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Calendar of upcoming events

27th January: #WMChat with Brianna Bourne
27th January: Picture Book Workshop on Pitching, with Clare Helen Welsh (via the Hub)
28th January: Novel Pitching workshop with Vashti Hardy (via the Hub)

31st January: WriteMentor Children's Novel and Picture Book Awards close
1st February: Preparing for Submission starts
3rd February: Book Club live chat with Patrice Lawrence (via the Hub)
10th February: #WMChat with NM Browne
14th February: Mentor Applications close (Summer Programme)
16th February: WriteMaster MG and YA starts
24th February: #WMChat with Hannah Gold
25th February: *NEW COURSE* WriteCharacter with Emma Read starts

Success Stories

What made you apply for the WriteMentor programme?

I had seen some WriteMentor posts on Facebook, and it looked like a welcoming community that really cared about the mental health of its members so I made a note to apply when the program came around. I had been messing around with my first novel for years and was looking for help getting me out of the slump I was in. I had essentially been smushing around the same paint strokes years and now was just staring at a grey, splotchy mess. Even though I did get some requests, I didn’t get in the first year I applied. But I enjoyed the application experience and all the people I met, so I built my entire writing schedule around being prepared to apply next year.

Something cool to note is that one of the mentors who requested a full went on to mentor AJ Sass who ended up mentoring me the following year, so you never know how these things will turn out!

What was your experience like?

It was amazing (whenever I’m asked this I feel like I turn into an anime panda and my eyes get huge and filled with stars). I never expected to get in because it always seems like a shot in the dark with these competitions, but not only did I get in, but I got my dream mentors! They were everything I wanted and more – and I specifically requested a Gandalf wrapped in an Avatar Roku, so that’s saying a lot. We were able to make it through three rounds of revisions during the summer, and did a deep dive into worldbuilding, characters, and pacing that I sorely needed. AJ and Hannah were a fantastic team, and I often found myself cracking up at their comments. It made the whole critique process so much easier to feel like you were going through it with friends you could brainstorm with and talk things out. But where they helped the most was after the writing with the whole querying and agent process. I was contacting them almost every day frantically asking what to do, and they patiently guided me through the entire process.

Read more here.

WriteMentor Summer Programme 2021

MENTOR APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN!
 
We are now accepting applications from those would like to mentor this summer. Link on the page below.

For more information and full dates, click here.

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 Patrice Lawrence 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.

More information on the hub 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.
*NEW COURSE*
WRITECHARACTER - EMMA READ
Dates: Thursday 25th February to Thursday 25th March (8pm-9pm)
Price: £79
 
PREPARING FOR SUBMISSION – AISHA BUSHBY
Dates: Monday 1st February to Monday 8th March 2021
With agent Lucy Irvine
Price: £120

WRITEMASTER YOUNG ADULT COURSE WITH ALEXANDRA SHEPPARD
Dates: Tuesday 16th February to Tuesday 23rd March 2021
With agent Jo Williamson
Price: £99

WRITEMASTER MIDDLE GRADE COURSE WITH LINDSAY GALVIN
Dates: Tuesday 16th February to Tuesday 23rd March 2021
With agent Chloe Seager
Price: £99

WriteMentor Children's Novel
and Picture Book Awards

6 DAYS TO GO!
Our awards are open for entries

To help you prepare your entry, we share with you some of previous successful entrants, winners and judges best pieces of advice:

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

Interview with 2021 Novel Award Judge: Lauren Gardner

PB AWARD Winner SOPHIA PAYNE: my WMCNA experience

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

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

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/

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

Our new flash/short story competitions are now open. Basic details above.

Enter/read the rules here.

Other Opportunities

Spark Mentoring

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
A FREE fantastic looking conference coming up soon. Tickets are unlimited and the videos will be available to view when it's convenient for you. I'd strongly recommend signing up for this one, as it's a great line-up!

http://geahonkference.com/page3.html
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.

For more details and to enter, look here: https://www.chickenhousebooks.com/submissions/
VIRTUAL EVENT: OH MG! A Weekend of Middle Grade

Date/Time
Date(s) - 27/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
10:00 am - 3:30 pm

More details and booking here: https://britishisles.scbwi.org/events/oh-mg-a-weekend-of-middle-grade/
5-6 March 2021

Paid tickets for the SCBWI Industry Insiders 1-1 Festival will be opening for sale at 8pm on Wednesday 3rd February. Details of agents & editors you'll be able to book a 1-1 slot with are on the web page.
Some free tickets for writers from under-rep'd backgrounds are available, & you have till midnight tomorrow (Monday 25th Jan) to apply for those.

Agents and editors already confirmed for the 1-1s include Davinia Andrew-Lynch, Lindsey Fraser, Kesia Lupo, Tom Bonnick, Anne Clark, Sallyanne Sweeney, Helen Boyle, Clare Wallace and Christabel McKinley. More names to follow!

