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

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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

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

Tutoring

Tutoring

Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday
Various times
(4 x 1hr Classes)
Member Price: $155-$270
Non-member Price: $185-$350

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one hour, four-class sessions created specifically to address your individual needs.

Academic Adult Tutoring

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. $270 for AWCS Members /$350 for Non-Members. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

Writing Improvement for Adults

Write well, write tight, and convey your ideas to others. Whether you want to improve your basic communications, create stories, or learn enough to help your kids with their homework – we have you covered. Join one of our talented tutors to get you to the level you want to be. $155 for AWCS Members / $185 for Non-Members. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

Youth Tutoring and Homework Help

Want to impress your teachers? Falling behind in Social Studies or English? Need some extra help on a specific project? Want to prepare for finals or PATs? Or do you just want to get better at writing in general? Our one on one tutoring is perfect for students looking for a boost in essays, book reports, journalism, creative writing, poetry, or anything writing-related. ($155 for youth members, $185 for non-members). Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@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.

View Course Details & Register

Youth Clubs

AWCS Club Pass

5:00-6:30
September (JOIN ANY TIME!) (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 9 (JOIN ANY TIME!) (September - June)
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Reality Is Optional Writing Club (RIO) – Do you love to play? Do you love writing? Well, why not do both with every kind of genre and style under the sun?  Writing games, art, improv, friends, and creativity. Play with your words! All grades, all levels, twice a month. Join any time! (Free for Club Pass holders)

- Level: All Ages - Course Type: Writing through games - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Novelmancers Novel Writing Club

Kim Firmston
2nd Thursday of the Month
5:00-6:30
Sept 12 (JOIN ANY TIME!) (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 - Course Type: Novel Writing - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Rogue Poets Poetry Club

Em Williamson
First and Third Tuesday of the month
5:00-6:30
September 17 (Join any time!) (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 21 (JOIN ANY TIME!) (September - May)
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 - Course Type: Fantasy Role Playing - 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 5 - 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. September to June, join any time.

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

Tutoring

Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday
Various times
(4 x 1hr Classes)
Member Price: $155-$270
Non-member Price: $185-$350

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one hour, four-class sessions created specifically to address your individual needs.

Academic Adult Tutoring

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. $270 for AWCS Members /$350 for Non-Members. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

Writing Improvement for Adults

Write well, write tight, and convey your ideas to others. Whether you want to improve your basic communications, create stories, or learn enough to help your kids with their homework – we have you covered. Join one of our talented tutors to get you to the level you want to be. $155 for AWCS Members / $185 for Non-Members. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

Youth Tutoring and Homework Help

Want to impress your teachers? Falling behind in Social Studies or English? Need some extra help on a specific project? Want to prepare for finals or PATs? Or do you just want to get better at writing in general? Our one on one tutoring is perfect for students looking for a boost in essays, book reports, journalism, creative writing, poetry, or anything writing-related. ($155 for youth members, $185 for non-members). Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@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.

View Course Details & Register

Youth Camps-PD Days-Workshops

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  

ONLY ONE SPOT LEFT!
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

SOLD OUT!!

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

PD Days 2019-2020

Suzy Vadori, Simon Rose, and Kim Firmston
PD Days (public school)
9-3
Various Dates
Member Price: $60.00
Non-member Price: $70.00

Join us for a fun, unique learning experience on your favourite subject when you’re not in school! We have all the best instructors who can guarantee you a great day.

Sept 20, 2019 – Behind the Scenes of Books with Suzy Vadori
Readers unite! Participants will take a look behind the scenes at what goes into their favorite stories, learning about the writing and publishing process. They’ll explore ways to express our thoughts about books, including book reports, reviews and book club question format, which build on skills needed in the Alberta curriculum in an interesting way. Through games, discussion of books they’ve read or want to read, and an excursion to the local library, the kids will gain a whole new appreciation for the world of escape reading provides. Readers from beginner to voracious welcome.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

 

Oct 11, 2019 – Time Travel Tales with Simon Rose – Time travel has long been a common theme in books and movies and time travel tales continue to be popular. In this workshop you’ll create a time machine, learn how to make your idea believable, examine the importance of research, write an outline for your adventure, the dramatic opening chapter, and an attention-grabbing paragraph for the back cover of your book.

