September 9 – Writing Workshops with Lisa Moore

We are thrilled to be offering a unique opportunity to learn from one of Canada’s most important contemporary writers! Join acclaimed author Lisa Moore for one or both of her hands-on fiction and non-fiction workshops on Saturday, September 9th in Guelph. Participants will be given a creative assignment to bring and work on.


Fiction: Point of View and Narrative Voice

9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Who Gets to Tell the Story?

This workshop will focus on point-of-view – first person, second person, third person and every person in between. What does the omniscient narrator mean in the world of big data and Google maps? How do we flit through time and space in the story to show the moments that concretize character and provoke epiphany? How do we follow the synaptic sparks of stream-of consciousness so that we know each character inside and out?

Like the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin – how many points-of-view can fit in a single story? What is the role of the unreliable narrator and how does such a point-of-view create dramatic irony? What are the uses of psychic distance in narrative? What does the intimacy of the first person narrator offer the plot? And what are the drawbacks of a first person narrator?

What does it mean to switch point-of-view mid-narrative? Does a jarring point-of-view switch give a complacent reader an enlivening jolt? Does a seamless point-of-view switch help maintain suspension of disbelief? What is the only part of the newspaper written in the second person? What happens when the vocabulary and diction of the narrator differs from the characters? How do we employ point-of- view so that the reader gets a story the likes of which they have never heard before?

We’ll be digging into these questions and doing a few writing exercises to come up with the answers.

Pre-Workshop Task:
Participants are asked to find their daily horoscope on any date in August, 2017 in a newspaper or magazine. Note that the horoscope is written in the second person. Write a fictional story, no more than 500 words, based on the horoscope and also written in the second person. Note that the second person addresses a ‘you’. This point-of-view can create an eerie voyeuristic tone, or alternatively, a sense of intimacy. Use the horoscope to create a story with a beginning, middle and end. Make it rich in sensory detail, narrative tension, dialogue and action. Create atmosphere and a concrete setting. Be experimental. Have fun and remember to bring your story with you to the workshop!


Creative Non-Fiction

2 pm – 5 pm

DIY – Be the Ghost Writer of Your Own Life

The difference between fiction and creative non-fiction is that the latter is true. In this workshop we will look at how we can employ all the tools in the fiction writing toolbox in order to write essays about the personal, true-life experiences that have altered and shaped us.

We will discuss the kinds of subjects that make good creative non-fiction (everything), and how to narrow that down to the very best stories we can possibly create. We will ask how can we be the following: funny, satirical, critical, harrowing, and soul-quaking. We will explore the leaps of intuition that draw us to the truth, even when it is obscured by the passage of time, the obliterating forces of trauma, or the desire to exaggerate for the sake of a good story. We will explore the ways in which we maintain narrative tension in our essays along with the freedom to roam unhindered from insight to insight; the use vivid imagery; how to access memory through the senses a la Proust; and how to experiment with language so every word is surprising.

We will explore subjectivity, objectivity and the shape-shifting nature of cold hard facts.

Pre-Workshop Task:
Workshop participants will be asked to find the “great storyteller” in their family (you may interpret the term ‘family’ loosely) and to write down the most ‘famous’ family story that storyteller can recount. Write the story verbatim and bring it to the workshop. During this workshop, participants will reconstruct the famous story by delving into what they know to be absolutely true.

Did someone in your family go over the falls in a barrel? Awaken from the dead? Get lost? Find the meaning of life? Steal something? Fall in a well? Save a life? Bend a spoon with the power of their mind? Have twenty-one babies? Live joyously? Get food poisoning on a cruise ship? Get sawed in half by a magician? Get left behind in a car seat, back at the truck stop, when the rest of the family drove off in the station wagon? Did any of this, or something very much like it, happen to you? Get the best storyteller in your family to tell the story, write it down, and bring it to the workshop – no more than 500 words!

Through this exercise and a few others, we will explore personal mythologies and the hard, unadorned facts, and become the ghost writers of our own life stories.


Event Details

Workshops take place at the Delta Hotel, 50 Stone Rd W, Guelph

Tickets: $35 per workshop • Both workshops $60. Light refreshments are included.

Enrolment in each session is limited to 30 participants

Tickets are available at emwftix.ca.