Touring In: British Columbia, Vancouver Island
Ideal Audience Size: 30-90
Maximum Audience Size: 150
Grades: Grades 7 – 12
Special Equipment: “I usually give presentations with a PowerPoint deck displayed either on a projector or a class television/Smart Screen. I can run the presentation on my own computer and have the appropriate cables to connect it to class computers. Alternatively, I have my presentations loaded onto a flash drive, so that they can be run from the class computer.”
Choices and Chapters: Writing in Novels and Video Games
In this presentation, Patrick explores writing prose versus writing for a major video game. Using his experiences as a published novelist and a senior writer at BioWare working on the Dragon Age and Mass Effect game series, Patrick covers how he creates content in each medium, how the flow of information varies when writing in an interactive medium, and how he writes characters that both readers and players empathize with.
This presentation runs approximately 45 minutes, leaving time for audience Q&A afterward. Patrick includes light interactive elements during the presentation, which has proven effective in getting students who like video games to think about story and writing. It is best suited for any students from grades 7 to 12.
Writing Process: What Works for Me
In this presentation, Patrick talks about how he takes a novel from a conceptual idea to a completed first draft, and eventually to a revised draft ready to send out. He covers his methods of outlining, how he structures his writing time, how he revises, and how to give and receive constructive feedback on the first draft of a novel. He finishes with a feedback guide that the audience can keep for use in creative writing groups, drawing on Patrick’s experience as a senior writer at BioWare as well as a graduate of the Clarion West Writing Workshop.
This presentation runs approximately one hour (but can run up to 90 minutes with an active audience), and is broken up with audience Q&A at each stage of the process, with the final 10-15 minutes dedicated to audience questions. It is ideal for students from grades 9-12 who are actively interested in creative writing (short stories or novels) and want practical advice on how to execute on their ideas, and for students who are already participating in a writing group.
People Who Aren’t You: Writing Diversity
In this presentation, Patrick talks about how he writes characters whose race, culture, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation differ from his. Drawing from his experiences both as a novel writer and a game writer, Patrick addresses the process of designing a character, determining their motivations and mannerisms, and learning to see the world through their eyes. He discusses how he uses sensitivity readers to avoid the pitfalls of stereotypical thinking, and he talks about how to write as an ally without appropriating the culture in question.
This presentation runs approximately 45 minutes leaving time for audience Q&A afterward. Because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter, this presentation is best suited for older and more mature students, ideally those in grades 9-12 or older, who are sincerely interested in writing stories outside of their own lived experiences.
Feeder (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018)
The Palace Job (47North, 2013)
The Prophecy Con (47North, 2014)
The Paladin Caper (47North, 2015)
Patrick Weekes was born in California and attended Stanford University. In 2005, he moved to Alberta, Canada, where he joined the BioWare writing team. Since then, he has written for the first three games of the Mass Effect series, as well as Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Patrick’s novels include both fantasy and science fiction for teen and adult readers. He is the author of the Rogues of the Republic fantasy heist caper series, as well as the modern-day science-fiction novel Feeder. In addition, he has written tie-in media for BioWare properties: Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, as well as an issue of the Mass Effect: Homeworlds graphic novel series.
Patrick lives in Edmonton with his wife Karin, his two sons, and too many rescued animals. When not writing or dadding, he builds impractically large Lego sets and watches goofy movies with good fight scenes.
“Patrick is exceptional at discussing narrative themes and techniques with all audiences. He redefined the peer review process for our team, coordinated and led narrative summits (affectionately called “Writer Voltrons”), and held Narrative Principles presentations for other departments so that they could better understand our processes and goals as a writing team. In these discussions, he never discounted anyone’s opinion and stressed inclusivity. The end effect was a safe space where people could hone their craft without ego or fear of being rebuked.
I recommend Patrick without hesitation. He is a talented author, designer, and mentor with a genuine passion to spread the positive powers of storytelling.”
—Courtney Woods, Writer, BioWare
“Patrick Weekes is charting new territory with his accessible and inspiring workshops for all ages, packed with practical advice on how to write compelling characters for any genre (including video games!). Reluctant readers and budding wordsmiths alike will find all the ingredients they need to fuel their imaginations. His classroom presentations were in high demand at our festival, and we received rave reviews from teachers and parents. Plus he’s a really nice guy!”
—Rita Sirignano, Programming Associate, Calgary Wordfest
“I would be remiss not to mention that much of the panel’s success was due to Mr. Weekes’ excellent preparation. He created visual multimedia for his presentation, was very well-organized, personable as well as informative, and achieved an excellent balance of lighthearted humor alongside serious provocative thought. He was also very generous with his time, interacting with attendees while never complaining or putting on airs.”
—Michael Sawyer, Executive Director, HavenCon