News / Edmonton

Third Verb workshops begin/start/erupt

'We want to immerse writers in the topic and encourage them to continue writing long after the workshop.'

Third Verb creators Jessica Kluthe and Jennifer Lavallee aim for a more interactive workshop experience for would-be writers, and the chance to glean wisdom from local authors.

Lucy Haines/For Metro

Third Verb creators Jessica Kluthe and Jennifer Lavallee aim for a more interactive workshop experience for would-be writers, and the chance to glean wisdom from local authors.

Edmonton-area writers Jen Lavallee and Jessica Kluthe say they’re hoping to stir up the already vigorous local writing community with their niche offering, Third Verb.

Third Verb is recently launched workshops that are three-hour sessions with a twist.

Each is hosted by a different, local author with the chance to submit work afterwards for feedback. Add to that a few writing exercises to the participant’s inbox in weeks following the workshop, and you’ve got an experience, rather than a typical lecture-style event, according to Lavallee.

“We got immediate support from the writing community — local authors willing to share their expertise with aspiring writers,” said Lavallee, whose sessions have thus far covered scene-writing, ‘flash’ short stories (with author Jason Lee Norman — known for his anthology ’40 Below’ on Edmonton’s winters) and poetry a la Lisa Martin.

Kluthe, who teaches writing at MacEwan University and is the author of her family history ‘Rosina, the Midwife’, said she saw a gap between those studying writing full-time and others sampling an occasional literary or library event.

“There’s many people interested in writing fiction, non-fiction, poetry, blogging or even business writing, and they want learning opportunities that aren’t a big investment in time or money,” she said.

“Third Verb is relaxed and casual, but we want to immerse writers in the topic and encourage them to continue writing long after the workshop. It’s especially good for emerging writers to sustain the work and the connection with other writers.”

Workshop participant Jessica Johns, who will study writing at UBC this fall, said the opportunity to have a professional writer look over a piece of her work in "in itself, worth the time and money.”

And what of the name, Third Verb? 

It’s a writing tip, according to Kluthe — a reminder to choose the third verb wherever it will enliven a sentence. For example: “The day was about to start/begin/erupt. It’s about choosing something unexpected — like our workshops,” Kluthe said. “Writing is so isolating. Most of the time you’re at home and in your own head. But there’s a supportive writing community here.

"I think the city is overdue for something like this.”

A narrative journalism workshop is planned for the fall, but Kluthe and Lavallee said their Facebook page and website thirdverb.com allows feedback for future topics, too.

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