Young Writers

This fall, we ran another of our popular Young Writers programs. For four weeks, young authors from our community attended sessions where we learned all about writing short stories. While many of our attendees had written longer stories, the idea of a complete story only a page or so long, was a little daunting. But they settled in and wrote.

We covered the basics of what made a good story (beginning, middle, end, more than one character, and a plot), and they went home with a plan to write a story about something that had really happened to them, but to change it so that it happened to someone else.

They wrote stories about shrinking girls, a crazy cat, a less than reputable doctor, a secret map, Halloween costumes gone wrong, and much more. And we laughed and cheered as each writer read out their first draft. There was plenty of great work to go on!

Over the next few weeks, they learned about revision and making their stories better. We worked on using exciting vocabulary, writing an opening that makes people want to read more, and finishing a story. It was hard work, and they came back with lots of changes, but the end result was great.

This week, we have all of the stories on display at the library for Ontario Public Library Week. Drop in to read each one, or read them here. We have such talent in our community!

Karen’s Funny Day 

The Boxy Halloween

Manhunt Mayhem

18″ Tall World

Domestic Pirates

Toby, the Karate Two Year Old

The Hilly Experience

Crazy Cat

The Good Problem

#OPLW

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Manipulative Purchases?

A just released YA debut novel by Lani Sarem called HANDBOOK FOR MORTALS has thrown up some red flags around the publishing world and bestseller lists. Until its release on August 15, 2017, there hadn’t been much press related to the book or the author. It’s the first book published by GeekNation, and it hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list in the first week of sales.  And while reviews on Goodreads, Twitter followers, and Facebook likes reached a fever, it started to be a little suspicious when each social media site had the same number of followers…all people without previous book reviews or posts.

So, how exactly does an unknown author, published by an unknown publisher, with very little prior advertising, rise to the top spot on the NYT list overnight? No one could quite comprehend it…until they started doing some background checks.

It seems that there were many large pre-orders and first week sales placed for the book at companies like Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. But none of the orders were large enough to raise any suspicions from the booksellers. In fact, it only made them consider ordering more copies for their stores in order to cover the possible demand for the book. Once the book reached number one, however, the New York Times had to stop and look into allegations that something was up.

As it turns out, it was something called “manipulative purchasing”. Geek Nation was behind the mass-purchasing, the reviews, and the social media frenzy. They knew just how many books to order so as not to arouse too much suspicion, and claimed they were only trying to drum up excitement for a book that was actually written as a result of a film already in development, not the other way around. While it is normal for an author to purchase large orders of their own book in preparation for an upcoming book tour or conference, Sarem’s claim that she needed the books for a ComicCon event seemed slightly defensive.

The New York Times eventually pulled the book from its Bestseller list, saying it “did not meet their criterion for inclusion”. After the somewhat devious promotion, the book actually increased in sales, which may eventually make it eligible once again for ranking on the list, but now with a slightly tarnished cap.

Would the book have reached such success on its own? We’ll never know, and it’s sad that the author didn’t really get the chance to try. Here is a summary of the book:

Zade Holder has always been a free-spirited young woman, from a long dynasty of tarot-card readers, fortunetellers, and practitioners of magick. Growing up in a small town and never quite fitting in, Zade is determined to forge her own path. She leaves her home in Tennessee to break free from her overprotective mother Dela, the local resident spellcaster and fortuneteller. Zade travels to Las Vegas and uses supernatural powers to become part of a premiere magic show led by the infamous magician Charles Spellman. Zade fits right in with his troupe of artists and misfits. After all, when everyone is slightly eccentric, appearing “normal” is much less important. Behind the scenes of this multimillion-dollar production, Zade finds herself caught in a love triangle with Mac, the show’s good-looking but rough-around-the-edges technical director and Jackson, the tall, dark, handsome and charming bandleader.

Hopefully fans of YA fantasy will draw their own conclusions.

Hey, Young Writers!

If you have a young writer at home aged 7-11, we’re running a series of four writing workshops this fall. We’ll discuss what makes a good story, how to make a story better, and work on fun aspects of writing overall.

This workshops requires registration, and the participants are expected to attend all four, from beginning to end. (Sorry, once we start, we can’t add participants.) We’re meeting Tuesdays from 6-7pm, September 12 – October 3rd. At the end of the series, we’ll be posting the stories on our writing blog, and in the library! It’s going to be exciting!

Voice Choice Workshop

The last in our spring writing series for 2017 will be VOICE CHOICE, on Tuesday, May 16th from 6-7pm at the Carleton Place Public Library. We welcome writers from past workshops, and anyone who might be interested in finding out how to find your own writing style.

We’ll cover a broad range of ideas revolving around writing style and choices that you make. Even if you haven’t written much before, but are interested in starting, this workshop will help you discover exactly how to get started.

Registration is open now, so please call 257-2702 for more information, or to sign up. It’s going to be an interesting session.

Creating Great Characters

2We still have a few spaces available tonight in our writing workshop on “Creating Great Characters”. This is the last in our winter series, but we’ll be presenting several more as the months go on.

Give us a call at 257-2702 to put your name on our list. We hope to see you tonight at the library!

Creating Great Characters

2This is the second in our Winter Writing Series, and is for people who are interested in making more out of the characters they’re writing.

Join us on Tuesday, February 21 from 6-7pm for an interesting workshop on how to write great characters into your books or stories. Adults only, please. Registration is a must, so call us at 257-2702, or drop by the library for more information.

Prize for Unpublished Works

tidewater-banner-newIt’s difficult for authors to break into publishing, and while many now turn to self-publishing, the tasks involved can be daunting and without reward. But there is a new competition for unpublished manuscripts by Canadian authors that offers a prize of book cover design, editing and layout assistance, as well as a debut at the Whistler Writer’s Festival in the fall of 2017. Could there be a better prize?

The WIBA Manuscript Competition began only recently, offered originally to self-published books in Canada. But the organizers said that many of the entries, while showing great merit, needed a lot of work. They decided that an earlier approach would allow the best books to really shine, and give them a chance to grow once in bookstores.

There is just over one month left to submit an entry to the competition, and the rules and requirements can be found right here.  If you have a finished book, you can submit the first 5000 words and a full synopsis (up to 500 words), to the competition for adjudication. What a great opportunity!