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By Carol Bruneau‘s eighth WFNS creative writing workshop, each student had a nice chunk of writing completed, so Bruneau dedicated her final class to publishing and making submissions.

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.

ON PUBLISHING:

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

Class 1 – Creative writing tips: Getting started

Class 2 – Creative writing tips: Creating characters

Class 3 – Creative writing tips: Developing dialogue & narrative voice

Class 4 – Creative writing tips: Creating dynamic settings and atmosphere

Class 5 – Creative writing tips: Developing a storyline – Plot

Class 6 – Creative writing tips: The architecture of fiction

Class 7 – Creative writing tips: Re-envisioning & revising your story

Class 8 – Creative writing tips: Publishing

For more information about Carol Bruneau and her works, please visit her website at carolbruneau.com.

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Inside Carbonstok on Barrington StreetToday I went to Carbonstok to pick up my remaining letterpress cards and my last consignment paycheck: Carbonstok on Barrington Street is closing its doors. The mood in the store was a little somber (or perhaps it was just me) and the shelves already looked a bit bare as shoppers picked up clearance items for 50% off. Coming just off the heals of Nova Scotian Crystal‘s announcement that it will be closing next month, I’m not surprised that Carbonstok is the next casualty of our economic recession and the trend to buy goods at big box stores and to shop online.

I’ve loved Carbonstok ever since I discovered the store when I attended a book launch that was being held there. I was delighted and surprised by the unique items they had for sale, and it became a place I frequented when looking for presents or unique items and decor. I furthermore loved that Carbonstok made an effort to stock locally made-items and products that were created with minimal environmental impact. We need more stores like Carbonstok — not less — and I hope that one day Halifax will see a Carbonstok 2.0.

As I said my goodbyes to the manager, Catherine, one of the friendliest people I think I’ve ever met, and left Carbonstok with my remaining letterpress stock, an “I Love Local Halifax” tote bag, and a few extra goodies I’ve been meaning to buy, I felt grateful that I got to (in a very small way) be a part of such a great store and community. I want to thank the owner, Gordon Stevens, for taking a chance on my letterpress cards and selling them in his awesome and unique retail space. He was the first person to make me realize that my love of letterpress could be more than just a hobby. I also want to thank Catherine for her help and support, and her ever-present smile when I walked through the door. I never thought people would be interested in buying my cards, but Gordon and Catherine proved me wrong and gave me the confidence I needed to get my work out there. It was great doing business with you both and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

I still have some letterpress cards available for sale at Inkwell Boutique in Halifax and at Dots & Loops in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and you can also find them in my Etsy shop but, as always, I encourage everyone to support their community and buy local.

I Love Local Halifax tote bag

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Last fall (yes, I’m a little behind in my blog posts) Mount Saint Vincent University held its annual “Celebrating Writing” week, which is a campus-wide initiative that promotes reading and writing. As part of the celebration, MSVU held writing workshops and hosted guest speakers with authors and industry professionals to talk about all things writing and books. Andrew Steeves, co-publisher at Gaspereau Press in Kentville, Nova Scotia, was one such guest speaker, and unfortunately the only speaker I could attend that week due to my work schedule. I specifically booked the time off to go see Steeves speak because when one of the best bookmakers in North America talks about books, you make the effort to listen. It’s no secret that I have a nerd crush on Steeves because of the beautiful work he does at Gaspereau Press; each book that Gaspereau prints is a work of art beyond the words on the page, and I envy his knowledge, skill, and technique.

Steeves began his talk by relating how he often gets calls from reporters asking him to comment on the death of the book. He knows what kind of answer they are looking for, but he disagrees with the notion that the book is dying. “Books are tools,” he says. He asks people to think about the “mark a book makes on the world, on the one who wields it.” Steeves says he’s “accustomed to talk about a book like water: it’s just there”; it will never stop existing.

But Steeves also thinks that if one is to talk about the proposed death of the book, one must first talk about the history of the book. Before the invention of what we know as “the book,” a scribe might write a single manuscript, and the market for that manuscript was one person. The invention of the book press, on the other hand, allowed text to be replicated quickly so that it was available to more than just one person. The problem with replication, however, is that there needs to be a market for multiple copies of the same thing. He explains that accurately judging the market is where a lot of book publishers fail. “Even Gutenberg,” Steeves said, “failed financially because he didn’t think of the market when printing hundreds of books. So books have always had a precarious relationship with the financial market.” But, as Steeves passed around a book from 1736, he reiterated, “books are tools that can survive.”

