A few weeks ago, I attended my first Creative Ink Festival for Writers and Readers in Burnaby BC.
It was a packed weekend—sardine-worthy in terms of overflowing workshops and sessions. As for the content of said workshops and sessions, it was a smorgasbord of inspiration, consternation, and passionate presenters who didn’t always agree with each other.
The wide range of opinions was both fun to observe and challenging to think upon.
At times—especially when it came to speculative fiction—it reminded me of the Rorschach (ink blot) test.
Translation—be a discerning sponge. Soak it all in, and expect to sift and winnow your gleanings.
One of the surprises awaiting me was when someone told me my newest novel-in-progress, The Shroud, wasn’t a supernatural thriller after all. “It’s clearly YA (Young Adult).”
I have nothing against YA. A lot of great speculative fiction can be found there. But I wasn’t aiming for that audience. But hey—I decided I should take in the YA session later that day, and find out more. Just in case.
The YA lecture covered myths and misconceptions about the genre, as well as—super helpful in my case—a list of what YA is and isn’t. And I walked out of that class with a definite answer to my question. (I’m not YA.)
The Red & Blue Pencil
Inquisition consultations were not the bloodletting I was bracing myself for. The insightful (fellow) writers who critiqued my work provided a remarkable combination of pull-no-punches bluntness, no-nonsense diagnosis, and encouraging suggestions. Ditto for my first-ever “pitch” at a conference.
The consistent highlight throughout the Festival was the camaraderie. Attending workshops and keynotes, the slush-pile sessions, Q&A with seasoned authors, hanging out for brews later in the evening—the whole weekend felt like a tribal home-coming. These are my people.
The Creative Ink Festival was like pouring gasoline on fire. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Festival. But in the meantime, the writing of more speculative fiction beckons . . .