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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Fall 2014 Classes at FVWS

While we are actively getting ready for Euro2014, our ten day writers' retreat about the Norwegian Jade (November 12- 22, 2014), the school is offering select classes from our director, David Blinkhorn. Take a peek. See if any of the offerings interest your current creative pursuits.


Fiction Workshop

In this six week course, writers will examine issues surrounding character and plot development, setting, and conflict and tension in their writing. This is a workshop course relying heavily on discussion, in-class writing exercises and critiquing. Students will be expected to workshop their short stories or scenes from novels in progress. Each student will receive a one hour one on one meeting with the instructor to discuss issues particular to their work as part of this workshop experience.

Maximum enrollment: 8

Cost: $125

Time: 6:30 - 9:00 pm Tuesdays September 23, 30, October 7, 14, 21, 28, 2014
Place: New Westminster, BC

Instructor: David Blinkhorn



The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Two Part Workshop on Character Development


A villain and hero are opposite sides of the same coin. Within their own mind, each acts for the greater good, theirs or others. Their respective roles in your story is all a matter of perception. Over the course of two sessions, this workshop examines techniques such as backstory and motivation that help create fully-rounded, deep antagonists and protagonists, ways of developing inner and outer conflict, establishing personal stakes for each and increasing the cost of failure, making the ordinary character extraordinary and, finally, humanizing the true monsters of your story.

Writers will need to bring a character sketch for their protagonist and antagonist as well as a chapter or excerpt with each in action.

Dates and Times: October 4 and 18, 2014 10:00 am to 2:30 pm (30 minutes for lunch)
Place: New Westminster, BC
 
Cost: $90
Instructor: David Blinkhorn

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Senses and Creativity

Journey through the five senses as you search to open doors to free your imagination and find your greater creativity within. This five week workshop will examine the various ways to use the five senses to unlock new attitudes and fresh opportunities for your work. Learn to silence your inner critic and acquire ways to open your eyes to the possibilities and options for your artistry. While this is a writing workshop, there will be some activities based on other artisitic media as well. This course is suitable for all writers including poets.

Maximum enrollment: 8

Cost: $105 (includes ths cost of supplies)

Time: 6:30 - 9:00 pm Tuesdays April 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, 2014
Place: TBA ( in the Surrey/North Delta region)

Instructor: David Blinkhorn

Fiction Workshop

In this six week course, writers will examine issues surrounding character and plot development, setting, and conflict and tension in their writing. This is a workshop course relying heavily on discussion, in-class writing exercises and critiquing. Students will be expected to workshop their short stories or scenes from novels in progress. Each student will receive a one hour one on one meeting with the instructor to discuss issues particular to their work as part of this workshop experience.

Maximum enrollment: 8

Cost: $120

Time: 6:30 - 9:00 pm Wednesdays  April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and May 7, 2014
Place: TBA (in the Surrey/North Delta region)

Instructor: David Blinkhorn

Monday, 26 August 2013

Some Writing Tips from the Late, Great Elmore Leonard

Found these little gems in a Writer's Digest email and thought they should be shared:

“… The writer has to have patience, the perseverance to just sit there alone and grind It out. And if it’s not worth doing that, then he doesn’t want to write. …” (1982)
“A writer has to read. Read all the time. Decide who you like then study that author’s style. Take the author’s book or story and break it down to see how he put it together.” (1982)
“The main thing I set out to do is tell the point of view of the antagonist as much as the good guy. And that’s the big difference between the way I write and the way most mysteries are written.” (1982)
“It is the most satisfying thing I can think of, to write a scene and have it come out the way I want. Or be surprised and have it come out even better than I thought.” (1997)
“Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.” (my favorite) (1997)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

An Exciting Line-up of our Fall 2013 Classes


Fall 2013 Courses
The Fraser Valley Writers' School is excited to offer the following courses for the Fall of 2013. Register for a course by contacting David Blinkhorn at fvwschool@gmail.com

A.     Introductory Classes:

The Creative Process:      

Have you ever wanted to unlock your creativity? Uncover ways to unleash your imagination or find your path to your own great storytelling? This eight week course looks at techniques and tools to help you find your storytelling passion and silence the forces in your life that stop you from writing your novel, short story, poetry, magazine article, or play while providing an introduction to plot, characterization, setting, and dialogue.

