Dublin Writer's Forum
Time & Location
About the Event
Dublin Writers’ Forum (DWF) was founded in 2011 to provide a creative space where people with a passion for writing can come together and support each other in making their work as good as it can be. It is a place where you can share your writing with others who are serious about developing their craft, and are willing to give some of their time, energy and critical voice to others doing the same. We operate on a drop-in basis so members can come whenever it suits them.
How well it works on any night depends on all of us – on our willingness to reveal our own work while it is still in progress and actively seek the responses of our listeners and readers to it, while it is still in a raw state; and also, on how carefully we frame our own reactions to others’ work; and how effectively and constructively we communicate these.
Dublin Writers’ Forum is an inclusive welcoming space where everyone’s voice is respected equally and everyone around the table feels safe. To that end we ask all writers to only bring work to the table that they are confident would not silence anyone else in our diverse community. Before you bring work to the group please consider very carefully and sensitively any work that deals with issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or violence.
Dublin Writers’ Forum is not an open mic session. DWF is a place to bring your work before it is quite ready to get its first outing with a real, live audience…. Bring it when you have done some work on it and are not sure where to go from here; or if you are almost finished – you think – and need some feedback on final adjustments; or if you have a particular problem you want to discuss.
Don’t be surprised if you hear as many different reactions, and opinions, as there are people on the night. All good. When you hear the one comment that is just what you need to help you move on, you will recognise it.
What do we mean by ‘give feedback’ or ‘critique’? Well, there is no blue-print, but here are a few of our thoughts on…
The Art of Critique
We are all here with the common desire to be better writers. Writing in itself is a solitary process and we are often too close to our own work to see it clearly. Our aim here at DWF is to help each other step back and see the writing with new eyes.
Giving and receiving feedback is an art form in itself. Here are some basic pointers to help guide us:
- When giving feedback, always begin with what works and then move onto what needs tweaking.
- Be honest and fair with your comments.
- Make sure your feedback is about the piece of work and not the person.
- While reading another’s work it is natural to want to make some comment or give your opinion on the topic or theme the work explores. We ask everyone to keep their general comments and opinions to the coffee break and while giving feedback only focus on the work in front of you. A good guideline for what is appropriate is to ask yourself ‘what does this writer need to hear to help them make this work better?’
- Vague generalisations are not helpful. Be specific and explain clearly what you mean.
- When giving feedback, restrict yourself to one or two comments; that way others have the opportunity to give their feedback too. You are very welcome to write other comments on the photocopied page and the writer will have the opportunity to read your other comments later. Please give back the page to the writer after the critique or if you want to keep a copy, make sure to ask the writer’s permission first.
- When receiving feedback, remember it is only information - which you can choose to use or not.
- If someone reacts emotionally to your work, it may have triggered a response to a personal issue. Keep this in mind, and do not over-react to their reaction.
- Be patient when receiving feedback. Some people express critical responses better than others.
- Take nothing personally. What is important is the writing and how we best express ourselves.
- Everyone’s work deserves be treated with the utmost respect. Criticism can be rigorous without being harsh and we want everyone present to enjoy a positive and safe working environment. If Fióna or Anne judge comments to be destructive or disrespectful, we will intervene.
The format of the evening is as follows:
Each writer has a slot of approximately fifteen minutes when they read their piece and receive feedback on it. The writer waits until everyone has commented before responding briefly. It may be a good idea to write down the comments so you can reflect on them afterwards. Please bring at least sixteen copies of your work for discussion and take these back at the end. We take a short break midway through the session and we encourage our members to purchase a drink or food at the counter as we are getting the venue for free.
There is no fee to join. We do ask people to purchase a drink or food, or for a small donation which we give to the venue.
Please don’t take any photos during the evening unless permission is expressly given.
Approximately one a term the DWF organises a public reading. We invite our members to share their work with the wider, creative community, family and friends. This opportunity is open to all members who wish to participate in the evening. We ask only that members read work with both their own and the audience’s pleasure in mind.
For more information, check out our Facebook page or email us at email@example.com