Ending the Drought


Prairie people know about drought. They’ve either experienced it or heard about it. “It’s so dry the trees are whistlin’ for the dogs.”  Writers also know about drought. Some people call it “writer’s block”, but to me a block is a temporary obstacle – something you need to find a way around or over and then you can continue on your way. A drought is a prolonged lack of inspiration, or desire to write, or both.

I’m in a drought. No new ideas have formed in my skies and no showers of words have fallen onto paper or screen for over a year. My drought began when my husband died, but drought can happen for a lot of reasons. I’ve tinkered with things I’ve written in the past, but I haven’t written anything new. And it’s time.

So, I’m looking for suggestions. How do you end a drought? If you’ve gone through it yourself, what did you do to get back to writing? If you haven’t gone through it, what do you think might work if you did?

I’m hoping this brainstorm will bring much needed rain. Thanks in advance!

Dianne Young is (was?) a picture book writer and poet and a soon-to-be retired educational assistant who lives in Martensville, SK.


Ed Willett’s online workshop: May 30, 2016

Ed Willett

Join award-winning author Ed Willett as he discusses Writing Young Adult Fantasy!

Where: SWG Office in Regina, SK (1150-8 Ave, Regina, SK, Canada)  OR at your very own computer or other internet device (see below for details).

When:1-2 pm, Monday May 30, 2016

What: Young adult fantasy is one of the hottest literary genres around. Join Edward Willett, author of The Masks of Agyrima trilogy for DAW Books and the Shards of Excalibur series for Coteau Books (among others) as he talks about how—and why!—he writes fantastical adventures for young people.

Who: Ed Willett is the author of dozens of fantasy, science fiction, and non-fiction books, as well as plays and newspaper articles. He is also a singer, actor, and director. For more about Ed, check out his website, http://edwardwillett.com/.

Instructions for Livestreaming:

Go to Livestream.com. To watch the event, you will first need to create a free account. Then open the page at 1 pm on April 25 and watch Ed’s talk. If you miss it, the talk will be available for about 2 weeks afterwards on livestream.

We plan to put it on youtube afterwards. Watch this site for details!


Many thanks to the Saskatchewan Writers Guild for sponsoring this talk with a Writing Group Grant.



Beverley Brenna: Writing about Diverse Characters

Beverley Brenna

Beverley Brenna

Join award-winning author Beverley Brenna as she discusses Writing the World for Today’s Kids: Diversity Essentials .

Where: SWG Office in Regina, SK (1150-8 Ave, Regina, SK, Canada)  OR at your very own computer or other internet device (see below for details).

When: 2-3 pm, Monday April 25, 2016

What: Ten tips from SK author Bev Brenna about writing for today’s kids. Bev’s award winning fiction portrays characters with exceptionalities and her perspectives call for titles that reflect contemporary kids with diverse abilities.

Who: The author of over ten books for young people, Bev is also a professor specializing in children’s literature and reading at the University of Saskatchewan. For more about Bev’s work, check out her website at: http://www.beverleybrenna.com .

Watch on YouTube


Many thanks to the Saskatchewan Writers Guild for sponsoring this talk with a Writing Group Grant.



Potential Workshop Presenters: Who and What?

Paula Jane Remlinger talking about "Rhyme Crimes: What Makes Good Children's Poetry"

Paula Jane Remlinger talking about “Rhyme Crimes: What Makes Good Children’s Poetry”

The good news is…

that CANSCAIP Sask Horizons qualified to receive a writing groups grant from the Saskatchewan Writers Guild this year. We plan to use it to bring in two speakers to do workshops for us at the SWG office in Regina, on topics of interest to our Sask CANSCAIP members.

You don’t live in Regina? No worries–they will also be broadcast live right to your computer, AND recorded and put on YouTube afterwards so you can watch them any time you like.

We did one workshop like this last spring, with Paula Jane Remlinger talking about writing good children’s poetry. If you haven’t seen it, why not watch it now? (It takes about 45 minutes.) The point is, we know the technology works.

The question is…

who should we invite to do workshops, and what should they talk about? (Okay, that’s two questions.)

We can afford to bring in one speaker from out of Regina and one from inside Regina. Who they are will depend on what you are interested in hearing.

We had some suggestions at the General Meeting after the Prairie Horizons 2015 conference. I won’t put speakers’ names here, just topics:

  • Giving presentations to groups of different ages
  • How to create and pitch an illustrators’ portfolio for a publisher
  • The first five pages
  • Publishing your e-book
  • Using social media for marketing your book
  • How to do virtual readings

We need to have both presentations by the end of June. The first step is to figure out what we want to hear, and who should talk about them. So what do you think?

Rebooting the Online Discussion Group

Rutabaga raisin cookies

Rutabaga raisin cookies

I thought that picture would get your attention! But sorry, this isn’t a recipe page. It’s a New Year’s new beginnings page.

Yup, it’s time to pick up those good and productive activities that got left by the wayside sometime in the busyness of the last year (or so). In particular, the SK CANSCAIP online discussion blog posts. At the General Meeting after the Prairie Horizons 2015 conference there was general consensus that they were useful and should be re-started.

Just to refresh everyone’s memory, this is how it works.

  • Every month, someone volunteers to host the discussion. The host chooses a topic and writes a blog post on this website, then monitors the comments for a week or so and keeps the discussion going.
  • Any topic of interest to children’s writers, illustrators or performers is fine. Writing about your publishing experience is fine too, or a report about a conference or workshop that was helpful to you, or a question you have that others might be able to help with.
  • When your month comes, I will give you instructions to log in and post your topic. I will help if you need help.
  • Posts should go up around the 15th of the month.
  • That’s it!

Last time, we had discussions about research, libraries, publishing e-books, and more.

If you are willing to host a discussion, comment on this post or at the FB group link or email me at canscaip@gmail.com. I will make a list on the Moderators page so everyone knows which months are still free.

I will host the January topic, which will go up probably tomorrow. Talk to you there!


Conference Evaluation Form

Well, folks, Prairie Horizons 2015 is over–at least the part where we’re all together at St. Michael’s Retreat in Lumsden. The renewed creative energy and inspiration from the wonderful presentations will carry on, and so will the friendships. And Prairie Horizons will continue in September 2017.

We (Sharon and the organizing committee) hope you had a wonderful a time just like we did. But we would like to know what you really thought. If you didn’t fill out an evaluation form at the conference, please fill it out now. Download the Evaluation Form 2015 and email it to prairiehorizons@gmail.com. If you have any extra thoughts, please email those as well.

Thank you, and see you in 2017!


BGM Coming Up at Prairie Horizons Conference

The Bi-annual General Meeting of the CANSCAIP Sask Horizons will be held immediately following the closing session of the Prairie Horizons 2015 conference.

Where: St. Michael’s Retreat Centre, Lumsden

When: 10 am, September 20, 2015

We will review the events of the past two years and look ahead to what we might do in the next two. You can download a copy of the Agenda for 2015 BGM. A financial report will be available at the meeting.