Thursday, February 25, 2021

Online spring courses: Writing Kid Lit, Writing Personal Stories, Welcome to Creative Writing, and Intensive Creative Wrtiting

Captain Monty Takes the Plunge
by our guest speaker Jennifer Mook-Sang

Writing Kid Lit

Picture Books to Young Adult Novels

Wednesday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m.
April 21 – June 16, 2021
Offered online and accessible from anywhere there's internet 

This course is for adults {or teens} interested in writing picture books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade books, or Young Adult novels. This course is accessible for beginners and meaty enough for advanced writers. Through lectures, in-class assignments, homework, and feedback on your writing, we’ll give you ins and outs of writing for younger readers and set you on course toward writing your own books.

We’ll have two published children’s authors as guest speakers: Jennifer Mook-Sang and Kira Vermond. See further details here.

Fee: $176.11 plus 13% hst = $199

To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Writing Personal Stories

9 weeks of sharing and writing

Offered at two different times 

Tuesday afternoons, 1 – 3 p.m.
April 13 – June 22, 2021 {no class June 1}

And

Thursday afternoons, 1 – 3 p.m.
April 15 – June 24, 2021 {no class May 27}

Offered online and accessible wherever there's Internet

If you've ever considered writing your personal stories, this course is for you. We’ll look at memoirs, travel writing, personal essays, family history ~ personal stories of all kinds. Plus, of course, we’ll work on creativity and writing technique and have fun doing it. 

Whether you want to write a book or just get your thoughts down on paper, this weekly course will get you going. We'll reveal the tricks and conventions of telling true stories, and we’ll show you how to use the techniques of the novel to recount actual events. Weekly writing exercises and friendly feedback from the instructor will help you move forward on this writing adventure. Whether you want to write for your family and friends or for a wider public, don't miss this course.

We’ll have a guest speaker for both classes. For the Tuesday afternoon session, our guest will be Sue Williams, author of the memoir Ready to Come About, and for Thursday afternoon session Jennifer M. Smith, author of the memoir, Green Ghost, Blue Ocean. More details here.

Fee:  $176.11 plus 13% hst = $199

To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Welcome to Creative Writing

10 weeks of discovering your creative side

Thursday evenings, 7 – 9 p.m.
April 15 – June 24, 2021 {no class May 27}
Offered online on Zoom and accessible from anywhere there's internet 

This is your chance to take up writing in a warm, supportive environment. This course will open the door to writing short stories and writing dialogue, writing in first person and writing in third person, writing just for fun and writing all kinds of things. 

You’ll get a shot of inspiration every week and an assignment to keep you going till the next class. Best of all, this class will provide a zero-pressure, totally safe setting, where your words will grow and flower.

Fee:  $176.11 plus 13% hst = $199

To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Intensive Creative Writing

Offered at two different times 

Tuesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
April 13 – June 29, 2021 {no class June 1}
First reading emailed April 6
Offered online, accessible anywhere there’s Internet

And

Friday mornings, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
April 9 – June 25, 2020 {no class May 28}
First readings emailed Sept 11
Offered online, accessible anywhere there’s Internet

Intensive Creative Writing isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. You’ll be asked to bring in five pieces of your writing for detailed feedback, including three long pieces. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on. 

Besides critiquing pieces, the instructor will give short lectures addressing the needs of the group, and in addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write. This is a challenging course, but extremely rewarding.

Fee: $229.20 + hst = $259

To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada's most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Saint John.  Brian is the author of a children's version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Tribute Publishing). But his proudest boast is that he’s has helped many of his students get published. 

Read reviews of Brian's various courses and workshops here (and scroll down).

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding online and in-person writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

“The Girl Who Didn’t Know What She Knew” by Alan MacLeod

Early in my training I was a great admirer of Sigmund Freud. He was all over my books and magazines, peering out from black and white photographs and renderings. I was impressed with his glaring eyes and his spade-like beard. His waist-coat fit comfortably over a slight paunch, with a small Havana perched between his fingers. 

