Summer/Fall 2017 Courses & Workshops

New Address:

@cSpace King Edward, Suite 460, 1721, 29th Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 6T7 

Whether you’re a brand new writer or have been writing for years, we have courses and workshops to meet your needs. There are weekly courses (evening and daytime) for the writer who requires structure, support and that needed push, or one-day and weekend workshops for those who are unable to commit to a longer course.

Don’t forget to check our Calendar of Events for other exciting programs and upcoming events.

Download our Summer Courses & Workshops Brochure and our Fall 2017 Courses & Workshops Brochure as PDFs.

Sign up today!

Summer Writing for Kids

Writing Adventures (6 Seats Available)

Brett Morrison & Adam Hildebrandt
Monday-Friday
9am-4pm
August 21-25, 2017
Member Price: $225
Non-member Price: $250

A Summer Writing Camp for Kids Age 9-15

A hands on writing camp designed to give your young author a dynamic foray into the world of storytelling and wordcraft.

Youth Courses & Workshops

Annual Youth Membership

Youth Program Director: Kim Firmston
Various
(September - June)
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $40

The Alexandra Writers’ Centre offers a group of programs designed to build the Calgary youth writing community, encourage exploration and education in the writing arts, and build a home for young writers to explore and share their craft, gain leadership skills, and have fun with others who love words as much as they do.

The Youth Membership includes the Reality is Optional Kids’ Writing Club, the Rogue Poets’ Poetry Club, the Dungeons & Dragons group, Random Movie Night, and discounts on our other youth programs. See here for full details.

Pen & Panel Comic Creation Club

Sebastien Ringuette and Em Williamson
First and third Thursday
5 PM - 6:30 PM
(September - June)
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $95

Play drawing games, improve your art style, learn to make comics both online and on paper and pitch ideas, plus lots more! Hang out with like-minded artists and comic writers. Work on individual projects or collaborate. Focus on topics that will help you expand your skill set. Ages 12 and up.

Media Club

Kim Firmston
Fourth Thursday of each month
5 PM - 6:30 PM
(September - May)
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $50

Want to play with both writing and technology? This new club will involve both. We’ll try movie making, pod casting, music video creation, stop motion animation, and much more. Short projects just for fun. Let’s see what we can make!

Novelmancers

Kim Firmston
Second Thursday of each month
5 PM - 6:30 PM
(September - June)
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $50

Join others hard core youth writers on the epic journey through large and lengthy project. Projects can include Novels, Graphic Novels, Long Non-Fiction projects, and Poetry Collections. Each meeting will include a discussion/education topic, and the ability to have your writing critiqued by the instructors and the group. Take part in NaNoWriMo. Join our write-ins and write a novel in a month! Prizes included!

Home School Writing

Beginner Writing – Grades 1-3 (8 Seats Available)

Kim Firmston
Mondays
10:30 AM -12:00 PM
September 18, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $150

Students will learn the basics of sentence structure, spelling, and grammar. They will enjoy learning story structure while having fun using a variety of mediums and media. Storytelling, reporting, advertising, scripts, and a variety of other writing styles will be introduced in an entertaining way with lots of variety.

No class October 9, 2017

Intermediate Writing – Grades 4-6 (6 Seats Available)

Kim Firmston
Mondays
1-2:30pm
September 18, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $150

Students will review the basics of sentence structure, spelling, and grammar then move on to tenses, point of view and description. They will also cover basic creative writing, poetry, essays and articles, as well as advertising, scripts and a variety of other writing styles will be introduced in an entertaining way using a variety of mediums and media.

No class October 9, 2017

Junior High/High School Writing (6 Seats Available)

Kim Firmston
Thursdays
10:30-12pm
September 21, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $150

Writing for beginners and intermediate-level writers. Students will review the basics of sentence structure, spelling, and grammar then jump into tenses, points of view, character development, world building, and description. Students will explore creative writing, poetry, the main types of essays and articles, as well as a variety of other writing styles in an entertaining way using a variety of mediums and media.

Understanding & Creating Comics (Junior High/High School) (8 Seats Available)

Sebastien Ringuette
Thursdays
1-2:30pm
September 21, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $150

Do you love to draw? Do you love to write?

Enter the world of comics and be forced to choose between the two no longer! Comics, or ‘Sequential Art’, is the quintessential amalgamation of drawing and writing that doesn’t require you to be a master of either! Learn how to create your own comics from start to finish, including everything from character design and pacing, to story structure and script-writing. Develop and discover the artistic styles of a cartoonist, your inner comedian, and how to love your own work. Learn how to self-publish your works and how to bring them to the world! Cartooning is a world of trial and error, so expect to spend as much time writing and drawing as possible. (Occasionally we pause to breathe.)

Summer Courses

How To Genre: Sherlockian Shenanigans (7 Seats Available)

Axel Howerton
August 23, 2017
7-10pm
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $75

How the Victorian era’s great detective became today’s biggest cultural phenomena. An examination of Public Domain characters, how to write them, and where to get your stories published.

