Summary of a Summit

There was no need to travel for the 2022 Summit of the Federation of British Columbia Writers on May 14-21. There was also no mingling with fellow writers other than seeking contacts via Zoom. However, the friendly facilitators and engaging presenters of three manageable sessions per day (morning, afternoon, and evening) made up for it. Here is a sample of my notes.

Hi-low Writing

Gail Anderson-Dargatz

It stands for high interestlow level. It’s directed to the educational market, children, ESL readers, and sometimes quick reads found in kiosks. The language should be clean and the protagonist clear. Adverbs are not welcome!

Blurring Genres

Helen Humphreys

The trouble is that readers of nonfiction stay with the first idea expressed and readers of fiction with the first character met. Blurring genres creates difficulty for publishers and bookstores. Stay in the genre!

The First Page

Tara Avery / Merel Elsinga / Kyle Hawke

Do not repeat the same words or feelings but move on. Be sure to keep with the story and not pack up the suspense either. Descriptions should lead to action!

Writing With Nature

Helen Humphreys

Focus on one thing and go back to it at the same time, for a few days, and observe the changes. Maintain a balance, don’t forget the human!


Yasuko Thanh

The technique can help writers find their best stories, by looking for a pattern:

  • Write for six minutes without taking your pen off the paper.
  • Take elements of the first draft that speak to you.
  • Select a center thought and branch out.
  • Challenge yourself to use as many of the words without adding any.
  • Tap into the subconscious instead of the logical!

The Meta-mission

JJ Lee

A memoir is not about the traditional literary arc, but a superimposed arc. Meta means beyond. It’s the balance between the writer, narrator, and character. The writer knows things that the narrator doesn’t know: he might tell from the standpoint of being still a child. The narrator must show a sense of purpose. The character is central to the story and the reason the story is being told. Think of the meta as the voice-over!

Writing About Culture

Niko Stratis

For online publications, writers must remember that where they come from is as important as who they are, professionally and personally. The skills acquired along the way serve their writing. Don’t overlook any of them!

Indie Bookstores

Book Warehouse / The Gold Rush Bookstore / Huckleberry Books / Russell Books

Owners say that the best way to get a book in readers’ hands is by recommendation, by asking an indie bookstore to order it. The owners are always willing to accept traditionally published books but hold back from self-published ones due to too many submissions unless they are from a local author. Consignment is not a favorite: some writers never manifest themselves afterward. Every copy sold counts toward building a writer’s reputation and history. Don’t give away free books!

Creative Nonfiction

Megan Cole / Daniele Geller / Naomi K. Lewis

It’s about how to be faithful and how to expand. Research should be transparent in narrative fiction and invisible in fiction, except for endnotes. Don’t overdo the structure, readers have a problem with that!

Making a Living as a Writer: Branding

Doretta Lau

It’s not about you, but about what you offer, the experience you give to the reader. It’s necessary to make a living as a writer. You can do that with a blog or a newsletter. Remember that writing is an art and a business!

What’s More…

Writing is a lonely activity. For this reason, it’s important to connect with other writers via summits or conferences. The writing life is not that of Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City!