Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Resources for Writers

On Choosing Your Situation and Setting

The Place of (my) Place in Writing
Boardwalk
Before I started writing fiction, I'd written a lot of non-fiction. Yet despite reading mainly fiction, I had no idea how to write it. I often tried to think of something to make into a story, struggled to conjure characters or scenarios to thrill or inspire readers…or at least not put them to sleep. Nada.
 
Then I read an article in Writer's Digest magazine. Perhaps the three hundredth article. It was written by a woman in the southern U. S. who described how her home region provided the inspiration for all of her stories. She wrote about how the landscape filled her senses and her heart, thereby supporting her mind in the crafting of stories.
 
Suddenly I got it! That was how I felt about Manitoulin Island! I love the rolling farms and rocky fields, the waterways that dot and surround the land. And Manitoulin is full of characters whose character I understand and with whom I resonate. An unexpected door had opened for me, and in walked my first fictional protagonist–Samuel Blackmore, an old farmer whose life changes through time and relationships. That story is still one of my favourites.
 
In the years since, while creating numerous other characters and stories that spring from "my" island, I've gotten to know others who create works that grow from this land–potters and painters, dancers, photographers and, of course, writers. We talk about the Great Spirit of Manitoulin Island and how that Spirit nourishes our own. We talk about the cedar bush and juniper fields, the spectacular fall colours in a good year and the muted beauty of even the less extravagant ones. The alvars and the hundreds of miles of shoreline that support life and sooth our sometimes flustered spirits.
 
But mainly we talk about the feel of this place. What a wonderful gift.
 
Kate Thompson
Kate Thompson is a published author and speaker who lives in M’Chigeeng on Manitoulin Island. She has published four books and numerous stories, essays, poems and articles. Kate offers her Write into… series of workshops for adults, teens and children in various settings.

Resource Categories

Blogs on Craft

On the Building Blocks of Fiction

Tips on how to craft vivid scene that allows the reader to experience events right along with the characters.

On Finding Your Big Idea

Insights into the writing process and what a writer's day really looks like, as well as perspectives on research and writing from real life.

On Getting to Know Your Characters

Advice on the many ways you can make your characters come alive on the page for both you and your reader.

On Deciding on Point of View

What is the best perspective from which to tell your story? Writers discuss how they made choices on point of view and voice.

On Choosing Your Situation and Setting

Writers talk about how they use situation and setting to build story and convey emotion.

On Developing Conflict and Structure

From how to work in different genres to finding the real story, writers offer good advice on building conflict and structure.

On Revising

Tips on how to gain distance from your work and to how to re-imagine your next draft.

On Publishing

Writers offer practical advice on the business of writing and promotion, and on the importance of finding a writing community.

On Making a Living as a Writer

Writers offer words of wisdom on living on less.

On The Writer's Life

Writers talk about their life as a writer.

About Gail

Gail's novels have been national and international bestsellers and two have been short-listed for the Giller Prize, among other awards. She works with writers from around the world on her online teaching forums.