More Summer Courses

How to Handle Setting in Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction (6 Seats Available)

Aaron Roe
Tuesday
10 AM - 1 PM
August 29, 2017
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $75

The aim of this workshop is to identify and hone our skills in describing vivid, detailed settings. We will follow the old adage, “Show, Don’t Tell,” as we learn how to deepen character development, anchor our readers to a specific time and place, reveal backstory without slowing the narrative pace, elevate action sequences, and more. We will study passages from diverse writers who manage to describe in- and outdoor settings without pulling readers out of the narrative and thus jolting their attention from the action on the page. We will also explore the use of visual, tactile, and auditory details that enhance our fiction and narrative non-fiction.

Midsummer Nights Writing

Midsummer Nights Writing – August 29, 2017

Self-Directed
Tuesday
6-11pm
August 29, 2017
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $5
Summer is almost over. Have you gotten any writing done? Join us for a wind up to your summer of writing, or maybe your kick start into the new year. Enjoy tea cakes & fairy snacks (okay, not really, unless you want to bring them). But really, bring a snack to share. Please register online in advance.
Free for AWCS members. Non-Members: $5
Coffee, tea and non-alcoholic beverages provided.
All ages welcome.

The Writers' Circle

2017/18 Sunday Annual Pass

Varies
Sundays
Member Price: $350
Non-member Price: $410

Combine The Writer’s Circle and Poetry Café in one Sunday Annual Pass. Come as much as you want.

2017/18 Sunday Annual Pass Valid July 1 – June 30 – passes will remain on sale until September 1.

Non-Member rate includes a one-year membership.

Writer’s Circle – 2017/18 Annual Pass

Varies
Sunday
10:30-12:30pm
Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $310

Think you’ll attend more than a couple Writer’s Circle throughout the year? Why not purchase an annual pass and come as often as you want. No more weekly registrations.

2017/18 Annual Pass Valid July 1 – June 30 – passes will remain on sale until September 1.

Non-member rate includes a one-year membership.

The Writer’s Circle – Agatha Christie

Anne Metikosh
Sunday
10:30-12:30pm
August 20, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

How did a shy, upper-middle class lady born in 19th century England become the most widely read novelist in the world? Only Shakespeare and the Bible have outsold her. In spite of her many detractors, her books still fly off the shelves and The Mousetrap hasn’t left the stage since 1952. Why? What makes her work so compelling? Join us as we unravel the mystery of Agatha Christie’s enduring appeal. 

The Writer’s Circle – William Shakespeare

Alex Benarzi
Sunday
10:30-12:30pm
August 27, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world / Like a Colossus, and we petty men / Walk under his huge legs and peep about / To find ourselves dishonorable graves.” – Julius Caesar: I.ii

Indeed, I think everyone has encountered Shakespeare at some point. Some may feel that in school they were trampled by his “huge legs” and wanted nothing to do with him. Others may catch one of many productions consistently staged, and be entertained. A smaller group may spend their lives scaling the Colossus with the same fervour of religious zealots.

I encourage all to join the discussion, but particularly those from the first two groups. We will kick at the Colossus, not merely praise him. We will put aside the “thous” and “doths”, the themes and symbols that are the fodder of high school teachers all over the world, and look at a few approachable questions. There is no consensus on who exactly wrote Shakespeare’s plays – does that matter? Can we improve our writing by knowing Shakespeare or is the work too far removed for those write (for example) modern fantasy or memoirs? Furthermore, beyond Shakespeare, is there a value to looking to the past to improve our writing or should we always have our gaze fixed forward? And perhaps we can look at the question: has Shakespeare, whose influence can be found everywhere, become too bloated?

All favourite passages welcome. All dissention welcome. All discussions appreciated.

The Writers’ Circle – Interdisciplinary Inspiration

Emily Ursuliak
Sunday
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
September 10, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

What can we learn from the work of other artists? What can the work of musicians, painters, chefs and more teach us about our approach to writing?

The Writers’ Circle – Facing Your Writing Demons

Rona Altrows
Sunday
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
September 17, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Join a facilitated discussion with our Mentor in the Loop for September. Let’s get together and talk about our fears related to writing and all things writing-related—rejection, publishing, reading in public, success, failure, interviews. Wherever our fears lie, let’s go there. What strategies work for you? And might the Mentor have strategies to share?

The Writers’ Circle – Radical Poets: Race & Gender in Experimental Poetry

Colin Martin
Sunday
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
September 24, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Often, what we call radical poetics means experiments in form by white guys stuck in a 1960s idea of the Avant Garde. What happens when we think of radical in other ways? Let’s discuss how poetry re-imagines radical in ways that move beyond just the composition of the page.

The Writers’ Circle – Trad or Indie?

Carrie Mumford
Sunday
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
October 1, 2017
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

A discussion of which type of publishing best fits you, your goals for your book, and your genre.

 

This Writer’s Circle is FREE to the public for cSpace Grand Opening.

The Writers’ Circle: Flashfiction

Olyn Ozbick
Sunday
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
October 15, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

What does flash fiction refer to? Length of time spent writing, or length of the finished piece? What qualities make for strong flash fiction? What venues are available for publication?

The Writers’ Circle: DIY Writers’ Retreat

Carrie Mumford
Sunday
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
October 29, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Everything you need to know to plan and book your own writing retreat, whether it’s in your home or somewhere remote.

