Quebec Writers' Federation Workshops

Fall Session 2017
Workshop leader: Trevor Ferguson

Saturday November 4, 2017, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
QWF Office – 1200 Atwater Avenue, Room 3, Westmount, QC

Workshop fee: $80 for QWF members; $100 for non-members
Cost of QWF membership (annual) and workshop: $115
Payment is due within one week of registration to confirm your spot.
For more information, or to register:
(514) 933-0878 or

Be afraid. Be very afraid. This workshop studies how and why to write with attitude to foster and build suspense. While literary devices are deployed, suspense is experienced as visceral and derives from acute apprehension. The writer must feel and experience the danger, too, to make it all work. As suspense is dependent upon the unknown, which includes an unpredictable outcome, we work on how to hold a scene or a story’s outcome in abeyance for the sake of discovering where it exists in the moment. We learn to invoke the unknown and allow it to percolate so that the writer’s own risks and trepidation, doubts and fears, are free to bolster elements on the page. We learn to take advantage of the calm to prepare the narrative for the dramatic. Be willing to be afraid. Distrust ability. Comfort zones ought to be challenged; they’re lethal.

The trajectory of the workshop includes Suspencing the Stone; The On-Ramp to the Fast Lane; Life in the Fast Lane; Speeding up in the Fast Lane; and Running on Empty. The development of suspense involves, and the workshop studies, the key elements of language, character, action, and setting, and how they merge in traffic.Please bring your weapon of choice, be it a laptop or pen-and-paper, and be prepared to write and rework passages in different ways to reveal what can be done to enhance, and artfully mete and control, suspense.

Trevor Ferguson

Trevor Ferguson (aka John Farrow) is the author of seven literary novels and six thrillers. He’s been published in twenty-four countries. Booklist(New York) called his crime series, as John Farrow, the best of our time; Die Zeit (Germany) called it the best of all time. Of his most recent novel, Perish the Day (2017, Minotaur, New York), Lee Child said it’s “the best yet in one of my favourite series. I love Émile Cinq-Mars!” Trevor has been on the faculty of the Creative Writing Departments of both Concordia University and the Banff School for the Arts.


Registration Information

To register, email [ workshops AT QWF DOT org ].

Payment Information

Payment is due within one week of registration to confirm your spot. Payment options are listed in the column to the right.

Please familiarize yourself with our
cancellation policy.

QWF workshop cancellation policy

Read about QWF and accessibility:

QWF and accessibility

For more information:

(514) 933-0878
[ workshops AT QWF DOT org ]

QWF gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Canada Council for the Arts / Conseil des Arts du Canada