John Mavin

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Born
Chatham, Ontario, Canada
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March 2017

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A past nominee for both the Aurora Award and the Journey Prize, John Mavin is the author of Rage. He's taught creative writing at Capilano University, Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, with New Shoots, and at the Learning Exchange in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. ...more

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John Mavin When I'm asked how I come up with my stories, I often use "The High Alpinist's Survival Guide" (the last story in Rage) to describe my process (somet…more When I'm asked how I come up with my stories, I often use "The High Alpinist's Survival Guide" (the last story in Rage) to describe my process (something first sparks my imagination, I find a second idea to play off it, and then I look for a third idea to spin everything into a new direction). I was originally inspired / shocked / outraged while reading about the 1996 storm which killed eight people on Mount Everest--specifically the reports of people walking past a distressed climber and leaving him to die. I couldn't understand how anyone could callously ignore a person in distress. I realized I didn't fully understand the circumstances surrounding this event (I've never climbed Mount Everest myself), but surely, there had to be some explanation.

So I researched my ass off. I read and watched everything I could find about Everest. I spoke to climbers and people who've been there. While what I learned explained the situation, it didn't dissipate my disgust. I learned joining an expedition costs tens of thousands of dollars but typically doesn't require extensive high-altitude experience. I also learned that above 8,000 metres there isn't enough oxygen for humans to survive, so rescue attempts have little chance of success (and with inexperienced rescuers, the likely result will be their deaths as well). And finally, I learned there are dead bodies all over Everest (I've been told one in twenty climbers die during their summit attempt).

But I knew I didn't want to write a simple story about climbing Mount Everest or about people's seeming inhumanity (better, in my opinion, to read real-life accounts from people who've actually been there). I needed a second idea, and this is what I came up with: what if someone was climbing Everest specifically to bring down someone whom everyone else was walking past? While that seemed kind of cool to me, I knew it wasn't good enough. I needed a third idea to spin the story into a new direction. And the third idea which came to me was the climber's motivation. I won't share Brian's reasons for climbing Everest (it's a huge spoiler and is what the story is all about), but I will tell you it was enough for me to realize I had something worth developing and that I'd better get my butt in my writing chair and start typing. (less)
Average rating: 3.9 · 59 ratings · 23 reviews · 3 distinct worksSimilar authors
Rage

4.62 avg rating — 21 ratings
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Tesseracts Eleven: Amazing ...

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3.55 avg rating — 40 ratings — published 2007 — 2 editions
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Speculative North #2: Scien...

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4.67 avg rating — 3 ratings
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Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

A short while ago, I was interviewed by author, presenter, and blog-owner Mandy Eve-Barnett, where we discussed creativity, process, and inspiration (and a few other topics as well). Mandy is a prolific author who writes in a multitude of genres for both adults and children and I invite you to check out her work. Here's the link to the interview. Read more of this blog post »
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Published on June 17, 2021 13:46

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Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
Pope Joan
by Donna Woolfolk Cross (Goodreads Author)
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Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson
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Full Time Author by Eileen Cook
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War Lord by Bernard Cornwell
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Sword of Kings by Bernard Cornwell
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Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
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5 Critical Things For a Successful Book Signing by Adam Dreece
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Adam Dreece's Five Critical Things for Successful Book Signings (ADZO Publishing) is an absolute must-read for any author hand-selling their books. Dreece shares in accessible detail his insights on the importance of creating an author persona, foste ...more
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Scrappy Rough Draft by Donna   Barker
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Donna Barker's Scrappy Rough Draft: Use Science to Strategically Motivate Yourself & Finish Writing Your Book (The Creative Academy) shows storytellers how to reframe their approach to writing in order to create without restraint. This first book in ...more
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Evergreen by Stephanie Galay
Evergreen
by Stephanie Galay (Goodreads Author)
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Opening with a race against a caustic fog, Stephanie Galay's debut novel Evergreen seethes with dark tension and demonic dread. After an unexplained and horrific single-car accident, Liz Porter returns to the hometown she fled to bury her parents and ...more
More of John's books…
John L'Heureux
“A story is about a single moment in a character's life when a definitive choice is made, after which nothing is the same.”
John L'Heureux

Anne Lamott
“Try to write in a directly emotional way, instead of being too subtle or oblique. Don't be afraid of your material or your past. Be afraid of wasting any more time obsessing about how you look and how people see you. Be afraid of not getting your writing done.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Ernest Hemingway
“The first draft of anything is shit.”
Ernest Hemingway

Flannery O'Connor
“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I'm always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it's very shocking to the system.”
Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

Brandon Sanderson
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

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