Sunday, March 1, 2015

Short Story Workshop at Anam Cara Writers' Retreat



Whose story is it anyway?

I am delighted to be facilitating a week-long short story workshop from Saturday 5 to Saturday 12 September, 2015 in the stunning setting that is Anam Cara Writers’ Retreat Centre on the Beara peninsula in west Cork, Ireland.


By its very nature, the literary short story is character-driven. It is about landing your protagonists in a predicament and watching how they will free themselves from it. What happens to them as the story progresses depends solely on what you discover about them as you go along, how you bring them and your readers from a state of ignorance to a state of awareness.
It is up to the writer to select the right character for readers to invest their interest in, as well as the most appropriate person to tell the story. They are not always the same thing and it is the specific method of revealing the characters you are writing about that allows the reader to see and hear what is going on in the narrative. Therefore the right voice is crucial to its success.

 
 
This residency will address the basic difficulties faced by beginners and more experienced writers in the understanding of the importance of building a strong, memorable character that captivates the reader. An identifiable point of view is also crucial to the development of the main protagonist and his/her inevitable epiphany.
Each day a different element will be explored in order to build on the previous lesson that will support you in completing a draft of your story to include:         
  • Beginnings: How to grab your reader by the throat.
  • Whose story is it anyway?
  • Characters: What makes them breathe?
  • Dialogue: What role does it play, if any? How does it move the story along?
  • Epiphany, endings: As important as beginnings. Does every word earn its place on the page?
  •  
Using various prompts to liberate ideas, each morning session will explore one of the above elements as well as in-class exercises. Afternoons will include one-to-one sessions and review of work.
Day by day, you will add to your previous learning experience, rewriting where necessary to fill out the narrative, thus moving the story forward. As a writer it is crucial to know these elements and in rewriting, ascertain which areas work and which do not; to learn the importance of layering; to know the pulse of a story. By the end of the week you will have produced a story full of craft and risk-taking.


 For further information go to:

Geraldine Mills Biographical Note

Geraldine Mills is a poet and short fiction writer. She has had two collections of poetry published by Bradshaw Books, Unearthing your Own (2001) and Toil the Dark Harvest (2004) Arlen House has published her short story collections Lick of the Lizard (2005) and The Weight of Feathers (2007) for which she was awarded an Arts Council Bursary.  She is a recipient of a Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship for her third poetry collection An Urgency of Stars published by Arlen House in 2010. Her most recent short story collection Hellkite was published by Arlen House in 2014. 

She has won numerous awards for her fiction, including the OKI Award, the Moore Medallion and the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition.  . She was the Millennium winner of the Hennessy/Tribune Emerging Fiction Award and the overall winner of the New Irish Writer Award for her story ‘Lick of the Lizard’.

In 2011 she toured the United States where she launched a poetry collaboration with New England poet, Lisa C. Taylor, titled ‘The Other Side of Longing (Arlen House 2011) and presented the prestigious Gerson Reading at the University of Connecticut. Her short story collections have been taught at the University of Connecticut and Eastern Connecticut State University. 
She is a fiction mentor with NUI Galway and is an online tutor in the short story with Creative Writing Ink. The Arts Council awarded her a second bursary in September 2014 to work on short fiction. Her first children’s novel Gold will be published by Little Island in 2016.






Thursday, February 19, 2015

China Moon




China Moon

On this night the moon, dressed in shadow robes
comes to lie with Hou Yi.

She reminds him how he saved the earth,
nocked his arrow in its bow,

then straight into the corona of eight of the nine suns
until all but one was bled of  heat.

She cries how sorry she is for opening the box
where he kept the seed of immortality,

swallowed it before he could share it with her,
which left her in her cold lunar bed.

She brings him moon cakes
brimmed with lotus sweetness,

 chrysanthemum tea, a poem,
 scorched by the heat of eight suns.


Photo courtesy of Peter Moore

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Waiting for Baby Hystad



 











Waiting for Baby Hystad

We are relearning lullabies,
take our aged voices out of storage,
dusting off angel, night-night, hush.

Your scan on the fridge
is held there by magnets as you are
by the pull to your father’s heart,

your mother’s – who comes back to visit us,
her old home, carrying you. Sleeps in her old bed
where she was first whispered,

slept then within my heart, as you within hers now,
your fingers fully formed, your lungs stronger,
your ear attuned to her voice.

Before she leaves she lets go
of all her childhood things,
takes the faded posters from the wall

of moments when she shone:
Carousel, My Fair Lady, Miss Saigon,
ready for this new stage, to mother you,

while your father dreams
in the too-long days of duty
of coming home soon,

driving you both across
the wheat fields of North Dakota
golden as the hair on his two darlings’ heads.


Photo of Hystad ranch courtesy of Peter Moore


©  Geraldine Mills   4/10/13