Aside

Event: Storytellers Conference

Featured

Tags

Event: Storytellers of Canada Annual Conference

Where: Edmonton, Alberta
When: May 22-28, 2017

Complementing writing, storytelling passes on the magic of story between people. The Storytellers of Canada Annual Conference celebrates oral storytellers, storytelling and stories. The 2017 theme is “150 Golden Threads”, which compliments Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. This year, the conference will focus on how it was and is to build a nation. Please join the celebration of Canada, and of SC-CC’s 25th anniversary, in Edmonton, Alberta, on May 22-28, 2017.

Latest update: 2017

Know of any special festivals, fairs, courses or events we should post here? Share with us and we’ll share it with the rest of the Group.

Aside

Event: Edmonton Storytelling Festival

Featured

Tags

Event: Edmonton Storytelling Festival

Where: Multiple Venues, Old Strathcona, Edmonton
When: May 25-30, 2017

The annual Edmonton Storytelling Festival is a mix of school programs, storytelling workshops, daytime sets, a young tellers showcase, a Story Slam and a main stage performance or concert, all centered around stories and storytelling. Tellers from across Canada perform. As a guest of the festival you experience storytelling in its breadth and depth — its diversity of stories, venues, audiences and presentation styles. During the Story Slam, professional and burgeoning storytellers and writers performer 5 minute true(ish) stories with no notes. You, the audience, pick the winner. The Story and Song Concert is performed by a keynote teller who tells an epic tale in story and song. And the workshops for storytellers teach the craft and tricks of storytelling. The 2017 theme is “150 Golden Threads”.

Latest update: 2017

Know of any special festivals, fairs, courses or events we should post here? Share with us and we’ll share it with the rest of the Group.

Aside

Event: An Afternoon With the Authors

Featured

Tags

Event: An Afternoon With the Authors

Where: Audreys Books, Edmonton, Alberta (venue changes yearly)
When: May 28, 2017, 2:00 pm (date changes yearly)

An Afternoon With the Authors hosts the finalists of the Alberta Literary Awards. Join these authors as they deliver short readings from their nominated works. Refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase and signing.

Latest update: 2017

Know of any special festivals, fairs, courses or events we should post here? Share with us and we’ll share it with the rest of the Group.

https://writersguild.ca/events/an-afternoon-with-the-authors-2/

Aside

Event: Nonfiction Writers’ Conference

Featured

Tags

Event: Annual Nonfiction Writers’ Conference

Where: Online via phone or Skype
(open to Americans, Australians, British, Canadians, Irish and Netherlanders)
When: May 3 – 5, 10 am – 4 pm (MST)

The Nonfiction Writers’ Conference is a great place for writers to annually network and learn about the craft of non-fiction writing. With fifteen 50-minute sessions, presented by top speakers over three days, the conference covers topics intended to shorten your learning curve and give you valuable skills for writing, publishing and promoting your non-fiction books. It incorporates powerful sessions that will help you build profits around your books with revenue-generating strategies, such as ebooks, coaching programs, blogging, social media, professional speaking and much more. And it shares the pros and cons for both self-publishing and traditional publishing.

Latest update: 2017

Know of any special festivals, fairs, courses or events we should post here? Share with us and we’ll share it with the rest of the Group.

Welcome to the Write Group

Featured

Tags

Hello,

Welcome to the Write Group blog. Enjoy your visit and take your time perusing our posts and pages.

The Write GroupThe Write Group is a community of writers who mutually share and discuss our poems, stories, novels, essays, columns, articles, histories and memoirs. We are essentially storytellers and storymakers. Between meetings we write; sometimes, we also work at day jobs, enjoy our leisure and spend time with our families.

This blog is our attempt to reach out to our members and the public. We offer prompts, competitions, market information, events local and specific to us, our newsletter, our Write Group Daily newspaper, our member posts, our Twitter feed, and other material and resources.

If you are interested in who we are and what we do, check out Our Story in the menu above.

If you are interested in what we are doing this month, check out our monthly roundup page. As with most parts of this blog, this page is continuously being greened.

We love feedback. If you have comments or questions about our blog that don’t fit a specific post or page, please connect with us through our guestbook.

Come join us. See what we have to offer and partake of the resources we gather. Most of all,

Enjoy and keep writing,
The Write Group

World Creation: A Book From a Map

Tags

, , , , ,

This post is reblogged from my writing blog, Stefras’ Bridge.

Stefras’ Bridge

For fifteen minutes after every lunch when I was in grade six, from her desk in the far front corner of the room, Penny Gwillim read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to our class. I was already a storyteller by then, but those stories read by Penny Gwillim inspired me to write.

