Friday, February 4, 2011

Workshop Retreat Season Off to a Tremendous Start!

The first workshop in 2011 represents the fine quality that Anam Cara's workshop retreat season has to offer. Because so many fiction writers have been inspired by his book Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot: A Guide for Screenwriters, Peter Dunne will be applying his approach to benefit writers of all genre who have a story to tell.

Kristin Veel (Copenhagen, Denmark) affirms this point: "Even though I am not a screenwriter, I found Peter Dunne's book immensely helpful. With its easily applicable tools and step-by-step advice, it is a great companion to the journey of every writing process. However, the main strength of the book lies in its ability to identify and unlock the creative potential embedded in the realization that a writing process is a personal journey for the characters as well as the author."

I look forward to hearing from you ( about the possibility of your retreating to Anam Cara to enhance your writing by sharing in this invaluable experience. I send my best wishes, Sue

(Bookings reserved with a deposit one month before the workshhop retreat will receive an early-registration discount; this workshop retreat is limited to 6 minimum and 12 maximum participants.)

Emotional Structure and the Storyteller
Leader: Peter Dunne (
One-week Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 16 April 2011
Departure: Saturday, 23 April 2011

"Novel, short story, memoir, essay, you name it, when it comes to storytelling, some problems are universal.One in particular, the gravest possibly, I call the Breaking Point.

"The Breaking Point isn't a writing problem. It is a writer problem. It is the point at which either the writer wins, or the problem wins. At the Breaking Point, the story you are trying to tell resists being told. You find yourself staring at all the good, hard work you have done, and beg the gods to lead you on. But the story will not budge, and it does so because it knows, even when you don't, that something vital in your writing is going unwritten. All of your original ideas containing the very spirit of everything you intended to write have slithered through your fingers like a bucket of eels. The meaning of your work has escaped. And you are on the verge of giving up the search. Don't.

"Here is your chance to find it again, and to find your way back into your story. Set in the magical atmosphere of the Beara peninsula's Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat, our one-week workshop retreat "Emotional Structure for the Storyteller" will enable you to once again say in your writing what you've always felt, with confidence and clarity."

More Testimonials: (From two more of the fiction and non-fiction writers who have read Peter's book)

Eileen Pierce (San Pancho, Mexico): "I am still reeling from my stay at Anam Cara where multiple muses helped me shape a chaotic memoir of a fragmentary life. Besides the wonderful editing assistance of Sue, the enchanting walks along the river that meanders through the property, the consistently fresh, gourmet meals, and the exciting silent hours I spent finding my way to the center of a work I had almost abandoned as a lost cause, I managed to read Peter Dunne's book; it was revelatory. Though I am not a screenwriter, I picked the book up because Mr. Dunne had just completed a very successful workshop at Anam Cara. I meant to glance at it briefly. Instead, I discovered a wealth of information about the emotional structure essential to all fiction and non-fiction. Though I had hoped to return to Anam Cara in September, one of the loveliest times to visit Ireland, I am now hoping to negotiate an April retreat when Mr. Dunne is giving another workshop retreat."

Catherine Hickie, Sydney, Australia: "Recently, wrestling with the narrative threads of a novel too long in progress, I got hold of a copy of Peter Dunne's book. I wish I had read it earlier. After 70,000 words and many drafts [of my novel], I seemed to be spinning my wheels, making changes but no real progress. And the doubts had me almost frozen. I had characters, setting, plot, but what was I really writing about?

"...I was surprised by the quiet reflectiveness of the book. Dunne talks about the difference between knowing things and being wise. He does know things, but his book is a page turner because it is wise. I found myself engrossed in the book for its truths about relationships, desires and disappointments and forgetting that I had a novel to finish.

"...Although the book was written with screenplays in mind, it offers sound principles for any creator of stories. There are useful suggestions for establishing a writing life -- my favourite was Dunne's challenge to the procrastination mindset, 'I'll be a writer one day when....'. Make the time now, he exhorts us. Take fifteen minutes from your TV watching time, eat faster. Whatever it takes. Start writing now.

"...The real magic for me began when I set Dunne's book aside and re-read mine. The critical eye that had me spinning my writing wheels for months had disappeared. I read with a new curiosity and excitement. And I was writing again. Not correcting or rewriting, writing.

"Peter Dunne [and his approach to storytelling] can make your story better. You can't ask for more than that."

Peter's Bio:

An award-winning producer and writer, Peter Dunne brings three decades of experience in script development, writing, and producing to every project. His experiences as a writer and producer have taken him around the world: from Los Angeles to London, from Portland to Atlanta, from Las Vegas to New Zealand.

Peter served as the Vice President of Development for three Hollywood studios before beginning his career as a screenwriter and producer. Among the projects he has produced and/or written are such television classics as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Melrose Place, Savannah, Police Story, Dallas, Knots Landing, JAG, Nowhere Man, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, and the extraordinary mini-series Sybil.

He has compiled an impressive list of honors along the way that includes the Emmy Award, the George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award, the Scott Newman Award, the Chicago Film Festival's Silver Hugo, and the distinguished Kennedy Foundation Honors, among others.

Peter is the author of the book Emotional Structure: Creating the Story Beneath the Plot (A Screenwriter's Guide), published by Quill Driver Press, and is a contributing writer to Quality TV: Contemporary American Television and Beyond, published by I.B. Taurus, London. He teaches screenwriting at the UCLA School of the Arts, Writers' Program, and has been a visiting lecturer in Creative Writing and Memoir Writing at UCLA, Santa Clara University, The University of Southern California, and The University of Central America in El Salvador.

A dual-citizen of the United States and Ireland, Dunne is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, The Irish Writers Union, PEN Ireland, PEN USA, and PEN International. He is currently working on two new books.

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