Best-selling young adult author signed books for creative writing students at Earl Marriott Secondary.

Best-selling young adult author signed books for creative writing students at Earl Marriott Secondary.

Words of wisdom shared with writing students at Earl Marriott

Best-selling young adult fiction author Eileen Cook visited combined class including students from Frank Hurt Secondary.

Budding writers were given a boost when popular B.C.-based young adult author Eileen Cook came by Earl Marriott Secondary earlier this month to share her insights with creative writing students.

Cook – who has won international acclaim and a movie deal with such page-turners as Unpredictable and What Would Emma Do? – spoke on Dec. 4 to a combined gathering including students from both Marriott’s Writing 10/12 class, led by Bev Schellenberg, and Frank Hurt’s Writing 10/12 class led by Megan Barnet.

The two classes have shared an exchange which will continue at least until the end  of January and which has included correspondence between students and visits to each others’ schools – a valuable experience in encountering others who share the same enthusiasm for writing, Schellenberg and Barnet said.

The affable, witty and animated Cook – who acknowledged she loves interacting with writing students – shared a love of creative fiction (“my parents called it lying,” she quipped) which went back to her early childhood in Michigan.

A turning point for her, she said, was walking into the adult section of a library when she was 10 or 11 years old and checking out Salem’s Lot by Stephen King – although warned by a librarian that “it wasn’t appropriate because it was really scary.”

“I wanted to read it 20 times more then,” she said. “I felt insulted. It turned out to be really scary. I slept with the lights on for several nights – possibly a month.”

It impressed her however that “something that was made up could make you feel real emotion.”

Cook shared that numerous early attempts to write and sell novels met only rejection from publishers. She gave up on it for two years before she realized that she really loved and missed writing, she said, recommending a love of writing as a prime motivator (“This is not a particularly easy career choice,” she said. “Surround yourself with people who are going to encourage you.”)

After taking the students through her version of the “Hero’s Journey’ – one of the most compelling storytelling formulas, she said, provided one can create an interesting main character, a quest that readers that will care about and sufficiently large obstacles in the hero’s path –  she took questions from the group.

Among things students wanted to know was how she managed to schedule writing around a full-time job (“Different things work for different people – there’s no one right way”) and how long it takes her to write a book (“It now takes me around nine months,” she said).

 

Just Posted

All nine White Rock Renegades softball teams are set to take part in the Canadian Pride and Power Tournament, scheduled for July 1-4. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock Renegades set to host multi-team Pride and Power softball tournament

‘There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the park,’ said Greg Timm

Dooris Raad was last seen in South Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood on June 7. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Doris Anderson’s digital triptych Aberration, which she is marketing as an NFT.
Semiahmoo Peninsula abstract painter dives into NFT market

Works sold as one-of-a-kind digital files

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Hundreds gather at Surrey park in memory of victims in London attack

Vigil organized by Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians

Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Teacher’s elbow injury case against Surrey School District, WorkSafeBC struck by judge

Judge says processes put in place by legislation, collective agreement must be followed

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Most Read