Writers’ Craft 11: Beta Readers or Not

Informed opinion There seems to be an accepted protocol that once you’ve finished your novel, you then put together a group of willing, knowledgeable readers — beta readers — to do what is essentially a market test. The reasoning behind this method seems sound: you want to be sure, after all your revisions and polishing, that you’ve crafted this story well, that readers will get what you’ve tried to convey. Retaining beta readers is a form…

Writers’ Craft 8: World Building

Creating the believable environment for your novel Doesn’t matter what genre of fiction you’re writing, it is imperative you create a real and believable environment. Do this successfully, and your reader becomes further immersed in the story you’re telling not only through excellent characters and point of view, but through the world you’ve created. Geography Oxford Dictionary describes geography as: the nature and relative arrangement of places and features. Simple enough. Put another way, you…

Writers’ Craft 6: Tense

What time is it? Choosing a tense for your story usually isn’t a big deal. Most fiction and even nonfiction is told in past tense, as in: They went there, and then they travelled further. Why writers do this is not entirely clear. Certainly the practice of writing in past tense has been around a very long time. Mallory wrote Le Morte d’Arthur in 1469, and it is in past tense. Homer’s epic poem, Odyssey,…

Allow me to introduce: Susan Forest

One of Canada’s best-kept secrets, Susan Forest is an award-winning author, artist and publisher. And if you haven’t read her work, you should. She pushes boundaries, examines human relationships in impossible situations, much in the way of Candas Jane Dorsey (another of Canada’s best-kept secrets) and the illustrious Ursula K. le Guin. Susan first came to my attention in 2011 after an introduction from Robert Runté. He suggested we consider putting together a collection of…