Cost:$170

Instructor: David Blinkhorn

Time and dates: 8 Thursdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm, September 19 – November 14, 2013 (no class on October 31, 2013) 


Introduction to Creative Writing:
It’s time to start writing: your life story, the novel you’ve dreamed about, the poetry and songs that are in your heart, the article you want to write, or perhaps a stage play.  No more excuses. Learn the techniques to conquer your inner critic. Now is the time.

The subjects covered will include: ways to unleash your creativity, character, plot, poetry, article writing, novels, short stories, marketing, and the rules of writing. Student work will occupy one half of class time. 

Cost: Contact Ed Griffin at ed@edgriffin.net to discuss cost and to arrange your fee. Course manual required and available from the instructor for $18.00.

Instructor: Ed Griffin
Time and date: 6 Mondays 10:00 am – Noon, September 16 – October 28 (no class on October 14)
Place: The Phoenix Building, 13686 94A Avenue, Surrey, BC

Limit: 15 students

B.     The Writing Craft:

Fiction Workshop

This workshop is a combination of lecture, discussion, and exercises for the first hour followed by work-shopping of your writing with your peers and instructor over the final one and one half hours. Topics for lecture and discussion are theme and premise, scene transition, suspense, tension and conflict, imagery, and foreshadowing. Students are expected to submit work and critique other students’ writing each week. Included in this workshop is a 60 minute one on one with the instructor to discuss issues of concern in your writing.

Instructor: David Blinkhorn

Cost: $235.00
Dates: Wednesdays, September 25, 2013 – November 13, 2013 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
Place: Mel Edwards Center, Centennial Park, White Rock, BC

Plotting Workshop         Dates to be rescheduled for October or November, 2013

Plot is one of the cornerstones of great fiction. This two day workshop covers the following topics through lecture, discussion,, and in-class exercises: plotting techniques and story generation, tools for keeping your reader spellbound with your story, scene creation, prologues, epilogues, cliff-hangers, scene thrusters, epiphanies and revelations. Each day includes lunch.

Instructor: David Blinkhorn

Cost: $125.00
Dates: Sundays, September 15 and 22, 2013 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Place: Mel Edwards Center, Centennial Park, White Rock, BC

The Art of Memoir Through Poetry and Creative Non-fiction:

Memoir, from the French memoire meaning memory or reminiscence, is a genre narrowed in focus from the autobiography. It is a story told from life. According to Gore Vidal, a memoir is how one remembers their own life. Join us for an intimate class as we look at the art of memoir through poetry and creative non-fiction. This six week class will be split equally between the two methods of story-telling and taught by two instructors specializing in each form. The class consists of lecture, discussion, exercises and critiquing weekly writing projects. Students will be expected to submit work each week for comment and evaluation.


Cost: $135

Instructors: Prose portion: Lois Peterson   Poetry: Ben Nuttall-Smith
Dates and times: 6 Wednesdays, 7:00 – 9:00 pm September 25 - October 30, 2013
Place: Mel Edwards Center, Centennial Park, White Rock, BC



Creative Writing Seminar:

Take your writing to the next level in this unique course where students workshop their works in progress with each other and the instructor. Each week, there will be instruction and discussion about some aspect of the writing craft.


Cost: Contact Ed Griffin at ed@edgriffin.net to discuss cost and to arrange your fee.

