Edmonton Expo 2015 Writing 101 Panels

This weekend, the unusual suspects descend upon the Edmonton Expo with red pens and blue pencils for our famous Writing 101 Panels. I’ll be on hand only for the panels and the period between panels on Saturday, when I’ll photobomb as many cosplayers as I can surprise with my remaining ninja skills.

Speaking of those panels, witness:

Plots That Work
Friday 6:15 pm, Room 108
Eileen Bell, Barb Galler-Smith, Dave Gross, Nicole Luiken Humphrey, Amber E. Scott
Even with fascinating characters and awe-inspiring world-building, you still need a story to tell. From their own experiences with short stories to novels, local authors share their trade secrets and answer your questions about how to craft a plot that works for you.

Killing with Dialogue
Saturday 11:00 am, Room 108
Nicole Luiken Humphrey, Dave Gross, Andrew Foley, Eileen Bell, Amber E. Scott
“Here’s looking at you, kid.” “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” If you remember a line from a movie, it worked. If you remember a line from a book, it killed. Alberta authors discuss how to craft memorable dialogue, with or without extra cheese.

Building Alternate Worlds
Saturday 4:00 pm, Room 108
SG Wong, Nicole Luiken Humphrey, Dave Gross, Barb Galler-Smith, Amber E. Scott
Fantasy, SF, and horror all depend on worlds that are at least slightly different from our own. Published authors share their experiences building alternate worlds and answer your questions about how to create your own.

Finding Your (Narrative) Voice
Sunday 1:30pm, Room 109
Dave Gross, Andrew Foley, SG Wong, Eileen Bell, Amber E. Scott
First person, second person, past tense, present—so many choices! Veteran authors discuss the choices they’ve made in writing stories, novels, comics, and video games before answering your questions on how to choose exactly the right voice for the kind of story you want to tell.

2015 Writing 101 Crew Bios

Eileen Bell is a writer and editor living in Edmonton. Her debut paranormal mystery, Seeing the Light, was released into the wild last year, and the second in the series will be out in November 2015. Her short stories and anthologies have won Aurora awards, and she edits for On Spec magazine.

Andrew Foley has written, and even occasionally been paid to write, comic books, movies, and videogames, including the upcoming Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition expansion Siege of Dragonspear.

Barb Galler-Smith is an award-winning author and fiction editor living in Edmonton. She edits for On Spec and the new mystery and crime magazine Sleuth. She writes quirky short science fiction, and is co-author of a Celtic-based historical fantasy epic trilogy, Druids, Captives, and Warriors. She’s also taught writing fantasy and science fiction and mentors emerging writers of all ages. She loves fiction that gets the facts right.

Dave Gross edited magazines from Dragon to Star Wars Insider to Amazing Stories. He’s the author of over 10 novels, including the Radovan & the Count series, and many shorter works. His most recent releases are Lord of Runes and a story inGods, Memes, and Monsters. Monitor his shenanigans at www.bydavegross.com.

Nicole Luiken wrote her first book at age 13 and never stopped. She is the author of ten published books for young adults, including Violet Eyes and its sequels. Her latest release is YA fantasy Through Fire & Sea from Entangled Teen. Nicole also sidelines as an editor specializing in Story Structure. Nicole lives with her family in Edmonton, AB. It is physically impossible for her to go more than three days in a row without writing. www.nicoleluiken.com.

Amber E. Scott is a writer and game designer currently working for Beamdog. Her first novel comes out from Tor next year. Witness her at @BigMommaScott.

SG Wong is the indie author of noir-tinged, alternate history, ghost-filled, hard-boiled novels and short stories featuring Lola Starke and fictional Crescent City. She’s published two books in the series, the first of which was a finalist for an Arthur Ellis Award. Keep up with her at sgwong.com, @S_G_Wong, and on Facebook.

Writing 101 at Calgary Expo 2015

For the past few years, I’ve joined forces with a rotating group of authors, editors, and publishers to present writing panels at Alberta conventions. Next weekend we converge on the colossal Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo, where we enjoyed surprisingly large audiences a couple of years back. The lesson we took from that occasion was that people want a diversity of panelist background but also fairly broad entry-level topics. Thus, we’re reviving the “Writing 101” moniker and bringing writers, editors, and publishers from comics, novels, short fiction, video games, and films together to offer some basic tips. We’re glad to offer more specific advice in the Q&A.

For more on my co-panelists, check out the recent and upcoming Creative Colleagues posts.

Here’s our what, where, and when for next weekend:


Writing 101: Building a Mystery

Friday, April 17 @ 1:00 pm

Palomino AB

Designing a good mystery is like writing a story backwards, and only the author knows the true story before the big reveal. Our panelists share tips on constructing a “fair” mystery that keeps your readers guessing without making them feel stupid or deceived. Panelists: Margaret Curelas, Dave Gross (M), Axel Howerton, SG Wong.


Writing 101: Making the Super Seem Natural

Saturday, April 18 @ 4:30 pm

Palomino H

Whether your story includes wizards, ghosts, vampires, or other supernatural elements, you want to make them believable even as you create a sense of wonder. Our panel of authors and editors offer tips and anecdotes to help you blend the magical and the mundane. Panelists: Margaret Curelas, Andrew Foley, Dave Gross (M), SG Wong.


Writing 101: Maintaining a Dialogue

Sunday, April 19 @ 11:30 am

Palomino C

Without actors to provide your characters with an audible voice, you need to use the tools of printed language to bring their dialogue to life. Our panelists share their secrets and offer examples from their favorite writers on how to create written dialogue that expresses character without the benefit of an actor. Panelists: Andrew Foley, Dave Gross (M), Axel Howerton, SG Wong.


Writing 101: Editing Yourself and Others

Sunday, April 19 @ 3:00 pm

Palomino H

From both sides of the author-editor relationship, our panelists offer tips on how to remain open to change while preserving your vision. Panelists: Margaret Curelas, Andrew Foley, Dave Gross (M), Axel Howerton.


We hope to see you there!