Fall 2015 Program Schedule: 

 

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 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.

Please note, unless otherwise specified, all non-member rates include a one-year membership to AWCS. If you’re a non-member registering for multiple courses, please select the Member Option on the registration page and purchase a membership along with your courses.

 

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Behind the Curtain with Rosemary Nixon

Behind the Curtain: Technicolour Tips to Enrich Your Fiction (6 Seats Available)

Rosemary Nixon
September 28-October 2, 2015
10am-1pm
(5 days)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $300

 

Step backstage with Rosemary Nixon for 5 exciting mornings discovering behind-the-scenes secrets of how a good writer might achieve power in Structure, Character, Dialogue, Suspense, Pacing etc etc. We’ll discover ways to create gorgeous sentences that morph into indelible characters and a can’t-put-it-down plot, propelling a story from a competent representation of life experience into a piece of art that is experience itself.  

 

Learn more about Rosemary Nixon

May Workshops

Telling It Like It Was (6 Seats Available)

Anne Metikosh
May 30, 2015
10am-2pm
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $110

A workshop of special interest for those who’d like to try their hand at a memoir or family history. We’ll talk about the difference between memoir and biography, historical fiction and creative non-fiction, and discuss which genre might be best suited to the tale you want to tell. Putting the past on the page effectively entails more than a bald recitation of dates and events. Learn a few techniques to help you write yourself as a character, your world as a setting, and your life as a story, as you give voice to your inner historian.

June Workshops

The Writer’s Voice (Waitlist)

Robin van Eck
June 6, 2015
10am-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

Have you ever wondered why we like particular writers? There’s something about the way they write that keeps us engaged for the duration. Could be turns of phrase, the pace at which a story moves along, quirks and ticks. In this workshop, we will do lots of fun writing exercises to help your own voice emerge onto the page. Learn the tune and rhythm of your voice and what makes it unique from everyone else’s and how to turn your raw voice into your story voice.

Roadrunner, Roadrunner: Writing at a Thousand Clicks an Hour – Photography and Writing Creative Nonfiction (5 Seats Available)

Peter Midgley
Saturday, June 13, 2015
10am-4:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

Travel writing involves remembering moments and conversations as you move through an often unfamiliar place. How can one use photography, or the eye of a photographer, to generate text and story? What can photographs add to a narrative, and what are the dangers of using photographs to aid writing? How are photos different from other creative stimuli, such as a piece of cloth or a small trinket you bought on your travels? Does being a participant in the making of the artifact you use change its usefulness?

What can the eye of a photographer add to your view of the world in words? Join Peter Midgley as he walks us through his photographs of his African travels and shares his experiences of writing nonfiction with a photographer’s eye. Bring a camera, as some exercises will involve taking pictures. Maximum 20 participants.

Summer Courses

Do Fish Need Bicycles? (6 Seats Available)

Ellen Kelly
Saturdays
9:30am-12pm
July 4, 2015 (6 weeks)
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $235

Do you have leftover issues from growing up in the sixties and seventies, do you feel that the eighties did little to progress women’s rights, or have you realized, as a young person, that regardless of how far we’ve come, equal rights, equal pay and equality under the law are really now how life roles? Are there attitudes, at home, in the workplace, and in public spaces that prevent you from being who you want to be? And do these attitudes mildly concern you or do they make you mad as hell?

Come and spend six Saturday mornings writing about your experiences, frustrations, triumphs and hopes for the future as a woman of the 21st century. We will write for enjoyment, communication, therapy and maybe even publication as our rants, essays, letters and blogs evolve. Most of all though, we will keep it light-hearted, humourous, and friendly as we write about who we are where we want to be.

Some writing experience is an asset but not necessary. We will cover the basics as we write, read, listen and share.

Please note: there will be no class on July 18, 2015.

