AWCS Program Schedule: 

Winter 2015

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Youth Programs

The Art of Songwriting – Ages 11-17

MJ Diva
January 17, 24, February 14, 21, March 14, 21, 2015
6-8pm
(6 weeks)
Member Price: $130
Non-member Price: $150

The Art of Songwriting is a writing course designed for young writers interested in learning about the technique of songwriting.

This workshop is tailored for the musician and non-musician alike, introducing participants to lyrical forms, song styles, poetic composition and rudimentary music language, enabling and inspiring participants to explore this form of self-expression and feel confident in creating this specialized form of writing.

Topics include:

  • The Foundation of Your Song
  • How to Avoid Writer’s Block
  • Setting Your Words to Music
  • Rudimentary Musical Language and Form
  • Creating the First Draft

All materials are provided, and participants will receive a mastered mp3 version of their song(s), recorded in class.

Feature Workshop

Writing Nonfiction with Charlotte Gray

Charlotte Gray
Saturday, March 14, 2015
10am-4pm
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $180

Photo Credit: Valberg Imaging

Just because it’s true doesn’t make it interesting: just because it’s interesting doesn’t make it true.

Whether you are working on a personal memoir, a family history or an episode in our collective past, chronology is not enough. But how do you capture the taste, look, smell, feel and sounds of history? How do you stick to the facts when you are fleshing out a story? How do you bring characters alive, and uncover the web of relationships that make non-fiction read like a good novel?

Bestselling authors like Simon Schama, Stacy Schiff, Simon Winchester, David McCulloch and Margaret MacMillan have faced and answered these questions, and shown how non-fiction can be as satisfying and intriguing as fiction. Charlotte Gray will describe how she approaches the challenges and learned her craft. She will take you through exercises to sharpen your writing and observational skills, and will explain how she divides construction of a convincing story into four distinct phases.

March 14, 2015 | 10am to 4pm (lunch provided)

Fort Calgary (Officer’s Mess) 750, 9th Ave SE, Calgary, Alberta

Early Registration Before February 1

AWCS & CNFC Members*: $150 | Non-Members: $180

 After February 1

AWCS & CNFC Members*: $170 | Non-Members: $200

*CNFC Members, please select member button when registering and leave a note in the comments section that you are a CNFC member.

Charlotte Gray is the author of nine best-selling non-fiction books as well as many award-winning magazine articles. Her most recent book, The Massey Murder (2013), was short-listed for several major national awards, including the RBC Taylor Award, and won the CAA Award for Non-fiction. Her 2010 best-seller Gold Diggers, Striking It Rich in the Klondike, was the basis of the US Discovery Channel mini-series Klondike. Charlotte is an adjunct professor at Carleton University, past president of Canada’s National History Society, has five honorary degrees and is a member of the Order of Canada. She lives in Ottawa. Visit her website at www.charlottegray.ca

NEW - 3 Hour Workshops

Love Letters to the Future – 4 sessions

Carolyn Pogue
February 4, 11, 18 & 25, 2015
10am-1pm
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $180
Maya Angelou’s Letters To My Daughter is a book of “memoir plus” — short essays in the form of personal letters. Interestingly, Angelou did not have daughters, step-daughters nor daughters-in-law. She was writing from her heart to people everywhere. Do you have a story to tell, an event to explore, a memory that you would like to leave as your legacy? Simple art may be introduced if participants are willing.
 
Join us to begin writing your own Letters. This course will run for four weeks. Participants may come to one or all of them.
 
Carolyn Pogue, a frequent instructor at AWCS, is the author of 14 books for adults, teens and children. The Pogue Blog is at www.ucobserver.org/pogue_blog Learn more at www.carolynpogue.ca

Love Letters to the Future – February 4

Carolyn Pogue
February 4, 2015
10am-1pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100
Maya Angelou’s Letters To My Daughter is a book of “memoir plus” — short essays in the form of personal letters. Interestingly, Angelou did not have daughters, step-daughters nor daughters-in-law. She was writing from her heart to people everywhere. Do you have a story to tell, an event to explore, a memory that you would like to leave as your legacy? Simple art may be introduced if participants are willing.
 Carolyn Pogue, a frequent instructor at AWCS, is the author of 14 books for adults, teens and children. The Pogue Blog is at www.ucobserver.org/pogue_blog Learn more at www.carolynpogue.ca

Love Letters to the Future – February 11

Carolyn Pogue
February 11, 2015
10am-1pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100
Maya Angelou’s Letters To My Daughter is a book of “memoir plus” — short essays in the form of personal letters. Interestingly, Angelou did not have daughters, step-daughters nor daughters-in-law. She was writing from her heart to people everywhere. Do you have a story to tell, an event to explore, a memory that you would like to leave as your legacy? Simple art may be introduced if participants are willing.
 Carolyn Pogue, a frequent instructor at AWCS, is the author of 14 books for adults, teens and children. The Pogue Blog is at www.ucobserver.org/pogue_blog Learn more at www.carolynpogue.ca