 

Nov 1, 2019 – A Day in a Fictional World with Suzy Vadori
Come to camp prepared to immerse yourself in a creative world of make believe. We’ll create a set of rules for the day that reflect the worlds each student wants to write about, and role play characters. Using flash fiction prompts, poetry, and a variety of writing techniques throughout the day, students will come away with a whole new appreciation for the worlds their favorite stories are set in, and a basis for their next writing project.

 

Nov 22, 2019 – Superstuff: Create your own superhero with Simon Rose – In this workshops, you’ll invent your own unique superhero, with incredible superpowers, extended families and one or more archenemies. You’ll create a detailed biography of the character, complete with an origin story, fascinating facts about their superpowers and weaknesses, their secret identity, family and friends, their secret headquarters, their most deadly archenemy and more. You’ll also draw your creation, create a dynamic and eye-catching cover for a comic book, and write a newspaper-style action-packed story about a battle between the hero and their main villain.

 

Jan 31, 2020 – A Day of Dungeons and Dragons with Kim Firmston – pull up a chair, grab some dice, and let’s hide away from the cold winter with stories of bravery, boldness, and gold. Battle dragons, solve puzzles, and fight for glory with your friends. No experience or equipment needed to play this great Fantasy Role Playing Game. All grades and experience levels welcome. *If you wish to bring your own character, they should be at level 3-4 from Edition 5.

 

Feb 13, 2020 (Thurs during the teachers’ convention) Exploring New Ways to Write with Suzy Vadori
From Fantasy to Mystery, Graphic Novels to Poetry, we’ll explore different ways writers use words to entertain, and even try a hand at these formats ourselves. We’ll draw on games, writing prompts and a trip outdoors to inspire our activities. This camp is a great inspiration for avid readers and writers, opening up a world of possibilities.

 

MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS!

Suzy Vadori is the Calgary Bestselling Author of The Fountain, and The West Woods, Books 1 and 2 of The Fountain Series, published by Evil Alter Ego Press. This fantastical Young Adult Series has received two Aurora Nominations for Best Young Adult Novel, as well as Five Stars from both Readers’ Favorite and San Francisco Review of Books. See her website HERE

Simon Rose is an author of science fiction and fantasy novels for children and young adults and several writing guides for both aspiring and established authors, including The Alchemist’s Portrait, The Sorcerer’s Letterbox, The Clone Conspiracy, The Emerald Curse, and more! See his website HERE

Kim Firmston is a real-life mutant – though one without any cool powers. When she’s not writing YA novels (Stupid, Boiled Cat, Creep Con, and more), plays, or cursing obvious villain mistakes, she works as the AWCS Youth Program Director – bringing in all the best instructors and thinking of cool games to play. See her website HERE

- Level: All grades - Youth Programming: PD Day Workshop 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

Tutoring

Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday
Various times
(4 x 1hr Classes)
Member Price: $155-$270
Non-member Price: $185-$350

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one hour, four-class sessions created specifically to address your individual needs.

Academic Adult Tutoring

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. $270 for AWCS Members /$350 for Non-Members. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

Writing Improvement for Adults

Write well, write tight, and convey your ideas to others. Whether you want to improve your basic communications, create stories, or learn enough to help your kids with their homework – we have you covered. Join one of our talented tutors to get you to the level you want to be. $155 for AWCS Members / $185 for Non-Members. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

Youth Tutoring and Homework Help

Want to impress your teachers? Falling behind in Social Studies or English? Need some extra help on a specific project? Want to prepare for finals or PATs? Or do you just want to get better at writing in general? Our one on one tutoring is perfect for students looking for a boost in essays, book reports, journalism, creative writing, poetry, or anything writing-related. ($155 for youth members, $185 for non-members). Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@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.

