Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Write Place

Tonight I attended the launch of the Canadian Writers Society newspaper, The Write Place. Rosalie Avigdor, Founder and Publisher, of the quarterly newspaper welcomed writers and readers alike. She said that her vision started with the founding of The Canadian Writers Society (CWS) in 2004. The purpose of this newspaper, in addition to entertaining the reading public, is “to benefit fledgling writers, by publishing their work and giving them tips on how to improve their writing.”

In this issue there’s an interesting and inspiring article titled, The Art and Business of Mentoring, by author Steven Manners. Montreal author David Reich (who’s also a great story teller) shares his short story, The Almost Perfect Crime. Christina Manolescu, Founder of Invisible Cities Network, wrote a wonderful article on how to self-publish your book. These are only a few examples of Volume 1, Issue 1 of The Write Place.

They are now accepting submissions for their December issue:
Short stories: 500-2000 words
Postcard stories: 250-500 words
Poetry: 3-50 lines
Book Reviews: 500-525 words
Articles (by experts in the field): 500-1000 words
Letters to the Editor: 50-250 words
Advertisements: increments of 1/8 page (contact them for rates)

You may submit by:
e-mail: (Subject line: Submission)
fax: (514) 383-6683 (with a cover page)
snail mail: The Write Place, c/o 9770, boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec H3L 2N3

For more information visit:

This is a great opportunity to publish your work and/or to improve your writing. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, you’ll benefit the same. Enjoy this altruistic community-oriented newspaper and be part of it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Divine Guidance or Plain Brilliance?

I believe some people are born with a pen in their grip, you know, those whose writing is as easy as breathing. And, there are some that have to learn the process and hone this craft through extensive practice. I fall into the latter group. When I first started writing, I wanted to be brilliant. Why couldn’t I be like Woolf, Steinbeck, or Hemingway? Thank heavens for my supportive mentors who’ve encouraged me to continue writing even when I felt like quitting. They kept pushing me (and still do so) to improve my newly acquired skill. My childhood friend and my sister are my number one fans, and I’m grateful to them. They believe in me, in my writing, even when I doubt myself.

Lately I’ve experienced something really peculiar: I feel as if someone is whispering in my ear the right words. As I stop to search for a specific word, one that will make an impact in that sentence or paragraph, it pops in my head and travels to my fingers. I don’t know if it’s something visceral, divine, or pragmatic. I’d like to think it’s divine or spiritual. Imagine! Being surrounded by the spirit of the great Masters whispering the right words in your ear.

I wish I had the answer to that, but since I don’t, I’ll just keep honing my skill. In the end what matters is that you love what you do, hence creating brilliant stories.

Has writing come easy to you?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Type of Blogger Are You?

Blogging is fun but being a serious blogger demands a lot of time and energy. Have you experienced low readership? How about losing followers? Well, this may be due to a lot of factors. If you want to have a successful blog then you have to follow these five key blogging tips.

1. Return the favor.
If fellow bloggers read your posts and leave comments, why not do the same for them? Acknowledge their comments by replying directly on your post or via email. Then, visit their blogs, read their latest articles and leave a comment.

2. Be consistent.
If you post once a week, choose the day of the week that provides you some extra time to do so. Otherwise, let your readers know your posting schedule so they can visit you on that/those day(s). And when you take a hiatus, a sabbatical, or vacation let your readers know. They'll appreciate it and they will resume readership on the date announced.

3. Focus on the purpose of your blog.
Try not to post topics unrelated to the central idea of your blog (unless that's your purpose). Doing so will only confuse your readers (especially new followers who are not yet familiarized with your blog).

4. Be Brief.
Articles that are too long discourage readers. Remember blogging is not a job for some of them. Therefore, they only have a time frame dedicated to this activity.

5. Be respectful.
Avoid sarcasm, scathing comments, and egocentrism. Readers want to learn, have fun, and most importantly, connect with other fellow bloggers.

Can you think of other helpful tips? How serious are you about blogging?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Perfect Equation: Reading + Reading = Developing Your Own Style

You may be questioning the title of my latest post. Well, I got inspired to write about it because I am reading Ernesto Sabato’s The Tunnel, whose controlled and factual style, I find fascinating.

One of my mentors once said that writing cannot be taught, only learned. He further explained that a writer can only learn by reading and writing. Lecturing about style was not enough, he told us. Each writer develops his/her own writing style by reading a lot of books, he then added. You can learn from the Masters but you cannot duplicate their style.

Well, it turns out he was right. I’ve noticed (and my mentors, too) that my style has evolved since I started writing and continues to do so. I owe it all to the many books I’ve read and my mentors, of course. When I write, I fuse different styles and make them my own, always keeping in mind what works better for the story.

Do you think your writing style has changed over time? Whose style do you emulate?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It’s my character!

Writers usually get inspired by real people in order to create their characters. But how about finding inspiration in another author’s characters? Have you ever found inspiration in a literary character that you thought was either lovable or despicable?

Did you know that characters are protected by copyright? If a character has a certain physique, (or any marks such as very original tattoos, scars, etc.), a unique name and/or distinct personality, especially when the character is well-known such as Frodo in Lord of the Rings or Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, they belong to the copyright holder, and you can’t use them without permission. Character names can even become renowned to guarantee trademark protection.
This doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired by someone else’s work. Just make sure you add your own style and idiosyncrasies that will make these characters your own.

Which TV or book characters have served as your muse?