Instructor: Ed Griffin
Dates and times: 6 Mondays 10:00 am – Noon, November 4 – December 16, 2013 (no class on November 11, 2013)
Place: The Phoenix Building, 13686 94A Avenue, Surrey, BC

Limit: 15 students


Exploring Ekphrastic Poetry
Ekphrastic Poetry is the technical term for poems that have been inspired by other art forms. This six-week session will see writers creating work from various inspirations and workshopping these new poems in a supportive atmosphere. While the first weeks will focus on writings inspired by a range of arts, including music, the last half of the course will see writers working from paintings on exhibit at Semiahmoo Arts. Final sessions will shift to preparing for a celebratory reading in the midst of a gallery full of the art that has inspired the evening’s poems.

Cost: $145.00
Instructor: Heidi Greco
Dates: Mondays, September 30 – November 4, 2013 with the exception of Tuesday October 16 in lieu of Thanksgiving class on October 14, 2013), 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Place: Mel Edwards Center, Centennial Park, White Rock, BC

Character:      Dates to be rescheduled for October, 2013 

Character is one of the cornerstones of great writing. Characters reveal themselves in the way they act, speak, think and look. In this twelve hour course learn how to bring your characters alive, create believable and interesting actors for your story through the uses of senses and emotions. Topics will include credibility, purpose, complexity, methods of character presentation, and development of secondary and minor characters. This course consists of lecture, discussion, writing and critiquing.

Cost: $110

Instructor: David Blinkhorn
Dates and Times:  Four Mondays, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm September 16 – October 7, 2013
Place: Mel Edwards Center, Centennial Park, White Rock, BC


C.     Publishing Courses 


E-Book Publishing:

 Join us for a one day seminar that delves into the world of e-publishing. Learn from an expert, the do’s and don’ts of getting your work on-line and accessible to your market. This course consists of lecture, discussion, and exercises to help you e-publish your work


Cost: $65

Instructor: George Opacic
Date: October 6, 2013, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Place: Mel Edwards Center, Centennial Park, White Rock, BC

Freelance Magazine and Article Writing

Do you want to earn money as a freelance writer?

In just six weeks, full-time freelance writer and editor Leslie Dyson will take you through all the steps you need to become a paid writer. By the end of this class, you will have a submission-ready article. 

Course Description: 

Getting your magazine or newspaper article published can be the first step in being able to make a living as a writer. Getting your work out there is not as difficult as you think. All you need is a few basic skills and to know a few tricks of the trade.

This fast-paced class, will cover:

Effective interviewing skills—how to get thoughtful, insightful information from people and still make your deadline!

Finding credible sources—the research skills necessary to find trusted information.

Putting the “creative” in your non-fiction—techniques to turn your article into an engaging story.

What editors want and expect and what drives editors crazy—what makes them want to work with you.

Where to publish—there are many places looking for good copy. Find your niche.

This course will be a combination of lecture, exercises, and workshop. By the end of this class, the students will submit an article for publication to a magazine or newspaper of their choosing.

Cost: $135.00

Instructor: Leslie Dyson
Dates and Times: Saturdays, 10 a.m. – noon, October 5 to Nov. 16, 2013 (no class on October 12)
Place: Mel Edwards Centre, Centennial Park, 14600 North Bluff Road, White Rock, BC

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D.    Social Media

No classes until the Spring program

E.     Manuscript, Novels, and Short Stories

Manuscript Workshop:

Work with one of the school’s instructors one on one with your manuscript. This class includes one 30 minute introductory meeting where you’ll discuss your work with your instructor and four 60 minute sessions where you will discuss one on one your pages that you’ve submitted for review. The student will be required to submit her work (maximum of twenty-five pages, typed, 1.5 spaced) one week prior to the date arranged for the session between the instructor and student. All sessions must be completed by December 15, 2013.


Cost: $250

Dates and times to be arranged by the student and instructor

F.      Performance and Readings

The Dynamic Presentor: Engaging a *Listening* Audience with Your Written Words:

This voice and performance skills workshop for writers and poets is divided into two parts. You will be taught techniques and enjoyable exercises that will allow you to relax, develop your voice and increase your power of projection making you a more dynamic speaker.

