Summer/Fall 2019

Courses, Workshops & Events

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 (evening and daytime) 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.

Simply click on the tabs below to see everything currently on offer. 

Most of our courses are geared towards beginner to intermediate writers. If a course is more advanced, or has specific requirements beyond a beginner level, it will say so in the listing.

Not sure how to gauge your experience level? Try this quick guide to help. If you’re still not sure, please feel free to contact us for advice. 

Want to know more about our Instructors?

Questions? Please contact us by email or phone 403.264.4730

View our Terms and Conditions

Membership

Membership

Member Price: $50-$70
Non-member Price: $50-$70

Become a member of AWCS today and enjoy great member benefits.

The Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society is an exceptional place to meet and connect with other writers. Membership is not required to participate in any of our programs, however as a member of the AWCS you will receive great benefits which include:

  • be part of a diverse group of writers that is continually growing
  • 25-30% discount on courses and workshops.
  • 30% discount on Manuscript Review Service
  • Free admission to our centre for drop in programs such as critique groups, readings, Free Fall Writing Sessions and other programming not requiring registration, social events or just come to write during open writing times.
  • Be the first to know about new and exciting programming including special presentations and feature workshops through our email newsletters.
  • one free manuscript consultation with our Writer in Residence (spring of every year)
  • Annual Member Guest Pass* (see details below)
  • Refer a Friend* (see details below)
  • After 5 consecutive years of membership, all members are eligible to apply for author support for book launches, self-publishing and more.*
  • Voting rights at AGM and Special Membership Meetings

AWCS encourages young writers to express themselves. If you’re under 18, you can get all the benefits of membership at a reduced rate and enjoy special youth focused clubs, classes, one on one tutoring, and social events at a discount. For more information on youth programs please click here.

View Course Details & Register

Special Events

Kidlit Blue Pencils w/ Alison Hughes

Alison Hughes
Sunday
July 28, 2019
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $60

Interested in having your children’s picture book manuscript or a sample of your Series, Middle Grade or Young Adult manuscript reviewed by award-winning author, Alison Hughes? Only 6 spots available!

CHOOSE YOUR TIME HERE

Alison Hughes has published 16 books for children and young adults. She won the Writers’ Union of Canada Writing for Children Award, was a finalist for the Governor-General’s Literary Awards and the Alberta Literary Awards, and has been nominated nine times for Canadian children’s choice book awards including the Silver Birch. Her books have been translated into Korean, Dutch and French. She has taught university in Australia and has given over forty presentations and writing workshops across Canada. When she’s not crafting another oddball story, she works as a Writing Advisor/Editor at the University of Alberta, and as a casual Manuscript Evaluator with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Blue Pencil - Genre: Kidlit, Children's Picture Books, Series, Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult - Event: Blue Pencils Sessions View Course Details & Register

The 20,000 Word Weekend

Anne Metikosh
Saturday & Sunday
8am-8pm
November 2 & 3, 2019
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $200

Kick off NaNoWriMo or continue with a work in progress

Want to get some words? Working on Nanowrimo? Join your fellow writers on this intensive, two day workshop. The goal? Words. Wear your comfy writing pants, it’s a big goal and we’re all in it for the long haul. Each day will hold plenty of independent writing time in a creative environment, some short intensive lessons on various aspects of novel writing, blue pencils, writing games…all to keep your creativity flowing and avoid burn out. Anne Metikosh will be there with you, helping out if you get stuck, and ready for any writerly chats needed to help your craft.

Nourishment provided throughout the weekend.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Material generation, support, encouragement, games and more. - Genre: All genres - Event: 20,000 Word Weekend View Course Details & Register

Academic Tutoring

Academic Tutoring

Instructors vary
Days Vary
Times Vary
Start Anytime (4 x 1hr Sessions)
Member Price: $270
Non-member Price: $350

Struggling with academic writing? Need to learn to write academic papers or improve the quality of your university essays? Is English your second language? Are formatting and footnotes getting you down? AWCS has you covered. Qualified instructors will get you on track.

This course is one on one and booked in one hour, four-session sets, (you have the option to get more sessions if needed after the first set). Please contact Kim Firmston to book your class. kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY:

All classes need to be canceled at least 24 hours in advance, via a phone call, text, or e-mail directly to the instructor, or the class is considered to have happened and will come off the total classes booked in the session. The instructor is under their own discretion whether to reschedule any canceled sessions and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a session if the class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Academic Tutoring - Genre: Academic View Course Details & Register

Youth Clubs

AWCS Youth Programs Year End Party

Saturday
5-8:30
June 22
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

Calling all AWCS Youth Members or Participants!

Join us for our year end party, potluck, open mic, awards ceremony, and graduation!

LARPing – You don’t need to know how to play. We have all the stuff. If you want to bring your own weapons, please contact Kim to have them checked for safety. We have a new class for those who don’t want to or can’t run.

Feasting – POTLUCK! No peanuts or tree nuts, please. Please bring a list of the ingredients and serving spoons or forks if your dish needs that. Finger food preferred.

