Sign up for Camp!

We’re getting ready to do it again…welcome aspiring writers to the library to participate in a month-long challenge to write a book in one month. April is all about Camp NaNoWriMo here, and we’re gearing up for some fun!

camp2We started doing this about one year ago, and it’s been a great year. Back then, we weren’t sure if anyone would show up, or how they would do, but we’ve had a dedicated writing group ever since. We meet up about once a month and discuss new projects, take part in challenges and plan for upcoming events.

Last year, during the first Camp NaNo attempt, we had about ten people of all ages take part. They wrote like crazy for the month of April….30 days….and several met the goal of 50,000 words, which is the length of a small book. Yay! After that, we worked on revision, talked about voice, and discussed plot, all in an attempt to further our writing chops. It’s been amazing to see these writers grow.

During the summer, many of them took part in a second run, trying their hand at a new book or revising the one they finished in April. We also gathered together a summer of young writers, and wrote many, many, many creative things. It was fantastic!

In November, a few of the writers took part in the more official National Novel Writing Month, and wrote a new book. Our youngest participant was a teen who won NaNo, and finished her second novel. How amazing, right?

Now, we’re doing it all again. We’d love to get new writers….anyone interested in giving it a try. You’ll have the rest of March to prepare an idea, work out some plot points or create some characters, and then you can join us on Tuesday, March 31st for the Camp NaNoWriMo Kick-Off Party at the library, from 6-7pm.  We’ll learn the rules, make some promises, but mostly….we’ll gear up for a month of fun.

If you’ve never written a book, but have always wanted to try, why not join us? You don’t have to be good at it, you just have to try. There are no rules, and you don’t have to actually write on the library premises…..write wherever you like…at home, in a coffee shop, on the bus. But join us for the meetings, and sign up for the daily inspirational emails. We’d love to have you join!

If you’d like a bit more information, drop by the library, or give us a call at 257-2702. We’re writing in APRIL!


Plot Your Novel!


We’re excited to offer a free writing workshop this fall at the Carleton Place Public Library called, “Plot Your Novel!”.  Whether this is the first book you’ve ever tried to write, or whether you’re a seasoned pro, this will help you get on track and stay on track so that you can finish that masterpiece!

It’s been so much fun getting to know our local writing community since we began offering programs in early April, and many of you have requested this type of workshop to help lead up to National Novel Writing Month in November. Even if you’re a “pantser”, this workshop will give you some tips to organize your writing and develop your ideas before you even open up that word document.  We’ll cover things like:

  • What is plotting?
  • Pacing your novel
  • Working through writer’s block

And hopefully, this will lead us into another fun workshop in October dealing with the development of characters.  We’re really excited about our writers! Call us today to register! (This is for adults only. Ask us about our teen writing program!)

Would You Like Something to Read With That?

Have you ever found yourself in a fast food restaurant with no one to talk to and nothing to read? Author Jonathan Safran Foer found himself in just such a position while eating at Chipotle one day. He wondered why there weren’t interesting things to read on the cups or bags, and decided to approach the company about his great idea.  And they loved it! 


Starting this week, those visiting the US food chain will begin to see the fabulous cups and be able to read a short essay from a famous author, screenwriter, actor or comedian. Participants include Toni Morrison, Malcolm Gladwell and Judd Apatow. If you’d like to read more about the project and a couple of the essays, drop by this great Vanity Fair article. We can only hope more restaurants will pick up on this unused space to enrich our lives while we eat.


On Trend

I was putting on a matte bright pink lipstick the other day, which is perfectly on trend for this fashion season, when I thought about book trends. While some of us switch out our wardrobes, hairstyles and makeup at the dawn of each new season, we often stick to what we know and love when it comes to books.  But there are trends out there…both reading trends and writing trends….and the question is, should you read to trend?


Every few years, the book world is blasted by a “brand new” trend, whether it is vampires or zombies, space ships or chick-lit, and everyone clamors to read. We see this quite a bit at the library. A book becomes a best-seller, and suddenly, not only does everyone want to read it…there are dozens of copycat books just waiting to replace it on the shelves. Authors are cautioned not to “write to trend”. It takes so long for a book to hit the shelves from inception to production that by the time a writer finishes a book written on a hot topic, the trend might be cooling.  It would be a big waste of time.

But how about reading on trend? Right now, we’re seeing lots of different trends for different readers.  In the juvenile world, fantasy has given way to the dystopian worlds that teens have been gorging on for the last few years.  And funny books are the be all and end all right now, especially funny books for boys! It seemed like no one was writing books for boys in the 8 – 12 year old range, and now that’s one of the dominating forces on the lists we order from.

