Tag Archives: Deirdre Alexander

Writing Scripts That Sing – Weekend Workshop

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.

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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.

And more…

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

Time: 11am-5pm

Cost: £125. Early bird price of £100 if booked by 31st February.

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Whatever Works For Your Writing – Do It!

Sometimes you do your best writing in bed. Give yourself permission to do this.

red lips on wall reuse

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.

 

 

 

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Heartfelt Writing Weekend

I’m running a Heartfelt Writing Weekend Workshop on 23rd and 24th January. This weekend will focus on how 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.

Beautiful words and an understanding of craft are not enough – the substance under the words is what matters.

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Over the weekend 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.

spiritual book

For those who don’t know me, I’m a poet with two published collections and an award winning screenwriter and playwright. I won the Claddagh Film Script Award, the BBC Writersroom Undercover competition and I’ve had two plays and a short film produced. I was a writer for two years on RTE’s flagship drama, Fair City, and the award winning teen drama Seacht. I also spent eight years working as a BBC script editor, five years as a freelance journalist and I have a Masters in Creative Writing.

I wrote my first poem at the age of eight but stopped writing when a teacher praised my poem but said I could never have written something so good and it must have been copied. The humiliation and criticism stopped me writing for the next fifteen years. Self doubt and fear of ridicule can block all writers, often for years, and I’m passionate about helping writers get their work into the world and not waste precious time.

Whether you’re writing a novel, screenplay, poetry, graphic novel or play, this weekend will help you approach your work in a fresh and deeper way.

The workshop will take place in the beautiful and calming environment at The White Feather, 7 North Street, Belfast, BT1 1NH. Free tea and coffee provided.

Booking is essential as places are limited to ten.

Dates: Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th January.

Times: 11am-5pm

Cost; £120. £30 deposit secures your place.

Email me at info@deirdrecartmill.com if you’d like to book a place or find out more.

If you can’t make the workshop but are interested in my one to one mentoring programme, drop me an email and we can arrange to have a chat about it or jump on a Skype call.

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Poetry NI Summer Reading

I’m really looking forward to reading at the Poetry NI Summer Reading at the Crescent Arts Centre on 27th August.

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I’ll be reading alongside a great mix of established names and exciting new voices – Maria McManus, Chris Agee, Ruth Carr, Kelly Creighton, Matt Kirkham, Geraldine O’Kane and Lynda Tavakoli. The night will be hosted by Colin Dardis and starts at 7.30pm.

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Schools Workshops in Downpatrick

I’m looking forward to taking up residency in Down County Museum from 3rd – 5th June, working with schools on poems about the famine.

This is part of the build up to the 150th anniversary commemoration of the famine. Some of the poems will be read at a special event in Newry in the autumn.

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Creative Writing Masterclass & Poetry Hothouse

I’m running a Creative Writing Masterclass at Rockport Arts Centre on Saturday 9th May and a Poetry Hothouse on Saturday 16th May.

In the Creative Writing Masterclass we’ll look at how to structure any story, create vibrant characters with a deep inner life and discuss some good writing practice to enliven any story. The day will involve a mix of writing exercises, ideas, inspiration and feedback. It is suitable for all levels of experience.

Layout 1The Poetry Hothouse will explore what makes a good poem, how you put emotional depth into your poetry and how you create vivid imagery. I will use inspiration, tips, guided writing exercises and feedback to get you writing. This day will increase your skills and confidence, whether you’re a beginner or are already writing.

Bring a notepad, pen, packed lunch and your imagination. The room overlooks the sea and there’ll be a chance for a sea walk over lunchtime.

Both courses run from 10.30am-3.30pm. The cost is £30. Booking is essential and places must be booked through Rockport Arts Centre – via paypal at RockportArtsCentre.com, tel 028 9042 8372 or email arts@rockportschool.com

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A Writer’s Perspective – Arrivals 2

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.

Deirdre Listening 3 (640x640)

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.

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