Want your readers to forget about dinner dates and housework because they're unable to put your book down? Whatever your genre, the key is the same: tension. Join our panel of writers of page turners to learn the secrets of making your readers think "just one more chapter" over and over again.
Presenter: Carrie Mac
Do your readers believe in your fiction? Do you believe in your fiction? Have you achieved verisimilitude—the suspension of disbelief? How do you create a world that will welcome readers as new citizens, whether it’s magical or painfully real, or located somewhere in between? In this workshop we will open the writers’ toolbox and pull out the tools that will help you make your fiction more believable. You will leave with your own set of tools, and a greater confidence when it comes to creating fictional worlds and the characters who populate them.
Presenter: Simon Clews
So, you’ve written your sample chapters or even completed the whole book. And you know that what you’ve come up with is absolutely stunning … your best writing ever. Well done! And here you are at SIWC ready to present your pitch. This crucial way of presenting your work can often be the difference between a publishing contract and a rejection letter so it’s important to get it just right. This workshop will offer practical advice and insider tips on making your pitch count and – with any luck – taking your first step on the road to the bestseller lists.
Presenter: David Paul Williams
Would you like to get paid for writing? Do you like to explore new topics, then write about them? Curiosity is one quality all successful writers have in common. Freelancing allows the writer to explore and satisfy that curiosity, then get paid to write about what you learn. In this basic level course, attendees will learn about the myriad writing markets, the different types of articles, and how to identify the correct market for what they want to write. They will leave knowing the concrete steps necessary to get that first freelance assignment and be on their way to launching their freelance career.
Presenter: Peter Darbyshire
Are you talking to me? Dialogue is one of the most important parts of any novel or story, but it’s often the most overlooked thing in writing. Too often dialogue between characters is just a mundane conversation to set up plot points or reveal information. Dialogue can be and should be so much more, though. Dialogue can be a weapon for characters, and it can create tension and surprise. It can create characters or conceal their true selves. It can even control the reader. Peter Darbyshire draws on his theatre background to help you bring your stories to life through dialogue.
Presenter: Mary Robinette Kowal
Practical Regency -- Historical accuracy isn't just the stuff of academics. It can open up whole new plot complications and what author doesn't enjoy those. Come and handle Regency underwear, learn how to use a quill, and why your nobleman should never, ever buy a bottle of wine.
Thousands of query letters a year arrive in the inboxes of our panel of agents. Some are winners, but many are rife with problems. Join our panel for insight into what makes a query letter great and what kinds of common mistakes plague even those with the best of intentions.
Members: Chris (C.C) Humphreys (Moderator),
Join SiWC's favourite buckler of swash for a practical lesson on swords and swordplay. If you have swords in your MS or are interested in learning some of the tricks and tips of wielding a heavy weapon properly, this session is for you.
Presenter: Terry Fallis
Do you sometimes suffer with writer's block, or sometimes just feel stuck writing your novel? Perhaps you might benefit from working from a more detailed outline. Award-winning and bestselling novelist, Terry Fallis, a dedicated "outliner," will share his writing process, from initial ideas, to mapping out the story and characters, to developing a chapter by chapter outline, and finally, writing the manuscript. He'll also present the pros and cons of writing from a detailed outline.
Presenter: Sam Sykes
Fights, barroom brawls, car chases: all classic action scenes. But what makes them work? What makes an audience watch a fight with rapt attention rather than glossing over a bunch of verbs? What makes a reader unable to put a book down until the last punch is thrown? This workshop studies how character motivation and reader investment can make your action scenes explode off the page.
Presenter: A.J. Banner
So you’re writing your first novel for youngsters in the 7- 13 age range. You know exactly what you’re doing, right? We were all children once. But many first time middle grade novelists make common mistakes. Are you telling a story, or are you teaching a lesson? Who solves the problem at the end of your book? We’ll discuss at least five common problems in debut middle grade novels – and how to remedy them.
Presenter: Kate Braid
It’s an irony that by giving yourself a strict set of boundaries as to line length, stress/metre, repetition and/or rhyme, you can find the freedom to write in new ways that surprise you. Join Kate Braid, co-author with Sandy Shreve of the ground-breaking anthology In Fine Form: The Canadian Book of Form Poetry, to try out something old that can point prose writers as well as poets, in new directions. There’ll be a bit of talk and mostly writing.
