with Dorothea Helms and Ruth Walker
- Saturday, March 6th, 2010
- 10 am to 4 pm
- Location: TBA
- Fee: $100($90 WCDR, WEN, HHWEN, PWAC Member)
- To Register: See below
- Maximum Participants: TBA
Write to Win is a one-day immersion in the art of entering writing contests…and increasing your chances for winning. Two of WCDR’s ’seasoned winners’ — Dorothea Helms and Ruth E. Walker — will share tips that will help you develop your own winning strategy.
Discover how even an honourable mention in a writing competition can give weight to your writing bio. And bonus! Dorothea and Ruth have not only won writing competitions, they have also judged and even administered writing competitions, so they really know what can knock your entry out of the running — sometimes even before it is actually read.
Participants are asked to bring the first page of their fiction, non-fiction or poetry they hope to submit to an upcoming competition. In this workshop, through a combination of lecture, demonstration and exercises, you will put your own work to the “writing contest” test and see if it will make it past the first reading.
is an award-winning, internationally published writer who is also a popular writing instructor. She is the author of the highly successful book The Writing Fairy™ Guide to Calling Yourself a Writer, and she offers courses, workshops and keynote speeches that inspire adults to write and publish their work. Dorothea has also served as a fiction judge for regional and international writing contests. She has been a finalist in fiction competitions, and her humorous fiction has appeared in an anthology in southern Ontario.
In 2006, she held the first-ever Writing Fairy Humour Writing contest, which drew entries from across North America. In 2005, Dorothea was presented with the first-ever Barbara Novak Award For Excellence in Humour and/or Personal Essay Writing from the Periodical Writers Association of Canada. Also in 2005, she tied for first place in the non-fiction category of the Haliburton Highlands Writers’ and Editors’ Network and The Agnes Jamieson Gallery 3rd Annual Writing Contest. In 2003, she placed third in The Writers’ Circle of Durham Region Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Contest.
Ruth E. Walker
knows a thing or two about writing competitions. Not only has she organized and administered a range of writing competitions, she has served as a final judge and a tier-judge for a number of national and international competitions including WCDR’s 2008 Chapbook contest, the annual Serial Poet competition at LICHEN Arts & Letters Preview, the Canadian Authors Association Toronto short story contest, and the Oval Victory poetry contest at Hidden Brook Press.
And she knows a bit about winning writing competition too. In 1996, her very first fiction submission won the Canadian Living Short Story prize. She went on to win the 1998 & 2005 Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Contest, was a 1999 semi-finalist Chapters-Robertson Davies Competition; 2001 winner Ghost Story Contest, Trent University Writers and Readers Fair; 2003 2nd place Larry Turner Award for Non-fiction; 2007 two entries tied for 2nd place in The Writers’ Circle of Durham Region Short Story Contest; and in 2008, she won 3rd place in the prestigious Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Award. Along the way, she gathered a couple of honourable mentions as well.
Together, Ruth and Dorothea bring a wealth of experience as creative writing instructors along with a fun, interactive tag-team style to all their workshops. Join them on Saturday, March 6 for Write to Win!
Go to www.thewritingfairy.com to register.
For information, contact: email@example.com
Internationally published writer Dorothea Helms is passionate about writing, and has had her work appear in an amazingly diverse selection of publications. She has also served as editor of three magazines and several newspaper sections, in addition to editing books for individual authors. Whatever your writing, ghostwriting or editorial needs, Dorothea will exceed your expectations with a product that is not only written well, but is also creative.
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Creative Writing – a 10-week course offered each fall at the Uxbridge, Ontario, campus of Durham College that provides an overview of fiction and non-fiction writing for the person who is passionate about the craft, but needs direction in both polishing work for publication and the mechanics of how to approach editors.
Advanced Creative Writing – a 10-week course (offered at different times throughout the year) that builds on the skills from Creative Writing and pushes participants to expand their comfort zones and experiment more. During part of this course, Dorothea uses Pat Schneider’s Amherst Writers & Artists Method, in which she has been trained.
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The Art of Making Money: How Artsie-Fartsies Can Learn to Tap Into Left Brain Skills
Humor Sells: Write Funny to Make Money
Don’t Sell Yourself Short: Marketing for the 21st Century
Weight No Longer: Learn to Love Yourself at Any Weight
Straight to the Top: How to Approach Celebrities and Other Important People
Opportunity’s Knocking: Make the most of every chance to advance your career
Your Name in Print: Write and Get Published (You know you want to!)
In 1994, I was dabbling in professional freelance writing, making a few bucks here and there and generally working horrendous hours for little return. I knew how to write – I simply didn’t understand how to make money at it.
