Writing Workshops with Kathy Page

 

Presentation at Invisible ThreadsKathy is an interested and generous teacher. She can see people’s individual strengths and she can step you around obstacles in the creative process in a very skilled way. You leave one of her courses with a lot of confidence and a sense of direction in your own work.
” Short Fiction participant

I enjoy teaching, and over the past twenty years have developed a range of workshops and courses, ranging from day or weekend workshops to ongoing university courses.  In the past few years, I’ve started to teach online as well. I’ve adapted some my existing workshops in ways that make the most of an exciting new medium that is in many ways ideally suited to the teaching of writing, and created brand new workshops as well. At the heart of all my teaching, is the writing exercise or experiment. Most of my exercises are original to my courses, or carefully adapted to them, and – as well as being exciting and enjoyeable – these exercises enable participants to come face to face with a writing challenge, and quickly discover how to meet it. I prefer to work with a small group (and, if possible, in a gorgeous setting!).

I have facilitated workshops for many arts organisations, universities, community centres and writing schools – including Banff Centre for the Arts, Continue reading “Writing Workshops with Kathy Page”

WRITING LIVES: memoir, creative nonfiction, fiction – a weekend workshop with Vicky Grut and novelist Kathy Page

Vicky Grut has been a friend and colleague of mine for almost as long as I’ve been writing. We first met when I was living at Carlton Mansions in Brixton, and later lived next door to each other. She’s a wonderful teacher and writer , and even though we live thousands of miles apart we  still occasionally  exchange work for a critique  and appreciate each other’s eagle-eyes.

Writing Lives is  fun,  practical weekend workshop for anyone seeking a fresh approach to writing from real experience – their own or other people’s. Over the course of the two days, using a mix of writing exercises, feedback and focused discussion, we will experiment with story-telling techniques, pace, theme and characterization, as well as exploring different ways of structuring material. We’ll also help you decide whether the story you want to tell would work best as fiction or non-fiction. Sunday morning will be set aside for a writing exercise inspired by a specific London location. We  reconvene in the afternoon to hear the resulting pieces of writing, give feedback and share final thoughts. The group is limited to 12 participants, and the  central London venue, near Blackfriars, is close to trains, busses and tube.

Workshop times: Saturday 15th: 10.30am – 5pm. Sunday 16th: morning for writing; 2pm – 4.30pm for the final session.

Course Fee: £150 includes a booklet of course materials, tea/coffee and a sandwich lunch on Saturday 15th. Book here.

 

 

Writing Workshops with Kathy Page in 2013

I’m looking forward  very much to workshops in Scotland, Norwich and London all taking place in June 2013.  I’m delighted to be co-tutoring with Marilyn Bowering at Moniack Mhor, and with Vicky Grut in London. 

Moniack Mhor3-8 June 2013:  Work in Progress, with Kathy Page and Marilyn Bowering, an Arvon residential course at Moniack Mhor, Scotland 

http://www.arvonfoundation.org/fiction-work-in-progress

 

writers centre norwich14th June,  2013: Workout for the Novel,  day workshop at Writers’ Centre Norwich

 

 

 

London Writng Workshop

15 + 16 JUNE 2013:  WRITING LIVES: memoir, creative nonfiction, fiction  a weekend workshop with Vicky Grut and Kathy Page

Venues and self-organized groups are very welcome to be in touch regarding  workshops and courses in 2013/2014.  I have to protect my writing time this year, and  while I will have some time for mentoring/MS consultancy, I don’t plan to offer my online or face to face  workshops unless the venue, registration etc. is already organized, leaving me with just the fun part to do… 

On the Write Track/Ticket to Write

This is an  eight session online course during which participants create a complete narrative (fiction or non-fiction)  that centres on a journey of some kind.  It was developed for a group of writers in the UK, and seems to be going very well, so  I think I’ll offer it again. Please use the enquiry form to register interest  or ask for further information.