Paid tickets of £35 include the Live Panel Discussion, a 1-1 session and the Social.

There are SIX places on Megaphone Mentoring this year. One of these places is reserved for a BESEA (British East or South East Asian) writer who will be mentored by Maisie Chan of Bubble Tea Writers’ Group. Each place costs £300 but bursaries, discounts and flexible payment are available. This year, because of Covid-19, we will be running online via Zoom. 

Applications opened on 30th November 2020 and close at midnight on January 31st 2021.

More here.

We also have a whole page on our website with links to competitions and mentorship programmes. Click here.

Final word from...


Florianne Humphrey

Star Wars and Spreadsheets: What it’s like to work for WriteMentor

 

My WriteMentor journey starts with Spider-Man: Far From Home at the ODEON Metrocentre in Gateshead. I’d gone to the cinema to distract myself from the announcements of the WriteMentor mentor/mentee pairings. With the witchy power of predictions the women in my family swear to have, I thought I hadn’t got in for a second time. But when the film finished and I switched my phone back on, I’d been tagged on Twitter. Tagged alongside P.M. Freestone, my new mentor. Turns out the future-telling gene had skipped me. 

The summer mentoring programme was a massive step forward in my writing. The agent showcase came and went - no success there. Maybe that was life striking a balance. All I had to do was wait patiently for a couple more months for a different type of success to spring on me. 

Twitter again, and this time Stuart posts a job advert searching for his first WriteMentor employee. I’m a freelancer of words - social media, marketing, journalism, copywriting, copyediting. I’m also an aspiring author - two Young Adult novels and one and a half Middle Grades. WriteMentor perfectly paired my current career and my (I hope, really hope) future career interests.

I applied, I crossed my fingers, I got the job. My first task: approach a design company to create a new logo, contributing my own ideas based on WriteMentor’s core ethos of Writing, Community, and Inclusion. I knew I’d stumbled upon my ideal job. Stuart gives me creative freedom and ownership over everything I do. I don’t like working for companies where I’m constantly micromanaged (I can hear Stuart panic-thinking do I micromanage her? Do I?), my ideas aren’t valued, and I’m not trusted to make my own decisions. Working for WriteMentor is the complete opposite. Stuart is still the captain of this Stars Wars ship (if Stuart was only hiring Star Wars fans, I wouldn’t be writing this), but I feel like his co-pilot, and not a lackey scrubbing the deck. 

Things I learned very quickly about WriteMentor: Stuart loves spreadsheets, Comic Sans, and Star Wars. People also love WriteMentor. And I started to love the people who love WriteMentor too. For a group of people who damn their characters to narrative hellfire, writers are very kind. And kindness is a defining trait at WriteMentor. Stuart, as you all know, is one of the kindness people out there. But so are the authors, agents, and other industry professionals we work with, and everyone else who makes up WriteMentor. It has certainly made the real-life hellfire of these recent months easier. With this kindness comes a strong community that defies the remoteness of the internet. I feel like I’ve met you all in real life, even though I only know you by Twitter handles and profile pictures. 

Job-wise, initially this kindness and community was tricky to navigate. I was hired to help Stuart expand WriteMentor. My skillset is marketing for companies selling services and products for profit. But with WriteMentor, you can’t use these manipulation techniques favoured by companies like A****n. It’s all wrong. Honesty, transparency, trust - that’s what Stuart stands by. Yes, it can cause some friction between us - money needs to be made for WriteMentor to grow and continue. But I stand by Stuart. WriteMentor’s success comes from wearing a human face and not a giant bank note. So, I have to strike a balance. I have a marketing strategy to sell our courses, to push the award entries higher, to squeeze some profit out of WOWCON. But I also have to remember why people love WriteMentor. Why they turn to us and not another writing service. Kindness and community.

Over a year later and it’s strange to call Stuart my employer or my boss. There’s a word beginning in F and ending in D that’s more apt, but I won’t come over all soppy. It’s great that we’re both writers, that we have a shared understanding of the gut-wrenching, head-ache inducing, but adrenaline-pumping rollercoaster that is the journey to becoming an author. As a writer, I still have to pinch myself when I get an email from an editor about WriteMentor. Moderating the WOWCON agent panel was a surreal experience (and a conflicting one: external professionalism meets internal fangirling). Getting compliments from published authors about the magazine puts a huge smile on my face. 

As a writer, I also understand what you’re all going through. I’m happy that, thanks to WriteMentor, we can go through it all together. As Stuart says: Writing can be lonely, but it doesn’t need to be, and that’s certainly a lesson I’ve learnt in this job.

So, a massive good luck to everyone chasing those writing dreams and, to end on the only Star Wars quote I know: May the force be with you (or something like that).

Do YOU want to be the star of this newsletter?

Do YOU want to have the final word?
 
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