Love Letters to the Future – February 18

Carolyn Pogue
February 18, 2015
10am-1pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100
Maya Angelou’s Letters To My Daughter is a book of “memoir plus” — short essays in the form of personal letters. Interestingly, Angelou did not have daughters, step-daughters nor daughters-in-law. She was writing from her heart to people everywhere. Do you have a story to tell, an event to explore, a memory that you would like to leave as your legacy? Simple art may be introduced if participants are willing.
 Carolyn Pogue, a frequent instructor at AWCS, is the author of 14 books for adults, teens and children. The Pogue Blog is at www.ucobserver.org/pogue_blog Learn more at www.carolynpogue.ca

Love Letters to the Future – February 25

Carolyn Pogue
February 25, 2015
10am-1pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100
Maya Angelou’s Letters To My Daughter is a book of “memoir plus” — short essays in the form of personal letters. Interestingly, Angelou did not have daughters, step-daughters nor daughters-in-law. She was writing from her heart to people everywhere. Do you have a story to tell, an event to explore, a memory that you would like to leave as your legacy? Simple art may be introduced if participants are willing.
 Carolyn Pogue, a frequent instructor at AWCS, is the author of 14 books for adults, teens and children. The Pogue Blog is at www.ucobserver.org/pogue_blog Learn more at www.carolynpogue.ca

Crowpicking (8 Seats Available)

Vivian Hansen
February 5, 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.

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Expressing Your Truthiness (9 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxhan
February 9, 2015
6:30-9:30pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100

Truthiness is a word coined by Stephen Colbert in 2005 to describe something that has a ‘feeling’ of ‘truth’ about it. We will discuss the difference between fact, truth, truthiness and fiction and how/when/where to use them in your work. This may be especially relevant if you are working on a memoir as memory is often faulty, gaps in the story must be filled and the essence of truth must prevail. Fiction writers will also benefit from this discussion. As Mark Twain said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Writing for Children: Essential Differences (8 Seats Available)

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

How does writing for children differ from other forms of writing? We’ll discuss what it means to write for children and the critical differences between writing for kids and writing for adults. 

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Writing with the Senses (7 Seats Available)

Emily Ursuliak
February 19, 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.

Telling It Like It Was (7 Seats Available)

Anne Metikosh
February 24, 2015
9:30-12:30pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100

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.

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one-year membership.

More 3 Hour Workshops

Very Short Fiction (7 Seats Available)

Olyn Ozbick
February 26, 2015
12-3pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100

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. Come out for an afternoon of learning how to write great flash fiction pieces. There will be writing, instruction and discussion.

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Free Fall Follow Up (9 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxhan
March 11, 2015
10-1pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100

You’ve been practicing the Free Fall Method for a while – now what? Fine-tune your writing for submission to contests &/or publication through specific exercises. Maybe you want to self-publish a small book or on a blog. We will discuss genre, length, structure, markets, and nitty gritty details. Bring your Freefall journal and be prepared to set an intention and choose entries to work on.

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Kickstarting Creativity (9 Seats Available)

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

As a writer for children, I find that creativity is essential. How do we get the creative juices flowing? We’ll tell stories and play with ideas and hopefully come away pumped up with ideas and energy for creating. 

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

The Personal Pen (8 Seats Available)

Anne Metikosh
March 24, 2015
9:30-12:30pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100

Whether you want to journal or blog, write a novel, short story, or a picture book for children, you need to answer a few questions before you can start. Through exercises and discussion, we’ll consider the who, what, why, and how of writing: the audience you hope to reach, the message you’d like to get across, your motivation for writing, and the elements of style that can help you succeed.

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Focus on Character (9 Seats Available)

Emily Ursuliak
March 24, 2015
6:30-9:30pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100
The focal point of every story is the main character, but how well do you really know the character you’re working with? This workshop will challenge writers with exercises meant to deepen their understanding of their characters and will deal with the process and ethics of creating new characters. Additional narrative concerns, such as point of view and tense will also be touched on with relation to their connection to conveying a character. This class will have something to offer whether you’ve been working on a project for a long time, or are in the process of starting a new story and is suitable for writers of adult, teen, or children’s fiction and, in some cases, nonfiction.
*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Be Your Own Best Copyeditor (10 Seats Available)

Rona Altrows
March 31, 2015
12-3pm
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $100

Say goodbye forever to dangling modifiers and misplaced apostrophes. We may not like to think about grammar, punctuation and spelling as we wax creative, but they are as essential to polished writing as hand-washing is to good health. In 33 years of substantive and copy editing, the instructor has seen certain mechanical problems come up repeatedly. In this workshop, we will identify those problems, learn to avoid them, and do exercises to reinforce learning as we go. 

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

One Day Workshops

Backstory Secrets (4 Seats Available)

Susan Forest
January 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!

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one-year membership.

