Plays by Deborah Freeman

I have completed `Remedies,` a play about M E.  Background research...

Writing Groups

I am setting up a new writing group in East Finchley, to be held in the atmospheric location of an East Finchley...

Novels by Deborah Freeman

 A few years back. I answered an ad on the Radio 3 website, from the conceptual art company, Blast Theory...

Poems by Deborah Freeman

These appeared in the journal Jewish Renaissance, 2008.  `Fish.` `Fasting.` `Open a Gate for Us. ` `After the...

Writing Groups

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I am setting up a new writing group in East Finchley, to be held in the atmospheric location of an East Finchley Artisan Coffee Shop! I am open to enquiries. See the history of my plays, poems and stories for a general background, then contact me via the website - or through the details given on the flyers in situ.Come to a first group for free - and decide if you like it. Then, if you decide to join, you commit up front to 6 fortnightly workshops at a time.The group will meet every other Wednesday, from 3.30 to 5.30.Look forward to hearing!

I am setting up a new writing group in North Finchley, and am open to enquiries. See the history of my plays, poems and stories for a general background, then contact me via the website - and let`s get started.  Generally I like to speak to a prospective member on the phone. The venue for a group yet to be fixed. I`ll wait until we have a suitable number - around seven. Look forward to hearing!

The group will meet once a fortnight, from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm.

I was set to run a Creative Writing Workshop here in Cheadle. A one day event run by myself and writer Susan Stern. As I am away for a while and then moving to London...it looks as though this workshop will be postponed until late autumn. Do watch this space, because a new date should be set shortly.

Hot off the press. Plans for a one day summer workshop to be held in Cheadle, run by me and writer Susan Stern. The date? Sunday August 19th. Running from 10.30 till 4.30. (sandwiches and drinks provided,) for £40.00 only, the workshop is for beginners, as well as experienced writers, and anyone in between.  Material to help you get the  best out of the day will be sent to participants in advance, and there will be the possibility of a one to one sessions by arrangement afterwards, for anyone wanting to take the next step on their writing journey! To apply, please contact me through the website.

My next writing group will be for Womanswrite, in Manchester.  If you are a woman in Manchester go to the Commonword website for info about Womanswrite. I`m looking forward to this group. Somewhere between 15 and 20 participants. Nothing like the smaller groups I am used to.  Am planning some drama, if possible.

My Writing Groups.


I have run a variety of writing groups in different settings.  I am a group enthusiast but I know that groups can be powerful forces and care must always be taken.


My ideal group is composed of 7/8  people. Perhaps 10 on the books so 2/3 could feel free not to turn up from time to time!  For me, a sense of freedom is important. I try hard in my groups not to curtail anyone`s sense of creative autonomy.


My Three Rules


Rule One:   Whatever lies behind a piece of writing, I assume that when the words lie on the piece of paper, they are what count. `Did this really happen?` or `Is this actually about you?` are not questions I allow. Of course, if a writer chooses to say to the group: `This really happened to me,` then that is the person`s right. 


Rule Two: The content of another person`s writing belongs to her/him and will not be discussed by others outside the group.  Of course everyone is free to discuss their own work. That`s different.


Rule Three: Criticism must be positive, and not harsh. Most people pick up very quickly that there are polite and sensitive ways of saying things.  The toughest people can feel insecure when they show their writing to others. I respect this.


What`s in the group?


Each group is different.  Whether you are a beginner or not is irrelevant. I bring all my experience about the actual technical stuff. How a piece of writing is put together.  Why you should try not to use too many adjectives! How, often, `Less is more'.  The creation of character. The story you want to tell. What is a story? First person or third person. Poem, short story, play or novel? Who are our favourite writers?  I use exercises, and objects.  Once, when someone was stuck on a story, I said: `Put an orange in it'. That tale, set on  a Greek island, came to life.  I also provide information about websites, how to learn about writing competitions, how to submit material, etcetera.  This year my interest in art and the history of art has grown. I might bring paintings.  I might do anything. Above all, I will follow the individual lead of every member, if her/his quest is to find authentic and clear ways of expression through words. Beautiful words.


****


I  look forward to meeting whoever comes.


Debbie Freeman

Some comments by people who have been in my writing groups:


1. I found the character-building exercise superb. I've used it since, really enjoying the process and it has given me other ideas. I left with a much wider understanding, and you were very encouraging and appreciative of everybody's efforts, which was great.


2. I did so much enjoy the week end.  I was worried a 2 day event was asking too much, but was proven well and truly wrong!



3. I felt very comfortable on the course. Deborah was very good and allowed the group to grow at the right pace.


4. The teaching was excellent. Managed to be both structured and flexible.



5. What kind of knowledge have you gained from the course?   Really stimulating - lots of ideas for writing. Exciting - positive and exhilarating. Loved it!  Lots of feedback. Lots of support and encouragement! Felt safe to share very personal writing. Flexible approach.


6. Did the course fulfil your expectations?  Yes!


 

Tuesday March 6th, I am invited to facilitate a writing group at Womanswrite - a branch of Commonword, in Manchester. This will be an exciting new challenge. A group of up to 20 women. Most of my previous groups have been smaller.  I have lots of ideas, and think I mgiht need them. In a small group it is easy to follow the leads and suggestions of individual members, and they often find this process very satisfying. With a larger group, it is well-nigh impossible to follow them all. To be fair -  listen to all, but follow none.

I`m planning some drama for the occasion. Looking at how a piece of writing resembles or doesn`t, the production of a play.

I love writing workshops and groups. After years of being in them, I started to run them. I have run workshops at Manchester Jewish Museum, Greater Manchester Police Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, The Mill, in Walton on Thames, Didsbury Language School - not to mention some years of groups run from home. 

When faced with a group in an anonymous space, I find that apart from the one or two folk whose heads are already full of images and ideas, others like the stimulus of objects, pictures, anecdotes, exercises. When running a group in a museum or gallery, I try to help members of the group set boundaries, and be selective in how they allow the setting to inform their writing.

I draw on my background in groupwork. People bring a lot of themselves into writing groups, and take risks. Confidentiality should be assumed at all times. 

 

Copyright © 2010 Deborah Freeman
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