Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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12. Book #2 – The Unsequel

I am working on something new, and have been for about two years. No Beautiful Shore has been published into the middle of the development of Book Number 2 and now its flow has been interrupted.

Number 2 is a very different book than NO BS. There are ex-pat Newfoundlanders in the story, but it is set in Toronto. Setting has become a major obstacle to me. I am, in fact, having a great deal of trouble describing Toronto. Like most things in life that I fight with, I think that it might not be about Toronto. I think it might be me.

When I think of Toronto in Canadian literature the obvious book that comes to my mind is In the Skin of A Lion -- Alice Gull on the Bloor Viaduct, Patrick in the Water Filtration Plant. Developing setting in a story should be like making jewelry – setting should frame the main focus, but having a beauty all its own.

I, however, can’t seem to get the framing right to hang my story on – and it’s not the fault of the municipality. I am toying with having the story flashback to Newfoundland in the seventies. This is a time that I remember well, and what I have managed to block out of my mind is unfortunately preserved for all time in Polaroids. Look, I know that seven is not a good-looking age for anyone, with the missing teeth and awkward glasses and such, but blue poka dot polyester pants suits are just criminal. Today, someone would have called CAS.

So, Newfoundland in 1972 is vivid to me, but I can’t seem to adequately describe Toronto. What I write ends up sounding like an excerpt from a Toronto Tourism Board brochure.

I’m kind of worried about this story. No BS is regional and third-person. Number 2 is a first-person big city narrative. In other words, it's different. What if readers will hate it because of that?

For the first time, I am actually wondering if readers will like what I write. I think that worrying about reaction leads to cowardly writing. I am trying to forget that people might read the story, but like the polyester pantsuit, the idea of an audience is now burned into my brain.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Beverley Stone

Beverley Stone grew up in outport Newfoundland before moving to Toronto to attend Osgoode Hall Law School. Her first novel, No Beautiful Shore, is published by Cormorant Books (2008).

Go to Beverley Stone’s Author Page