Summer/Fall 2016 Courses and Workshops: 

 

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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Fall Feature Course: Alberta Skies

Alberta Skies: Metaphors & Similes through paint, print, prose & poetry (Waitlist)

Vivian Hansen & Irene Naested
Mondays
7-9pm
September 19, 2016 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $575
Non-member Price: $635

Venue: Naested Studio, 1124, 15th St. NW, Calgary, AB

Participants will explore the theme of Alberta Skies through paint, print, prose & poetry. The course will culminate with a collective publication of participants’ art and writing with a book launch & talk. The gallery exhibition will be planned to coincide with the AWCS’ grand re-opening celebration in the King Edward Arts Hub & Incubator in January (date to be determined) These opportunities will give participants a professional venue for exhibition and publication of their work. All art supplies (various media) will be supplied and is included in the course fee. All students will receive one copy of the publication and additional copies can be purchased at cost. 

What You Get

  • experience in different artistic mediums
  • supplies included
  • publication
  • gallery exhibition
  • a participant in the AWCS grand re-opening celebrations

Please note there will be no class on October 10, 2016

Irene Naested is a published author and artist. She has taught art at all grade levels and ages from K – 12 to post secondary (MRU, U of C) and other institutions locally, provincially & nationally. She has written two books on art teaching: Art in the Classroom (2010) and Exploring the Math and Art Connection (2012) as well as numerous journal articles and teaching resources. Irene has received local and national recognized and awards for her art teaching. inaested@gmail.com   and www.irenenaested.com  

Vivian Hansen is a poet and freelance writer. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and journals with work that has encountered women’s issues, the western landscape, work and immigration. These publications include:  Never Call it Bird (1998), Leylines of my Flesh (2002), Angel Alley (2004), A Bitter Mood of Clouds (2013). For many years Vivian has taught poetry and creative writing at Alexandra Writing Center, the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. She has received many awards and grants for her poetry.   vivipoet@shaw.ca  and www.vivianhansen.ca

Summer Courses

How To Write A 10-Minute Play in Five Hours (5 Seats Available)

Caroline Russell-King
July 23, 2016
10am-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

10-minute plays are all the rage. Join professional comedy playwright Caroline Russell-King, as you discover your playwriting chops. End the class with a short play!  Pull out your idea file or your scribbles and come learn the craft of playwriting. 

All ages. All skill levels.

Non-member rate includes a one-year AWCS membership.

Where Stories Lie (9 Seats Available)

Robin van Eck
August 15-19, 2016
7-10pm
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $260

Spend a week writing fiction. Fictional characters in fictional worlds with real words. Whether you’re a short story writer or novelist, you will come away with either a new story idea or that one scene you’ve been agonizing over that will complete your novel. There will be lots of writing exercises to get you playing with words and ideas, lots of discussion, but most of all, lots of fun. 

Non-member rate includes a one-year AWCS membership.

Journaling for Writers: Sneaking in the Back Door to Creativity and Inspiration (6 Seats Available)

Sharon McLeay
August 20, 2016
10am-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

If you read Sharon’s article in the June 13/15 Calgary Herald (http://calgaryherald.com/life/relationships/journaling-turns-a-page) you know that keeping a journal has changed dramatically, from a mere event recording device, to an amazing tool that can help you manage everything, from relationships and decision-making to stress and health/wellness, as well as inspire creative thought/expression and writing. Discover the power of journaling for writers with this hands-on5.5 hour workshop that leads through the back door of journal writing to new forms of creativity and inspiration. You will learn practical techniques you can use in as little as 15 minutes a day in a supplied ‘Writer’s Journal” to help you better understand yourself as a writer, improve writing focus, come up with new ideas, infuse your creative spirit, overcome writer’s block, find new ways to develop concepts and content and more. 

8 Week Courses

Do Fish Need Bicycles? (10 Seats Available)

Ellen Kelly
Mondays
7-9pm
September 19, 2016 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

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 not how life rolls? 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 8 weeks 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 and 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.

