July 30 Drop-In @ Surrey Muse Writers


July 30/16
11am – 1:30pm
Resource Person Toni Levi
Facilitator Sonja Grgar
Co-Facilitator Helga Parekh
Waves Coffee, Gateway Skytrain, Surrey
To participate just show up
Donations Welcome
Free bi-monthly drop-in

Surrey Muse Writers (SMW) is a drop-in for writers to present work, exchange ideas and provide feedback to each other in order to facilitate the development of creative writing projects. Guidelines are in place for a respectful, positive, warm and inspiring interaction.

Antonia Levi is a novelist and an acclaimed author of non-fiction because of her first book ‘Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation’ published in 1990. A sequel Boys’ Love Manga came out in 2010. She is working on two novels, A Death in the Buffyverse, and A Death in the Bob. Antonia holds a Ph.D. in Modern Japanese History from Stanford University, and she has taught at Portland State University. Antonia has facilitated a drop-in writers’ critique group in New Westminster, and, she has served as a mentor in the Southbank Writer’s Program at SFU Surrey.

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Surrey Muse Writers is a project of Surrey Muse

Surrey Muse acknowledges with gratitude
the volunteer contributions made by the
facilitators and resource persons
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‘Useful Critiquing’ by Heidi Greco


Respect – for the work, the time and thought that went into it, for the person who is sharing their inner, private thoughts.

Listening – and really hearing what the writer is saying, jotting a note or two while they are reading from their piece so you will be prepared to comment.

Comments are always about the work, the words – not the writer.

Focus points:
Offer a summary of what you think the piece says, what its message is. Listeners will not all necessarily have the same impression.

Be specific. Generalities such as “I really like that story” or, “I love that poem” are not very useful. Such comments are vague and don’t help the Presenter improve their piece. Instead, mention a line or two that revealed a truth, a phrase that made you feel part of the story told/ the truth revealed.

Identify an image from the piece that appeals to one of your senses. “I can see that old car, speckled in shocking orange rust.” “I can smell that nasty kitchen described as having the scent of burnt milk.”

Comment on the title. Explain how it set you up for the experience of the work – or, how it tricked you into expecting something else.

Actual ‘critique’ points:
Cite a word you didn’t understand, especially if it ‘stopped’ you from listening to the rest of the piece.

Cite a word or phrase that seems redundant or an idea that’s repeated unnecessarily.

Suggest a stronger/clearer word where you perceive a weak one (or one not in keeping with metaphor of the piece) is used.

– Heidi Greco

Heidi Greco is a poet, novelist, editor, an arts activist, and an occasional instructor. Her writings have appeared in books, magazines and anthologies in Canada and the United States. In 2011, she won Ken Klonsky Award for her novella Shrinking Violets (Quattro, Toronto 2011).

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‘Mistakes’ by Carol Shillibeer

With thanks from Carol Shillibeer
With thanks from Carol Shillibeer

‘Mistakes. This is one of the first watercolours I did. I’d done the drawing and then watercolour tubes and paper came into my house. Ambitious. I know that now. When I started this, I made a horrible mistake in the foreground and when it dried I just cut it off the board and put it aside. Found it this morning when I was gathering up all the bits of painting I’ve done in the last weeks. Then, knowing a little bit more now than I did when I cut it off the board, I attempted a fix. That’s what this is. A fix. Here’s the thing. Looking at it now, what I like the most are the 2 foreground buildings. That’s because watercolour is a medium where the white space of the paper is as important as the other marks. There’s too much paint on this paper. That’s my trouble with it. Another thing watercolour shares with poetry. What they don’t share – delete is much easier than paint removal.’

Posted by Carol Shillibeer on her Facebook page, May 11, 2016