Awards – Everyone who attends the party gets an award – so let us know you’re coming so we can prepare your award for you. Drop in is fine too, but then we have to scramble to think up something clever!

Graduation – If you are in grade 12 you will receive a graduation gifts and certificate!

Open Mic – Read, sing, play, do a commercial, perform a skit, poem, dance, or just stand and stare. Anything goes so long as it is PG 13 and under five minutes. Share your stuff with us!

Contact Kim Firmston if you have any questions: kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

- Youth Programming: Year end party! View Course Details & Register

AWCS Club Pass

5:00-6:30
September (September - June)
Member Price: $175.00
Non-member Price: $230.00

Open up the world of writing with our Club Pass – Go to all the AWCS Youth Writing Clubs you want and save $100!  The pass lasts a full year from the time you get it.Jump in at any point of the year.
Pass Holders can enjoy a year of limitless meetings in the Reality Is Optional Writing Club (all ages), Novelmancers Novel Writing Club (all ages), Dungeons and Dragons Club (grades 5-12), and Rogue Poets Poetry Club (jr/sr high). Get one today!

- Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Reality Is Optional Writing Club

Kim Firmston
Monday (2nd and 4th Monday of the month)
5:00-6:30
Sept 10 (September - June)
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Reality Is Optional Writing Club (RIO) – Need a place that understands you? Come and join us. Guest speakers, writing games, art, improv, friends and creativity. Play with your words. All Ages. (Free for Club Pass holders)

- Level: All Ages - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Novelmancers Novel Writing Club

Kim Firmston / Emily Firmston
2nd Thursday of the Month
5:00-6:30
Sept 13 (September - June)
Member Price: $50.00
Non-member Price: $65.00

Novelmancers Novel Writing Club. If you’re serious about writing and want to get that novel (or any long work) done, join us and lighten the load. All Ages. (Free for Club Pass holders)

- Level: All Ages - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Rogue Poets Poetry Club

Em Williamson
Third Tuesday of the month
5:00-6:30
September 18 (September - June)
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Rogue Poets Poetry Club – Explore what poetry can be, then take it past those limits. Join Em Williamson, on a journey to the outer edges of poetry. Have the opportunity to go to open mics or join the Rogue Poet Slam Team and compete at the Can You Hear Me Now provincial school poetry slam. Jr/Sr High (Free for Club Pass holders).

- Level: Jr/Sr High School - Genre: Poetry - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Dungeons & Dragons Club

Kim Firmston
Last Saturday of the month
6:00-9:00 PM
September (September - June)
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Dungeons & Dragons Club – Enjoy fantasy? Want to live it? Join us for this epic and wildly creative game. Battle monsters, solve puzzles, find treasure and learn to work in a team while telling and experiencing your story together. No experience necessary. Grades 5-12. (Free for Club Pass holders) *Please note: Meeting dates may change due to room availability.

- Level: Grade 5-12 - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Youth Classes

Young Journalist Program

Patti Edgar
First and Third Mondays of the month
6:30-8:30 PM
September 16, 2019 (Full-Year (Sept-June))
Member Price: $350
Non-member Price: $450

The Young Journalist Program is for youth aged 15-19 looking to enter the field of journalism.

EXPLORE! DIG! WRITE!

This elite program allows Young Journalists to meet professionals in many fields of journalism, enabling them to ask questions and get the real scoop on what journalism is today as well as in the future.

Young Journalists will create a print and/or online newspaper to give them practical experience in writing content, editing, organizing and publishing content.

Using this content, the Young Journalists will create a portfolio that can be used to improve their chances of acceptance to the degree program of their choice.

Need more information? Contact the AWCS youth program director, Kim Firmston, kfirmston@alexandrawriter.org

MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR – PATTI EDGAR

Patti Edgar teaches in Mount Royal University’s journalism department. She has worked as multimedia writer and editor at CBC Calgary, as well as a reporter at several newspapers, including the Winnipeg Free Press and Ottawa Citizen. Students have won awards for projects created in her classroom, including the Canadian Association of Journalists Student Award of Excellence

- Level: Ages 15-19 - Course Type: Journalism - Genre: Non-Fiction - Youth Programming: Class View Course Details & Register

Pen & Panel Comic Creation Class

Sebastien Ringuette
First and third Thursday
5 PM - 6:30 PM
Sept 6 - Join anytime (September - June)
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $230

Play drawing games, improve your art style, learn to make comics both online and on paper and pitch ideas, plus lots more! Hang out with like-minded artists and comic writers. Work on individual projects or collaborate. Focus on topics that will help you expand your skill set. Ages 12 and up.

- Course Type: Comics - Youth Programming: Course View Course Details & Register

Tutoring and Homework Help

Instructor Varies
Afterschool and Saturdays
(4 sessions)
Member Price: $135
Non-member Price: $165

Struggling with writing? Want to know how to write an essay and impress your teacher?  Need more description in your work? Are formatting and footnotes getting you down? We have you covered. Top of the line instructors will get you back on track and that English and social studies mark where it needs to be.

