23rd February: Picture Book Workshop with Clare Helen Welsh (for hub members)
24th February: #WMChat with Hannah Gold 25th February: *NEW COURSE* WriteCharacter with Emma Read starts 25th February: Novel Openings Workshop with Vashti Hardy (for hub members) 4th March: Book Club with Louie Stowell (for hub members) 10th March: #WMChat with Louise Gooding
24th March: #WMChat with Bethan Evans
Now, she has agent representation and a two-book publishing deal for her middle grade adventure described as Dr Doolittle meets Malory Towers with a pinch of Jacqueline Wilson that follows Alice, an Autistic girl, as she starts a new school and discovers not only that she can talk to animals but that they desperately need her help.
Emily tells us about her writing journey, her relentless drive to fulfil her publishing dream, and how support from WriteMentor helped her achieve this.
What made you apply for the WriteMentor Spark programme?
I applied for the Spark Mentoring programme because I wanted to challenge myself to take my writing more seriously. I thought submitting 5000 words monthly might help with my writing discipline whilst also giving me more experience of receiving and acting on editorial feedback. I’d met Lindsay on the Brighton writing weekend and knew we had a good rapport and that my work was in very safe hands with her. I also wanted some objective feedback because it can be hard to step far enough back from your own writing, and see it as a reader does. That is where the Spark programme has been invaluable.
What was your experience like?
My experience was, and continues to be, amazing! Working with Lindsay on a regular basis has moved my writing on so much, both in terms of completing my manuscripts and in terms of upskilling me as a writer. Lindsay’s feedback has helped me to tighten up my pace and improve my plotting, and to show character and emotion through action rather than an overreliance on summary. Having a regular monthly dialogue with someone who takes your writing seriously has been groundbreaking for me. I see myself as a writer now, and have a lot more respect for my own writing because I am investing in it financially, as well as emotionally and in terms of time.
The first video in our new From WriteMentor to Publication series on YouTube.
We hinted about 3 new initiatives we're putting the finishing touches to, on Friday…see tweet here.
But we thought we'd make this fun - can you guess the missing names of our new initiatives?
Reply to our tweet on Twitter with your guesses! If anyone manages to get all 3, we'll give you a free developmental edit on your whole manuscript.
You only have 3 guesses.
Closes Tuesday 23rd February at 11.59pm.
Community Learning Hub
We are now officially open! We are already getting stuck into wonderful craft videos from our Writers in Residence, Clare Helen Welsh and Vashti Hardy, set up our online critique groups (which you can join any time), have booked Louise Stowell in to chat at our first book club and live analysis workshops coming up later this month.
There's so much to be gained from the Learning Hub (and we haven't even mentioned our extensive library of Hub Modules!)
Come join us; writing can be lonely, but it doesn't need to be.
Read more about the award and it's eligibility criteria and rules here.
WriteMentor Magazine Issue 5 is on sale!
Featuring: Elle McNicoll Genevieve Herr Nizrana Farook C.G. Moore Hannah Gold
…Why critique groups are important for writers
…The witticisms of our Honest Writer
…The winning entries for our flash fiction and short story competitions under the theme of New Beginnings
…Your recent writing achievements.
WriteMentor Spark is a monthly, online one-to-one mentoring service. Working with a children’s author, you will receive ongoing developmental editing, writing advice, publishing insights, and direct feedback on your manuscript to help you elevate your writing craft to the next level.
Spark Mentoring is always available if you need extra help or support each month.
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
Quick Spark editing is available for all ms from PB to YA.
Check out this superb post from Emma Finlayson-Palmer and Carolyn Ward on what to expect from Quick Spark here.
A fantastic opportunity with this long running novel competition run by Chicken House Books. They are looking for completed manuscripts and it's £18 to enter.
The competition will close for entries on 14 May 2021 at 11.59pm GMT.
We also have a whole page on our website with links to competitions and mentorship programmes. Click here.
Final word from...
