We hope you are all enjoying your summer vacation!

At our next WCSC meeting on Sunday, September 17, 2017, we are pleased to present National Bestselling Author Kate Hilton as our speaker. Details of her visit will be posted soon.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to sign up in advance HERE.

Kate Hilton - Sept 2017

jqheadshot2Transgender fiction author jia qing wilson-yang will be joining WCSC on March 19 to discuss our history and the land we occupy. Wilson-yang will bring a unique perspective to our connection with the earth and how we can leverage that connection in our writing.

MollyOKeefe1On February 12, 2017 we are very pleased to welcome Molly O’Keefe to heat things up at Swanmore Hall.

Molly will speak on The Power of Romance (and why every story needs a little of it) followed by a workshop on Writing Sexual Tension:

“No matter whether you’re writing a romance or a novel with a romantic subplot you need to understand sexual and romantic tension. How it stems from character and creates your plot and keeps readers turning pages.”

You don’t want to miss this. Truly. She is an exciting and gifted presenter and you will be happy you came.

Molly O’Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.

She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring every character’s road towards happily ever after.

Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she’s not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.

Dishing It Out, her last Harlequin Flipside won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for best Flipside in 2005.

Her Superromance Baby Makes Three won the RT Reviewer’s Choice for best Superromance in 2006. L-length Her novella, “The Christmas Eve Promise” in The Night Before Christmas won the RITA in 2009. And her full length contemporary romance CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE won the RITA in 2013.

Click here to Register 


WCSC’s 2nd Annual Short Prose Contest

Final Judge: Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency


Deadline for Submissions: March 31, 2017

1st Prize: $500. 2nd Prize: $250. 3rd Prize: $100.

All winning entries will receive commentary by Carly Watters and publication on the WCSC website

Winners announced June 2017

Submission Guidelines



photo credit Mark Raynes Roberts

photo credit Mark Raynes Roberts

On December 11 join us in welcoming back Richard Scrimger to the WCSC for his talk and workshop: Laying Seige to Your Story.

Writing sometimes feels like a siege.  You’re camped outside the walled town with your army: your experiences, memory, imagination, thesaurus, post-it notes, prayers, etc.  Behind those walls is a captured friend or child, or a valuable but fragile artifact – your story.  But how do you take the town without destroying the story?  You don’t want to starve or poison it, and you don’t want to flatten it with artillery.  Continue reading


We are so thrilled to announce that our new home will be the Leacock Museum, beginning with next month’s meeting on November 20 with Scotiabank Giller Prize nominee, Michael Redhill.

You can register here

The address is: 50 Museum Dr., Orillia, ON  L3V 6K5



Talk: What to Expect when you’re Expecting a Book Baby

Taking a book from a word document to the shelf can be a long process, filled with plenty of unknowns, hard labor, and thrilling milestones. I’ll share my own experience, as well as offer insight into what to expect through (and beyond) that debut year…and how to enjoy the process. Hint: it involves preparation, persistence, professionalism, and a peer group.


Workshop: Slaying the Synopsis

A synopsis has one job: to summarize your novel or writing project, from beginning to end, without flashy bells and whistles. It differs from a query letter in that its purpose is to showcase the entire narrative arc rather than simply highlight the major plot points and main character’s journey. The synopsis also provides structure to a blossoming book idea, so you can catch plot pitfalls and soggy character arcs…all before committing a single word to the page. However, regardless of its benefits, the synopsis is one of the most dreaded and loathed writing tools out there. In this workshop I’ll offer practical tips and tricks for how to write a killer synopsis that gets the job done, without losing your mind — or your creative energy — while you do.



KARMA BROWN is a National Magazine award-winning journalist, freelance writer, and author of the international bestsellers COME AWAY WITH ME (MIRA/HarperCollins)—a Globe & Mail Top 100 Books for 2015—and THE CHOICES WE MAKE (MIRA/HarperCollins). A former marketing director and copywriter, Karma now spends much time mulling plot lines in coffee shops and lives just outside Toronto with her family. Her third novel, EVERY MOMENT (Park Row Books/HarperCollins), will be published June 2017.


I’ll get the sad news out of the way first.

Our wonderfully accommodating meeting venue has lost its event room. Apparently, Brewery Bay Food Company didn’t own the attached building where we held our meetings and the new landlords weren’t on board with the existing contract. And so… we also have lost “Down by the Bay.”