I longed to understand what he was really getting at and secretly hoped for enlightenment in his ways. His recorded voice seemed to arise from a deep and measured place of wisdom and competence. He eluded me, but I did manage to grab onto the mysterious notion of uncovering unconscious motivations.

I had a new patient arrive in my fourth year of practice, whom we’ll call Mary. She had long, curly brown hair, with several bald spots, and wore a modest dress shaded in greys and whites. She was accompanied by her father whose concern was written in his lowered eyebrows and stooped posture. Her mother did not come, despite several invitations.

Mary was only sixteen but stared right through me in a way that suggested a long and troubled life. I kept reminding myself that she was blind. Little information accompanied Mary. She was referred by her busy and blunt internist. The note, congruent with her appearance, said, “Psychogenic blindness and hair-pulling.”

During her father’s description of her sudden loss of sight, Mary sat rigidly, hands folded tightly in her lap, eyes fixed straight ahead. It was an unnerving presentation in one so young. By this time Mary had been through a number of medical workups, all with no physical findings to explain her blindness. I thought perhaps she was bored and disinterested in yet another one.

Mary’s face remained stiff throughout the initial interviews. Nothing penetrated the stillness. The blankness, shrugs, and monotone, communicated an air of indifference. She made no edges visible and was impossible to read.

The first small crack in the facade came when I commented on her missing chunks of hair and asked her to tell me about that.

It’s just a bad habit,” she blurted in a tone of warning. I wondered if someone had said this to her, maybe admonishing her in some way.

I heeded this caution, but planned to return to it later.

How are you feeling just before you pull your hair?”

A slight wrinkling of her nose with a crease between her brows suggested confusion. “What do you mean?” she said.

How do you feel in your guts?” I said while rubbing my belly. I caught myself; she couldn’t see me.

Mary had no idea how she felt. Anxiety resided in her body without her knowledge. She sat tightly with shoulders hunched and back straight. I asked her how she was feeling in her body right now.

Fine,” she said.

I moved on but over the next few weeks had her do a series of muscle relaxation exercises that helped her to drop her shoulders, soften her jaw, and deepen her breathing. She began to become conscious of the difference between relaxation and tension. She liked fishing at the family cottage, so we talked about “catching the tension and throwing it back into the water”. An almost mischievous smile passed quickly over her face when we talked like this.

At my suggestion she began to track how she was feeling just before and after she pulled on her hair. “It helps me relax,” she said with a shrug and a shy smile. Another little crack in the wall. Without using the word addiction, I asked what might help break this “bad habit.”

She scrunched her face, raised her eyes to mine, and shifted in her seat. With a sigh she said, “Catch it and throw it back in.” It became sort of a game where she practiced the magic of asking her muscles to relax. And they did. She pulled her hair less often.

We began to talk about her childhood. There were long pauses as she seemed to stare at the floor. I wondered what she was seeing in her mind’s eye. She remembered very little. Her voice was mild and childlike, disconnected from the adolescent sitting so still in front of me. It was as if she only had a dim notion of those years, like she knew but didn’t know what went on back then. I asked her to draw some things from her childhood, if she could. Art was her favourite subject in school.

She hesitated, pencil poised over the page, grimacing as if in pain. “No…” she said. “I don’t want to make it real.”

I went cold when she said those words. There was such a feeling of sadness and despair in them, especially for this very self-contained, non-expressive youngster. She knew but didn’t know or didn’t want to know. I was troubled by this sudden change in her, but I had to respect her wishes and let it go. I began to feel like I knew, but didn’t know something, like there were depths here that we both needed to explore.

But we never got the chance. Her father withdrew her from treatment shortly after, citing lack of progress with the blindness and a need for yet another opinion. I remember thinking that she left just as we had started therapy. Sometimes this happens. It’s intriguing to ponder why a parent might scuttle in and pull their child out just as you start to get close. Sigmund has been silent on the matter. I’m still waiting.

