On Saturday June 13, 2015 I was blessed with an amazing opportunity to do a writer’s workshop with author Kelley Armstrong . There were only 35 other people in attendance and it only cost $49 for 6 hours! (Someone really fell down on the advertising of this thing and all I can say is YAY!)
By fluke, I went on my Meetup account on June 12 to last-minute sign-up for a Meetup that night ‘cause a friend wanted me to hang out. I’m in a couple writers’ groups and my calendar mentioned a Meetup with Kelley Armstrong! I was blown away. Then I happened to notice there were only 8 people signed up. I couldn’t believe my luck!
I’m a Meetup junky by the way. Love getting out with new people and trying new things! If you’ve never heard of Meetup you have to check it out. You can find all kinds of different, local groups (in Canada & USA for sure) of people doing a variety of cool stuff.
I’ve gone shooting with a Meetup group, gone to writer’s discussions and critique groups and I go to several spiritual groups (like mediumship and energy healing) too. I enrolled the mother-in-law in a senior’s group and one of my close friends has been to some really diverse groups like aerial yoga and foraging for natural remedies in the forest. If you enjoy something, there’s probably a meetup for it and if there isn’t there’s nothing stopping you from starting one! Just PLEASE be smart and safe when going out with a group. I can’t stress this enough. Make sure people know where you are and when you’ll finish up. I’ve never had a bad experience, but I’m still cautious. Better safe than sorry.
Back to the workshop…
The Meetup group is called Quick Brown Fox Writers (in Toronto) and the meetup for June 13 was called “How to Write a Bestseller workshop with #1 bestselling author Kelley Armstrong”, hosted by Brian Henry. You can find his blog Quick Brown Fox here.
Brian ran a writing workshop in the morning going over elements of plots, scenes, characters and other story elements. He then gave us half hour to write a short story. I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself genuinely enjoying the morning. In the afternoon, once Kelley had left, Brian had us sit with a partner and read what we’d written. I’ve always loved the process of editing while reading aloud and found this exercise beneficial.
Being a writer, so much of what we do is in isolation. I find talking to other writers about writing is essential to bettering my writing. It’s also really nice to share experiences with people who “get” you.
Kelley arrived after the lunch break and stayed for about 2 hours. Her main talk was about opening scenes. Clearly it’s a subject she is passionate about and she has a very clear way of sharing her knowledge. She mentioned that she’s teaching a weeklong writing course at the University of Toronto and after what I saw of her on Saturday I wouldn’t hesitate to take her course.
She then opened the floor up to questions and with such an intimate group everyone who had a question had a chance to be heard. At no point did Kelley shy away from anything people asked. Her answers were animated, knowledgeable and quite often accompanied by her writing on a whiteboard.
People asked various questions about her writing processes, her career and the publishing business in general. Having 26 (her guesstimate) books published since 2001 she certainly is a fountain of information.
I had a fantastic day. Met some really cool people, learned quite a bit and had a chance to start a short story all because my friend wanted me to hang out on Friday night. Love the weird and wonderful ways that life shows up.
With Love and Gratitude until next time,