WITS Originals

ACCESS OPEN OCTOBER 8, 2021

WITS Originals are unique videos prepared & delivered by WITS writers. Each video explores a single creative writing topic in a short format (10 to 20 minutes) suitable for incorporation into a lesson plan.

  • For unlimited 180-day access to the full library (12 videos), a school pays $150.
  • For unlimited 90-day access to a single package (4 videos), a school pays $75
  • Unlimited 30-day access to a single package (4 videos) is complimentary for any school that books one full day or more of in-person or virtual author visits.

New to WITS Originals?
Get an overview of video topics & a behind-the-scenes look at their creation:

WITS Originals were filmed & edited by author, photographer, and videographer Nicola Davison of Snickerdoodle Photography.

How to access

Step 1: browse WITS Original packages

To choose the video package best for your school’s grade levels and course curricula, please review our recommended grade level and synopsis for each video.

Step 2: complete application form

Select the appropriate video package, choose an access start date, input the email addresses of all interested teachers/staff at your school, and fill in your school’s contact information.

Step 3: receive access

Within 1 week of receiving your request, we will contact you by email to confirm the video package selected for your school and your access start and end dates. On the access start date, we will email all interested teachers/staff to notify them that access has been granted.

Please note: Each teacher/staff member will be required to create a Google account (linked to their school-provided email address) to access the videos. This is a quick process, details of which can be found in our Guide to Creating a Google Account Using an Existing Email Address.

Step 4: provide payment

Once access has been granted, WFNS will issue an invoice to your school via email, which is payable by cheque within 2 weeks of receipt.

To request hard copies of invoices by mail or fax, please contact Linda Hudson, Arts Education Officer, at wits@writers.ns.ca

Please note: Schools with outstanding fees from previous years will not be able to participate in the WITS program until all outstanding fees have been paid.

New Writers package

Mysteries & history (15:52) with Geraldine Tuck

Best for grades P – 6

Geraldine (she/her) introduces the mystery genre, and its close relationship with historical fiction, through the lens of her Mystery Marauders series. She discusses how to come up with ideas for writing (including closely observing people and being curious about interesting objects) and how not to worry about mistakes. She also leads a short exercise on adding detail to stories through simile and metaphor.

How to be a research detective (15:01) with Jacqueline Halsey

Best for grades P – 6

Jacqueline (she/her) introduces the genre of historical fiction and describes the importance of research to many types of writing. She takes writers through the process of preparing to research; of exploring different sources of information (from museums to oral histories) about history, culture, nature, and science; and of recording and reflecting on the stories they discover.

Write about what you care about (16:03) with Sylvia Gunnery

Best for grades 4 – 9

Sylvia (she/her) talks about bringing multiple things you care about into a single writing project and demonstrates introducing real objects and events into fiction, drawing on her novels Game Face and Roads Signs That Say West for examples. She also leads a writing exercise called “Things I’ve Been Thinking About,” designed to help writers choose a theme or topic for their next writing project.

Writing humour for middle-grade & YA readers (15:44) with Vicki Grant

Best for grades 4 – 9

Vicki (she/her) encourages students to think about humour-writing as a process of trial-and-error, to try turning something true into something funny, and to embrace the drafting and rewriting processes. She also introduces the core comedic tools of pacing and rhythm (including concision, punctuation use, and suspense) and character development (including dialogue and action).

Novice Writers package

Exploring different points of view (18:32) with Don Aker

Best for grades 7 – 12

Don (he/him) introduces the concept of point of view, describes four main points of view (objective, omniscient, limited omniscient, and first-person), and suggests how writers can choose one for their story. Through an example scene, written and rewritten in these four points of view, he explains the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Writing relatable, memorable historical fiction (16:46) with Genevieve Graham

Best for grades 7 – 12

Genevieve (she/her) describes her early interest in Canadian history, how this began her career as a writer of historical fiction, and the many forgotten stories she discovered along the way. Throughout, she discusses the importance of researching the small details of past life and bringing them alive to imagine how characters might act and feel. She concludes with five in-depth writing prompts.

