One to three-day workshops

By request – brought to you and tailored to the needs and requests of your group or organization. Conducted over 3 consecutive days, or over a period of several weeks or months, we will devise a program specific to your stated goals and objectives.

One-day to Three-Day Workshop at your location (minimum 5 participants). Arrange your own workshop for your friends, book club or other group. You choose the date, time and location. The workshop comes to you.

What will this workshop help you to accomplish?

Workshop 1

  • Establishing a foundation
  • Why personal history writing?
  • Storytelling as a vocation
  • Genealogy vs. personal history
  • Keeping motivation alive
  • Mission Statement
  • Writing practice-how to find the time
  • Developing your own resources - memory lists
  • Research strategy
  • Establishing a dateline
  • Memory recall exercises
  • Taming the inner critic; use of affirmations
  • Defining deliverable goals & objectives for your project

Workshop 2

  • The writer’s tool kit
  • Beginning, middle and end
  • Characterization and plot through action
  • What is conflict?
  • Sensory details bring the story to life
  • Use of myth and archetypes
  • Theme and plot development—the role of myth
  • Technicalities and truth-telling
  • Establishing basics of time and place
  • Role of dialogue
  • Grammar & punctuation
  • WWWWH; fill in the facts
  • Literary devices – adumbration; setting; verisimilitude; POV; narrative voice
  • Building the backbone–developing an outline for your project
  • Assembling and sorting your material
  • Filling in missing materials—dateline decade by decade

Workshop 3

  • Mapping the journey’s end
  • Editing vs. proofreading
  • Establishing a budget for finishing work
  • Editing your own work—micro & macro
  • Research plan—what is left unanswered?
  • Reworking and rewriting—first chapters in final draft
  • Added extras – more than words—genealogy charts, images & photos, etc.
  • Crafting your opening paragraph—grabbing the readers’ attention
  • Your final thoughts on paper—don’t summarize!
  • Introductions and forewords – a few words from others?
  • Footnotes and references; bibliography
  • Nuts and bolts–putting it all together
  • Choosing a format & materials
  • Cover design, typeface and layout
  • Adding ancillary materials—where and how
  • Keeping the writing flow alive
  • Opportunities for learning and developing further

To arrange for a workshop for your group or organization call (705) 444-0104 or email us at

Workshop Leader: Christine E. Cowley, Author, Member of the Writers Union of Canada

Four-week series

Click here for more information on our four-week workshops.