This course is one on one and booked in one hour, four-session sets, (you have the option to get more sessions if needed after the first set). Please contact Kim Firmston to book your class. kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY:

All classes need to be canceled at least 24 hours in advance, via a phone call, text, or e-mail directly to the instructor, or the class is considered to have happened and will come off the total classes booked in the session. The instructor is under their own discretion whether to reschedule any canceled sessions and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a session if the class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

- Youth Programming: Homework Help View Course Details & Register

Youth Camps-PD Days-Workshops

Summer Fun Days

Instructors vary
Wednesdays
9am-3pm
July 10, 24, Aug 7, 14 (Single day)
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $70

SUMMER FUN DAYS WRITING WORKSHOPS 

Why not take a writing workshop when school is out and improve on your writing skills? Lots of fun subjects to choose from! All grades and skill levels welcome.

Workshops run from 9:00-3:00. $60.00 for AWCS Youth Members or $70.00 for Non-Members.

July 10 – MAKE A MOVIE – with Kim Firmston – Write, plan, film, and edit a movie all in one day and then upload it to YouTube on the RIO TV channel so you can show your friends and family. Don’t forget the red carpet awards at the end of the day. Fun times! See last year’s creation HERE

July 24 – MADNESS, MYSTERY, MAYHEM! – with Erin Vance –  Write stories and characters that thrill and scare you. Find for your inner Sherlock Holmes or Jake Peralta while searching for clues.

August 7- WORLD BUILDING – with Dania Idriss – Spend the day learning the elements of genre and effective world-building, primarily Science Fiction and Fantasy (we will also be looking briefly at comic books) and apply those elements to their writing. Experiment in creating your own imaginative worlds!

August 14 – CHARACTER BOOT CAMP – with Suzy Vadori – Characters make the story, and writers get to make the characters. Personality, actions, appearance, emotions… so many layers go into making characters what we imagine in our minds. In this creative camp, we’ll learn tips and tricks to make our characters jump off the page and run down the street!

- Level: All grades and skill levels - Course Type: Youth and Teens - Youth Programming: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Summer Writing Camps

Suzy Vadori and Dania Idriss
August 19-23
9-4
(5 days)
Member Price: $275
Non-member Price: $340

AWCS SUMMER WRITING CAMPS

Have a kid writer? Why not let them enjoy the summer with these super fun, active, and adventurous camps where they can explore all kinds of writing and wordplay! This camp is great for all levels of writers, from novice to hardcore. Participants will explore language, enjoy the company of other writers, get outside,  and learn to do things they never thought possible! Shenanigans guaranteed!

We offer two camps:

Summer Writing Adventures for ages 9-13 – with Suzy Vadori

Unlocking the Secrets  
Explore different genres of writing with Themed Days! From non-fiction to the fantastic, mystery to playwriting, get to know how a story arc weaves its way through all our writing. Together we’ll build believable characters and vivid settings in a supportive environment.

Writers will discover their own writing voice and unique style throughout our immersive week, with the chance to create a story of their choosing, as well as write and perform a group play for their peers. Each day of camp, there will be indoor and outdoor activities that will get our creative juices flowing and build excitement about the writing process. Each camper will receive one-on-one coaching from a professional writer during the week to help them along their writing journey. All levels of writers welcome.

Teen Writing Camp for ages 13-17– with Dania Idriss

Myth, Magic, and Monsters 
Draw inspiration from classic tales in order to create something new! Stories have helped us make sense of our world for centuries, and many of those old myths and folktales are still around today. The world has changed since the Ancient Greeks told their stories about their Gods, or since the Brother’s Grimm collected their tales, but these stories hold a place in our collective imagination. Elements of these old tales still leave traces in today’s literature, as writers build onto the worlds created by our predecessors. Writers from J.R.R Tolkien and J.K Rowling, to Neil Gaiman and Catherynne M. Valente have made use of mythology and folklore in order to create their own fantastic stories and worlds.
Over the course of this week the students will learn a new myth or folktale from around the world each day. Then write their own stories (or poems) using myths, motifs, and characters in new and original works.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Summer Camp - Youth Programming: Summer Camp View Course Details & Register

Home School Writing

HOMESCHOOL FALL SEMESTER

Suzy Vadori, Simon Rose, and Debbie Schotanus
Monday
10:30-12 and 1-2:30
Sept 23 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $225

 

The Magic Carpet Ride of Writing with Debbie Schotanus

Ride the magic carpet and learn the basics of sentence structure, grammar, spelling, reading, punctuation, and formatting your work. Use all this to write your own adventurous and magical stories!

  • 8 week course
  • Sept 23-Nov 25 (No class on Oct 14 & Nov 11)
  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Grades 1-4

Writing with Exceptional Language with Suzy Vadori

Everyday language can be shaped to create pictures in a reader’s mind. Students will discover the playful side of the English language, testing its limits using literary devices to make words pop off the page. Visual ways to write will also be incorporated, including layout, cursive writing, and calligraphy.

