My Creative Ink Festival Experience

I am super excited for the upcoming 2018 Creative Ink Festival.  I thought it would be fun to write a little bit about the festival, and what I plan on doing there.

What is the Creative Ink Festival? The Creative Ink Festival is a weekend long event full of inspiring panels, presentations and workshops. Designed to be inclusive for all levels of writing the festival is a way for you to learn and motivate your writing, in whatever form it takes.   This year's festival takes place from May 18 - 20, 2018 at the Delta Burnaby hotel.  Just on the border of Vancouver and Burnaby, BC.

This is the perfect type of festival for someone like me.  Someone who dabbles in writing but is interested in exploring the art form more.  I've always been afraid to attend anything writing based, thinking that I would be looked down at because "I'm not a real writer".  The Creative Ink Festival is so warm and opening and welcoming and everyone who attends is there to teach and to learn.  Not once did I feel like I didn't belong.

I first found out about the festival as my good friend, Sandra Wichkam, is the brains and creative genius behind it. My first experience with the festival were so rewarding that I wanted to see the festival succeed even more than it was already doing.  I now volunteer my time to Sandra, doing pretty much whatever she asks of me.

Helping Sandra at the festival the last few years and the positive energy the festival has lead me to creating my own website, The Artisan Penguin.  I was so inspired that I jumped in head first into blogging.  Mostly I write book reviews, but I do post the occasional random musing.  I also have a few story ideas rattling around the old brain, that may one day make their way out onto the real world.  That's where The Creative Ink Festival comes into play. 

I've never taken any sort of writing class, but I've always had the thought that I wish I could write.  How am I ever going to learn how to write if I don't actively learn how? I was so scared before to attempt a writing class, but this year, in addition to my volunteering at the festival, I plan on attending a bunch of panels, presentations and even went so far as signing up for the Master Class with one of the guest of honour, C.C. Humphreys.  

With Kevin Hearne and C.C. Humphreys as the 2018 Guest of Honours, and an amazing lineup of authors, publishers and writers, I'm sure the festival this year will be even more inspiring than last year's. And if you are wondering what a Master Class is, well it's an intensive writing workshop that should hopefully help me figure out how to write a novel.  

I still have to figure out where my volunteer hours for the festival will be, and since I've seemed to fill up the majority of my time with panels and presentations, I suspect that I might not be able to attend all of these, but the following is my hopeful schedule of events that I will be attending at the Creative Ink Festival for 2018.

My Schedule


  • 09:00 - 12:00, Master Class
    C.C. Humphreys
    Write a novel - from first inspiration to final edit - then submission! Have you got a book in you? Have you always wanted to get it out into the world but lacked the confidence? Then join award-winning, bestselling author Chris (C. C.) Humphreys, for an intensive writing workshop that will help you banish the critic, release your creativity, and introduce you to the secrets of novel construction, character development and sheer storytelling fun. With plenty of exercises to get the fingers and brain moving, and a step by step analysis of what makes a successful, exciting piece of fiction, participants will leave the workshop with the beginnings of a novel and a road map to help you finish it.
  • 13:00, Panel
    Designing Character Backgrounds
    Brenda Carre, Chadwick Ginther, Kevin Hearne, JM Landels, Randy McCharles
    You have an idea for a character, now you have to figure out how to flesh out the character.  

  • 14:00, Panel
    C.C. Humphreys, Eileen Kernaghan, Susan Pieters, S.G (Sandra) Wong
    Research isn't just for non-fiction writers.  Every piece of fiction, no matter the genre, will contain details which, if not accurate, will throw a reader out of a story.  But how do writers do research?  When do they start?  When do they stop?  How do they wade through the quagmire of overwhelming information and choose just the right pieces to weave into their stories?

  • 15:00, Panel
    The Grey Side of Anti-Heros
    Michele Fogal (M), Joshua Pantalleresco, T. G. Shepherd, Bevan Thomas
    We should hate them, but we love them. They have major flaws; they sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reasons or vice versa. How do you create an anti-hero that will draw in your readers and never let them go? (Discussion of what an anti-hero is may also come up!)

