Thanks so much to the Genre Fiction Group for the invitation to discuss writing comic books, historical inspiration and self-publishing today. You gave me 20 minutes and in classic me fashion, I spoke for an hour and a half. But to be fair, I did check in more than once and no-one seemed bothered about the time spent talking Group of 7 or the hero’s journey or pacing or story structure or archives or reddit or the evocative and emotional nature of history. Community groups (whether fiction writers or comic book creators) are such necessary cogs in their related machines, providing spaces for support, expertise, insight and sharing. Thanks for including me in yours today.
This was our second Book Bash go-around and this show is always a great time. I get to walk from my house and talk comics with locals on a leisurely Sunday accompanied by Wellington Brew and shawarma. Can’t go wrong. For two years running we’ve been the only comic book on offer amongst a sea of local releases. Some repeat customers came by to pick up Issue #2 while I had the opportunity to support the creative endeavours of others who have supported our book. Good people. Good event.
We can’t seem to stay away from Vocamus Press OR the Guelph Public Library. Earlier this year, Jason and I ran a workshop through Vocamus for teen storytellers at the library, so to be invited to the launch of anthology of teen storytelling (which includes a submission from one of our workshopees!) was a lovely gesture and we were honoured to participate. The mere fact that these storytellers have started their work decades before us (we were clearly doing other things in high school) is so impressive and the packed library of family, friends and supporters was an inspiring sight.
Yesterday, we had the pleasure of running a story writing workshop for teens at the Guelph Public Library. Sponsored by local book advocates Vocamus Press, the workshop had a fairly broad scope (see below) so we focused on what we knew and what we’ve learned over the process of creating and releasing Group of 7. As for our expectations, we weren’t sure how many would show up (five did – on their PD Day no less!) or what they wanted to get out of hearing two middle-age new-ish story creators talk about Star Wars, Margaret Atwood, mythologist Joseph Campbell, comic books, character development and plot devices. We asked each to pitch us their story ideas (which ranged from personal stories of struggle to dystopian sci-fi thrillers) and then discussed some techniques the writer could use to move their idea forward. By workshop’s end, the participants were noticeably more comfortable talking about their stories with us (then they had been at the beginning) and each other (it didn’t appear any of the five knew each other previously). The workshop ended with the group recommending stories / films / shows to each other based on which story interests were shared in the workshop.
“You haven’t seen the Goonies yet?!” 😮
So far, Group of 7 has taken us to elementary schools, high schools, comic clubs and now library workshops. Wild ride. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
Guelph has been good to Group of 7. Local press jumped on the concept when it was first launched publicly in early 2017 and local businesses (The Dragon, Royal Cat Records) and institutions (Guelph Public Library, Guelph Civic Museum) have been keen to help spread the word by providing a space for our promo postcards. Our first school presentation was at Central Public School and our first signing was (again) at The Dragon. Suffice to say, John McCrae’s hometown has given us a great deal of support so we were thrilled to be included in this year’s Guelph Book Bash, a celebration of local authors, creators, books and publications organized by Vocamus Press, a local non-profit that promotes Guelph book culture.
Any event that sells local craft beer (Wellington Brewery), falafels (Osmows) and is hosted right around the corner from my house has our stamp of approval. With any luck, as more issues are released over the next year, we’ll be invited back for the Book Bash’s 5th anniversary.