Instructor Janice MacDonald and Student Cindy Dextraze
Submitted by Lori M. Feldberg – Twenty-five writers gathered Sept. 22nd at Wetaskiwin’s Royal Canadian Legion to learn the popular craft of mystery writing. Edmonton author and educator, Janice MacDonald, was a vibrant and knowledgeable presenter of her craft. Her experience in teaching English, literature, and writing shone through in her ‘Characteristics of a Detective Novel’ presentation. As a many-times author of books including the Randy Craig Murder Series, she knows exactly what readers expect in a novel—and what any mystery writer has to deliver—including red herrings to heighten the tension of a well-planned plot and character roles that readers want to ‘slide into’ themselves.
MacDonald loaded us with information before lunch then sent us to create our detectives (not necessarily professional characters) and the locale to set our own mystery story in. Simultaneously she conducted highly coveted one-on-one sessions, giving everyone a chance to write and present ideas for her comments and suggestions.
MacDonald wrapped the day up with her own brand of ‘Tips and Tricks’, along with presentation and submission information. We learned that the 1st and 2nd drafts are NEVER our final drafts. She touched on topics such as working with the various Editors either self-employed or working for a publishing house and how writers should go about getting honest and valuable critiques of their work.
It was a full day packed full of information and fun. Participants from the membership of the joint Wetaskiwin sponsors–Lone Ridge Ink Shedders, Wetaskiwin Word Weavers, and Writer’s Wellspring–were joined by outsiders from as far away as St. Albert. It was a writing workshop that everyone enjoyed and learned at.
For more information on the writing groups call Lori at 780-352-3073.