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Workshop/Presentation Descriptions

AM Workshops

1. Best Evidence: Digging Up the Facts (Susanna Kearsley)
Whether your writing is fiction or non-fiction, set in the present day or in the past, you will need to do research. Learn why a New York Times bestselling Canadian author rarely trusts a history book, and how an ancient rule of common law can help you go straight to the source for the details that help bring your writing to life.

2. Talk to Me: Dialogue & Voice (Annette McLeod)
As author it’s your job to put words into your character’s mouths. By using as examples some of the best dialogue ever committed to paper and by writing some of our own on the spot, this interactive workshop will help master the craft of writing great dialogue and developing a captivating voice.

3. Revision: A Sculptor’s Approach (Andrew Borkowski)
This workshop will introduce an approach to crafting fiction through successive drafts. Yes, the daunting draft! The approach, developed over thirty years, by a writer and editor of fiction and non-fiction treats revision as a crucial component of the creative process (“writing is rewriting”) and allows for interplay between a “rational,” prescriptive approach to storymaking (plotting, researching, notemaking, outlining prior to first draft) and the more “compositional,” intuitive process during the writing itself.

4. ADVANCED The Art of Pacing: Keep Your Readers Reading! (Gwynn Scheltema)
Who wants a book with a saggy middle or one that's drowning in description and "info dumps"? And who wants to create a story so fast-paced that your readers get left behind? Pacing is the art of varying both high-tension and low-tension scenes, of knowing when to excite your reader and when to let your reader slow down and catch a breath. Learn to understand the hows and whys of the art of pacing in this info-packed session with practical tips and new approaches to keeping your manuscript readable and engaging from start to finish.


Plenary Session: Storytelling 360°: Storytelling in a Digital Age
Cynthia Good and Mark Lefebvre
Publishers have already begun to embrace the notion of multiple platforms by casting off those expectations we’ve grown up with – that a story is… text on a page, actors on the stage, special effects on the screen or a narrator reading. In our digital and connected world it’s now a natural step to dictate how we want our stories delivered – whether we want to read, listen, watch or ‘do’.

This is an era of abundance. Choices for readers, for publishers – and for writers. The traditional physical book still retains its primacy, but electronic publishing offers opportunities that we had never dreamed possible.


Luncheon Speaker
Douglas Gibson



PM Workshops

1. Pitchwich (Hilary McMahon)
Welcome to the Land of the Pitch. Having written a masterpiece, the real work begins. Actually finding an agent or publisher then persuading them to read work can be one of the most challenging parts of the process. Learn the unique language from an expert. Find out about all the customs, culture and faux-pas that frequently trip people up on their journey to successful publishing.

2. Writing for your Life (Isobel Warren)
Kick-start memoir/autobiography writing with practical guidance, tips, leads, research sources, inspiration from published writers and the unbeatable feedback of fellow participants. Also explore where to begin and how to proceed through research techniques, language, dialogue, writer's block, organization and dealing with family.

3. Familiarity Breeds Success (Ian Hamilton)
What happens when a group of characters who showed up in your head and on your page insist on continuing life beyond the covers of your first book – through a second, third or fourth? Continuity and ‘surprise’ exert opposing forces once you begin a series, all bound by a newer, much larger story arc that must be considered.

4. ADVANCED How Absurdity, Magical Realism and Steampunk Can Change Your (writing) Life! (Adrienne Kress)
The absurd can free a writer's imagination, allow it to venture to exotic places and confront themes that the bounds of reality might otherwise prevent. But it's not always easy to make a reader accept the absurd, the weird, the ever so slightly down the street and to the left. How we do we let the imagination take over? How does one write the impossible and make it probable? And how do we make it appear effortless and fun?


Lecture Series

1. Books with Buzz! (Robert J. Sawyer)
A famous publisher, when asked what the first thing she looked for in a book proposal , answered: a way to get the author on TV. Canada's leading science-fiction writer -- has been interviewed on TV over 300 times, on radio over 300 times, and countless times in print, and has a huge online presence. Join him for a discussion of how to make a book (fiction or nonfiction) newsworthy, from the first conception of the idea until long after it’s been published.

2. Let the World be your Words (Susan Lynn Reynolds)
How do you begin a poem? A story? A novel? Where do writers get their ideas? How do you get past the dreaded Writers’ Block? This session will be full of Quick Writes. Come with your writing hand limbered up…it will be given a workout in this highly interactive time. You will leave with several pieces already started and percolating, to take home from the conference and develop in the days and weeks to come.

3. Thriving in a Changing Market (Adrienne Kerr)
The international publishing industry is experiencing a maelstrom of change. No one – not authors, agents, editors, publishers or booksellers – can afford to be impervious to these changes. But in the midst of this uncertainty, one thing remains constant. Agents, editors, publishers, booksellers and READERS all want one simple thing. A good book. Focus on that (and a few other small but crucial details) and you’ll find a wide and appreciative readership.


Closing Speaker
Paula Todd



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