UPDATED: Winter & Spring Workshop Preview

Our winter/spring season is packed with creative writing workshops, and all of those below are open for registration. Click a workshop title or instructor photo for more detailsor to register now. (Seats are filling fast!)

All winter and spring workshops will be held via Zoom. You do not need a Zoom account to attend. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom and would like a preliminary introduction, here’s an overview of the platform.

Writing Funny (with Robin Duke & Anne Fenn)

2-week workshop: Mondays, Jan 18 & Jan 27 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
Have you ever had an amusing idea but didn’t know where to start? Or maybe you wrote something and wanted to make funnier? In this workshop, Robin Duke and Anne Fenn will mine their unique, diverse writing (and performing) experience to help you write funnier. We’ll explore some key tools of the comedy trade, comic perspective, finding your voice, improvisation, creating comic characters, and other ways to punch up your stories through the creative process.

First Words: Fiction (with Sherry D. Ramsey, Julian Mortimer Smith, & Sarah Mian)

9-week workshop: Thursdays, Jan 21, Jan 28, Feb 4, Feb 11, Feb 18, Feb 25, Mar 4, Mar 11, Mar 18 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
As a welcoming space for beginner or emerging writers, First Words: Fiction provides an overview of the craft from several professional perspectives. No prerequisites or pre-existing pieces of writing are necessary for participation in this course.

The Inner Critics’ Circle: How to Overcome Writers’ Block and Find Your Flow (with Virginia Konchan)

3-week workshop: Wednesdays, Jan 27, Feb 3, Feb 10 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
Whether you’re midstream in a writing project, unable to conclude, or can’t seem to begin, writers’ block is a paralyzing condition that most writers encounter at least once in their lives. This dynamic three-week workshop will address the psychological, emotional, and technical aspects of writer’s block (such as time and stress management). Through structured writing exercises, diverse readings of poetry and literature, and tools and approaches both visionary & practical, we’ll work to overcome whatever has stymied your writing.

Black YA Matters (with Andre Fenton)

Free workshop open to Black participants.
4-week workshop: Mondays, Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 15, Feb 22 (6:00pm to 8:00pm)

Dive into the world of young adult fiction with a focus on Black identities, character development, setting, structure, and plot-driven motivations. Much of the focus will be on representation within our stories, knowing that there is no definitive Black experience. We will share our progress with one another in an open and honest environment that embraces creativity, inclusivity and representation with fun activities through a new lens.

Creative Writing for Newcomers (With Anne C. Kelly)

Free workshop open to Newcomers to Canada.
4-week workshop: Saturdays, Feb 6, Feb 13, Feb 20, Feb 27 (9:30am to 11:30am)

Are you a newcomer to Canada with a story you want to share? Do you want to develop and strengthen your creative writing skills? Join Anne C. Kelly for this four-week course to build basic English writing skills and explore the principles of creative writing. The course will include writing exercises, sharing with other learners, and a chance to create and edit the story you want to tell.

Contemplative Writing: Breathe, Stretch, and Write (with Sheree Fitch)

4-week workshop: Mondays, Feb 22, Mar 1, Mar 8, Mar 15 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
With poetry and prose prompts, Sheree will guide participants in first-burst writing activities and in using these activities as a point of departure for new work or works-in-progress. There will also be discussion of writing as a spiritual practice.

Split, Float, Scatter, Trace: poetry workshop (with Anne Simpson)

4-week workshop: Wednesdays, Feb 24, Mar 3, Mar 10, Mar 17 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
We will consider one of four words—split, float, scatter, and trace—in each of the workshop sessions to understand how content and form come together in the making of a poem. We will look at the work of other poets, but we will concentrate first and foremost on the playful writing and shaping of new work.

Writing for Children and Youth (with Sylvia Gunnery)

4-week workshop: Tuesdays, Mar 2, Mar 9, Mar 23, Mar 30 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
Develop your unique voice in writing for children and youth in this four-part workshop. Through focused activities and group discussion, you will reflect on all stages of the writing process as you create setting, characters, dialogue, storyline, and structure. There will be opportunities to share draft writing, chat about books by your favourite authors, and consider how to move successfully toward publication.

Let’s Create Stories Together (with Theresa Meuse)

Free workshop open to Indigenous participants.
4-week workshop: Saturdays, Mar 6, Mar 13, Mar 20, Mar 27 (11:00am to 12:00pm)

This Saturday morning workshop, designed especially for Indigenous children ages 7 to 12, will encourage children to their own stories and get them down on paper. Hour-long sessions held on Zoom will take the form of sharing circles, so children can share stories, brainstorm ideas, talk about inspiration, and get feedback on written work. Participants in the workshop will receive a package of books by Mi’kmaq authors, including L’Nuk: The People by Theresa Meuse, I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas, and Wolverine and Little Thunder by Alan Syliboy.

