AWCS Winter/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.

 

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Writer in Residence Program

Request A Manuscript Consultation

Lauren Carter
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $60

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)

Lauren Carter
April 18, 2015
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $110

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)

Lauren Carter
May 2, 2015
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $110

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 (Daytime) (8 Seats Available)

Kim Firmston
Wednesdays
10am-12pm
April 15, 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. 

Next Recommended Course: Creative Writing Level I

Creative Writing: Pen to Paper (8 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxhan
Mondays
7-9pm
April 20, 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 May 18, 2015.

Next Recommended Course: Creative Writing Level I

Creative Writing Level I (6 Seats Available)

Madelaine Wong
Mondays
7-9pm
April 13, 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 II (9 Seats Available)

Olyn Ozbick
Tuesdays
7-9pm
April 14, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

In Creative Writing Level II, you will expand on what you already learned and go more 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.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Level I or equivalent

Next Recommended Courses: Poetry Level I, Creative Nonfiction, Short Story Level I, Playwriting Level I

 

Fiction Weekly Courses

Writing for Children Level I (Daytime) (9 Seats Available)

Maureen Bush
Thursdays
1-3pm
April 16, 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. 

 

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Level II or equivalent

Next Recommended Course: Writing for Children Level II

Writing YA Fiction

Kim Firmston
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
April 15, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

Learn to write or improve your Young Adult Fiction. Explore what goes into it from word count to language. Investigate YA plotting, teen language, characters, dark matter, sex, and humour. Compare self-publishing and traditional publishing, then make a publishing package. Work on your own project or create something new in this class all about the growing market of YA fiction.  

Prerequisite: Short Story Level II or equivalent

Next Recommended Course: A Novel Approach – The First Three Chapters

Short Story Level I (5 Seats Available)

Robin van Eck
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
April 16, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $270

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 II 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.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Level II or equivalent

Next Recommended Course: Short Story Level II

Creative Nonfiction Weekly Courses

Stranger Than Fiction (8 Seats Available)

Ellen Kelly
Thursdays
7-9 pm
April 16, 2015 (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 II, or equivalent.  

Next Recommended Course: Other forms of creative nonfiction.

Ellen Kelly Blog

Poetry Weekly Courses

Poetry Level I – Mine Your Moments (5 Seats Available)

Vivian Hansen
Wednesdays
7-9pm
April 15, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

Writing and reading poetry is a slow, meditative and often healing process. In this course, we will explore how to get in touch with the smallest of moments and how to describe them effectively, using poetic devices like image, simile, metaphor, and especially, the sound of your unique voice.  We will go deeply into personal knowing, and emerge with powerful poetry.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Level II or equivalent.

Next Recommended Course: Poetry Level II

Explore Your Creativity Weekly Courses

The Artist’s Way (Daytime) (6 Seats Available)

Caroline Russell-King
Fridays
1-3pm
April 17, 2015 (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

First Person Fiction Writing (Daytime) (9 Seats Available)

Rona Altrows
Tuesdays
12pm-2pm
April 14, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

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.

You will be making extensive use of the freefall writing method for releasing subconscious thought. You will also learn from the Stanislavski System (the theory behind method acting) and from the instructor’s experience as a writer and former actor. 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. There will be lots of time to work on them and to discuss, and have a few laughs along the way. This course celebrates process, not product. It is about creativity, not technique. Imagination, invention and recollection will all have roles to play.

No experience necessary.

Next Recommended Course: Creative Writing Level I or II.

 Rona Altrows Website

A Novel Approach

The First Three Chapters (7 Seats Available)

Sarah Johnson
Tuesdays
7-9pm
April 14, 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 (5 Seats Available)

Dwayne Clayden
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
April 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

 

April Workshops

The 10 Minute Play (5 Seats Available)

Caroline Russell-King
Saturday, April 25, 2015
10am-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

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.

May Workshops

The Lost/Modern Art of the Novella (7 Seats Available)

Lee Kvern
Saturday, May 2, 2015
10am-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

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)

Anne Gafiuk
May 2 & 3, 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. 

Writing with the Senses (7 Seats Available)

Emily Ursuliak
May 9, 2015
10-1pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100
Often the difference between vivid writing, and writing that falls flat is a writer’s ability to evoke the senses, to move beyond just describing the way something looks to engaging the reader with smells, tastes, sounds and textures. This three hour workshop will involve innovative writing exercises where students interact with smells, sounds, tastes and textures to hone their attention to descriptive detail. This workshop will be helpful for writers of all stripes. Writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry alike will find tools they can apply to their writing practice. Students will be required to bring a yoga mat, or a blanket to lie on for the final writing exercise of the workshop.
*Please note this class may not be suitable for students who have severe food allergies, or suffer from a perfume allergy.
*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

The Story Unhinged (7 Seats Available)

Emily Ursuliak
May 23, 2015
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135
We’ve all become very used to reading stories in a recognizable format: printed words on a page with a left-justified margin. This workshop proposes that we play with our concept of what a story can be. Can a grocery list be a story? What about the schedule from a day-timer? We’ll mess with how stories appear on the page, we’ll take them off the page and explore their potential to be embedded in our surroundings, or in our throats through polyphonic performances. Students interested in this class should come prepared to explode their ideas of what a story “should” look like.

Speculative Fiction Workshop (9 Seats Available)

Randy McCharles
May 23 & 24, 2015
10am-4:30pm
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $235

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 (9 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

Roadrunner, Roadrunner: Writing at a Thousand Clicks an Hour – Photography and Writing Creative Nonfiction (7 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.

The Writer’s Voice (8 Seats Available)

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.

Drop In Writing

Just Write: April 1

Self-Directed
March 18, 2015
6:30-9:30pm
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $5

Can’t find the time to write at home? Longing for a different venue, with like-minded individuals? Come down to AWCS for 3 hours of open writing time. All you need to bring is your favourite writing medium and a current project to work on. Work at your own pace on your own stuff. Everyone welcome.

Special Events

A Speaker Series: Writing Woes, Worries and Wows – On Writing Poetry

Micheline Maylor and Lauren Carter
April 21, 2015
7-8:30pm
Member Price: $5
Non-member Price: $10

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)

 

Last Blast of Winter Write In (9 Seats Available)

Self-Directed
Saturday, March 28, 2015
9am - 9pm
(One Day)
Member Price: $15
Non-member Price: $30

Tired of being snowed in? A deadline approaching? Too distracting at home to get what you want accomplished?

Join the Winter Write In. Get 12 hours of uninterrupted writing time with other writers. You won’t believe how much you can get done when you have all the time in the world to do it. Come all day or stay for a few hours. Beverages provided throughout the day. Lunch will be provided. 

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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