  • 8 Week Course
  • Sept 23-Nov 25 (No class on Oct 14 & Nov 11)
  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Grades 5-12

World Building 101 with Suzy Vadori

Explore literary worlds with Fantasy, Magic and Fairytales. Learn about language, culture, landscape, political systems and currency. Build worlds and stories, incorporating grammar, parts of speech and the story process.

  • 8 Week Course
  • Sept 23-Nov 25 (No class on Oct 14 & Nov 11)
  • 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
  • All Grades

Writing Historical Fiction with Simon Rose

Learn how to write an effective, authentic, and appealing story in this genre and become fully immersed in the chosen time period. Understand what defines historical fiction and different time periods, how to create believable settings, plausible characters, and the role of research in the creation of the story.

  • 8 Week Course
  • Sept 23-Nov 25 (No class on Oct 14 & Nov 11)
  • 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
  • Junior High / High School

Purchase a Youth Membership HERE

Lunch hour supervision available – please contact Kim Firmston to inquire: kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

WANT MORE? See our:

Year-long Evening Classes

FOR EVEN MORE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES visit our PD Day Workshops and Camps!

- Level: All grades - Youth Programming: Homeschool Fall Semester View Course Details & Register

Sunday Programs

Short Story Salon

Robin van Eck
Sundays
10-12pm
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

BEGINS JULY 14, 2019

Do you love to write short stories? Flash fiction, longer shorts? Maybe you’ve never tried writing a short story and want to start.

The Short Story Salon is a place for writers to come together, share ideas, write collaboratively or alone. We’ll write, share and discuss. Each week we will study a published short story and discuss what works and what doesn’t. We’ll look at different forms from flash fiction to the more traditional 3000-5000 word story, practice a variety of genres and hone your short story skills with a goal of submitting to literary journals.

Guest speakers may appear.

If you think a short story collection may be in your future, this will be a great way to generate content.

Drop ins are welcome but registration is recommended.

- Course Type: fiction - Genre: Short Fiction - Event: Sunday Programs View Course Details & Register

Poetry Cafe

Laurie Fuhr
Sunday
12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
varies
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community. No matter what life has in store, poetry can be part of your life every week. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too!

Poetry Cafe combines poetry prompts or exercises to generate poems with workshopping and discussion. It’s great for both emerging and established poets, and it’s open to poets of all ages. Join us to write with prompts from 12:30-1:45 and workshopping from 1:45-2:30. Great for both emerging and established poets and it’s open to poets of all ages. Let’s have some fun and write together.

click link below to view upcoming dates

View Course Details & Register

Multi-Week Courses - Daytime

Being You in Memoir

Sharon McLeay
Tuesdays
10-12:30pm
September 17, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $310
Non-member Price: $410

Are you having difficulty starting, structuring and/or finishing your life story? Sometimes the difficulty stems from too much knowledge about other memoirists’ personalities, approaches, styles and voices and not enough understanding of our own. Socrates’ “know thyself” was never more appropriate than in the case of the memoir writer. Readers depend on a genuine representation of you for interest and meaning and to identify with your story. Without authenticity there can be no trust between the reader and writer.

Being You in Memoir is an eight-week course designed to help you use memoir writing to probe deeper into who you are—your values, beliefs, fears, life passions, expressions, cultural influences and more—and figure out how to infuse that ‘flavor of you’ into your memoir. Your life influences and societal norms have molded you into the unique person you are today, a ‘you’ who should be reflected in every title, chapter, story, character, voice and more. Through the use of journal writing you will:

  • Explore identity;
  • Develop your memoir purpose;
  • Work out a design/organizational strategy;
  • Develop a genuine voice;
  • And write authentic titles and stories.

At the end of the eight weeks you’ll leave with a stash of titles and stories under your arm and a personal plan to guide you to the completion of an authentic memoir.

Material fee included.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Memoir - Genre: Memoir, Autobiography, Creative Nonfiction - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Creative Writing Basics (Daytime)

Madelaine Wong
Tuesdays
10-1pm
September 17, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $360
Non-member Price: $480

Learn the basics of creative writing in 8 weeks. This course is designed for the beginner writer who knows they want to write or maybe haven’t taken a creative writing class in a long time. Learn the basics of writing: character, setting, plot, dialogue and so much more, to get you well on your way to writing great short stories, creative nonfiction or novel length manuscripts. You can expect lecture, discussion, in-class writing exercises, writing outside of class, and an introduction to giving and receiving feedback on your work.

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Writing Beyond the Basics – Manuscript Workshop

Lori Hahnel
Wednesdays
12:30PM-3:00
September 18, 2019 (13 Weeks)
Member Price: $650
Non-member Price: $850

This 13 week course, limited to 6 students, is designed for the writer looking to workshop a manuscript or work-in-progress in a supportive environment with an experienced facilitator and like-minded participants. Week one will focus on strategies for effective critiquing, receiving and applying feedback, rewriting, editing methods and moving beyond the first draft. The remaining 12 weeks will focus on sharing and critiquing participants’ submissions with the goal of creating polished, publishable work. Some lessons may be designed depending on the needs of the participants. Reading submissions and critiquing outside of class time is required. Students will submit material every two weeks.

