path to publication. My husband spotted a notice for a writing workshop in our local paper and encouraged me to go. Guess where that workshop was held...the library. In the early stages of my writing career, long before I was published, the library was the place I could go for a few quiet moments to work on my book. It was the place that the Toronto Romance Writers—a writing group I had joined—held their monthly meeting (they still do!). The library had reference books on everything writing related. Librarians helped me find the books that would answer my questions about medicine in the 1800's or fashion in that time period or how much servants were paid or how long it took to get from London to Cornwall by carriage. Libraries and librarians had all the answers.

 

Once my books were published, they found a home on library shelves. Librarians invited me to speak or be part of seasonal events. Librarians recommended my stories to readers who might enjoy them. Readers who wanted my stories but couldn't afford to buy the books could find them in the library.

 

Libraries run programs for teen writers, like this e-Writer in Residence that I have been privileged to be part of. They host teen writers groups like those at the North York Central Library and the Brentwood branch. There's the Young Voices Magazine for the publication of teen work and the Young Voices Writers Conference to educate, support and encourage young writers. These initiatives mean a great deal to me because the next generation of talent is fostered here, and I can attest to the impressive skill of these young writers.

 

So tell me, what do libraries mean to you?

 

 

 

  

Haiku to Win!

November 27, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (25)

Haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry.

  • A Haiku is three lines long.
  • It has seventeen syllables.
  • The syllable count is 5/7/5.
  • Haiku often depicts nature and stresses simplicity, elegance, and clarity.
  • It is traditionally written in the present tense.
  • Modern Haiku often breaks the 5/7/5 rule and moves to topics outside nature.
  • Whether you approach the Haiku from a traditional or modern perspective, the goal is brevity and evocative imagery (which my example below lacks).

 

Like this:

Haiku three lines long

with seventeen syllables

five/seven/five count 

 

20662728Want to win a copy of Clariel by Garth Nix?

Just leave your Haiku in the comments below! One lucky commenter will win!

Need a Haiku topic idea? How about brushing your teeth, walking in a crowd, walking alone at night, being at a party but not feeling like part of the crowd, being at a party and having an awesome time, standing on a cliff overlooking a calm lake, kayaking in white water, or anything else that catches your writer's eye.

 

 

Rules:

1. To enter, just leave your Haiku in the comments. 

2. You must live in Toronto to win this contest. 

3. You must provide a valid e-mail address so you can be contacted if you win a prize, and you must be able to come to a TPL branch to pick up your prize (see privacy statement below for more information).

4. One entry per person per Contest - you can leave more than one comment, but only your first comment will count as a contest entry. 

5. Contest ends Thursday December 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm. 

6. Winner will be contacted on the following Friday.

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Public Libraries Act, s.20 (a) and (d) and will be used to administer the Library's TPL Teens contest. Questions about the collection or management of personal information should be directed to library manager Jayne Delbeek-Eksteins- 416-396-8858.

 

Thinking of submitting your work to me for feedback? Contact info and details here.

 

 

Writing Prompt #3

November 25, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (0)

Missed the Flash Fiction post, Writing Prompt #1 and Writing Prompt #2? Check them out now!

 

Today I'm offering a few writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing.

 

  • Is the person you present online different than the person you are in real life? In what ways does the real you differ from the online you? Why are they different?

 

  • What's the greatest responsibility you've ever undertaken? Was the responsibility something you volunteered for or something that was placed on you externally (e.g. did your parents or a teacher or friend place that responsibility on your shoulders?) How did you feel about it?

 

  • How do you feel about group projects and tasks that must be accomplished in teams? Are you a team player or a lone wolf? Do you resent group projects or love them? Why? If you could choose a sport, would it be one that you play as a sole sports enthusiast (e.g. tennis) or one that requires a group (e.g. football)?

 

  • Do you believe friendship is forever, or do you believe that people can outgrow/drift away from friends? Are you still friends with the people you grew up with? Have you established a new group of friends in recent months/years? Why?

 

I'd love to read what these prompts encourage you to write. Post in the comments or send me your words (either those spurred by these prompts or those you've already created. Contact info and submission requirements here.)

 

 

The Industry—Part 2: What's a query letter?

November 20, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (0)

Missed The Industry—Part 1: How do I find an Agent? Check it out here. 

 

A query letter is an introduction: you're introducing both yourself and your manuscript to an agent or editor. The letter needs to grab the reader's attention, make her sit up and take notice. So what do you include in a query letter? 

 

Before you even start your query letter, there's one essential step to complete: Finish the project! Finish the book before you start sending out query letters.

 

Essential Components of a Query Letter

 

1. Target a specific agent.

Many writers target more than one agent at once, sending their query letter to a slew of different agencies at the same time. There's nothing wrong with approaching a number of agents, but there is something wrong with addressing the letter to the wrong person. Check and double check the name. Make sure that you aren't addressing your letter "Dear Mr. Smith" when the agent you're sending this version of the letter to is Miss Jones.

