Group Intensive payment

Approaching A Publisher: Small Group Intensive

Limited to 8 writers

You only have a few minutes – sometimes moments – to capture the attention of an editor.

Your query letter has to make an instant impression and inspire the editor to turn to the first page of your manuscript – and the first page of your manuscript has to be strong enough to convince the editor that, above all other submissions in the slush pile, this is the one to keep reading.

This two-and-a-half hour evening intensive will be limited to 8 writers who will have previously submitted their one page query letter and the first page of their manuscript to Robyn two weeks ahead.

Over the course of the evening, Robyn will provide oral feedback on all query letters and first pages, addressing them one by one. Writers will benefit not only from direct feedback on their own work, but will learn from the feedback on other writers’ submissions. She will also be addressing how to synopsize/pitch one’s work as one of the most important parts of the cover letter.

Time: 6:30 p.m to 9:00 p.m.
Date: Monday, May 30, or Tuesday May 31st as assigned, 2011
Place: Stouffville – Nineteen on the Park Board Room
Cost: $85 WCDR member, $95 non member.

$85 – WCDR MEMBER – Approaching a Publisher – Intensive

$95 – NON MEMBER – Approaching a Publisher – Intensive

Sue’s Widget Build – do not publish

Got your groove on? Itching to compete for the famed Gavel Trophy? Click here to register for the WCDR Summer Slam Auditions (July 4th). Summer Slam happens at our July Breakfast. (Must be a member to compete).

Click here for information on our WCDR and Len Cullen Scholarships and Grants program for 2012.


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Our March Speaker, Suzanne Derochers
Click here to read more.
Click here to register

March After Breakfast Mini-Workshop

Dorothea Helms addresses Ad Writing and Humour Writing in “Write Funny for Money”

Click HERE to read more.

Learn about the world of publishing with Cynthia Good, March 4, 2012. Click HERE to register NOW.



Jessica Westhead

Just in time for our November 30th deadline for Whispered Words, we have gifted short story writer Jessica Westhead coming to speak to the WCDR at our November 12 breakfast.

Click here to read more about Jessica and her talk.

Click here to reserve your place!


Join James Dewar for a one hour exploration of publishing contracts and copyright law. James is the publisher and editor of Piquant Press, and has also been a freelance writer for many years. He offers an experienced perspective from both sides of the publishing business.

Click here to read more!

Speaker: Camilla Gibb
Her book Sweetness in the Belly has been our RAW book club book for 2 months now. On June 11, 2011, Camilla will be our breakfast speaker. She was born in London, England, and grew up in Toronto. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Oxford University. Sweetness in the Belly was a national bestseller, a Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist, and winner of the Trillium Award. Her novels have been translated into fourteen languages and published to rave reviews around the world.

Click here for more.

Click here to reserve for the June Breakfast.

There are no Blue Pencil Sessions OR After Breakfast Workshops in June. The June meeting is our ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING. Our breakfast speaker will come on at 9:00 in the morning and the business portion of the meeting will take place after the networking break. See you there!

Is 2011 the year you will finish your book?

A Novel Approach is now taking registrations for the coming year. Click here to learn more about this year-long support system to help you get that book finished.


Do you want input on your writing?

Book a blue pencil session at a WCDR breakfast. Click HERE for more information.



Finish Your Book in 2011

A Novel Approach begins again in January.

Click HERE for more information.


Night of Local Literary Readings

November 12, 2010 in Oshawa

Click HERE for more information.




Workshop September 19th

Write to Win

Write to Win is a one-day immersion in the art of entering writing contests…and increasing your chances for winning. Two ’seasoned winners’ — Ruth E. Walker and Dorothea Helms — will share terrific tips that will help you develop your own winning strategy.

Click here to read more




Script Writing Workshop

with Jessica Outram
Saturday October 30, 2010

Click here for more information



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Saturday March 6th
Write to Win!
with Ruth Walker and Dorothea Helms

Click here to read more

Saturday February 27th
Slush Pile Survivor Workshop
with Skyla Dawn Cameron and Shelley Kinsman

Click here to read more

Saturday February 20th
17 Ways to Edit for Energy
with Gwynn Scheltema

Click here to read more

February 20th

17 Ways
to Edit
for Energy

with Gwynn Scheltema


Click here for details

THIS Saturday, February 6th

Postcards from the Heart

With Ruth Walker

Click here for details.

Speaker: Bill Howell, writer for CBC Radio and Poet.