Ellen Kelly is a long-time member and instructor for AWCS. She has been short-listed more than once for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize. Check out her blog Random/Abstract

8 Week Courses

Poetry Level I – The Long and Short of It

Maraya Loza Koxhan
Mondays
7-9pm
September 14, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

 

This introductory class will address a broad overview of poetry including structure and free verse and the use of figurative language. We will read, analyze, and discuss various works of local and foreign poets. The emphasis will be on creative self-expression. Beginning with the free fall method, we’ll create a number and variety of poems, gently critique each other’s work, and practice re-writing and speaking them out loud. Bring your favorite line from a song to the first class – and a notebook to keep your work in.

No experience necessary.

Note: There will be no classes on October 12 and October 19.

The Long Poem

Vivian Hansen
Wednesdays
7-9pm
September 16, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

 

The Long Poem is a hybrid of lyrical poetry, prose, fiction, documentary, scene and playwriting, as well as creative nonfiction.  If you have a project that doesn’t seem to fit a particular genre, maybe the Long Poem is right for you.  We will explore dynamics of self and self-mapping, as well as travel and nature narratives to construct a Long Poem.

Creative Writing Level I

Olyn Ozbick
Tuesdays
7-9pm
September 15, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

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.

Next Recommended Course: Creative Writing Level II

Writing for Children Level I (Daytime)

Maureen Bush
Tuesdays
1-3pm
September 15, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

 

How does writing for children differ from other forms of writing? We’ll discuss children’s books by age and genre, and focus on what is particular about writing for children, through discussion, examples and exercises. We’ll set aside time to critique one short story or chapter per student. And, as the course is about kids, I’ll introduce a little whimsy, read stories out loud and make sure some of the exercises are absurd.

 

Maureen Bush Website

 

How does writing for children differ from other forms of writing? We’ll discuss children’s books by age and genre, and focus on what is particular about writing for children, through discussion, examples and exercises. We’ll set aside time to critique one short story or chapter per student. And, as the course is about kids, I’ll introduce a little whimsy, read stories out loud and make sure some of the exercises are absurd.

Stranger Than Fiction

Ellen Kelly
Thursdays
7-9 pm
January 14, 2016 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

Do you have true stories to tell? Experiences you would like to share? Skeletons in your closet that you want to write about? Passionate feelings about a subject that you would like to explore? This eight week course gives participants the opportunity to find deeper meaning in their writing by experimenting with various personal essay formats and through discussion of characterization, scene, narration, theme, voice, truth, and markets/publication. Specific interests of the class participants will be addressed and participants will be encouraged to write both briefly in class and more extensively at home. Sharing is encouraged.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Level I or II, or equivalent  

Next Recommended Course: Other forms of creative nonfiction.

Ellen Kelly Blog

10 Week Courses

Short Story

Kim McCullough
Mondays
7-9:30pm
September 14, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

 

Compelled to write short fiction? What tools do you need to create your own stories? What are the elements of the short story? How can they be manipulated, and combined to create evocative and exciting pieces of writing?

In this 10-week course, you will learn the basics of writing short fiction through a combination of workshops, direct instruction, and group discussion. Weekly writing prompts and readings will help you learn to identify areas of weakness in your writing, and how to capitalize on your strengths. Join us for a fun and supportive class that will get you on your way to writing great stories. 

Please note there will be no class on October 12, 2015

More information about Kim McCullough

Truth, Lies and Historical Fiction

Emily Ursuliak
Tuesdays
7-9:30pm
September 15, 2015 (10 weeks )
Member Price: $160
Non-member Price: $220

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 ten-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.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Level II or Short Story Level I or II, recommended.

Creative Nonfiction

Ellen Kelly
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
September 17, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

This ten week course gives participants the opportunity to develop their own true stories creatively. Characterization, scene, narration, theme, voice, truth, story/plot development and publication/markets will be discussed as they apply to CNF. Specific interests of class participants will be addressed and students will be expected to write, both briefly in class and more extensively at home. Sharing is encouraged.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Level I or II, or equivalent.