Ticket to Write

Writing Workshop with Kathy Page on Salt Spring Island, 8th & 9th October 2011

Storylines: a Workshop with Kathy Page

How does an idea become a fully-fledged short story, novel or non-fiction narrative? We’ll experiment with new ways to find and develop story ideas, and then begin to create the story itself. This workshop is an opportunity to start fresh work,  to develop something you have had in mind for a while, or even  to sidestep a block.

The workshop will be held 8th & 9th October 2011,  from 10 – 4 each day  in the author’s home on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, and is suitable for all levels of experience.

Max class size: 12

Cost: $190 includes tea and coffee; students  bring their own lunches.

For further information about Kathy Page’s books and courses, please explore www.kathypage.info

To register, or for further information about this workshop,  email: kathypage@shaw.ca


Workout for the Novel (Online Writing Workshop)

 

http://www.freefoto.com/

For those contemplating,  or already embroiled in, a novel, Workout for the Novel offers a series of exercises to help you think through and develop your idea, as well as an invaluable forum for feedback and discussion. Each week we focus on a particular aspect of the novel you are developing:  your main characters, the best place and way to begin the story, overall structure, plotting, voice, and the structure and use of chapters. Some of the exercises generate writing that might later be used or incorporated into the novel and some are writing/think-pieces about the novel in progress which help you to see it more clearly. Students are in small groups of four to six. The course is open to beginners and more experienced writers alike, and it is equally useful for first draft or revision.  Allow at least  four hours a week – but remember,  those hours can be whenever, wherever and however you choose!

$225 for 8 weeks

Please use contact form on the menu to the left for further information. You can also use the RSS feed (above)  to keep in touch about future courses

Workout for the Novel is not running in 2013, though part of it will be offered as a face-to-face workshop at The Writers’ Centre in Norwich, 14th June.

 

Payment by cheque or by PayPal here

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Comments from participants

“An excellent course. It was informative and stretching, certainly, to help me think outside the box. I feel I got a real sense of how to construct a novel, and just wish I’d done this ten years ago!” – Sue Goldswain, Victoria, BC, 2009.

“I felt I needed to do some revising of my story but was overwhelmed at the prospect and found it impossible to view it objectively. The exercises  were very good.  They provided a ‘way in’ to my story and also helped me to reflect on the nature of a novel.  I now feel I have a framework on which to build a future novel, and expect to refer back it frequently. I loved all the feedback. The other writers while honest looked for the positive and their enthusiasm was catching. Perhaps the most useful thing was the questions.   Kathy’s comments were incisive and thought–provoking. I liked the intensity; getting weekly feedback was highly motivating.” Gillian Campbell, 2009 Workout participant. Gillian’s novel  has been accepted for publication by Brindle & Glass.

“I’ve found this course hugely beneficial. It’s helped me, through the well thought-out tasks set each week, make step by step progress with developing a broad, overall view of my novel as a whole living, malleable “thing”… I’ve asked myself lots of questions, been asked lots of questions, and been prompted by the tasks to come up with ideas and answers in a way that I wouldn’t have managed on my own. I started this course with a handful of random scenes, only a few months into writing this first draft. I now have a much more focused sense of where the novel might be heading. It’s given me an energetic “kick” start, which is just what I wanted.” – Jane Rusbridge, UK, author of The Devil’s Music, Bloomsbury, 2009.

“The course has been wonderfully helpful.  As a totally novice writer I did not have the framework to start attacking the rewrite. The exercises are very good challenging, informative.  As for the group feedback ‘If somebody calls you an ass, you can tell them to go to hell!  But if 10 people call you an ass, get a saddle!’  (I live in Texas!) It’s really true in any creative discipline.You have to know what others see in what you created.” C. Ellen Hart,Texas, 2010

“I’d rate the course as excellent for anyone serious about tackling a novel. The weekly exercises encourage the budding novelist to wrestle with many of the major, practical considerations required to get the project underway, and to try solutions that work for them and the particular story they have in mind to tell… Absolutely the best thing you did for me was to use the ‘track changes’ option to edit my chapter on the fight between the rat and the dog. I saw the difference in the power and simplicity immediately and have both versions on file for future reference when writing scenes that ‘show.'” David, 2009

Deeply, deeply engaging. It made me think about many issues that I simply did not know underlie the craft of writing a novel. It allowed me to participate in a community of like-minded peers who are living the struggle and joy that I am finding in writing. It taught me a great deal about the discipline I need to move from an initial idea to a finished work.” – Roelf Woldring, Toronto, 2009.

