I’m delighted to be part of the Irish Writers Centre Mindshift: Breaking Into Television day on Saturday 6th October at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin.
My session on Writing Drama runs from 11.50am-1.00pm
In this session find out what all drama commissioners are looking for and how to write a script that stands out. We’ll also look at the importance of story and what a script is NOT. I’ll share my experiences of writing for both the BBC and RTE. I worked as a script editor with the BBC for 8 years and I’ll also share my insights from the script editor’s point of view. I’ll detail what’s required in a submission, and how to build a relationship with an editor. There’ll also be some short writing exercises to get you thinking more deeply about your writing.
The day also includes Writing Comedy with James Phelan and a Panel session with Heather Browning and James Phelan chaired by David Kavanagh.
Date: Sat 6 Oct 2018
Time: 10.30am – 4.00pm
Duration: 1 Day
Cost: €50/€40 Members
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.
I’m delighted to be teaching the screenwriting course at this year’s John O’Connor Writing School in Armagh, from 3rd-5th November.
During these practical and inspiring sessions you’ll learn how to create characters that leap off the page, how to structure a story for the screen, how to write a great scene, explore the common mistakes writers make and more. This is suitable for beginners and emerging screenwriters who want to take their scripts to a deeper level. We’ll focus primarily on TV and film, but many of the tools and insights can be adapted for radio and stage.
I’ll be passing on all all of my tips and insider knowledge gained as an award winning writer for TV, short film, radio and theatre, and during my 8 years as a BBC script editor
The wonderful Barry Devlin is teaching the screenwriting masterclass on the Saturday.
The festival last year was friendly, intimate and great crack – so many writers mingling in such a small city.
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.
I had a fantastic night reading at Muldoon’s Picnic alongside Paul Muldoon, the Horslips, Maria McManus, Martina Devlin, Peter McVeigh, Stuart Neville, Ann Enright and Michael Longley. It was one of the many great events as part of the inaugural John O’Connor Writing School in Armagh.
This was the first time Paul Muldoon hosted one of his famous ‘picnics’ outside of New York. It was wonderful to be a part of it.
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.
As writers we have a voice. As writers we have the power to be an illuminating, dissenting voice that invites others to think differently and freely.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” From Propaganda by Edward Bernay.