Lauren’s prompts and insightful guidance helped push me forward, freeing me to write fearlessly and unapologetically through some resistance I’ve been feeling for a long time. Thanks for a great afternoon!
Simply Write: A Monthly Generative Writing Circle
If you, like me, process the world through language, it’s important that you find the time: for your own well-being and to fulfill your call to create. Each month (excluding July, Aug, and Dec), I host two hours of generative writing on the fourth Sunday, offering interesting prompts, focused time, and casual creative camaraderie.
No experience is necessary; all you need is a desire to write plus a pen and notebook (or computer) and a willingness to write with others in a space free of competition and comparison. We will not be sharing our work, but we might chat about process and this oh-so-interesting creative act…
I ask for a donation ($10 minimum is suggested, more is greatly appreciated, but less is okay if that’s all you can manage). Half goes to a different charity each month.
Got Questions? Click here for Answers!
Q: Is this workshop only for working on novels?
A: All fiction needs well-developed characters so if you’re working on short stories, this deep dive into character and consideration of narrative arc could certainly help your work. It’s truly ideal, however, for anyone with a novel idea or a work-in-process or simply a character who keeps hanging around who you want to start discovering. I teach using the traditional narrative arc (sometimes called the Aristotelian structure) which I believe can be super helpful for beginning novelists. But even if you are working on a less traditional structure, this workshop will still help you explore your character and every book needs complex human (or human-like) consciousnesses.
Q: Will we be writing?
A: Yes! I will guide you through several writing exercises using a variety of prompts, so bring your notebook and pen or keyboard and screen!
Q: Do I have to share my work?
A: Nope! While I do believe that sharing fresh work can help us to grow by allowing us to hear what we’ve put down on the page in the moment (it’s not so bad after all!) and teaching us to trust and appreciate having our stories heard, I also don’t insist. We are adults after all! If you do share, be assured that I strive to create a safe environment in which we do not critique fresh work: instead, we support what shines.
Q: Why you?
A: My award-winning short stories have been widely published and will be appearing in book form in Spring 2023. I’ve also composed two tightly-plotted novels (with a third now in my agent’s hands) in which my characters act on their desires, face obstacles, and ultimately arrive at transformation. This Has Nothing To Do With You, my last novel, won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and my first novel, Swarm, was longlisted for CBC Canada Reads as one of the nation’s Top 40 Books that Could Change Canada.
I have an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph, where I intensely studied the process of building character-driven plot with my mentor, Susan Swan, during the writing of Swarm. My learning and experience are hard won, and I love sharing what I know in direct manuscript critique, during Writer-in-Residence positions, while teaching at retreats and in workshops, and in my mentorship program.
I also have a certificate in Teaching and Training Adult Learners, have taught in universities and colleges, and regularly facilitate professional writing workshops for MCCA, a Winnipeg workplace training organization. Currently, I’m working towards my Editing Certification through Simon Fraser University.
Q: What if I already have a novel draft and I want more help?
A: Check out my Manuscript Midwifery Program. Over three months, I’ll provide you with accountability, weekly lessons geared to your challenges, substantive edits, ZOOM discussion calls, and email support to help you make real progress through the revision process.
Q: What if I’m brand new to writing?
A: As long as you are actively writing fiction – and not just ‘intending’ to write – the workshop should make sense to you (and you can always ask questions!). If you are trying to get started with a practice, though, I recommend beginning with my online self-directed video course, Nine Simple Steps To A Solid Writing Practice.
Q: What’s your cancellation policy?
A: All enrolments are final sale. (Although in the case of an extreme emergency, I might be able to place you in a later class).
Deep Dive Into Deep Character: A Four-Week Course
Next Class: November 2, 12, 19, 28, 2022
The best stories feature characters who fascinate and engage as they undertake a transformative journey: after all, it’s their cravings, choices, actions, and re-actions that create plot. In this month-long course, we’ll engage in a deep study of our characters through weekly generative writing circles over ZOOM to get you writing and discussion about how character creates plot. Assigned homework and email support will help you stay connected to your characters during the week. This course will guide you deeper into your characters’ formative surroundings, foundational experiences, hopes and dreams, primary wounds, and compensatory actions. We will also consider plot arc and mapping to give you a solid start – or renewed inspiration – to crafting your story.
Capped at ten writers, this month-long intensive focuses on craft, creative play, safe sharing, curiosity, and mutual support as we deepen our knowledge of our important made-up people. The course takes place twice annually in March and October.
What you get: 4 Saturday morning 2-hour Zoom writing workshops (10-Noon CST), assigned homework to spend the week considering your characters, and email support during the week.
Wild Writing in the Boreal is an annual writing retreat for beginning and experienced writers, which I co-run with writer Donna Besel. It brings together women for a warm and easy-going weekend of writing, sharing stories, and connecting in the gorgeous environment of Falcon Trails Resort in Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park. Our next retreat is April 28-30, 2023.
Delicious food, hot-tubs, wood-burning stoves, starry nights, beautiful nature, a raffle draw, and our legendary Saturday night sing-a-long (following the open mic reading) and, of course, lots of writing, create a weekend to remember!
Praise from past participants
Wild Writing in the Boreal blew my expectations through the roof! The entire weekend was so full of love, honesty, and beautiful writing. Both Lauren and Donna are amazing, talented women that we are all lucky to be learning from. Never have I felt so grounded at a retreat, and I am walking away feeling knowledgable and motivated. – Kiera Anderson
Before the retreat, I always thought that writers were “other” people. Being a writer was something I didn’t think was attainable for someone like me. Listening to other stories that people wrote and sharing helped me realize that I can be a writer. – Marni Fisher
Nine Simple Steps To A Solid Writing Practice!
This self-directed video course offers 10 lessons (9, plus a bonus) to help you begin and nurture a writing practice. Whether you’re answering a life-long call to write or returning to your creative work, this course will help you:
- dedicate a space for creative work
- make time to write
- address and overcome common blocks
- reconnect with the desire you feel to write
- feel like a writer again or for the first time
- choose a meaningful project
- purposefully look at your written draft (without cringing or running away)
I've recently lowered the cost of this course, to help as many people as I can, so you can purchase it now for just $39.99!
Praise for Nine Simple Steps
"This course, visually beautiful and wise, has helped me to re-connect with my writing. I’m back at it again. Next time I stray, I know I’ll have this course in my back pocket to help me return.” – Angie Gallop
"I love your writing course! I started it way back, and have kept going back to it...it is very forgiving that way. It has gotten me to the point where from not writing at all, except for my editorial for the paper once every two months, i have a spot to write, and sit down each morning and write for an hour! I am working on two different projects! THANK YOU for helping me find my creative side again, after so many years! It has also encouraged me to move away from arts admin and into editing and writing for a living. So much thanks to you!" - Anna Proctor
"Lauren's online class was precisely the tonic I needed to re-ignite my writing practice. I listened to these nine sessions in my car on the way to work and looked forward every morning to the encouragement and counsel she provided. Through personal stories, anecdotes, quotes and practical tips, Lauren's coaching inspired me to identify my writing goals and commit to them. I recommend this course to anyone who needs an extra nudge to start new works or to keep going with existing projects." - Cheryl Sadowski
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