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Calendar of upcoming events

23rd November: WriteMentor Magazine (Edition 4, November) released
25th November: #WMChat with Amy McCaw
1st December: WriteMentor Children's Novel and Picture Book Awards open
9th December: #WMChat with Lauren James
4th January: Maz Evans (MG) and Lauren James (YA) course start dates
4th January: WriteMentor Community Learning Hub opens
31st January: WriteMentor Children's Novel and Picture Book Awards close

WriteMentor Magazine Issue 4 is on sale!

WriteMentor Magazine Issue 4 is now on sale. Featuring industry insights, writing advice, and the winning entries for our short story and flash fiction competitions. For all writers of children’s fiction, from Picture Book to Young Adult.

Read…

  • How the magic of storytelling helped Amy Wilson through personal trauma
  • About day in the life of a picture book (Clare Helen Welsh) and a middle grade author (Vashti Hardy)
  • Lucy Cuthew’s advice on writing a verse novel 
  • Pádraig Kenny’s advice on writing horror for children
  • Why Maria Kuzniar chose to write a children’s feminist novel
  • Lauren James’s top tip for exercising writing muscles
  • Kathryn Foxfield’s experience of the WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award
  • The witticisms of our Honest Writer
  • The winning entries for our flash fiction and short story competitions
  • Your recent writing achievements

All for £3! Buy your copy now https://write-mentor.com/writementor-magazine-for-childrens-writers/

If you are a subscriber, your edition will have been emailed to you now!

*A reminder that our magazine is digital, so check your confirmation email when you purchase for details on how to read it digitally.

Success Stories

Ravena Guron was born in London, went to school in London, went to university in London and now works in London. She has a degree in Biochemistry but soon realised life in a lab was not for her, and is now a trainee lawyer turned author.

She writes Middle Grade and Young Adult, and loves creating big worlds and adventures with lots of twists and bags of fun. In her spare time, she loves reading (of course), and falling asleep to her thousandth re-watch of Friends.  

Ravena was a 2019 WriteMentor mentee, mentored by author Lindsay Galvin. Although it was a different novel that secured her agent representation, Ravena’s experience with WriteMentor helped her find that all-important writer’s voice. 

WriteMentor chats to Ravena to find out more about her experience of the programme and her own writing journey.

What made you apply for the WriteMentor programme?

I heard about WriteMentor as a passing comment made by someone on Twitter. I knew that something wasn’t quite working with my story – though I couldn’t put my finger on what. Working with an experienced mentor who would provide me with guidance really appealed to me.

What was your experience like?

Life-changing and eye-opening! I did the summer WriteMentor programme in 2019, and for some reason I was determined that my story was a Young Adult fantasy. I had done my absolute best to meet all the conventions for a story for that age-group. And yet the first thing my mentor, Lindsay Galvin, said to me was “have you considered ageing this story down? The voice is more Middle Grade.” It was like something clicked for me – I cut 30k, many, many characters, and embraced all the whimsy I’d been holding at bay. Lindsay taught me loads about how to make sure each chapter was really pulling its weight, and helped me find my voice.

Read more here.

Online Courses

We have a new page for all our online courses! 

We hope it's much easier to navigate now. Read below to see how you can be the very first to sign up for newly published courses.
12 week courses with Lauren James (YA)
 
Places are available on a first come, first serve basis, so sign up now (by paying a £60 deposit) to secure your place for January 2021. Be quick, we sold out quickly last time.

The groups are smaller this time, to give you and your manuscript even more attention!

And remember, as well as incredible tutoring, feedback and insight from Lauren, we also offer feedback on your submission package from a top agent - click on the links above to find out more!

Start date: 4th January 2021

WriteMentor Children's Novel
and Picture Book Awards

Our awards open for entries in just over a weeks time! (1st December)

In the build up to the awards opening, we share with you some of previous successful entrants, winners and judges best pieces of advice:

PB AWARD Winner SOPHIA PAYNE: my WMCNA experience

Interview with 2021 Picture Book Award Judges Justine Smith and Paul Moreton

How to win the #WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award by Alexandra Page

How to almost win a novel competition by Kathryn FOXFIELD

4 reasons to enter a novel competition (even if you’re not planning to win)

Five tips for winning the Write Mentor Children’s Novel Award 2021

WRITEMENTOR CHILDREN’S NOVEL AND PICTURE BOOK AWARDS: SOME necessary CHANGES

Read more details about the award, including the judges, prizes and key dates here.

WriteMentor Community Learning Hub

We have exciting news for all of you!

Starting from the 4th January, we’re launching our brand new WriteMentor Community Learning Hub, which is a monthly subscription course/community/learning platform and it comes with so many benefits, both in the short and long term for your writing.

