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2015 WordsWorth Course Outlines

  Click on one of the following tabs to view course outlines for each of the three weeks of WordsWorth

Week One (ages 12 - 14): July 5 - 10

  Songwriting (with Kris Demeanor) The goal over the five sessions is to create both a group song, and an individual song (or songs) per student. There is of course flexibility in this, as some students may choose to write as duos, decide to write but not perform, etc., though presentation of some kind will be encouraged. In the spirit of the camp as far as fostering creative language, paramount attention will be placed on construction of lyric. It can’t be assumed that all participants are musicians, but it can be trusted that all are keen writers, and I don’t want to take too much time away from lyric creation- instead, musicality in the form of basic rhythm, tempo and vocal delivery will be the prime ‘musical’ elements explored. Most attention will be placed on literary questions such as story, character, repetition, song structure, personal/universal themes, humour, rhythm of language, creative use of rhyme.   Pitch It! (with Kim Firmston) Have you ever dreamed of the big leagues? Do you want to see your movie up on the silver screen, your graphic novel in the local comic book shop, or your book in Chapters?  Have you ever seen a movie trailer or a commercial and thought, I can do that. Well now's your chance. In this fast paced class you will learn to sell, sell, sell! Be it in an elevator or with a full submission package, learn how to pitch comics and graphic novels, short stories, novels, and scripts for stage, TV, movies, video games, and animation. Try your hand at selling your own unique product. By the end of this class you will be a pitch expert and ready to sell your stuff to the world!   Spoken Word Poetry (with Ahmed Knowmadic) Although Life is a present, you must learn to think outside of the box. Your brain is thinking at a hundred miles an hour; if you don’t tell your brain what to pay attention to, it won’t know. In this workshop, you will learn to harness your brain's witty side, you will learn to sharpen your brain to pick up on puns and wordplay you have missed otherwise. Also, you will improve your poetry and writing by using the new skills you acquire as we learn together.   The Short Story (with Jani Krulc) Everyone loves a good story. In this class, we will explore the creative process, give the analytical brain a rest, and experiment with re-visioning. Craft your own story, whether it be short and sweet, long and ponderous, or somewhere in between. Love! Car chases! Action! (with Susie Maloney) This course will show you how to raise the stakes in your storytelling for the big and small screen. We'll lay out a group storyline and write scenes using fun and exciting prompts. Viewer discretion advised. Great Myths (with Cathy Ostlere) A myth is a story with a purpose – a story that strives to explain the world’s mysteries. Who made the world? Why are humans different from animals? Are we alone in the universe? In Great Myths we will explore five elements from myths around the world: Heroes & Heroines; Gods & Goddesses; Animals & Fabulous Beasts; Sacred Places; and Creation Myths. Bring your knowledge of and curiosity about the stories that have shaped art, religion, technology, and desire throughout human history. Each day we will explore a specific mythological aspect in our own writing. Microfiction (with Sandy Pool) Do you like long boring stories? How about extra long boring stories? No? You don’t? Good. Me neither. In this course, students will explore the dynamic genre of Flash Fiction. Using various writing techniques and writing exercises, students will learn to write succinct, action-packed stories in a page (or hopefully less!) If you love to write, but hate writing 5-page descriptions of trees blowing in the wind, then this course is meant for you! Learn how to edit your fiction and transform it into something super short and super sweet!   Yes, Let’s! What’s Next? Playwriting Through Improvisation (with David Walker) This workshop will approach playwriting through a mix of writing exercises and improvisation games. Almost every skill you need to write a good play, from creating interesting characters to telling exciting and satisfying stories, can be developed on your feet through the basics of theatrical improv. Each class will explore elements of playwriting like action, character, setting and plot by first using improv exercises to nail down basic concepts and then applying these concepts to writing original drama, ultimately leading to the creation of original short (10ish min) plays. David is a playwright, poet and dramaturg who started his artistic life as an improvisor and played with Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre for several years. The techniques and principles of improv are still central to his own writing practice. He can’t wait to share how the sometimes daunting process of creating new drama can actually be as easy as saying “yes!” to your own ideas and trusting them to show you the way.   Experimental Poetry (with Paul Zits)

