Presenter: Robin Stevenson
According to Roald Dahl, "Good writing is essentially rewriting." Nabakov agreed, saying, “My pencils outlast their erasers.” And yet this essential part of the writing process is often oversimplified and reduced to proof-reading-- or overcomplicated and made mystifying. In this interactive and engaging presentation, I will draw on my experience of revising my own books as well as my experience as an editor. Participants will learn strategies that range from the big-picture to the details: character arcs, theme development, plot and pacing, point of view, and sentence-level revision.
Presenter: Sandra Tayler
Learn principles of good cover design with Sandra Tayler. She’ll discuss what draw interest and creates curiosity about your book. She’ll have examples that show how to make covers communicate effectively, and some examples of what you really should not do. This class is intended to be useful for those who intend to do their own covers and for those who want to be able to consult with professional designers who are creating covers for them.
Presenter: Delilah S. Dawson
Writing violence is a skill that can be learned, even if you've never taken a punch to the face. A great fight scene seamlessly merges taut description and bone-deep feeling while moving the plot forward and leaving the reader breathless, never bored. In this workshop, students will learn about pain, timing, adrenaline, healing, trauma, and real life and online resources to enliven their fight scenes and keep the reader engaged. And flinching.
Presenter: Karen X. Tulchinsky
We all have stories to tell, our own family is often the best place to mine for the best stories. And sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. This workshop will teach participants how to take a true event in their life (whether tragic or hilarious) and transform it into fiction. We will begin with finding true stories, then learning techniques for transforming real life into literature. There will be class instruction, in class writing exercises, plus the opportunity to read an excerpt from your story our loud to the others (optional). Bring your family stories and be ready to transform them into fiction.
Members: kc dyer (Moderator),
Are you fascinated by Facebook and in thrall to Twitter; or does Instagram give you indigestion? Join this panel to examine the choices available to writers for interacting with the outside world via the many faces of social media. Learn the latest hints and tricks, see the coolest sites on the web, and bring your questions!
So much of history has been written by men, but women occupied the other half of that past. From WWI’s 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death to the mosaic artists of Tiffany, how do you research history that wasn’t recorded or was erased? In this panel, the Whisky Chicks will examine internal bias in research material and how to get around your own “common sense” knowledge.
Presenter: Donald Maass
Plot you got. Character arc, okay. Themes in place. What have you overlooked? This hands on workshop reveals dimensions of your novel that you haven’t yet explored. Go deeper to find more. Presented by literary agent and fiction craft teacher Donald Maass.
Presenter: Jael Richardson
How do you put together a literary event? How do you program a lineup that represents marginalized voices but avoids tokenism? Whether your involved or planning a reading series, panel, workshops, festival, this session will provide practical tips and helpful insight – including how Canada’s first festival for diverse authors and stories came together (the lessons learned and the successes) from the Artistic Director of the Festival of Literary Diversity.
Presenter: Cat Rambo
There are a multitude of ways a story can spark in a writer’s mind. Fleshing them out requires figuring out both the plot and the story’s heart, or emotional core. We’ll discuss some of the different ways a inspiration can appear in, as well as how to take the initial idea and move it to a complete story, whether the inspiration be a title, a story, a rhetorical device, or any of the other distinct starting points.
Presenter: Robert Mackwood
Agents have a long list of reasons why they don’t offer a contract for representation. This seminar examines that list and offers suggestions and exercises you can do to make your pitch and proposal much more tantalizing and salable. This seminar also looks at how are authors can find success in this increasingly complicated publishing world. What is the best route to take to get a book published? Is finding an agent the best place to put your efforts? Ultimately,the best home for your project might be different than you think. Note: This seminar focuses on non-fiction.
Presenter: Robert J. Sawyer
Learn how to transfer your core ideas from one medium to the other — not just expanding and contracting but completely reimagining a work to best use its strengths in a new form. Rob is past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and a member of the scriptwriting unions Writers Guild of Canada and Writers Guild of America. The ABC TV series FlashForward was based on his Aurora Award-winning novel of the same name, and he was one of the scriptwriters for that series. He recently completed a commissioned screenplay adaptation of his bestselling novel Triggers, and his 23rd novel, Quantum Night, started as an adaptation of a TV pilot script he wrote.
You've done your homework, sent endless queries, and finally agreed to sign with an agent. It's what many writers dream of. But what happens next, when the hunt is over and the working together begins? Join our two pairs of writers and agents who both started working together in the last year for insight into the process of connecting and what comes after the handshake.
Presenter: Shari Green
If you’re writing for publication, odds are you often feel you’re on an emotional roller coaster. The highs are great, but the lows—from rejection and discouragement to self-doubt and jealousy—can rob you of joy and make you forget what you ever loved about writing. This workshop will offer strategies for keeping the love alive.