The happy news is that we were able to quickly locate a fine venue only two blocks away at 16 Front Street South in Orillia. Continue reading

phil dwyerPhil Dwyer’s groundbreaking work on palliative care has just been released to great acclaim. It is, among other things, the story of the end-of-life experience of Larry Librach, a palliative care pioneer who helped thousands of patients to die well.

Phil is the guest speaker at the WCSC June 12th meeting.

“Putting the creative into non-fiction”
Ever wondered how non-fiction could be *creative*? This new, invigorating writing form is bending rules and blurring the boundaries between traditional genres and approaches. Rules are being broken, and new forms are emerging. It’s an exciting area, and because most writers focus on their fiction, it’s a little less competitive. In a playful, humorous hour we’ll tackle some of the big questions about CNF, and play some genre-bending games with form and content to stretch our minds and help us think again about the stories that surround us every day.
Workshop: “Writing a book proposal that sells”
There’s one major difference between selling fiction and non-fiction to publishers: you don’t have to present a finished book if you’re writing non-fiction (with the exception of memoir). All you need is a perfect, polished proposal for your book. A proposal that sells your project, and you as its author. Your book proposal is your project’s business plan. In this workshop you’ll learn:
  • Why a well-written proposal is vital to your success
  • What to put into a proposal that sells (and what to leave out)
  • What your platform is and how to make the most of it
  • The importance of your marketing plan – the surprising things that matter and why they count.
We’ll deconstruct the proposal for Conversations On Dying and apply these lessons to participants’ projects. Participants will leave with a solid understanding of how to craft their own proposals and with a list of resources with which to do it.

Phil Dwyer’s asthmatic childhood contributed to a deep love of reading, an encyclopaedic knowledge of British sixties pop (and encyclopaedias), and a healthy distrust for the curvature of normal lives. He was a journalist for 20 years in the UK, working in the magazine industry as a reporter, news editor, editor, and latterly as a publisher. He moved to Canada in 2002 to work on a research project with Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. That work spawned Tapscott’s The Naked Corporation.

In 2007, after a life-changing heart attack, he decided to focus on his writing. He’s an alumni of the Humber School for Writers and has workshopped short fiction with Alissa York at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, and non fiction with Charlotte Gill at The Banff Centre. His creative writing has been published in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, andCanadian Stories, and his journalism has been published in over 15 UK publications (including The Financial Times and The London Times).

He is a member (and former board member) of the Writers’ Community of the Durham Region (WCDR), and is a member of The Canadian Authors’ Association.

Phil is represented by Trena White, a principal at Page Two, and an associate agent at the Transatlantic Agency.

He lives in Toronto with his wife and her legions of imaginary puppies.

“The true gift of Conversations on Dying is the bold acceptance that death is a given. No pretence or hope for a miracle cure, just certain death and the months leading up to it. In some ways, it reads as a how-to book: how to foster conversation with your family, how to ask for help, how to reach out in the hard moments with the instinct is to turn away. How to balance the desire to openly accept impending death with your family’s need to hold hope in their hands, just a little longer. How to find a way to make your death as purposeful as your life has been as you prepare to let go.” Read the full review here.        The Lancet Oncology, April 2016



At WCSC’s April 17 meeting, Trevor Cole will present short excerpts from all four of his novels and reveal the personal seeds of inspiration behind each of the stories. He’ll discuss how the stories that resulted evolved dramatically from the original inspirations.

The meeting begins at 11:30

The Workshop:

From Idea to Story: Participants are introduced to the process of developing a simple, incomplete idea into the beginnings of a full and rich narrative.

We will brainstorm and discuss what components are necessary for an engaging story, and how to build them.

Trevor Cole is an award-winning journalist and novelist. His first two books — Norman Bray in the Performance of His Lifeand The Fearsome Particles — were both short-listed for the Governor General’s Literary Award and long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His third novel, Practical Jean, was nominated for the Rogers’ Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and won the Leacock Medal for Humour. Trevor’s latest novel, Hope Makes Love, has been called “soulful,” “harrowing,” “graceful” and “full of life.”


Don't live in Simcoe County?

We are connected to a number of other writing communities in Ontario. Click on the links below to be directed to a writers' community nearer to you:

Durham Region
(Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Port Perry, Uxbridge, Beaverton)

York Region
(Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, King, Vaughan, Whitchurch-Stouffville, East Gwillimbury, Georgina Townships)

Mississauga/Etobicoke WEN

(Minden, Haliburton, Carnarvon, Dorset, West Guilford, Oxtongue Lake)