What gets left out is the power in writing.

lisamoore.jpgI don’t regret skipping a trip to the cottage in order to hear Lisa Moore speak at WCDR’s June 12th Breakfast meeting.  Her novel Alligator was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, won the Commonwealth Fiction Prize and was a national bestseller. Lisa’s short story collection Open was also shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and became a bestseller.   

February, Lisa Moore’s second novel, is the story of one women left behind when all 84 men aboard the oil rig Ocean Ranger died when it sank on Valentine’s Day 1982. 


The book is the June 2010 choice for WCDR’s book club, “Reading as Writers (RAW)” and Lisa had recently weighed in on the chat room discussions. 

Lisa Moore has powerful presence and voice.  So much of what she said on Saturday resonated deeply but the following spoke directly to me as an emerging writer.

She spoke of the fun of writing in terms of what you don’t write!  That what gets left out is powerful because the reader is left to create the scenes.  Once the engine in the reader’s head is charged up they begin imaginging what’s not there. 

Lisa desribed her writing style as collaborative, particularly with this book, one she was afraid to write because it’s a real and painful incident in Newfoundland’s history.  She likes to share sections as she’s writing them, seeking lots of feedback in process and specifically mentioned the benefits of being able to talk with her writing group, The Burning Rock.

That she always travels with a notebook in her purse, constantly observing people and recording how they move and talk, the way they speak, etc. made me feel less guilty about the one I carry.

She talked about how she works at her computer, trying to see how a scene unfolds, influenced by emotions felt through the senses … colours,  smells … and working to get these to the reader through concrete language.