Bill Howell was a network producer-director with CBC Radio Drama in Toronto for 27 years (1977-2004), a Program Executive Producer for 23 years. His plays have garnered multiple ACTRA and international awards, and his series are still heard around the world. Bill is also one of the original Storm Warning poets.

Click here for more.

Click here to reserve for the February Breakfast.

February’s After-Breakfast Mini-Workshop:

“If It Didn’t Happen, Why Do I Remember it So Clearly?”
Facilitator: David Drane

The workshop explores the difference between fact and fiction in writing and ways to make the routine memorable through creativity.

Participant will create an interesting piece of writing based on a routine event in their lives.
Click here for more.


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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

September 2014 Guest Speaker – Tim Wynne-Jones

About the speaker

Tim_Wynne-JonesTim Wynne-Jones has written books for young and old, thirty-three of them. He has won the Governor General’s Award twice and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award twice, most recently for his thriller, Blink & Caution. He has twice won the Arthur Ellis Award of the Crime Writers of Canada, and the Edgar Award presented by the Mystery Writers of America. His books have been translated into a dozen languages. Tim was the Canadian nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2012. He was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada that same year.

September 2014 Mini-Workshop: Aligning Your Character’s Moral Compass


All characters have a moral compass that guides their choices. But where does that compass needle point? Let a role-playing game concept called alignment show you the way.   Wondering how your “chaotic evil” villain will react? Ask yourself WWJD: What Would Joker Do? Not sure what your “lawful neutral” detective wants? Ask yourself WWJD: What Would Javert Do?   Alignment can shift as a character develops, changing go-to behaviours and reactions as well. (Just look at Han Solo’s change of heart in Star Wars.) Understanding alignment can help you:

  • craft believable, nuanced characters
  • keep their decisions and actions consistent with their morals and motivation
  • elevate tension and internal conflict
  • demonstrate their development

In this workshop, we’ll examine the alignments of well-known literary, TV and movie characters. Then we’ll walk through how you can use this concept in your own writing. Though alignment originated with role-playing games, it gives writers in any genre a fresh look at their characters.


About the Presenter:

Heather M OConnorHeather M. O’Connor, freelance writer, editor and author, lives in a fantasy world. She likes to come out to play with other writers. (It helps the stories escape.)

Her novel Betting Game will be published by Orca in September 2015. She also has a YA fantasy novel which is impatient to be published.

Her alignment is chaotic good.

Workshop Recap: “The Work of Wonder: Reimagining What, How, and Why We Write” with Daniel Scott Tysdal

Curious to know what goes on at WCDR-sponsored workshops? Wondering just what you missed? Workshop participant and WCDR member Jay Stewart gives us a recap on Daniel Scott Tysdal’s recent WCDR-sponsored workshop. Look for more Workshop Recap posts in the future!


The Work of Wonder from Daniel’s workshop was that I was able to get any sleep at all the night after I attended.

Directly after the workshop, I attended another function that received less than an appropriate level of my attention. My mind was still Daniel_Scott_Tysdalcycling through the various kernels of inspiration and wisdom from the day. Upon arriving home, I almost immediately fired up the laptop and emptied my thoughts into timelines, character back-stories and scenes. It was close to 4 a.m. when I finally petered out.

Through the use of simple, but not easy exercises, Daniel was able to help everyone in the class to either re-imagine or create characters. We were also led through exercises where we able to enhance a character with a 3D Perspective (desire, detail & design).

The strategies for inspiring wonder portion of the day are what kept me up throughout the night. Here we looked at points of discovery and decision for our characters and the various ways of creating these situations within our stories. This sent me into a flurry of creativity that night as I looked at old stories in new light and set me on the path to laying down the building blocks of at least one novel length piece.

I cannot say for sure that the other participants of the workshop were affected as much as me, but based on the in-class writings that were shared, I know many of them made breakthroughs and added dimension to their work. This included rookies like myself and veterans of years of writing with multiple books under their belts.

Should the opportunity to work with Daniel again arise through WCDR, I will be back in line to participate and I would strongly recommend that others do as well. All in all, this was a great investment of a portion of my WCDR Grant and it has already paid dividends in the quality and quantity of the work I am producing.

Jay Stewart
2014 WCDR Grant Recipient

jay stewart


Jay Stewart is a lifelong Torontonian, avid reader, daydreamer and accomplished Territory Representative. With no formal training in the field, Jay started writing as part of a Toronto District School Board course at the end of the summer of 2013. He credits WCDR for helping him, “take it to the next level,” through the workshops and roundtables provided as well as the courses offered by it’s members.