Then in 1994, I was accepted into a self-employment program run by Women and Rural Economic Development (WRED). Once I opened my mind to the left brain side of running a business, I was amazed at how my career took off. To this day, I make more money than most writers in Canada, and I strongly suggest other writers start to look at their articles, stories, books, poems, ads and whatever as products and consider pursuing entrepreneurial training. I spent several years as a Rural Organization Specialist with the Central Ontario Region of WRED. I offer my heartfelt thanks to WRED for helping to change my life and help me launch my lifelong dream.
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Well, I had carpal tunnel surgery on December 21st. It’s a great (although somewhat drastic) way to get out of cooking Christmas dinner! For a month, I can use my right hand only for personal hygiene, eating and getting dressed. I found the surgery easy from a patient point of view. Not even general anesthetic. I had a cast on my hand for 6 days, then just a small bandage until the stitches come out this week. Having to use my left hand for so many things has reminded me of how adaptable humans are.
I’ve also spent a lot of the past two weeks relaxing. This is the one month of year that I am not deluged with deadlines. I have had precious time to do what I and many of my colleagues refer to as “living like real people” – visiting and calling friends and relatives; shopping without guilt; eating turkey and chocolate; watching reruns of “Gilligan’s Island” and “Murder, She Wrote”; reading books, magazines and newspapers; going out to dinner; working on my fiction writing and poetry … it’s been wonderful!
I don’t begrudge my career – it’s a privilege to make my living writing, editing and teaching – but most of my life involves multi-tasking to the minute. It’s hectic to the point that I don’t smell the roses. In fact, I didn’t even know there were roses until someone pointed it out. And even then, I thought about how I could put that into an article.
I’m obsessed with writing. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so, because at least I’m passionate about something. Look around and figure out how many people you know have some sort of passion in their lives. Something they cannot wait to do when the necessities of life are taken care of. Something that involves thinking and creating, whether or not for public consumption. Something that realizes a purpose in life. I believe most people have some sort of life passion, but few act on it – for a variety of reasons. What are your thoughts?
Benefits Of Editing For Efficiency:
- it is helpful in meeting word number maximums and space requirements
- it is a critical factor in humor writing
- it eliminates redundant words and sentences
- it eliminates unnecessary words
- the piece reads more fluidly
- it inspires the writer to be even more creative
- you learn to become more objective about the work being edited
- it can make the difference between effective and ineffective ad copywriting
- you increase your vocabulary by experimenting with different wording
- it helps a writer to place his/her ego into perspective
- it tailors a piece to the targeted market or readership
Methods Of Cutting
ELIMINATE unnecessary uses of “that”, “the”, “which”, “a” and other small words. For example, instead of:
the appearance of the athlete,
the athlete’s appearance.
ELIMINATE redundant words or sentences:
I particularly admire the females in bodybuilding, as they have had to work even harder than their masculine male counterparts to be treated as true competitive athletes
I particularly admire the females in bodybuilding, as they have had to work even harder than males to be treated as competitive athletes.
COMBINE two sentences into one:
After eleven years of yo-yo dieting, my body was showing the strains of this self-abuse. I started weight training at forty years old to try to tone up and strengthen my body. (32 words)
I started weight training at forty years old to tone up and strengthen my body, which was showing the strain of eleven years of yo-yo dieting. (26 words)
TAKE OUT sentences or phrases that are extraneous to the flow of the piece. For example, instead of:
Although this particular show does not include audience participation, I was surprised by the negative comments made by others backstage concerning the appearance of the athletes, (26 words)
I was surprised by the negative comments made by others backstage concerning the appearance of the athletes. (17 words)
PARAPHRASE long quotes:
Mr. Crenshaw says, “We have a need to educate our people for the real jobs out there through better communication between industry and the school systems. We need better on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs” ( 31 words)
can be rewritten:
Mr. Crenshaw sees cooperation between the school systems and industry in setting up apprenticeship programs as one solution to the problem. (21 words)
USE ONE descriptive word instead of two or more:
The tear-streaked, emotional response of the audience
the sappy audience reaction.
Try writing a 150-word description of your home for the purposes of trying to interest someone in buying it. Start by simply writing without paying attention to length, then cut the words using the above tips.
These are just some of the methods an editor uses to adapt the length of a piece for a certain format. Editorial submissions must also be edited for content, spelling and grammar and suitability to readership. For professional editing services, contact Dorothea Helms at Write Stuff Writing Services.
Anyone for bungee-shopping?
What’s the plural of “Johnny-on-the-spot”?
I’m amazed at people who buy accordian files; imagine knowing that many people who play the accordian, that you’d need an entire file for them!
Comedy – it’s all around us every day – IF you just look and listen.
As sophisticated as entertainment, education and advertising have become, one basic fact remains true: HUMOR SELLS! In this day of economic stress, political unrest, increasing crime and Kathy Lee and Regis, people NEED and WANT more humor in their lives.
