Dear Reader,

Welcome to “Start Your Story Here”: a bi-weekly blog for writers and writing enthusiasts of all types.

Why “Start Your Story Here”?

Writers are perpetual beginners. Whether you are writing your first paragraph, or you are Margaret Atwood (hello Ms. Atwood, I’m sorry I haven’t read The Testaments yet), or anywhere else on your journey, you are a beginner. You are beginning to hone your craft, you are beginning to experiment with new forms, you are beginning to explore new phases of your life in a creative way – what simultaneously frightens but drives writers is that new blank page containing infinite possibilities. “Start Your Story Here” speaks to the endless beginnings that is writing.

What you Can Expect to Find Here

This blog is meant to cater to the interests of writers. I could make some flashy promises – “be a confident writer in two easy steps!”, “Energize your creative spirit!”, “Write your way to the top!”, “Everyone has a story, and I’m here to help you find yours!” – but then I would have to use exclamation marks, and I make a habit of avoiding them. Here’s the promise I will make: you will find here posts on a wide range of topics by people truly passionate about the art of writing. Character and plot development, the fickle nature of “show don’t tell”, the fluid borders of genres, those elements of a story we take for granted – these and more are the topics I desire to write about. Think of some of the posts as a supplement to programming that the Writers’ Centre offers, or covering topics too niche to warrant a course or workshop.

photo credit: Nick Morrison

But Wait, There’s More

As much as I value creative writers (I like to think I am one), we are a broader community than yarn-spinners.

Professional writers, whether you are writing reports, training documents, marketing materials, or even the humble email – it is my belief that there are great benefits to mastering the written word. In these posts, it will be my hope to bridge the gap between creative and content writing, to celebrate language in its many forms. In these posts we will free writing from the rote method of academia and explore the subtler sides of sentence structure, rhythm and flow, a balance between sparse and flowery writing, and how to use these tools to engage and manipulate persuade your reader.

For the young writers, certain posts will offer activities to help boost your writing skills, and hopefully ignite that spark that we often hear writers talk about. Yes, that mystical, ineffable force that keeps writers going despite…. Nevermind, writing is always wonderful all the time, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, These posts will also address topics pertinent to young writers: including how to break into the world of writing in this brave new world.

For educators, we will highlight opportunities to benefit your students as you help them navigate writing. The hope is to be another resource for practical lesson ideas and exercises for all grades.

Finally, we will expand our reach to Calgary, to Alberta, to Canada, and beyond as we explore interesting events in the literary world. There are so many lessons and so much inspiration to be drawn from writers across the globe. We will not, however, forget from where we came. It is important to spotlight Alberta’s authors, which we will do in a series called #ABReads (I promise to never use a hashtag again in one of these posts).

While it is my hope to provide interesting and useful content, this is not meant to be a one-sided conversation. Your opinions and unique insights are important. Respectful comments will be welcomed and appreciated as we build a stronger, greater writing community.

Who is Writing This?

Photo credit: DJ Paine

I should step out from behind the curtain. Hello. My name is Alex Benarzi and I will be your humble MC for these festivities. At times, I will welcome other writers onto the blog, for writing is not a solitary art – seriously, it’s not, don’t let the hordes of paradoxical introverts fool you. Still, for the most part for now, it will be my dulcet keystrokes gracing these pages. Thus, when I write that pigeons are the most frightening creatures out there, that is my opinion and not a reflection of our gracious host, the AWCS. I mean, it is objectively true, but for liability purposes…

And So, Dear Reader


It is my hope that you will join me, every other week, to grow your craft, discover new outlets, and celebrate the art that we all care so deeply for.

Thank you for reading.