Workshop on November 21: Short Story Writing

I will be teaching a writing workshop on short stories along with the amazing Lydia Peever at the November 21st meeting of the Ottawa Independent Writers.

The details:

WHEN: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 7PM (doors at 6:30)
WHERE: Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington Street, Ottawa
HOW LONG: 2 hours
COST: $10 payable at the event (free to members of the Ottawa Independent Writers)

Why take this workshop?

Have you always wanted to write a short story? Or are you looking to improve your skills? You’re not alone.

Short stories can be deceptively complicated little beasts. I’ve known a number of novelists say they’re harder than novels. This workshop will break down how short stories work, where to find inspiration, techniques to turn that inspiration into the story you want to tell, and how to get them published.

Meet and greet begins at 6:30, workshop at 7 p.m. Coffee, tea and snacks are included. If you’re not a member of the Ottawa Independent Writers, the $10 fee can go toward your OIW membership if they wish to join.

There is plenty of parking at the rear of the Community Centre.

 

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Rest in peace, John Dunsworth

Heartbroken to learn John Dunsworth, Mr. Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, has passed. Dunsworth’s portrayal Jim Lahey was tragic, complicated, sometimes inspiring, often humourous, and always indispensable in the storytelling. The perfect antagonist.

What’s remarkable is if you were asked to pick one word to describe Lahey, what would it be? “Drunk”? “Asshole”? “Tragic”? How about gay? Too often, “the gay one” is the defining characteristic of a gay character on television. (Hi, Riverdale!) Jim’s homosexuality was never his defining characteristic, and his rocky relationship with Randy was treated with no more or less focus, humour or respect than any other.

And how about “driven”? Lahey loved the park. While we side with the Boys, I think if a lot of us lived in Sunnyvale we might side with Lahey in keeping the gun-shooting, loutish drug dealers away from us and our kids.

Lahey was never a monster, but always his own worst enemy. Sometimes the voice of reason, sometimes the voice of The Liquor. But always the voice of shitisms.

Rest in Peace, Jim.

In the meantime, I invite you to read a blog post about why Trailer Park Boys is a much better show than it might appear on the surface.

lahey

Writing workshop: “Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats” at CAN-CON on Oct 13 in Ottawa, ON

I will be teaching a writing workshop on how to create and maintain tension in your story at CAN-CON in Ottawa, Ontario.

WHEN: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ noon
HOW LONG: 2 hours
FORMAT: Lecture with group exercises and hand-outs
COST: $20
REGISTER HERE

Why take this workshop?

Regardless of what you write, you need to hook the reader and keep them reading. “I couldn’t put it down,” is something we all want to hear. This can be through characters we care about, end-of-the-world stakes, will-they/won’t-they romance, or a plot that keeps unfolding new twists.

But have you been getting rejections like “Just didn’t grab me” or feedback saying it “Started too slow”? Do you have trouble figuring out what your main character should do next? Does your story start great and ends with a bang, but gets bogged down in the middle?

This workshop will help.

How will it help?

Tension is more than short, clipped sentences, the “ticking clock” or cutting between scenes. It’s making readers want need dying to know what happens next. This all comes from how you reveal and conceal information, and increase the stakes for your character. It’s not gimmicks, tricks or “on page 14, reveal the conflict” formulas. It’s solid writing techniques that can be used in any genre and any length of story.

What will you get out of it?

We’ll discuss:

  • How to structure scenes and the overall story so readers will keep turning pages
  • Techniques to make sure there’s always several things threatening your main character, driving them through the story
  • The various kinds of antagonists working against your main character, and why they are such a threat
  • How to keep upping the stakes if your character fails
  • How to stop using clichés, tricks and gimmicks that actually remove tension from your story

 

Story out in new anthology The Sum Of Us

16651594_10154976984491449_72596578_nI have a new story out in the anthology The Sum Of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound. “Good-bye is that Time between Now and Forever” is a brief story about a daughter travelling with her father to an appointment for doctor-assisted suicide. Except in this world, the dead rise.

The theme of The Sum Of Us is the burden that caregivers carry. Often forgotten or not valued, caregivers face challenges that too-often go unrecognized. This anthology hopes to change that. And part of the money raised from sales will go to support programs provided by Canadian Mental Health Association.

With a cover by Samantha Beiko and stories by friends Hayden Trenholm, Sandra Kasturi and Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, you can find links to where you can order the book on The Sum Of Us page on the Laksa Media site.

