• Favourites
  • Email
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • Flickr
  • Delicious
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
Wordstock's 15th Anniversary
Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wordstock 2010 is all about writing and features Ian Brown as the keynote

The 15th edition of Wordstock will be held on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Ryerson School of Journalism, at the corner of Gould and Church Sts. in Toronto. After a few years of dabbling successfully in the new journalism tools and styles, this is a retro version of Wordstock. It will be all about writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

We’re returning to a former format of three streams of seminars, one in the morning after the keynote by The Globe and Mail’s Ian Brown and then we’ll break for a free barbecue lunch and networking at a nearby pub. We’ll resume at 1:45 p.m. with two streams of four seminars each, all on writing. The day ends at 4:30 p.m.

In keeping with the economy, we are holding the cost of Wordstock at $75. If you’re a bona fide member of the Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association (RJAA) or an accredited journalism student at any journalism school, the cost is $50.

The preferred method of payment is by cash or cheque, payable to the Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association. You can also pay by credit card online at

www.rjaa.ca for an extra fee. We will not be taking credit card payment directly. You can download a PDF of the program and registration information from the RJAA website at www.rjaa.ca and from the RJAA Facebook site.
Wordstock 2010 Program
Registration 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., Rogers Communications Centre/School of Journalism. 80 Gould St. (NE corner of Gould and Church Sts.)
Assembly in the Eaton Lecture Theatre at 9:45 a.m. Please note there is a special session on the future of digital media that is being held in conjunction with Wordstock. Information is contained in this document.
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Ian Brown, The Globe and Mail
Our keynote address will feature one of the country’s finest writers, The Globe and Mail’s Ian Brown, winner of four National Newspaper Awards, six National Magazine gold awards, and recently winner of two major awards for Canadian non-fiction for his book “The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Search for His Disabled Son.” Eaton Lecture Theatre.

11 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Coffee break and networking outside the Eaton Lecture Theatre

11:20 to 12:30 (Choose one of four)
1) Packing great writing into 650 words or so
As journalists, you may have more to say across multiple platforms, but you’re being asked to do it with fewer words. Thane Burnett, Sun Media’s award-winning creator of great short features, talks about techniques for writing in tight spaces. Burnett, who’s covered everything from O.J. Simpson to Haiti, argues for targeting one human element, using quotes properly, salvaging color and reasons to leave out the mayor’s quotes.

2) Successful freelance writing, as a business and a craft
You can earn an income writing for newspapers and magazines or writing for the corporate market on a freelance basis. In this seminar, freelance writer and author Paul Lima explores the process you need to follow if you want to write for newspapers or magazine or sell your writing services to the corporate market. He will also talk about the types of articles you will most likely write for newspapers and magazines, share a list of the type of writing you can do for the corporate market, and will discuss how much you can expect to earn writing for either market and how to price your writing services.

3) The mystery novel you have always wanted to write
Who hasn’t wanted to write a mystery? Doing so involves journalistic narrative skills. This panel covers the techniques along with the ups and downs of writing and publishing a mystery novel. Discover the techniques that classic mystery authors use to help you in your own writing. Panelists: April Lindgren, Ryerson (author of Headline: Murder); Rosemary Aubert, author of the Ellis Portal mystery series, set in Toronto; one other TBA.

4) Magazine readers want stories
To connect with magazine readers, writers and editors need to reconnect with character and narrative. Freelance writer and former Chatelaine editor Kim Pittaway, one of the most popular Wordstock seminar leaders over the years, offers a new seminar that looks at ways of injecting character and narrative into all kinds of magazine writing, from short pieces to service pieces to actual features.

