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Calendar of upcoming events

6th October: WriteMaster MG and YA start dates (with Lindsay Galvin, Chloe Seager, Alexandra Sheppard and Jo Williamson)
14th October: #WMChat with A.J. Sass
28th October: #WMChat with A.M. Dassu
1st December: WriteMentor Children's Novel Award opens
4th January: Maz Evans (MG) and Lauren James (YA) course start dates
31st January: WriteMentor Children's Novel Award closes

Success Stories

After being long listed for the WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award, Amy Borg took part in the WriteMentor 2019 summer mentoring programme where she worked on her Young Adult fantasy manuscript with the help of author Amy McCaw.

Since then, she has received representation from Sara O’ Keeffe, Editorial Director of Corvus. 

Amy shares her writing journey, her experience with WriteMentor, and her thoughts on why mentoring is so valuable for writers.

Tell us about your writing journey from start until now.

I started writing my first novel in high school, and finished it in my second year of uni. It was a gothic fantasy murder mystery (for kids!), and despite my best efforts, I didn’t manage to get it anywhere near publication. In the gap between then and now, I wrote a second novel, travelled Europe teaching English, had a few shorter pieces commissioned and published, and somehow landed on a master’s program for publishing and creative writing in London. On that program, I heavily revised my first novel to use it as a self-publishing experiment. I also started writing the first draft of what would become Shape, though at that point, it was a very different story from what it is now.

What made you apply for the WriteMentor programme?

My route into WriteMentor was comparatively roundabout. I didn’t know anything at all about the programme until I ran into the submissions call for the 2018 Children’s Novel Award… approximately four hours before the deadline. I saw the mentorships and feedback that came with the competition, along with a ton of support and positivity from the community, so I decided to submit. I’ll confess, the novel wasn’t actually even finished at this point, but I never expected to be longlisted. I figured that if I were, I would’ve finished my draft by the time February rolled around.

Spoiler alert: I was longlisted, with 20k words still left unwritten. Cue a week of endless coffee and no sleep, getting up early and staying up late to pour down words around the margins of my shift work, so that I could send the judges an actual manuscript. I distinctly remember apologizing to Stuart about the state of the whole thing when I sent it over with (again) about four hours to spare. But I’m so glad that first, ragged-around-every-edge draft got shortlisted, because my mentorship with Amy was absolutely invaluable.

Read more here.

Short Story/Flash Fiction contests OPEN!

Our contests are back! With a WINTER theme, you can incorporate that in whatever imaginative way you can.

Emma Finlayson-Palmer and Sally Doherty are back to judge, and the prize is a full feature of you and your story in the next WM magazine!

Deadline: 31st October.

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.
Last Chance!
MG is sold out, and only a couple of YA places!

Lindsay Galvin and Alexandra Sheppard will lead their own 6 week online courses, taking you through the main elements to make to make your novel really stand out and to learn craft aspects that will help, not only this novel, but every one your write.

With guest agents Chloe Seager and Jo Williamson, who will look at the opening of your WIP and give some feedback, this is a great way to develop craft while writing, or redrafting, your novel MG or YA novel!

Start date: 6th October 2020

More here.
12 week courses with Lauren James (YA) and Maz Evans (MG)
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 and Maz, we also offer feedback on your submission package from a top agent - click on the links above to find out more!

There will also be 1 scholarship place on both courses - look out for details on how to apply, coming soon.

Start date: 4th January 2021

Other Opportunities

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.
The latest edition of the magazine was released on 7th August!

Kit de Waal | Joseph Elliott | Emma Perry | Marisa Noelle | Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez | Jasmine Richards | J.R. Ford | Ian Johnson | Fiona Barker | Anna Moutran | The Honest Writer

Find out about...writing Young Adult fiction...publishing your first as a literary agent...representation in publishing...writing picture books...self-publishing...overcoming writer's read competition-winning short stories and flash fiction, and our celebration corner - featuring you!
Disabled Creatives Universe Mentor Program

For the attention of disabled and/or Neurodiverse writers: this new mentoring programme is seeking mentors (until 1st December). 
On January 5, 2021, their webpage will go live and further promotion will begin and this will be the
first date mentors can open to applicants.
If you are a disabled/ND writer, you can apply to be mentored at this point.
They have two flexible and varied options, so do check them out on Twitter for more information.

Final word from the Jedi Master

Doing the wrong things for the right reasons

This is the basis of every memorable antagonist.

All of the great stories for children (or many of them) have memorable antagonists: Trunchbull, President Snow, Mrs Coulter, Count Olaf…and there's so many more…

But what makes them memorable - is it just their evilness, just the horrible, cruel things they do?

I'd argue that developing a deep, 3D antagonist is just as important as doing the same for your protagonist. As readers, we like characters who can relate to, whether or not we agree with them, but we need to get a sense that we can understand why someone is evil or someone is the antagonist.

Because, and this is so very important…
Nobody is the antagonist of their own story.

All of the people above, and all antagonists don't think what they are doing is evil - they are doing it for a strong reason, something they truly believe in.

If we take some films I love, we have two prime examples in both Darth Vader and Thanos.

On the surface, these guys are sold as the baddies. The antagonists, the forces for evil. But when you dig deeper, and this is what we must do with our antagonists, then we discover that at the heart of all the atrocities and evil deeds, is a strong, relatable reason or motivation for doing what they do, at least to start with.

We see the fall of Anakin to the dark side in the prequel trilogy of Star Wars, and after viewing that, we begin to see how he became Darth Vader. It was out of so much love for his wife, and the fear of losing her, that he began down the dark path. 

For Thanos, it was seeing his planet destroy itself due to overpopulation - he did not want the rest of the plants to suffer this same fate.

There is a real understandable initial motivation for all our antagonists and it's important to remember that when telling our story. A 2D, cardboard cutout villain is not going to cut it with our kid readers - they want more, they want depth, they want to see why this person has gone bad, and maybe, just maybe she that glimmer of humanity that was in them before, and even during the darkest of their acts.

So, spend a little time this week developing those antagonists - give them that real, relatable reason for starting on the dark path, one we can understand, one that is powerful enough to keep them doing the dark things. If you're stuck, love is often the most powerful reason, and fear of losing that love, or loved one.

We all need love, even the baddies.

All we need is love.

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

May the Force be with you!

Copyright © 2020 #WriteMentor - for all writers of children's fiction, All rights reserved.

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