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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Winter 2016 Courses

Fraser Valley Writer's School is pleased to offer the following courses for January to March, 2016:

Scene Creation

To be an effective fiction or creative non-fiction writer today, you need to write effective scenes. The vehicle for a writer to advance their plot and reveal character, the scene is cinematic writing and is defined by its continuous action regardless of that action's size, shape or intensity. Without the "Walk" of the scene, the reader is left with the "Talk" and the writer risks losing their reader.

During this sixteen hour course, you'll examine:

1. story and scene structure;
2. techniques for bringing conflict and tension into the scene;
3. the purposes of a scene;
4. methods for beginning and ending a scene;
5. transitions between scenes; and
6. various writing tools that help advance your scene including but not limited to setting, dialogue, and character development

This course is a unique way of advancing your writing education as it focuses on story-telling from day one. Students can expect to learn many techniques in a fluid fashion that are normally compartmentalized in most introductory courses. The course is presented as a series of talks, discussions, exercises and critiqued writing assignments.

The cost is $150 and the exact dates and location (either Surrey or New Westminster) will be structured to meet the class's needs and busy lives.

The instructor is David Blinkhorn, FVWS's director.


The Writer’s Toolbox:

Every writer needs the tools to make that story sparkle, to make the reader come back again and again. This eight-week course takes an in-depth look at the issues of conflict, pacing, plot, dialogue and setting through the use of lecture, writing exercises, critiquing and discussion.

Cost: $165
Dates: The exact dates and location (either Surrey or New Westminster) will be structured to meet the class's needs and busy lives.
Instructor: David Blinkhorn


The Writer’s Toolbox:
Part Two: I Need a Bigger Toolbox

Every writer always needs more tools for a bigger toolbox. Join your fellow writers for the most adventurous offering to date by the school. This ten week course examines ways to create subtlety, suspense, and tension in your work. Take an in-depth look at characterization issues like credibility, purpose, complexity and presentation methods. Learn to work effectively with back story, flashbacks, revelations and subtext.

As part of this course, each student will receive an hour long one on one meeting with the instructor to discuss issues specific to that student’s writing. Students will be expected to work on a writing project for the duration of the course with an eye to polishing for submission. Please note that this course will be scheduled with a few two week breaks between classes for writing and one on one meetings.

At the conclusion of the course, an evening of readings will be arranged for you and your guests to celebrate your work.

You don't need the first Writer's Toolbox course to take this course.

Cost: $250
Dates: The exact dates and location (either New Westminster or Surrey) will be structured to meet the class's needs and busy lives.
Instructor: David Blinkhorn


If you are interested in Scene Creation, The Writer's Toolbox and The Writer's Toolbox Part II, email fvwschool@gmail.com with your interest and you'll be contacted to examine your convenient dates. For any of these three classes to proceed, a minimum of five registrants will be required


Plotting Workshop


Learn techniques for effective idea generation, plot and scene creation through a series of individual and group exercises. As well, participants will examine story structure, generation of conflict and tension, and techniques in collaborative plotting. This is a highly interactive workshop. Each participant will be asked to bring a germ of an idea for development during this two day workshop. There will be orphan ideas available for those that don’t generate that germ in the days leading up to the workshop. The use of myth and everyday life will be examined as sources that will help the writer find new ideas for fresh work.

This workshop is appropriate for writers of all levels and enrollment is capped at twelve participants.

Dates: February 6 and 20, 2016
Times: 10:00 am - 4:30 pm (45 minute break for lunch)
Location: 618 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC
Instructor: David Blinkhorn
Cost: $110.00

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Introduction to Creative Writing: Scene Creation

To be an effective fiction or creative non-fiction writer today, you need to write effective scenes. The vehicle for a writer to advance their plot and reveal character, the scene is cinematic writing and is defined by its continuous action regardless of that action's size, shape or intensity. Without the "Walk" of the scene, the reader is left with the "Talk" and the writer risks losing their reader.

During this sixteen hour course, you'll examine:

1. story and scene structure;
2. techniques for bringing conflict and tension into the scene;
3. the purposes of a scene;
4. methods for beginning and ending a scene;
5. transitions between scenes; and
6. various writing tools that help advance your scene including but not limited to setting, dialogue, and character development

This course is a unique way of starting your writing education as it focuses on story-telling from day one. Students can expect to learn many techniques in a fluid fashion that are normally compartmentalized in most introductory courses. The course is presented as a series of talks, discussions, exercises and critiqued writing assignments.

The cost is $150 and the exact dates and location will be structured to meet the classes needs and busy lives.

The instructor is David Blinkhorn, FVWS's director.

Email fvwschool@gmail.com with your interest and you'll be contacted to examine your convenient dates. For this class to proceed, a minimum of six registrants will be required.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

New Courses for Fall 2015

With the new school year fast upon us, it's time to let you know about our new courses for this fall.


The school is offering the following:


Plotting Workshop:


Learn techniques for effective idea generation, plot and scene creation through a series of individual and group exercises. As well, participants will examine story structure, generation of conflict and tension, and techniques in collaborative plotting. This is a highly interactive workshop. Each participant will be asked to bring a germ of an idea for development during this two day workshop. There will be orphan ideas available for those that don’t generate that germ in the days leading up to the workshop. The use of myth and everyday life will be examined as sources that will help the writer find new ideas for fresh work.


This workshop is appropriate for writers of all levels.


Dates: November 28 and December 5, 2015
Times: 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Location: 618 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC
Instructor: David Blinkhorn
Cost: $110.00




In the Pursuit of Creativity:


In this five part workshop, participants will learn new and interesting ideas that will help them find their way to fulfilling artistic and creative lives. Over time, the workshop attendees will learn about:


  1. What creativity is and how our brain operates when being creative,
  2. The various successful processes to becoming more creative,
  3. Ways to maximize your creative potential,
  4. Techniques for defeating your inner critic,
  5. Methods to maintaining a creative life in the face of the ordinary one,
  6. Ways to work collaboratively with other writers and artists, and
  7. Creative techniques to find and mine your personal creative gold.
Each workshop will focus on exercises to help the participant develop the skills in the various topics discussed each week. It is interactive and participants will be expected to work as individuals and in groups each week. There will be a weekly homework assignment. Notes of the discussion/lecture will be provided each week as well.

This workshop is appropriate for writers and other artists of all levels.


Dates: Thursday evenings starting September 17 and continuing until October 15, 2015
Times: 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Location: 618 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC
Instructor: David Blinkhorn
Cost: $125.00 



Fiction Writers' Bootcamp:

In this weekend intensive, the writer will cover such topics as Story and Idea Generation, Story Structure, the Use of Tension and Conflict, Pacing, Setting, Dialogue, Character Development and Techniques for Revising Your First Draft.


The workshop will utilize lecture, discussion and individual and group exercises and is appropriate for the emerging and intermediate writer.


Dates: October 3 - 4, 2015
Times: 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Location: 618 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC
Instructor: David Blinkhorn
Cost: $110.00




About the Instructor: David Blinkhorn is the founder and director of the Fraser Valley Writers School and an accomplished instructor in the areas of creativity, avoiding writer's block and fiction writing. He is an award-winning poet and writer who is a graduate of SFU's Writers' Studio (Fiction) in 2011. A former executive director of the Federation of British Columbia Writers, David finds his passion in creating unique and varied stories and helping other writers to find their voice in their chosen genre. In 2014, David organized a successful writers retreat in the Mediterranean and is currently organizing the plans for Euro2016.


To register for these courses, please email us at fvwschool@gmail.com.


Look for our winter courses on October 1, 2015.

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)