These highly focused and personalised workshops are limited to small groups of 3 to 5 people, held about four times a year. The broad intention is to free creativity and connect with the individual writing voice by way of gentle encouragement, in a convivial setting. The topics discussed are tailored to address individuals’ interests and needs, and to suit the stage of their project; these include exploration of themes such as purpose & structure and tackling of the central question of the memoir: ‘What is my story really about and how can I make it interesting to the reader?’ The workshops are suited for those who have a project in mind — whether starting writing or having written a full draft. Participants have the opportunity to submit an excerpt from their work prior to workshop for a consultation feedback during the weekend. The writing weekends are held in rural or seaside locations that allow for immersion and relaxation.
Ongoing groups tend to form over a series of workshops owing to participants’ repeat attendance, although one-off attendance is welcome. Participation is by application; the main prerequisite is a commitment to a writing project.
For more details, please send an enquiry to
jbehmoiras [at] gmail [dot] com
Recently I was privileged to attend a Memoir Workshop Weekend run by Josiane Behmoiras at a country property west of Geelong. It was fabulous to spend time and work with like-minded strong interesting women, especially Josiane, a mentor of considerable expertise. There was much constructive guidance and tuition and time for quiet writing and sharing. Terrific, intelligent and stimulating conversation re our common, but individual projects, essentially our lives.
The backdrop of nurturing country hospitality provided by our lovely hosts Chris and Peter complimented the ambience.
I returned home with new tools and a different, but exciting mindset re the development of my memoir story. Josiane is a skilled teacher, writer and communicator and delightful company. I look forward to another enriching workshop with her.
Anne-Maree Hone, April 2016
Thanks for a terrific weekend. It was a pleasure to be in such good company to work through the issues of structure and beginnings.
I finally got to the nub of my story.
Siobhan Sheridan, April 2016
The weekend course offered so much more that I wasn’t expecting and that made the weekend so special, such as great people, who made me feel supported in my recounting my experiences, yummy food and good conversational over meals, and a beautiful setting, both house and landscape. Tutorials provided excellent guidance and teaching that hit the target with respect to my project and began to clarify so much that I had been wrangling over.
Catherine S., April 2016
Josi’s weekend workshop was superb, most helpful. I am still putting down the first draft, and it was all looking a bit daunting. After the weekend, I now have a potential structure for the memoir, including a potential beginning and ending (which I didn’t have before the workshop). Josi’s help in how to construct scenes was invaluable. In fact, all of the exercises that we did were most helpful – a number of things that I wrote during the weekend will go straight into the memoir. Josi has a nice combination of encouragement, constructive criticism and productive left-field suggestions. She goes beyond the call of duty. Thanks to the weekend’s work, I feel invigorated and much clearer – now I just need to carve out more time to keep on writing!
David Morawetz, June 2016
Special thanks to Josi for her lovely approach, and endless knowledge and advice on all things writing! It is such a warm and encouraging environment for learning the many, many tactics for good writing. These weekends give me such a shot in the arm and make me think that maybe one day I just might achieve that distant goal called publication! This latest session, covering voice, was so brilliant, and I’ve come away with excerpts that I wrote over the two days that I will use in my manuscript as well as valuable techniques to achieve something that needs to be woven seamlessly into the story.
Kate Shea, October 2016
During my first weekend with Josiane, I clarified the beginning and the end of my memoir. During my second weekend, I clarified its structure. These three major items had all been a real problem – such a relief to have them solved. I have also come away with about 2,000 words that will go into the memoir. On both weekends, I found the writing exercises extremely helpful. Thank you so much!
David Morawetz, October 2016
Last weekend was my second weekend memoir writing workshop with Josiane, and each time I have come away delighted to have found a much-needed solution to a particular challenge I was facing in my writing. Josiane’s feedback is both insightful and encouraging. Throughout the weekend, Josiane ensured everyone had an opportunity to share their work and ideas, and through her gift of hospitality created an atmosphere of learning that was relaxed and enjoyable. These workshops are unlike any other writers’ workshops I have ever attended. Trish February 2017
Trish O’Connor, February 2017
I recently attended a Memoir Writing Workshop facilitated by Josiane Behmoiras. The focus of the weekend was twofold; putting the present into the past and developing characters but I came away with so much more than two new skills. Josi’s workshops are a combination of individual and group exercises designed specifically to aid the development of your memoir. Each workshop is held over a weekend in beautifully selected accommodations. Participants share meals together as well as tutelage and this encourages the feeling of community and camaraderie. Josi’s warmth immediately puts you at ease and she makes sure the environment is comfortable and supportive. I gained much insight from her expertise and learned some excellent tools that have allowed me to inject some of what I’d been struggling to include in my story. I also got to dip my toes in the ocean and sit by an open fire — two of my favourite things — and I’m sure this helped the creative juices flow! It was a fantastic weekend of learning and laughing and I am very much looking forward to the next one.
Tash Agafonoff, February 2017
I attended the writing workshop weekend at the recommendation of a fellow writer. My memoir about the inner dialogue of an anorexic wog child, in the 70s has been challenging to pen. Initially, I felt nervous sharing my personal experience with what is now categorised as a mental illness. Idyllically located at the edge of a national park, by the fire and around the table, we began a series of writing exercises. Their unconventional nature helped us to connect to our voice. Sharing became fun, critique safe and my confidence in my ability to tell my story grew. Josi ran the sessions well and gave us helpful advice and guidance. Away from our normal lives, we entered the writers space more easily. Writing in the company of other writers is a sacred space. I happily recommend the workshopping weekend.
Merima Jackson, June 2017
You have written a memoir, a short or extended fiction or nonfiction. Give your manuscript the best chance before sending it forth into the world. A detailed report will point out strengths and weaknesses, and offer accurate suggestions on how to redraft and/or edit your work, addressing style, structure, plot, story arc, narrative pace, point of view, voice and tone.
In addition, you will be offered advice on publishing options for your specific topic and style.
Mentoring can be tailored to your personal needs, to help you see through a specific long or short term project, or to keep your writing practice alive and evolving, with a flexible delivery: via email and/or telephone Skype or personal meetings.
Mentoring can start as early as the ‘idea-dreaming’ stage to guide you through to the completion of a manuscript or pick up your writing vibe at any stage, to lead you through the writers’ journey.
Ongoing support and repeated feedback for each draft can facilitate a fast-tracked learning process and personal development of your craft, and ultimately beat the lurking writers’ block – a handy label to excuse ourselves from the demands of creative quests.
I met Josiane Behmoiras through the manuscript assessment program at Writers Victoria. Her prompt, thorough and honest commentary on my manuscript contained many insightful suggestions about what might lead to improvements. After working on those suggestions, I engaged Josiane as a mentor and was again encouraged by her detailed constructive remarks. In particular, my manuscript benefited from Josiane’s suggestions about creating key scenes in my writing and making one character the primary driving force in the narrative. In my meetings with her, Josiane showed she had read my work carefully and understood what I was trying to do. This — together with the easy rapport we established — made our discussions not only productive but also a pleasure. My book will be all the better for her wise counsel.
It took a lot of courage for me to send my manuscript for assessment by a professional. I held my breath waiting for the feedback from an anonymous assessor assigned by Writers Victoria. Josiane’s detailed report was comprehensive and honest. It pinpointed the areas I needed to work on and offered suggestions on how to deal with them. The post-assessment meeting was very beneficial as I got to discuss issues that eluded me. Josiane was very gracious and sensitive to my vulnerabilities. I would definitely recommend her and hope to work with her again.
Jo Chehab, January 2016
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