Home » Topics In Humor Writing Workshop With Margo Bates

Main characters and their relationships
How well do your characters really know each other?  How much do they want to know each other?  Nana and the main characters in P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother knew each other to varying degrees.  The story shows just how well Nana knows herself.

Setting and theme
How does this affect the main characters, and how do they react to their surroundings?   The theme, though humorous, is about prejudice, which was a recurring problem in the Pacific Northwest in the 1950's and 1960's.  The example is Nana Noonan, and how she uses the setting of Telkwa to stand her ground against prejudice.

Back story
Why, you could write a book about how important it is to develop your characters and know what they are like, not just how they look ... or act .  By the end of the story, readers know a lot about Nana and her character.  That's because she has a very developed back story.

Examples of real situations that Nana and Maggie found themselves in, and how they react in a positive or negative way.  The way they react can be serious or humorous.

Age-related points of view (POV) and levels of experience
Nana and Maggie are fifty years apart in age. It all depends from which POV they react, and the reasons are not always what they seem.

Opposites react and attract
Deep feelings come up when characters don't take the time to get to know one another. Just look at Nana and The Jehovah.

Completing the character's story
Writers tell readers what is going to happen at the beginning of a sentence, paragraph or chapter. How to tidy up by the end of the story, and make sure that readers aren't left wondering what happened to a character. 

Maintaining the character's voice, strong and true
Nana has a strong voice throughout the story.  Example of how the reader takes ownership of Nana, and think they know her well. Or wish they did.

Detailed descriptions of people, places and things
Each story is about a time in history. How to keep track of descriptions and refer back to people, places and things as you tell your story. Example of a scene at the end of the book, where Nana compares an owl introduced early on in the story to a couple more incidents toward the end of the story.  


TWS Community Workshops: Research for Fiction and Non-Fiction with Margo Bates

SFU The Writer's Studio Community Workshop: Research for Fiction and Non-Fiction. Location: SFU Vancouver Campus, Harbour Centre Date and Time: Sat Jan 13, 2018 from 10 am to 1 pm Cost: $30 read more...

Pitching Your Story - Wed Jan 10 at Canadian Authors-Metro Vancouver

How do you balance the need to convey the essence of a story with the need to avoid bogging down in detail? Margo will show writers how to make the most of a ten-minute pitch session. read more...

Workshops & Speaking Engagements

Margo speaks to groups and students on a variety of topics. She's developed these workshops for authors: It's All About YOU - Marketing yourself and your work, Research - The key to writing fiction and non-fiction. What a Character! Humour Writing and Sto read more...

Book Clubs

Margo speaks to Book Clubs in person or via Skype. read more...

Review on PS Don't Tell Your Mother by Kathleen Schmitt

Anyone ... gets the real picture [of life in a small town] in this story of the petty quarrels, competitions, and surprising human tenderness that reveal the way life flows with lots of ripples in Telkwa BC. ... Fun and easy to read ... read more...

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