Andrew Steeves Bookbinding Talk - Book from 1736Andrew Steeves Bookbinding Talk - Book from 1736Andrew Steeves Bookbinding Talk - Book from 1736Andrew Steeves Bookbinding Talk - Book from 1736Despite being a little worn and rough around the edges, a book that has seen almost three centuries (like the one above) can still do the job it was intended to do at its creation. And unlike electronic books read on the computer or an eReader that will one day stop working, physical books have their own history — a history that includes inscriptions, annotations, fingerprints, bent corners, torn pages, and the smell and texture of time and space. Books can therefore tell people more than just the story written inside of them. How a book is bound can tell one about the publisher. For example, Steeves explained that if the pages of a book don’t follow the paper grain, this speaks of poor workmanship or the carelessness that may come from budgeting constraints. Older, hand-printed books (meaning letterpressed books made with moveable metal or wood type) can also tell a person the typeface to which a print shop had access, and whether or not a publisher and/or print shop was paying attention to trends and techniques coming out of London and New York.

As Steeves continued to talk about bookmaking, he passed around some well-made and some poorly-made books, explaining the differences between them. Of course, at the time I didn’t think to take any pictures of poorly-made books — just the books I thought were beautiful — but the poorly-made books were often bound against the paper grain, which made the paper chunky and group together as they were flipped open. Steeves even showed us a book that was bound upside down to the cover. But the well-made, hand-bound books Steeves passed around were more than just beautifully printed and bound — they were works of art.

Hand-bound books from Andrew Steeve's personal collectionHand-bound books from Andrew Steeve's personal collection

Hand-bound books from Andrew Steeve's personal collectionWith each beautifully-made book that Steeves passed around, my envy at his collection soared higher and higher. I especially fell in love with this rare, hand-made Jan Zwicky book titled 21 Small Songs.

21 Small Songs by Jan Zwicky21 Small Songs by Jan Zwicky

21 Small Songs by Jan Zwicky21 Small Songs by Jan ZwickyThis Barbarian Press edition of Zwicky’s 21 Small Songs was, of course, a limited edition that is now out of print. Serious book collectors can still find a copy for sale online, but it will cost close to six hundred dollars USD for the honour of placing it on your bookshelf. Yikes!

I’m glad I took the time off of work to hear Steeves speak about books, and the importance of making them well. Listening to him speak about books, with love and passion in his voice, has increased my own love and appreciation of books and they ways in which they are made, so I’m currently taking a bookbinding course through NSCAD’s School of Extended Studies. Although I’ve tried my hand at bookbinding before, Andrew Steeves’ book collection gave me the desire to improve my bookmaking skills so that I can not only make functional books, but also beautiful art.

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The Letterpress Gang is one again getting ready for the holiday season. Members are printing beautiful cards and baking yummy treats. If you’re in Halifax, Nova Scotia, please join us once again for the annual Letterpress Holiday Bazaar this coming Saturday, November 24th, between 12-5 p.m. at the Dawson Printshop, which is located at 1895 Granville Street.

The following weekend, on December 1st and 2nd, we will also be at the Halifax Crafters’ Winter Market between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Olympic Centre on the corner of Cunard and Hunter Streets.

Please come visit us at either (or both) of these events and see what we’ve been up to. We have greeting cards, posters, and more. Yummy treats may also be available (if we don’t eat them all first!).

Letterpress Gang 2012 Holiday Events

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The air is crisp, the colours are beautiful, and snow has already fallen across much of Canada. This means that the holiday season is just around the corner. Christmas decorations are appearing in stores and retail sales have started to pick up. I have yet to hear Christmas music, but I know it’s coming.

Merry Christmas Letterpress Card.

Merry Christmas Letterpress Card. Available at Inkwell Boutique.

Although I refuse to decorate my home or listen to Christmas music until some time after Remembrance Day, I’ve already been getting into the Christmas spirit by printing Christmas, general holiday, and Chanukah / Hanukkah cards.

Christmas is one of my favourite holidays. I love the decorations, the food, the festivities. I love spending time with family and friends. And I love receiving and giving cards (and, of course, the occasional gift too!). Although most of our daily communication is now done by email, instant messaging, and text messaging, I am delighted when I receive a card in the mail with a handwritten message inside. Each card I receive is displayed in my home and becomes part of my decorations. I also keep the ones with personal messages, just as I’ve kept handwritten letters from old pen pals. So, of course, I thoroughly enjoyed printing my own letterpress Christmas and holiday cards this year, and I can’t wait to send them out in the mail to faraway family and friends in the hopes of delighting the receiver when she or he opens up the mailbox.

