Tag Archives: Diana Gabaldon

Popcorn Anyone?

I’m late getting to my blog post. This is nothing new but what I am switching up this month is my excuse. I’m not going to blame work, kids or even the hectic pace of getting my household back into a routine for a new school year. Nope. My blog post is tardy because I’ve been spending every waking moment outside of work, kids and getting my household back into a routine for a new school year reading Written In My Own Heart’s Blood, the eighth instalment of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

I love these books.

The series follows a married World War II combat nurse who mysteriously finds herself transported back to eighteenth century Scotland. Think hot Scottish Highlander, time travel and epic historical battles.

If the release of the newest Outlander book wasn’t enough excitement for this wannabe Sassenach, a new television series adapted from the books launched in Canada on Showcase on Aug. 24. Think hot Scottish Highlander, time travel and epic historical battles brought to life!

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While some may not be fans of novel adaptations to the big or small screen, I am. And that’s a good thing because movie and television book adaptations are plentiful right now – my fellow RW Andrea even featured one in her last blog post. From Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black to The Hunger Games and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, it seems like there are more book-to-screen adaptations now than ever before.

For me, an adaptation is like Toy Story for adults. I get to see the characters and all the tiny details that live bottled inside my head come alive. And, in the case of a book like Outlander where it’s been more than a decade since I first read it, I have the joy of reliving my favourite parts of the story all over again. Think hot Scottish Highlander…okay, okay.

Granted, it doesn’t always work. There have been times after seeing an adaptation where I wished that I could shove those characters back inside the safety of my imagination and erase the movie versions. The Da Vinci Code comes to mind.

When it does work, it can be magic – the perfect word to describe one of my favourite book adaptations, Harry Potter. I was in my thirties when I read this series but that did not take anything away from the sheer thrill of seeing JK Rowling’s oddball sets and characters made real. The screen versions of her books surpassed my imagination.

The good news for us book adaptation lovers is that the trend is not slowing down any time soon. There is a long list of new movie adaptations set to hit the screens in 2015. I am especially looking forward to Still Alice.

In the meantime, get writing. The time has never been riper for the chance to see your characters and their stories given life.

What are some of your favourite book adaptations?

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Filed under Books and stuff

Countdown to SiWC

Surrey, here we come!It’s less than a month until the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC). Here’s what I’m doing to prepare:

Logistics: This is all the stuff that makes it all feel real—booking a hotel room, buying plane tickets, figuring out how the heck to get from YVR to Surrey without breaking the bank or getting lost in the public transit puzzle.

Reading: I love it that my favourite pastime can also be considered pre-conference research. I’m booked into a Blue Pen Café session with Canadian author Tim Wynne-Jones, so I am reading his latest, “The Uninvited,” and two of his Rex Zero books. Ian from A Different Drummer Books will be ordering me a few other Wynne-Jones titles, just in case.

Writing: For my session with Wynne-Jones, I have to decide which piece I’d like critique on. Should I pick one of the short stories I currently have under way? A chapter from my novel-in-progress? Or do I write something brand-new to put under the microscope? Decisions, decisions…

Learning: And more decisions! Which workshops do I want to sign up for? Are there specific authors I want to hear from (Graphic Novels with Diana Gabaldon)? Or is there a particular topic that is relevant to something I’m working on right now (Creating Characters that Jump off the Page with James Scott Bell)? Or something else that piques my interest (like Steampunk Spotlight with Arthur Slade)?

Connecting: Most of all, I’m gearing up to meet other writers, especially those who I’ve met virtually via Twitter and the Restless Writers’ blog.

Are any of our blog visitors heading out to SiWC? Are any of you SiWC veterans with tips for us newbies?

Maria

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Filed under Author events, Motivation

Making the most out of a writing conference: Five tips

The Restless Writers are planning to attend at least part of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC) in October. This highly respected conference is a whirlwind mix of workshops, keynote speakers, master classes, trade shows and editor/agent appointments, plus a Blue Pencil Café where writers can connect directly with speakers.

The speaker line-up is exciting—Anne Perry, Jack Whyte, Diana Gabaldon, kc dyer, Tim Wynne-Jones—plus there’s a whole host of editors and agents from the literary and film industries, all hoping to sign some great new talent.

I’ve just been through two jam-packed conferences (the Indexing Society of Canada annual conference in Montreal and the Canadian Public Relations Society annual conference in Regina), and I’ve picked up a few tricks to make the most out of any conference experience:

  1. Rest up…you’re going to need it: Most conferences pack heaps of activities into two or three days. So take your vitamins, boys and girls, and get a lot of sleep beforehand.
  2. Have a learning strategy: Decide what you want to achieve at this conference. If your current WIP is an agent-ready non-fiction proposal, focus on maximizing your time in those one-on-one appointments. If you’re still in the first-draft stage, plan to check out “Creating Memorable Characters” or “Worldbuilding.”
  3. Reach out at the networking events: Even if you’re not the schmoozing type, take a deep breath (and some mints) and start talking to other conference attendees. You might find yourself befriending an editor who works with the agent you’ve been trying to snag, or a picture-book writer who knows some phenomenal illustrators. One serendipitous meeting might be the best thing that happens to you.
  4. Be inspired: You’ve just heard Robert McCammon talk about perfecting dialogue and you’ve had a breakthrough on a key scene. Go ahead—skip lunch to spend some quality time with your laptop. This is why you’ve used valuable vacation days to attend this conference. Get writing!
  5. Review and reflect: You’ve just had three days of intensive workshops, stimulating conversations and the odd epiphany. Don’t let it go to waste. Take some tips from 8-bit Holly, and act on what you’re learned.

If any of our readers have tips for making the most out of our experience at SiWC, we’d love to hear them!

Maria

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Filed under Author events, Writing resources