Monthly Archives: July 2014

“An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green

an_abundance_of_katherines_by_gogocow108-d5pa8d4An Abundance of Katherines by John Green was an unexpected journey. It was delightful, but it was one of those books where the jacket description didn’t match up entirely with the narrative between the covers. That being said, read it! If you like John Green, of whom I am a recent admirer having just completed Looking for Alaska, you will like Katherines.

Much like Alaska, I read Katherines during the summer months and felt drawn back to my youth in a summer-camp-esque way. Reading it was like being, not only on a mental vacation, but a physical one as well. I was drawn into the world of Colin, Hassan, and Lindsey Lee Wells as they spent part of their summer in Gutshot, Tennessee trying to maximize the waning days of their adolescence before having to make “real” decisions in the “real world”. I know I am not alone when I wax nostalgic for those seemingly endless days and months of my late teen years when I craved independence only to realize now that I had the best parts of it, without the “bullshit” – for lack of a better term – that comes with actual independence and “adulthood”.

So, yes, read it!

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Writing Exercise: “Wait” by M83

Just heard this song for the first time today and can’t turn it off. It’s pretty much perfect for a montage scene. At least I think so.

So the writing exercise? Wherever you are, stop. Turn this song on and listen. Listen to it and develop your montage. If you are on the street, you have a stock load of characters just walking by. Maybe everyone within your vicinity is connected in some way. Sounds like great montage fodder to me. But wherever you are, stop, listen and then write a montage.

Enjoy!


Brett Heard

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Brett Heard of Fresh Baked Entertainment is doing things right. In recent months I have had the pleasure of viewing two of Brett’s collaborations –“See You Next Tuesday” and “Parent Teacher” – wherein Brett takes material that has been workshopped with local Toronto artists and turns it into a short film for our pleasure. These shorts came out of The Comedy Development Workshop with Brett Heard and I will advise you to click on the embedded link for all the information you need about what Brett does specifically (and his other projects) as I fear I will not do it the justice it deserves.

What I want to speak about is how I love what Brett is doing. The workshop specifically, but also the general idea behind it is inspiring. I love that Brett is fostering local talent and helping make the creative dreams of both emerging and established artists come to the screen. This is vital for the development of creative people but also for creativity in general, and Toronto’s culture. To provide a safe space for people to perform with an intended, produced outcome, is something that benefits everyone, both directly and indirectly. The film you watch tomorrow might just have been incubated in a workshop such as Brett’s.

If you want to perform and meet like-minded creative people, sign up for Brett’s workshop. The hardest part of the process is putting your name in the hat. I have seen the results of two of his previous classes and by signing up you will be part of a great tradition. You will also have a lot of fun…and who doesn’t like that???

Please see the embedded links above and also these below:

Brett’s Twitter

The Comedy Development Workshop on Facebook


Weekly Writing Prompts vol.3; July 28 to August 3, 2014

Here’s what I’m trying to do with the Weekly Writing Prompts: Vol. 1

1) Write what happens next: “Unless you intend on spending the rest of your life atoning for this ridiculous turn of events, I suggest you apologize to her right now. As in, stop standing there like an asshole and go talk to her. NOW!” Elias waited a moment, making sure that Yvonne was serious and then…

2) Write a 3 sentence story about someone who literally thinks they are waiting for Godot.

3) Listen to the song “Runaway” by Troup and incorporate it into a scene between 3 characters.

4) Patricia just realized she dropped her metro-pass. Where, she doesn’t know, but Greg does because he picked it up and he is walking just a few steps behind her with the intention of finally having a reason to talk to the red-headed girl he sees every morning. How does their conversation go?

5) Write a series of 5 scenes that are connected by a feeling of absolute elation.

6) What if the “Peace Sign” was never created? Write a short origin story about its replacement.

7bf957678ef813_b8e2dce92cf16-460x3807) Look at the picture and answer these questions: a) Where the hell is she coming from? b) Where the hell is she going? c) What the hell is she thinking?


Weekly Writing Prompts vol.2; July 21st to July 27th

Here’s what I am hoping to do with this: Weekly Writing Prompts vol.1

Enjoy!

1) Write a 3 sentence story (think Beginning, Middle, End) about a manuscript submission to a Literary Agency.

2) “What, in the deepest level of hell, made you think that was a good idea?” Fiona said. And then…

3) A group of 4 characters must literally locate a needle in a haystack. A sniper watches their every move. Write one paragraph from each character’s perspective.