Sorting Fact from Fiction: How to Get and Verify Information for your Non-Fiction Work (with Joan Baxter)

4-week workshop: Tuesdays, Mar 9, Mar 16, Mar 23, Mar 30 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
In this age of social media, when it is becoming ever more difficult to sort fact from fanciful fiction, the importance of well-researched non-fiction writing has never been greater. But where and to whom does one go to get facts, what are some of the most important and reliable sources of information for non-fiction writers? Let the treasure hunt begin—with practical activities, shared ideas, tips and experiences, and group discussions about how best to collect, verify and then sort through all that information that goes into a non-fiction book.

Writing YA Mysteries and Thrillers (with Jo Treggiari)

4-week workshop: Mondays, Mar 29, Apr 5, Apr 12, Apr 19 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
Learn how to craft page-turning mysteries and thrillers for the young adult audience using techniques like plotting backwards, building suspense, giving your characters agency, motives and motivation, utilizing red herrings, plot twists, clues and reveals for maximum impact, and incorporating an emotional or coming-of-age change in your main character's arc.

First Words: Poetry (with Andy Verboom, Lucas Crawford, & Shannon Webb-Campbell)

9-week workshop: Thursdays, Apr 1, Apr 8, Apr 15, Apr 22, Apr 29, May 6, May 13, May 20, May 27 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
As a welcoming space for beginner or emerging writers, First Words: Poetry provides an overview of the craft from several professional perspectives. No prerequisites or pre-existing pieces of writing are necessary for participation in this course.

Storytelling (with shalan joudry)

Free workshop open to Indigenous participants.
4-week workshop: Tuesdays, Apr 6, Apr 13, Apr 20, Apr 27 (6:30pm to 8:30pm)

In a time when so many of us are working to reclaim our Indigenous methodologies, shalan joudry feels that it’s imperative that we practice oral storytelling and deep listening to oral story. Through this 4-week workshop series, she will work with Indigenous writers, storytellers, poets and other narrative crafters to share about her experiences, tips, tools, and philosophy about storytelling. Shalan will share her background in this art form, why and how she turned to oral storytelling, but also discuss the importance and role of written work. Weaving between conversation and times for activities/exercises, participants are also encouraged to bring paper and a pencil to the sessions.

NEW: The Pivotal Moment: Memoir Writing (with Cooper Lee Bombardier)

4-week workshop: Thursdays, Apr 15, Apr 22, Apr 29, May 6 (6:00pm to 8:00pm)
In this four-week memoir-writing workshop, you’ll take a singular, transformative moment from your life and unpack it using the literary tools of creative nonfiction to discover the deeper meaning and creative possibilities to be found in reflecting upon one’s life events. This workshop is suitable for writers of all levels and experience.

The Plot Thickens: Crafting a Compelling Romance (with Paula Altenburg)

5-week workshop: Mondays, Apr 26, May 3, May 10, May 17, May 31 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
In this five-week workshop, we’ll explore the romance genre and the tools required to finish a viable story. There will be an introduction to basic writing tools and techniques you’ll need to get started, as well as an overview on the three-act structure. A bibliography of the resources used by the instructor will be included.

Creative Writing for Newcomers (with Vanessa Lent)

Free workshop open to Newcomers to Canada.
6-week workshop: Tuesdays, May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1, June 8 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)

Join us for a free creative writing workshop for newcomers to Canada: explore different kinds of creative writing and try out new forms of expression. Creative writing not only builds English writing skills, it also provides a fun and stress-free opportunity to deepen understanding of both self and language. This course offers 6 self-contained mini-workshops on creative forms, including writing exercises and a chance to share and collaborate with other learners. Attending all workshop dates is not required, but participants who attend at least 4 of the 6 lessons will get the most out of the experience. Participants will be sent a schedule of the topics in advance.

Who are these people and what is happening to them?: Character and Plot in Short Fiction (with Alexander MacLeod)

4-week workshop: Tuesdays, May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
This workshop explores the vital interdependence of plot and character and asks us to think deeply about the way characters are produced and/or revealed by what happens to them. Using some key exercises and working with examples selected from the participants own work, we will try to reflect on the way these two narrative elements can be strategically combined to produce powerful and memorable scenes. We will also try to branch out a bit to see how, especially in short fiction, good characters and good plotting absolutely require key contributions from the more poetic elements of our writing such as pacing, tone, rhythm, diction, imagery and sentence structure. Who are these people and what is happening to them? What does their story sound like? How does it “go”?

Masterclass on Revision (with Carol Bruneau)

4-week workshop: Wednesdays, May 5, May 12, May 19, May 26 (7:00pm to 9:00pm)
Join award-winning author Carol Bruneau to work through the fears and dread of revising fiction to see the rewards of the process. We’ll work on fine-tuning key elements of a story — character development, plot and structure, dialogue and setting — to best convey its central meaning. We’ll strengthen scenes, improve pacing, and decide when to cut and when to add information — all to create a cohesive, propulsive read that’s satisfying from beginning to end. In other words, you’ll learn how to make your long or short fiction the very best it can be.

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