Creative Writing with Carol Bruneau: Week Eight
When someone writes with the hopes of one day being published, s/he is writing with the intent to communicate to another person or a community of people. Carol Bruneau explains that publishing is a part of this process.
If you’re interested in publishing your work Bruneau says you have to start somewhere. She explains that short stories are a good way to get your writing out into the world without having to make a huge commitment to a singular project. They also allow you to practice and develop your writing so that you can tackle something more substantial in the future (if that is what you hope to do). She recommends you look for literary journals in your region or country to which you can submit your work. When writing with the intent to publish, Bruneau suggests you keep in mind that “publishers look at books as products and at authors as product makers.” This isn’t to say you should write to cater to what’s popular, but to look for holes or markets that have yet to be filled. For example, if you’re submitting a novel, be sure to write a query letter that explains what your work is about, what you are trying to do with your writing, and why it is different from whatever else is out there. Also, keep in mind that publishers are becoming more and more competitive because the current economic climate has made book publishing a risky business (which is one reason why self-publishing is on the rise).
ON LITERARY AGENTS:
Hiring an agent has advantages and disadvantages, Bruneau explains. The main advantage to having an agent is that agents take care of the business end of writing and publishing, which will save you a lot of work. The main disadvantage, however, is that you have legal obligations to your agent, which means you have less freedom and fewer choices.
ON DEALING WITH REJECTION:
Bruneau says that rejections will happen, but if you’re lucky you’ll get feedback. She advises writers to treat a rejection like a “hot potato”: When you get a story back, turn around and send it back out there to another publisher. However, the most important thing, she says, is to “develop confidence in your own writing and what’s important to you and you will eventually find a reader.” I hope you found these blog posts about Carol Bruneau’s creative writing workshop helpful (please see the list below for links to each of Bruneau’s eight classes); however, Bruneau’s creative writing workshop was much more comprehensive and informative than I can possibly recount, and her exercises allowed me to do more than just think about my current project — they got me actually writing it. I highly recommend to anyone looking to improve and develop his or her writing skills to take a creative writing class from an established, published author. If you’re in the Halifax, Nova Scotia area (like me), check out the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Workshop page for upcoming classes. The NSCAD University School of Extended Studies has also started offering some writing classes, and of course you can find creative writing classes for audit or credit at your local university. Joining a writing group is also a great way to practice your writing and learn from other writers. If you know of any other institutions or organizations that offer creative writing classes in the Halifax region or online, or if you are part of a local writing group and are looking for additional members, please feel free to leave a comment.
WFNS CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP WITH CAROL BRUNEAU
For more information about Carol Bruneau and her works, please visit her website at carolbruneau.com.