Presenter: Daniel José Older
Place matters. How do we create meaningful worlds around the action of our stories? This interactive seminar uses the social justice organizing concept of institutional power mapping to conceptualize nuanced literary landscapes. We will explore different kinds of power and how they can play out in a narrative structure. Finally, we’ll talk about the use of context in storytelling with a social justice focus.
Presenter: Jasper Fforde
Humour is the magic pixie dust to a great story - the charm, the sparkle. We're not talking belly laughs or one liners here, but the bedrock of wry observation that makes prose come alive, and an essential part of the author's craft. How can we manage the dark side of a novel if there isn't light which which it might compare? Jasper Fforde is a writer of (sometimes) humorous novels, and he offers hints and tips on how you can train yourself to bring a sense of humour to your prose.
Presenter: Elizabeth Boyle
Writing only requires two things: Showing up and putting words on the page. But that task can become a daunting minefield of excuses as to why your writing never seems to get done. And yet, professional writers do it every day. Examine the numerous processes that productive writers use (brainstorming, scene lists, pre-writing) to maintain their page goals and find that daily inspiration (Pinterest, photo journals, music lists) to trigger their creativity, how to hone your skills in organization and storytelling to keep your muse happily typing away, how to make your story portable, and getting to those daily pages done, well, daily.
Members: Jack Whyte (Moderator), Mary C. Moore, Eric Myers, Kathleen Rushall, Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein
A perennial favourite at SiWC, SiWC Idol gives you a look inside the minds of agents reading submissions. Willing victims submit the opening page of their MS anonymously. Random pages from the submission pile are read aloud by the inimitable Jack Whyte until the panel tells him to stop when they'd stop, and then they'll tell you why. Hear what intrigues and what repels. And, as ever, there's always a chance your page will be one of the rare ones that makes an agent say, "Who wrote that? I need to see more." Submissions for Idol may only be made at the front of the session room before the session begins. Selection of pages for reading is random and not all pages will be read. All submissions will be recycled except those the agents ask to keep.
Presenter: Bob Mayer
Published author considering self-publishing your backlist? Unpublished author considering self-publishing? This workshop will look closely at self-publishing distribution channels from what kind of files you will need to upload your eBook to various options you have in creating the files. It will also discuss the various platforms such as Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Smashwords and what are the best strategies for getting your book up for sale. Bob will discuss doing it yourself, outsourcing, and team-building options. Authors have more options today than ever before, but the process can be overwhelming. While this is not a step-by-step technical class, the worshop is designed to give you enough information to make informed decisions on how to get your eBook on apll possible formats.
Presenter: Owen Laukkanen
Want to write a good thriller? Keep your reader up past her bedtime? Make him miss his stop on the subway? Join Owen Laukkanen to learn how to craft a story so tightly-wound, so engaging, so unputdownable that your readers won’t quit until the very last page…and then they’ll come begging for more.
Presenter: Lauren Dane
Sex is one of the most important and emotionally rich events characters in a novel can engage in and yet many authors shy away or write it without a thought as to why it should be there. Both miss the opportunity to layer your character and the story in a truly intimate way.Over the workshop, Lauren will talk about different approaches sex and sexuality between your characters to use every bit of that potential.
Presenter: Darren Groth
A deep dive into the world of flash fiction, its craft, its creation and its publishing opportunities. This session includes writing exercises.
Presenter: Cathy Yardley
The trick to more effective and efficient writing isn’t finding some new technique, new software, or a better planner. The best way to write better quality in less time? Identify your process. In this workshop, you’ll learn tricks to track down where you fit on the plot/”pantser” spectrum, your best times to write, when (and how) to edit, and how to match your process with your writing career.
Presenter: Anne Perry
So you have a great idea for a story. Now how do you make sure it ends up being the strongest book it can be? For Anne Perry, outlining is key. Learn how to use outlining to keep writers' block at bay, cut back to the mimimum amout of doing it over, and create strong plot development to create the very best work you can.
The publishing world is changing, and there are more publishing options than ever before. But many still dream of being traditionally published by an established publishing house. Join our panel for insight into the world of publishing in 2016.
Presenter: Larry Brooks
Great stories are composed of several critical expositional milestones. And yet, they all exist in context to a single critical turn in the story, a moment that introduces and launches the hero’s story dramatic story journey in context to antagonism and stakes, with a precise location within the narrative that optimizes all of it. Get it wrong and the novel is compromised. Nail it and you story will be empowered to soar. This workshop will introduce and explore this essential and often misunderstood structural milestone, with examples and strategies for development and optimization.
Presenter: kc dyer
One of the best parts of being a writer is the chance to hit the road in the name of research. Author kc dyer has been doing just that for more than a decade, and she’s here to share the fruits of this experience with you. Where to go? What to pack? Who to travel with? What can you deduct? Pack up all your questions about peripatetic pen-smithery and kc will do her best to steer you in the right direction!