100-Mile BOOK CLUB: Writing doesn’t have to be a solo adventure

Book reviewer Heather Allen explores local writing classes to help take those first steps.

Writing can be a lonely business. But thanks to a new series of courses offered at The Shatford Centre, it doesn’t have to be. Writer and editor Dawn Renaud is offering Novel Tuesdays, six fiction workshops on writing, editing, book design, working with contractors, self publishing and publishing online. The courses run consecutively on Tuesday evenings (6 to 9 p.m.), beginning in February.

Emerging writers can take just one course or sign up for the series. “Many people have a story to tell, and some are not sure how to begin,” says Renaud. “Others have found themselves bogged down at some point.”

Renaud adds that because not everyone can afford to hire an editor, these courses offer an inexpensive opportunity to gather ideas and spark inspiration.

In addition to teaching and writing for magazines, Renaud started her own publishing house, d’Elan Publishing, in 2014. The business began as a joint-venture with local writer Glenn Matheson, who has written two books with timely subject matter: The Dragonclaw Plot and The Naples Prediction.

Under the new imprint, Renaud published two of her own novels: Finding Grace and Rain Dance, which was originally an award-winning short story. In that book, Penticton’s Government Street has been torn up to replace storm drains. At the same time, an abusive husband disappears. Was the deep ditch an opportunity for someone to carry out and conceal the perfect murder?

“After several years of helping other authors improve their manuscripts, I thought it was time to dig out my own,” says Renaud. “It was great fun to read something I had forgotten, and far easier to be objective about revisions.”

Both of Renaud’s works are under 200 pages. While she says that traditional publishing houses still prefer longer works, she purposely writes shorter fiction.

To learn more about the courses or to sign up, visit www.osarts.com, call 250-770-7668, or drop by their office at 760 Main St.

Heather Allen is a book reviewer living in Penticton


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