I spent a fun afternoon with some bright young readers from across Canada -- all without leaving my comfy chair here in Montreal.

That's all thanks to Teenrc.ca a website for Canadian teens who love to read and write. The"rc" stands for reading club and it's run by the Greater Victoria Public Library in Victoria, British Columbia.

I was on-line for two hours, but it sure felt shorter! That's because the teens with whom I was chatting had so many good comments and questions. They all had on-line names, so I'll use those names when I tell you a little about our conversation. "Kgirl" is homeschooled (I told her I thought that'd make great material for a YA novel) and she told us she was eating chicken from Wendy's (I told her not to get her keyboard greasy!). "Phoenix" is writing a collection of stories she's hoping to complete this summer. "Notaguest" says she doesn't get much opportunity to work on fiction writing at school; the focus there is more, she says, on semi-colons (I told her how many of the college students I teach still haven't mastered the use of the semi-colon!). Then there was someone named "Crazy," but it turns out her nickname is short for "Crazyforbooks" (so that's a great kind of crazy!). 

I gave my fellow-chatters as much advice about writing as I could: to keep a writer's notebook for jotting down ideas and interesting observations; to write as often as possible; to choose an interesting narrator and to include conflict in their stories.

"Crazy" said she has trouble making time for writing. I said if she's serious about writing, she needs to make a commitment not only to writing, but also to HERSELF. 

So if you're a Canadian between 13 and 17 years old and you're interested in reading and writing, you might want to join teenrc.ca -- the site provides, among other things, a place for young writers to post their writing and get feedback from others. 

Special thanks to Kimberley Budd, the librarian who was on-line, too, helping to keep things moving and who also participated in our lively chat.  Great to meet all of you today! And thanks to Teenrc.ca for inviting me into their on-line community.