If you are or aspire to become a humor writer, you’re plunging into a world that’s madcap, zany and can actually make you a few bucks.
TIP 1: WRITE DOWN everything you find funny every day. Really. Do it. Get those little pads of colorful self-adhesive notes and keep one with you at all times. Yes, even in the bathroom (bathroom humor is big with kids). Just jot down anything funny that might come to mind in the course of your boring, useless existence; it may come in handy someday when you’re wrestling with a line in a sitcom or trying to come up with a funny premise for a skit. If you think of something when you’re driving, pull over and WRITE IT DOWN – it’s that important.
TIP 2: KEEP A HUMOR FILE. This is so you have somewhere to put those dozens of little pieces of pink and yellow paper. Don’t worry about sorting them out or trying to make sense of them right away. If they make too much sense, they’re not funny. Just keep shoving them in, and when you need inspiration or hit a writing snag, pull out the file and start laughing!
TIP 3: REMEMBER THAT PEOPLE LAUGH WHEN THEY’RE SURPRISED. Whether humor is spoken, written or physically acted out, people laugh when they know they’ve been tricked into thinking one thing will happen, when another does instead. Lead them down the garden path, then open the trap door and let them fall in.
TIP 4: DON’T TRY TOO HARD. When humor in a piece is too contrived or unnatural, it simply isn’t funny.
TIP 5: PLAY WITH WORDS. Ad writers get paid thousands of dollars for coming up with headlines and concepts that are based on unusual or unorthodox uses of everyday words and phrases. This is especially useful when writing humorous titles; for a comedic look at hockey, The buck stops here becomes The puck stops here! Experiment on paper – free associate and have fun with cliches.
TIP 6: EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. Last year, I was discouraged by the number of rejections I’d received for two particularly funny articles I’d written. I tried an experiment; using the editing tips I outline on my editing page, I cut each article’s length in half. I sent them off and sold them both within a few weeks. If something is too long, it isn’t funny; shorter pieces pack more punch. (This rule applies to most writing, not just humor, but it’s particularly critical where comedy is concerned).
TIP 7: IF YOU THINK IT’S FUNNY, CHANCES ARE OTHERS WILL, TOO!
And remember – light yogurt is great – throw in a little chocolate syrup, you’d never know it was calorie-reduced!
On the air, she’s intelligent, passionate, gutsy, caring and unpredictable. At home, she’s… intelligent, passionate, gutsy, caring and unpredictable. “I’m the same off the air as on,” admits Jane Hawtin, popular host of WTN’s Jane Hawtin Live! There’s no pretension about the charismatic talk show host who has been educating and entertaining Canadians since 1976, when she landed her first on-air radio job in Kingston. She hosted Q107’s public affairs and entertainment show, Barometer, until 1987, when CFRB’s The Jane Hawtin Show, was born and matured to Canada’s highest-rated noon hour talk show.
Jane Hawtin Live! represents the highly successful culmination of eighteen years of radio experience and an entrepreneurial venture as a business partner with Paul Osborn in Electric Entertainment. The live television talk show, now entering its fourth year, moved to a 7:00 p.m. weeknight time slot on the Women’s Television Network in September. The format includes a Friday night entertainment show taped on a new set designed for these popular segments, because, “It’s hard to get entertainers live on Friday nights.”
Hawtin is a hot topic these days, gracing the cover of Homemaker’s summer issue and the subject of a feature article in September’s Chatelaine. People are fascinated by her intelligence and infectious laugh, as she brilliantly lays the groundwork for our burning questions, then gives us the opportunity to ask them. She’s interviewed everyone from Anne Murray and Mary Tyler Moore, to Jean Charest and John Crosbie, and tackles topics as diverse as eating disorders and media ethics. When she’s not fielding the unexpected flack and spontaneity associated with “live” TV (”Roger Clemens arrived 15 minutes late for his segment, so we filled in by interviewing his web site designer.”), Hawtin is relaxing in the cosy Toronto home she shares with her husband, Chris Allicock, and their two children, Amber (15) and Skyler (10). Chris is director of promotions and publicity at Electric Entertainment and Jane’s life partner in everything from work to raising the kids and renovating their house.
The two-storey home is so stunning, friends have held weddings there amid garland and romantic twinkle lights. “This is a great party house,” says Jane, who loves to entertain. The home is a comfortable combination of traditional and contemporary spaces filled with rich wood trim, modern art and the antiques Jane has collected since her teens. “I’ve still got the chair I bought for 25 cents when I was 13!”
