The Write Stuff

You may have noticed a trend on Readers Salon – we like to talk about books. A lot. You wouldn’t expect anything less from a library, of course. With over 1.2 million items in our collection (including DVDs, CDs, musical scores, and on and on …), we could spend forever recommending new titles to our patrons.

But this isn’t a post about reading books. This is a post about writing them.

Cover image of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Sure, it’s a literary classic, but how many Express Bestsellers does he have right now?

The shelves of the library would be pretty empty without the fruits of many authors’ labours, so we do our best to support them. We know that many of you out there are aspiring authors yourselves, and this month we’re inviting you to take advantage of all the great resources the library has to help you on your way to becoming the next James Patterson or Fyodor Dostoyevsky (depending on what your end goal is).


If you want to write a novel, there’s a good chance that you already know that November is National Novel Writing Month. Launched 15 years ago, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a month long project in which participants all around the world each attempt to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30. It’s an utterly mad way to spend a month, and most participants will tell you they’ve never been more frustrated or had more fun.

For those of you who have already started (or are crazy enough to jump in halfway to the deadline), the library has a plethora of resources for you. First and foremost, we invite you to Come Write In! Every Thursday in November, Millennium Library hosts an official NaNoWriMo Come Write In event from 7:00-8:30pm. Participants are welcome to hang out and write furiously in a focused environment with their fellow WriMos. And when it’s all over, you can celebrate together at the Thank God It’s Over! Party on December 6. For more details, check out the @The Library newsletter or call 204-986-6779. You can also visit the Winnipeg forums at

Cover image of No Plot? No Problem! by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty

No Plot? No Problem! by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty

If you’re looking for help on your NaNo novel, want to attempt something on your own, or are already planning for next year, we’ve also got good old fashioned books all about writing books, including the official NaNoWriMo book, No Plot? No Problem!, which you can find on library shelves or as an ebook! Although, given its popularity, it may be tricky to actually find it sitting on a shelf for very long … good thing we have plenty more to offer!

If you’re just getting started, try Story Starters: How to Jump-Start Your Imagination, Get Your Creative Juices Flowing, and Start Writing Your Story or Novel. For start-to-finish guidance, pick up How to Write a Novel or the highly reassuring You Can Write a Novel. We have advice for the self-deprecating and the self-assured, not to mention multiple genre specific guides for sci-fi/fantasy, romance, mystery, and even graphic novels.

Whew! That seems like a lot to do in just 30 days, and we haven’t even covered characters, setting, or dialogue. You may want to consider stretching it out to 90 days. Or maybe 6 months. Heck, take a whole year.

But wait, there’s more! Books are great for advice, writing exercises, and all kinds of tips and tricks. Tragically, though, no book has yet been written that can read your manuscript and tell you how it’s coming along. For that kind of personalized advice, you’re better off visiting the library’s …

Photo of Writer-in-Residence Di Brandt

Di Brandt


On October 1, the talented Di Brandt became Winnipeg Public Library’s 25th Writer-in-Residence. For the low, low price of FREE, you can send Di a copy of your manuscript (novel, short story, or poetry) and she will read it and offer you feedback on your writing. Di’s self-professed goal is to figure out what you’re trying to say and help you find the best way to say it.

For submission guidelines and more details, visit Submissions can be dropped off at any library branch, emailed to, or snail mailed to:

Reader Services
251 Donald Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3P5

Whether you take 30 days or 30 years, a finished novel is an accomplishment of great personal satisfaction. Which is totally awesome … for a while. Then you probably start asking yourself, “Now what?” The Library has an answer for that, too. You need to …

Start Your Writing Career!

Photo of freelance writer Kelly-Anne Riess

Freelance writer Kelly-Anne Riess

On Saturday, November 29, WPL is teaming up with the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada to offer three FREE workshops all about helping you become a professional writer. At 10:30am, Kelly-Anne Riess shares tips and tricks on being a successful freelance writer. As someone whose work has appeared in a range of newspapers and magazines, including the Globe and Mail and Canadian Geographic, she really knows her stuff.

Following at 1:00, Malene Jorgensen, who runs One Door Press, will talk about self-publishing – and profiting from it! Did you know that self-publishing in Canada is a really straightforward process? Malene will tell you all about it. Now you don’t have any excuses.

Photo of YA author Arthur Slade

YA author Arthur Slade

Wrapping up the day at 2:30 is the big one: authors Arthur Slade and Doreen Pendgracs talk about how they used crowdfunding to publish their most recent works, and offer advice on how you can do the same. Think about it: if people say upfront they want to pay real money for your book, you can publish it yourself and deliver the story directly to your readers without any middle man (or woman). Everybody wins!

For more details, check out the poster or call 204-986-6779.

So don’t wait. Get writing. Get learning. And get your book on the shelves of the library.


What do you think? Did you participate in NaNo this year, or apply for WPL’s Novel Writing Club? Are there writing events you’d like us to offer in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s