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Marty Chan made sure to be specific with his advice to young writers. 

Chan, an acclaimed children's author from Edmonton, was the instructor at Kids Ink, the annual children's writing workshop at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words. 

Over a dozen children (betweent the ages of 10-13) signed up for the tutorial on story writing, with Chan imparting several lessons. 

"I want people to focus on the importance of making sure people are specific when describing their characters and their settings," Chan said during a break Thursday morning. "Sometimes writers, in general, when they start they have a picture of something that's clear in their mind but not on the page."

Chan's middle-years novel "The Mystery of the Frozen Brains" won the City of Edmonton Book Prize, while the fantasy novel "Demon Gate" was nominated for a High Plains Book Award for best young adult novel.

Chan, who is the regional writer in residence for the Metro Edmonton Federation of Libraries, says he wanted to challenge the aspring writers in attendance. 

"I'm telling them the importance of being able to raise the stakes," he stated. "That means get their characters in as much trouble as possible. I think that sometimes Canadians tend to avoid conflict, and what I'm going to be working with the kids on is getting them to create conflict."

"The whole notion of writing is that you're drawing from something personal," he continued. "It doesn't have to be something that happened to you, but it has to be something you care about. My whole means of operating a workshop for kids is to get them to connect to things they care about, because that's something that will resonate with themselves and readers."

The Kids Ink program received a boost from a local service club Thursday morning. 

The Rotary Club of Moose Jaw Wakamow made a $500 donation to the Festival of Words to be used specifically for the Kids Ink program at future festivals. 

The Festival of Words continues through Sunday. 

kidsinkdonationFOW Executive Director Sarah Simison (R) accepts the donation from Rotary Past-President Brenda Brodie (2nd from R), with Marty Chan and Kids Ink participants looking on.

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