Workshops

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In half-day, full-day and multi-day workshops, I strive to create a relaxed, nurturing environment where participants feel safe to take risks, share secrets, write from the heart, face their own work with an attitude of exploration, reconnect with the artist inside them and engage in a supportive, encouraging community. Check out some testimonials!

I have an MFA in Creative Writing, and have taught numerous workshops across Canada and in Mexico, as well as business, academic, and creative writing at the post-secondary level.

If you’re looking for a workshop for your writing group, shoot me a note at lauren@laurencarter.ca. Some offerings include (although I’m open to tackling pretty much any writing/creativity related topic):

Creating Deep Characters 

Characters make or break a story and the truer to life they are, the more your reader will believe in them. Like real people, the best characters have fears, secrets, and contradictions and in this workshop we’ll create a few people and build up their layers.workshop posterWe’ll also investigate how the strongest plots grow out of character.

Resuscitating the Writer (or Artist) Within

Do you love to read, but also want to write? What stops you? Do any of these sound familiar?: I don’t have the time; I’ve got nothing important to say; I won’t ever be as good as [favourite author]. This workshop will help you tackle your resistance, begin dealing with the anxiety that arises when faced with the creative act, and start fulfilling that deep desire to write. Through discussion and exercises we will discover fears common to all artists, methods to overcome them, and begin (or continue) to create. While especially potent for stalled writers (artists), this workshop addresses issues that arise within working writers (artists) as well and can be delivered to a multi-disciplinary gathering of artists.

Creative Revision 

A first draft is more like the ingredients for a gourmet meal than the meal itself. It needs the fire, spice and salt of revision to bring the story to delicious life. By revising creatively rather than with the stiff hand of the “editor”, we can more deeply understand our characters, their motivations, the arc of our plot and difficult areas we may have avoided but that need to be explored. Exercises in this workshop include interviewing our characters, writing from the subconscious, experimenting with point of view, strengthening verbs and ‘opening doors.’

Breathing Underwater: Tools for Deep-Story Diving

Deep sea divers need oxygen, a thick skin, an awareness of their surroundings and an eye to what their body’s doing. Memoir writers, diving deep into the truth of their stories, need the same things. Sometimes, though, the agony of re-creating such emotional content can take our breath away and dry up the pen. How do we keep writing when we can’t see through our tears? Taught by a trained creativity coach, this workshop will look at several tools – from relaxation exercises to mantras to guided meditation and thought substitution – to help writers navigate through anxiety, grief, and fear in order to stay with the work and do what Hemingway advised: write hard and clear about what hurts.

Writing the Believers: Creating Characters with Conviction 

Designed for fiction writers, this workshop examines how to create characters with strong beliefs who are authentic human beings and not just mouth-pieces for an ideology. The workshop will consist of writing exercises, examples, and discussion. By the end, you should have a flushed-out character and a scene that includes conflict and dialogue.

What participants have said about my workshops:

“Lauren created a safe space for me to work through my fears and anxieties.” – Alexis Kienlen 

“Lauren provided excellent instruction, guided exercises, and a trusting positive environment in which to explore and grow as a writer. – J. L.

“An inspirational day that helped me to get in touch with my character’s motivations and to move forward with confidence.” – Susanne McLarty

“Very insightful advice and observations with practical writing exercises that will be very helpful in my own writing.” – Carmen Siegers

B&W photo by Ant Smith

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