Hornby Island’s Amanda Hale is a playwright and poet who has worked in journalism, screenwriting and is currently completing an opera libretto. But what she enjoys writing most of all are novels and short stories.
Hale’s fourth novel is in the midst of being written, as is her second collection of linked short stories. With those projects fresh in her mind the writer will give a presentation on novel and short story writing at Vancouver Island University on Oct. 17.
“A novel is a big undertaking but then it gives you a lot more freedom. It’s more like a loose weave rather than a tightly woven fabric,” she said.
“A short story is not an easy form. They say that poetry is the most difficult because it’s so condensed and nothing’s spare in it and a short story also is very challenging. But with a novel, even though it’s such a commitment, you do have more freedom with it.”
Hale said she will discuss the importance of inspiration and the “driving passion or curiosity” that prompts a writer begin their work. She said, “That is what will determine the right form for that particular story to make it really authentic and engaging.”
Hale said the biggest challenge she faced as a new fiction writer was finding an agent or publisher. When Hale started writing her first novel in the late ’90s she was fortunate to meet an editor at a writing seminar who believed in her work and helped connect Hale to a publisher. But after her book came out 2001 the company got out of the publishing industry and Hale was back to the beginning. Witnessing the rise of self-publishing on the Internet, Hale said now “it’s all about promotion and having a presence online,” in order to stand out.
Hale said she finds it helpful to listen to writers discuss their craft in a personal way and read from their work.
“I like to inspire people. When I was in university the people I learned from were ones who were an inspiration to me,” she said, adding that her presentation will avoid “the dry, technical lecture approach.”
“I’m not thinking of it as a lecture so much as sharing. Sharing something of my life as a writer and what it’s like for me and why I enjoy writing and the challenges that I face.”
WHAT’S ON… Writer Amanda Hale’s presentation on fiction writing takes place at Building 345, Room 103 at VIU on Oct. 17 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.