Tolkien populated his world with story. Every named element — person and place — had a purpose and story built into it. Every horizon hid a land beyond. Each name and land had a history and significance. This built boundless depth and breadth into Tolkien’s world. And, as these persons and places overlapped, so their purposes and stories intertwined.

Today’s post is about world building. It is about creating endless story potential by mapping instead of outlining.

My favourite Tolkien quote is this.

A story must be told or there’ll be no story, yet it is the untold stories that are most moving. I think you are moved by Celebrimbor because it conveys a sudden sense of endless untold stories: mountains seen far away, never to be climbed, distant trees (like Niggle’s) never to be approached — or if so only to become ‘near trees’ (unless in Paradise or N’s Parish).

— J.R.R. Tolkien (1945)

He also extolled, in the same letter (1945), “the heart-racking sense of the vanishing past”.

Tolkien’s underscoring of names and unexplored-places-beyond-horizons with histories and stories, to me, is a powerful way to build worlds.

Plotting and Pantsing

I am a plotter and a pantser. I typically write short stories and poems on my computer with no plotting nor sense of where the story is going, other than the steeping inspirational idea. Many of these stories and poems comprise my best writing. They sing and dance for others and me. Long stories and “important” poems I sketch, write on loose-leaf, then after several versions revise and edit further on computer.

The sketch is my tool of choice: a quick list, map or outline of places, events, scenes and characters that I typically then ignore and pants around. On the continuum of pantsing to plotting, I believe most writers do some form of sketching a little in each story. Usually I sketch after I get a good start on a story.

A Sudden Insight

I have been writing several unrelated magical-realism shorts over the years. I label these as fantastic folktales. They are subtle stories, with that unmistakable undercurrent of impossibility and fantastic flowing through them. They are explorations of my imagination and my craft, vents of my passion. They have different styles, different characters, different premises, nothing really connecting them.

One morning a couple of weeks ago, I woke with the idea of creating a map for one of these stories. And to this map I added the landscape of another story, then another. Suddenly, these stories all fit together. They even had a chronology to them. Further, the map and story element connections suggested several connector and origin shorts. And under them was that hidden undercurrent of overarching fantastic which suggested it own story.

It seems so obvious, with that map and the similarity of the genre of the stories, that the stories belong together, that beneath them was a larger, suggested, untold story.

Several of the stories are ready for publishing. Others need fleshing and tweaking. But this is a project I am excited to pursue. This is a book I want to write.

It would be just if my first book contained a selection of my short stories, which each took a short while to write, rather one of my long ones that I have worked on and played with for so long. And to discover this potential in an odd urge to create a single-short story map is thrilling.

My Take on Plots and Maps

Plots come in many forms. Some plots originate from intuitive exploration (pantsing). Some from first drafts. Some from outlines. Others from maps.

Maps also build worlds (more) and, unlike the constriction of outlines, manifest unending stories, just like Tolkien’s names and horizons.

Every map is an outline to endless stories. Details and names infill a world with story. Horizons in space and history inspire a broader and deeper world and more story.

A Comparison of Outlining and Mapping

Outline maps out a story. Like a pathfinder of new lands and events, it explores the lands and events and chops a route through them. The path it picks clearly leads further travel through the lands and events. But it also restricts the possibilities of exploration. It winds from point A to point B, however complex the labyrinth of its trail. Further travel may head off the outline, but in doing so will clear its own route — its own outline — between A and B.

The outline is a good guide and even its winding and rolling trails and oxbow loops can be revised into a smooth road.

Map outlines a world. It does not blaze a trail from point A to point B, but instead suggests wilderness (forests, oceans, city blocks), encounters and adventure between and far beyond the two points. The map opens new places, new events and new context to explore — in fact, uncounted places and events, and burgeoning context. But more importantly it reveals endless new places, events and context to explore once the current story is complete. And a map can be grown. Its limits can be pushed deeper and farther beyond what the map revealed before. Horizons always have story beyond them. Unnamed places can always be named.

The map is an atlas of unending potential tales. It is not direct and smooth like an outline, but it reveals possibilities and twists the outline misses.

Used together, the map and the outline can guide the writer to and through grand stories. The outline unearths and shepherds a story. The map opens and reveals a world of stories. Just like Tolkien emphasized.

How do maps influence your stories and build your worlds? Join the conversation. Comment below.

Resources

World-building Resources

Culture-generating Resources

Map-making Resources

Reference

Tolkien, J.R.R. (1945.) Letter 96. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. First Edition, 1981. Carpenter, H. and Tolkien, C. London: George Allen & Unwin. P. 125. https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/the_letters_of_j.rrtolkien.pdf.