NaNoWriMo and the Library

crest-bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafbOnce again, we’re finishing up a NaNoWriMo program at the library in a few days. We have a great group of writers who have participated in many of our National Novel Writing Month programs, and this session was filled with a fantastic group as usual.

What have we been working on this month?

  • We have 11 participants who are either writing a new novel, working on a previous book, or plotting a new book for 2016.
  • Since we began this program, we’ve had 10 novels completed, from thrillers, to fantasy, to romantic comedies.
  • We are busy prepping for a fun creativity workshop in the new year that will help our writers—and anyone else who feels stifled in their creative zone—to work through the block and start creating again.
  • Due to popular demand, our Carleton Place Public Library writers are working on plans to start a writing blog to tell our community about what we do, and allow new members to check us out before coming to one of our meetings.
  • And our future plans include a community writing project that we hope will allow other library patrons to see exactly what we’re working on at the library!

If you’re interested in joining our writing group, you can send us a quick email to find out more (, drop by the library for more information on NaNoWriMo and how we participate at the library, or watch for one of our upcoming sessions in the new year, listed in our Winter Newsletter.

On a fun note, our writers finishing up books this month are going to be heading into the last four hours of the event with a fun write-in at the library…until midnight! We’ll have word sprints, prizes, and probably lots of coffee to keep us all going.

This is a great group of people at all experience levels and writing many different things. If you need some support to help you follow through with your writing plans, this might be the group for you. If you’re looking for some detailed criticism, we can also probably help you with that, too, although we’re not a critique group per se. Regardless, we’d love to have you at one of our meetings if you’re able to attend.

See you writing at the library!


How to Tell a Story

8631214f-e8d3-40db-937d-c846b748b766Recently, at one of our NaNoWriMo group meetings, we talked about how to put together a story, and the art of the first line. While I spend a great deal of time with my young writers talking about elements of a story, and working specifically on first lines, I’ve never really done this with the adults.

But I came across this fabulous new book called, HOW TO TELL A STORY, by Daniel Nayeri, which is part book, part game…and now I want to use it everywhere! This book is used as a resource to allow children to learn how to construct a story using 20 interactive colour-coded blocks to help them along. Used in big groups or small, it’s a great way to get children of all ages to think about how stories work, and why they won’t work. I’m pretty sure our adults would have fun with this as an exercise as well.

You can see more about this interesting new teachable here:

Doesn’t this sound fun? I can’t wait to see what everyone writes!

Do You Have a Plan?

PLANI have written this blog since 2007. It’s a wonderful way for us to share information about our library, but also to connect our readers with fun or informative posts about all things bookish. (And not so bookish….we’ve had a lot of posts about Star Wars, apparently!)

I also have a personal blog, and write for another group blog, so you could say that blogging takes up a lot of my time. (Although I must admit, the last post in my personal blog was from—er, early October.)

Recently, we’ve had discussions with our adult writing group at the library about starting a blog, and what types of information we’d like to get out there to the public about writing at the Carleton Place Public Library. It’s in the beginning stages, really, without much of a plan yet, but I know that having a direction, and getting everyone on board with the same goals is going to make things a lot easier in the long run. Which made me very happy to see this informative post on By Regina regarding having a blog business plan.

A lot of the Regina’s plan involves making money, which is not the intention of our blog at all, but most of the advice is really, really good. And if you’re considering ways to make your personal blog even better, you could do a lot of good by trying to implement a few of the ideas.

My favourites?

  • Having a blog style guide to help you keep the look of your blog consistent and polished.
  • Tracking your monthly stats/analytics to see where you are generating traffic, and where things need to be improved. Stats can really tell you a lot about your content, and how you might manage slow spots.
  • Social promotion. We don’t do enough of this at the library, but promoting blog posts on other social media sites in a timely way, will bring in different readers.
  • Have a posting schedule.

There are plenty of great ideas here, but you can take what you like and mix and match. Also, if you followed a previous post about intentional ignorance, this might be too exhausting to work through. Even if you take one thing from this, it will improve your blogging greatly. Then….file it away and forget about it until you need it again.

Can James Patterson Teach?

In one of our writers’ meetings at the library recently, one of the members told us about something they’d seen pop up in their Facebook feed…a writing course taught by James Patterson. They had no other details, but it sounded intriguing. After all, James Patterson puts out about a million books a month (yes, I’m exaggerating, but only slightly), and we can assume he’s doing quite well by it, so a writing course might be something of value.

12275830396489850044So, when I came across this article by an author, Joyce Maynard, who took the course, I was interested to see what she thought. Ms. Maynard explains that she has written 15 novels over the course of her writing career, all of which have sold modestly, and while she earns her living through writing, she is not earning by James Patterson standards. She was curious as to what Mr. Patterson might teach her–clearly admitting that he must know something she doesn’t about the business of writing—and forked over the $90 for the 22 sessions in the James Patterson MasterClass.