Creating scenes: the building blocks of novels (9:54) with Gloria Ann Wesley

Best for grades 7 – 12

Gloria (she/her) explains the importance of creating a strong long-term character goal for a novel and of connecting each scene of the novel to overarching plot. She also outlines the basic pattern of every scene —goal, conflict, & conclusion—and how to keep readers invested in turning the page through a focus on dialogue & gesture, struggle & tension, and sensory & emotional perception.

What goes into making a book (20:51) with Sarah Sawler

Best for grades 7 – 12

Sarah (they/them) outlines the long lifecycle of a fiction or nonfiction book—from the author’s drafting, revising, and submitting of a manuscript through to the book deal, publisher’s edits, and the production of the final book—with examples drawn from their own book. They also lead a zine-making exercise and talk about the zine’s place in the publishing world.

Advanced Writers package

Writing across different perspectives (14:31) with Chad Lucas

Best for grades 10 – 12

Chad (he/him) describes the benefits of using multiple points of view in one story, suggesting questions and writing styles to help develop unique narrative voices for each character. He provides tips for writing from race, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and ability perspectives outside the writer’s life experience: empathizing, researching, respecting diversity within identity groups, avoiding stereotypes, and humanizing.

All’s well that ends well (10:19) with Evelyn C. White

Best for grades 10 – 12

Evelyn (she/her) describes the importance of a strong ending to any piece of writing–as well as how endings influence our experience of theatre and music. She presents fiction and nonfiction examples of circular endings and surprise endings, and she summarizes the key tools for achieving a strong ending: dedication, purpose, and revision.

Different abilities & ways of writing (12:03) with Jen Powley

Best for grades 10 – 12

Jen (she/her) explains the impact of her multiple sclerosis on her ability to write by hand, describes her current writing practice, and introduces the many methods that differently-abled authors use to overcome their unique writing challenges. She leads three short exercises that encourage writers to engage with their bodies and senses in new ways.

Building a great character from the inside out (17:32) with Lesley Choyce

Best for grades 10 – 12

Lesley (he/him) gives a crash course in writing interesting, compelling characters. Starting with a character’s interior (motivations, failures, weaknesses, and emotional triggers), he then explains the important relationships between the character and writer (putting a character into interesting situations, inhabiting a character) and between the character and reader (creating connection, fostering credibility, and presenting contradiction).

Full library

Access to the full WITS Originals library is the most cost-effective choice for P – 12, 7 -12, or 10 – 12 schools with multiple English or Creative Writing courses. Your school will have unlimited access to all WITS Originals titles (3+ hours of writing insights) for six months (180 days).

Mysteries & history (15:52) with Geraldine Tuck

Best for grades P – 6

How to be a research detective (15:01) with Jacqueline Halsey

Best for grades P – 6

Write about what you care about (16:03) with Sylvia Gunnery

Best for grades 4 – 9

Writing humour for middle-grade & YA readers (15:44) with Vicki Grant

Best for grades 4 – 9

Exploring different points of view (18:32) with Don Aker

Best for grades 7 – 12

Writing relatable, memorable historical fiction (16:46) with Genevieve Graham

Best for grades 7 – 12

Creating scenes: the building blocks of novels (9:54) with Gloria Ann Wesley

Best for grades 7 – 12

What goes into making a book (20:51) with Sarah Sawler

Best for grades 7 – 12

Writing across different perspectives (14:31) with Chad Lucas

Best for grades 10 – 12

 

All’s well that ends well (10:19) with Evelyn C. White

Best for grades 10 – 12

Different abilities & ways of writing (12:03) with Jen Powley

Best for grades 10 – 12

Building a great character from the inside out (17:32) with Lesley Choyce

Best for grades 10 – 12

Request WITS Originals Access

— Logistical Information —

Please choose an access start date that provides enough time for teachers/staff to view the videos and incorporate their content into lesson plans.
We recommend an access start date at least 1 - 2 weeks before the videos will be first shown in a classroom.
Separate email addresses with commas.

If you (the individual completing this form) also require access, please enter your email address above as well as in the Contact Information section below.

Please note: Each teacher/staff member will be required to create a Google account (linked to their school-provided email address) to access the requested videos. This is a quick process, details of which can be found in our Guide to Creating a Google Account Using an Existing Email Address.

— Contact Information —

For questions or further information, please contact us.

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