Fall 2015/Winter 2016 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.

 

Sign up today!

Behind the Curtain with Rosemary Nixon

Behind the Curtain: Technicolour Tips to Enrich Your Fiction (2 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

Fortnightly Master Class on Poetic Craft and Writing

The Fortnightly Master Class on Poetic Craft and Writing

Micheline Maylor
Wednesdays
7-9pm
September 16, 2015 (6 Sessions)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $260

Heather Sellers states, reading and writing are acts of paying close attention. In a series of six lectures with close study and writing, the works of noted contemporary Canadian authors will be discussed, both in terms of their critical works, their views on aesthetics, and their poetry. These intensive studies can lead us to better our practices in our own writing and appreciation of poetry and poetics. Authors will include: Anne Carson, Jeffrey Donaldson, Steven Heighton, Robin Sarah, Carmine Starnino, and Jan Zwicky.

Session Dates: September 16 & 30, October 14 & 28, November 25 & December 9

This is best for those poets with some experience. 

Summer Courses

Do Fish Need Bicycles? (1 Seat 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 (7 Seats Available)

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: Pen to Paper

Madelaine Wong
Mondays
7-9pm
September 14, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $180

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 October 12, 2015

Next Recommended Course: Creative Writing Level I

Creative Writing Level I (7 Seats Available)

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

Creative Writing Level I (Daytime)

Madelaine Wong
Wednesdays
11-1pm
(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 (9 Seats Available)

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: $210
Non-member Price: $270

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 (7 Seats Available)

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

Writing Speculative Fiction

Susan Forest
Mondays
7-9:30pm
January 11, 2016 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

 

Speculative fiction is a broad category that includes any element that is not currently part of our real world, including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and their subgenres. Many writers of one form also write in one or more of the others, and all are growing in importance and popularity. This course will examine the elements that define these genres: which conventions are expected by readers of a genre, and which clichés to avoid. We will also examine writing techniques that underpin successful commercial fiction, what editors are looking for in terms of writing quality and professionalism, and what steps a starting author should take when approaching a magazine for publication. Come to this course prepared to workshop your own short stories or novel openings, to improve your craft with the goal of publication.

 

Biography:

Two-time Prix Aurora Award finalist and winner of The Galaxy Project, juried by Robert Silverberg, David Drake and Barry Malzberg, Susan Forest is a writer of science fiction, fantasy and horror, and a fiction editor for Edge Press. You can find her stories in Analog, Asimov’s, OnSpec, Blood and Water, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Tesseracts, AE Science Fiction Review, and The Urban Green Man, or in her collection, Immunity to Strange Tales (Five Rivers Press). www.speculative-fiction.ca.

Adapting Your Work for the Stage

Caroline Russell-King
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
January 14, 2016 (10 Weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

Do you have a poem, short story, novel, novella or any creative scribbles that you envision as a stage play? Do you go to the theatre and think to yourself, “I could do that!” or “I wish I could do that!”? Take your existing work and shine a spotlight on it. Curtain up! Greasepaint! Success!

Caroline Russell-King Website

The Artist’s Way (Daytime)

Caroline Russell-King
Fridays
1-3pm
January 15, 2016 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

For all writers and artists. As a group we will work through Julia Cameron’s’ book The Artist Way. We will engage in exercises and activities that spur the imagination and capture new ideas while unblocking obstacles on the path to inspiration and creativity.

No experience necessary.

Next Recommended Course: Creative Writing Level I

Caroline Russell-King Website

Introduction to Freelance Writing

Olyn Ozbick
Tuesdays
7-9:30pm
April 12, 2016 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

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. 

Plays Alive!

Caroline Russell-King
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
April 14, 2016 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

After completing the first draft what do I do with my play? Join professional playwright, Caroline Russell-King, as she teaches you how to get your play from first draft to FINAL draft. Come and find out about dramaturgy and roundtable workshops. Have your words read by real live professional actors. Learn about submission tips, life in rehearsal, theatre etiquette and more. For more information on Caroline go to www.carolinerussellking.com

A Novel Approach

The First Three Chapters

Sarah Johnson
Tuesdays
7-9pm
September 15, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $300

Start as you mean to go on with this 10-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 (9 Seats Available)

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

Writing Basics: Scene Construction

Susan Forest
September 26, 2015
10am-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

 

Nancy Kress likely spoke for a lot of writers when she said, “When I started writing in scenes, I started selling.” Designed for writers early in their development, this one-day class will look at what is a scene, how scenes are structured (their function within a larger work and their internal structure), and what elements should be included. Students are asked to bring a scene they are working on, to develop further over the course of the session.

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 (9 Seats Available)

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 (9 Seats Available)

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 (9 Seats Available)

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.

Dialogue and Transitions

Madelaine Wong
November 7, 2015
1-4pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100

 

Are you struggling to write good dialogue? Are your scenes choppy, leaving your reader confused about point of view and passage of time?

In this three hour workshop you will learn the basics of how to write natural sounding dialogue that can advance the plot, give insight to the characters and create tension in your stories. You will also learn how to make your writing flow from one scene to another with graceful transitions. Feel free to bring a work-in-progress.

January Workshops

Showing vs. Telling

Susan Forest
Saturday & Sunday
10am-4:30pm
January 30 & 31, 2016
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $235

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.   

February Workshops

The Writer’s Voice

Robin van Eck
February 27, 2016
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.

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

June Workshops

Character Resuscitation

Robin van Eck
Saturday & Sunday
10-4:30pm
June 4 & 5, 2016
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $235

Are your characters one-dimensional? Do they skip along the page but never really do or say anything meaningful and interesting? In this weekend workshop we will create characters who really jump off the page, characters your readers will remember for years to come. Through extensive writing exercises and discussion, you will find new meaning in your character’s actions and words, and learn who they are. Just like real people.

Robin van Eck Website

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Special Events

Spring into Summer: A Marathon of Words (7 Seats Available)

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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