It’s Over – Ontario Writer’s Conference Final Curtain

Ont-writers-conference-logoYep, you read it right. The Ontario Writer’s Conference closed up shop for the last time this past weekend.

For ten years it has been educating writers, connecting writers to agents and publishers, promoting writers and providing a venue to network with other writers and industry professionals.

As you can see the OWC was all about the writer.

Ya it’s pretty clear I ain’t no Hemmingway,
But I can write it, write it, Ya, I got lots to say.
‘Cause I got the words words that play up on the stage
And all the right junk on all the right pages. 

And while I didn’t go every year, it is still sad to see it go. For new writers, the OWC represented a… rite of passage, if you will. An event that made this particular (peculiar) writer, in 2010, feel like an actor walking onto the movie set for the first time. Meeting actors I watched on TV or in movies. Big time actors/actresses no less. In my case it was authors like Wayson Choy, Robert J. Sawyer, Neil Crone (an actor as well), Catherine Gildiner et al.

This year was different. This year I was co-presenting a Masterclass, Close Encounters: The Art of Writing Collaboratively, with Tobin Elliott. Somewhere along the way I went from writer wannabe to workshop presenter. People actually wanted to hear what Tobin and I had to say.

Imagine that.

A mere six years ago I struggled to call myself a writer. I felt like someone was going to see through my guise and find that I wasn’t qualified, that I was only faking it.

Somewhere along the way I found my voice. I found I could write more than 400 words at a time. Found that I could make people laugh, cry, and gasp in fear and that was a heady experience.

Like an addict I craved more reactions. I started in humour, moved to life moments and finally settled on horror/thriller.

And now here I am. Teaching collaborative writing based on experiences writing a Sci-fi Dystopian thriller with two writers in other countries (still in the works) and almost finished a dark Fantasy thriller with Tobin Elliott.

And, to put icing on the cake, winning the OWC’s Story Starters Contest for January.

What a way to ring out the last OWC Conference.

What’s that? You want to read my entry? Okay, if you insist. Bear in mind, of the two pieces I submitted, this, I felt, was the weaker of the two. It just goes to show, a writer is the worst critic of their own work.

The object of the contest was to write 100 words based on the picture. January’s was Moon Fruit by Annabelle Murray.

OWC Story Starters Contest January Moon-Fruit by Annabelle Murray

My paddle draws liquid kisses from the river as the distance rumble of the waterfall is nearly drowned by the cicadas call. The moon guides my way with glowing, cotton fingers and still waters reflect the firefly sparks.
But these are more than just fireflies. They fill the air, a kaleidoscope of colours that fill my head with the tinkling of minuscule bells.
The sound and colours overwhelm me with a sense of peace almost claustrophobic, encompassing all as the water dances along.
I close my eyes and give myself to them as my canoe slides over the edge.

And the one I liked better. Based on Sally Thurlow‘s The Fascinator.

OWC Story Starters Contest Dec- The Fascinator by Sally Thurlow

Absinthe, or Abby to her friends, always wanted to be a model. It was all she dreamt of since before she could remember.
But, family genes had a way of mucking with dreams.
She was “big-boned”, as her mother said, and carried her weight poorly.
When the old woman, in the strange booth on chicken leg stilts, at the fall fair offered her the amulet with the promise of three wishes, she didn’t hesitate.
She knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted to be just like her idol.
“I want to be Twiggy.”

So there you have it.

More writing news coming. Stay tuned.

As always, keep your pen on the page and your head in the clouds.


About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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2 Responses to It’s Over – Ontario Writer’s Conference Final Curtain

  1. sjclarke says:

    Great post. What a farewell conference it was. So glad you had such a positive experience.
    PS – As a writer who hasn’t managed much beyond 400 words a sitting these days, I’m not knocking it. Every word is another closer to the end of the story.

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