Assess your book submissions one-on-one with an agent!

Each of the three agents—Sam Hiyate, Ali McDonald and Stacey Donaghy—who participated in our U25 event have extended an invitation for you to meet with them during a scheduled 50-minute one-on-one session to assess your writing project and learn effective methods of submitting to an agent.

Prior to your session you will have the opportunity to submit a query letter, a one to two page synopsis, and 20 pages (double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt, single-sided) of your manuscript for discussion with the agent.

The agents will critique your submission with a focus on:

  • Shape
  • Structure
  • Voice
  • Characters
  • Stakes
  • Saleability

These sessions are limited, so book early!

Registration fee: $75 for members; $85 for non-members

Please note: Your submission is due 10 days before your scheduled session and only work that falls within the agents’ wish list guidelines will be considered.

***Please note: The WCDR is proud to facilitate these sessions as a learning experience for our members. We cannot, however, guarantee any outcome of the meeting in terms of feedback or willingness to consider your work for client consideration or publication. Submissions to agents and editors before or after, or without a WCDR session may be made without cost through accepted channels as outlined by the agent or editor’s websites and are entirely separate from the WCDR. 



Stacey Donaghy – Donaghy Literary Group

With over twenty-two years of experience and formal training in Adult Education, Management, and Social Services, Stacey brings a wealth of technical and professional experience to the literary world. As a manager in the field of Education and Training, her roles have included people management, curriculum development, academic editing, marketing, creative design, publishing, proposal writing, contract negotiations and public speaking. Her training includes principled negotiations as it applies to relationships and contracts.

Stacey’s Wish List: Romance, Edgy and unique New Adult, plus YA.  

Stacey’s Sessions:

Place: Newmarket – exact location TBA
Dates: TBA
Times: You will be advised of your timeslot once all registrations have been received.

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Sam Hiyate  The Rights Factory

A veteran of 20 years in publishing, Sam is co-founder and president of the literary agency The Rights Factory. Before that he ran the literary division of The Lavin Agency. He is co-founder and former editor/publisher of the litmag Blood & Aphorisms (b+a)and the editor/publisher of the avant-garde publisher Gutter Press. Sam also teaches at Ryerson University, The University of Toronto, and has lectured on publishing at Simon Fraser University, Humber College, and Centennial College, where he sits on the Publishing Advisory Board. He has written about publishing for Quill and Quire, The Toronto Star, The National Post and The Globe and Mail.

Sam’s Wish List: Actively looking for New Adult titles, more than YA, with an emphasis on series potential.

Sam’s Sessions:

Place: Toronto – exact location TBA
Dates: TBA
Times: You will be advised of your timeslot once all registrations have been received.

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Ali McDonald: Literary Agent, Children’s Lit and YA, The Rights Factory
A member of The Rights Factory team since 2009, Ali specializes in children’s literature of all kinds, ranging from novelty board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, and graphic novels, to middle grade and young adult fiction and non-fiction. She enjoys working primarily with debut authors, but also has the distinguished pleasure of representing literary stars among her international clients. Ali is living the dream of having a job she loves.

Ali’s Wish List: “I’m always looking for new and distinctive voices, especially in the areas of middle grade and young adult. More specifically, I’m currently on the hunt for early readers with a classic storytelling vibe; humourous and action/adventure middle grade for boys, as well as, friendship-based, character-driven middle grade for girls; and boundary-pushing young adult fiction, with diverse characters, unconventional structures, and big hooks. I’m desperate for something that says Law & Order: SVU for teens—along the lines of Brandy Colbert’s Pointe.”

Ali’s Sessions:

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U25 Young Writers: Are You Working on Your Story for the Contest?

On March 8, 2014, writers 25 and under left the U25 RoundTable with a swag bag that contained all the information for the WCDR U25 Writing Contest sponsored by Inkslingers. Write a short story (600-800 words) for the chance to win $100 cash and the chance to see your writing in print!

We hope U25 inspired our guests to pen their own stories, and the contest judges are looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

The judges would like to encourage the U25 young writers to enter the contest, with entries due by June 1st–so there’s lots of time left! Also, please note that confirmation numbers are not needed to submit entries! Follow the rest of the submission guidelines, and all inquiries are welcome. Simply contact or

For more information about our sponsor, Inkslingers, and the contest judges, please visit this past news post.