Work With Betsy
WHO I WORK WITH
Over the past five decades, I have been working with writers in the beginning stages of developing their craft and writing subject — to writers wrestling with an early draft of their first manuscript — to authors needing more insight into a manuscript they are working on. I am also contracted by publishers to address their larger editing concerns.
HOW I WORK WITH YOU
How we work together varies and it depends on the scope of what you are seeking. With some writers it is a short consult that focuses on a few pages and requires 2-3 hours while with full manuscripts it will require 20+ hours. The writer and I customize whether we meet in person or in various online formats. Together, we also determine the goals, a reliable approximate cost of the consult, timeline and form (hardcopy via post or digital).
I’M BEST KNOWN FOR
Identifying problems in terms of what’s missing, what does not belong in a piece or manuscript, where summarizing needs to be fleshed out, and what the appropriate form and structure is (from micro to macro).
WHY I DO THIS WORK
Next to the act of writing, working with writers is the most fascinating and illuminating thing I do. I’m always learning, always inspired, by the mystery of every narrative and what it teaches me.
RETREATS, WORKSHOPS, TALKS and COURSES
I enjoy doing a variety of these online and in person. Just like the act of writing, I design anew the approach and content for each one. A few examples of organizations I’ve worked with are SFU (courses and The Writer’s Studio), UBC Booming Ground, Sage Hill Writers Retreat (Saskatchewan), Rural Writers Retreat (Northern B.C.), Hollyhock Retreat Centre (B.C.), and the Federation of B.C. Writers.
I’ve worked intensively one-on-one with Betsy Warland as editor on two projects—my published poetry collection, Refugee Song, and a novel manuscript, Skin. In both instances, Betsy’s extensive experience as an editor, her accomplished writer’s eye and ear, her deep insight and knowledge as a teacher, and her generosity as a mentor, helped me immeasurably to make these works publication-ready.
— Lawrence Feuchtwanger, author of Refugee Song
Darrel J. McLeod
Betsy gently guided and nurtured the writer within me until I found my own voice and style. As I continued along the path to becoming an award-winning author, Betsy continued to be a caring, astute and visionary mentor. Betsy knows the craft of writing as only the best authors do.
—Darrel J. McLeod, author of Mamaskatch A Cree Coming of Age
Not only was Betsy helpful in helping me feel out the general shape of the book, but she provided expert and pointed suggestions about lines, breaks, and the very small details which can make or break a poem.
—Onjana Yawnghwe, author of The Small Way
My experience of working with Betsy was life-changing. She’s an extraordinary mentor and editor who with gentle yet clear direction helped me identify the real story hidden inside my early drafts, and to ‘trust the narrative’.
—Becky Livingstone, the author of The Suitcase and the Jar: A Mother’s Journey
Prompt Part two
An 8 and 1/2 x 11“ sheet of paper differs from a journal or notebook, which are bound, private spaces. It’s public space. I call it “the page.”
We have habitual patterns of how we do, and don’t occupy a “room” in public. This same pattern transfers into how we do and don’t occupy the page. I call this “scoring.” Inaccurate scoring causes confusion; monotony. Record yourself reading a page of your writing aloud. Listen. Does it need to be rescored?