“Poetry should be made by all, not by one.” – Isidore Ducasse

Does writing need to be a solitary practice? For practitioners of collaborative writing, coauthoring becomes a highly liberating endeavour, while at the same time pushing the writer’s imagination and mastery of language. This course will teach the fundamental techniques of the craft of poetry while at the same time introducing students to the practice of collaborative writing. Whether exploring Japanese renga (linked poems) or the collective poems of the Surrealists, this course is about experimentation. Students will also have an opportunity to explore contemporary examples of collaborative texts, discovering how unique works can come from joint efforts.  

Week 2 (ages 14 - 19): July 12 - 17

  YOUR OWN VOICE? Experimental Poetry (with derek beaulieu) Using a number of key methods from avant-garde poetry (including erasure, comics, collage, visuality, transcription and found text), students will explore poetic voice and what it means to be original. We will disassemble and reassemble text as if its so much lego, revealing unknown examples of how words express what they want to say and how working with someone else's writing can enable you to access poetry that you didn’t know you had in you. Poetry is a laboratory, a playhouse, a sandbox, a pile of lego — it is potential.   The One Week 'Zine (with Lyndsie Bourgon) Not for the faint of heart! Over the course of six days we'll make a WordsWorth magazine from scratch. From title to art direction, editing to writing, you'll learn everything there is to know about making a magazine that you'd actually want to read. At the end, we'll show your parents "The Wall," where all magazines live until they find their home on sweet, sweet printed paper.   Pitch It! (with Kim Firmston) Have you ever dreamed of the big leagues? Do you want to see your movie up on the silver screen, your graphic novel in the local comic book shop, or your book in Chapters?  Have you ever seen a movie trailer or a commercial and thought, I can do that. Well now's your chance. In this fast paced class you will learn to sell, sell, sell! Be it in an elevator or with a full submission package, learn how to pitch comics and graphic novels, short stories, novels, and scripts for stage, TV, movies, video games, and animation. Try your hand at selling your own unique product. By the end of this class you will be a pitch expert and ready to sell your stuff to the world!   Write Fight, Fight Right (with Samantha Jeffery) Have you ever read or seen a fight scene and thought "Yikes. I could do better."? The fight bored you? The dialogue was terrible? You just didn't believe it? Well, this is your chance! We're going to look at FIGHTS, both on and off the page. Students will have the opportunity to write & perform a fight scene in the medium of their choice, using writing to inform fighting & fighting to inform writing. Using the basic principles of stage combat we will look at motivation, how & why conflict becomes violence, and how that violence affects those involved. Performance isn't your jam but everything else sounds groovy? Don't let that keep you away; performance of the final scenes is optional. Come to class prepared to move, be moved, and WRITE! About stage combat: Stage combat is an art that creates the illusion of violence while keeping all partners safe at all times. It is an exciting and physical art form that acknowledges humankind’s long history of violence and tries to understand why people fight in many different scenarios, and for many different reasons. Every fight is different because every fight is informed by the scenario that surrounds it. Often, this scenario is neglected, leading to ‘fighting for the sake of fighting’. When violence instead comes from a place of truth for the characters involved, it can show us much more about who those characters are and result in a much richer story.   One-Person Show/Monologue (with Brendan MacLeod) This class explores how to tell your stories to an audience. Everyone has something amazing/funny/heartwrenching/terrible happen to them. Some of us like to share it with the wider public. The question is how to do this in a way that places your audience inside the moment. That makes them feel like it is happening to them. That makes them be like, “Holy Crap. I’d never thought of it that way, but now that I have, the whole universe seems to make sense!” We’ll explore how to do all this, as well as how to have fun on stage, and get to know your inner storyteller.   Adventures in Poetry Land (with Johnny MacRae) This program will take students from first steps into the land of spoken word (or slam) poetry to the point of having a fully-realized spoken word poem of their own. Beginning with an introductory workshop to introduce fundamental principles of spoken word writing and performance, this series of workshops will take participants through devices (ie. personification, extended metaphor) and structures (ie. beat poems, persona writing) that are useful in the composition of an effective spoken word poem. While the first three workshops will build towards participants composing a poem of their own, the fourth workshop will take them into the realm of collaborative writing and performance - or group pieces. To bring it all together, the fifth workshop will be heavily focused on performance, and techniques for bringing the week's writing to life for a live audience!   Microfiction (with Sandy Pool) Do you like long boring stories? How about extra long boring stories? No? You don’t? Good. Me neither. In this course, students will explore the dynamic genre of Flash Fiction. Using various writing techniques and writing exercises, students will learn to write succinct, action-packed stories in a page (or hopefully less!) If you love to write, but hate writing 5-page descriptions of trees blowing in the wind, then this course is meant for you! Learn how to edit your fiction and transform it into something super short and super sweet!   Build Better Books (Using an Outline) (with Erinne Sevigny Adachi) Want to write a better book? Want to write it faster? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then the oft-touted outline is your bff. Fiction, narrative non-fiction, short story collections—you cannot go wrong with an outline. Through brainstorming, cue cards, sticky tack, colourful markers, tables, and walls, we’re going to map out your book’s places(s), character(s), plotline(s), and all the details in between. Along the way we’ll also talk about techniques in each of those areas that will make your book stand out among the crowd. Outlining—part art, part science—awakens your creative process while making sure you don’t lose your way and write yourself into any corners. Preparing yours with the constructive feedback from fellow WordsWorthians will help you focus your manuscript with an audience in mind. Whether you come prepared with the seed of an idea or with a book already in progress that you’re open to reworking, in this workshop class you will build an outline. With it you will build a better book.   Creative Flow and The Writer's Voice (with David Wilson) In this class we will explore a series of artistic and fun disciplines, and then observe the empowering directions these activities take our writing. Movement, breathing, meditation, drama games, yoga and vocal exploration will lead toward our goals of increased confidence, awareness, creativity, and losing one's Writer's Block. Also included is a text-driven musical soundscape performance, written by YOU, geared toward listening, community and team building : instruments welcome!