4) Just as Yvonne misses the bus she turns around to find ________.

5) Edward thinks he is the reincarnation of ________. Edward is a cat. Write a day in the life of Edward.

6) A researcher, who was online looking for a good recipe for vegetable lasagna, discovers that “42” is actually the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything (see Douglas Adams). What happens next?

7) 66374f4c73c112802fe5c02ecc11-220x380What happened right before and right after this picture (to the left)?


Weekly Writing Prompts Vol.1 – July 14th – July 20th

I recently had a couple friends ask me how to get over writer’s block and to spare you the details of many Facebook messages I basically told them to focus on writing something other than the subject about which they were blocked. That and that they should also read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield as it talks about “Resistance” in a way that makes writer’s block seem like the fallacy that it is.

So with that in mind I came up with the idea to post 7 writing prompts for the upcoming week. These can be done daily or all at once or as part of one story. Any which way you desire. The intention to help get people writing and thinking creatively in general. I intend on participating as well and posting whatever I come up with on the Sunday (or Monday) at the end of the week at which time I will post the 7 new prompts for the following week. I will also post whatever submissions I receive at that same time. Let it be known that these prompts are original material and that I make them up on the spot so anything resembling people, places, or things, living or dead is coincidence only. I don’t want to be sued for trying to help creativity. Alright…let’s do this!

1) Write a piece of short fiction that includes the line, “I have always looked good in the colour green.”

2) 340c7f82cfdf08421__3f885b661-220x380Who is the girl in the photo to the left? Who is she looking at? Why the candles? Who is she with? Where is she? Where was she? Where is she going?

3) Write a scene at a diner at 7am that involves 3 characters, each with a secret burning within.

4) Two people meet at a Farmer’s Market. What happens next?

5) After 10 years, Jake finally has a chance to make good on his biggest regret. Does he follow through?

6) Write a scene where sadness blankets a room.

7) Write a 3 sentence story that involves a song being overheard in the background.

If you want to send yours in, put it in the body of the email (no attachments) and I’ll post it here! Unless it’s a freakin’ novel. How about no more than 2000 words? I will never claim ownership of the work and will post it under your name and also list any contact details you might want to include (email; website/blog; twitter). I will promo your work on twitter so you can share as well. I will reserve the right to not post anything I find offensive, however, I do feel that my definition of “artistic license” is very broad so please send away. If I do not post anything I will send an email back explaining why. And if you become famous because of something posted here I will not come after you for royalties or any bullshit like that, but a shout out to this blog would be nice 🙂

You can send your submissions to: jtkwriting@gmail.com. Please use “blog submission” in the subject line.

Alright! Let’s get this experiment going! Thanks for reading!


#FringeTO Review

Well, another year and another 150 shows and another fantastic Toronto Fringe Festival!

Congratulations to all the performers, crew, volunteers, patrons and everyone else who played a role, big or small, in this year’s festival!

This was the first Fringe in which I immersed myself in the action and though I didn’t see as many shows as I would have liked – entirely my fault – I know that next year I need to go in with a plan and not go home.

What I learned and “re-learned” from Fringe 2014 (in no particular order):

-Networking is a real and easy thing. Sometimes it amounts to a casual chat over projects being worked on or just the weather, but during those chats connections are made and if the proper follow up is performed new and lasting connections can be grown.

-You never know who you’ll run into. One of my friends from a writing class I took a few years ago directed a play at this year’s Fringe and I received the pleasure of an invite to the performance which led to the pleasure of enjoying a fantastic hour of entertainment.

-Seeing great art spurs on creating great art. I felt a bit of a creative hangover today. Though I didn’t have any role in the Fringe besides enjoying the few shows I saw, writing a couple reviews and sharing some libations at the Fringe Tent, I felt motivated to write and plan out my next writing projects. The only reason I am writing this post right now and not lying in bed watching The Newsroom – great show by the way – is because I feel the motivation to keep my blogging, writing and creative momentum going. This was one of those days where Resistance was strong, but I beat it by thinking about the performances I saw and also the blog prep I did last week. I have a lot of posts ready to go and I look forward to sharing them as the summer plays itself out. I owe that to the energy and motivation I received by surrounding myself with the Festival and its participants. So, a hearty thank you to those involved! Continue reading


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