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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Manitoba Writers' Guild, Rocks!
Sheldon Oberman
The Manitoba Writers' Guild offers many workshops, masterclasses, and information sessions on writing and the publishing industry.

They also offer the highly regarded Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program. Through a submission process the selection committee pairs mentors with apprentices and I was honoured to be selected as an apprentice in 2013.

The experience changed by writing life.

And as if being accepted wasn't enough of a thrill, I was paired with Carolyn Gray, now Executive Director of The Guild. Under Carolyn's gentle guidance, I ditched 14 of my darling chapters, replacing them with better written, faster paced scenes that actually contained plot!

Yes, plot peeps. Every story needs one.

My goal, which I stated with firm conviction and a wavering voice at the "meet and great", was to come out of the program with a submission-ready, young adult manuscript. Carolyn worked tirelessly, always questioning, but never fixing my writing. One word scrawled along the margin was all I needed to reexamine the text;

Motivation? POV? 
or my favourite...

And then came the dreaded, square brackets.

If I found [around any text] it was a recommendation to delete that sentence, phrase, or paragraph. We'd discuss the passage and explore it's importance and 99% of the time, out that bit would come. Carolyn taught me to recognize my bad writing habits and how to write cleaner and tighter, without losing voice. I will always cherish the hours we spent editing and laughing at McNally's Prairie Fire Restaurant as we scoured every word I'd written.

Now, I am proud to say, "our" work has been picked up by
Great Plains Publications

Forever Julia is to launch in spring 2015, all thanks to The Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program and my mentor and dear friend, 
Carolyn Gray.
"Lady Gray"

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