Writing a Play for Lunchbox Theatre

Caroline Russell-King
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
September 17, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

A ten week course designed with the completion of a one act play suitable for submission to Lunchbox Theatre.  From the playwright who has had many productions at the longest running noon time theatre in the world!  Her last show Mr Fix It was nominated for a Betty Mitchell Theatre Award for Outstanding New Play.

 

Caroline Russell-King Website

A Novel Approach

The First Three Chapters

Sarah Johnson
Tuesdays
7-9pm
September 15, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

Start as you mean to go on with this 8-week course designed to lay a solid foundation for your book-length manuscript. Instruction will focus on characterization, voice, plot, setting, conflict etc. as they specifically apply to those critical first pages. While this course includes no formal workshopping, students can expect to share their work as it relates to a variety of writing exercises. By the end of the course, students will have generated strong and focused beginning to their manuscript and be well poised to continue on their own, or in a more advanced novel class.

Pre-requisite: Short Story Level II or equivalent.

Next Recommended Course: The Muddy Middle

The Muddy Middle

Susan Forest
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
September 16, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $260
Non-member Price: $320

Are you working on a novel-length manuscript and have a considerable amount already written but finding the process a little overwhelming? Learn the steps involved in writing a novel, such as choosing point of view, setting up a structure, planning out the plot and characterization. Learn and discuss the foundations involved in writing quality novel-length fiction. Students will submit portions of their novel and receive critical feedback from the instructor and other students.  

Prerequisite: The First Three Chapters, A Novel Idea, or equivalent

Next Recommended Course: The End

Chapter by Chapter

Anne Metikosh
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
September 9, 2015 (20 weeks)
Member Price: $850
Non-member Price: $910

You’ve completed the first draft and you don’t have a clue where to start with the revision. Through writing exercises, group discussion and peer critique you will learn how to edit your draft while examining various fiction elements in detail as they pertain to revision. You will also learn where to find publishers, the different options available for publishing, how to write a query letter and create the submission package. Discuss common problems writers face, and get well on your way to having a marketable draft. Heavy emphasis on workshopping.

The class meets every two weeks from September to June.

Prerequisite: The End or equivalent. Participants must have a completed first draft. Synopsis and/or outline may be requested prior to registration confirmation.

  • Payment options are available. Please contact the office for more information.

Next Recommended Course: The First Thirty Pages

 

September Workshops

Very Short Fiction

Olyn Ozbick
Saturdays
10am-1pm
September 12, 2015 (4 weeks)
Member Price: $160
Non-member Price: $220

From 6-word stories to flash fiction, very short fiction is becoming an increasingly popular short story form. It’s fun to write and fun to read. Here everything matters. Learn what it takes to write successful very short fiction. Spend 4 weeks learning how to write great flash fiction pieces. There will be writing, instruction and discussion.

No experience necessary.

Excavating Your Creativity

Maraya Loza Koxhan
September 26, 2015
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $80
Non-member Price: $140

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.

October Workshops

Crowpicking

Vivian Hansen
October 1, 2015
10-1pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100

The great characteristic of crows is to collect little treasures, preferably
shiny things, to line their nests.  What items do you hold as small
treasures that line your nest?  Collections like hockey cards, sports
equipment, knitting, jewelry, nic-nacs, shoes, and many more, are all things
that we might value, for reasons we may never have explored.  Using some of
these items in our writing practice can lift a focus in any genre.  Pick
your Thing and come to his workshop, where we will explore writing around
our crowpickings.

The Book Review

Robin van Eck
October 3, 2015
10am-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

Book reviews are more than a summary of a book. It’s a craft, like any other writing. In this workshop you will learn ways to artfully craft a review so that it stands out above others. Through examples and writing exercises you will learn how to make a review unique to you, the writer, how to write a balanced review, as well as where to publish.

Robin van Eck Website

Creative vs. Analytical Work in the Writing Process

Maureen Bush
October 8, 2015
12pm-3pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100

Writing well requires a combination of creative and analytical tools, but it’s sometimes hard to know what to use when. While every writer has to figure out their own mind, it helps to understand the various skills and to learn what other writers do. We’ll talk and write, learning about creative work (playing with ideas, writing the words) and analytical work (planning, editing), and discuss how to strengthen weak areas.