 

2. The opening lines.

The agent/editor you are approaching with your query gets a ton of them every day. So you need to make yours stand out from the crowd. If you've met the agent at a conference, say so right up front. If you haven't met the agent, mention a reason you are contacting him/her.

If you don't want to lead with an introduction, another option is to lead with a hook. 

In this paragraph you might say something along the lines: In my 90,000 word young adult science fiction manuscript, Rush, a girl who just wants to be normal finds out she's anything but when her alien DNA sees her dragged into a video game where she must hunt aliens or be hunted by them.

That sentence tells the agent how long the manuscript is, what genre it fits into in the marketplace, and what the book is about.

 

3. The body of the letter.

This is the point that you tell the agent what your book is about. It should be one paragraph (two at most). This is a teaser for the story. Tell the agent who your character is, what obstacles they face, what the stakes are. Entice the reader to want to know more. This isn't the place to give a step by step description of your story from beginning to end.

 

4. A little about you.

This isn't the place to tell the agent about your pet turtle. But it is the place to claim your bragging rights. Have you been published in the Young Voices magazine? This is where you include that info. Have you been published anywhere else? Brag about it here. Have you won any prizes for your writing? Again, take this opportunity to toot your own horn. This is the place to mention anything writing/publishing related. 

 

5. Sign off.

Here's where you let the agent know that you have a complete manuscript ready for submission, and be sure to thank them for their time.

 

Want to know more about query letters?

 

Check out this blog post on query letters by author Jeannie Reusch.

Agentquery.com is a free database of literary agents. Check out the post there on How To Write A Query Letter.

Agent Kristin Nelson has a ton of great info about query letters and samples of successful queries on her blog, Pub Rants.

 

Want to WIN a copy of Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider or 99 Days by Katie Cotugno. Head over to the post on What Does Writing Mean to You? and enter to win!

 

Got questions about query letters? Leave them in the comments and I'll either answer there or include my replies in the next industry post.

 

 

 

What Does Writing Mean To You?

November 18, 2015 | E Writer in Residence 2015 — Eve Silver | Comments (12)

Today's post has three parts: an answer to the question "What does writing mean to you?", a link to a writing contest and a book giveaway!

 

What does writing mean to you?

 

I asked the question—"What does writing mean to you?"— and Terese Mason Pierre answered. Terese is a writer, poet, student, musician, and member of the Editorial Youth Advisory Board for the Toronto Public Library's Young Voices magazine.

 

To a humble university student in a sea of rough lawns and Neo-Gothic labyrinths, writing is an escape. For a few hours, I can empty my mind of essays, research and lectures, and instead fill it with the idiosyncrasies of my characters, the vivid canvas of my setting, and the ever-forking track of my plot, however unfinished these elements may be. In writing, I find a purpose that surmounts external loci, the fly-by-night job market and resume padding. In writing, I find an opportunity to be a creator, a controller, an explorer—to invent universes of my fiat via channels in my brain I am not yet educated enough to comprehend.

Furthermore, in writing, I find a mirror—through my works, I see revealed aspects of my own comprehensive moral doctrine, my own anima, that other spheres in my life had either left clouded, limited or discarded. Thus, in writing, I find a medium through which I express myself and my goals. Unlike beauty, I can unabashedly and unquestioningly call myself a writer, and I feel comfortable in my conscious competence. Through my writing, I aim to educate and evoke others around me, and I will continue to seek opportunities to better my craft. Indeed, writing is so much more than putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard. To me, writing means a particular way of life—if I am not writing, I am not living.

—Terese Mason Pierre

 

 

The Ontario Writers' Conference Story Starters Contest

 

There's still time for you to enter the Ontario Writers' Conference November Story Starter Contest. Just head over to the entry page, use the posted image as inspiration to start your story, enter 100 words and you're in! Your entry can be prose, poetry, haiku...whatever grabs you. No entry fee. Details and entry here.

 

 

Book Giveaway!

 

Unknown

Today, I'm giving away TWO books!

 

The first is Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.

 

 

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The second is 99 Days by Katie Cotugno.

 

 

 

To enter to win one of the books, just post a comment discussing Terese's thoughts on what writing means to her and/or your thoughts on what writing means to you. There will be two (2) random commenters chosen to win!

 

Rules:

1. To enter, just leave a comment with your thoughts on what writing means to you. 

2. You must live in Toronto to win this contest. 

3. You must provide a valid e-mail address so you can be contacted if you win a prize, and you must be able to come to a TPL branch to pick up your prize (see privacy statement below for more information).

4. One entry per person per Contest - you can leave more than one comment, but only your first comment will count as a contest entry. 

5. Contest ends Thursday November 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm. 

6. Winner will be contacted on the following Friday.

Personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the Public Libraries Act, s.20 (a) and (d) and will be used to administer the Library's TPL Teens contest. Questions about the collection or management of personal information should be directed to library manager Jayne Delbeek-Eksteins- 416-396-8858.

 

Thinking of submitting your work to me for feedback? Contact info and details here.

 

Youth Hub Homework. My Curved Border

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