A tradition at SiWC, the historical fiction panel explores all aspects of writing historical fiction, from dialogue and setting to research rabbit holes. Bring your questions and learn from the best!
Presenter: Hallie Ephron
Scenes are the basic organic particles of a novel. In this workshop we’ll talk about scenes, what they are and how to structure them to maximum effect- Anatomy of a scene- Where to start, where to end- Story arcs and tipping points- Basics in every scene- Scene transitions: crafting the connective tissue or leaving it out- Scene and viewpoint
Presenter: Chip MacGregor
What do you need to know before you sign that publishing contract? Why do they have all that legalese in the wording? And what's a "force majeure," anyway? In this workshop, we will look into the essential elements of a publishing contract, then explore proven methods for negotiating a contract. When you sign a contract, you're making a legal promise and agreeing to a series of clauses that will govern your work for as long as it's in print. Looked at that way... it would be nice to know what you're signing and how to talk about it with your publisher. So come listen to an agent who has contracted more than a thousand books in his career.
Presenter: Q Lindsey Barrett
Memoirs of a Geisha, The Education of Little Tree, Patty’s memoir within Freedom: who gets to write about the female experience, indigenous people, a religion not the writer’s own? Should there be taboos? Or is the quality of the writing what matters? To whom does the fictional landscape belong?
Presenter: Leanne Shirtliffe
Writing Memoir: Finding a Structure and a Framework to Tell Your Story explores the difference between a structure and a framework, and delves into four ways to structure your memoir (above and beyond chronological). Samples from modern memoirs will be shared. Participants will also learn tips for discovering the essential narrative arc of their manuscript.
Presenter: Danika Dinsmore
Sometimes when we get stuck we just want to give up or move on to the next thing. Learning how to write when “stuck” is a great skill, especially when you’re writing under pressure. Bring something to write with and on, because this workshop is all about exercises to get you UNSTUCK and INSPIRED. Whether it’s starting the story itself or working on a particular scene you’ve been avoiding, if you want to get some momentum, this is a great place to start. Leave with a tool kit of your own for the next time you find yourself in writing avoidance mode.
Presenter: Robert Dugoni
What is it about certain books that when we finish the final page the characters stay with us for days? What is it about those characters that has made them so memorable? Using examples from his own and other writers, Bob will teach techniques to make your characters well-rounded individuals that will keep readers wondering about them long after they have finished your book.
Presenter: Sarah Wendell
Of all the various ways an author can connect with readers, the newsletter is often overlooked, even though it is among the most powerful and useful tools for reaching readers directly. In this workshop we'll talk about the importance of a mailing list, how to develop one and keep it growing, and what kind of newsletters work best, as well as what not to do. We'll also discuss how often to send a newsletter, and what kind of content engages readers and keeps them interested in having you in their inbox.
Presenter: Gigi Pandian
Know the rules before you break them. Write the book you feel passionately about, but look to successful mystery novels for guidance. Genre conventions can help you to tell your story in the most compelling way. In this workshop we’ll discuss the numerous sub-genres that exist in the mystery genre, go over helpful tips for crafting a satisfying mystery, and touch on how these conventions apply to the three-act structure that’s a helpful guide for any genre.
Presenter: Holly Lorincz
Successful authors know they have blind spots when it comes to their bad habits, from repetitive sentence structure, to poor pacing, to weak motivation, to plot holes. Successful authors know working with a good editor can provide insight and suggestions that will strengthen the writing and the story. But how do you find a "good" editor? What kind of edit do you need? What do you get for your money? How do you use the feedback? Holly Lorincz, owner of Lorincz Literary Services, will walk you through finding the right editor for your project, what type of services to ask for, what to expect, and how to incorporate the suggested changes.
Presenter: Gail Sattler
Good interior monologue lets the reader know your characters and like them despite their faults. Create a bond so strong that the reader can't put the book down, and when the book is over, the reader will feel like they've made a new friend.