Delving Into Your Tickle Trunk – Tools to Help You Write a Memoir

Anne Gafiuk
October 24 & 25, 2015
10am to 4:30pm
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $235

Join Anne Gafiuk as she guides you through the process of how to begin writing a memoir.  Using her experiences as a freelance writer and author, she will share her personal practices (organization, resources, links, examples, formats), discussing how to approach the project, keeping the forward momentum going, as well as possible successes and challenges.

The two-day workshop will be a mix of lecture/discussion/Q&A time, with a few writing exercises.

Please bring writing utensils and three to five items that speak about you. 

Backstory Secrets

Susan Forest
October 24, 2015
10am-3:30 pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

Backstory is tricky to interweave into your story effectively. Often, our mistake is to introduce it too soon, or all at once in one large infodump. When and how can it be feathered in effectively? Think of your backstory as a series of secrets your protagonist does not want to reveal. How can you make your audience hungry for backstory and deliver it at just the right moment? Bring a pages or an idea you are working on (your plot line of story events and plot line of backstory events), and use the tips from this one-day workshop to analyze your piece for optimal revelation of scandalous secrets!

November Workshops

Crafting Magical Worlds

Susan Forest
November 14, 2015
10am-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

 

“Ah, my young apprentice, let me explain how magic works,” or “he remembered where the dragons had come from, back in antiquity” use clunky “telling” to dump the rules of magic readers need to know at the beginning of a speculative (fantasy or science fiction) story. Remember “show don’t tell”? So, you write an amazing scene in which your hero uses the antigravity drive to squeeze into the microhole, steal the Heisenberg compensators, put the villain into a coma and escape via the wermhole—only to be showered with questions from your beta readers who are completely confused. You “showed,” all right, but only flummoxed everyone. Enter: Extra Credits’ Mario Theory on how to craft your rules of magic through showing without confusing.

February Workshops

Writing Erotica

Vivian Hansen
February 13, 2016
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

This workshop will explore strategies for writing that intensive love scene, that sizzling mix that is just perfect for your story.  We will examine your characters to find out what they like, and what they fantasize about.  Come prepared with a character you’d like to explore, and/or flesh out a character in this fun workshop!

 

Vivian Hansen Website

Special Events

Spring into Summer: A Marathon of Words

Self-Directed
June 27 & 28, 2015
Saturday, 11am to midnight | Sunday, 1pm to 9pm
Member Price: $25
Non-member Price: $50

Like a write in, but double the fun and double the words.

Finish up the spring and make a head start into summer.

This will be an event unlike the others. Write, write, write. Eat. Stretch your legs.

Get stuck? Join a free fall writing session throughout the day. Maybe a prompt is just what you need to push you past that obstacle and to the end of the story or generate some new ideas to be filed for later. So many possibilities.

In the evening, enjoy some wine and maybe some readings if participants feel up to it. Just a page or two.

No matter what you’re working on: poetry, fiction, memoir, short story, play, the day promises to push your limits. Come away bleary-eyed and productive. It’s just the push you need to keep you writing in the summer, or if not, have something waiting for you in the fall to work on.

Lunch and dinner provided.

Registration required. 

Manuscript Review Service

Prose Submissions – less than 3500 words

Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $150

Prose Submissions – 3501 – 10000 words

Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $300

Prose Submissions – 10001 – 50000 words

Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $500

Prose Submissions – 50001 – 80000 words

Member Price: $500
Non-member Price: $750

Prose Submissions – Over 80,000 words

Member Price: $750
Non-member Price: $1000

Poetry Submissions – Up to 10 pages (poems)

Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $100

Poetry Submissions – 11-25 pages (poems)

Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $250

Poetry Submissions – 26-50 pages (poems)

Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $500

Unless otherwise noted, all events are at the 
Alexandra Writers’ Centre, 922 Ninth Avenue SE.

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