The second part of this two week workshop will focus on how to read your written words in an engaging way to transform your poetry/book reading into an event to be remembered. The workshop will present many different strategies and practical advice on: selecting the best poems/stories to read out loud, breaking through nerves/anxiety and knowing/targeting your audience. There will be an opportunity for everyone to practice, and share their readings with the group.


Cost: $ 60

Instructor: Ben Nuttall-Smith

Date: Saturdays, September 28 and October 5, 2013,  1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

To register for a course, email us at fvwschool@gmail.com

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Some New Fall Courses

Over the next few weeks, the site will be unveiling some new and some old courses for the Fall Term. We are excited to tell you about two new courses being brought to you by instructor, David Blinkhorn. The course descriptions are:


Fiction Workshop

This workshop is a combination of lecture, discussion, and exercises for the first hour followed by work-shopping of your writing with your peers and instructor over the final one and one half hours. Topics for lecture and discussion are theme and premise, scene transition, suspense, tension and conflict, imagery, and foreshadowing. Students are expected to submit work and critique other students’ writing each week. Included in this workshop is a 60 minute one on one with the instructor to discuss issues of concern in your writing.

Instructor: David Blinkhorn

Cost: $235.00
Dates: Wednesdays, September 18, 2013 – November 6, 2013 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
Place: Mel Edwards Center, Centennial Park, White Rock, BC
 

Plotting Workshop

Plot is one of the cornerstones of great fiction. This two day workshop covers the following topics through lecture, discussion, and in-class exercises: plotting techniques and story generation, tools for keeping your reader spellbound with your story, scene creation, prologues, epilogues, cliff-hangers, scene thrusters, epiphanies and revelations. Each day includes lunch.

Instructor: David Blinkhorn

Cost: $125.00
Dates: Sundays, September 15 and 22, 2013 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Place: Mel Edwards Center, Centennial Park, White Rock, BC


Come back to the site win the coming days to see course descriptions for a new poetry class from Heidi Greco, an article writing class from Leslie Dyson, a memoir class, and two other offerings from David Blinkhorn, recently elected the 1st Vice-president of the Federation of BC Writers.

Monday, 31 December 2012

A Year in Review

Well, the first full year of FVWS draws to a close tonight with the end of 2012.

It was a memorable writing year with classes offered in Social Media, E-books, the Craft of Writing, Zine Creation and Writing, Poetry, Article Writing, and Techniques in the Art of Giving an Effective Reading. Lots of learning and gaining of confidence in our voices as writers. My personal favorite was the Chapbook Creation class taught by Heidi Greco in the Fall which was followed up with the successful reading and launch of the chapbooks in late November at the North Delta Writers' Reading Series at the George Mackie Library in North Delta.

The school presented a one day conference to critical acclaim in April and ran its first Annual Literary Competition with the successful entry coming from Krista Wallace of Port Coquitlam, BC.

Our instructors received their share of accolades as well. Ed Griffin was named Surrey Mentor of the Year and a Surrey Treasure in 2012. Heidi Greco was appointed to serve as Surrey's unofficial 'resident poet' and was commissioned by the City of Surrey to write a poem about Surrey and present the work to Council as part of National Poetry Month in April 2012. David Blinkhorn was the Semiahmoo Arts Literary Competition winner with his poem Vision/Re-Vision. Also, David was elected Fraser Valley Representative for the BC Federation of Writers in December, 2012.

The school thanks its instructors from 2012 and looks forward to working with you again. So thanks Ed, David, Caszie, Heidi, Ben, Leslie, and Andrea.

But the greatest accomplishment that the school can look to with pride is the number of students that trusted us with their writing education. We look forward to working with you on your writing projects and goals in 2013. Check out our blog over the next few days to see the excting changes that are coming to FVWS in the new year.

Happy New Year and may your find good things for yourself throughout the year,

David Blinkhorn