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Writing Commercially Successful Fiction: A Four-Hour Master Class with author Robert J. Sawyer!

March 20, 2021, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

WHO: Robert J. Sawyer

WHAT: A four-hour Master Class on writing Fiction, open to WANL Members only.

WHERE: taking place virtually via Zoom

WHEN: Saturday, March 20, 10:00 a.m. NST

Master Class Schedule:

10:00 a.m.: “A Thematic Approach to Writing”:

When asked what the first thing she looked for in a book proposal was, Cynthia Good, former publisher of Penguin Canada, answered, “A way to get the author on TV.” Learn how to make fiction just as newsworthy as nonfiction by carefully honing your theme: the thing you want to say. Many of the biggest bestsellers — including Dan Brown, John Grisham, and the late Michael Crichton — are thematically driven; this top-down (central idea) rather than bottom-up (starting with a character) approach is the best way to create a book that will get media attention.

11:00 a.m. Character:

Writing fiction is the art of dramatizing psychological principles. Learn how to develop characters that are believable and that best suit the theme you are trying to explore; discover how to make likable protagonists but also believable, rather than cardboard, antagonists.

12:00 Lunch Break (one hour)

1:00 p.m. “Showing, Not Telling”:

Everyone knows you’re supposed to show, not tell — but what does that mean exactly? How do you convey information without coming out and saying it? How can you show emotion without naming it? And when should you tell instead of show?

2:00 p.m. “The Writing Life: Past, Present, and Future:

Rob sold his first short story in 1980, his first of twenty-four novels in 1990, and he has been a full-time writer for twenty-seven years now. Join him as he looks back at lessons learned from decades in publishing and looks ahead to the future of how writers might continue to make livings in the decades to come, including an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of self-publishing and the ebook marketplace.

3:00 p.m. Adjournment

About Robert J. Sawyer:

Robert J. Sawyer is a member of both the Order of Canada(C.M.) and the Order of Ontario(O.Ont). He is one of only eight people (and the only Canadian) ever to win all three of the world’s top awards for best science-fiction novel of the year: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
According to the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards, he has won more awards for his novels than anyone else in the history of the science-fiction and fantasy fields. Rob has sold 24 novels to major publishers, includingFlashForward, the basis for the ABC TV series of the same name.
Quill & Quire, the Canadian publishing trade journal, calls him “one of the 30 most influential, innovative, and just plain powerful people in Canadian publishing.” Rob has published in both of the world’s top scientific journals, Science (guest editorial) and Nature (short story), and he is a member of the scriptwriters’ unions Writers Guild of Canada and Writers Guild of America.
He holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree (B.A.A.) in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University in Toronto (1982) and Honorary Doctorates from Laurentian University (D.Litt., 2007) and the University of Winnipeg (LL.D., 2014).

Times and Locations

March 20, 2021

10:00 am