Week 3 (ages 15 - 19): July 19 - 24

  Spoken Word Poetry (with Isaac Bond) In five sessions of spoken word, we will try to capture the essence of what spoken word artists put tens of thousands of hours into in less than ten hours. We will look at the key elements of an artistic practice, with particular focus on knowledge of self and discovery of voice. We will play with weirdness, feel with honesty, think with vigor, and articulate it all with clarity. Most rewardingly, we will listen to each other. We will learn from each other. And we will build, together.   Nonfiction Writing (with Marcello Di Cinto) The real world is generous with stories and is filled with characters in need of an author. Who needs to make anything up? Step away from alternative dimensions for a brief holiday in reality. In both of Marcello’s creative nonfiction courses, writers will weave true stories into artful narratives. Participants will turn their observer eyes inward in Marcello’s Week 3 course, Writing the World (In Here). In this workshop, writers will mine their own real life experiences for stories. We will explore the genres of memoir, travelogue, and personal journalism – all while transforming ourselves, and the people we know, into compelling characters.   Write Fight, Fight Right (with Samantha Jeffery) Have you ever read or seen a fight scene and thought "Yikes. I could do better."? The fight bored you? The dialogue was terrible? You just didn't believe it? Well, this is your chance! We're going to look at FIGHTS, both on and off the page. Students will have the opportunity to write & perform a fight scene in the medium of their choice, using writing to inform fighting & fighting to inform writing. Using the basic principles of stage combat we will look at motivation, how & why conflict becomes violence, and how that violence affects those involved. Performance isn't your jam but everything else sounds groovy? Don't let that keep you away; performance of the final scenes is optional. Come to class prepared to move, be moved, and WRITE! About stage combat: Stage combat is an art that creates the illusion of violence while keeping all partners safe at all times. It is an exciting and physical art form that acknowledges humankind’s long history of violence and tries to understand why people fight in many different scenarios, and for many different reasons. Every fight is different because every fight is informed by the scenario that surrounds it. Often, this scenario is neglected, leading to ‘fighting for the sake of fighting’. When violence instead comes from a place of truth for the characters involved, it can show us much more about who those characters are and result in a much richer story.  