The Story Unhinged (9 Seats Available)

Emily Ursuliak
February 28, 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.
*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Writing Mechanics (8 Seats Available)

Colin Martin
February 28, 2015
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135
As characters? As audience? No! This workshop focuses on the tools of writing: the nuts, bolts, and wrenches needed to keep your syntax running smoothly. Instructor Colin Martin teaches the fundamentals of grammar, punctuation, and style to help writers at every level improve their craft.
*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Write What You Don`t Know (10 Seats Available)

Olyn Ozbick
March 7, 2015
10am-3:30pm
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $135

Sometimes the adage “write what you know” doesn’t cut it. What if a character in your story is from India but you are from Canada? Maybe you’re from the prairies but your characters meet and fall in love in Greece. Or, maybe you always write about someone like you. Get out of your comfort zone. Using examples, exercises and discussion this one day workshop will help you break into new territory. 

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

The Book Review (9 Seats Available)

Robin van Eck
March 7, 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

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one-year membership.

Excavating Your Creativity (9 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxhan
March 21, 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.

* Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Weekend Writing Intensives

Two Workshops – One Weekend (7 Seats Available)

Caterina Edwards & Jean Crozier
February 21 & 22, 2015
10-3:30pm
Member Price: $140
Non-member Price: $200

Giving Voice to Your Characters.

How do we write dialogues that are engaging and convincing? Realistic but not dull? Using examples and writing prompts and addressing the topics of subtext, indirection, pacing, and rhythm, Caterina Edwards and Jean Crozier will inspire you to create effective dialogues, whether you are writing fiction, memoir, family stories, drama or a screenplay. Another workshop in our Finding the Unique . . . series of writing workshops. Date: Saturday, February 21, 2015. Visit our websites: www.CaterinaEdwards.com  or Jean Crozier at www.NoCornerBoysHere.com
 
Showing More and Telling Less. . . Finding the Unique in Your Scenes with Caterina Edwards ( www.CaterinaEdwards.com) and Jean Crozier ( www.NoCornerBoysHere.com). Draw your readers right into your stories. Using well-honed observation and detailed phrasing, paint the surroundings, tone and atmosphere. Create compelling narrative with scenes that frame and highlight your characters and their actions. Date: Sunday, February 22, 2015. 

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Weekly Courses (8 Weeks)

Introduction to Creative Writing (6 Seats Available)

Madelaine Wong
Tuesdays
7-9pm
January 13, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $140
Non-member Price: $200

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. Then, using 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.

*Non member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

Women’s Verse Revival (1 Seat Available)

Laurie Anne Fuhr
Wednesdays
7-9pm
January 14, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $140
Non-member Price: $200

Excluding the boys? Don’t panic, we’re not! This course is open to aspiring and established women poets, men poets, and everyone in between. In related course Free Verse Revival!, we explore the lives and poetry of a mix of men and women poets from exciting writing movements whose verse, poetics, lives, and personalities made them extraordinary examples for study and for prompting our own verse. In this course, we once again shamelessly indulge our love of free verse poetry, this time specifically focusing on a selection of incredible women of poetry. Imagine Dorothy Parker at the round table, hanging out with the likes of Patti Smith, Pauline Johnson, Lydia Lunch, Margaret Atwood, Sappho, Susan Musgrave, Carolyn Forche, Sylvia Plath, and Gwen MacEwan*. Even if you know just a few of these names, you’ve got an idea about the kind of wild and crazy party this is going to be! *Poets selected could be subject to change as curriculum develops.

*Non-member rate INCLUDES one year membership.

Introduction to Creative Writing – Daytime (7 Seats Available)

Maraya Loza Koxhan
Mondays
10-12pm
January 19, 2015 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $140
Non-member Price: $200

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. Then, using 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.

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one-year membership.

There will be no class on February 16 for Family Day. The course will run one week longer.

Weekly Courses (10 Weeks)

Introduction to Freelance Writing (6 Seats Available)

Olyn Ozbick
Tuesdays
7-9:30pm
January 13, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $160
Non-member Price: $220

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. 

* Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

A Novel Idea (7 Seats Available)

Susan Calder
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
January 15, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $160
Non-member Price: $220

Are you working on a novel-length manuscript or have an idea for one? 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.  

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one-year membership.

**This course is a pre-requisite for A Novel Approach, the year-long novel course

Creative Nonfiction (4 Seats Available)

Ellen Kelly
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
January 15, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $160
Non-member Price: $220

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.

Short Story Level II (3 Seats Available)

Robin van Eck
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
January 15, 2015 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $160
Non-member Price: $220

What makes a short story successful? In this course we will build on the elements learned in the level 1 short story class while digging deeper to examine our stories through that writerly eye. In addition, we will examine new elements such as symbolism, theme, and metaphor through handouts, discussion, writing exercises and related published works. Expect to complete at least two short stories over the duration of the class and have your stories workshopped.

*Non-member rate INCLUDES a one year membership.

**Priority registration will be given to those who completed Short Story Level I in the fall semester.

Just Write Sessions

Just Write – November 19 – Daytime

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
10am-1pm
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $10

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.

Pre-registration required.

Just Write: November 19 – Evening

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
6:30pm-9:30pm
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $10

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.

Pre-registration required.

Just Write – December 3 – Daytime

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
10am-1pm
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $10

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.

Pre-registration required.

Just Write – December 3 – Evening

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
6:30pm-9:30pm
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: $10

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.

Pre-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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