I’m also excited to get my Christmas and holiday cards out into the world for those who also enjoy giving cards to friends and family. Some of my Christmas and holiday cards are available at Carbonstok, but I’m also happy to announce that you can now find a selection of my cards at Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique and Letterpress Studio. Inkwell is a beautiful boutique with a lovely and unique selection of letterpress prints and other handmade goods from right here in Halifax and around the world. I’m delighted to be working with them.

A selection of my letterpress cards are also available at Dots & Loops in Lunenburg and on my Etsy store. I hope you enjoy!

Girl Admires Christmas Tree Letterpress Card

Girl Admires Christmas Tree Letterpress Card. Available at Inkwell Boutique.

Merry [BLEEP] Christmas Letterpress Card

Merry [BLEEP] Christmas Letterpress Card. Available at Carbonstok.

May the lights of Chanukah... Letterpress Card

May the lights of Chanukah… Letterpress Card. Available at Inkwell Boutique.

O Christmas Tree Letterpress Card

O Christmas Tree Letterpress Card. Available at Carbonstok.

Holiday Greetings Letterpress Card

Holiday Greetings Letterpress Card. Available at Carbonstok.

Happy Hanukkah Letterpress Card

Happy Hanukkah Letterpress Card. Available at Carbonstok.

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This year’s Nocturne Halifax event came and went with a cold northern wind, but that didn’t stop hundreds of Haligonians from flocking to the downtown core of Halifax to experience art at night.

Letterpress prints for sale at the Dawson Printshop for Nocturne Halifax 2012.

Letterpress prints for sale at the Dawson Printshop for Nocturne Halifax 2012.

I unfortunately haven’t been able to participate much with the Letterpress Gang over the last few months due to work and other commitments, so I decided to forgo checking out some of the other Nocturne events and volunteered to spend my evening working the press at the Dawson Printshop. (Although, I did make a quick detour first to check out Inkwell Boutique‘s letterpress printing activity for Nocturne — what can I say? I love letterpress!)

The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, so we decided to print a broadsheet to commemorate NSCAD and letterpress, the method of printing that was used 125 years ago when NSCAD first opened. Letterpress was the standard method of printing (until the advent of computers) for more than 400 years. The broadsheet explains who the Letterpress Gang is, what we do, and the origins of the Dawson Print Shop. It even includes some funny “Printer’s Personals” advertisements. Well, funny if you like type-humour, which I do!.

The front of the broadsheet, which was set with over 5000 pieces of moveable type, was printed beforehand, but visitors to the Dawson Printshop during Nocturne got to print on an antique Vandercook Proof Printing Press some of the various cuts (125 cuts, to be exact) that we had on display.

Over 5000 pieces of moveable type ready for printing the front page of the broadsheet. Displayed during Nocturne Halifax 2012 at the Dawson Printshop.

Over 5000 pieces of moveable type ready for printing the front page of the broadsheet. Displayed during Nocturne Halifax 2012 at the Dawson Printshop.

The front page of the printed broadsheet for Nocturne Halifax 2012 at the Dawson Printshop with the Letterpress Gang.

The front page of the printed broadsheet for Nocturne Halifax 2012 at the Dawson Printshop with the Letterpress Gang.

A selection of cuts from the Dawson Printshop collection on display during Nocturne Halifax 2012 with the Letterpress Gang

A selection of cuts from the Dawson Printshop collection on display during Nocturne Halifax 2012 with the Letterpress Gang.

These cuts, made out of wood and metal, were once used to print pictures or advertisements in newspapers and other publications.

Cuts from the Dawson Printshop collection set up for printing on a Vandercook Proof Printing Press during Nocturne Halifax 2012.

Cuts from the Dawson Printshop collection set up for printing on a Vandercook Proof Printing Press during Nocturne Halifax 2012.

We set up the Vandercook press to print the cuts with “NSCAD green” ink to commemorate 125 years of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

The back of the broadsheet with various cuts from the Dawson Printshop collection. Printed on a Vandercook Poof Printing Press during Nocturne Halifax 2012.

The back of the broadsheet with various cuts from the Dawson Printshop collection. Printed on a Vandercook Poof Printing Press during Nocturne Halifax 2012.

