2021 Festival Programming

Program 2021 Bulletin #11
Welcome to those who have recently joined the WWC Presenter mailing list. When Words Collide is a unique type of festival where everyone–organizers and presenters–volunteer their time and efforts to bring readers and writers together in a celebratory weekend. Without you, there would be no festival.
1 Week and Counting

At this time the schedule is firm and we are attempting to find ZOOM hosts for remining sessions. There are also a few discussion panels with room for additional presenters.


Many of our sessions do not have moderators. While not exactly necessary, moderators do help sessions go smoothly, especially online sessions as the role of moderator includes monitoring the Chat or Q&A for audience questions. If you would like to moderate a session or two, please let us know which ones interest you.

ZOOM Hosting

We still have a number of unhosted sessions. If you are comfortable hosting with Zoom, please step up. The festival is purchasing Pro ZOOM licenses + webinar for the festival, but we do not have the manpower to host all the sessions. We are finalizing some documentation on how to host, and will hold some test sessions to verify good connections (probably on Wednesday Aug 11). We are currently investigating if we can provide to hosts a pre-configured template in order to minimize their setup effort. Several people have already offered to host, and some of those have indicated their panel preferences. These are marked in the documentation. Those who did not offer preferences will be assigned whatever sessions remain.

2021 Festival Schedule Documents as of Aug 6, 2021
Please note that the itinerary now includes a line item for each session to indicate who is hosting. Sessions that are not yet hosted list "TBA" as the presenter. Lines in purple indicate presenters have confirmed while lines in blue indicate we are still waiting for presenter confirmation.

The Quick Guide is now colour-coded with blue backgrounds indicating a host has been assigned while white backgrounds indicate a host is needed. Gold backgrounds indicate the sessions will be held in, a virtual environment where attendees may join small discussion groups at will. WWC has set-up a virtual Delta Hotel kumospace to be used for the 10th Anniversary Banquet and other social events. If you think your session would work well in Kumospace, ask us about assigning your session.

All times are MDT (Mountain Daylight Time). If your location during the festival is outside the Calgary, Alberta time zone, you will need to calculate your corresponding local time. For time zone help:

Click to view WWC 2021 Itinerary.pdf
Click to view WWC 2021 Program Quick Guide.pdf
Click to view WWC 2021 Program Descriptions.pdf

Please contact us regarding the schedule via:
Note: while you will receive email invitations to the sessions where you are presenting, if you wish to attend the rest of the festival, you will need to register as an attendee. Registration is free at:

Shared Authors Table

There is still time to register for the IFWA-sponsored Shared Authors Table. Instructions can be found on the bottom of our registration page:

1 on 1 Sessions

Requests for 1-on-1 sessions have been processed. There may be some late requests, but for the most part they have been passed on to editors/agents, etc. Please contact those who wish to enjoy a session with you and arrange a time in the days prior to or following the festival weekend. Use whatever medium you like for the sessions: phone, ZOOM, etc. If you require a ZOOM host, let us know so we can arrange one.
Note: we received far fewer requests than expected and suspect ZOOM fatigue is a factor.

Panel Discussion with Room for Additional Presenters

Several spots have opened up due to presenter cancellations. If you would like to present on any of the following, please let us know.

Friday 1 PM
Bob Brill, Jim Christina, ?, ?
Description TBA
Writing YA Villians
Jenna Greene, Morgan Rhodes, Mandy Eve-Barnett, ?
In YA fiction, the bad guys used to be easy to spot in their metaphorical black hats and handlebar moustaches. What does the revamped ‘villain’ archetype mean for our young heroes? How does it affect the story and the other characters? How might this more nuanced sense of good and bad play out as young adult fiction continues to evolve?
Friday 1 PM
Beyond Live-Action Slush
Adrienne Kerr, Sam Hiyate, ?, ?
You’ve hooked them with the first page, but what do you need in the next 10 pages to prompt an editor to request your full manuscript? What should you avoid at a novel start to keep them wanting more?
Killing 'em Softly: Writing Murder Mysteries/Thrillers for YA Audiences
Melissa Yi, ?, ?, David A. Poulsen [PM]
For a long time, killing people in books ostensibly for teens was an unwritten taboo. That has changed but what are the potential pitfalls? What are the limits? What are still no-go zones? How graphic should descriptions be? Does parental or school censorship have an influence on how or what you write? What are the applicable laws (e.g. child protection laws) that writers need to be aware of?

Friday 4 PM
How Urban Is Your Fantasy?
Jennifer Estep, Kevin Weir, Faith Hunter, ?, James Bow [M]
What separates Urban Fantasy from other forms of speculative fiction (i.e. contemporary fantasy, magical realism, and paranormal romance), what tropes are used, misused, and overused, and what individual cities like Toronto or Chicago can contribute to the genre. What would an urban fantasy set in Calgary be like?

Friday 6 PM
Queer Representation in Mainstream Literature
Finnian Burnett, Cassie L Taylor, Cheryl Head, ?, Tagan Shepard [M]
Today, it’s more important than ever to give LGBTQ readers characters they can relate to. This panel of diverse authors discuss how to accurately represent marginalized people with sensitivity and realism, including how to do research when writing queer characters, especially as people explore new worlds of gender identity and alternative orientations.

