Annual Writers Retreat

Thank you for being a member of the Federation of British Columbia Writers in these rather stressful times for many, I’m sure.
We need to find out what you would like from us, how we can help you further and, possibly, what some of you might be able to offer in the way of assistance with programs, etc.
At present, we are struggling to bring our Web pages into the 21st Century.

You no longer need a password to explore the site. This means that other writers and readers will be able to discover your writings and talents. Every paid up member has the right to a 100 word bio, a JPEG (photo) head shot, descriptions and pictures of your publications and your talents in the form of workshops and services such as editing, ghost writing, etc. We are also keeping in touch through our Facebook Page.

By now, you have probably received your first complimentary copy of BC BOOKWORLD. This excellent newspaper is by arrangement with publisher Allan Twigg at a very reasonable cost per member. This is courtesy of the Federation of BC Writers.

If you received two copies or copies under two different names, please notify us as soon as possible ahead of the next edition. Please notify us if you have changed your address.

We are also planning to bring back our Literary and Craft Magazine WordWorks in paper format. We will be in need of help to make WordWorks the success it once was. For those who prefer to read on line, the electronic copy will also be available. Both will be free of charge but we will need your input.

We have a number of events and workshops coming up in the near and slightly more distant future. You will find these listed on our Website, on Facebook and through our monthly VOX.

We are in great need of volunteers to share the load. Without your help, none of this can continue. Please let us know as soon as possible what you might be willing to contribute in the way of time and talent.

Upcoming Events:  We have a table at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, October 25, 26, 27. You may display and sell your own books whilst volunteering. Please contact us ASAP with your best available hours.

Federation of BC Writers 2nd Annual Writers’ Retreat

and Workshop Smorgasbord.

November 14 -17, 2013

Rosemary Heights, Surrey, BC

Rooms and all meals are provided for the duration of the retreat. The cost to the retreaters is $400. However, we can offer a limited number of spots for $300 if you book and pay before October 15, 2013. For those of you coming in from YVR or the Ferry terminal we will do what we can to arrange rides. Your payment includes everything on the menu.

For those who’d care to come only for the workshops, the costs are as follows:

Four Workshops per day – price per day (lunch included):

Early Bird by October 15, 2013

Federation of BC members $65  Students & Seniors (members) $50    non-members $85

After October 15, Federation of BC members $85 Students & Seniors $75

non-members $105

price for two days (lunches included): 

Early Bird by October 15, 2013

Federation of BC members $100  Students & Seniors (members) $85  non-members $150

After October 15, Federation of BC members $150 Students & Seniors $100

non-members $185

Day Conferencers can sign up for a thirty-minute blue pencil session for $25.

Please select from the list of possible workshops on the enclosed form. We will do our best to satisfy your wishes.

Please note your next membership expiry date so that we might continue to serve you without a break in service. We will permit a two week grace period for renewal.

If you know of someone whose name should be on our list and who has not heard from us, please remind them to get in touch at the earliest opportunity.

Wishing you good health and good writing,

Ben Nuttall-Smith   President

Federation of BC Writers  


Selections Sheet

You may fill this form and return by email:  WritersRetreat-2013


Email Address:

Home Address:


___________  Full weekend Smorgasbord / Retreat

___________   Friday

___________   Saturday

Please indicate your choice  of workshops from the Menu below in order of preference from 1 to 11 using the letters A thru K:   We will do our very best to provide you with your choice of workshop however, much will depend on numbers.

    1.  __________                          2. __________

    3. __________                           4. __________

    5. __________                           6. __________

    7. __________                           8. __________

    9. __________                          10. __________   

 11. __________                         

Writers’ Retreat – Rosemary Heights, South Surrey November 14 to 17

Workshops will take place on the Friday and Saturday  Each workshop 90 minutes.

Blue Pencil sessions will be available throughout the weekend with Lois Peterson and Ben Nuttall-Smith.  Those boarding over will be permitted one extra Blue Pencil session.

Presentations by Lois Peterson

All presentations – which are useful for writers of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and memoir – include group interaction, in-session writing and useful handouts.

A.     We Have Ways of Making you Talk

Learn an ‘interrogation’ technique that helps you develop believable, compelling characters who live on and off the page.

B.     The View From Here

Evaluate point of view options, and determine what works best for your story and your reader.

C.      Voice Lessons

Explore five approaches to developing  a distinctive voice in your writing – the first thing many editors look for in submissions.

D.     All for Show

Get your head around the concept of Show vs. Tell and learn six strategies for engaging your readers, rather than instructing them. 

Presentations by Ben Nuttall-Smith

E.     The Dynamic Presenter

could be carried over two days with 90 minutes day one and another 90 minutes on day two.        see  

F.     Steps to Publication

(Publisher or Self-Publish) with writing and handouts.


G.     Memoir to Novel

will involve hands-on exercises in writing scenes from personal experience and translating them into story material.

