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Calendar of upcoming events

11th November: #WMChat with Elle McNicoll
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

Success Stories

Tess James-Mackey spent years mucking out horses, getting trampled on by horses, and finally realising she might prefer a less precarious office job. Between analysing insurance risk, she writes teens into terrifying situations inspired by her lived experiences, from softplay in an abandoned prison, camping in the wilds of the Black Mountains, and living with fifteen other girls in a dilapidated farmhouse.

When she's not allowing her mind to wander to dark and twisty places, she pursues more wholesome activities like obsessively growing mediocre vegetables in her garden, camping, and even riding the odd horse.

A 2020 WriteMentor mentee, Tess worked on her Young Adult manuscript 'Lost Inside' with author and mentor Cynthia Murphy. Since then, she has signed with Stephanie Thwaites, literary agent at Curtis Brown.

Read about Tess's experience with WriteMentor, her own writing journey, and why she believes mentoring is so important for writers.

What made you apply for the WriteMentor programme?

In 2018, I was having no success querying my first book and ventured into the world of Twitter after a friend suggested it was good for budding authors. WriteMentor popped up, a brand new programme. It felt a bit like fate...

What was your experience like?

I spent the first few weeks trying to figure out what the catch was - I just couldn’t believe these wonderful writers were giving their time and expertise up for free. Once I’d accepted my mentor wasn’t going to turn up and my house demanding cash, I allowed myself to absorb her wisdom. I’ve been a mentee every year WriteMentor has been running, with three different books in three different genres, with three very different mentors. Each one has built my shaky confidence up piece by piece, welcoming me with open arms and banishing my impostor syndrome. They all had completely different styles of mentoring, which made each year a new and hugely beneficial experience.  

Read more 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.

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!

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.
https://forms.gle/g9fWLovv7oGxozYV9
The latest edition of the magazine was released on 7th August!

FEATURING:
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 novel...life as a literary agent...representation in publishing...writing picture books...self-publishing...overcoming writer's block...plus read competition-winning short stories and flash fiction, and our celebration corner - featuring you!

Final word from ...

On Grief and Writing

By Rachel Faturoti
 

Grief is a swear word or haven’t they heard?” 
 
This is a line from my MG contemporary fantasy novel, which focuses on a pre-teen’s experiences after the passing of her mum.
 
You may ask why I chose to sully your Monday morning with such heavy weather. Bear with me. 
 
According to a national survey in 2004, approximately 3.5% of children and young people had experienced a death of a parent or sibling* – that’s roughly one child per classroom! Someone referred to this statistic last week and I was shocked. Grief affects all ages and stages of life. Over the last few months with the COVID-19 pandemic, many, from young to old, have been bereaved and this topic may hit closer to home.

While I was at university, I suffered a loss and writing was one thing that helped with my grief. I was in my second year of university and had to get my exams deferred. Upon passing (barely) and entering into my third year, I used my love of writing as an outlet. Instead of a standard dissertation, I chose to do creative one, which included a collection of free and fixed poems on bereavement and a reflective commentary. The collection was to be called, "Lost and Found".
 
Now, I’m not asking you to whip out a whole poetry collection in the midst of grief. It may take some time to be able to speak about a loss, talk less write about it. But I wanted to share the benefits of writing whenever you are ready.

Writing can be therapeutic
 
Through my poetry collection, I was able to write down everything and anything I felt. Feelings are fine whatever they may be – whether it be anger, sadness or anything in between. There is something freeing about not having any constraints on what you write.

Better out than in
 
You have probably heard this phrase many times. However, it is applicable to grief and writing. Keeping all those complicated thoughts and feelings trapped inside can make it harder. 

Moving forward
 
Moving forward is probably the hardest part. Writing can help you take a step into your new and sometimes unrecognisable future. You may be scared you'll forget your lost loved one by moving on, but you never do. 

It doesn’t have to be poetry; that’s just what worked for me. You might find relief in writing letters, memoirs, novels or just freeform reflections on your feelings. If you're going through any form of grief, whether it be the loss of a parent, sibling, family member, child or a friend - one day you'll be able to breathe slightly easier. Writing doesn't bring them back but it does bring their life to the page. It’s a place where they’ll live on for you and where you can process your loss.
 
Reference
 
Fauth, B., Thompson, M. and Penny, A., 2009. Associations Between Childhood Bereavement And Children’s Background, Experiences And Outcomes: Secondary Analysis Of The 2004 Mental Health Of Children And Young People In Great Britain Data. [ebook] London: National Children's Bureau, p.15. Available at: <http://lx.iriss.org.uk> [Accessed 2 November 2020].

Do YOU want to be the star of this newsletter?

Do YOU want to have the final word?

Here is your chance to do just that, telling more than 2000 writers your story! 

We want to make the newsletter less about us, and more about you, and so from now on, we will feature a piece from one of YOU, ever fortnight, in this space! 

Don't worry, you don't need to be published, agented, or even finished your book! You don't have to be a writer even, as long as you have something to say about writing or the publishing industry.

We are not sure how much response this might get, so if you are interested in being the feature of the newsletter, simply fill in this form, and we will email you with instructions on what/how to send us your feature.
 
 

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.

I also think of you and our community with all we do, and this is another thing we can do to help give some of you a wee boost!

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

May the Force be with you!

Stuart
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