Shades of mauve and purple frame the living/dining room’s rustic oak table, chairs and wall-size china cabinet. Jane and her family spend most of their time in the open concept kitchen/breakfast/family room area at the rear of the home. Kitchen tiles and sofas in green add warmth to this casual space, along with a fabulous family room fireplace with wood surround and mantle. According to Chris, “We took one look at the fireplace, and that did it – we had to have this house!” Sliding doors open on to a backyard patio, complete with hot tub, that presents glimpses of Lake Ontario through verdant trees and shrubs. Every nook and cranny in her home harbours something special – old trunks, pottery, quilts, even whimsical bearded-men sculptures created by a cousin. Whether she’s researching the Internet for a show segment or watching Coronation Street (”I never miss it on Sunday mornings!”), Jane revels in her gracious surroundings. “This is my oasis,” she says. The welcome sanctuary provides a break from the power and energy inherent in her business life. Despite its tremendous success, Jane Hawtin Live! hasn’t yet achieved the mix of political, social, entertainment and health issues Jane envisions. “I’d like more politicians on the show,” says the Queen’s University politics and drama graduate, “but they’re reluctant to open themselves up to callers.” Electric Entertainment continues to enrich its roster with shows such as Linehan, which is seen exclusively on WTN this fall.
Amid the demanding world of TV performing and production, Jane Hawtin enjoys bursts of travel, occasional school field trips with her children, precious time at the cottage and most recently, learning to play golf. For the rest of us, she remains an intelligent oasis in a sea of mediocre talk show media.
“Oh, just tell the folks I’ve got about 65 pounds of awards,” he says modestly, when asked why the walls in his rustic country home aren’t lined with gold records and Junos. It’s a typical interview answer from Canada’s fastest-rising country star, George Fox, who considers chopping firewood as much an integral part of his life as writing and performing music. To George, the “country” lifestyle is more than fodder for song lyrics: “It’s in your blood, like cholesterol.”
After several years of the glitter and hype of Nashville, the Alberta-born-rancher-turned-country-singer/songwriter returned to Canada and set down new roots in Ontario. Still an Alberta boy at heart, George needed to cut down on constant air travel to Toronto, so he found an 80-acre place near Ancaster that needed a wee bit of work. His dad’s first comment on seeing the 130-year-old abandoned house was, “I get tired just lookin’ at it!”
“This country always gets the best of me”
The renovation constitutes an ongoing labor of love for George and his wife of just over one year, Monica. “It reminds me of the cosy older Alberta home I grew up in,” he says. Wood floors ground the big old country kitchen, with its harvest table and working woodstove. Throughout the board and batten house, antiques cohabit comfortably with more modern furniture pieces, and windows afford lace-curtained views of flowers and farm fields. The sloped ceilings and nooks and crannies upstairs lend an air of nostalgia to the couple’s eclectic collection of plants, needlepoint, knickknacks and family photos.
Outside, George has an outbuilding workshop with plenty of room for his tractor and assorted farm implements. The couple’s dog, Lucky, enjoys tearing across the vast backyard past the log swing and through the elms, maples and birches that dot the scenic farm property.
“…they’ve sent me an angel”
Monica feels at home here, too, having come from a farm family. Despite her career in television production, she’s a country girl at heart. Her breathtaking raven-haired Italian beauty provides a striking contrast to the handsome singer’s fair features. They’re living a true country love story permeated by lots of laughter from George’s wacky sense of humor. “I guess the honeymoon’s over.” he cautions. “I got her a roto-tiller for her birthday.”
George’s phenomenally popular “Greatest Hits” album released last year features the song, “I Give You My Word,” a poignant love song written especially for Monica and their first dance together as man and wife. Since its release, fans have taken the song to their hearts, and the lovely strains can be heard gracing churches and wedding reception halls across Canada on a regular basis.
George’s newest album, “Survivor,” has just been released, and fans will enjoy yet another glimpse into his soul through the title track. Like most of George’s music, “Survivor” is based on his life, this time on the recent passing of his mother. “In my heart, she’s still here,” he says of the woman who represents quintessential motherhood to him. “Now she’s an angel watching over me.”
“Deep down inside me, her strength never ends”
This album is philosophically deeper than past recordings, with songs such as “The Greenest Grass” urging listeners to make the most of their lives. “People my age with young families need guidance and to feel part of something. They relate to the relaxation of country music,” says George. And judging from the numerous Canadian Country Music Awards and Junos he’s received, they revel in his grassroots country sound. “A lot of the new country sound confuses people. Besides, new country’s getting’ kinda old,” he adds. “We’re trying to fit into nineties country music and still retain the original flavor.”
George Fox’s down-home attitude is reflected in his touring, which includes lots of small rural areas, because as he says, “That’s where our audiences are.” His advice to newcomers in the country music field: “Be true to your voice.” He’s true to his voice, fans and down-to-earth lifestyle. Here’s hoping he’ll put on a few award “pounds” from the new album!