Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lit Fest New West Photojournalism by Leanne Dyck

The overriding lesson of this festival:  there's value in "free".

Friendly, helpful volunteers to greet me.
"Yes. It's just around the corner. Here I'll go with you."
"Oh, there it is. Just around the corner. Thank you."

Lit Fest New West understands...
that authors who are working to establish their career don't have much money--so there's no admission
that authors' time is valuable:  so they pay participating authors

Lit Fest New West obtains financial support from...
the city of New West
the province of B.C.
the country of Canada? Um. Nope.

Lit Fest New West was held in Douglas College
Next year?
It will be held in a new venue.

Workshop:  Crafting a Killer Mystery

Colleen Cross (thriller author), Sharon Rowse (historical mystery author), Robin Spano (traditional mystery author)

What I got from this workshop...

Know the rules so that you know what you're breaking.

Characters should be...

-clever, resourceful
-excellent at their profession
-out-law (follow their own moral code--which is the author's code)
-wounded (i.e. have flaws)

In every story the character must face professional, personal, and private challenges.

The villain should be a good match for the hero.

About the story...

The story is the reason the reader keeps reading.

Why should the reader care?

-to see the character develop
-to see what happens next
-to see what is going to challenge the hero

How you write is individual

Find your style and go with that

Keep your interest in the story and the story will continue to be interesting for the reader

How to build tension...

-Know the hero's goal and keep him from reaching it.
-Layer in smaller goals
-Weave in sub-plots with main plot
Write the entire scene then cut it off before the conclusion. This creates cliff hangers.
Always be aware of the ticking clock

Books recommended by the authors...
The Writers' Journey
Save the Cat
On Writing

(Photo from the web)

Presentation:  Memoir:  The Long and Short of Writing

Presenter:  J. J. Lee

What I learnt...

-The reader will feel something because I, the writer, felt something
-To continue to writer your memoir--continue to wonder as you are wondering
-Your reader will love you because you've shared something profound
-Writers are time travelers
-Your writing should open you up and give you something

3 Things the Writing Can Do
1) develop the character
2)advance the plot
3)reinforce the theme or nature of the conflict

Authors and Small Publishers Panel Discussion

Anvil Press and Leaf Press

Anvil Press 'Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist' Publisher:  Brian Kauffman

Leaf Press 'is an independent press located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Ursula Vaira founded Leaf in 2001 as a poetry chapbook publisher.'

I'm very glad I attended this panel discussion as it gave me a unique insight into life on the other side of the pen. What's it like to be a small publisher in Canada? What challenges do you face? How do you survive? 

It's my pleasure to report that I found dedicated people who truly care about not only their books but also their authors. And as one of the publishers pointed out, the relationship between a publisher and an author is like dating. It's nothing personal. Sometimes it's not just a good fit. 

Somewhere deep inside I knew this. But it was nice to hear a publisher say it. (Instead of read on a rejection letter.)

Recommended sites:

A Critical View of the Arts

Presenter:    Max Wyman

This presentation had a profound effect on me. In fact, it made me change the name of one of the pages of this blog from 'Book Reviews' to 'Book Raves'. I knew I wasn't a reviewer. But I didn't realize how erroneous it was to title my page 'Book Reviews'. This error wasn't pointed out by the presenter. But as he outlined the qualities necessary to write reviews I realized I didn't possess them. Nor did I care to acquire them. The net is a negative place. As Mr. Wyman did pointed out, thanks to the social media, everyone is playing critic and not signing their names. This lack of accountability is dangerous. But now that the animal has been unleashed there doesn't seem to be anything that can be done. Balance is called for. That's why I'm proud to re-title my page 'Book Raves'. Will I rave about your book, if you ask me? Um, no. However, if I read your book and enjoy it I will be happy to sing its praises as well as yours.

A critic is not a...
consumer reporter

A critic needs to...
be willing to make connections
go into the experience with an open-mind
be able to describe the experience--how they've been changed
pay attention all at once
to be honest
be able to and love to write well
write without the use of jargon
must have a passion for the media (dance, music, art, literature) that you are engaged with.
must be able to say why you liked/disliked
to be aware of your own limitations
do their homework

In the past critics were policed by their editor. No one is policing them now.

Mr. Wyman would like to receive your critics on a novel he was recently written. Visit:

And there's still more...

That's a lot for free. But add to this a over two hour showcase mixing author readings, spoken word, dramatizations and music and you have Lit Fest New West. And so I ask you, where will you be next April?

Showcase At Douglas College (from the LitFest NewWest 2013 brochure)

Act I

Candice James - Poet Laureate
Don Hauka - Author
Sylvia Taylor - Author


Act II

Douglas College/Kwantlen University Percussion Ensemble
Renee Saklikar - Poet and John Oliver - Composer
J. J. Lee - Author
C. R. Avery - Music & Spoken Word