In the young adult area, teens are starting to read more sci-fi and contemporary fiction. While thrillers and series are still in high demand, we’ll probably see re-runs through this age group as younger readers start to come up and want to read Hunger Games and many of the other dystopian series that were so popular for so long. Even the adults are starting to drift out of this section now.  Thank goodness there is something emerging called New Adult! (A transition from young adult books into adult fiction where the main characters are either in college/university or just starting out in the world. It’ll be interesting to see how popular this becomes.)

A few years back, the adult shelves were stacked with chick-lit….funny or irreverent fiction where the main character has a witty or sarcastic voice and gets into all kinds of wacky trouble. These days, we rarely see these types of books even cross the desk. While mysteries, thrillers and literary fiction are as popular as ever, we’re seeing more people reading historical fiction, probably due to the popularity of programs like Downton Abbey.

And I must say, our non-fiction bins are full of biographies by aging rock stars.  Not sure why.

So, if you don’t read the trends, why not?  And if you do, like changing your wardrobe…does it make your reading life more interesting?  I might try it!

Not exactly the best cover letter idea

Have you ever applied for a job?  Most of us have, but would we dare send out a cover letter like this one? (Probably not, but I’m sure if he got the job, it was because of this great letter, and not in spite of it.)

Literary icon Hunter S. Thompson was a writer for a generation of people who felt abused by the system and wanted a better way.  This week, the Ottawa Citizen published a cover letter written by Thompson and sent to the editor of the Vancouver Sun newspaper in 1958.  He was applying for a job with the paper and wrote it in his quintessential style.


October 1, 1958 57 Perry Street New York City


I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I’d also like to offer my services.

Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley.

By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.

I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)

Nothing beats having good references.

You can read the full letter here on the Ottawa Citizen website. This letter is among thousands that have been published in a collection called The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-1967.

Who earned the most?

Ever thought of wiring that great novel and watching it sail to the top of the bestsellers list?  Then you could retire in style!  Just for inspiration, here is the Forbes List of the Top 10 author earnings from last year. Click on their names and you’ll pop to each author’s website.

#1.  James Patterson – $70 Million

You can read a few pages from his newest thriller, The Postcard Killers, right on his website.

#2.  Stephenie Meyer – $40 Million

For fans of her vampire series, she mentions that Breaking Dawn has just been released in paperback!

#3.  Stephen King – $34 Million

In my “loved it but can’t seem to finish it” pile, Under The Dome is his newest tome.  While you’re at the sight, check out his “King’s Empire”  photo challenge! Take a picture of a local business or landmark that features anything “King-esque” and submit it to his site for posting.  This looks like fun!

#4.  Danielle Steel – $32 Million

She has a Facebook page, so if you’re a fan, become a friend and watch for updates and info from Danielle Steel herself. (Or at least, her publicity agent).

#5.  Ken Follett – $20 Million

If you’re interested in his take on writing, go to the Masterclass page on his website.  He offers great tips for would-be writers.

#6. Dean Koontz – $18 Million

Koontz is one of the newest authors to venture into the world of children’s books, with his picture book entitled Trixie & Jinx.

#7. Janet Evanovich – $16 Million

You can also read excerpts from her latest books and see pictures of the places that inspire her novel settings.

#8. John Grisham – $15 Million

Grisham is another best-selling thriller writer who also has ventured into Young Adult and Children’s literature, his latest being Theodore Boone : Kid Lawyer.

#9. Nicholas Sparks – $14 Million

Many of Sparks’ novels have been made into box office smashes, so if you’re not sure if you’d like to invest a few days in one of his books, stop by your video store and rent one of his movies.  His website also boasts an interesting map where you can see the places all of his books have been published.

# 10.  J. K. Rowling – $10 Million

Her website is very interactive and VERY interesting!  Look around the site for secret Harry Potter items and watch them collect in your special notebook. Fun!

New Canadian Library

Back in 1958, Canadian publishers McClelland & Stewart started the first company to produce Canadian books in paperback series form.  It is now known affectionately as the Canadian Company and has just relaunched the New Canadian Library –  and over 100 titles by some of Canada’s premiere authors in fresh new paperback versions.

And just what do the books say about us as a people?  I came across a fun website called Roughing It In the Books that talks about what the author of the site thinks about the first ten books in the series.  According to her, it seems we are obsessed with the weather, nature, wars and the USA.  If the people who work here at the library are any indication, the weather thing is right on the money.  What common links would we find if we read through typical American or British classics?  Would we find similar obsessions or are they geographically based?  What do you think?