How to Run a Writers’ Circle

It’s a bit of a departure from my usual “Ooh Shiny!” swords and whatnot, but ultimately, I am a writer and I do writerly things.  One of those writerly things is providing support to my fellow creative people. For three years, I have run the Bonavista Writers’ Circle in Montreal: a group of writers of various skill levels and interests who come together to brainstorm, edit, critique each other’s work, and provide workshops for skill sharing.  We’ve all learned so much together and come through as stronger, more confident writers.

I’m not able to run the Circle anymore because my wife and I are moving to Finland for work. I’m saddened at having to leave behind this amazing group of people, but I will look back on our time together with pride and a smile. The Circle has taught me a lot, and I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned about running a group like this. Chances are, if there isn’t a Circle in your area, you’ll have to do what we did, and create your own.

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These Five Words Are Making Your Writing Weak – Cut Them


It’s tempting to “soften” our writing with words that weaken its impact. While it’s been said that writing is an act of baring one’s soul to the world and is thus inherently intimidating, we do ourselves no favours by being shy about it.

To that end, here are five words you can chop right now to strengthen your writing. Click to read more.

10 Misconceptions About Medieval England

A friend of mine stumbled on this gem and I have to say, as a fantasy writer, I totally slipped up on at least two of these. Looks like I had better buy The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century. More reading? Woe is me, what a terrible fate! Hehehe.

It seems a common thing to screw up on these ten details. Have a look-see! Perhaps you’re guilty too?


Ten Rules for Query Letters – By MAGGIE STIEFVATER

I stumbled across this post recently while browsing Maggie’s site and thought perhaps some of y’all who are interested in traditional publishing might like to take advantage of her advice.

I completely forgot to post about queries yesterday, after I promised. I realize this makes me a Bad Person and you have my permission to throw Virtual Tomatoes at me now.

Okay, that’s enough.

Here are my thoughts on query letters. Because it’s early and I’ve only had one cup of tea, we’re gonna go with numbers to organize things, because good holy pete, there is nothing like a numbered list to add order to a blog post. So.

1. People overthink queries. Okay, so they are the only thing that an agent or editor might ever see of your work. So they have to embody everything about your personality and your books personality in a single page. So you will get absolutely nowhere if your queries suck, no matter if you’ve written the Great American Novel. Still, people overthink them. And this is why. Because…


What to Study to Become a Writer

I stumbled upon this lovely article by Maggie Stiefvater. It is a common misconception that you have to go through a creative writing program of some sort in school in order to become an author. Well, this isn’t your typical profession and it likely won’t be reached in a typical fashion. But don’t take my word for it; she says it much more eloquently.

A Proper Education

Today, I’m going to answer a question I get asked a lot. Well, I’m going to combine a few variations of it into one blog post. This is the question(s):

1 – “Did you go to school for Creative Writing?”
2 – “Do you have to have a degree in writing to get published?”
3 – “Have you taken classes in writing?”
4 – “Will you be my mentor?”

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How to Write Fight Scenes

How to Write Fight Scenes

A gripping, movie-worthy fight scene is a joy to read but sometimes difficult to write. If you run into trouble when it’s time for your characters to throw down, I have some pointers that may help you get into the proper headspace and articulate what’s going on.

First thing’s first: Location.

Where does the fight take place? Familiarize yourself with the area. Even if you don’t go into painstaking detail in the actual scene, you—the writer—need to know this place inside out, including the area surrounding it.

Get some graph paper and sketch the layout of the location as best you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Treat it like you’re trying to describe a rough blueprint of your apartment to someone who’s never been there before. What is this space usually used for? Where is everything? Think about the place from a tactical perspective. Are there any features or objects that someone could take cover behind/under/inside? Is there anything that can be used as an improvised weapon? Are there features that present hazards? (Subway tracks, flights of stairs, a cliff edge…)



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How to Self Publish a Novel in Canada

I was recently asked the process one must go through to self-publish a novel as I did. Okay. Let me see if I can make an explanation as easy as possible. I shall be completely straightforward and honest so brace yourself! It’s better than getting nasty surprises later.

1. Get an ITIN. You’re going to need that in order to claim the Canadian-US tax treaty and stop them from withholding 30% of your profits every time you make a sale across the boarder. Do this FIRST because it takes a full year for it to kick in once it’s processed. Do not baulk at the fee. This is a business. If you invest nothing, you’ll get exactly that in return.
2. Get an ISBN. If you’re selling your book in more than one format, request more than one ISBN. I requested 3 because I’m selling my book as an .epub and .mobi (two different ebook formats, the latter being exclusive to Amazon), and as a paperback.

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