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

Non-member rate includes a one-year AWCS membership.

Creative Writing Pen to Paper (9 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxhan
Mondays
7-9pm
September 26, 2016 (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.

There will be no class on October 10, 2016

AWCS membership not required. 

Purely Poetry (9 Seats Available)

Susan Plett
Mondays
7-9pm
September 26, 2016 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

Join Calgary poet, Susan Plett, for eight weeks of all poetry, all the time, and making your words do the work you want them to.  Emphasis will be on creating new work and learning to critique and be critiqued.

Creative Writing Level I (9 Seats Available)

Olyn Ozbick
Tuesdays
7-9pm
October 11, 2016 (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.

Writing Memoir When Your Story is Difficult (4 Seats Available)

Karen Lee
Wednesdays
7-10pm
September 28, 2016 (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

Creative Writing Level I (Daytime) (9 Seats Available)

Madelaine Wong
Wednesdays
10am-noon
October 12, 2016 (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.

10 Week Courses

Short Story Level I (9 Seats Available)

Jo-Ann McCaig
Tuesdays
7-9:30pm
September 20, 2016 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $310

Short stories are making a comeback. 

In this course, we will delve deeper into the elements of short fiction that you learned in Creative Writing Level 1 as well as learn new elements. Through writing exercises, discussion, peer critique and examining the works of successful short story writers from contemporary works by the likes of Alice Munro and George Saunders, to the classics of James Joyce, Ernest Hemmingway, Flannery O’Connor and more, you will gain a deeper understanding of character, plot, dialogue, point of view, setting as well as start to develop your individual writer voice. See how short stories have changed over the centuries and how they have remained the same.

Whether your focus is on the short story or eventually to write a novel, learning the elements of what makes a short story successful and publishable will help hone your skills as an eventual novel writer, not to mention having published short stories in your portfolio gives you necessary writer credibility.

The First Three Chapters (6 Seats Available)

Susan Forest
Tuesdays
7-9:30pm
September 20, 2016 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $310

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 three 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 a strong and focused beginning to their manuscript and be well poised to continue on their own, or in the next class.

Novel Systems – Imagination-jacking using an agglomerative technique to build a novel. (Waitlist)

Bradley Somer
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
September 21, 2016 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $360

Traditional novel writing instruction focuses on dissecting and mastering the individual components used to create long form fiction. While important, the focus on how all of these parts work together to create the ecosystem of the novel can easily become lost. Novel Systems will use instruction, exercises and work shopping to illuminate the major interactions of the novel writer’s toolkit. It will also focus on how they are stitched together to create an immersive writing (and reading) experience by examining points like: how character can be plot, how place can be used to develop character, or how narrative style can act as theme.

More About Bradley Somer

Creative Nonfiction (8 Seats Available)

Ellen Kelly
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
September 22, 2016 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $310

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.

Non-Member rate includes a one-year membership.

The Artist’s Way (Daytime) (9 Seats Available)

Caroline Russell-King
Fridays
12pm-2pm
September 23, 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.

Caroline Russell-King Website

September Workshops

Delving Deeper Into Character (9 Seats Available)

Janet Gurtler
Saturday
10-3:30pm
September 24, 2016
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

Do you want to make your fictional characters come to life for your readers? Join bestselling YA author, Janet Gurtler, for an interactive workshop for writers of all genres at all levels, from beginner to multi-published.

Bring your pen or laptop, because you are going to work! You’re going to take a character (or set of characters) and in this workshop you’ll do exercises that will breathe life into those characters. You’ll leave this workshop with techniques to improve character building in your work.

A Rita Award Finalist and Crystal Kite Award Finalist, Janet Gurtler’s books have been chosen for the JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION and as BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS from the Canadian Children’s Book Center.

October Workshops

Writing Genre (10 Seats Available)

Axel Howerton
October 1 & 2, 2016
10-4:30pm
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240
Author, publisher and genre columnist Axel Howerton guides you through the ins and outs of writing various popular genres from Noir to SciFi, from old school styles like the traditional Western and Science Fiction to trendy sub genres like Noir and modern mashups like Urban Fantasy. 

