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The Art of Analysis: Working from the Outside In

For Writers Texture - Chalkboard.jpg
Some writers feel that analysis kills impulse. For me, it’s a creative act. As a dramaturg, I work with writers every day, and one of our first tasks as collaborators is to develop a shared vocabulary to talk about the work. For a writer, being able to describe your process and define the qualities of your work is such useful information to have in your back pocket—for grant applications or proposals, or when you’re engaging with editors, but most importantly, to move forward with intention towards the clearest expression of your ideas.

When done in a spirit of generosity and experimentation, analysis shows us how art works like science: we do something, we change the parameters, we do it again and see if the results are different. It’s serious play. It’s my firm belief that analysis like this opens doors and empowers writers.
— Heidi Taylor


Saturday, November 4, 2017
10am to 5pm
$175 + membership
Includes: coffee/tea, a baked good, and lunch

The Art of Analysis: Working from the Outside In with Heidi Taylor (see bio at bottom of page) is a practical, yet visceral, one-day workshop designed to help writers know their work from, not just the inside, but also the outside. Analysis will be used in a juicy and inspired way to identify your tendencies, describe what you do, and refine the parameters of your practice. It will also be used to explore how taste functions—its subjectivity—and how you can define who it is that you both appeal to and write for.

We’ll read and analyze writing samples together and delve into the language that people use to talk about literary work. We’ll also do short exercises to stretch our stylistic muscles, and work in pairs.

Is it for me?

This workshop is for you if you:

  • Are an emerging or established writer working in any genre;
  • Want an opportunity to see your work from the outside in, so that you can understand it in a new way and go deeper;
  • Want to identify your habits and uncover your blind spots to improve your overall practice;
  • Are willing to speak candidly about how you think about your own work;
  • Are curious about how others think about their own work;
  • Are interested in shared process with other writers;
  • Are generous-spirited and able to work in pairs;
  • Like a good experiment.

How will I benefit?

You will:

  • Learn strategies for analyzing your writing and exercises that can be applied on an ongoing basis to your practice as a writer;
  • Gain new knowledge and insight into your work that will ground you creatively;
  • Refine the parameters of your work so that you’ll have a better sense of your creative objectives and your audience;
  • Be better equipped for writing grant applications and proposals;
  • Be able to talk about and advocate for your work more effectively with people who may be invested in it, such as editors, agents, writing groups, etc.;
  • Better understand and depersonalize how others respond to your work;
  • Make new connections with other writers and will have moments of recognition with each other that will make the process less lonely. 

What will I get?

  • A one-page description/encapsulation of the dominant characteristics of your current work, which you’ve created for yourself;
  • Ideas for moving forward with your work;
  • Coffee/tea, a delicious baked good, and a nourishing lunch.


In advance of the workshop you’ll be required to provide:

  • Approximately 1,000 words of prose, five pages of a script, or five poems. While these samples will be treated with sensitivity, it’s important that they're strong enough for handling (not so new or tender that they might break);
  • A half-page sample of work by another writer who inspires you.

In preparation for the workshop:

  • Writing samples will be shared with all participants. Participants will be given reading tips and will want to set aside a respectful amount of time to review their peers’ writing samples ahead of time.

Bring to the workshop:

  • Whatever you’re most comfortable writing with—whether that’s a laptop or notebook and pen.


To register click the button below and you’ll be taken to a registration form hosted by Typeform that will take a few minutes to complete. Completing and submitting the registration form will hold your spot, but payment is required within 48 hours via email money transfer or PayPal to guarantee your spot.

Refund Policy: Students may receive a full refund up to five days in advance of the commencement of the offering. No refund will be provided after that date, unless the course is cancelled.

Cancellation Policy: If, three days in advance of the workshop, the number of registered participants is six or fewer the workshop may be cancelled, in which case participants would be notified and refunded immediately.   

Registration is open now and closes at midnight on Tuesday, October 31st.

About the Facilitator

HEIDI TAYLOR is a dramaturg, director and performer, and Artistic and Executive Director at Vancouver's Playwrights Theatre Centre. She has written five solo performances, in addition to many collaboratively devised works and essays on contemporary theatre. As a dramaturg, she works with playwrights to discover and express the heart of their imaginations in forms that are unique to each project. Productions in 2017-18 include Tetsuro Shigetmatsu’s 1 Hour Photo, and Quelemia Sparrow’s O’wet/Lost Lagoon. She lives in Vancouver with two cats in the yard and her composer/poet partner.