Aspiring writers at Trent (and in the local community as a whole) may be excited to know that thanks to the Trent Writer’s Society, an opportunity may be available next semester to take a 12 week (non-credit) workshop with a professional writer for only $140 (about $12 a week). The course would be run by Oakville based writer and editor, Beverly Bell.

Bell began her career as a graduate of Concordia University with an MA in Journalism, before moving on to write for the Ottawa Citizen and then for various medical and health magazines and websites. She then pursued a career writing what she calls ‘middle-grade adventure novels’.

She became interested in setting up a workshop at Trent when asked to run a one-off workshop on meeting deadlines as part of the Trent Writer’s Society series of events tied to the annual ‘National Novel Writing Month’.

After having been invited by family friend and TWS member, Classics student Kelsey Levins, she saw that there might be other students interested in taking this kind of workshop (Trent only offers one Creative Writing course through the English department, and it is limited by portfolio only; Sir Sanford Fleming offers on-line courses but they’re around $400 each).

Says Bell, “I had mentioned that I would be happy to edit 1-3 pages for a couple of students to give them an idea of what to expect from a professional editor. The offer was very well received and that’s when I realized it might be a great idea to offer a weekly class, or workshop, provided enough people sign up in order to make it worth my while to drive to Peterborough from Oakville.”

To do that Bell is hoping to find a minimum of 6 students to make it viable, which shouldn’t be too difficult with scheduling. “I’m currently offering a Monday and Wednesday class here in Oakville beginning January 12th, so those days are unavailable but Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays would suit me well. I’d prefer to run them from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. The cost would be $140 per participant for a 12-week course (once a week).”

When asked what to expect, Bell replies “The goal of the workshop is to help every writer to write the best prose they possibly can. I plan to give a short talk each time (just 10-15 minutes) on key points such as hooks, dialogue, plot, characters, how to end chapters etc.— actually whatever the students would like to know more about. Each participant will send 3-5 pages each week to me (and I, in turn, will send them out to the group) for critiquing. The sessions will run for two and a half hours.”

Bell also encourages students not to worry too much about experience. “Experience doesn’t matter. What matters is the desire to write and learn. Expect to write a lot and to re-write a lot.”