Workshop helps writers polish manuscripts

Ben Nuttall-Smith. -
Ben Nuttall-Smith.
— image credit:

Richmond Public Library is hosting a free publishing workshop on how to turn ideas and manuscripts into fully realized pieces of literature.

Ben Nuttall-Smith, a B.C. poet and author, along with George Opacic, author and president of the B.C. Federation of Writers,  will lead the event.

“It’s payback time, because I’ve had four books published in three years,” said Nuttall-Smith. “It’s an amazing thing, I’m absolutely no different than before I was published, but I’m supposed to be an expert.”

Nuttall-Smith taught music, theatre, art and language until retiring in 1991. He has since written such works as the historical novel, Blood, Feathers & Holy Men, while his poetry and short stories have appeared in several anthologies and online publications.

Blood, Feathers & Holy Men started in Mexico with a broken leg in Oaxaca City, he said. “I was hit by a car, on the sidewalk mind you, and I ended up doing six weeks of writing and painting.”

As far as the writing process is concerned, Nuttall-Smith emphasizes writing what you know while maintaining a purpose.

“First of all, it’s about putting everything down and not worrying about grammar or anything else,” he said. “Second is weeding through it, third is getting someone who has written to read it through... fourth is to get an editor.”

During the session, techniques will be explored in both the physical and online publishing realms.

“Of course the first step for anything is to get a good editor. Once it’s out there it’s out there,” he said.

The workshop will be held on March 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the library’s Brighouse location. Register directly at the branch, online or by telephone at 604-231-6413.

Nuttall-Smith has been taking the workshops around the province, with Haida Gwaii, Delta, Vernon and Powell River some of the upcoming destinations.

“I’m going to be 80 in June, and my wife is starting to say, ‘When are you going to do more travelling?” he said. “It’s keeping me very young, but sometimes one needs to retire a little bit.”

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