Poetry Cafe

2017/18 Sunday Annual Pass

Varies
Sundays
Member Price: $350
Non-member Price: $410

Combine The Writer’s Circle and Poetry Café in one Sunday Annual Pass. Come as much as you want.

2017/18 Sunday Annual Pass Valid July 1 – June 30 – passes will remain on sale until September 1.

Non-Member rate includes a one-year membership.

Poetry Cafe – 2017/18 Annual Pass

Laurie Fuhr
Sundays
12:30-2:30pm
Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $310

Think you’ll attend more than a couple Poetry Café throughout the year? Why not purchase an annual pass and come as often as you want. No more weekly registrations.

2017/18 Annual Pass Valid July 1 – June 30 – passes will remain on sale until September 1.

Non-member rate includes a one-year membership.

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to read inspiring books, write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Every Sunday, experience the camaraderie, imagination, and optimism of Surrealist Paris in 1919, Dorothy Parker’s Algonquin Round Table, or the Beat Poets’ Caffe Trieste right here in Calgary at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre! Grab a coffee or tea, some fresh baking, and get comfortable beginning with a half hour of dedicated reading time and a selection of great books to explore. Then, different poetry prompts are provided each week so you can write new work without the intrusion of your cell phone, your partner, your kids, or that unfortunate pile of laundry moaning in the corner. The last half-hour of our session is for sharing new poems with fellow poets. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too! Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community, a place to ensure that no matter what life has in store, poetry is part of your life each and every week.   

Poetry Cafe – August 20

Laurie Fuhr
12:30-2:30pm
August 20, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to read inspiring books, write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Every Sunday, grab a coffee or tea, some fresh baking, and get comfortable during a half hour of dedicated reading time with great books to explore. Poetry prompts are provided each week so you can write new work without interruptions. We finish by sharing new poems with fellow poets. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too! Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community. No matter what life has in store, poetry can be part of your life every week.

Poetry Cafe – August 27

Laurie Fuhr
12:30-2:30pm
August 27, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to read inspiring books, write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Every Sunday, grab a coffee or tea, some fresh baking, and get comfortable during a half hour of dedicated reading time with great books to explore. Poetry prompts are provided each week so you can write new work without interruptions. We finish by sharing new poems with fellow poets. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too! Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community. No matter what life has in store, poetry can be part of your life every week.

Poetry Cafe – September 10

Laurie Fuhr
Sunday
12:30-2:30pm
September 10, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to read inspiring books, write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Every Sunday, grab a coffee or tea, some fresh baking, and get comfortable during a half hour of dedicated reading time with great books to explore. Poetry prompts are provided each week so you can write new work without interruptions. We finish by sharing new poems with fellow poets. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too! Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community. No matter what life has in store, poetry can be part of your life every week.

Poetry Cafe – September 17

Laurie Fuhr
Sunday
12:30-2:30pm
September 17, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to read inspiring books, write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Every Sunday, grab a coffee or tea, some fresh baking, and get comfortable during a half hour of dedicated reading time with great books to explore. Poetry prompts are provided each week so you can write new work without interruptions. We finish by sharing new poems with fellow poets. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too! Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community. No matter what life has in store, poetry can be part of your life every week.

Poetry Cafe – September 24

Laurie Fuhr
Sunday
12:30-2:30pm
September 24, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to read inspiring books, write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Every Sunday, grab a coffee or tea, some fresh baking, and get comfortable during a half hour of dedicated reading time with great books to explore. Poetry prompts are provided each week so you can write new work without interruptions. We finish by sharing new poems with fellow poets. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too! Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community. No matter what life has in store, poetry can be part of your life every week.

Poetry Cafe – October 1

Laurie Fuhr
Sunday
12:30-2:30pm
October 1, 2017
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to read inspiring books, write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Every Sunday, grab a coffee or tea, some fresh baking, and get comfortable during a half hour of dedicated reading time with great books to explore. Poetry prompts are provided each week so you can write new work without interruptions. We finish by sharing new poems with fellow poets. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too! Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community. No matter what life has in store, poetry can be part of your life every week.

This Poetry Café is FREE for the public for cSpace Grand Opening

FREE MEMBER WORKSHOPS

Poetry Cafe – October 1

Laurie Fuhr
Sunday
12:30-2:30pm
October 1, 2017
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to read inspiring books, write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Every Sunday, grab a coffee or tea, some fresh baking, and get comfortable during a half hour of dedicated reading time with great books to explore. Poetry prompts are provided each week so you can write new work without interruptions. We finish by sharing new poems with fellow poets. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too! Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community. No matter what life has in store, poetry can be part of your life every week.

This Poetry Café is FREE for the public for cSpace Grand Opening

The Writers’ Circle – Trad or Indie?

Carrie Mumford
Sunday
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
October 1, 2017
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

A discussion of which type of publishing best fits you, your goals for your book, and your genre.

 

This Writer’s Circle is FREE to the public for cSpace Grand Opening.

Character Bootcamp (Waitlist)

Robin van Eck
Saturday
10-1pm
September 16, 2017
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $25

This course is now waitlisted. Please continue to sign up.