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

Difficult Memoir Refresh

Karen Lee
Wednesdays
10-1pm
November 13, 2019 (4 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

Sometimes when we take a course, we write like crazy and are thoroughly engaged. Then we finish the course and put our notebooks aside. Do you want a kick-start to continue writing your memoir? A refresher?

This course will build on the skills learned in the longer course and add to your writing skills and the journey of change and transformation you want to write about. We will tackle dialogue, character sketches, scene setting, and your story arc – using parts of your own story.

Three recommended readings are: “The Memoir Project” by Marion Roach Smith, “Why We Write about Ourselves” Ed. Meredith Maran and “Your Life as Story” by Tristine Rainer.

Prerequisite – You have participated in the 8-week course, “Memoir Writing for People with Difficult Stories to Tell”

Karen Lee has published a memoir, The Full Catastrophe, 2016, She Writes Press, California. You can find out more information on her website: http://karenelee-author.com/index.html

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

Multi-Week Courses - Evening

To Prose or To Poem

Vivian Hansen
Mondays
7-9pm
September 16, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $320

What is the essential shell of a prose poem and why would a writer opt for its beauty instead of just writing a page of prose? A prose poem often lacks the line breaks associated with poetry, but we read rhythmic punctuation and notation in its lines. The prose poem maintains a poetic quality, often utilizing techniques common to poetry, such as fragmentation, compression, repetition, and rhyme. The prose poem allows the writer with difficult material to explore recesses of meaning through its experimental style. If you are a prose writer, this course will be of interest to you in navigating the essential prose line through a poetic lens.

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Poetry - Genre: Poetry, Prose 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

The Novel from Scratch

Rosemary Nixon
Thursdays
7:00pm - 9:30pm
September 26, 2019 (10 Weeks)
Member Price: $375
Non-member Price: $500

Participants for this course will just be beginning a novel or be about to. We will consider the importance of defamiliarization in our diction and syntax as we study beginnings, how to capture voice and tone from the get-go, how to create and maintain a psychologically-sizzling setting, developing a character’s consistency, then moving them into complexity (including effective dialogue), ways to build narrative tension and suspense and anything else we can fit into the class to give you a fabulous kick-start to your new novel you’ve been wanting to write.

Course Format: Mini-lecture, workshopping participants’ writing excerpts, analyzing published writers’ excerpts, discussion, short weekly homework assignments pertaining specifically to the needs of the new novels-in-progress.

Rosemary Nixon is a pre-eminent short story writer, novelist, free-lance editor, her 4th book Are You Ready To be Lucky? nominated for The Frank O’Connor International Prize, and North American Forewords IndieFab Award. Rosemary, editor for Freehand Press, has recently been nominated for the Lois Hole Excellence in Editing Award. 

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: 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

Summer - August

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

September Workshops

And the Moral of the Story Is…

Heather Osborne
Thursday
6:30PM - 9:30PM
September 19, 2019
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $70

Theme is the organizing principle of a piece of fiction, whether it’s a short story, a play or a novel. One very simple way to think of theme is “the moral of the story.” But that simple description can be challenging to implement! How do you make sure your characters’ actions and beliefs reflect the story’s theme–without being preachy? How can story elements like conflict and setting help to bring the theme down to an easily-pitchable sentence for editors and agents.

In this three-hour micro-workshop we’ll be brainstorming, plotting and diving into writing exercises. There will be discussion and workshopping of ideas we come up with. Bring the germ of an idea or a draft of a story that hasn’t quite gelled. Leave with a one-sentence pitch, an outline or scene list, and a temp[late for discovering your theme in future stories.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Micro 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

Make a Scene!

Lauren Carter
Saturday
10-3:30pm
October 26, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Scenes are the building blocks of story. In this day-long workshop we will identify the components of effective scenes in fiction and memoir by studying expert examples and discuss how scenes move together to build short stories or longer manuscripts that keep readers engaged. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a collection of scenes that can be used as the framework for the narrative arc of a short story or personal essay or the beginnings of a novel or memoir.

