Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so slightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible.
~Virginia Woolf
Sarah Sheard | Writer

Sarah Sheard, Writer and Therapist
I have written and published three literary novels. I am currently drafting my fourth. By literary, I mean that they seek to tell their own stories in a way that can’t readily be reduced to formula or niche-labeling. Each followed and created the unique shape their story demanded of them.

That said, of course I’m merely continuing the conversation literary novels have been having with one another since writing began and certainly since I began to read novels in order to understand the worlds inside people.
upcoming novel
Krank
It is January, 2009, and Bertolt Brecht finds himself reincarnated on the Ward's Island ferry dock in Toronto, Canada. He befriends Ainsley Giddings, a woman who has just moved into the cottage she's leased on Ward's. A Gestalt therapist on sabbatical, Ainsley wants to be alone on her year-long island retreat. Brecht, intoxicated by his unexpected gift of renewed existence, wants to sing, philosophise and make love.

Their agendas quickly square off against one another. Mixing into their eccentric affair are island airport politics, Ainsley's exertions at translating modern life to Brecht, and finally their fateful trip to Berlin where time takes another half-twist around these two. Past pierces Present in a startling conclusion that may help explain what brought Brecht and Ainsley together.
Read an excerpt from Krank
sarah's writing
fiction/novels
Almost Japanese
Summary: Emma discovers that her new next door neighbour is a dazzling Japanese orchestra conductor. Things Japanese soon begin to transform Emma and estrange her from her own world.
more about Almost Japanese
The Swing Era
Summary: A compelling story of a woman bound to her family by all the familiar complicated ties of love and obligation — and by a history of family madness that entrapped her lovely willful mother and now haunts her own life.
more about The Swing Era
The Hypnotist
Summary: Drawn together by mutual friends and a shared love of art, Signe, a talented photographer, and WIlliam, a psychiatrist, construct a private and passionate world of two. Driven by a need to penetrate the mystery of this man, Signe tries to crack the code of his carefully guarded world of hypnosis and psychotherapy.
more about The Hypnotist
journalism
Sarah's Views
Writing at Home
“Writing at home is hard. It's, like, a focus problem. The path to the desk is paved with great distractions. There's that rental video due back so maybe you should watch it right now.”
Read entire Writing At Home article
Angels and Devils
“We all have them in our psyches, competing for space.  Sometimes the devils are in charge—say, at 3 a.m., in that dark night of the soul.  At other times the angels take over and guide us through hours and hours of the most difficult work.”
Read entire Angels and Devils article
Rejection
“Rejection stings like hell. When we were kids, it was a matter of life and death to be liked — by family, teachers and friends — but we quickly found out that the world could be cruel and scrambled for ways to toughen our hides.”
Read entire Rejection article

book reviews
Wrong About Japan
Book by Peter Carey
Read entire Book Review
Leonard Woolf: A Biography
Book by Victoria Glendinning
Read entire Book Review
Be Near Me
Book by Andrew O'Hagan
Read entire Book Review
Writer workshops:
Writing Around the Bend:
Strategies for Handling Writers' Issues Creatively

I talk practical strategies for handling criticism, writer's block, rejection, boredom, collaborations from hell, self-defeating habits, fear of failure and fear of success, the balancing act between private and public selves plus whatever comes up from the audience, in a lively question and answer session.

Testimonials:
“Thank you for your delicious workshop. You are a brave and wonderful Sister Goddess.” - L.G.


Writing Mentor

I have mentored writers through the Humber School for Writers; Correspondence Program since 1995.

In addition, I occasionally mentor selected writers privately. My preferred candidate is a mid-level or already-published fiction or memoir writer with a partial manuscript or early draft. I offer specific and supportive feedback on the substantive issues of structure, character development, style and pacing. I do not offer copy-editing services.

I also consult on manuscripts and conduct writers' workshops through the Toronto Writers' Centre.

Testimonials:
“I couldn't have picked a more honest yet positive mentor -- so right for me at this point in my writing. I will not soon, if ever, forget our happy voyage together.” - E.S.

“It's difficult for me to convey the depth of my appreciation for your encouragement and insight. I'm sure it's not luck that I was paired with a mentor both compassionate and capable - that's what I expected of the program. However, I do feel very fortunate to have been paired with you in particular, and the existence of these drafts owes much to your support. You were patient with my blocks but didn't damn me with faint praise, and your assessment of my abilities means a great deal. I'm leaving the program in a different frame of mind about what writing means to me, and that is worth as much as the feedback or more. You knew what to say and when to say it, and I'm very grateful for your words. With heartfelt thanks,” - K. G-L

“Your suggestions are clear and incredibly helpful. Your comments and feedback helped me to read my own work differently, and now I am able to identify (and wince) when I find spots where I am definitely "telling"... I also feel that I have the tools, thanks to your general comments, that I will need for the next round of renovations. I am truly grateful for this experience, and the expertise that you have lent. You provided constructive feedback in a supportive way, which allowed me to remain feeling positive while still understanding the work that needs to be done.” - Belinda S.

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Tools Just For Writers
coaching and therapy
Therapy is simply being in a quiet, airy room with an attentive and actively supportive/challenging listener for an uninterrupted hour.
More Therapy Details...
workshops
Writing Mentor
I offer specific and supportive feedback on the substantive issues of structure, character development, style and pacing.
More Writing Mentor Details...
Writing Around the Bend
Strategies for Handling Writers' Issues Creatively
More Writer Workshop Details...
Riverdale Area
Workshops Network

Workshops are also offered through Riverdale Area Workshops Network. Please check their calendar for Sarah’s upcoming workshops.
The Riverdale Area Workshops Network