Spend three-hours getting to know your characters in a way you never have before. Through a series of continuous writing exercises, you will answer many of the burning questions lingering within your character and emerge with a better understanding of who they are so they hop off the page and engage your reader. There will be lots of writing. Pen and paper preferred but if you’re afraid of hand cramps, you’re welcome to bring a laptop or tablet. Please come with a particular character in mind.

This workshop is FREE for current AWCS members.

Giving a Memorable Author Reading – Masterclass (7 Seats Available)

Jim Jackson
Saturday
10-1pm
October 14, 2017
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $25

Readers are fans. They love readings from their favorite authors. And author readings are an essential piece of building your tribe in today’s economy of connection.

Giving an author reading may seem easy – you just get up there and read, right? But what are you doing to wow your fans so much that they can’t forget you? What are you doing to help your work compete against Netflix and Candy Crush? What are you doing to make your reading memorable?

In this workshop, we’ll incorporate time-tested and cutting edge techniques to make your author readings memorable, to conquer nerves and to deliver your writing in your unique voice.

Whether you’re an old hand at author readings or quiver at the thought of being in front of your audience, this workshop is for you.

Advanced Manuscript Workshop

Advanced Manuscript Workshop Application Fee

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A (N/A)
Member Price: $100
Non-member Price: $160

About the Advanced Manuscript Workshop

Applications must be received by September 15, 2017

Please see link above for full application guidelines and details about the program.

Mentor in the Loop

The Writers’ Circle – Facing Your Writing Demons

Rona Altrows
Sunday
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
September 17, 2017
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Join a facilitated discussion with our Mentor in the Loop for September. Let’s get together and talk about our fears related to writing and all things writing-related—rejection, publishing, reading in public, success, failure, interviews. Wherever our fears lie, let’s go there. What strategies work for you? And might the Mentor have strategies to share?

First Person Fiction Writing (9 Seats Available)

Rona Altrows
Wednesday
10 AM - 3:30 PM
September 13, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

The principal objectives of this course are to give you, the writer, the opportunity to write; to allow you to take yourself into the mind and body of another person, a fictional person who will emerge naturally from you own creative core; and to let you write that fictional person’s reality.

We will use the freefall writing method for releasing subconscious thought and we will also draw on the Stanislavski System, the theory that eventually led to method acting. You will enter your fictional person and become as one with her or him, without denying your own existence. In giving yourself to the process of merging with your fictional person, you will hear that person’s voice and that person will speak authentically and every part of that person’s self will come through in your writing.

The writing exercises themselves are practical. This course celebrates process, not product. It is about creativity, not technique. Imagination, invention and recollection will all have roles to play in this course. There will be no in-class critiquing.

Write With Rona

Rona Altrows
Thursday
12-3 PM
September 14, 2017
Member Price: $5
Non-member Price: $10

Spend some time writing to prompts and freefall writing with our Mentor in the Loop.

Blue Pencil Session (6 Spots Available)

Rona Altrows
Thursday or Saturday
20 minutes; times vary
September 14 and 16, 2017
Member Price: $5
Non-member Price: $10

Meet with the Mentor in the Loop for a short, intensive Blue Pencil session. Submit a sample of your writing (no more than 8 pages, double-spaced) ahead of your session and the Mentor will go over it with you with an editor’s eye.

Mentorship Session (7 Spots Available)

Rona Altrows
Friday or Sunday
30 minutes; times vary
September 15 and 17, 2017
Member Price: $25
Non-member Price: $35

Mentorships sessions are conversations–a chance for new and emerging writers to discuss their writing and ask questions of an established, experienced writer. Whether you are looking at how to get published, how to overcome writer’s block, or how to address lingering self-doubt, the mentor will encourage and support you in all your writing goals. Whatever you need, the Mentor has been there.

8 Week Courses - Evening

Novel Plotting for Planners (7 Seats Available)

Susan Forest
Mondays
7-9pm
September 25, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $250

Some authors write by the seat of their pants, some quilt scenes together into a whole, and some are planners. All of these are valid and respected ways of working. This course is for the planner: the details and fine cogs of structuring your novel. Elements of fiction such as theme, character, and setting will be covered, but only insofar as they impact plot. Come with a novel idea or a few scenes and a broad outline, and use this course to come away with an initial scene-by-scene outline to use as a basis for writing.

Creative Writing Level I (Waitlist)

Lori Hahnel
Wednesdays
7-9pm
September 6, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $250

In this eight-week course, you will learn about the free fall method of writing and how it can be a useful tool for all writing. Learn how to create images a reader will remember. Then, using the short story as a model, you will be introduced to the basics of character, plot, dialogue and setting through discussion, free fall writing, practical writing exercises and mutual feedback. 

No experience necessary.

Writing Mysteries or Thrillers (7 Seats Available)

Dwayne Clayden
Wednesdays
7-9pm
October 11, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $250

Everyone loves a mystery. Whether Agatha Christie or Louise Penny, or Michael Crichton or Lee Child, we love the puzzles or the thrill of the chase.

In this eight-week program, we will discuss  the similarities and differences between mysteries and thrillers. We’ll look at elements of a mystery/thriller including character development, high concept premise, plot, setting, structure and conflict and tension.

