Online Masterclass Workshops

Online Masterclass Workshops

Due to COVID-19, our workshops are now online

Offered through The Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR), Writescape’s Gwynn and Ruth will deliver online masterclass workshops for writers who want an in-depth focus on aspects of fiction. Writescape workshops provide practical handouts, engaging in-class exercises and discussions, and professional facilitators.

Making a Scene online masterclass workshop:

Making a Scene is a three-part fiction workshop that will dive deep into the mechanics and benefits of creating engaging scenes. You will explore not just what a scene is but how all its elements work together to create vivid building blocks for your story. Understanding more about the structure and nuances of different kinds of scenes – action, contemplative, flashback
– you will write your drafts with more confidence and purpose. In addition, all participants will receive written feedback on an in-course scene assignment.

Wednesdays: February 24, March 3 & 10 — 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Registration through WCDR: $85 for members & $100 for non-members

For nearly a decade, Gwynn Scheltema and Ruth E. Walker were fiction editors for LICHEN, Durham Region’s first literary journal. And for the past 12 years, they’ve offered workshops, retreats, editing and coaching services at Writescape, working with writers in a variety of genres and styles. These popular facilitators create inspiring and practical programs in a safe and relaxed atmosphere.

Spring Thaw Reimagined 2021

Spring Thaw Reimagined 2021

Your choice of a 3-day, 5-day or 7-day retreat.

October 15 to 17; October 15 to 19; October 15 to 21, 2021

The leaves will be in glorious autumn colours when we at last escape to explore our creativity. Be assured that Writescape will offer all the inspiration and support our retreatants expect, while maintaining any health and safety regulations and protocols for all group activities, including workshops and meals, and gatherings indoors or outside.

Looking for writing time? Polishing a project? Looking for feedback from two professional editors? Or just want time to rejuvenate your creativity? Don’t miss Spring Thaw Reimagined for a chance to dive deep into your writing project.

This all-inclusive writing retreat is held at the fabulous Elmhirst’s Resort on Rice Lake in Keene. Stay for the weekend or treat yourself to an extra two or even an extra four days of writing.


    • 10-page manuscript evaluation with written feedback from Gwynn and Ruth
    • one-on-one consultation with either Gwynn or Ruth
    • private writing time
    • optional daytime creativity sessions to fire up your pen
    • a companion workbook with inspiration, prompts and supports
    • optional evening activities to network and share ideas and inspiration with retreat colleagues
    • private room in comfortable, fully equipped cottages with  fireplace
    • first-class amenities and delicious meals
    • add one of the Extend-Your-Pen options and treat yourself to focused writing time April 19 & 20 or April 19, 20, 21 & 22

Brochure 2020

Your weekend, your way

…amazing feedback!; free writing time; workshops & group activities; lively discussions with other writers…

Spring Thaw participant

Program Room
Program Room

Tailor your weekend to suit your needs. There is an agenda and formal programming, but you choose which sessions and activities will work for you.

Write in your jammies

Sunrise photo of cottage at ElmhirstWriting in-cottage

Cozy cottages are well-stocked for your breakfast. Enjoy your private room with shared living areas including living room, full kitchen and bathrooms. Those who want to hunker down and write don’t need to surface until lunch.

A limited number of private cottages are available at a daily surcharge $90+HST

Dinner with a view

Dinners are a pleasure in the lakeside dining room. 

Special dietary needs are always accommodated with advance notice.

Dining at Elmhirst’s Resort is a farm-to-table delight and a highlight for many of our retreat participants.

Questions? // 905-728-7823

Register Now

Discounts available for Writescape retreat alumni and members of writing organizations.

3-day option $945         5-day option $1370         7-day option $1815

Cottagers and area residents — send us an email for the Spring Thaw Day Rate:


When payment is received, a Writescape representative will contact you by email to confirm your registration. Thank you for registering with Writescape.

Inspiration Station

On-demand Workshops

On-demand Workshops

Gather your group. Pick your topic and your date. And we’ll bring Writescape to you.

From beginning writer to seasoned professional, we’ll customize sessions to suit your programming themes and audience needs. Choose from Writescape’s Workshop Catalogue 2016 to help you and your colleagues hone writing craft and develop new skills and techniques.

