It’s been an inspiring few months. Writing has helped me to heal and find my voice, and I love helping others do the same. I’m really enjoying my time as the Irish Writers Centre Writer In Residence with Womens Aid. The work coming out is heart-warming and eye opening.
I was delighted to be part of the second curation of the Poetry Jukebox, alongside Maria McManus. There are many powerful poems on here looking both directly and indirectly at the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Have a listen outside the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. This curation runs until 10th June.
I’ve really enjoyed some mini residencies with schools in the north as part of Poetry Ireland’s Writers In Schools scheme. I was moved to tears by some beautiful feedback from one school where every pupil sent me a personal note. One said she always thought poetry was boring but now she knows it is beautiful. Another said she’s now keeping a poetry notebook and writes in it every day.
I’m looking forward to the next few months when I’ll be working with people who have eating disorders. I love helping people to find their voice again.
I’ll also be running another Heartfelt Writing Weekend. Here’s a lovely comment from a previous weekend: “This was the first workshop where I was ‘given permission’ to be myself, to write from my spirit – my heartbeat. I feel free.”
It’s a real joy to see some of my mentoring clients getting published and being shortlisted for awards.
And I’m working away on a new sequence of poems, thanks to a SIAP Award from the Arts Council. Here’s hoping the rest of 2018 is just as inspirational.
This weekend workshop on 1st and 2nd April will focus on how to write scripts that connect with other people, reaching into the deepest level of their being. We will explore practical writing techniques from this deeper perspective.
We will move beyond craft to discover how to write a script that sings.
Over the weekend we’ll look at:
- Creating characters that leap off the page with their fire, passion and humanity.
- The secret to story – how to focus on the real story – the emotional journey that underpins three act structure.
- Analysing the scene – how to write a great scene; common mistakes writers make.
- Capturing a living thing – how to edit your own work without making the final work lifeless.
- What to include in a great pitch, synopsis and treatment.
- Working in partnership with a script editor – how to make this partnership work for you.
- How to relax at a pitching meeting.
- Staying wild and free during the writing process, finding the courage to say what you need to say and therefore the freedom to inspire people to change.
For those who don’t know me, I’m an award winning screenwriter, playwright, poet and script editor. I won the Claddagh Film Script Award, the BBC Writersroom Undercover competition and was a top 10 finalist in the Red Planet Prize. I was selected for Channel 4’s Screenwriting Scheme and completed the pilot episode for an original serial. I’ve had two plays and a short film produced. I spent two years as a scriptwriter and story writer on RTE’s flagship drama, Fair City. I also wrote for the award winning teen drama Seacht. I spent eight years working as a BBC script editor and I have a Masters in Creative Writing. I’ve been facilitating writing workshops for twelve years and now mentor clients one to one.
I’m passionate about helping writers get their work into the world and not waste precious time.
Booking is essential as places are limited to 16.
Date: Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd April
Venue: The Rose Room, 7 North Street, Belfast, BT1 1NH
Cost: £125. Early bird price of £100 if booked by 31st February.
Sometimes you do your best writing in bed. Give yourself permission to do this.
When I was writing for Fair City I used to lie in bed in the mornings running a scene over and over in my head until it was perfect, and then get up and write it down. My partner at the time used to ask when I was getting up, and laughed when I said I was thinking. I wondered if I was kidding myself until I got speaking to another writer on the series who said she did the exact same thing.
I remembered all this this morning when I was having a lie in. During this lie in I wrote a blog, a course outline, some tweets, this post and the answer to a question that’s been bothering me for a long time. Now that’s what I call a lie in.
Whatever works for you – do it!
PS During my lie in I also got this in a dream – God does not always come in lightning strikes but in a series of small kisses. You can replace God with the Muse, Inspiration, writing angel, whatever – just grab those kisses when they come.
I’m in a position to take on some new mentoring clients in July. I’ll take you through a 90 day one to one mentoring programme that is tailored specifically for you.
Over the course of this programme I’ll pass on all the technique, insights and insider information I’ve gathered over the years as both an award wining writer and during my 8 years as a script editor with the BBC.
I’ll help you to write in a way that connects with other people, reaching into the deepest level of their being. This heartfelt writing has the power to change people’s lives. We will explore practical writing techniques from this deeper perspective.
We will also look at tools to break through your self doubt and blocks, so you can get writing and stay writing.
We’ll look at how to:
– be a heartfelt witness to life, so you’re overflowing with ideas that you are passionate about.
– create characters who leap off the page with their fire, passion and humanity.
– focus on the essential essence of every story – making your character go on a heartfelt, inner emotional journey of change.
– capture a living thing. How to shape, edit and polish without making the final work lifeless.
– stay wild and free during the writing process, finding the courage to say what you need to say and therefore the freedom to inspire people to change
If you’d like to find out more, email me at deirdre.cartmill(at)yahoo.co.uk and we can arrange a time to chat.
Bridging the Silence is an audio walk and installation which will premiere on Lagan Weir Bridge, Belfast from 20th-24th October from 11am to 3pm each day, as part of the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival.
The project is part of Corners and is a collaboration between myself, Croatian multimedia and sound artist Hrvoslava Brkušić and Basque visual artist and performer Beatriz Churruca.
The project is a symbolic representation of the emotional journey survivors move through as they pass from the storm inside to peace.
The project also invites people to see their story reflected in other people’s stories.
This project was born from our desire to confront unspeakable truths, make the invisible visible, give a voice to those who have no voice, speak the truths they can’t speak and transform powerlessness into power.
The audio walk blends a fictional story with real testimonies from survivors of political violence, sexual and domestic abuse, and those dealing with transgender issues.
As part of this project we will be working with a group of local survivors, facilitating workshops on spoken word performance poetry, which will give the group the tools and skills to tell their own stories.
Thanks to Corners and Iker Tolosa who is the producer on this project and part of Donostia/San Sebastian 2016 Foundation. It has also been supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Watch out for several other Corners projects which are being showcased across Belfast during the festival.
As Terra Nova’s Arrivals 2 goes on tour across the north, here’s a little bit about how I found the writing process for my play The Lost Souls Party and about the challenges of writing for intercultural theatre.
I’ve been lucky to write for both Arrivals 1 and 2. I came to this process thinking ‘multicultural’. But the real friction is in the intercultural clash. I love Terra Nova’s idea of the clash of tectonic plates when two cultures collide. This is all so acutely highlighted in the mash up when people from different cultures come together in personal relationships; they are forced to create something new together. It’s a rich seam to explore.
The process has pushed me to write outside my usual safe limits. Initially this was terrifying. But I think the real strength of the Arrivals writing process is the Masterclass weekend where people from many other cultures who are living in N. Ireland come together and share their stories and experiences, as we share ours. The details of a life lived, the nuances of the daily rituals, the deep emotions that surface allow the writers to write authentically, to add the details that make the final pieces sing true.
The weekends also give an incredible insight into how those not born here see us – and it’s not always flattering. Last year all I could see were the differences between cultures. This year what struck me most was the similarities, the common ground we all shared.
The workshopping and readings of the plays at various stages of development means there is always someone on hand to check a fact or a detail with and this is so important.
However the intercultural element is only the foundation stone, and what you build on it can be anything. This year the plays have taken a real departure in both style and tone from the realism of last year. It’s vitally important to show different faces, voices, stories on stage – but at the end of the day it’s all about what it means to be human.
I’m delighted with this lovely interview with me by Jim Meredith that features in the new issue of the Honest Ulsterman magazine.