Thursday, March 16
Basic Building Blocks – Start telling your story, overcome fear, and give voice to your characters


Jean Rae Baxter
Telling Your Story

In this workshop, participants learn how to use the tools of fiction to write a memoir that people will want to read. I begin with a description of memoir, with a few examples. This is followed by the first exercise, in which participants complete the following sentences:

I want to write about . . .
I want to show . . .
I want the reader to experience . . .

The participants practice and create in class, sitting four or five to a table, with an extra seat left vacant so that I can join the group while they are working on a writing exercise in order to listen discreetly and answer questions. Topics covered are: characters, setting, shaping a narrative, effective beginning and
ending techniques.


Adrian Michael Kelly
Step Aside, Inner Critic

Do you find yourself beset by self-doubt and fear when you sit down to write? Is there an unfinished manuscript (or two, or three, or four) in a file on your computer, or locked away in your desk? If so, you’re not alone. Writer’s block is real, and it’s no laughing matter. But here’s the good news. Not only are fear and self-doubt entirely natural; they can also be turned into allies. Upon completing this workshop, participants will be equipped with proven techniques and strategies to defeat the inner critic and show up at their desk each day. Writing will always be hard. Not writing is harder. Learn to write daily, with increased confidence, increased vitality.


Olga Filina and Cassandra Rodgers
Sixty Second Story Pitch

Hoping to land an agent for your brilliant work-in-progress or finished manuscript? Book your 5-minute time slot now for a chance to pitch your pet project to literary agents Olga Filina and Cassandra Rodgers of 5 Otter Literary. Their roster includes literary, upmarket and book club fiction, historical fiction, crime, mystery, suspense, underrepresented voices, middle grade fiction, contemporary YA, and, on the non-fiction side, topics such as politics, history, science, finance, memoir and sports. Participants will have 60 seconds to pitch their book, followed by 4 minutes of critique, advice, and suggestions for refinement.

Space is limited, and time slots are firm. You will be let in from the waiting room at your scheduled time by an admin.




Catherine Hernandez
Writing Natural Dialogue

Award-winning author and screenwriter of Scarborough the book and film Catherine Hernandez leads attendees through a series of exercises around writing natural dialogue. Skills that will be shared will include:
*Graceful story exposition
*Creating dramatic tension
*Brainstorming with other writers 

Please bring:
*a healthy dose of playfulness
*a device to write on, be it a laptop, tablet AND a notebook/few pieces of paper to scribble on
*pen or pencil 

Friday, March 17
Arts and (Writers’) Craft Day! Crafting and drafting supplies to refine your prose for the pros, develop novel graphics, and vivify your verse


Tanis MacDonald
Measure Twice, Cut Once

So you’ve got that elusive first draft – but is it ready for an editor’s eyes? This masterclass, led by writer and editor Tanis MacDonald, will walk writers through ways to prepare and polish their manuscripts before consulting an editor, where to find an editor, and what writers can expect from the editing process. As a bonus, Tanis will talk about the many times an editor has saved her from making big mistakes. 


Cole Pauls
Zine Making 101

Do you have a message, thought, or topic you’re itching to get out there in a quick, inexpensive, and artistic way? Join graphic novel and zine maker Cole Pauls for Zine Making 101. In this class you will learn the steps on how to create a mini, 6-page zine from a single piece of paper. Cole will walk you through establishing your story, penciling in your panels, inking the illustrations to make them pop, creating a poster cover, printing, cutting, folding, and most importantly, getting it out there. Bring your ideas, art supplies* and imagination!
*Paper, general collage supplies and pens will be provided.


Paul Vermeersch
The Word and the Line: Using the Building Blocks of Poetry

All crafts require tools, and poetry is no different. The tools of poetic craft include diction, imagery, rhythm, etc. In this workshop, participants will practice strategies for word choice, revision, line breaks, and more. Learn to use new tools, or sharpen the ones you have, from a poet, professor and poetry editor with over 25 years’ experience making poems—and making poems better.


Guided Sauna Session

75 minute thermal cycle alternating between saunas and relaxing around a fire pot. (limited to 12 participants)

Optional add on social $98pp.

Saturday, March 18
Say It With Feeling – Embrace the weird, evoke emotions and build stories and characters with depth


Dimitri Nasrallah
Extraordinary Elements in Fiction

So many of the stories that captivate us do so by injecting an element of the extraordinary in the otherwise ordinary existence we know. From the beetle in Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis to alternate social hierarchies in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, from extending a lifespan in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go to sea monsters in Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, readers see their own realities with greater clarity once they’re contrasted against a extraordinary feature that raises tension, deepens meaning, and sharpens the impact of the overall story. This session is for fiction writers of all genres who are interested in incorporating the surreal, symbolic, or unfamiliar in their stories. 


Dennis Bock
Unshackling the Bonds

Novice writers are often told that good prose shows and never tells. But how do you effectively show your protagonist’s longing to revisit her past, say? How do you show nostalgia or envy or love without resorting to obvious, purpose-driven dialogue? How about envy or awe or jealousy or wonder? What’s a writer to do with the powerful emotions that boil within us but hardly ripple the surface? Let’s call these un-showable emotions. We’ll look at and discuss examples of telling by writers who know when and how to articulate their characters’ interiority. 


Farah Heron
Rom-Coms 101

Romantic comedies have always been popular in movies, but in recent years they seem to be everywhere in bookstores, too. This trend in publishing doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. In this workshop, author Farah Heron (Accidentally Engaged, Kamila Knows Best) will delve deep into what makes a great rom-com, and will help you craft one from the ground up. Including developing high-concept storylines, writing biting and witty banter, and layering in laugh-out-loud scenes and one-liners. 
Most importantly, Farah will show you how to build a satisfying, emotional romance that will keep your readers swooning between the belly laughs. 


Stoked Sauna Co.
Stoked & Chill Session

75 minute thermal cycle alternating between saunas and relaxing around a fire pot. (limited to 12 participants)

Optional add on social $98pp.

Sunday, March 19

Takeaways: Final tips on overcoming writer’s block, self-editing, and movement to keep you moving forward on your writing journey



Richard Scarsbrook
Creative Writing Kick-Start

Eliminate “Writer’s Block”!  Discover new ideas for stories you didn’t even know you had!  Transform your experiences, ideas, and feelings into great stories!  Using fun, real-time writing cues and prompts, you can leave this workshop with the beginnings to up to a dozen beginnings to new stories.


Otoniya J. Okot Bitek
Editing Your Own Poetry

To write your best poem you must be able to switch identities, take turns as editor and poet to become the artist who can take credit for the final version of the poem. In this work shop you will learn to craft the poem until it presents its best self to you. Bring your inspired ideas, your phrases, single words, manifestos, dreams and together we will sculpt out a space from which you can learn to edit your own poem. We will edit out lines or switch them out, find rhyme and rhythm or spaces where prose and poetry meet. 


Wanda Praamsma
Writing and the Body

How does a greater connection to the body energize our writing practices, whether based in poetry, non-fiction, fiction, or copywriting and freelance work? In this class, we will explore the link between the body and the act of putting words on the page, through gentle movement and awareness practices, including yoga and meditation, and writing exercises. Participants will observe, reflect on, and share the effects of these practices on their writing, and learn how daily rituals linking the two can infuse their written works with new power.

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