Read more here.

Other Opportunities

FREE SPARK MENTORING OPPORTUNITY FOR AN AUTHOR OF COLOUR

Aisha Bushby will be mentoring one author of colour for free, on a rolling basis. 

To apply to this round please send the following by Monday 30th November 2020. 

– A sample of writing (up to 3,000 words).

– A summary of the story you want help with. 

– A brief explanation of where you are on your writing journey and what you hope to achieve. 

Aisha will offer:

– A monthly report on between 5,000 – 10,000 words, for six months starting January 2021. 

– A Q&A follow-up to each report.

– Help with planning and editing throughout the process.

– Support while submitting to agents.

How to apply:

Complete the form via this link: https://forms.gle/UHjFEXStbbRTY7d49

Spark Mentoring

Spark Mentoring is always available if you need extra help or support each month. We have made the Spark mentoring package even better by including access to our 12 month novel course and the self-editing course with Kesia Lupo for all Spark mentees - do contact me if you wish to access either of these and are a current spark mentee. If you wish to sign, hit the link above for all the details.


 
We have introduced a couple of new mentors in recent months to give those signing up, a wider range of authors to choose from and increase likelihood of compatibility. All their profiles can be found on the website.
We welcome Melinda Salisbury, Yasmin Rahman, Alex Sheppard and Aisha Bushby.
All our mentors would be delighted to work with you!

Spark mentor Emma Read has offered to give ongoing free critiques to BAME writers - one free package per month of synopsis and 1st page.
Sign up here and she will work through the list, at a rate of 1 a month, so the quicker you sign up, the quicker you'll get some feedback.
https://forms.gle/g9fWLovv7oGxozYV9

Final word from ...

Drive It Like You Stole It
By Ellie Lock

I was plodding through the first draft of a manuscript when I reached the villain’s grand entrance and wrote: “the door swings open and he glides in on a golden hoverboard.” Golden hoverboard? It was only later I realised what that hoverboard represented. It was my imagination telling me it’s dying.

I’d reached that moment in a first draft when everything grinds to a halt, when it’s all connective tissue and no heart. The moment procrastination kicks in big time.  

Later, I was doing something procrastinatey with a bedsheet when I realised what was going on. I was driving steadily through the story from one event to the next, following the rules. Mirror, signal, manoeuvre. That golden hoverboard was my crushed imagination giving its final howl of pain.

I suddenly realised a first draft is for breaking rules, not following them. It’s pure art, baby. First drafts are not about climbing into a Vauxhall Zafira and observing the speed limit. They’re about hotwiring the Ferrari 458 Italia from outside the kebab shop and splitting town with the devil in your tailpipe.

You can’t write a story packed with blistering emotion if you’re constantly trying to get it right. It’s your raw and unpalatable feelings that will make your story unique. And it’s no good trying to inject searing pain into a novel half an hour before the competition deadline, you have to get the angst in early.

Feelings are elusive, so grab them the second they pop up. The most embarrassing ones are often the most delicious. Take envy - that stab of pain when someone publishes a book about a haunted rollerdisco that you always wanted to write but thought no one would read. 

Unfairness is a good one too - the burning injustice of a smirking bully getting off scot free. Or how about rage? The slippery politician who makes you swear at the radio. Get it down quick – on the back of an envelope, the palm of your hand. Get those tortured feelings down before they evaporate. Catch the vapour before it drifts into the air. 

Don’t let the emotions go cold while you follow the rules. Cheat. Drive your stolen car off the track. Rip out the rearview mirror and put your foot down.

The thing about hotwiring a Ferrari is the freedom to go anywhere in your book. Don’t plod along in chronological order – write the bits you’re most looking forward to. You can join them up later. The moment your hero delivers that searing one liner as she defeats the villain. The moment the sneaky kid is forced to confess. The scene when your character gets to say, “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.” 

This is the point on the horizon you should be driving for. The canyon, the waterfall, the cliff edge. Write them while they’ve got maximum emotional punch. That heady moment the emotion first injected itself into your veins.

You’ll never be in this town again, the first draft where everything is possible and there are no rules holding you back. So drive it like they’re about to take it away from you, drive it like the blue lights are flashing behind you.

Drive it like you stole it. 
Do YOU want to be the star of this newsletter?

Do YOU want to have the final word?
 
 
We are VERY open to the content - it can be a personal story of your writing journey, it can be about something you're passionate about, within the kidlit publishing industry and community. It can be advice, or something you've learned, it can be an excerpt from your WIP.

As I say, we can't guarantee we'll be able to feature everyone, depending on the response, but we'd love to.

Writing can be lonely, but it doesn't need to be.

May the Force be with you!

Stuart
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