Course Format: brief lecture, facilitated discussion, critiquing, work-shopping, sharing

  • Recommended for writers with a complete first draft or at least very close to being finished that first draft.
  • Critiquing/Workshopping experience recommended.

 

 

- Level: Intermediate to Advanced - Course Type: Creative Non-Fiction, Memoir, Autobiography, Short Story Collection, Fiction, 2nd Draft - Event: Multi-week Course View Course Details & Register

Children’s Picture Books Basics

Olyn Ozbick
Thursdays
1-3pm
September 26, 2019 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $320

Reading Picture Books is fun. Writing Picture Books is a wonderful challenge – one that requires the crafts of writing, distilled to 500 words, and overlapped with pictures, all the while talking to tiny whacky impressionable sensitive kids, and their adult caregivers. Whew. Lots to accomplish! Join Olyn Ozbick for hands-on workshopping, writing exercises, individual and group guidance and problem solving, as you take your Picture Book on the journey from concept toward publication. You will practice technique, learn character development, story arc, examine successful Picture Books, imagine, create, write and begin down the road to publish. Picture Books are for preschool to age 8.

 

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Kidlit, Picture Books - Genre: Picture Books - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Multi-Week Courses - Evening

Memoir Manuscript Intensive: Is this a Memvella? A Memvol? A Memetry?

Vivian Hansen
Mondays
7-9pm
September 16, 2019 (10 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Is your memoir developing into a larger piece, where the small but great questions have led? The craft of memoir uses a wide range of tools to develop the personal story, with a twist. How can you explore an emotional plot and theme? What unique character insights contribute to a memoir? How does the craft of fiction or poetry impact on memoir? In this Manuscript creation course, we will work toward building a unique piece of work that reflects a variety of genre-bending. We will examine works by the masters of memoir and develop memoir, from personal story to art.

- Level: Intermediate, Advanced - Course Type: Memoir - Genre: Memoir - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

3-Month Novel Project

Sarah L. Johnson
Tuesdays
7-9pm
September 17, 2019 (12 weeks)
Member Price: $360
Non-member Price: $480

Powering through to a complete first draft in 12 weeks.

This course is all about what Anne Lamott famously refers to as “shitty first drafts.”  A gentler more realistic version of the well known 30-day challenge, 3MoNoPro is designed to offer the support, information, and tough love you need to get you across that finish line to your very own garbage, but nevertheless complete, first draft.

Each class will look at a different element of writing with an eye toward finding inspiration in our obstacles. Through exercises, word count tracking (goal of approx. 6000 words per week), and sharing our shitty pages, we’ll cheer each other on and finish what we start.

This course is for writers of all levels. Whether you’re just starting, half way through or almost done a manuscript, sign up and by week 12 you could very well be typing THE END.

 

- Level: Intermediate to Advanced - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: All Genres - Youth Programming: Course View Course Details & Register

Writing Teen Fiction

Suzy Vadori
Tuesdays
7-9:30pm
September 17, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Are you keen on writing for teens? Whether you’re just starting out on your writing journey, or a seasoned writer looking to write for young adults (YA) in any genre (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, etc.) this workshop is for you. Learn the difference in structure, pace, character building and dialogue among other things needed to write a compelling novel for this popular age group.

Class time will be split between instruction, discussion and writing time. Instructor will provide critiques of 2 written assignments through the duration of the course. Participants are welcome to work on a current project or start something new for each exercise.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade View Course Details & Register

Novel Plotting for Planners

Susan Forest
Tuesdays
7-9:30pm
September 17, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Some authors write by the seat of their pants, some quilt scenes together into a whole, and some are planners. All of these are valid and respected ways of working. This course is for the planner: the details and fine cogs of structuring your novel. Elements of fiction such as theme, character and setting will be covered, but only insofar as they impact plot. Come with a novel idea or a few scenes and a broad outline, and use this course to come away with an initial scene-by-scene outline to use as a basis for writing.

No class October 15

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Novel - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Creative Writing Basics (Evening)

Olyn Ozbick
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
September 25, 2019 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $375
Non-member Price: $500

Learn the basics of creative writing in 10 weeks. This course is designed for the beginner writer. Learn the basics of writing: character, setting, plot, dialogue and so much more, to get you well on your way to writing great short stories, creative nonfiction or novel length manuscripts. You can expect lecture, discussion, in-class writing exercises, writing outside of class, and an introduction to giving and receiving feedback on your work.

 

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

Words Are Action: An Introduction To Writing For The Screen

Jason Long
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
September 25, 2019 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

In this 8-week course, participants will learn the essentials of screenplay craft—story, structure, plot, character, conflict, and theme—and apply to a project they wish to develop. How is screenplay structure? What’s a plot point? Is writing for television or the web different than writing for film? Hey, how can I get this script into the hands of producers? Each week a different element of craft will be examined, discussed, and even attempted. Much like a writer’s room, participants will be encouraged to share their works in progress, whether they wish to receive constructive feedback or just enjoy the rush of sharing new words.