Cover for my short story collection It’s Not the End and Other Lies released

I’m very happy to show you the cover for my debut short story collection It’s Not the End and Other Lies. Published by ChiZine Publication (CZP), it is scheduled to be released in April 2018. The cover is by Erik Mohr, who has been doing the covers for CZP since the beginning.

After years of admiring CZP’s work, I am honoured and humbled to be joining their roster of writers.

More to come as a release date and table of contents is finalized.

CZP_It's Not The End and Other Lies

Writing workshop: “Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats” at Limestone Genre Expo on June 3 in Kingston, ON

I will be teaching a 2-hour writing workshop on how to keep readers on the edges of their seats at the Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ontario on Saturday, June 3, 2017. It will start at 3PM.

Why should I take this workshop?

This workshop is for writers of all genres who want their stories to be page-turners that readers can’t put down. If you have been getting rejections or feedback like “Started too slow” or “Just didn’t grab me”, this workshop is for you.

There’s more to maintaining tension than just writing short, clipped sentences, the “ticking clock” or cutting between scenes. Stories, and the scenes within them, have a structure. (And do not confuse structure, which is descriptive, with formula, which is prescriptive.) That is, we are introduced to a scene, something changes for our characters, and they move on to the next scene. This can involve saving the universe or looking for their car keys. To create tension, you need to understand how the pieces of this structure work—plot, pacing, characters, conflict, etc.

We’ll look at things like:

  • How to end a scene in a way that makes the reader want to keep reading, but by giving a pay-off and not “cheating”?
  • What kind of threats and challenges can you throw at the main character that aren’t tired, clichéd or too easy?
  • Who or what is working against your main character?
  • What is on the line if your main character fails?

I hope to see you there!

Schedule for Limestone Genre Expo 2017

Here’s my schedule for the Limestone Genre Expo, a multi-genre convention taking place June 3 – 4 in Kingston, Ontario. This is a new and growing convention that I hope you’ll check out if you’re in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto or upstate New York.

One highlight is a workshop on Saturday about how to build tension in your stories. I’ll also be doing a reading from The Sum Of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound, a great new anthology about the burdens caregivers must bear. My story, “Good-by Is That Time Between Now and Forever”, is about how do we care for the elderly and terminally ill in a world where the dead never stay dead.

Saturday

  • 10:00 – 11:00: A Bleak Future: Post-Apocalyptic And Dystopian Fiction (Room 1020)
  • 1:00 – 2:00: True Crime Leads to Crime Fiction (Room 1020)
  • 2:00 – 3:00: Why We Need Tales of Vampires, Werewolves and Ghosts (Room 1020)
  • 3:00 – 5:00: Workshop – Keeping Readers on the Edge of Their Seats (Room 1040)

Sunday

  • 11:00 –12:00: Oh the Horror! (Room 1010)
  • 3:00 – 4:00: Reading – “Good-by Is That Time Between Now and Forever” from The Sum Of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound (Room 1030)
  • 4:00 – 5:00: Historical Fantasy: Facts vs Imagination (Room 1010)

Schedule for Ad Astra 2017

Here’s my schedule for Ad Astra 2017, a sci-fi/horror/fantasy convention happening this weekend in Richmond Hill, Ontario (just outside Toronto). Some good horror programming on here!

I will also be doing a reading, but the timing for that is TBD.

Friday

7:00 – 7:30: READING
Markham B
I’ll be reading my historical science fiction story “A Shame That Binds Our Hearts, Binds Our Fate,” which appeared in On Spec, Issue #102 and placed 2nd in the Friends of the Merril short story contest. Stick around for Matthew Bin at 7:30. His novel Brendan’s Way (Bundoran Press) is launching Saturday at 9:00).

9:00 – 10:00: REVISITING JOHN CARPENTER
Richmond B
John Carpenter’s films have always had an audience in fandom, but recent years have seen a critical reappraisal of his work. In the words of Guillermo del Toro: “Carpenter creates masterpiece after masterpiece and they are often ignored.” Films like Halloween and The Thing are definitive horror films, but are they more relevant to cinema as a whole than previously thought? What other works of Carpenter deserve a closer viewing? (with James Bambury, Beverly Bambury, David Clink, Adam Shaftoe-Durrant)

Saturday

11:00 – 12:00: UNSETTLING THE READER AND CREATING FEAR IN HORROR
Richmond A
Works of horror necessarily disturb their readers with feelings of unease, revulsion, and fear. Easy to say, hard to do. What do horror authors do to create the negative emotions their readers are seeking? (with Derek Künsken, Jon Oliver, Alexandra Renwick)