Lauren Carter is the author of four books. Her first novel, Swarm, was on CBC’s list of 40 novels that could change Canada. In 2014, her short story “Rhubarb” won top place in the Prairie Fire fiction prize and appeared in the annual Best Canadian Stories (edited by John Metcalf). Her work has also been nominated for the Journey Prize and longlisted multiple times for the CBC Literary Prizes in both poetry and fiction. She grew up in Blind River, Ontario, and lived in Orillia, Ontario before moving to The Pas, Manitoba. She currently resides in the rural area of St. Andrews, Manitoba, near Winnipeg.

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

November Workshops

Writing In The Dark

Carolyn Pogue
Saturday, November 16
9:30am-3:30pm
Member Price: $80
Non-member Price: $105

When it is dark, by what stars do we navigate?

Looking toward the holiday season— the time when it seems “everyone” is expected to be jolly— can be daunting for some, as can reading a newspaper, attending family or office functions, or simply having to turn on a light earlier each evening. Amazingly, the sweet music of many pens writing helps create light.

We will write our own stories of navigating this cold, dark season, and touch on some ancient tales that have enlivened people through the ages. As we move toward the longest night of the year, this one day workshop offers an opportunity to slow down and contemplate how our pens can help steer us through. 

Carolyn Pogue has offered a variety of workshops at AWCS over 20 years and enjoyed a year as Writer-in-Residence.  She is the author of 14 books and has been published as a blogger and columnist. She deeply believes that writing and other arts can change lives.  www.carolynpogue.ca

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creative Writing - Genre: Creative Non-Fiction, Personal Essay, Memoir, Fiction - Event: Workshop 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

Breaking into Traditional Publishing

Philip Vernon
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 16, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Securing literary representation is a hell of a marathon. It’s rigorous, emotionally draining, and 99% interminable waiting. But here’s the good news: the only requirement is your own stubborn tenacity. Talent’s entirely learnable, and in this biz? You only fail if you quit.

So if inking a traditional book deal is your writerly goal, join us for an unflinching deep dive into the process of becoming agented. Knowing when you’re “ready” to pitch, query letters, synopses, strategies — we’re tackling all your questions, critiquing materials, and separating realistic expectations from discouraging myths.

Please bring writing materials and — if able — any of the following,: query letter, synopsis, and/or manuscript fist page.

Open to all levels but ideal for writers on the cusp of querying.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Publishing - Genre: All Genres - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Tick Tock. Time and Tempo

Lexie Angelo
Thursday, November 21
6:30PM - 9:30PM
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $70

Bring in a scene or chapter where we will discuss time and tempo as it relates to your story. We will examine the passage of time such as quick bursts, sudden changes, or long stretches.

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

Hygge and the Christmas Card

Vivian Hansen
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 23, 2019
Member Price: $100
Non-member Price: $125

Try out your life Danishly for a Saturday workshop. What elements of your life might fall into the world-building realm of Hygge? We will explore how to embrace those late fall and winter blues by enjoying Hygge for one day, creating, writing and remembering, Christmas cards. Bring your own, your address book, and talk about your memories. Relive and write your small stories. Cards and Glogg will be provided. We will make a day of Hygge.

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

Tell it Slant: Different Approaches to Narrative in Fiction

Stephanie Wong Ken
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 30, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

As Emily Dickinson once wrote, “Tell the truth but tell it slant–.”

In this workshop, we will be looking at different ways to approach narrative in fiction. This could be as simple as shifts in point of view and character. Or it could be a bit more structural, with the use of a fragmented or a narrative that has a unique shape or pattern. We will be looking at texts that demonstrate different approaches to narrative, and discuss how telling it slant can draw a reader in and add complexity to a story. We will also be creating our own “slanted” text.

Examples of what we might read include selections from: Ru by Kim Thuy, Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, “Valley of the Girls” by Kelly Link, “Inventory” by Carmen Maria Machado, and “Autobiography of Red” by Anne Carson.

We will also refer to the text Meander, Spiral, Explode:Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison as a reference point for the class.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Workshop 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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