Why Writing is Like Exercise
For those who don’t know me well, I have two main ways that I spend my free time outside my family and caring commitments. The first is reading and writing stories for children- a labour of love- and the second is fitness- which most of the time just feels like labour.
Although this feels like two very different ways to spend my time, if there is one thing I’ve learnt during my four year writing journey is that they, in fact, are not that different at all. For one, fitness requires a lot of GRIT, something that surely no writer needs…do they?
So here are some reasons why, for me, writing is like exercise:
Welcome to the long game: Grit, determination, motivation, perseverance, and discipline. These are all things that you need to show up for a workout day after day, month after month and they are all the things you are going to need if you are serious about getting your writing out there. Of course, there will be some massive highs; from the exhilaration of pounding the pavement with uplifting music blaring through your headphones to escaping into the magical worlds you are conjuring up in your head. However, the reality is that muscles strengthen and tone through the repetition of key moves; squat…squat…squat…redraft…redraft…redraft…and even then, it may take some time for the scales to tip in your favour.
Don’t forget to Warm-Up: This is a classic mistake that I have made over and over again when it comes to both fitness and writing. To allow your mind and body to reach its full potential, ease yourself in gently. Allowing ten minutes for free writing may unlock your voice or your next plot point. Sceptical? Yes, so was I! Until I tried it and found some of my best ideas came from a timed warm-up or prompt. Who’d have thought it? And if nothing comes of it..well, it’s less painful than a pulled muscle.
Shake it up: It doesn’t take long for the body to get used to one type of exercise. In the same way you might be a die-hard aerobics fan, you might be dead set on the genre you want to write. That’s totally fine but never be afraid to shake it up and try new things. Poetry? A short story? Flash fiction? A different age-group? You may surprise yourself and add a new string to your bow!
Together vs Alone: Okay, so we all know writing is a solitary activity but when this tips into isolation, is it going to reap the best results? When someone caught me at the school gates one morning and asked if they could join me on my run, my legs turned to jelly. Why? Because I knew they were going to push me right out of my comfort zone and challenge me to up my game. This led to me joining a local fitness group where suddenly I had an instructor who knew how to get the best out of me and a whole community to socialise and share the burn with. Suddenly workouts were so much more fun! With brilliant writing communities like WriteMentor, there’s no need to feel like you’re alone. Seek feedback, hone your craft, hang out with like-minded people and IMPROVE!
BUT BE CAREFUL…
Eyes on your own: Although I have built up a decent level of fitness, I live just outside a village where there’s a huge surf culture and parents compete in triathlons for fun! Even after training for months to do a half marathon, I had to endure people steaming past me on the actual day while I hobbled along- demoralising huh? Yet, I still reached the finish line, was awarded the same medal as everyone else and got a healthy sense of achievement for completing something I never thought I could. Comparing your journey to someone else’s isn’t going to do anything but evoke negative emotions and, unlike a triathlon, writing isn’t a race. It’s about getting your very best work into the hands of deserving young readers whether it takes four years or forty. So, let’s focus on that!
Soak up the small successes: Whatever your end goal is, this journey, at times, can feel like an insurmountable mountain. Break it down into small steps and celebrate each milestone; a completed draft, good feedback, an extra lap or an improved time. It will help you carry on.
Just one more push: Can’t do it? Had enough of edits? Just one rejection too many? The writing journey is as gruelling as the toughest of workouts but you’ve got this. Dig deep, take a breath (or a rest), seek encouragement and give it one…more…try. Everything you’ve got! When you’ve done your absolute best, you’ll know.
Bio: After sixteen years of primary school teaching, I am now a carer for my daughter and an aspiring writer for children. When I am not enjoying the outdoor life in sunny Cornwall with three children, a husband and some chickens, you will find me reading and blogging about the latest children’s books on The Breadcrumb Forest or blogging about writing itself. Little Cornish Writer (tracycurran-littlecornishwriter.com)