The Short Story (with Jani Krulc) We’re all driven by desire. Are your characters? Rich description and fast action only get you so far – sometimes a story goes nowhere because your characters don’t want anything. We will learn how to push plot and shape stories by focusing on what our characters really want – anything from a chocolate bar to fame and fortune will do. And we’ll create a compelling cast in the meantime.

 

Writing the Fantastical (with Kim McCullough) Love dragons? Magic? Invented realism? Want to create a new and imaginative world? This workshop for fans of High Fantasy will help identify and incorporate (and even manipulate) the genre tropes necessary to create compelling characters and wondrous worlds. Understanding how these elements connect to strong plot-writing and genre expectations will improve the creation of any kind of story, but will really allow Fantasy writing to soar to new heights.

  The Hero’s Journey (with Cathy Ostlere) Every good story has an unforgettable hero or heroine. But great stories often have reluctant protagonists – shy, sensitive, quiet thinkers who are forced to leave their known worlds and complete complicated tasks. Think Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins, Peter Parker and Katniss Everdeen. In The Hero’s Journey we will explore Joseph Campbell’s three elements in the adventure of the hero: the Departure, the Initiation, and the Return. Bring ideas for your reluctant hero and heroine and we will map a journey that will keep your stories full of exciting twists, turns and revelations.   Yes, Let’s! What’s Next? Playwriting Through Improvisation (with David Walker) This workshop will approach playwriting through a mix of writing exercises and improvisation games. Almost every skill you need to write a good play, from creating interesting characters to telling exciting and satisfying stories, can be developed on your feet through the basics of theatrical improv. Each class will explore elements of playwriting like action, character, setting and plot by first using improv exercises to nail down basic concepts and then applying these concepts to writing original drama, ultimately leading to the creation of original short (10ish min) plays. David is a playwright, poet and dramaturg who started his artistic life as an improvisor and played with Edmonton’s Rapid Fire Theatre for several years. The techniques and principles of improv are still central to his own writing practice. He can’t wait to share how the sometimes daunting process of creating new drama can actually be as easy as saying “yes!” to your own ideas and trusting them to show you the way.

Creative Flow and The Writer's Voice (with David Wilson) In this class we will explore a series of artistic and fun disciplines, and then observe the empowering directions these activities take our writing. Movement, breathing, meditation, drama games, yoga and vocal exploration will lead toward our goals of increased confidence, awareness, creativity, and losing one's Writer's Block. Also included is a text-driven musical soundscape performance, written by YOU, geared toward listening, community and team building : instruments welcome!

  Experimental Poetry (with Paul Zits)

“Poetry should be made by all, not by one.” – Isidore Ducasse

Does writing need to be a solitary practice? For practitioners of collaborative writing, coauthoring becomes a highly liberating endeavour, while at the same time pushing the writer’s imagination and mastery of language. This course will teach the fundamental techniques of the craft of poetry while at the same time introducing students to the practice of collaborative writing. Whether exploring Japanese renga (linked poems) or the collective poems of the Surrealists, this course is about experimentation. Students will also have an opportunity to explore contemporary examples of collaborative texts, discovering how unique works can come from joint efforts.

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