12:30 to 1:45 p.m.
Free barbecue Lunch in the Ram in the Rye Pub, SE corner of Gould and Church Sts. (3-minute walk from Rogers Communications Centre. Be mindful of an optional special one-hour session from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Eaton Lecture Theatre on the future of digital media)

Digital media has been growing at an exponential rate over the past few years. But what does this mean for you and how will it impact your daily life? Please join us for a lively discussion that will explore the significance of digital media both today and into the future. This moderated discussion will feature a panel made up of industry insiders and experts who will share their thoughts and opinions on the future of this ever-expanding medium. Panelists: Adam Froman, CEO Delvinia; Abby Goodrum, the Velma Rogers Graham Research Chair, Ryerson School of Journalism; Marissa Nelson, senior editor, Digital News, Toronto Star; Chris Nguyen, co-founder of teamsave.com, Ryerson Digital Media Zone. Moderator is Dwight Drummond, CityTV News.

1:45 to 3 p.m. (Choose one)

1) Telling great stories about the news of the day
Practical advice on the art of injecting storytelling into a newspaper and online reporting and writing after the breaking story has appeared on the website. Speaker: Phil Andrews, managing editor of the multiple award-winning Guelph Mercury.

2) (re)Discover the joy of creative writing
If you’re an aspiring writer or an experienced writer looking for a little spark, Paul Lima helps you rediscover the joy of creative writing. This session touches on the content in a book of the same name that Lima has written and published. The session includes many tools and techniques to get you writing novels, short stories, and poetry.

3) Sustaining the long feature in a reader’s interest
Jon Wells, the Hamilton Spectator’s award-winning feature writer and author, talks about crafting long features that hook readers from the start and do not let go. The session will include tips on preparation, interviewing, organizing material, working with editors, recognizing and employing different storytelling techniques, and staying inspired. Jon will also offer tips on serial story telling.

4) “What is this thing called voice … and how do I find mine?”
Yes, you have one. It’s your distinctive style as a writer. Sometimes it just shows up; other times it needs to be coaxed. Alas … there are no miracle voice-enhancing drugs. However, Don Gibb, a renowned writing coach and a retired Ryerson journalism professor, will challenge you by offering ideas on how best to find and nurture your voice -- your individual writing style. If you already have a voice, bring it along. If you struggle with finding yours, we’ll try to encourage your voice to speak up.

3 to 3:15 p.m. Refreshment break for 15 minutes

3:15 to 4:30 p.m. (Choose one)

1) Writing for multiple platforms
The future of writing is being able to tell stories on multiple platforms. Marissa Nelson of the Toronto Star discusses the various platforms (print, multimedia, video, social media) and how to adapt your writing to each.

2) Self-editing: Making every word count
With fewer copy editors between the original story and the printed page and website, reporters and writers must pay more attention to their copy before it heads off to production. Self-editing entails making every word count and one of Canada’s best, Kevin Scanlon of the Toronto Star, has developed a handy checklist, a tip sheet and an answer to the question: “What’s my lede?”

3) Getting your opinions across with conviction and grace
Effective opinion writing is a key to raising readers’ interaction with a publication, online or otherwise. We call upon a panel of columnists and editorial writers to impart their expertise in persuading readers that they are right or irritating those who disagree. Beautiful writing is again a key element. Speakers: Jim Coyle, Toronto Star; Susan Clairmont, Hamilton Spectator; Peter Haggert, Toronto Community News.

4) Writing with a Slow Hand: From Romance to Erotica and Beyond
There are few places in our writing more fearful to most of us than writing about sex. What will our mothers think? And what if our characters are the kinds of people who do things that we would never! How do we write about them and make it believable? Where do we draw the line between revealing just enough to tantalize but not so much that the reader is turned off. Join James Dewar and Susan Lynn Reynolds for an exploration of the continuum of sexuality in writing from romance to pornography and all the delightfully erotic places to linger between those two poles.

4:30 to 6 p.m.
Join the delegates for a traditional post-Wordstock libation at the Library at the Imperial Tavern at Dundas and Victoria.


Event Type: Seminar
Organization: Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association
Event Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Event Cost: $75
Event Location: Ryerson School of Journalism, 80 Gould St. (at Church)
Phone: 416-575-5377
Website: www.rjaa.ca