6:00 – 7:00: UNSETTLING THE READER AND CREATING FEAR IN HORROR
Aurora

Publishers describe novels as a “supernatural thriller” or “novel of terror”, but is no one saying “horror” anymore?  Did the 80s heyday, and eventual burn-out, of horror novels ruin the term? Or maybe the onslaught of remakes of 80s horror film? Why aren’t we saying “horror” anymore? (with Anne Bishop, Beverly Bambury, Dean Italiano, Jen Frankel)

Sunday

2:00 – 3:00: FANTASY FROM TRILOGIES TO TELEVISION SERIES
Oakridges

Fantasy in the 1970’s and earlier was usually a stand alone book or a trilogy at the most.  Now it’s a megaseries of books often with a movie or television tie-in.  Once the little sibling of science fiction fantasy now dwarfs its sibling.  How did this happen? (with Jeff Beeler, Brandon Draga, Nicholas Eames, A.A. Jankiewicz)

A Plague of Immortality

It’s always a thrill when someone reviews your story and zeroes in precisely on the themes and ideas you were looking to explore. My hat’s off to Derek Newman-Stille for this review, where he barely touches on plot and nicely sums up the ideas of immorality, change and conflict through the lens of less-than-ideal small town life.

Speculating Canada: Canadian Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy

A review of Matt Moore’s “Innocence Prolonged, and Overcome” in Lazarus Risen (Bundoran, 2016)
By Derek Newman-Stille

Contagion narratives have been increasingly popular in our fiction, exploring the human fear of the microorganism, a tiny predator that can consume us without being seen. However, what happens when a virus gives us what we think we want? We are also a society who fears ageing, so what if a virus can end ageing?

In Matt Moore’s “Innocence Prolonged, and Overcome”, a contagion named the Grail Virus has spread,, killing the vast majority of people that come into contact with it, but granting immortality to a select few people. Because the virus is deadly to most people, this select group of immortals, frozen at the age of infection, have been cut off from the rest of society, quarantined in a small town.

Moore explores the image that is often projected onto small…

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Why you should dontate to 49th Parallels from Bundoran Press

Below, I’m going to encourage you to support Bundoran Press’ Indigogo campaign for 49th Parallels—their latest anthology of science fiction.

But I’ll start by saying: I don’t think crowdfunding is a stable or reliable business model for publishers. There comes a point where readers say: “Why do I need to pay for something that you, as a business, should have the money to produce?”

I’ll also say that I have supported and appeared in anthologies that have benefited from crowdfunding.

And here’s why.

First, the publishing business is becoming more and more challenging. Sometimes there needs to be a show of support from fans before publishers will take a leap of faith and publish. Also, short story collections and anthologies do not sell as well as novels.

And yet, it’s short story collections that provide readers a better option. Novels and collections by a single author are all or nothing. An anthology, especially a themed anthology, offers you many voices—a few of them are bound to resonate with you and make you believe your money was well spent.

This is where the Indiegogo campaign for 49th Parallels comes in. Bundoran has produced award-winning anthologies around thought-provoking ideas like life extension through technology, life on Earth 50 years after contact with aliens, and the effects of resource scarcity. 49th Parallels will examine how the world would be changed if Canada had been different sometime in the past. Think about it: Often, alternate timeline fiction has revolved around major powers. But Canada, a soft power, has influenced the world on many levels, but levels that don’t often make it into mainstream history.

49th Parallels will happen with or without the Indiegogo campaign’s success. What the campaign does is increase the rates Bundoran will pay for stories. Higher rates will attract the interest of leading science fiction authors who their livings from their writing. Do you want to see these leading voices sharing their visions of a future where Canada’s role in world events had a major impact? That is what donations will lead to: sharp minds, big ideas and amazing stories.

This campaign is not asking you to take a financial risk that business will not, but to attract the amazing stories we all hope to find in science fiction. I hope you will consider supporting it.


Upcoming Appearances

ChiSeries Ottawa: Charles de Lint, Paul Glennon and Liz Westbrook-Trenholm – Host
Nov. 7, 2017
Clocktower Brew (Basement)
575 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON
Nov 21st OIW: Short Story Writing with Matt Moore, Lydia Peever – Instructor
Nov. 21, 2017
Hintonburg Community Centre
1064 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON

Where Else to Find Me

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Email me at MattMooreWrites@gmail.com


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