  • 16:00, Panel
    Find Your Writer’s Voice
    Adam Dreece (M), Kevin Hearne, Linda DeMeulemeester, Susan Pieters
    What does that even mean? How do you find it and when will you know if you have found it? How do you make it one that stands out from all the rest?

  • 19:00, Presentation
    Creating Immersive Worlds
    Adam Dreece
    We love those types of story worlds where we are so pulled in, we feel the dampness of the air on our skin, and hear the croaking of the spider-goats in the fields. But how can we shake our imaginations loose and do that? Adam Dreece shares his lessons and thoughts from bringing his steampunk meets fairytale, post-apocalyptic fantasy, gritty sci-fi future, and other worlds to life.


  • 11:00, Panel
    Feeding Your Muse
    Mel Anastasiou (M), C.C. (Chris) Humphreys, Michele Fogal, Jim Jackson, KT Wagner
    The creative process can often be a tricky one, and it is easy to fall into ruts or hit a blank wall. Our panelists will discuss how to develop ideas, create compelling subject matter, and what do next when you find yourself stuck, not knowing what to do for your next piece of art, writing or other creative project.
  • 12:00, Presentation
    Writing Short Fiction
    KT Wagner
    In 2018 there are a lot of good reasons to write short stories. The form is enjoying a resurgence of popularity and it’s an excellent path to reaching readers and connecting with publishers. Writing short is also a way to test-drive other genres and stretch your creative muscles. More than fifteen of KT Wagner’s short stories are published or pending. She’ll share her perspective and approaches in this class.
  • 14:00, Presentation
    Practical Linguistics in the Development of Voice
    Kevin Hearne
            (I don't even know what this one is yet, it just sounds like something that I could use).

  • 15:00, Panel
    Plot or Character: Which Comes First? 
    Brenda Carre (M), Manny Frishberg, Trevor Melanson, Kristene Perron
    What is most important to a good story: a fast moving and/or engaging plot to carry you away, or characters that you can identify with, or at least care about? You can have one without the other, but when should you? And, does plot emerge from character needs and desires, or are they born to serve the plot?

  • 16:00, Panel
    Creating Believable Characters
    Krista Wallace (M), Kevin Hearne, Brenda Carre, Adam Dreece, Kevin Harkness
    How do you convince your readers that your imaginary friends are real … at least in your story?

  • 17:00, Banquet
    Keynote Speech at Banquet
    Adam Dreece
    Adam Dreece presents, "The Power of, No, Damnit, I'm Doing This

  • 19:00, Panel
    Live Action Slush - General Edition
    Manny Frishberg (M), Mel Anastasiou, Randy McCharles, Rhonda Parrish, Susan Pieters, Krista Wallace (Reader)
    Our panel of editors and publishers listen to anonymously read story openings and comment on why they would or would not wish to consider the complete work. Bring the 1st page of your manuscript (please leave your name off the page!) to be read aloud and receive comments from our panel of authors and editors. This event is both fun and educational -- don’t miss it!


  • 12:00, Presentation
    How to Build a Good Story
    John Mavin
    Good stories don’t just happen, they’re built, and as architects use blueprints, writers need sound structures to create effective emotional journeys for their readers. In this session we’ll explore the structural elements shared by all stories (from linear to unconventional), uncover the differences between plot and structure, and give you the tools to build emotionally satisfying stories again and again.

  • 14:00, Presentation/Workshop
    Improvising Into Writing
    Manny Frishberg
    I learned most of the essential elements of writing fiction (in particular) by doing improvisational theatre. Like all theatre, improv is, at heart, storytelling. As is fiction writing, so it’s not surprising to find ways they connect. In this participatory workshop, we use improv games and exercises to explore character, setting and plot in a new way. Be prepared to get up and move (with appropriate accommodation for disabilities, of course).

It's not too late to attend the 2018 Creative Ink Festival yourself.  Online registration is available until May 4th, 2018 and then you can plan on purchasing your membership at the event itself after May 4th.  Weekend passes are as low as $80 if you purchase online or $100 at the Festival.  Check it out!