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MENTORING

Are you looking for a mentor who’ll encourage you to find your own voice?  Who’ll help you to write with confidence?  Who’ll teach you skills and enable you to complete projects you’ve wanted to do for years?  If so, I can help you. 
I know what it’s like to start a novel with the best of intentions, then run out of steam after the first 50 pages.  I know what it’s like to look at a poem, know it’s not quite right, yet not know how to develop it.  I know what it’s like to wish you had someone to talk to – really talk to – about your writing.  Friends and family mean well, but can be unhelpful or even crushing if they say something tactless.  And they can’t usually discuss point of view, plot or imagery.   
I can help you to make huge steps forward very quickly.  Believe me: I’ve seen it happen.  A number of writers with whom I’ve worked have gone to have success with their writing.  Dawn Voice, who writes for children, had just had her second book published, and has written the following generous comments about our experience of working together:   

“Thanks to Caroline for her superb mentoring, my second book - The Owl Wood Stone - is finished.  Although, I received many rejections from agents; I‘ve also received some personal letters with positive comments. All of this so encouraging in these difficult times for all writers, but especially debut writers.

In my case, a chance meeting with a local entrepreneur - who asked to read the manuscript - has resulted in an offer from him to fund a print run, and sell the book from his website.

I could not have produced this book with Caroline’s help.  As with my first book (not yet taken up), the ideas were coming thick and fast. Caroline guided me through the crafting of the book, and the shaping of the story. Encouraging me in my moments of self-doubt, she rejoiced with me when it finally came together.

I could not have wanted for a better guide and mentor, and I would urge anyone who wants to write, to contact Caroline.  The Owl Wood Stone – a book for children aged 7 – 12 years, will be available to buy from www.upforart.co.uk, from the 1st October 2012, at a price of £6.99”

My charges are reasonable: £45 for up to 40 lines of poetry or 4000 words of prose.  I’ll return my report and my comments on your text within a week – often sooner.  As a writer and teacher of both fiction and poetry, I can work with both forms.  I usually work via email.  Writers send me some work, and I reply with a report, and their work, with my extensive comments.  But I can also work face-to-face, or on the telephone.  It’s up to you.

If you’d like to work with me, please email me on Caroline.Gilfillan@btinternet.com

My mentoring and teaching experience

I first worked as a mentor for the British Council, under the Crossing Borders programme, from 2002 to 2006.  This brilliant project, initiated and run from Lancaster University, paired British writers with emerging African writers.  Every six weeks a story or a group of poems would arrive by email from Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, or one of the other African countries involved in the project.  I would then write a report, annotate the work, and return it.  It was hugely interesting to read what was sent, and satisfying to see the way the writers developed. 

At around the same time I began working with British writers, some of whom had attended my courses as students, and wanted to continue to work with me.  I met some writers face to face, and worked with others via email.  In every case the relationship has been fruitful.  

I’ve taught Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, Lancaster University, Edge Hill, the Open University, and Cambridge University.  I’ve run workshops for children of four, and people in their nineties.  I’ve worked with writers who have doctorates, and those who are writing their first poems or stories.  I can adjust my response to suit your experience, so please don’t worry if you’re entirely new to all this.  You’ll be in safe hands.