Spring 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.
It’s easy. If you’re brand new to writing or been away for awhile, check out the offerings under Start Your Story. Then move on to your specific areas of interest. All weekly courses have a recommended prerequisite or recommended next course to make it easy for you to follow.
All one-day workshops and weekend intensives are open to all writers no matter level of experience.
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.
Writer in Residence Program
Request A Manuscript Consultation
Request your manuscript consultation today. Fast and easy. Simply fill in the form and someone will contact you to schedule your appointment.
Manuscript consultations are FREE for AWCS members. The non-member rate includes the membership.
Creating Deep Characters (Waitlist)
Characters make or break a story and the truer to life they are and the deeper their motivation, the more your reader will believe in them. The best characters have fears, secrets, and contradictions, and in this workshop we’ll do several writing exercises to create a few people and build up their layers. We’ll also investigate how the strongest plots grow out of character, and through sharing and discussion of your work, come up with a workable plot line to launch or deepen your short story or novel.
At the end of this full-day workshop, participants will:
- Recognize the necessary limitations of creating fictional people
- Define a variety of qualities that make compelling characters
- Analyse character motivation
- Invent a character and explore them from many angles (ie. appearance, physical surroundings, family, secrets)
- Explore the psychological motivations of their invented character
- Discuss how the desires and choices of characters lead to plot
- Consider the cause-and-effect of their own character choices
- Develop a workable plot-line involving their new character
Resuscitating the Writer Within (WAITLIST)
Do any of these excuses sound familiar: I don’t have time, I’ve got nothing important to say, I won’t ever be as good as [insert favourite author], I will fail. Most writers invent a lot of reasons to NOT write in order to avoid the uneasiness that comes with writing. This workshop will help you tackle this anxiety. Through guided meditations, writing exercises, discussion, and safe sharing, you will name and address the anxiety that arises when faced with the creative act and start moving forward in order to tap into and consistently fulfill your deep desire to write.
At the end of this full-day workshop, participants will:
- Discuss resistances and listen to those experienced by others
- Understand that anxiety often accompanies creativity
- Define fears common to many artists
- Practice quieting the mind and connecting with the urge to write
- Write from a place of calm excitement
- Reflect on the necessary commitment to facing anxiety in order to create
Start Your Story Here
Creative Writing: Pen to Paper (1 Seat Available)
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.
AWCS membership not required. No class on May 18, 2015.
Next Recommended Course: Creative Writing Level I
A Novel Approach
The First Three Chapters (3 Seats Available)
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
Chapter by Chapter
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
The 10 Minute Play (5 Seats Available)
Come and dip your toes in the playwriting pool by joining Caroline Russell-King for the day as we create 10-minute plays. Ten-minute plays are the new rage at theatre festivals and readings and there are lots of opportunities to submit your creation! Any genre, anything you’d like to write about in just 10 pages for the stage. Have fun learning about playwriting with this mini-manageable art form.
The Lost/Modern Art of the Novella (6 Seats Available)
From Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The Shipwrecked Sailor, the novella fills a sweet niche between those too-long short stories and that too-short novel. Bring your novellas in progress. Or simply, novella in mind, and we will explore novellas in the modern day world. Come prepared to discuss, brainstorm, and put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard.
No experience necessary.
Delving Into Your Tickle Trunk – Tools to Help You Write a Memoir (9 Seats Available)
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.
Writing with the Senses (7 Seats Available)
The Story Unhinged (7 Seats Available)
Speculative Fiction Workshop (9 Seats Available)
Taught by award-winning speculative fiction author Randy McCharles, this two-day workshop explores the differences and similarities of speculative and other kinds of fiction, why you may wish to add speculative elements to your fiction, and how to do it well. Workshop participants are encouraged to bring a sample of their work for review by the instructor. Samples may be revised on Saturday evening after feedback, and reviewed a second time on Sunday.
No experience necessary.
Telling It Like It Was (8 Seats Available)
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.
Roadrunner, Roadrunner: Writing at a Thousand Clicks an Hour – Photography and Writing Creative Nonfiction (6 Seats Available)
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.
The Writer’s Voice (7 Seats Available)
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.
Spring into Summer: A Marathon of Words
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.
A Speaker Series: Writing Woes, Worries and Wows – On Writing Poetry
Some writers make it look so easy. They sit down in front of the computer or on the couch with their notebook and write magic the first time out. Or do they?
Come out for an evening of informal conversation between two Calgary writers. Learn the good, the bad and the ugly of the writing process, from initial idea to publication. What do they worry about when sitting down to write? What do they struggle with? What is absolutely wonderful about it?
Over the next four months, eight writers, will discuss four genres.
Fun, lively and informative.
Owl’s Nest Books | 815A, 49th Ave SW | 7-8:30pm | Micheline Maylor and Lauren Carter ( AWCS Writer in Residence)
Manuscript Review Service
Prose Submissions – less than 3500 words
Prose Submissions – 3501 – 10000 words
Prose Submissions – 10001 – 50000 words
Prose Submissions – 50001 – 80000 words
Prose Submissions – Over 80,000 words
Poetry Submissions – Up to 10 pages (poems)
Poetry Submissions – 11-25 pages (poems)
Poetry Submissions – 26-50 pages (poems)
Unless otherwise noted, all events are at the
Alexandra Writers’ Centre, 922 Ninth Avenue SE.