Come with a mystery or thriller idea, a few scenes, or a work in progress, and use this course to propel you to a completed novel or as the foundation for the novel you want to write.

No experience necessary.

Truth, Lies and Historical Fiction (8 Seats Available)

Emily Ursuliak
Thursdays
7-9pm
September 21, 2017 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $250

Historical fiction can be a somewhat daunting genre. Short of actually building yourself a time machine, how do you know you’ve provided an accurate portrayal of the time period you’re writing about? This eight-week course will cover the fundamentals of writing strong fiction while also helping you face the additional challenges historical writing will fling at you. Students are encouraged to come to class with a project they have some ideas about, or perhaps have already started on, but this is not absolutely necessary. Students will engage in individual writing exercises, group discussions, and workshop each other’s work.

Visit www.emilyursuliak.com for more information about the instructor.

 

Writing Young Adult Fiction (8 Seats Available)

Janet Gurtler
Thursdays
7-9pm
September 21, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $250

Writing fiction for the young adult market is exciting and inspiring. Join best selling YA author, Janet Gurtler, in an eight-week program that explores important elements of writing YA. Whether you have a full novel already complete, or you just want to learn more about how to write for teens, this is the course for you. Learn how to delve into the emotional truth of writing for this age group. This course will answer your questions about the YA market, and also get your creative juices flowing!

Creative Writing: Pen to Paper (9 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxhan
Mondays
7-9 PM
October 23, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $250

Start your story here!

Do you have a story burning inside you? Want to try writing for fun? Creative Writing: Pen to Paper is designed for the brand new writer or hobbyist. Spend 8 weeks learning where ideas come from, how to unlock your creative potential in a new way and bring words and images to the page in a fun and supportive environment. Lots of writing involved.

No experience necessary.

Creative Writing Level II (10 Seats Available)

Lori Hahnel
Wednesdays
7-9:30 PM
November 1, 2017 (7 weeks)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $250

In Creative Writing Level II, you will expand on what you already learned and go more in depth with the important story elements: character, plot, dialogue, world, flashbacks and more, through discussion, free fall writing, interactive exercises and mutual feedback. Learn about different genres such as literary vs. commercial fiction, creative non-fiction, writing for children and poetry to help focus your path.This class introduces writers to critiquing other’s work and receiving feedback in a practical and supportive atmosphere.

Recommended Prerequisite: Creative Writing Level I or equivalent

8 Week Courses - Daytime

Creative Journaling (9 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxahn
Tuesdays
10-12pm
September 19, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $205
Non-member Price: $255

Use the power of journaling for self-discovery. Unlock your creative potential, navigate through loss, deal with illness, work through difficult decisions, express thoughts, emotions & opinions, and just have fun learning some new methods of expression. Connect with your inner voice through writing and art exercises. Your journal is a safe space for expression and transformation, a space to explore your creativity, a space to store your discoveries as a “work of art” just for you. 

Each class will include writing and art exercises, free fall writing, and time to incorporate elements into your journal. Some classes may include movement and/or meditation exercises. Please bring a notebook for free fall writing to the first class.

Art supplies included.

To Prose or To Poem (5 Seats Available)

Vivian Hansen
Tuesdays
10-12pm
September 19, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $250

What is the essential shell of a prose poem and why would a writer opt for its beauty instead of just writing a page of prose? A prose poem often lacks the line breaks associated with poetry, but we read rhythmic punctuation and notation in its lines. The prose poem maintains a poetic quality, often utilizing techniques common to poetry, such as fragmentation, compression, repetition, and rhyme. The prose poem allows the writer with difficult material to explore recesses of meaning through its experimental style. If you are a prose writer, this course will be of interest to you in navigating the essential prose line through a poetic lens.

Writing Memoir When Your Story is Difficult (3 Seats Available)

Karen Lee
Wednesdays
10-1pm
September 20, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $300

Do you have a difficult story to tell? Things from your past that you’ve tucked into the back of your memory? More and more, people are realizing that getting those stories down on paper is therapeutic and valuable – the popularity of memoir is exploding. People want real life stories.

This course will focus on three-parts – the writing skills required, the journey of change you want to write about, and having the courage and persistence needed to tackle difficult personal subjects. Self-care will be discussed.

We will tackle dialogue, character sketches, scene setting, and your story arc – using parts of your story you want to tell. These will begin to form the outline of your memoir.

If you are interested in engaging in the often therapeutic task of memoir writing, start a retrospective journal now – jot down those memories, however small and fleeting, in a notebook, compile pictures of the past, or assemble meaningful objects. Then bring these to class.

Going public with stories from real life is completely different from getting your story down on paper, so the decision to publish will be discussed.

Three recommended readings are: “The Memoir Project” by Marion Roach Smith, “Why We Write about Ourselves” ed. Meredith Maran and “Your Life as Story” by Tristine Rainer.