“The course far exceeded my expectations. With each exercise I found I moved a step forward, which, in my experience of this difficult process, is quite an accomplishment. In writing my own submissions, I was forced to face some of my weaknesses, which I do a ridiculously good job of ignoring. Reading the submissions of my group members, was instructive as well – it’s so much easier to spot the errors in the writing of others. That having been said, it also makes it easier to return to your own work and face the same issues with a renewed understanding. The site was very user friendly. In terms of your responses it worked well for you to wait until we’d all had our say. You have a real talent for cutting to the quick in a most charming and supportive manner. It’s quite astonishing how you do it.” – Renate Mohr, Ottawa, 2009.

“The course was fabulous for me. I didn’t really know how to approach writing my book, what key pieces I needed to think through. Now I am in a totally different place, and ready to sit down and start writing. I found all of the weekly exercises very useful, as well as the order in which the exercises were given. Each one oriented me to key pieces of writing my book. I really appreciated your direction each week on what kind of feedback to provide to my group members. Your input was very directed and specific, and I felt either confirmed my instincts or provided me with a very effective lens from which to view my book.” – Karen Clark, Salt Spring Island, BC, 2009.

“I loved it. I looked forward every day to new postings. Found it quite demanding but that was good. I was worried that I would never get my novel right and the course made me see that a close third viewpoint and present tense would make all the difference. I learned to trust the input of the group and to see things as a reader would.  I learned a lot by trying out different approaches, looking at plot, character and so on, in depth, revising the first chapter, killing my darlings. Suddenly realised how to end the novel in a convincing way, which was wonderful. I felt that you looked long and hard and gave advice that was thoughtful and considered and fairly easy to assimilate.” – Jackie Jacques, UK, author of Someone to Watch Over Me, Piatkus Books.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this course. I learned basic concepts, and got specific ideas for ways to improve my own work. The site worked very well, no problems. It was easy to navigate and was well organized. I enjoyed reading the general discussions, liked the diversity of opinions. The weekly sessions were all useful, and took me through the basics of novel writing, from using description to developing character to pacing the plot. The format of completing a weekly task, then posting it for the group, then giving and receiving feedback, kept me on track.The order of the sessions was particularly well thought out, starting with a general overview of our original plan (in a fun way!), and ending with a map of where we now intend to go. The most useful for me was week #4, structure because I hadn’t really considered that enough before. The most daunting was week #6, chapter, because it suddenly brought all the various elements together. I was amazed at all the thoughtful and insightful comments I received. There’s an opportunity to learn from both giving and receiving feedback. It was nice to have a small group because it takes a fair amount of time to read others’ work – although I found taking time to read critically was valuable to me as a writer.” – Anna Wozniak, Victoria, 2009.

“I really enjoyed the course. Working fulltime and writing on the subway to and from work meant that the online/anytime schedule really helped. The site does everything it needs to do in a simple easy to understand format. The best insight I received was on the pacing and detail of the exercises where you had us create scenes. I really enjoyed your approach as well as learning which authors you follow & respect and I really appreciated your comments on my chapter – extremely useful. Thanks for your invaluable feedback and advice.” – Francis Vanderhoven, Toronto, 2009

“My overall feeling about your course is that it was wonderful. I finally saw the light and that was thanks to your repeated comments that I had to concentrate on people doing and thinking things. The course worked extremely well for me and I enjoyed everything about it. The group I was in worked fine for me. Their comments on my work were thought-provoking and helped goad me on to make improvements, but your comments were my break-through. I suddenly feel I know exactly what I should be doing. I just have to get busy and do it.

