Monthly Archives: April 2015

University of Toronto, Creative Writing Certificate

Last year I finished up the Creative Writing Certificate online through the University of Calgary.  The instructors were great. Looking at their other writing certificates, I realized that with only three more courses I could also get the Marketing and Public Relations certificate. I’m just working on the last one now.

Glutton for punishment that I am, I discovered on Friday that the University of Toronto also has a Creative Writing Certificate that can mostly be done online.  All, depending on the courses. While I totally enjoyed the U of C program, Toronto seems to have quite a few course options that Calgary doesn’t offer.  I registered for one of the courses, starting in January 2016.  Might actually take one earlier as I’ll be finished the current program in June.

Some of the options I can pick from at Toronto include Comic and Graphic Novels, Dark Fantasy (possibility), Historical Fiction (have to take that one), Mystery and Suspense Writing (another on my list). While Calgary has a Novel course, which I took, Toronto also has an advanced level for the Novel. You can also take screenwriting, or playwriting, as well as writing for TV.

As I said, the instructors at U of C are great, but it looks like U of T has so many more options to pick from. I think I will probably end up taking more than the required courses as there are just too many I’m interested in. They have a freelance program too.

University of Toronto, online Creative Writing

University of Toronto, Freelance Writing

U of T


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Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Writing

Ontario Writers Conference 2015

Another writers conference has come and gone. With the exception of the first one (don’t think I was writing then) I’ve been to them all. Once again Dorothea Helms was the emcee, and she was great – of course.

The conference has workshops/lectures that you sign up for at registration. The line of up speakers was stupendous. I attended the workshops with Andrew Borkowski (Delicious Dialogue), Gwynn Scheltema (Does Size Matter?), and Larry Krotz (The Story Telling Animal). I’ve attended workshops run by Gwynn before, and I’ve heard Andrew speak as well. Always a treat. Don’t recall if it was at one of his workshops at a past conference, or if he was just speaking. Other speakers this year included Sam Hiyate, who is an agent and also teaches at the University of Toronto. Terry Fallis – I’ve heard him speak before too. Always entertaining. Linden MacIntyre, co-host of the fifth estate turned author was a key note speaker and our dinner speaker was Paula Todd. She is the journalist who found Karla Homolka. And we can’t forget Wayson Choy, the honorary patron – author and teacher. All in all, a wonderful group of people.

This year I saw several familiar faces in the crowd. Some I actually know, others I only recognized from other conferences. The place where they hold the conference is beautiful – Deer Creek Golf & Banquet Facility in Ajax. The grub ain’t bad either. 🙂  Yes, for the price of the conference you get a hot lunch, water and coffee during the day, and cookies and cake at afternoon break.

Blue Heron Books had a table set up. They frequent the events that are put on by Writers’ Community of Durham Region, as well as the Writers’ Community of York Region (which I belong to). They can be seen quite often at local writing events.

Next year’s conference is scheduled for April 30/May 1.  The Friday evening before is the Festival of Authors. That’s something I have yet to attend.  Mark your calendars if you are in the area. It’s a great place to network and hear from a great bunch of speakers.


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Filed under Nanci Pattenden, Writing

Extra time to kill – sorta literally

For the past couple of weeks I’ve actually been in a position where I’ve been able to write quite a bit. Generally, I write in the evening or weekend in front of the TV. And not every day. Shameful, I know. I’ve managed to go from about 30% to over 60% the way through the second Detective Hodgins book. I actually started this one last year as part of an assignment for the writing courses I was taking. That 30% (less actually) sat for a long time. I’ve added to it a bit over the past couple of months, but in just two weeks I’ve doubled it. Part of that time has been spent doing research, not just putting ink to paper.

index No, I don’t outline and do all my research before writing. I’m one of those people, as I’ve mentioned before. I have a general idea of where I’m going, but that’s about all. It was only late last month that I decided who the killer was and why. You’d think I’d know that before starting, but no. I had one person in mind, but thought it was too obvious.

And in reference to the earlier comment about putting ink to paper, yes that’s what I do. I have a small notebook from Dollarama. It’s got a cute little kitten on it. I write, then type, write, then type. I’m doing my best not to edit as I go. That’s what I did for the first book, and it really slowed me down. I’m printing out the typed pages (double spaced of course), and putting them in a cheap binder. Just love Dollarama! I’ll admit to having a few marks on the pages, but not from editing. Just things I thought of to fix or add. I’ve even got a few things highlighted on the actual Word document that need a big re-think due mainly to being awkward.

OK, I guess my little break is over. I need to get the last 11k or so written so my wonderful editor can add her comments.

author at work

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, Writing

Death on Duchess Street

Been having some down-time at work lately. It’s rather boring, but the good thing is it gave me time to write. I’ve managed to get almost half way through the first draft of book two in the Detective Hodgins Murder Mystery series. A couple of weeks ago I had an epiphany and figured out who the killer is. It’s always nice for the author to know that.

Unlike other writers, I don’t outline to death (no pun intended). I have a general idea and go with it. I figure things out along the way. That makes me a ‘pantser’. Sometimes my research leads me on a specific path. Other times I have to determine which path to take. I hope the route this one is going satisfies my readers.

I need to get the first draft done and go over it at least once, (or twice) then send it off to my editor. I’ll be at Word on the Street in Toronto on September 27, 2015. I’d like to be able to have two books to sell instead of just the one. With any luck I’ll build my readership at that event. That means having it written, edited, revised and off to the printers by the middle of August at the latest.

Now all I have to do is get through the first draft.

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, Writing