APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED. Please watch for the call for applications in spring 2015.


The Program

A Novel Approach is an advanced year-long novel course designed for serious novelists/writers of fiction to encourage and motivate the writer to the completion of the first draft of a novel. Through instruction, writing exercises, work-shopping, group discussion and mentorship this program will get you well on your way to completing your first draft and depending on how far along you are, maybe even the second draft.

Throughout the year, you will discuss common obstacles to finishing your draft from beginnings, plot, story, POV, voice, structure and endings. Elements of flashbacks, sex scenes, symbolism, dialogue, character development, research and methods of submitting to publishers/agents will also be discussed with more emphasis on specific needs of the participants, but all areas will be covered.

Classes are held every two weeks, 2.5 hours a class, for 10 months.

Students will also have the opportunity to meet one on one with their instructor throughout the year to discuss their manuscript.

Please note: There is an extensive critique/workshop component to this course.

The Pre-Requisites

Successful applicants must:

  • Have a novel-in-progress
  • Have completed A Novel Idea, the AWCS 10-week intermediate novel course, or equivalent at another institution, or have previously published short stories.

The Application Guidelines

  • There is a non-refundable application fee of $25 which must accompany each submission. (NEW THIS YEAR: All applicants will receive a manuscript review of their submitted pages)
  • There are limited spaces available, (16 in total) so send us your best, well-edited submissions.
  • Submit up to 10 - 15 pages of your novel in-progress along with a brief (1 page)synopsis or outline of the story. Manuscript submissions should be typed in an easy to read font, double-spaced on one side of the page, numbered.
  • Include a cover page with your name, contact information and writing experience along with a brief paragraph about why you should be considered for this program, how far along you are in your novel, any particular problems you are having with the manuscript, previous courses you’ve taken and/or publishing credits and your level of commitment to the program.
  • Email applications ONLY as an attachment in .doc, .docx, .pdf or .rtf to:
  • Applications and fee must be received by June 30, 2014 (applications will not be processed until application fee is received.) Payments can be made by credit card over the phone, online through PayPal, cash or cheques made payable to: AWCS
  • You will be notified of your acceptance by August 15, 2014 at which time payment will be due. Flexible payment options are available if needed. Please contact the office upon acceptance to discuss.

The Placement

Student placement in a specific class is based on a variety of factors. We first consider your story: genre, writing experience, current manuscript length, and who we think would be the best instructor to guide you. Other consideration is given to your preference of instructor, day of the week etc. If you have a preference for instructor or a certain day is better than another, please state in your cover letter, otherwise, we will find the best fit for you as a writer.

The Fees

Application Fee: (non-refundable) $25

Course Fee (due upon acceptance): AWCS Members: $800 | Non-Members: $860 (includes membership) Flexible payment options are available.

The Instructors

Tuesdays, Beginning September 9, 2014

Theanna Bischoff is a novelist, creative writing instructor, and freelance editor who currently lives in Calgary, Alberta. She is the author of two novels: Cleavage (NeWest Press, 2008), which was shortlisted for both the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book – Canada & the Caribbean, and the 2009 Re-Lit Awards; and Swallow (NeWest Press, 2012). Theanna holds a Concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Calgary (2006) and a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology (2007). She is also the co-author of a commentary entitled “Social Cognition in the Literary Arts.”

Wednesdays, Beginning September 10, 2014

Anne Metikosh has lived in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and the NWT.  For the past fifteen years, she has made her home in Calgary.  With an honours degree in languages, she found early on that a career in finance allowed for more portability.  Writing became a passion about twenty years ago.  Anne’s first novel, Terra Incognita, was published in 2000.  It’s a YA historical fiction that has been used to supplement the social studies curriculum in several schools.  Undercurrent, a mystery, came out in 2005 and was a Take a Joy Read Canada selection.  Shifting to creative non-fiction, Chance appeared in 2008, and in the fall of 2012, her first e-book, a romantic suspense called Trial Run, became available online.  Anne’s short stories and articles also run the gamut of genre.  The most recent is A Voice in the Wilderness, which has been nominated for the James H. Gray Award for short nonfiction.  So far, she’s avoiding a web presence but fears one will soon be inevitable.