The classes are well organized on a special website, and students can work at their own pace, accessing any of the lessons in any order they prefer. Maynard got right to it, deciding she’d spent enough of her life trying to write a best-seller, and worked through the lessons in about three hours, avoiding the exercises for the most part. Going in, she was slightly skeptical, but upon her “graduation”, she held a new respect for Mr. Patterson. While most of the topics were not new to her, she found that Jim, as she liked to refer to him now, talked most importantly about storytelling, and the art of creating stories that will grab the readers and not let go.

His most valuable piece of advice, according to Ms. Maynard? “Don’t set out to write a good thriller. Set out to write a No.1 thriller.”

Good advice. I think I’ll bring this course back up to the writing group later this month. It might benefit some of the more seasoned writers and give them something new to work toward. While Maynard claims Patterson’s course is not without cliche, or geared toward those who want to write poetic, epic stories, she believes every writer could learn something from this best-selling author.

Maybe there’s a lesson in there for all of us. The people who are doing the job and doing it well enough to earn their living, must have the right formula, whether you “admire” that person’s skill or not. Can you learn from it?


Writing at the Library

NOVELYes, we’re going to write books again in November at the library! It’s a long, difficult process, so we’re getting ready starting with a workshop on Sept., 29th from 6-7pm to find out how.

We have an active adult writing group that has been meeting, learning, and challenging themselves for over a year now, and we’d love to have new members. Plan on coming to the meeting to see how to prepare for writing your first novel (or your 5th), and get to know some fantastic local writers who are working at their craft, just like you!

No registration required. We’ll see you at the meeting!

Fall is here…almost!

At the Carleton Place Public Library, we’re getting ready for an exciting fall full of programs for children, teens and adults. This year, with the addition of our new Adult Program Co-Ordinator Caroline, we have TONS of great new events and options for adults, too. Don’t forget the library when planning your fall schedule.

You can download a copy of our schedule, or pick up your own version at the library (it has a lot more information on it). But in the meantime, here is a quick rundown of upcoming programs:

CHILDREN: Registration required unless stated


Storytime –  Starting Sept. 16th (9:30am or 10:15am, Wednesday mornings, ages 2-5)

Babytime — Starting Sept., 17th (9:30am, Thursday mornings, ages 0 – 12 months)

Une Heure de Conte en Francais — Starting Sept., 18th (10:30am, Fridays…no registration, all ages)

Lego Drop In Days — PD Day/PA Day drop in from 2-4pm, no registration

Stuffed Animal Sleepover — Friday, Oct., 23rd…for Ontario Library Week

Halloween Craft Night — Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6-7pm, ages 6-11

Christmas Craft Night — Tuesday, Dec., 1st, 6-7pm, ages 6-11

We’ll also be running Forest of Reading starting in December, the Elf on the Library Shelf, and a few other fun surprises during Ontario Library Week, October 18-23/15. You can also see our library catalog for more details on these programs.

TEEN & ADULT PROGRAMS: Registration required unless otherwise stated

20150822_144306Technology Training— For teens or adults. One on one sessions, any devices, any programs, Thursdays by appointment

Nerd Herd Teen Book Club — Last Wednesday of each month, 4-5:30pm, ages 12+ (drop in to pick up a book list)

Bridging the Generation Gap Book Club —Second Tuesday of each month, 6-7:30pm, ages 11+/adult. Begins November 10th!

20150822_144313Board Games Night — Begins Sept., 22 — alternating Tuesdays, all ages drop in

NaNoWriMo— National Novel Writing Month- Nov. 1-30, all ages. Write a book with us in November! (Come to the NaNoWriMo Kick Off Party on Thursday, Oct., 29 6-7pm for more information)

Colour Yourself Calm — Begins Sept. 23,  Every 4th Wednesday, 6:30pm, adults only, Drop in!

Adult Book Club – Begins Sept. 14th, Second Monday of each month, 6:30-8:30pm (Reading list available here)

“Write a Novel in November” Workshop, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 6-7pm, no registration

Library Cookie Exchange – Thursday, Dec. 17th, 7pm. Register by Dec. 14th.

We’re also excited to offer a fantastic community program called “One Book, One Community” this fall. Join us on Monday, Sept. 14th at 6:30pm to learn about the book everyone in Lanark County will be reading this fall, FLEE, FLY, FLOWN by Canadian author Janet Hepburn.

Then, on Wednesday, Sept., 16th from 2-3pm, we’ll have local museum curator Jennifer Irwin stop by to discuss “Connections to the Past”, and key items in her collection at the museum.

Finally, on Friday, Oct. 2, from 2-5pm, FLEE, FLY, FLOWN author Janet Hepburn will make a special visit to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum to talk about her book, and take questions: “In Conversation: Janet Hepburn”.

Plus, we’ll also have exciting things happening during Ontario Public Library Week, Oct. 18-24! Drop in to see what we’re doing!

We’ll let you know more about some of these programs as time goes on, but get your calendars out…it’s going to be a great fall!