“I came away with an understanding that will stick with me … great handouts and examples.”

From two-hour evening sessions to week-long programming, you tell us what you need and when you need it. Writescape will supply professional workshop leaders, hands-on exercises and practical handouts, and a creative, supportive atmosphere for an excellent learning experience.writing-828911_960_720

“…a safe place to be vulnerable with my writing and to risk trying something new.”

Writescape facilitators have delivered workshops and presentations across the Greater Toronto Area, as well as Ottawa Region, Durham Region, and Northumberland, Kawartha, Haliburton, Muskoka, Simcoe and Niagara regions, Southwestern Ontario and into the U.S.

startup-594090_1920 (1)Step 1: talk to your group or colleagues about what you need

Step 2: choose your program from our Workshop Catalogue 2016

Step 3: contact:
leave a comment

We focus on your needs and deliver inspiration, expertise and support. We make it happen.

Custom Retreats

Custom Retreats

Your Retreat, Your Way

Does your writing group want a private, customized retreat where…

  • writing and workshopping space is provided
  • a peaceful, natural setting will encourage your muse to create
  • all meals are catered
  • a 24-hour beverage station is available
  • a professional writer and editor is on hand for support
  • customized programming can be provided
  • rates are budget friendly

From weekend get-a-ways to week-long retreats, you tell us what you need and when you need it. Writescape will work with you to make it happen. Contact us at; 705-778-5139 or leave a comment below.

Writescape’s custom Just Write! retreats are held at Glentula on the shores of Lake Seymour just over an hour east of Durham Region. Bookings can be made in all seasons. Gwynn and Don and the two house cats will be happy to welcome you.

Montage with words -- The many lovely faces of Glentula

Be inspired

Nestled in the forest, on the shores of Lake Seymour, Glentula offers peace and inspiration. Five acres of forest and walking trails, steams and lake, gardens, gazebos and secret hideaways. And inside, a bright workroom, book-lined study, or your own private room give plenty of options to write in.

Be supported

Gwynn is onsite and ready to support your writing.  After-dinner campfire readings give participants an opportunity for group feedback. Optional warm-up writing sessions and activities can be arranged.

Be comfortable

Glentula is a private cottage home with single and double occupancy rooms. All your meals and snacks are provided. This intimate retreat space accommodates five to eight participants. Registration includes accommodations, meals and all-day access to beverages and snacks.

Getting There:

Glentula is at 101 Morningside Drive, Havelock, ON. Click here for directions.

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Scrivener for Writers: The Basics

Scrivener for Writers: The Basics

Offered On Demand.

With Heather M. O’Connor, a.k.a. Dr. Scrivener

Scrivener. This powerful writing, editing and publishing software is specially made for writers. It’s like Microsoft Word on steroids.

Learn the basics in this hands-on workshop for beginners:Scrivener screenshot

  • create a new project
  • import your manuscript, images and research files
  • organize your project notes and research
  • navigate the Scrivener workspace
  • work with the corkboard and outliner

Date: Two Wednesdays that you book in advance

Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Venue: Private location in Whitby (flexible)

Fee: $80 [$70 for writing association members-WCDR, WCSC,WCYR, SOH etc.]

Registration limited to 5 people. Preregistration required.

$70 – Register for Scrivener Basics (member rate)

$80 – Register for Scrivener Basics

To register:

  1. Select your workshop (Add to Cart)
  2. Find Your Shopping Cart on the right
  3. Check out with PayPal to pay securely using a credit card or PayPal account

Can’t make it? Book an appointment with Dr. Scrivener. She makes house calls!

Flexible times and location:

  • meet at my home office in Whitby
  • learn at your kitchen table, your meeting place, the local library
  • pick the times and dates that work for you

Recruit your own group:

  • arrange your own small group sessions—perfect for critique groups
  • work at your own speed in a private one-on-one training

Choose a class or customize the curriculum:

  • Scrivener Basics (new users)
  • Scrivener Power Tools  (intermediate users)
  • Compile and Ebooks (intermediate users)
  • pick your own topics or get “unstuck”

Email Heather O’Connor for more information or to book a training.