Local writing group celebrates 30 years with new


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Writers’ BLOC is a local group of writers stretching from the Bruce Peninsula to Kincardine. The group has seen over 60 writers over the past 30 years, each with their own unique writing backgrounds and their own creative writing styles.


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The group began in 1991 with two women from Port Elgin – Diana Armstrong and the late Isabel Sturgeon. Numerous public readings in the 1990s presented their works to the public at venues such as the Bruce County Museum & Archives, St. Joseph’s Church Hall, Port Elgin Public Library, and MacGregor Point Provincial Park. Writers’ BLOC has also sponsored literacy prizes in the past.

The Writers’ BLOC meet once a month to share their writings and exchange impressions. Prior to Covid, meetings were held at the Kingsway Arms Elgin Lodge in Port Elgin, where one of the original founding members, Diane Armstrong, lives. More recently, due to the pandemic, the group has shared their work online. They eventually met in person once more in August of this year and then again in November, both at the Treasure Chest in Paisley.

“You always face the challenge of technology when you organize online meetings,” commented Kim Dixon, one of the authors. “Also, some of us didn’t have as much experience with Google Meets, so there was a learning curve. But we helped ourselves adapt. That’s what I love about it. group They are always very united and offer creative solutions.

To celebrate their 30 e anniversary, the current group of seven writers decided to publish a short story, titled NCR

“When we met in person, someone brought an old binder to store the chapters, meant to be passed on to the next writer at each meeting,” Dixon explained. “Stamped on the binder was” NCR “(the logo of National cash register) . We used it as a working title.


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The whole group wrote the short story, with each member taking one chapter at a time. The short story also includes poems and prose from former BLOC writers.

The fictional novel is set in Bruce and Gray counties. It took two years to write and edit, and was completed last fall.

Teaser on the back of the book:

When is a whirligig more than a whirligig?

“Jenny Hampstead is the only person who knows the horrible truths… and secrets… on Campbell Farm, leaving everyone wondering… is she missing or dead?” And is Jenny really responsible for her actions? NCR will take you on an unforgettable ride with more twists than a dog’s hind leg, and six different ways to end the story. Which will be your favorite? ‘

The authors and members of BLOC are: Marylee Cross, Kim Dixon (Kincardine), Rachel Hepburn, Anne Judd, Jean Lagace (Tiverton), Alan MacLeod and Suzanne Selby. Both an artist and a writer, Legace created the illustration for the cover of the book.

Stuck on one conclusion, the group came up with a particularly creative solution – for each contributing writer to write their own ending and include them all.

“The endings are so different that it would be difficult to sum them up,” Dixon said. “Let’s just say this collaborative account invites readers to choose their preferred ending. We followed a schematic and a character map, but with NCR you never really knew how it was going to end.

“A longtime band member talked about a band writing project she had been involved in,” Dixon explained. “Four writers had conspired to create a work of fiction from a novel plan. They leaned on each other’s strengths and, when a scene was out of their depth, relied on another writer to bring it to fruition.


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“So we asked ourselves, Why can’t BLOC writers do this? she continued. We started it as a writing experience. Each took turns contributing a chapter each month. A chapter would flow from what the previous author had written. The only rule: writers weren’t allowed to kill someone else’s character.

A few other important points discussed between the group included that it be defined locally, at present, and sufficiently “meaty” to ensure a number of trajectories. “As the character roster grew, each creator developed short biographies of their characters,” Dixon said of the process. “At first, you can’t say that everyone knew what was expected of them when writing the next chapter. As the story unfolded each month, we got more excited and started having fun with the creative process. It was a writing experience after all. Who knew where this would take us? “

“When it became clear that we were creating something fun, the spirit and enthusiasm for the play grew,” she said. “One of the writers, Lagacé, suggested that we publish NCR. I kind of became the project manager to make sure we “keep it between the cedars”. The entire editorial team has been very supportive and pleasant to work with.

“I think the different styles of writing presented us with our biggest challenge,” Dixon said. “Everyone has their own voice when writing. It certainly helped us to have a character map and try to adapt our styles to match the story. We had online meetings to review each chapter, and then we also had to review the book as a whole. We also hired three external evaluators. But I also think the different styles of writing help make the story more interesting.


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The group donated copies of the news to libraries in Port Elgin, Southampton, Kincardine, Tiverton and Wiarton. Copies are also available for purchase ($ 10) from the Writers’ BLOC [email protected] or by contacting Dixon at 519-574-1033.

Everyone is welcome to join Writers’ BLOC. This is an informal group that currently meets by email on the last Tuesday of each month. Our meetings are open to all writers regardless of skill level or gender. Currently, we are sharing and providing feedback on a monthly thematic challenge via email. You can contact Writers’ BLOC at the same email address listed above.

Biographies of local authors:

Kim Dixon, Kincardine

Kim Dixon is the new kid on the block from Writers’ BLOC who joined in 2020. Writing is her first love. Kim started his career as a reporter for a small newspaper in a small town in Manitoba. Since then, she has been a communicator for non-profit and corporate businesses, and has received several national business writing awards. Now she is learning to write for herself in Kincardine, Ontario.

Jean Lagacé, Tiverton

  1. Jean Lagacé is an artist. Her multimedia paintings, photos and jewelry making as well as other works of art hang in her gallery. She enjoys photographing nature and the countryside. Jean participated in the Writers’ BLOC group as a guest with Isabel Sturgeon and then joined the group in 2009. She has been inspired ever since.
Writers' BLOC gathered at Treasue Chest in Paisley on Monday, November 15, where they got their first glimpse of the hard copies of their group short story.  From left to right: Rachel Hepburn, Anne Judd, Suzanne Selby, Jean Lagace, Marylee Cross and Kim Dixon, absent Alan MacLeod.  Hannah MacLeod / Kincardine News
Writers’ BLOC gathered at Treasue Chest in Paisley on Monday, November 15, where they got their first glimpse of the hard copies of their group short story. From left to right: Rachel Hepburn, Anne Judd, Suzanne Selby, Jean Lagace, Marylee Cross and Kim Dixon, absent Alan MacLeod. Hannah MacLeod / Kincardine News



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