It starts with a good story

Don’t write to be famous, write to tell stories — then create a believable world, says R.P. MacIntyre, the next writer-in-residence at Red Deer College.

R.P. Macintyre

Don’t write to be famous, write to tell stories — then create a believable world, says R.P. MacIntyre, the next writer-in-residence at Red Deer College.

MacIntyre will be in Red Deer providing advice and feedback to fledgling writers from May 7 to 15 as part of RDC’s Ten Days in May program. The Saskatchewan-based fiction writer, whose first name is Rod, expects to see some common mistakes crop up among young or inexperienced writers.

Perhaps the biggest problem is failing to understand the importance of using setting to help create characters, said MacIntyre.

For instance, would Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights have been the same novel if its characters weren’t shaped by the bleak, wild and isolated English moors?

In another vivid example, MacIntyre noted The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien “invented an entire reality, complete with its own language and characters that would not have been believable if they weren’t part of this world.”

He likens this to the Star Wars movies or even Dumbo. “Dumbo had to be part of a cartoon circus. He couldn’t have been part of a real circus because real elephants don’t fly,” said MacIntyre, who has written several short story collections and novels, including Yuletide Blues and Apart (co-written with Wendy MacIntyre, who is no relation).

MacIntyre grew up in Saskatoon in a family that didn’t yield any other writers, but did have several excellent storytellers.

MacIntyre believes this talent lies at the root of good writing. “Some people are confused by the notion that they want to be famous. But to be a writer, you need to want to tell stories.”

He advises students to read more than they write and to write about what they know. For many this will mean recounting incidents that happened within their own families. “It always enthralls the whole class,” said MacIntyre to hear human relationship stories being read aloud.

“Whatever moves you most, write about that and you’ll find an audience.”

Manuscripts from Central Alberta writers (up to 20 double-spaced pages) must be submitted by Monday, April 27, for consideration. The written submissions will be juried and successful applicants will be notified before the start of MacIntyre’s residency.

MacIntyre will also give a public reading from one of his works at the Red Deer College library at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. And on Thursday, May 14, he will deliver a lecture called Sweat the Big Stuff at 7:30 p.m. at the college library. Refreshments and a cash bar will be available at both events.

Questions about the Ten Days in May program can be directed to writerinres@rdc.ab.ca

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Judge lifts publication ban, revealing details about Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Newly released documents reveal how last week’s deadly attack unfolded… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month