Alan MacLeod is a writer and retired psychologist living in Bruce County, Ontario. He's grateful for the Bruce County writing buddies and the inspiration of mighty Lake Huron. Thanks especially to those excellent writers in Brian Henry's Tuesday morning intensive.

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Intensive Creative Writing classes offered ~ online ~Tuesday evenings and Friday mornings starting in April

Intensive Creative Writing

Offered at two different times 

Tuesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.
April 13 – June 29, 2021 {no class June 1}
First reading emailed April 6
Offered online, accessible anywhere there’s Internet

And

Friday mornings, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
April 9 – June 25, 2020 {no class May 28}
First readings emailed Sept 11
Offered online, accessible anywhere there’s Internet

Intensive Creative Writing isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. You’ll be asked to bring in five pieces of your writing for detailed feedback, including three long pieces. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on. 

Besides critiquing pieces, the instructor will give short lectures addressing the needs of the group, and in addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write. This is a challenging course, but extremely rewarding.

Fee: $229.20 + hst = $259

To reserve your spot, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca 

IInstructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada's most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Saint John. But his proudest boast is that he’s has helped many of his students get published. 

Read reviews of Brian's various courses and workshops here (and scroll down).

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding online and in-person writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Congratulations to Tanya, Glen, Nancy, Ray, and Kristy!

If you’ve had a story (or a book!) published, if you’ve won or placed in a writing contest, if you’ve gotten yourself an agent, or if you have any other news, send me an email so I can share your success. And be sure to let know if you're looking for a writers' group or beta readers; a notice in Quick Brown Fox, will help you find them. 

Email me at brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~Brian

 

Hi, Brian.

I wanted to send you a big THANK YOU! I sent a query to Anne Shone after the January 30 workshop on Writing for Kids, and this morning she emailed me and asked me to send my manuscript for SUPERS! No guarantees, of course, but extremely exciting nonetheless. 

I wanted to thank you for your workshops that have helped provide introductions to people in the industry, helped me fix my query letter, and also for your initial critique of my opening chapters a few months back.  This is all extremely helpful and I am very much looking forward to the Tuesday class and continuing to work on improving my writing.  

Have a wonderful day!

Kristy Jackson

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The next Kid Lit workshop is Saturday, Feb 27 {see here}. It’s probably full, but there will be a similar workshop offered Saturday, April 24, with guest speaker Liz Kemp, an editor with Orca Books. Details haven’t been posted yet, but to reserve a spot, email me at: brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~Brian

Plus, there's a Kid Lit weekly course starting in the spring {see here}. 

 

Hi, Brian.

Just published A Barber’s Son - Recollections of growing up in Toronto in the 1950’s on Amazon.

Cheers

Ray Holmes

Ray’s book is available on Amazon here.

 

Hi, Brian.

Thanks so much for promoting authors and their work! My novel, Victorian Town, a YA paranormal novel with elements of time travel and romance, recently won First In Category for The Dante Rossetti Award for young adult fiction in the U.S.

Best to you,

Nancy Thorne

https://www.nancythorne.com/nancy-thorne-published

 

Hi, Brian.

My weird 2020 finished on a high note. Happy to let you know my short story, “Scrabbling” won second prize (could be worse, eh) in a year end contest that i entered with a group in South Africa known as Deadline for Writers.

Their competition had a prompt: The Meeting and the story was restricted to 1200 words (+/- 50). This is what spilled out.

Cheers,

Glen Benison

You can read Glen’s story “Scrabbling” on Quick Brown Fox here.

 

Dear Brian,

Thistledown Press has offered me a publishing contract for Peacekeeper’s Daughter! They’re offering really good editorial support. I think this is a good fit for my memoir. They’re under new leadership, and are specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. 

See you Saturday, at the Kid Lit workshop.

Tanya

Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt

https://tanyaallattbellehumeur.com/

Note: For information about submitting to Thistledown Press, see here.

 

See Brian Henry’s schedule hereincluding online and in-person writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Southampton, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.