Small Words With Muscle (10 Seats Available)

Vivian Hansen
Saturday
10am-3:30pm
October 1, 2016
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

This workshop will guide you into finding your original poetic moments
and turning them into the art of poetry. You will learn the art of keen
seeing and listening, and how to use an economy of words to write your
vision. A great intro course for prose writers!

Non-member rate includes a one-year membership.

The Writer’s Voice (9 Seats Available)

Robin van Eck
Saturday
10am-3:30pm
October 15, 2016
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.

Metafiction, or The Art of Self-Reference in Fiction (10 Seats Available)

Michael Mirolla
October 15, 2016
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

What do we mean when we say “metafiction”? What is the theory behind it? How does it stack up to other forms, such as magic realism and naturalism? How do we use it in our writing?

You will leave with a thorough knowledge of the uses of metafiction, and with techniques for using metafictional devices in order to strengthen and deepen your fiction.  

Please bring a piece of prose (1000 words max). During workshop, we will look for ways to metafictionalize your pieces, as well as offer general tips and suggestions for strengthening the prose. Option: bring a piece that is already metafictional to be analyzed for effect.

The author of a clutch of novels, plays, and short story and poetry collections, MICHAEL MIROLLA describes his writing as a mix of magic realism, surrealism, speculative fiction and meta-fiction. Publications include the novel Berlin (a 2010 Bressani Prize winner); The Facility, which features among other things a string of cloned Mussolinis; and The Giulio Metaphysics III, a novel/linked short story collection wherein a character named “Giulio” battles for freedom from his own creator. Other publications include the short story collection The Formal Logic of Emotion; a punk novella, The Ballad of Martin B.; and two collections of poetry: Light and Time, and The House on 14th Avenue (2014 Bressani Prize). His short story collection, Lessons in Relationship Dyads, from Red Hen Press in California, came out last year, while the novel Torp: The Landlord, The Husband, The Wife and The Lover, set in 1970 Vancouver, was published in the Spring of 2016 with Linda Leith Publishing out of Montreal. The short story, “A Theory of Discontinuous Existence,” was selected for The Journey Prize Anthology, featuring the best short stories in Canadian journals for that year; and “The Sand Flea” was a Pushcart Prize nominee. Born in Italy and raised in Montreal, Michael now makes his home in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information, www.michaelmirolla.com.

 

First Person Fiction Writing (9 Seats Available)

Rona Altrows
October 22, 2016
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

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 your own creative core; and to let you write that fictional person’s reality.

We will use the free fall 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.

Is There A Play Hiding In My Poem? (9 Seats Available)

Caroline Russell-King
Saturday
10-3:30pm
October 22, 2016
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright. Playwrights used to be called poets! Use your poetry as a jumping off place to create monologues, scenes or even a one act play! Join Caroline Russell-King for a one day class on plotting and poetry. 

Point of View and Narration (10 Seats Available)

Olyn Ozbick
October 29, 2016
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

 Point of View can be one of the most important decisions you make for your short story or novel. But what are you choices and how do you choose from all the options avaiable in your writers’ tool kit? In this workshop you will learn how point of view impacts your narrative voice. Explore through examples and exercises how to alter your story, change your message, create new and different worlds and affect your reader’s impression of your story. All by manipulating your narrator and their point of view.

Writing Ourselves Home in Nature (10 Seats Available)

Carolyn Pogue
October 29, 2016
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135
Our writing — and our lives — are enriched when we are connected with the natural world. It isn’t necessary to head to the south seas or even to the mountains to refresh our senses. Through gentle free-fall exercises, visual, tactile and memory prompts, we will spend a day immersed in creativity with an ear to Nature around and within us. Writing ourselves Home invites conversation about our intimate connection with Earth in any genre.
In addition to your notebook, please bring a favourite or interesting stone.

