*NEW* THE HEAT, THE HEART: Advanced Prose Workshop on World Building and Revision









Apply here!

Instructor:  mia susan amir
Thursdays, Jan 28, Feb 4, 11, 18, 25, Mar 3, 10, 17
Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm PST
Location: TBD, Vancouver, BC, Unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh territories. NOTE: It is possible that this workshop will run online. If you live outside of Vancouver don’t hesitate to send in your application.
Maximum number of participants: 9
Registration fee: $150.00 – $400.00, sliding scale based on income level
Bursaries, scholarships, payment plans & work trades available! See below for more information!

This 8-week Advanced Prose Workshop will bring together an intergenerational group of writers, 18 years and older, prioritizing the participation of writers who identify as writing from the margins.*

Writers applying to participate in this workshop will have one in-progress work of prose – which could consist of one story (creative nonfiction or fiction) or lyric essay, and/or a collection of short stories/lyric essays – 15 – 40 pages in length, that they are ready to develop through a rigorous process of peer-workshop.

Through exploration of participant writing, prompts, embodied creative exercises, and lively craft discussions, writers in this workshop will strengthen their techniques in the difficult work of world building, and in the art of revision. Participating writers will leave this workshop with a minimum of one completed work that is ready for submission into the world.

Why writing from the margins*? The role of the storyteller has never been more urgent in supporting our collective capacity to vision beyond the current sociopolitical, cultural, economic, and ecological conditions, and crises that we face, locally and globally. We need new stories, better stories, and the skills to tell those stories in compelling and beautiful ways, to assist in the work of determining right action. Who better to write and tell those stories than those living and working closest to the sites of impact.

As such, this workshop will prioritize the participation of writers who identify as, BIPOC, LGBTQI2-S, disabled, chronically ill, crazy, neurodiverse, poor, and those organizing/working in the context of social, cultural, and environmental justice; those writers who are living, working, dreaming, creating, closest to the sites of impact everyday.

Why world building? When we seek to lift stories into provocative and transformative narrative, it is our work as writers to induct our readers into the fascinating, rich and unique worlds of our characters; no matter how common or translatable we may perceive or believe them to be. In turn, building compelling worlds for our characters to live in helps readers to understand their motivations and actions, makes visible their value systems, and brings energy to our stories by giving our readers a palpable understanding of the stakes.

In this workshop we will use the body, memory (including bio and ancestral), the environment, the archive, and the imagination, to engage in an immersive exploration of the linguistic, social, political, cultural, internal and physical worlds of the characters that inhabit your stories. We will uncover the secret codes and languages, curious bodies, distinctive landscapes, nuanced dynamics, and emotional truths that shape your characters’ lives. We will develop radical intimacy with the quest/ion(s) that guide your work.

Why revision? When we compost we throw a bunch of organic matter together, and the heat that is generated by the process of decomposition is what turns that matter into nutrient rich, fertile humus; something that can be used to grow other things. Writing is a lot like composting. In the first, and subsequent drafts of a piece of writing we are often downloading as much as we can onto the page. Throwing it all together. Following all of the echoes. To be worked into sites of powerful, clear, beautiful, impacting prose, to develop our writing into something that can be used to grow new ways of documenting and considering the world, our drafts need heat. In the case of writing our heat is revision. Through revision we experiment with and make decisions about what structure best elevates our stories, what elements must necessarily be included and cut away, and what aesthetics best serve the telling.

Themes we will explore:

  • Aesthetics and world view
  • Writing beyond binaries
  • Ethics and the role of the writer in healing and political transformation

Workshop Structure:

  • Participating writers will work together as part of an innovative, supportive, collaborative community that supports creative risk-taking
  • This workshop will consist of 8 evening sessions, 3-hours in length, that will run once a week. Weekly workshops will include a  combination of: physical warm-ups, creative writing prompts, craft discussions, and peer-workshop
  • Participating writers will engage in approximately 4 – 6 hours of work each week outside of workshop which will include working on their own writing, and preparing feedback for their peers
  • Each participating writer will have 2 one-on-one mentorship meetings with the instructor
  • Each participant will engage in 4 major revisions of their work
  • Participating writers will be invited to perform their work at a culminating community event

Participating writers will leave this workshop with:

  • Prompts and exercisers to support continued work
  • Exposure to theories of writing and storytelling
  • New skills and versatility in the craft of prose
  • A new community of creative minds to work with in the future
  • A minimum of one piece of writing that is ready for submission into the world
  • Strategies for publishing, as well as application of creative work and creative practice in the community setting and in the context of political organizing
  • An experience of public performance

For those living outside of Vancouver and/or unable to physically attend this workshop,
two seats will be made available in this workshop for writers to participate remotely, via the internet.

Registration Fee, Bursaries, Scholarships, Payment Plans, Work Trades:

Successful applicants will be required to pay a sliding scale Registration Fee. Those earning a living wage should consider paying the full amount.

Bursaries, scholarships, payment plans, and work trades, are available for those interested in applying but for whom the fee is a barrier.

Those wishing to be considered for a bursary, scholarship, payment plan, or work trade, are required to submit a Letter of Request with their application, as detailed on the application page. Work trades most relevant to SWB’s current needs will be web-development related, though other proposals will be considered.

Read about mia’s Guiding Philosophy, here

Read student testimonials, here!