Writer, Editor, Workshop & Retreat Organizer
The Luminous Sea: Interview with author Melissa Barbeau, by Deborah Vail
How I Created My Writer Platform (Without Even Knowing It), an essay by memoirist Margaret Lynch
A Writer’s Moment in Sintra, guest post by Sandy Kenyon
Fresh look, more resources. Welcome to my new website for writers.
offers up all the best craft essays and interviews and other features of my previous site, Memories in Story (named for the two courses I taught for many years through University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies). But I have lots more to share with you in weeks to come, including posts on self-care for memoirists, creating a bullet journal, what it’s like to tape a video about your memoir for CBC, and glimpses into talks by speakers at my last two retreats: British mystery writer Robert Wilson, and? Canadian blogger and novelist Kerry Clare.
I offer editing services and organize instructional writers’ workshops and retreats in Canada and abroad. You’ll find more about all that here too. See my About page, and check out my interview with journalist Nam Kiwanuka on TVO’s The Agenda in the Summer: “The Art of Memoir Writing.”
Whether you’re thinking about writing for yourself, or for a wider circle of family and friends, or you dream of landing a publisher for your memoirs, personal essays, or even fiction based on true events, all writing grows from the same seeds: your unique experiences, memories, passions. Begin writing today.
Sincere thanks to Vancouver photographer Angel Lynne for the homepage image above. (Model: Meghan Latta)
“Allyson, your University of Toronto course was wonderful! Thank you for creating such a warm, nurturing environment. You managed to critique without being critical, and your deep respect for our writing brought out the best in us. My only regret is that I didn’t find you years earlier.”
— Plum Johnson, author, They Left Us Everything (Penguin Random House Canada)
“Allyson’s comprehensive approach to editing a novel, coupled with her collaborative spirit, made her a genuine pleasure to work with. Her feedback was insightful and constructive. I truly felt that she cared deeply about the story I was trying to tell. Her eye for details caught things that others had missed around plot and character motivation. Just as important, Allyson is a lovely person! She is kind, reliable, and professional. I look forward to working with her again.”
— Ann Y.K. Choi, author, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety (Simon & Schuster)
“I was so proud of myself when I finished the first draft of my memoir, but had no idea what to do next. What I needed was an objective assessment of the manuscript. Allyson provided just that. She offered clear, specific advice on how to restructure the narrative for greater impact, as well as welcome stylistic feedback. The result? Sea Over Bow: A North Atlantic Crossing, which was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to. She said she’d never seen such a polished manuscript. Thanks, Allyson!”
— Linda Kenyon, author, Sea Over Bow: A North Atlantic Crossing
“Allyson is uncannily perceptive about where a novel needs improvement. I have come to greatly value her input on my young-adult adventure novels before they go to my publisher, and I highly recommend her. Top in her field, she is recommended by Canada’s best literary agents and publishers.”
— Pam Withers, author of 20 young-adult adventure novels
“After meeting Allyson at a wonderful memoir workshop series in Toronto’s North York Library, a few years ago, I invited her to visit to Santiago, Chile, to lead a two-week residential gathering for local writers. We all thoroughly enjoyed her cleverly-crafted, round-table morning sessions and the lively ideas she suggested on trips to Valparaiso and Isla Negra, homes to poet, Pablo Neruda. Her frank approach to memoir writing, exercises and suggested techniques have been put to excellent use. Many of us have since been published books, some with her kind help and editing.”
— Susan Siddeley, founder, Los Parronales Writers’ Retreat, Santiago, Chile