November Workshops

Excavating Your Creativity (10 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxhan
November 5, 2016
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.

Writing to Reconcile (10 Seats Available)

Carolyn Pogue
Saturday
10am-3:30pm
November 5, 2016
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135
During the six years of The Truth and Reconciliation hearings, Canadians learned new ways of viewing our history which includes missing stories from First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. Some were shocked; some relieved. We have learned astonishing facts and seen amazing courage. We now have an opportunity for growth and healing.
This workshop allows participants to explore reconciliation on many levels through gentle free-fall exercises. Writing to Reconcile invites conversation and writing in any genre about reconciliation with ourselves as individuals and as citizens.
Teachers and parents will find this workshop particularly helpful as they begin to  educate youth about history absent from most school curricula.

 

Word Painting (10 Seats Available)

Robin van Eck
Saturday
10am-3:30pm
November 12, 2016
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

Bring images to life on the page through only the magic of your wordsSpend the day emersed in exercises to energize your creativity and get you writing more descriptively.  If you think you overburden your writing with description, or maybe don’t write descriptively enough, this is a great workshop to learn what details are important and which are not, while also having fun. 

No experience necessary.

Urban Fantasy (10 Seats Available)

Axel Howerton
November 12, 2016
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135
Axel Howerton – editor, publisher, genre columnist and author of the  “modern gothic werewolf fable” Furr – explains the history, traditions, and definitions of the Urban Fantasy genre and teaches you how to steer your writing towards this extremely popular, and highly creative fiction style.

Mapping A Novel (10 Seats Available)

Anne Metikosh
November 19 & 20, 2016
10am-4:30pm
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

You have a great idea. Maybe you’ve dreamed up some dynamite settings and scenes.  But how do you turn all the bits and pieces into a novel? You know you need an engaging plot to keep the reader glued to the page. You know your characters have to grow and change. You know your story has to reach an emotionally satisfying conclusion. But you can’t figure out how to get there from here and you’re spending a lot of time spinning your wheels. What you need is a roadmap.  

In this class we’ll design a working model for your novel. We’ll discuss the basics, like the value of a three-act structure and why the incidents that make up a plot need to be linked by cause and effect. But we’ll also consider the underlying questions of goal, theme, character motivations and consequences as they relate to the particular story you want to tell.  By the end of this intensive weekend workshop, you should have an integrated plan to follow as you write.      

This class involves brainstorming and discussion.  

Youth Programs

RIOCKP Registration

Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $100

Reality Is Optional Creative Kids’ Programming (RIOCKP) is a multi-group program for youth to connect with each other through writing, art and improv. We strive to foster creativity, community, and youth leadership in an accepting environment. See RIOCKP website for more details.

Our three main groups include:

1. Reality Is Optional (RIO) kids’ writing club: writing, games, improv, and guests. 

2. Pen and Panel Cartooning Club: A constant current of fun and education, art and writing, web comics, cartoons and anime. See Pen & Panel website for details. 

3. Free Fall Writing: Free writing time with friends and the option for critique. Work on your own stuff or from a prompt.

RIOCKP Member Only Programs

 

  • Random Movie Night
  • Dungeons and Dragons Club
  • Workshops and Special Events
  • RIO Poetry Slam Team
  • Special Projects

 

Fees:

 

  • AWCS Youth Membership (mandatory): $40
  • RIOCKP Membership: $60
  • Drop-in Fee (main groups only): $5

 

Non-Member Rate includes youth membership.

 

Manuscript Review Service

Prose Submissions – less than 3500 words

Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

Prose Submissions – 3501 – 10000 words

Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $210

Prose Submissions – 10001 – 50000 words

Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $360

Prose Submissions – 50001 – 80000 words

Member Price: $500
Non-member Price: $560

Poetry Submissions – Up to 10 pages (poems)

Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $110

Poetry Submissions – 11-25 pages (poems)

Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $210

Poetry Submissions – 26-50 pages (poems)

Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $310

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

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