In addition to printing broadsheets on the Vandercook, we had the 5×8 Adana Platen Press set up for printing some small Nocturne souvenirs.

8x5 Adana Platen Press at the Dawson Printshop. Printing Nocturne Halifax 2012 souvenirs with the Letterpress Gang.

8×5 Adana Platen Press at the Dawson Printshop. Printing Nocturne Halifax 2012 souvenirs with the Letterpress Gang.

Printing Nocturne 2012 souvenirs with the Letterpress Gang on an Adana 5x8 platen press.

Printing Nocturne 2012 souvenirs with the Letterpress Gang on an Adana 5×8 platen press.

Not only did the wonder of printing on an antique press entertain and delight our Nocturne visitors, but we also had live music playing at the Dawson Printshop for the crowds to enjoy.

Live music at the Dawson Printshop for Nocturne Halifax 2012.

Live music at the Dawson Printshop for Nocturne Halifax 2012.

Even the Letterpress Gang’s Joe Landry picked up a guitar and played for us as the evening started to wind down.

The Letterpress Gang's Joe Landry playing guitar at the Dawson Printshop for Nocturne Halifax 2012.

The Letterpress Gang’s Joe Landry playing guitar at the Dawson Printshop for Nocturne Halifax 2012.

All in all it was a wonderful evening. I was exhausted from spending so much time showing people how to print on the Vandercook, but I also had a lot of fun. It was especially great to see so many children eager to crank that Vandercook handle with all of their might. It’s a lot harder than it looks!

If you didn’t make it to the Dawson Printshop for Nocturne this year, I urge you to come see us next year. I promise that you won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait to see what we’ll print next year!

If you’re interested in becoming involved with the Letterpress Gang and would like more information, feel free to send us an email at hellolpg@gmail.com. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter (@lpghfx).

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Last spring I wrote a post called “The Heartbreak a Stranger Trenton Project: Letterpress beginnings” detailing local musician Aaron Hartling’s (of Heartbreak a Stranger) “musical postcard” to Trenton, Nova Scotia, and his desire to see artists helping artists. After a lot of work and effort, and some minor delays, Aaron launched his Trenton Project Indiegogo fundraising campaign earlier this month.

The pledges Aaron receives for his campaign will go towards the cost of making the Trenton EP, which includes artwork, studio time, mixing, CD duplication, musicians, film shoots, and any other expenses that may arise along the way.

Donation perks include some cool stuff from local (Halifax), independent artists like Seth Graham (also known around Halifax as Brink Of Ink), Kevin Beal, JJ Steeves, and myself. Seth Graham is doing all of the artwork for the Trenton EP, as well as a commemorative poster, buttons, and more; Kevin Beal is also making posters for the campaign; JJ Steeves is contributing hand-drawn Trenton cigar boxes; and I, of course, am providing hand-printed letterpress and linocut cards. All artwork is original, centres around Heartbreak a Stranger’s Trenton Project, and is only available through this fundraising campaign.

Trenton EP Artwork by Seth Graham and Factory Letterpress & Linocut Card by Crystal Vaughan

Trenton EP Artwork by Seth Graham (left) and Trenton Factory Letterpress & Linocut Card by Crystal Vaughan (right)

I’m happy to say that Aaron has reached his $1000 goal, but making music and art can be expensive so Aaron appreciates all the help he get. And, of course, perks are still available if you would like to contribute. Aaron’s Indiegogo campaign runs until November 1st.

For more information about Heartbreak a Stranger or the Trenton Project, please visit the Heartbreak a Stranger website or Aaron’s Trenton Project Indiegogo campaign.

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Halifax’s Word on the Street did something a little bit different this year: they offered a couple of free workshops for the public. The writing workshop I attended focused on memory and memoir and was facilitated by three great local authors: Don Aker, a young adult author; Lorri Neilsen Glenn, a poet, an academic, and a memoir writer; and Julie Vandervoort, a creative non-fiction writer.

Each author provided three writing prompts to the workshop that I found very inspiring. The workshop was only about an hour long so each participant had to choose one writing prompt (and therefore one author) to workshop with and glean advice from. This, for me, was a very tough choice.

Don Aker

Don AkerDon Aker has written 18 YA books and has won numerous awards for his work. I’ll admit I haven’t yet read any of his work, but YA literature as a genre is something I’ve only recently started to become interested in; however, Don’s writing prompt intrigued me:

Think of a mistake you made in the past that continues to resonate with you now. Why does it still resonate? Allow your mind to return to the moment when you made this mistake, and list the details you remember about it. Don’t worry about their order — simply jot down as many details as you can recall about the time, place, people, situation, etc.