H.     Fun With Poetry 

You too can write poetry.  A series of fun exercises to awaken the poetic genie in each of us.                                                                  

Presentations by George Opacic

I.      Write To View

  • Using the basic elements of a film script, assess how that relates to prose
  • Visualization in your writing
  • Match the flow of the plot trajectory with your characterizations
  • Write what your readers want to read; skip what they will skip
  • Add evocative elements via character, rather than CGI or the basic 4 movie emotions of lust, rage, greed and fear
  • What are the format requirements of a script?
  • Understand the three-act structure, and the reason it is used.

J.      Right Left Write

  • The analogy of the corpus callosum, as it relates to writing – right brain/left brain
  • Explore traits (versus states) to develop character consistency
  • Design a coherent character using behavioural psychology
  • Use logical facts to be more creative
  • Overview of aspects of behavioural psychology and how it can assist a writer

K.    Digital Publishing

  • Benefits of digital publishing to an author
  • Technological constraints for an author and for readers
  • Types of devices that display digital content, and how their capabilities inform the writing process
  • Cost, fees and price considerations of digital publishing
  • Examples of digital publishing sites – how do you feel you can best use one or more of them?

Blue Pencil Testimonials:

Message from the President of FBCW

from the President’s Pen

Renewal – from Birth to Rebirth We are 37 years young and still growing.


No organization can rightfully move ahead without recognizing its roots and the contributions of those who have gone before. It is a history of writers helping writers. The Federation of BC Writers was founded in 1976 by a handful of idealistic scribblers who saw past themselves and reached out to emerging writers and would-be authors to help mentor them in the craft or writing.

In the coming months, we intend to recognize some of those pioneers through our webpage and WordWorks magazine.

We have decided to open our web pages so that our members might showcase their publications and skills for all to see. Self Promotion is a reality and necessity in today’s publishing world. If you’re a member, your bio, publications and workshop skills belong on our pages. Send your 100 word bio and JPEG images to

Our Facebook page has become relevant again as an added method of advising you of the news and events of the day. We are in the business of promoting BC Writers, their groups and events. Therefore you’ll find all sorts of exciting writing news on our Facebook page; our events as well as the events and activities of others. Please friend us so that you will receive our feed. See
Our e-newsletter, VOX, will be reduced in frequency to once per month. Any events or announcements that you want to see in the VOX for the coming month will need to be sent to by the 20th of the previous month for inclusion.

2013 is an opportunity for renewal and revitalization. Our motto remains as always: Writers Helping Writers. We are trying to find as many methods at our disposal to live up to that motto. We offer workshops wherever we can throughout the Province of British Columbia and wish to take part in Writing Conferences and workshop days wherever we might be invited.

So far, in 2013, we have provided workshops in Vernon and on Haida Gwaii, as well as in Surrey, New Westminster and Richmond. In February, we held a full-day Self-Publishing Fair in Vancouver, which will become an annual event. The next one is set for Sunday, February 23rd 2014 at the Vancouver Public Library. This will be a free event for members and non-members alike.
Our third annual Write On The Beach in South Surrey attracted a full house of enthusiastic participants including returnees from as far away as Nanaimo and Kamloops. Our next session has been booked for Beecher Place in Crescent Beach on Sunday, June 8th 2014.
Our Second Annual Writers’ Retreat will be at the Rosemary Heights retreat centre in South Surrey from November 14 to 17, 2013 Those who attended our retreat on Bowen Island last November, will want to attend this one which will include a day of workshops by well- known local author and work-shopper, Lois Peterson. Apart from excellent meals and evening sessions, each participant will have access to two half-hour blue pencil sessions.
FBCW, working with one of our writing partners, Fraser Valley Writers’ School, is planning a Mediterranean Writing Conference/Retreat for November 2014. The ten day cruise will stops in Rome, Olympia, Athens, Ephesus, Istanbul (two days), Naples with a return to Rome.
Developing Writers need good advice through get-togethers and workshops. We have set a model for member “Meet & Greet” luncheons in the Fraser Valley over the past three years and would like to see these incorporated throughout the province. Such information and sharing meetings should be held at least quarterly in each region.


The Federation will be stepping up to the plate to help with the sponsorship and partnering, through financial contributions, of events organized by Federation members that benefit and promote BC writers. If you have an event you’d like to organize for your area, talk to us. We might be able to help.
We have arranged with Alan Twigg, publisher of BC Bookworld – British Columbia’s Author and Publishing Newspaper, to receive copies as part of our membership package. These will be coming out in the near future.

It’s our intention to revive WordWorks, our member magazine, as a bi-annual print magazine in 2014 with April and October editions each year. Each edition will have a guest artistic editor working under the supervision of a managing editor. WordWorks will feature articles on writing by BC Authors and promote members’ books and services for a nominal advertising cost – at least half the cost to non-member advertisers.

We have an exciting future ahead for the Federation of BC Writers, with or without government funding. However, we cannot accomplish all this without your input and involvement. You need to renew your membership if you haven’t done so already. The Federation of BC Writers is a non-profit organization of Writers Helping Writers, run entirely by volunteers. Please consider how you might become part of the team.


Ben Nuttall-Smith
Federation of BC Writers