Regarding structure and function of the site, it suited me just fine. I would rate it vg and I would also rate the weekly sessions and exercises vg. It seemed to me they led me on in a logical manner until I finally saw the light.” – Catharine Dixon, Ontario.

“I came to the workout with an idea and now have the first chapter and a clear path to the end.” – Michelle Glennie, Montreal, 2009.

“The course far exceeded my expectations. With each exercise I found I moved a step forward, which, in my experience of this difficult process, is quite an accomplishment. In writing my own submissions, I was forced to face some of my weaknesses, which I do a ridiculously good job of ignoring. Reading the submissions of my group members, was instructive as well – it’s so much easier to spot the errors in the writing of others. That having been said, it also makes it easier to return to your own work and face the same issues with a renewed understanding. The site was very user friendly. In terms of your responses it worked well for you to wait until we’d all had our say. You have a real talent for cutting to the quick in a most charming and supportive manner. It’s quite astonishing how you do it.” – Renate Mohr, Ottawa, 2009.

“It was absolutely fabulous!! I found it all both fascinating and extremely useful, and I’m SO glad I signed up for it. I came to love the women in my group and I hope to keep in touch with them. Our projects were certainly different, but there was a lot of overlap and connection. They were all very insightful and supportive, keen-eyed but kind; they pointed out many useful elements in my work and I also really learned from reading their comments on everyone else’s work.I am a bit of a techno-peasant but even I found my way around the site after a while. Whenever you suggested questions (to ask of ourselves or the others) I found they provided important keys into the writing. Nothing was redundant. I learned a tremendous amount from the group’s posts, both on my work and on everybody else’s. Also, analyzing their work was great for stretching my novelizing (sorry!) muscles. Although I’ve been editing books for years, they’ve mostly been non-fiction, so scrutinizing things like plot structure and point of view were somewhat new to me. You always had very useful and relevant things to say. I don’t know how you had time to do it all!:” – Marlyn Horsdal, editor, Salt Spring Island, BC. Marlyn’s novel  Sweetness from Ashes  was published by Brindle & Glass in 2010.

Resources for Writers

Books on Writing

The Art of Fiction, John Gardner:  “Whatever the genre may be, fiction does its work by creating a dream in the reader’s mind.”

Steering the Craft, Ursula  K  Le Guinn:  pithy observations, examples  and great exercises. “The sound of language is where it all begins and what it all comes back to.”

Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor:  “You ought to be able to discover something from your stories. If you don’t,  then probably no one else will.”
Thing Feigned or Imagined, Fred Stenson: “However you orchestrate your fictional text, you will confront the need  for something that makes the story move and urges the reader to move with it.” Thoughtful, direct, great examples.

The Agony and the Ego, ed. Claire Boylan:  original essays by writers such as John McGahern, Deborah Moggach and John Banville, among others.  Includes Fay Weldon  editing  herself with reproductions of the original text. A wonderful book, but  out of  print,  so snap it up if you find and second hand copy.

The Paris Review Interviews (several volumes): masters and mistresses of the craft reveal all, including a page of draft work showing editorial changes.

On Writing, Steven King:  writerly advice blended with autobiography. Very accessible.  “Let me urge that you take your story through at least two drafts; the one you do with the study door closed and the one you do with it open.”

Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft., Janet Burroway:  A course book  that includes an anthology of contemporary short fiction,  useful discussion topics and exercises. Everything you need is in here, though it is expensive, and somewhat verbose.

The Writing Life, Annie Dillard:  “The line of words fingers your own heart.  It invades arteries, and enters the heart on a flood of breath; it presses the moving rims of thick valves; it palpates the dark muscle strong as horses, feeling for something, it knows not what.”
Self -Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Brown and Dave King.  Basic, practical advice on how to make your prose more compelling.

Self -Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Brown and Dave King:  basic, practical advice on how to make your prose more compelling.

Links

The Writers’ Union of Canada

The Federation of BC Writers