Who among us has not made mistakes? Sometimes mistakes can be haunting and they are a great topic on which to write. I almost joined Don at his writing station but felt, however, like I was being pulled by a string towards a different author. Nevertheless, Don’s writing prompt is something I intend to come back to one day.

Lorri Neilsen Glenn

Lorri Neilsen GlennI think Lorri Neilsen Glenn is one of my favourite people. I first met her three years ago while I was working on my Master of Arts thesis at Dalhousie University. She gave a lecture on the mixture of academic and creative writing during the English Department’s “Friday Speaker Series,” and I remember asking her how she balanced her creative writing life with academia, because at that time I found that academia (especially academia at Dalhousie) left me devoid of creativity. I can’t remember the answer she gave me (all I remember are the dirty looks I received from some of the professors in the room), but she came up to me after the question period and gave me some suggestions on how to find balance between my creative and academic selves. I really appreciated the advice she gave me and I felt hopeful that academia was no longer creativity’s enemy.

I met Lorri again the following year through my writing group. She was a guest speaker to our group and I found myself so moved by her poetry and advice that I ran out the next day and bought every one of her books that I could find. More recently I read and fell in love with her creative non-fiction book Threading Light: Explorations in Loss and Poetry.

Lorri’s writing prompt was right up my ally:

Lost and Found. We lose and find something every day: Friends, keys, places, gloves, pride, rings, health, houses, and our way. Make a list of 10 things, people, places you have lost or found over the years. Think of specific images (freeze frames) that remind you of that loss or that discovery. Think of sounds and smells, objects, specific places that remind you. Go back to who and where you were then. Then choose one or two of the ten you’ve listed, brainstorm details (in no particular order).

Loss is certainly one of the most impressive concepts humans deal with, and memories of loss can be very powerful. I also love Lorri’s idea of thinking in freeze frames. However, I’ve taken workshops with Lorri before (one of which was about memory and loss), so I figured I should branch out and workshop with a different author where I might perhaps get some different ideas and writing advice.

Julie Vandervoort

Julie VandervoortJulie Vandervoort, the author that the invisible string was pulling me towards, is a creative non-fiction writer. I had just recently won the creative non-fiction prize for the 35th Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Atlantic Writing Competition, but my winning story was the first creative non-fiction piece I’d ever written. I would like to write more creative non-fiction and I knew Julie would have some good advice.

Julie began her mini workshop by telling us that people often ask her, “What is creative non-fiction?” I often receive this same question when I tell people the genre of my winning AWC story. Julie explained that creative non-fiction has many definitions. It is personal journalism, memoir, essay. It is a fugue, a collage of pieces that stick together, of images and emotions.

Julie’s writing prompt was:

Think of an image, incident, memory, fragment or story that you can’t shake. Summarize it in a sentence or give it a title. What deeply held value do you associate or connect with that memory?

Julie suggested that if a piece is not working to draw a connection between it and a value that is close to your heart. “If you can’t find the value,” she said, “then that is probably why it’s not working.” This insight made me start thinking about a manuscript I’m currently stuck on. I’m certainly going to keep Julie’s advice in mind from now on when my writing stalls.

At the end of the workshop, the three authors came together to offer advice to all of the participants:

Don Aker: “Write more than one lead. You may find the second or third is better than the first.”

Lorri Neilsen Glenn: “Think in terms of scenes, small moments, freeze frames that move you in some way. Don’t worry yet about making it linear. Then, later, look at the big picture and organize it.”

Julie Vandervoort: “If you’re stuck, try writing a page or two by hand. Writing by hand activates a different part of the brain. Resist the urge to go back and edit.”

“Writing is hard,” they all agreed, and to quote writer Buffy Cram, “the only thing worse than writing is not writing.”

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Crystal Vaughan, Halifax Word on the Street, Atlantic Writing Competition Reading

Crystal Vaughan, Halifax Word on the Street, Atlantic Writing Competition Reading

When I was a kid I loved watching the children’s television show Fred Penner’s Place. My favourite part of the show was when the “Word Bird” stopped by to deliver the word of the day. Who knows, but maybe this is where my love of words first originated!

