WORKSHOP A – Phrasing in Contemporary Poetry with John Lent

I have studied and worked on phrasing in contemporary poetry for a long time, and I would love to share some of that struggling.  I will examine six or seven set-up approaches to phrasing and editing (set-up approaches used by W.C. Williams, Pat Lane, Don Coles, Dennis Cooley, Roo Borson, Jake Kennedy and Mary Oliver), and then use some of them to edit poems that the workshop participants have brought with them to the session.  This approach can be a load of fun as well as being very useful in terms of editing skills.

WORKSHOP B – True Stories, Well Told with Jay Ruzesky

Stories are compelling — we love to be told about adventures, experiences, sensual places, and obsessive people, and we love the way stories transport us and make us consider the world more deeply. We humans also hunger for authenticity and that’s why creative non-fiction is such a powerful form. In this era of “post-truth,” readers are moved more deeply by true stories that make them laugh and cry and think.

To write creative non-fiction effectively, you have to use craft. In this workshop we will consider the use of literary tools to learn how to focus material and give it polish. Whether you are a young writer or a mature voice, this workshop will help you delve into the fascinating subjects that are all around you.

WORKSHOP C – Narrative Therapy with Laisha Rosnau

In this introduction to some of the foundational concepts of the practice of Narrative Therapy, we’ll explore how our own narrative and writing practices can positively affect health and resiliency. Learn how to apply the foundational concepts of Narrative Therapy to your own writing practice and your own work, whether it is fiction, memoir, poetry, or any other form of creative writing. Explore how your writing practice can help you move through challenges and blocks in your life, and in your creative work.

WORKSHOP D – Making a Scene: Structure and Transitions in Short Stories with Corinna Chong

“A child throws a tantrum, screams, throws toys, lies on the floor, and kicks the air.  The parents say, ‘You’re making a scene!’ […] Remember the wisdom of the child: Make a scene when you really want everyone’s full attention.” – Jerome Stern, Making Shapely Fiction.

Elmore Leonard advises that one of the most important rules for good writing is to “try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” Writing economically without sacrificing the depth of your ideas is often one of the greatest challenges of working in the short story form. Building a story as a series of key parts – or scenes – can be a helpful way to separate the vital from the unnecessary. In this workshop, we will explore scene as the basis for a compelling story and strategies for creating clear transitions between scenes.

WORKSHOP E – Pulling out the Plums: Using Research in Fiction with Alix Hawley

It’s easy to fall down rabbit holes when you’re researching for historical accuracy or just atmosphere. This workshop will show you how to climb out, and what to take with you. We’ll focus on what detail to use and where to put it. Backstory, setting, and voice will all benefit, whether you’re writing about past, present, or future.

WORKSHOP F – Writing Memoir: Unlocking the Vault of Memory with Melanie Murray

We all have within us a wealth of stories waiting to be told. But how do we give these stories shape and discover the deeper meaning beneath the surface of events? How do we elevate our personal stories to reveal larger truths? This workshop will provide participants with some keys for transforming memories and family stories into compelling narratives. We will examine an excerpt from a published memoir to understand the building blocks of this genre—the interplay of scene, summary, and reflection. You will practice prewriting techniques to tap into a memory that has stayed with you over time. We will then focus on methods of bringing that story to life through scene-building, sensory details, tension, and dialogue.

WORKSHOP G – Writing as Dream Work with Heidi Garnett

Dennis Lee in his book Body Music asks, “What am I doing when I write?”  He goes on to describe a dream-like state of mind where he gains access to an energetic field that is “teeming with words.”  In her course description on language and the lucid dream, the American poet Sara Eliza Johnson talks about how writing may be likened to dreaming lucidly, that is, waking inside the act of writing in order to guide its direction even as we’re caught in the intuitive stream.  She asks, “How do we write intuitively without getting lost or swept away?”  In this workshop the participants will be provided with prompts to help them use figurative language that takes risks, but without sacrificing meaning and precision.  Though this workshop is designed for poets, it may also be helpful for fiction writers who are interested in entering their work more deeply.

WORKSHOP H – The Structure of Writing a Play with Michael Poirier

This workshop will explain the fundamentals of writing a play, from format to theme. We will touch on the elements needed to create a piece of work that is entertaining, structurally sound and most importantly…marketable.  We will also talk about the core differences between stage plays and screen plays and how to get them onto the stage or screen.  Suitable for anyone that has always wanted to see their play on a stage!