Karen Lee has a newly published memoir, The Full Catastrophe. You can find out more information on her website

Raising the Dead (10 Seats Available)

Carolyn Pogue
Thursdays
9:30-12:30pm
September 21, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $375

Write historical fiction by harvesting your own family tree for intriguing characters and amazing plots. Whether you are at the start of your story, or closing in on the end, all beginning and seasoned adventurers are welcome. Please bring a photo or memento to the first class and email Carolyn to tell her the era and country you plan to focus on. cpogue@shaw.ca

Carolyn Pogue Website

Creative Writing: Pen to Paper (Daytime) (10 Seats Available)

Olyn Ozbick
Thursdays
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
September 21, 2017 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $250

Do you have a story burning inside you? Want to try writing for fun? Creative Writing: Pen to Paper is designed for the brand new writer or hobbyist. Spend 8 weeks learning where ideas come from, how to unlock your creative potential in a new way and bring words and images to the page in a fun and supportive environment. Lots of writing involved.

No experience necessary.

12 Week Courses

3-Month Novel Project (Waitlist)

Sarah L. Johnson
Tuesdays
7-9pm
September 19, 2017 (12 weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $375

Powering through to a complete first draft in 12 weeks.

This course is all about what Anne Lamott famously refers to as “shitty first drafts.”  A gentler more realistic version of the well known 30-day challenge, 3MoNoPro is designed to offer the support, information, and tough love you need to get you across that finish line to your very own garbage, but nevertheless complete, first draft.

Each class will look at a different element of writing with an eye toward finding inspiration in our obstacles. Through exercises, word count tracking, and sharing our shitty pages, we’ll cheer each other on and finish what we start.

This course is for writers of all levels. Whether you’re just starting, half way through or almost done a manuscript, sign up and by week 12 you could very well be typing THE END.

Introduction to Freelance Writing (7 Seats Available)

Olyn Ozbick
Tuesdays
7-9:30pm
September 19, 2017 (12 weeks)
Member Price: $375
Non-member Price: $470

Do you want to write for magazines, newspapers or the internet but don’t know how to get started? Learn the basics of how to find fresh ideas, publish in multiple markets, incorporate research and write informative, inspiring and entertaining articles that assignment editors will love. You will do practice exercises to build on your new skills, and learn how to craft query letters that will get the attention of busy editors. Throughout the course students will develop well-targeted ideas, refine their queries and get ready to start writing for editors. 

Creative Writing Basics (6 Seats Available)

Ellen Kelly
Wednesdays
10am-12:30pm
September 20, 2017 (12 weeks)
Member Price: $375
Non-member Price: $470

New format. This course is a combination of Creative Writing Level I & II in 12 weeks. It’s designed for the beginner writer who knows they want to write or maybe haven’t taken a creative writing class in a long time. Learn the basics of writing: character, setting, plot, dialogue and more, to get you well on your way to writing great short stories, creative nonfiction or novel length manuscripts. You can expect lecture, discussion, in-class writing exercises, workshopping and lots of writing.

September Workshops

Speedy Stories – How to Write Page Turners for Kids (Waitlist)

Marty Chan
September 9, 2017
10am - 3:30pm
Member Price: $95
Non-member Price: $120

Middle-grade author Marty Chan has been writing for kids and adults for over 25 years. Applying principles he learned as a playwright, he writes engaging middle-grade fiction that hooks young readers and keeps them turning the page until the final one. He’ll share his approach to writing for middle-grade audiences, and he will reveal simple-to-follow and easy-to-apply techniques for developing plots, characters and scenes for younger readers. With his pragmatic approach, Marty strips away the clutter of the creative process to help participants focus on what really matters: writing their stories. Be prepared for writing exercises. 

First Person Fiction Writing (9 Seats Available)

Rona Altrows
Wednesday
10 AM - 3:30 PM
September 13, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

The principal objectives of this course are to give you, the writer, the opportunity to write; to allow you to take yourself into the mind and body of another person, a fictional person who will emerge naturally from you own creative core; and to let you write that fictional person’s reality.

We will use the freefall writing method for releasing subconscious thought and we will also draw on the Stanislavski System, the theory that eventually led to method acting. You will enter your fictional person and become as one with her or him, without denying your own existence. In giving yourself to the process of merging with your fictional person, you will hear that person’s voice and that person will speak authentically and every part of that person’s self will come through in your writing.

The writing exercises themselves are practical. This course celebrates process, not product. It is about creativity, not technique. Imagination, invention and recollection will all have roles to play in this course. There will be no in-class critiquing.

Character Bootcamp (Waitlist)

Robin van Eck
Saturday
10-1pm
September 16, 2017
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $25

This course is now waitlisted. Please continue to sign up.

Spend three-hours getting to know your characters in a way you never have before. Through a series of continuous writing exercises, you will answer many of the burning questions lingering within your character and emerge with a better understanding of who they are so they hop off the page and engage your reader. There will be lots of writing. Pen and paper preferred but if you’re afraid of hand cramps, you’re welcome to bring a laptop or tablet. Please come with a particular character in mind.

This workshop is FREE for current AWCS members.

Free Verse Experiment (9 Seats Available)

Laurie Fuhr
Saturday
10-3:30pm
September 16, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Free verse poetry is well known today, but it was once considered very experimental when Imagist poets influenced by the French vers libre movement began to use it, organizing their poetry by means other than rhyme and metre. To continue the experiment of free verse today, we must avoid cliche in both word and form and employ fresh thinking to surprise ourselves and our readers. In this workshop, we’ll visit the origins of free verse for inspiration and write to achieve new results.

