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Novelist Heather O'Neill Visits Marianopolis

Yesterday afternoon, novelist Heather O'Neill -- author of the prize winning Lullabies for Criminals -- visited Marianopolis, the college where I teach. Heather read from her novel and she also read a very clever short story that was a contemporary retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It's always interesting to hear a writer reading something you've read and enjoyed -- you get to hearthe words in the writer's own voice. So, I enjoyed the reading part of the event, and I also really enjoyed when Heather answered questions from the audience. And the students had a lot of great questions! Here are some of the things I learned from Heather: She told us she has always been very observant and that that skill informs her writing. "I love details," she said when one young woman in the audience remarked that there are many references to the characters' clothing in Lullabies. Heather also pointed out that clothes can be really important to teens -- because they don't have that much other "stuff." Heather explained that her stories tend to be "very character-driven." This is something I talk about a lot in my Writing for Children class -- I think the best plots grow organically once a writer has a clear sense of her (or his) characters. Heather also told us she tries to write every day. My favourite moment came when a student asked if Heather ever feels as if her work is no good. Heather's answer: "Every day!" 

Well, that certainly got a laugh -- and it's also a comment to help inspire the rest of us writers when we're not feeling so great about whatever project we might be working on. The trick, of course, as I keep reminding myself and you in this blog, is not to give up. 

Speaking of which, I'm just home from school. Going to put some chicken and potatoes in the oven and then I'm going back to my polar bear (that's code for my manuscript that is set in Nunavik.) Have a great rest of the day!

Teleconference with St. Willibrord Students
La Di Da
 

Comments

Guest - Tamar on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 20:26

an avid Habs fan, I must say that last night's game is similar to the writing tip you often give: don't give up... the Habs were down 5-0 and came back and tied the game 5-5 and then won 6-5 in a shoot out. This just shows that no matter how many goals you are down, how far behind you are, how many manuscripts have been rejected, you should never give up. and that is my habs tip for the day... keep on watching the hockey games

an avid Habs fan, I must say that last night's game is similar to the writing tip you often give: don't give up... the Habs were down 5-0 and came back and tied the game 5-5 and then won 6-5 in a shoot out. This just shows that no matter how many goals you are down, how far behind you are, how many manuscripts have been rejected, you should never give up. and that is my habs tip for the day... keep on watching the hockey games ;)
Guest - Kim on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 22:44

Cool tip from Tamar... although I don't watch hockey, mostly because I strongly dislike the fighting part. Anyways, I knew I'd missed something yesterday in the stress of robot shipping. Back then, I though I was only missing my lunch, but now know what it was! I enjoy listening to authors talk about the writing process and such... just because it shows that they're human and also that they too can struggle with their writing. (as much as Sophie has her favourite smiley, this is mine!!). It's also quite inspiring to see where they get their ideas.

Cool tip from Tamar... although I don't watch hockey, mostly because I strongly dislike the fighting part. Anyways, I knew I'd missed something yesterday in the stress of robot shipping. Back then, I though I was only missing my lunch, but now know what it was! I enjoy listening to authors talk about the writing process and such... just because it shows that they're human and also that they too can struggle with their writing. :D (as much as Sophie has her favourite smiley, this is mine!!). It's also quite inspiring to see where they get their ideas.
Guest - Tamar on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 23:46

kim! the fighting is the best part! when i met the habs i could see their cuts and my fave hockey player is like best friends with the penalty box, which i have named priscilla

kim! the fighting is the best part! when i met the habs i could see their cuts and my fave hockey player is like best friends with the penalty box, which i have named priscilla
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