You probably remember Jason Long as Cowboy #3 from the 1982 Silver Springs Elementary School Production of Round Up On The Moon. Jason has been writing for film and theatre in Canada for close to twenty years now. He’s written three feature films alongside frequent collaborator, Robert Cuffley, Turning Paige, Walk All Over Me, and Chokeslam, which was part of the Canadian Film Centre’s Comedy Exchange Program in 2015 and premiered in the fall of 2016. Chokeslam received 4 Rosie Awards, including best screenplay. His latest feature length screenplay, Ice Blue, premiered at the 2017 Calgary International Film Festival. In addition to story editing on many Alberta based film and television projects, Jason is the screenwriting instructor in the film and video department at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. He is also an actor, having played various creeps and weirdos on shows/films such as Wyonna Earp and Young Drunk Punk.

 

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Screenwriting - Genre: Screenwriting - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Stepping into Literary Style: a Class on Literary Fiction

Rosemary Nixon
Thursdays
7-9:30pm
September 26, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Writers may vary in their exact definition of literary fiction, yet most agree on these traits: literary fiction pays attention to language, it has a strong distinctive voice that grabs the reader, it is character driven, and it communicates ideas that transcend plot to open a window on the human experience.

Join Rosemary Nixon for an 8-week class of exciting discovery, risk and experimentation as we investigate through select published stories, mini-lectures, discussion and our own writing, how we might create stories and novels with panache–page-turners: fresh, original, compelling and more powerful on the second read.

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Literary Fiction - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Second Draft Blues

Anne Metikosh
Mondays
7-9:30
October 7, 2019 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $225
Non-member Price: $300

When the thrill of completing your first draft wears off, you’re faced with fixing its flaws.   The prospect is so daunting, it’s tempting to start with the little things first, like correcting spelling mistakes and deleting all words that end in -ly. But quick fixes are not the answer; the burst of satisfaction they give you won’t last. Because you still need to tackle the bigger issues. You know what they are: plot holes or flat prose; a muddled narrative or a bad case of thesaurusitis. Too much detail or not enough. A lack of realism. In this 6-week course we’ll examine these problems and figure out how to solve them. Don’t worry; it can be done! Don’t let the Second Draft Blues get you down!

- Level: Intermediate, Complete Manuscript - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

June Workshops

Polishing Our Sentences to Dazzling Gems

Rosemary Nixon
Friday
10-3:30pm
June 21, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

We want our readers not merely to read about, but to experience, the worlds we create; for the best creative work is much more than a plot idea; it is one great sentence after another, each filled with resonance, vitality and verve. Rosemary Nixon calls these rogue sentences, sentences that roil with energy, surprising and overtaking unsuspecting readers, sweeping them deep into a story which, through the power of its language, becomes a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Join Rosemary in a delightful discovery of evocative sentences, what makes them sparkle, and polishing our own into dazzling gems.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Summer - July

The 5 Keys of Showing – Character Key

Vivian Hansen
Wednesday
7-9pm
July 3, 2019
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

How do you animate your character into life?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five for the price of four. Use KEYS30 upon checkout.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

Writing “I”: Autofiction, Memoir – the Space Between

Jani Krulc
Saturday
10-3:30pm
July 6, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

How do we approach the first person? The narrative “I” vacillates. It confesses, brags, moans and lies. “I” often presents fiction as fact and fact as fiction. The “I” can be complicit, defenceless, or even a god. From the Old Testament omnipotent proclamation from the Hebrew God, “I am that I am,” to Popeye’s defensive and braggadocio laden claim, “I am what I am,” to the “I” of the witness or the “I” of victim, the first-person pronoun’s weight is grounded in immediacy, primacy and power, or the lack thereof.

This full-day workshop explores distinctions between the “I” of autofiction and the “I” of memoir. Are these distinctions a matter of aesthetics, ethics, gender or power?

 

- Level: All Levels - Genre: Memoir, Autofiction - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

The 5 Keys of Showing – Dialogue Key

Vivian Hansen
Wednesday
7-9pm
July 10, 2019
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

How does your character sound? Can you hear them now?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five for the price of four. Use KEYS30 upon checkout.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

The Plot Thickens: Why a Novel Needs Subplots

Anne Metikosh
Saturday
10-3:30pm
July 13, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

If your story seems dull, or flat, or as thin as a cup of weak broth, try beefing it up with a subplot or two. Life isn’t a single plot-line. Change, interruption, conflicting desires, long term goals and short, all get stirred into the pot. A novel is no different. Not a simple stock but a nice, thick stew. In this one day workshop, we’ll look at the purpose, techniques, and timing of subplots. Bring your ideas, or notes for the novel you’re working on, and find out how a subplot can add complexity and tension to your story.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Novel - Youth Programming: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Yourself As a Character

Karen Lee
Wednesday
10-3:30 pm
July 17, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

One of the things memoirists find incredibly difficult is writing about themselves. Not only do you have to have a somewhat dispassionate view of yourself in order to write accurately. You need to be able to write about yourself over time – throughout the character arc. Come and immerse yourself in character writing, where you are the character.