The Edge of Your Seat (8 Seats Available)

Anne Metikosh
Saturday
10am-3:30pm
September 23, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Keeping up the tension in your novel.

Engaging the reader is Job 1 for a novel. Job 2 is creating suspense (aka tension, conflict, anxiety) to hold the reader’s interest to THE END.   Suspense means different things for different genres. The rollercoaster of a thriller is not the will-they-or-won’t-they of the romance nor the nail biting of adventure.  But no matter the story, the question you want the reader to ask is always the same: how is this going to turn out?  It’s the tension on the page that makes us eager to learn the answer.   In this one-day workshop, we’ll look at some subtle and not-so-subtle ways to build suspense into your story.  The class will include examples and exercises. If you already have a few pages of writing you want to work on, please bring them along.

Experimenting with Metaphors (8 Seats Available)

Joel Farris
Saturday & Sunday
10am-4:30pm
September 23 & 24, 2017
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $225

What exactly is a metaphor? Sure, we often use metaphors without consciously knowing it, but can we identify them? Can we purposefully wield them to inject new life into our writing? Join us in this workshop that will voyage to the furthest possibilities of metaphor and discover its ability to alter our apprehension of common things. We’ll do this by reading some of modern poetry’s greatest hits (Rimbaud, Williams, Breton) while experimenting with our own writing exercises. We’ll also spend time differentiating metaphor from allegory, simile, and symbolism. So come risk the comprehensible, you know, all those strained metaphors extolling the likeness of your lover’s lips to a red rose. What you find might excite and refresh you.

October Workshops

Giving a Memorable Author Reading – Masterclass (7 Seats Available)

Jim Jackson
Saturday
10-1pm
October 14, 2017
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $25

Readers are fans. They love readings from their favorite authors. And author readings are an essential piece of building your tribe in today’s economy of connection.

Giving an author reading may seem easy – you just get up there and read, right? But what are you doing to wow your fans so much that they can’t forget you? What are you doing to help your work compete against Netflix and Candy Crush? What are you doing to make your reading memorable?

In this workshop, we’ll incorporate time-tested and cutting edge techniques to make your author readings memorable, to conquer nerves and to deliver your writing in your unique voice.

Whether you’re an old hand at author readings or quiver at the thought of being in front of your audience, this workshop is for you.

Fine Tuning Your Voice (9 Seats Available)

Naomi K. Lewis
Saturday & Sunday
10am-4:30pm
October 14 & 15, 2017
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $225

The first step for any writer in any genre is to find her or his unique, honest voice. For many beginning writers, that voice is buried beneath self-doubt, stultifying habits picked up from a lifetime of grammar teachers, and a tendency to imitate admired authors. Explore the apprehensions and assumptions that bog down style. Participants will practice techniques to recognize and navigate around the most prevalent obstacles to authenticity.

Showing vs. Telling (8 Seats Available)

Susan Forest
Saturday & Sunday
10am-4:30pm
October 21 & 22, 2017
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $225

The first “rule” of fiction writing all authors learn is to “show” story events scenically through action, as opposed to “telling” the story. But how is that accomplished? What are the craft techniques that lead to page-turning stories that immerse the reader so he forgets the book in his hands, and lives the story in imagination? And…when is “telling” the tool of choice? This two-day intensive workshop will explore techniques such as time dilation, for interweaving dialogue, internal monologue, description, action and emotion into well-structured, purposeful scenes.

Automatic Poetry (10 Seats Available)

Laurie Fuhr
Saturday
10am - 3:30pm
October 28, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Both the French Surrealist poets led by Andre Breton and those inspired by them who borrowed the word Surrealist afterwards (including visual artists like Salvadore Dali) employed interesting and unusual methods to bypass the mind’s boring blockades of reason that often stifle creativity. We will use writing prompts in this workshop used by Surrealists to baffle our brains into producing some of the most exciting, bizarre, and hilarious poems ever concocted. A fun session of unlocking creativity for poets, fiction writers, and artists of every kind.

Subtext in Stories (8 Seats Available)

Jani Krulc
Saturday
10am-3:30pm
October 28, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

As a writer, you’re always managing two stories: the one that appears quite literally on the page, and the one that is unspoken, implicit, and ephemeral. In this workshop, we will examine subtext in short stories, exploring techniques of withholding, pacing, and voice to craft layered and nuanced narratives. 

November Workshops

Excavating Your Creativity (7 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxhan
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 4, 2017
Member Price: $80
Non-member Price: $105

This is a mixed media workshop designed to access your inner artist. Writers–consider this cross-training–a way to open you up to different ways of seeing and thinking. We let go of our ‘critic/judge’ and just play with art and writing exercises allowing creations to manifest themselves spontaneously. This can be used as a space for personal growth, to inspire and explore themes for future writing, or to help break through blocks to a current project. Or just come out and play with us for a day. No previous art or writing experience required.

Participants: Please bring a journal and/or sketch book. An additional supplies fee is included in the registration fee for other materials which will be provided.

