Workshops

I am pleased to offer a variety of workshops on writing, editing, publishing and related topics. Below are listed a variety of workshops I have already presented. I am also happy to design workshops on other related topics–check this blog for ideas. (I have also taught a variety of related lessons at the elementary and secondary level as an English teacher). Note that workshops can easily be adjusted for your group’s time, purpose, age, and other requirements.

Meet the Editor: This workshop was presented to a group of students who had submitted poetry and stories for an anthology, and gave them an understanding of the editing process for the anthology. It can of course be adjusted for your group’s requirements.

  • Self-introduction: editor, writer, tutor.
  • Do you need an editor?
  • What does an editor do?
  • Why do you need to follow the rules?
  • Handout/workshop: common errors
  • Using grammar & spelling software
  • Key things to consider in editing your own work
  • Common writing flaws to watch out for
  • Should you post your story or poems online?
  • Discussion

Youth Writer’s Camp Editing Workshops: The following workshop was presented 5 times at the BC Youth Writer’s Camp. Each session was about 3 hours in length, and while each overall lesson followed the same format, the workshop’s fun, hands-on activities and the depth of the information was varied according to the ages of each group (ages 8-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-18).

The overall workshop session plan:

  • Editing: – punctuation – spelling – grammar and usage – formatting – breaking the rules – why learn to edit? – handwrite or keyboard?
  • Editing marks: – spelling – paragraphing – wording – spacing – punctuation – capitalization – formatting – revision and just for fun
  • Revision: Check story sequence – check story structure – OH FUDGE! – Break it Down (ideas, organization, voice, sentence fluency, paragraph structure) – SWEATS – Highlighting – STAR – beginning, middle, end – All kinds of things to watch for
  • Revise or Edit? : Poetry – Questions to ask – Tips to improve your writing – ARMs or CUPs? – CATCH
  • Editing Humour and Quotes
  • Editing and Editors: – types of editing – Why you need an editor – Tips on finding an editor – tips on working with your editor
  • Self-editing tips and tasks: and when you need an editor – things to particularly look for in non-fiction self-editing – things to particularly look for in fiction self-editing

Platform and Brand:

Handout: 101 Ways (or More) to Market: An A to Z Introduction
Presentation:

  • Platform and brand: What are they and why are they necessary?
  • Knowing yourself: Who am I?
  • Knowing your target audience
  • Putting yourself and your audience together
  • Creating your niche
  • Platform avenues (handout)
  • Choosing what platform avenues will work best for you (the 4 P’s of marketing)

Christian Authors and The Business of Writing:

Handout: The Christian Writers’ Calling, Marketplace and Publishing Opportunities: A Resource List
Presentation:

  • Part I: Your “calling” as a Christian writer: Why do Christians write? – Why do many people dislike “Christian writing”? – What are some examples of good Christian writing and what does Christian writing uniquely offer? – What is “real Christian writing?” – How do you know God is calling you to write? – What might God be calling you to write? – What does “calling” mean in terms of your life in Christ? – How can you build your writing skills? – Put yourself in your writing – Write for Christ: it’s His calling – Create a body of work that builds truth – Don’t alienate readers – Things to avoid as a Christian writer – Writing is only part of your Christian life – Be a remarkable writer as you follow Christ’s calling
  • Part 2: Christian values and goals in writing, publishing, promotion and marketing: Financial prosperity and fame? – Other temptations – Commit to walking close to God
  • Part 3: Creating your business plan–Questions to explore: Why do I want to make writing my business? – What will be the focus of my writing business? – What will make me as a writer, and my written products, unique? – How can I improve my writing skills? – Will my writing be a hobby or part-time or full-time business? – Types of writing – What will be my business structure? – Revenue? – Working with agents, publishers, editors, etc., and legal aspects – Marketing and promotion – Marketplace issues – Identifying a marketing strategy for your writing business

Online Writing Workshop:

Handout: 101 Ways (or more) to Market: An A to Z Introduction
Presentation:

  • Introduction to the writer’s online world: changes in audiences and reading habits, authors, publishing
  • Building your brand and platform: Building your brand and platform – What is your brand? – Know yourself – Build your tribe/audience – Know your target audience and be valuable to them – Creating your niche – Your name is your brand
    What is your platform: Tips for building your platform – What platform is not
    Promotion: Getting exposure online
  • Author websites and blogging: Blog, website or both? – Specific tips for your author site – Search engine optimisation (SEO) – Fears and objections and other but-but-buts
  • Social media platforms: Some popular social media sites – Some other popular networking tools for your author platform – How not to use social media
    E-Newsletter and email lists
  • Online writing communities: includes annotated list of links
  • Marketing: using the internet to find markets – Think beyond your book – Freelancing and other online writing opportunities – Choosing what marketing avenues will work best for you

Self-Editing Tips and Working With an Editor:

  • What is self-editing?
  • Methods and tips for Self-Editing: Levels of self-editing – What is the difference between editing and revising? – Self-editing tips and tricks
  • Getting Feedback: Critique groups – Beta readers (and questions to ask them; considering the responses)
  • Self-editing Checklist (detailed handout)
  • It’s time to hire an editor: – When and why do you need help from a professional editor? – How to prepare a document to send to an editor
  • Levels of editing
  • How to find an editor who will meet your needs
  • What should you expect to pay for editing?
  • How can you afford an editor and other costs of writing a book?
  • What to expect from an editor
  • Working with publishing house editors
  • Specific tips for self-editing poetry; formatting your poems for submission; ordering your poems for publication in a book
  • Non-Fiction editing tips; what to do if you want to submit your non-fiction work to a publisher
  • What about ghostwriting?

Planning for a Successful Book Launch Event:

  • Where and when?
  • Getting people to attend
  • Setting up the venue
  • Presentation tips
  • Question and answer period
  • At the book signing table
  • After the signing
  • Follow-up

Why a Blog and/or Website and Social Media are Important to Authors:

  • Share your brand
  • Changes in publishing
  • Community focus
  • Networking
  • Improve and highlight your writing
  • Why Facebook and other social media?
  • Market your book long before it’s published
  • Changes in bookselling
  • Reach younger audiences
  • Blog or website or both?
  • Aspects of author sites: – You as an author – Your book(s) and other writing – Your readers
  • Marketing your books and other writing
  • Blog post types and topics
  • Tips for your author site
  • Fears, objections, etc.
  • Other problems? Yes, you can overcome them
  • Social media networking sites and tools (resource list and annotations) – Popular social networking sites – popular social networking tools

Writing for Greeting Card Companies:

  • What kind of writing do greeting card companies look for?
  • What are some hints on how to successfully write for greeting cards?
  • Is there anything I should avoid?
  • How much will I get paid?

Self-Editing Tips and Tricks:

  • What is Self-Editing?
  • Methods and tips for self-editing: – revising, editing, proofreading – first draft, second draft, beta readers, third draft, editor, submit or self-publish
  • Tips and tricks: style guides, checklist, automated online resources, etc. – critiquing from writers’ groups and beta readers – using editing aids in Word and other software – tips – tricks
  • Getting feedback: Critique groups – beta readers
  • Self-editing checklist (handout)
  • When and why do you need help from a professional editor?
  • Levels of editing

Exploring Creative Writing Through Blogging:

  • The joys of creative writing: – why write?
  • Setting up a blog
  • Examining a sample blog
  • How to get started
  • Local sources of writing and blogging help
  • Online help for getting started with your blog

STEPS: Creative Writing for Youth Workshops:
These entertaining and creative workshops for youth writers ages 12 to 18 include at several self-contained units, but can be rearranged or new units added according to audience interests and requirements. Each unit is designed for a 3 hour session, but that can also be adjusted.
The acronym “STEPS” stands for the type of activities offered during each workshop:

  • Stretches: 15 to 20 minute inspirational creative writing activities to awaken the writing muse
  • Tools & Techniques: 40 minute training/learning sessions introducing new writing skills
  • Exploration & Experimentation: 40 minute sessions in which young writers use the skills they’ve just learned about to produce creative writing
  • Project: 60 minute session allows students to put into more practice the learning they’ve done previously during the session. They can continue with their Exploration & Experimentation project; choose another project which uses the introduced skills; or bring along a personal project they’ve been working on and apply their new skills to improve it.
  • Support: If desired, an extra hour or two can be added to the session (after a lunch break) for personal mentoring and support.

a. Flash Fiction:

  • Stretches: Stream of consciousness writing – I remember writing – point of view writing (eg from a pair of shoes) – choice of prompts – retell a fairy tale
  • Tools & Techniques: History and explanation of Flash Fiction (side variety of stories of between 6 to 1000 words)
  • Exploration & Experimentation: Various choices such as 55 word story using a plot diagram template; a flash fiction piece based on a black and white photo; a piece about a single moment; and other choices.
  • Project: Create and develop your own Flash Fiction project(s), or use one or more of the ideas previously given.

b. Humour and Poetry:

  • Stretches: 5 choices of warm-ups involving humour and/or poetry
  • Tools & Techniques Part I: Humorous poem forms, followed by Exploration & Experimentation
  • Tools & Techniques Part 2: Poetic elements, followed by Exploration & Experimentation
  • Projects: Several choices, some of which include PowerPoints to watch for deeper learning. Examples: poetic forms, humorous prose pieces, humor newspaper columns, writing a comedy routine, etc.

c. Art and Writing:

  • Stretches: Choices such as cliched expressions, creating similes and metaphors, sketching emotions, inventing a jingle for a snack food–all stretches include a combination of writing and sketching.
  • Tools & Techniques: Examination of graphic novels (and a PowerPoint); Snapshots; Language and Art
  • Exploration & Experimentation: youth are provided with a wide variety of books, worksheets, photos, magazines, and other items that combine art and writing, and use them to develop their own project ideas.
  • Projects: Students develop their project ideas related to “creative writing with art.” Alternatively, they can choose from a dozen or so suggested projects.

d. Mapping and Creating Worlds:

  • Stretches: Prompts focusing on imaginary worlds, dream worlds, etc. Group games and improv activities to awaken imagination.
  • Tools & Techniques: Examination of well-known maps of imaginary worlds and world-mapping how-tos; Discussion of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Utopian, Dystopian, and Super-Hero worlds. Sample plot development structures for writing fiction; discussion of the Hero’s Journey.
  • Exploration & Experimentation: Your Special Island mapping exercise; outline a speculative fiction story from your imagination.
  • Projects: Plan a story for a speculative fiction sub-genre of your choice. Map and name the world; sketch and describe the protagonist and antagonist; describe basic aspects of your world (politics, history, technology, magic, values, architecture, culture, economy, geography, etc.). Create an outline of the story, using a plot development structure of your choice.

e. Characterization

  • Stretches: Choice of prompts, all featuring strong character development–then, at the end of the workshop, rewrite your sketch, using what you’ve learned
  • Tools & Techniques: Direct and indirect characterization; show vs tell; STEAL (Speech, Thoughts, Effects on Others, Action, Looks); Character types (flat, static, round, dynamic, major or minor; characterization adjectives (2 approaches); protagonist and antagonist; points of view (1st, 2nd, 3rd, omniscient, objective); what readers want from characters; characters and conflict; character motivations
  • Exploration & Experimentation: Chart practising direct and indirect characterization/STEAL; determining character types of well-known book and film characters; using characterization adjectives to describe given characters; answering a list of questions about a character you’ve written about (or a favourite character from a book you’ve read); rewrite a nursery rhyme from the point of view of one of the characters; chart exercise on character motivations
  • Projects: choice of 5: Dinner party characters exercise; Magazine character possessions exercise; Create-A-Character exercise; Monologue creation and performance; Character portrait (description and drawing).

d. Possible upcoming STEPS workshop topics:

  • Dialogue
  • Superheroes, zombies, vampires and other fantastical characters
  • Suggestions??

Please note that I also offer workshops on a broad range of topics related to education, tutoring, life-long learning, and homeschooling. Check out the list at my penandpapermama.com site.