- Course Type: Creative Nonfiction, Nonfiction, Memoir View Course Details & Register

From Poetry to Prose

Sharon McLeay
Saturday
9:30-4pm
July 20, 2019
Member Price: $90
Non-member Price: $120

Are you looking for new ways to climb into your writing? Or perhaps you’re down with a bad case of classic writer’s block? From Poetry to Prose is a 6-hour workshop designed to help you discover unique approaches to writing. It is not a how to write poetry class. It’s an innovative process involving the use of poetry and journaling to explore your work from a variety of perspectives. Methods that will help you see everything from theme to characters, setting, plot and more in an original light. Looking through the eyes of a poet can take your writing to a new level and help you work outside of the box to overcome frustrating barriers. At the end of this hands-on workshop you’ll walk away with a head full of ideas and an armful of stories.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creativity, Writing - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

The 5 Keys of Showing – Point of View Key

Vivian Hansen
Wednesday
7-9pm
July 17, 2019
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

What POV is the best choice for moving this story? First, Secord, or Third Person perspectives?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five for the price of four. Use KEYS30 upon checkout.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

Writing Historical Fiction

Simon Rose
Tuesday
7-9pm
July 23, 2019
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

In this two-hour workshop, learn how to write an effective, authentic, and appealing story in the genre and learn how to become fully immersed in your chosen time period. You will understand what defines historical fiction and different time periods, how to create believable settings, plausible characters, and the role of research in the creation of your novel.

Simon Rose is an accomplished author, presenter and instructor. 

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Historical Fiction, Research - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

The 5 Keys of Showing – Setting Key

Vivian Hansen
Wednesday
7-9pm
July 24, 2019
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

How does your setting uphold the conflict in the story?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five for the price of four. Use KEYS30 upon checkout.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

Complete Kidlit: From Picture Books to YA

Alison Hughes
Saturday
10-3:30pm
July 27, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

In this workshop, we’ll romp the entire field of children’s literature, from picture books and early chapter books to middle grade and young adult. Participants will learn practical guidelines for working in each genre (age ranges, word counts, subject matter, trends and markets), mistakes to avoid, and skills to help craft formative and fun stories for children. We’ll brainstorm story ideas for each genre, and do off-leash writing exercises on topics such as perspective, humour, dialogue, point of view and editing. No experience is required for this supportive and relaxed workshop, and sharing written work is entirely optional. Participants will leave with focus, direction and confidence to write in the incredibly rewarding area of children’s literature.

 

Alison Hughes has published 16 books for children and young adults. She won the Writers’ Union of Canada Writing for Children Award, was a finalist for the Governor-General’s Literary Awards and the Alberta Literary Awards, and has been nominated nine times for Canadian children’s choice book awards including the Silver Birch. Her books have been translated into Korean, Dutch and French. She has taught university in Australia and has given over forty presentations and writing workshops across Canada. When she’s not crafting another oddball story, she works as a Writing Advisor/Editor at the University of Alberta, and as a casual Manuscript Evaluator with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.

 

- Level: All Levels - Genre: Picture Books, Middle Grade, YA, Kidlit - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Kidlit Blue Pencils w/ Alison Hughes

Alison Hughes
Sunday
July 28, 2019
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $60

Interested in having your children’s picture book manuscript or a sample of your Series, Middle Grade or Young Adult manuscript reviewed by award-winning author, Alison Hughes? Only 6 spots available!

CHOOSE YOUR TIME HERE

Alison Hughes has published 16 books for children and young adults. She won the Writers’ Union of Canada Writing for Children Award, was a finalist for the Governor-General’s Literary Awards and the Alberta Literary Awards, and has been nominated nine times for Canadian children’s choice book awards including the Silver Birch. Her books have been translated into Korean, Dutch and French. She has taught university in Australia and has given over forty presentations and writing workshops across Canada. When she’s not crafting another oddball story, she works as a Writing Advisor/Editor at the University of Alberta, and as a casual Manuscript Evaluator with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Blue Pencil - Genre: Kidlit, Children's Picture Books, Series, Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult - Event: Blue Pencils Sessions View Course Details & Register

The 5 Keys of Showing – Tone Key

Vivian Hansen
Wednesday
7-9pm
July 31, 2019
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

What does your setting and dialogue have in common and how does tone evoke feelings and deploy emotive words with muscle?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five for the price of four. Use KEYS30 upon checkout.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

Summer - August

Writing from Real Life

Judah Leblang
Friday
10-2pm
August 2, 2019
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $80

Writers are observers, continually examining their lives and the lives of others. For memoir writers, and for those who write in other genres, life experiences become the raw material of their creative work. In this four-hour course, we will focus on the key challenges in our lives today and other hurdles we’ve overcome—in other words, difficult circumstances that might become the rich “raw material” for new work. 

We will discuss strategies for developing this material in a way that avoids the sentimental and general, and we’ll look at a number of short examples of how other writers use essays and memoir as a way of making meaning of difficult circumstances. By the end of the workshop, you will have explored a topic and be well on your way to writing about it (and potentially others) in a thoughtful and critical way.