Saturday 10 AM
Debut Authors— A Journey to Publication
Lou Rider, Barbori Garnet, Nancy M Bell,?
Discussing everything from query letters to rejections to different pathways to be published. What to look for in publishing companies, what to avoid and if it’s worth getting your book professionally edited.

Saturday 12 PM
Writing Game Fiction
Stephen B. Pearl, Jennifer Slebioda, ?, ?
Game tie-ins allow for storytelling in a highly predefined format. What are the challenges and advantages of working in a world defined for you by a game? How true to the game must you remain and where can the writer take liberties.
Apocalyptic Fiction and Nonfiction
Jennifer Gordon, Allan Weiss, Diane Morrison, ?
The real world can be scarier than anything a person could make up. What are the common threads between fictional doomsday worlds and real ones, in the present, past or future? What draws us to read about the end of worlds, without hope? What’s the scariest world you’ve encountered in literature, real or imagined?

Saturday 2 PM
Marketing Yourself as an Author through the Media World
?, ?, Mark Leslie (Lefebvre), Andy Peloquin, Joe Compton [M]
There have never been more choices for media where authors can market themselves. From traditional sources like newspaper, radio, and television to social media platforms including (but not limited to) podcasts, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Join the panelists as they share ideas, experiences and options available for marketing yourself through this often complex and confusing media world.
Writing by Dictation
Carol Parchewsky, Konn Lavery, Tony King, ?, Elissa McColl[M]
Panelists discuss the pros and cons of writing by dictation, software and apps they’ve used, and share tips and tricks on what works for them.

Saturday 3 PM
Self-Publishing Non-Genre Books
Joanne Morcom, Cassandra Arnold, ?, ?
Non-fiction, memoir, poetry, children's books, etc. When your book is more than simply paragraphs of prose, how do you go about formatting, publishing, and marketing your product? How do you decide on layout? What about covers and illustrations? Special fonts? Where to use colour images? Indie authors of non-genre books discuss.

Saturday 4 PM
For Love of the Librarians
Halli Lilburn, ?, ?, David A. Poulsen [PM]
All of us are aware just how important librarians are in what we, as writers, do. What do these people do? How are decisions as to the purchase of books made? How involved are the librarians with author events in the library/school? What can we, as writers, do to help them, make their work easier, and get our books on their shelves?
Bring on the Goths
Chris Marrs, Jennifer Gordon, ?, ?
Victorian, American, Prairie, and Southern Gothic are all facets of the Gothic Horror genre. They may often share some elements like creepy houses, and desolate settings but what are the differences? Panelist will discuss writing in the variations of the Gothic Horror tradition.

Saturday 6 PM
Taking that Stand-Alone Novel You Wrote and Discovering the Publisher Wants a Trilogy or a Series
Ronald Hore, Sandra Fitzpatrick, P.D. Workman, ?
How do you go about taking the novel or story you've slaved over for months and go ahead and expand it beyond where you originally plotted? Should you always think about what happens next, or are you just ecstatic the original manuscript has been accepted?
The Cthulhu Mythos
Daniel Wright, Kevin Weir, ?, ?
The Cthulhu mythos is a shared fictional universe created by H.P. Lovecraft which incorporates slow-creeping madness and cosmic horror along with insanity resulting from contact with the impenetrable “Eldritch Gods”. Its influence can still be seen in today’s Marvel and DC Multiverses. Join our panelists as they discuss the seminal world of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.
Sunday 10 AM
Live Action Slush – Humour Edition
Talena Winters, Ira Nayman, ? , Edward Willet [Reader]
Submit the 1st page of your manuscript to be anonymously read aloud and receive comments from our editors.
Book Clubs for Readers
Amy Jo Fleming, Susan Calder, Joy Norstrom, ?
How to form a book club; different types of clubs; informal and formal; in-person and online; novels vs short story clubs.*Book club questions.

Sunday 1 PM
Live Action Slush – Science Fiction Edition
Ella Beaumont, Catherine Fitzsimmons, Robert Dawson, ? [Reader]
Submit the 1st page of your manuscript to be anonymously read aloud and receive comments from our editors.

Sunday 2 PM
Live Action Slush – Historical Edition
Shirlee Smith Matheson, Jacqueline Guest, ?, Krista Wallace [Reader]
Submit the 1st page of your manuscript to be anonymously read aloud and receive comments from our editors.
HELP! How do I Sell my Book?
Monica Zwikstra, Angela Ackerman, Lacy Lieffers, ?, Merilyn Ruth Liddell [M]
Your book has been published. Now what? Whether you have a contract with a publishing house or are self-published, you have to work to attract a readership and sales. How? Panelists will bring their stories of promotion and marketing successes (and failures), including book launches, readings, social media advertising, newsletters and blogs. Find out what sales strategies might work for you.
Sunday 3 PM
Live Action Slush – Urban Fantasy Edition
Talena Winters, ?, ?, Carol Parchewsky [Reader]
Submit the 1st page of your manuscript to be anonymously read aloud and receive comments from our editors.

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Thank you for supporting When Words Collide by participating in our program.

Randy McCharles
2021 Festival Program Director
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