Bringing Stories to Life! – Hosted by McLoughlin Gardens Society

Pick up your pen and join us…

The McLoughlin Gardens is pleased to announce a series of writing workshops with Jeanette Taylor and Margo McLoughlin. Jeanette is the author of several books of non-fiction, including The Quadra Story and Tidal Passages: A History of the Discovery Islands. Margo is a storyteller and writer based in Victoria. Her non-fiction, short stories, and articles have appeared in various anthologies, as well as Parabola Magazine. Jeanette and Margo share a love of local history, having worked together since the mid-1980’s, when they launched a puppet theatre program for the Museum at Campbell River. This summer program remains an enduring hit with families.

Bringing Stories to Life!
Online Writing Workshops with Jeanette Taylor and Margo McLoughlin
for writers of fiction and non-fiction
Spring and Fall, 2021

Each two-part workshop takes place over two days (90 minutes on a Saturday morning and 90 minutes on Sunday morning) and covers a specific topic. You are welcome to pick and choose which workshops you would like to attend. Follow up reading material will be provided. Registration fee is $50 per workshop.Numbers are limited to 20 participants, so please register early!

Workshop no. 1
Discovering Your Story
Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Pacific
Please register by March 20, 2021

In this first workshop, for those who are new to writing or returning to their craft, we’ll review the basics, with the aim of giving the participants the confidence to launch a writing project, or return to one they have begun. Some aspects of the writing journey we’ll cover: what a story is and how a story works on the brain; generating story ideas and zeroing in on the story that is calling you; the value of free-writing and mind-mapping; how to sidestep the inner critic and get a first draft written; drafting a premise statement; planning strategies.

To register, please visit:

Workshop no. 2
Crafting a Compelling Character
Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Pacific
Please register by April 17, 2021

Whether we’re inventing the character from scratch, or describing a figure from history, the use of sensory imagery and specific details makes our characters come alive. In this workshop, we’ll begin by examining some examples from current writers, asking, “Why does this character snap fully alive for you?” Writing exercises will help us find out what makes our characters tick and what the narrator’s relationship is to them.

To register, please visit:

Workshop no. 3
Scenes and Dialogue
Saturday, September 25 and Sunday, September 26
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Pacific
Please register by September 18, 2021

Scenes are the building blocks of fiction and non-fiction alike. A well-crafted scene engages the reader’s interest, situating her in a specific time and place. It also reveals new information about the characters and how they are connected while advancing the story by creating new expectations. We’ll zero in on what makes a scene and the role of dialogue in giving it shape and purpose. Expect to have some fun reading your work out loud or hearing other read it!

To register, please visit:

Workshop no. 4
Point of View and Voice
Saturday, October 30 and Sunday, October 31
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Pacific
Please register by October 23, 2021

Who is telling your story, and from what vantage point in time? Is the narrator trustworthy or do they have their own agenda? As we know well from our experience of sharing memories with siblings and family members, a story will change dramatically, depending on the point of view of the narrator. In this workshop, we’ll look at different options for point of view, including third person and first person. We’ll also experiment with switching points of view to find out more about the characters, their relationships, and their place in the story. We’ll discuss different approaches to discovering a unique voice to recount your tale. We’ll look at examples from contemporary Canadian writers to see what the author is doing with language to convey a particular voice in their writing.

To register, please visit:

Workshop no. 5
Falling in Love with Revision
Saturday, November 27 and Sunday, November 28
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Pacific
Please register by November 20, 2021

When the first draft of a story or essay is complete, the exhilarating adventure of revision begins. Having other readers review your work can help but learning the skill of self-editing increases self-reliance and makes the revision more efficient and ultimately more satisfying. In this workshop, we’ll wrestle with the demon of structure and discuss various approaches to revision.

To register, please visit: