I  give workshops to groups of children or adults. Contact me to arrange fee, travel details (if applicable), time, location, etc.  If you don’t see the workshop you want, I  will be happy to create it for you.

Workshop: How to Design your Dragon (or Other Non-Human Character)

Origami Fly made by my nephew BR from ONE SHEET OF PAPER!

Ages: Grades 4 and up

Time: 1-3 hours

Group size:  1 classroom.

This workshop can be  either:

  • a presentation that ends with suggested writing activities for the students to do later (1 hour), OR
  • a hands-on workshop where students design a character and do a series of drawing and writing activities using it. (3 hours)

In both cases, I walk the students through designing a non-human character, either a fantasy character like a dragon or space alien, or an animal like a horse or a centipede. We talk about how the non-human character is built physically, and how that impacts its interaction with the world. We also think about how such a character would communicate with a human, and vice versa.

I provide a list of activities the students can do ahead of time to get them thinking of ideas, and suggestions of how they can develop their characters further.

Workshop: Hey! You’re That Guy Who…

Elf with glowing eyes
Elf with glowing eyes

Are your story characters as flat as the screen you’re writing on? Can’t tell them apart from the avatars on your phone? Or from each other? This workshop will teach you how to create characters so real that they’ll leap off the page. Then, use their greatest fears and desires to put them into situations that will keep you writing to find out what happens next.

Ages: Teen to Adult

Time: 3 hours

Group Size: up to 20

Workshop: Whirlwind Editing Tour -Editing Your Own Writing

“It doesn’t matter if you write horribly, as long as you edit beautifully.”

A very polished origami phoenix, again by BR
A very polished origami phoenix, again by BR

I heard this line (or one similar) from writer Anita Daher at a CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons conference. It has enabled me to put words onto a page (or a screen) even when they don’t match the marvelous ones I imagine I will write. Once they are down and the ideas are all there, it is time to revise. And revise. And revise again.

This workshop is a whirlwind tour of the best advice I have received from books, workshops, and other writers on how to polish your words so they shine. I cover general editing tips, macro (big picture) and micro (detail) editing, with examples of every point and a comprehensive handout.

Ages: Teen to Adult (but could be simplified for middle-grade children)

Time: Presentation is 1 hour. Presentation plus editing time with feedback and suggestions will take longer, depending on how many people are in the session.

Workshop: Introduction to Using WordPress to Create your own Website

Ages: teens and adults

Group Size: maximum 12

Time: 6 hours instruction with a break for lunch

In this hands-on workshop, I show people how to use free WordPress software to create their own websites. Participants need to bring:

  1. an idea of what they want to put on their website
  2. a laptop
  3. an email account they know how to access
  4. digital images they want to put on their website. These must be accessible from their laptop.

The facility must have:

  • enough space for everyone to set up their laptops
  • a reliable internet connection that is strong enough and fast enough for everyone to be using it throughout the workshop
  • a data projector and screen so I can project what I’m doing on my laptop for everyone to see.

I’ve done this one at libraries, community centres, and hotels.