No experience necessary.

Developing Vibrant Characters (9 Seats Available)

Aaron Roe
Saturday
10 AM - 3:30 PM
November 4, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Populating your fiction with authentic, vivid characters is a certain way to captivate your readers from the first sentence to your last. Whether you’re writing a novel or short fiction, this workshop will help you to effectively introduce characters, build a believable protagonist, develop strong anti-heroes and compelling villains, juggle multiple points of view, craft authentic dialogue that propels the story forward, motivate your characters with powerful objectives and a believable conflict, and, finally, to show dynamic character development over the course of a story.

Writing for the Big Screen – Basics of screenwriting (10 Seats Available)

Phyllis Heltay
Saturday & Sunday
10-4:30pm
November 4 & 5 2017
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $225

Love movies and thought “Hey, I can write that!”? This workshop will give you essential tools for constructing a screenplay for film. Dig into the elements of structure that include formatting, dialogue, action, and the heart of character development and the story arc. Every genre will be explored to unlock the key features that make great film stories. Grab some popcorn and ideas and join us for a weekend workshop!

Mystery Doesn’t Always Mean Murder (10 Seats Available)

Axel Howerton
Wednesday
7-10 PM
November 15, 2017
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $75

Learn how to craft a mystery without killing off the cast. From Sherlock Holmes and Sam Spade to modern classics like Gone Girl, mystery doesn’t always have to revolve around the sin of sins.

Warp & Weft (9 Seats Available)

Anne Metikosh
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 18, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Weaving subplots into your novel.

Life is not a smooth progression  of  events.  We juggle half a dozen balls at once.  Interruptions happen; change rushes in; we weave them into the fabric of our day.  Novels are like that, too.  Not monofilament but many-stranded.  Think of your main plot as the warp – the lengthwise yarn held in tension on a frame.  To create a strong piece of fabric with it, you need to add weft–transverse threads you draw through the warp.  In other words, subplots.    In this one-day workshop, we’ll look at the purpose, techniques, and timing of subplots.  Bring your ideas or notes for the novel you’re working on and learn how adding a subplot or two can add complexity and tension to your story.

Moving to the Next Level (10 Seats Available)

Rajni Mala Khelewan
Saturday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
November 18, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Have you ever wondered why some writers get a publishing deal and some don’t? Is it just luck and who you know? Or is it hard work, determination, and specific techniques that get your manuscript from the bottom of slush pile to the publisher requesting to see your full novel? In this workshop, we will discuss the basic elements of fiction and writing techniques that get your first pages of manuscript turning a publisher’s head to noticing your work, and requesting to see more. In addition to discussing setting, point of view, themes, character, plot, and how all of these elements tie together, we will spend time on generating ideas on how to start a novel, or beat writer’s block, and how to transition from one chapter to the next effectively, so that your readers find it difficult to stop reading your novel. This workshop is for people who are wishing to start a new novel or get feedback on how to improve the one they have already begun.

The Simple Art of Murder (9 Seats Available)

Axel Howerton
Wednesday
7-10 PM
November 22, 2017
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $75

Learn Raymond Chandler’s surefire system for crafting literary mysteries that thrill and entice.

Group Poetry (10 Seats Available)

Laurie Fuhr
Saturday
10am-3:30pm
November 25
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

There’s power in numbers. Consider covens – it takes more than one witch to cast a really good spell. In Group Poetry, we’ll use famous and obscure, classic and contemporary poetry-generating techniques and games to make amazing verse together–solo, in pairs, and as a group–and we’ll have great time doing it! We’ll also collaborate with poets that aren’t present using their books. This course is ideal for all writers from beginner to expert; a mix of talents makes the most interesting and unexpected group verse.

Dialogue (9 Seats Available)

Jani Krulc
Saturday
10am-3:30pm
November 25, 2017
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

What is dialogue for? Advancing plot, filling space, passing time? In this workshop, you will explore dialogue as a way to really develop and understand your characters. In honing their voices, you will experiment with the unsaid and implicit, allowing your characters to lead the narrative into the unexpected. 

Elmore Leonard’s Ten Simple Rules (10 Seats Available)

Axel Howerton
Wednesday
7-10 PM
November 29, 2017
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $75

Learn Elmore Leonard’s ten rules of writing the potboiler mystery and how those same rules can be applied to everything from Westerns to Romance, and all points in-between.

December Workshops

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night (10 Seats Available)

Axel Howerton
Wednesday
7-10 PM
December 6, 2017
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $75

Setting the stage for mystery through a more layered use of scene and description.

Manuscript Review Service

Prose Submissions – less than 3500 words

Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Prose Submissions – 3501 – 10000 words

Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $195

Prose Submissions – 10001 – 50000 words

Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $375

Prose Submissions – 50001 – 80000 words

Member Price: $500
Non-member Price: $625

Prose Submissions – 80,001 – 100,000 words

Member Price: $650
Non-member Price: $850

Poetry Submissions – Up to 10 pages (poems)

Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Poetry Submissions – 11-25 pages (poems)

Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $195

Poetry Submissions – 26-50 pages (poems)

Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $325

Unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the 
Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, @cSpace King Edward, 460, 1721, 29th Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 6T7

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