Judah Leblang is a Boston-based writer, teacher and storyteller. His essays and commentaries have been broadcast on 200 ABC-radio and NPR stations around the US. A regular columnist for Boston’s gay newspaper, Judah is the author of the memoirs Finding My Place, and Echoes of Jerry. He has performed his original shows at fringe festivals around the US and Canada, including Calgary, Winnipeg and Chicago. He teaches memoir writing at Grub Street in Boston. Learn more at www.judahleblang.com.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Memoir, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Personal Essay - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

Uncommon Tales

Maraya Loza Koxahn
Tuesday
10-1pm
August 6, 2019
Member Price: $45
Non-member Price: $60

A creative nonfiction, personal essay workshop with a twist! Write it as complete fiction using a fairy tale format if you wish, build an alternate reality, write your parallel life story. With a seed of the truth, write what your life would have been like had you made different decisions. “If only I’d…”

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creative Nonfiction, Nonfiction, Memoir - Genre: Creative Non-Fiction, Personal Essay, Memoir - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

Writing Tight

Judah Leblang
Thursday
5-9pm
August 8, 2019
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $80

This workshop is designed for writers (at all levels) who want to develop new work and to explore the forms of memoir vignettes and personal essays for the purpose of storytelling through print. We will examine the structure of effective memoirs and essays in the short form (under 900 words), generates drafts based on a variety of writing prompts, and hone those drafts based on class feedback and personal reflection.

 

Judah Leblang is a Boston-based writer, teacher and storyteller. His essays and commentaries have been broadcast on 200 ABC-radio and NPR stations around the US. A regular columnist for Boston’s gay newspaper, Judah is the author of the memoirs Finding My Place, and Echoes of Jerry. He has performed his original shows at fringe festivals around the US and Canada, including Calgary, Winnipeg and Chicago. He teaches memoir writing at Grub Street in Boston. Learn more at www.judahleblang.com.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Personal Essay - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

The Art of Persuasion

Fran Kimmel
Saturday
10-3:30pm
August 24, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

As writers we are heavily invested in the art of persuasion. Not only must we persuade people to read our stories, we also want them to be moved by our storylines, to emotionally invest in our characters, and to root for their success. This doesn’t just happen by accident. In this workshop, we’ll learn some techniques to help us arouse and hold the attention of the reader. From great beginnings and endings to points in between, we’ll focus on ways to breathe life into our writing and to persuade readers to stay with us.  Bring a pen, paper, and favourite novel with you, and together, we’ll search for the gold.

Fran Kimmel is the award-winning author of two novels, The Shore Girl (2012) and No Good Asking (2018). Fran’s short stories have been published in literary journals from coast to coast and have twice been included in Journey Prize Stories anthologies. Born and raised in Calgary, Fran now lives and writes in Lacombe.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Novel, Fiction - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

October Workshops

To Make a Memoir Universal, Go Small

Karen Lee
Saturday
10-3:30pm
October 5, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

It’s the details that count. Memoir is a history of time and place as well as a story of transformation. Delve deep into the scenes you write so that they come alive. If you are already writing a memoir, bring some pieces to class.  We will look for places in which extra details can make the the scenes pop. If not, bring your ideas for memoir vignettes and I will coach you to bring out the tiny details.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Memoir, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: Memoir, Creative Nonfiction - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

World Building Basics Intensive

Sarah E. Johnson
Saturday & Sunday
10:00 - 4pm
October 19 & 20 (Weekend Intensive)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

Immerse your reader into a world full of sounds, smells and vivid imagery. Develop a way to show politics, technology, fantastical elements or an era long forgotten. World building is a way to take your reader on a journey through your story and have them sense every moment. Readers want to believe the rules of a story with ease and flow. Writers in every genre can benefit. This workshop will focus on the ground up of world building, how to make sense of your creative pile and what the reader needs. There will be continuous exercises that will put those ideas to use, and spark brand new shiny ones.

- Level: All Levels - Genre: Fiction, Genre Fiction - Event: Weekend Workshop View Course Details & Register

November Workshops

The 20,000 Word Weekend

Anne Metikosh
Saturday & Sunday
8am-8pm
November 2 & 3, 2019
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $200

Kick off NaNoWriMo or continue with a work in progress

Want to get some words? Working on Nanowrimo? Join your fellow writers on this intensive, two day workshop. The goal? Words. Wear your comfy writing pants, it’s a big goal and we’re all in it for the long haul. Each day will hold plenty of independent writing time in a creative environment, some short intensive lessons on various aspects of novel writing, blue pencils, writing games…all to keep your creativity flowing and avoid burn out. Anne Metikosh will be there with you, helping out if you get stuck, and ready for any writerly chats needed to help your craft.

Nourishment provided throughout the weekend.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Material generation, support, encouragement, games and more. - Genre: All genres - Event: 20,000 Word Weekend View Course Details & Register

Unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the 
Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, @cSpace King Edward, 460, 1721, 29th Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 6T7

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