First Words: Short Fiction Workshop

I’m really pleased to be team-teaching this nine-week workshop with Renee Hartlieb and Darryl Whetter (March 2 – May 4). Please follow the link for information on registration.

First Words: Short Fiction

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia is proud to present First Words: Fiction, a nine-week fiction-writing course led by Binnie Brennan, Renee Hartlieb & Darryl Whetter. As a welcoming space for beginner or emerging writers, First Words: Short Fiction provides an overview of the craft from several professional perspectives. No prerequisites or pre-existing pieces of writing are necessary for participation in this course.

Writing Small with Binnie Brennan
March 2, 9, 23, 2016. 

Paring it down to the “edge of the unspoken”, with exercises in character and setting to encourage the distillation of ideas, images, and emotional depth. “For sale: One pair baby shoes, never worn.” Whose shoes? Why for sale? Why never worn? These three sessions will include writing exercises, examples, workshopping and discussion. Session One will focus on setting guidelines for fair critique and establishing a safe atmosphere for participants to take risks with their writing. Session Two will focus on the paring-down of character, and Session Three on sketching the setting.

Story Essentials with Renée Hartleib
March 30, April 6, April 15, 2016

Story Essentials: Where do your story ideas come from, how do you nourish that place, and how do you know when an idea is a good one? What is the heart of your story, whose story is it, and what is the main conflict? Where does your story begin and what are potential endings? We’ll mull over these questions with writing exercises and discussions about what works in short fiction; all of it designed to move your story from idea to reality. Session One will focus on story ideas and the essence of the story you want to tell. Session Two will cover different places to enter your story and point of view. Session Three will delve into conflict and if time permits, editing yourself (knowing what to cut, learning how to tighten).

The Genealogy of Story: Using Timeless Literary Techniques To Improve Your Fiction with Darryl Whetter, Ph.D.
April 20, 27, May 4

Prose fiction is the child of poetry and stage drama, and this (very healthy) child gained strength from each parent. These focused sessions can improve the style, content and underlying conception of your stories and novels. Session One will focus on dialogue and narrative voice. Exercises and examples will show how dialogue (or its absence) can become action (as well as a superb tool for characterization). Session Two is a metaphor boot camp designed to move the crystalizing power of metaphor from poetry into your prose. Session Three is a plot pressure-tester: explore beginnings, middles and ends to better understand what a story is and how it works.

Binnie Brennan has written three books of fiction, Like Any Other Monday, published by Gaspereau Press, and Harbour View and A Certain Grace, both with Quattro Books. Her short fiction has been published in several literary journals, including ExistereThe Adirondack Review, and All Rights Reserved. Binnie is a recent mentor for the WFNS’ Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program; and she is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, where she was mentored by M.G. Vassanji and Alistair MacLeod. She is a full-time member of Symphony Nova Scotia’s viola section, based in Halifax.
Renée Hartleib is a professional writer and editor, with her own Halifax-based business. She offers writing, editing, and research services to clients in various sectors including business, government, academia, and not for profit. Renée’s short fiction has been published in The New QuarterlyThe Antigonish Review, Descant, and The Fiddlehead. She is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers and the Mentorship Program of WFNS. She also writes weekly non-fiction essays on a blog entitled “this sweet world” ( Renée has led numerous workshops for adults and children on creativity and writing.
Darryl Whetter’s five books include the pot-smuggling novel Keeping Things Whole and the bicycle odyssey The Push & the Pull. His debut collection of stories, A Sharp Tooth in the Fur, was a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of 2003. A professor of creative writing and literature, he reviews books regularly for papers such as The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. A book of poems devoted to networked sexuality, Search Box Bed, is forthcoming in 2017.
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