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Gabriel Allaire, an emerging novelist

Gabriel Allaire, an emerging novelist

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

January 26, 2018

In his own words, a copywriter at Havas Montréal shares his passion project: his first published novel.

“Writing a novel requires you to be very precise with your language, but you also need a sense of rhythm, of timing, a playful approach to storytelling,” says Gabriel Allaire, copywriter at Havas Montréal. “I owe the voice in this novel, in part, to my experiences writing ad copy—and to a lifetime of reading, of course.”

Allaire’s first novel, Pas de Géants (or “Giant Steps”) was released in Québec in August. It tells the story of a young boy who is shedding the sweet illusions of childhood—and if you understand French, you probably caught the double meaning in the title.

One of the boy’s first realizations is that the older you get, the faster time passes. His solution: Slow down time—perhaps even stop it entirely. Rather than use the typical voice of a child narrator, Allaire, however, chose a more poetic approach.

“I didn’t have a story in mind when I started writing,” Allaire says. “Just the voice of a young boy who distorts words and who finds new meanings for the words that adults use. I wanted to capture that moment when we’re still children, but we begin to see the world through adult eyes. I wanted to explore the place where those two perceptions intersect.”

Allaire has been working for Havas Montréal for more than two years. And in that time, he has developed creative concepts for several Havas clients, including Mini Babybel, Air France–KLM, and Circle K. He wrote the novel in the evenings—one page every night. But he says that the creative process cannot be contained, that words meld and morph in his brain both when he’s asleep and while awake—a reality that, undoubtedly, nourishes both his inner storyteller and his copywriting skills.

“The novel is filled with small concepts, the interplay of images, shifts in reality. It’s a collision of two universes that seem completely opposite, but that feed and inform the other—just like we do in advertising.”

Pas de Géants by Gabriel Allaire

“Writing a novel requires you to be very precise with your language, but you also need a sense of rhythm, of timing, a playful approach to storytelling,” says Gabriel Allaire, copywriter at Havas Montréal. “I owe the voice in this novel, in part, to my experiences writing ad copy—and to a lifetime of reading, of course.”

Allaire’s first novel, Pas de Géants (or “Giant Steps”) was released in Québec in August. It tells the story of a young boy who is shedding the sweet illusions of childhood—and if you understand French, you probably caught the double meaning in the title.

One of the boy’s first realizations is that the older you get, the faster time passes. His solution: Slow down time—perhaps even stop it entirely. Rather than use the typical voice of a child narrator, Allaire, however, chose a more poetic approach.

“I didn’t have a story in mind when I started writing,” Allaire says. “Just the voice of a young boy who distorts words and who finds new meanings for the words that adults use. I wanted to capture that moment when we’re still children, but we begin to see the world through adult eyes. I wanted to explore the place where those two perceptions intersect.”

Allaire has been working for Havas Montréal for more than two years. And in that time, he has developed creative concepts for several Havas clients, including Mini Babybel, Air France–KLM, and Circle K. He wrote the novel in the evenings—one page every night. But he says that the creative process cannot be contained, that words meld and morph in his brain both when he’s asleep and while awake—a reality that, undoubtedly, nourishes both his inner storyteller and his copywriting skills.

“The novel is filled with small concepts, the interplay of images, shifts in reality. It’s a collision of two universes that seem completely opposite, but that feed and inform the other—just like we do in advertising.”

Pas de Géants by Gabriel Allaire

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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