If Fred Penner‘s Word Bird had visited Halifax’s Word on the Street on Sunday, September 23rd, the word of the day would have been: Welcoming. I was amazed at how kind, warm, encouraging and supportive everyone was, not just the WOTS organizers and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, but also the participating authors, the vendors and publishers, and even the complete strangers. The writing community in Halifax is really great and I truly believe this is a wonderful city to live in as an emerging writer.

I initially had quite a lot of anxiety to get on stage and read an excerpt of my winning Atlantic Writing Competition piece. But, although I was very nervous to read something quite personal in front of a bunch of strangers (and a few friends), the reception I received from the audience was wonderful. I also greatly enjoyed listening to excerpts from the winning manuscripts in the other categories.

The 1st place 35th WFNS Atlantic Writing Competition Winners

The 1st place 35th WFNS Atlantic Writing Competition Winners. From left to right: Sasha Dence, Roger Field, Patsy Clothier, Crystal Vaughan, Richard Levangie, and Ruth Morris Schneider

AWC winner Crystal Vaughan (right) with Clare Goulet, the creative writing professor at Mount Saint Vincent University

AWC winner Crystal Vaughan (right) with Clare Goulet, the creative writing professor at MSVU

On the left I’m pictured with Clare Goulet, the creative writing professor at Mount Saint Vincent University. My winning story was first born in her creative writing class back in 2007. From there I took her comments, edited it, sat on it, edited it some more, and then finally got the courage to submit it to the Atlantic Writing Competition. I’m so happy and touched that she came to hear me read, and I want to thank her for all of the advice and support she’s given me over the years.

I even had some Mount Saint Vincent University groupies attend my reading. I’d never met them before, but I appreciate their support.

Mount Saint Vincent University Word on the Street volunteers.

Mount Saint Vincent University Word on the Street volunteers. From left to right: Natalie Giovannetti, Jessalyn Burke, Katryna Hepditch

My Word at the Street fun didn’t end with my AWC reading. I met some great people and heard some great writing. I also found some awesome books for cheap (although I’m not sure where to put them since my bookcase is already overflowing to the max). And, of course, as a Mount Saint Vincent University alum, I had to stop by the MSVU table in the vendors’ tent to say hello.

Visiting the Mount Saint Vincent University table at Word on the Street.

Visiting the Mount Saint Vincent University table at Word on the Street. From left to right: MSVU volunteer Gillian McDonald, Crystal Vaughan, Dr. Anna Smol (MSVU English professor)

I was also excited to see Fierce Ink Press at Word on the Street with Kat Kruger. Kat’s newly published book, The Night Has Teeth, launched last week. I am so excited for her and I can’t wait to read it. Fierce Ink Press, a new Atlantic Canada publishing label, is taking the publishing industry to some new and innovative places with their co-operative publishing model. You can read more about it here. I wish Kat and Fierce Ink Press the best of luck.

YA author Kat Kruger holding her newly published book: The Night Has Teeth

YA author Kat Kruger holding her newly published book: The Night Has Teeth

In addition to my new pile of books, I met a mini RAWR Eep at the Fierce Ink Press table and she decided to follow me home. I just love RAWR Creatures and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give Sadie Cat a friend.

A Fierce Ink Press Eep made by RAWR Creatures

A Fierce Ink Press Eep made by RAWR Creatures

All in all it was a good day. I want to again thank the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Writing Competition judges, and Word on the Street for their encouragement and support. Also, a big thanks to everyone (friends, past professors, strangers) who came out to hear me read.

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Word on the Street (a.k.a WOTS), an annual event that celebrates literacy and the written word, is taking place in Halifax this year on Sunday, September 23rd on the waterfront behind the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

I enjoy going to Word on the Street each year to listen to wonderful authors read their recent works and to check out the book vendors and publishers who set up shop on the Halifax waterfront. This year, however, Word on the Street will be a little bit different for me. This year I won’t just be in the audience, but I will also be on stage to receive an award and give a short reading as I recently placed first in the Creative Non-Fiction category of the 35th Annual Atlantic Writing Competition (see my blog post entitled “The WFNS Atlantic Writing Competition: My first victory as an aspiring writer”).

I will be reading a short snippet of my submission, “Pieces,” during the Festival Opening between 11 a.m. and noon on the “Wonderful Worlds Marquee” stage on the North Museum Wharf behind the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. I am, of course, a little nervous, but I’m also very excited for this opportunity.

Word on the Street is a great, fun festival and if you’re in the area I hope you can make it. For a list of readings and vendors visit the WOTS Halifax website, or check out the WOTS insert in this week’s The Coast.

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