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Calendar of upcoming events

1st February: Preparing for Submission starts
1st February: Novel-In-Development award opens
1st February: Deadline for Flash/Short Fiction Magazine Competitions
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

Congratulations to former mentee, mentor, and now committee member, George Jreije, who announced his sequel book deal this week! 

Also, congratulations to the following WM mentor/mentees, who were long listed for the Branford Boase Award:
- Amy Beashal
- AM Dassu
- Kereen Getten
- Danielle Jawando
- Sophie Kirtley
- Jenny Pearson 
- Jenni Spangler

Flash/Short Fiction Deadline is today!

Enter/read the rules here.

Manuscript Clinic Opportunity


Literary agent, Rachel Hamilton of Ben Illis Agency, has kindly offered to run a free clinic for writers of middle-grade fiction, who have had their manuscript rejected by 25 or more agents and have received no substantiative feedback.

This will be for a group of 6 (randomly chosen from every who applies) and via Zoom at one of 3 times suggested by Rachel on the form. Applications close 8th February.

More information and the form here.

WriteMentor Summer Programme 2021

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.
Dates: Thursday 25th February to Thursday 25th March (8pm-9pm)
Price: £79
Dates: Monday 1st February to Monday 8th March 2021
With agent Lucy Irvine
Price: £120

Dates: Tuesday 16th February to Tuesday 23rd March 2021
With agent Jo Williamson
Price: £99

Dates: Tuesday 16th February to Tuesday 23rd March 2021
With agent Chloe Seager
Price: £99

Dates: Tuesday 27th April – Tuesday 25th May 2021
Price: £79

WriteMentor Children's Novel
and Picture Book Awards

We have now closed for entries for the 2021 awards!

We received a total of 1361 entries!

I've written a post about the numbers, and other stats, and also some insider info into how we run the award.

Read more here.

Children's Novel-In-Development Award

If you missed out on the WMCNA, or your book wasn't complete and ready for that one, then fear not - your competition addiction can be sated with our new award...

This is one aimed specifically at those wanting some detailed feedback on the openings of their works-in-progress, but of course, you can still enter your completed manuscripts for consideration, too.

We only need 1500 words and a single page synopsis of the whole story (sorry! 😂).

The feedback arrangement will be different from the WMCNA in that you will have two readers, but each of whom will give a greater level of, and more structured, feedback. We hope this will give you some constructive advice that will encourage to keep going with the novel. Or if you have a few ideas and you want to know which is the most promising, you could enter more than one, and see which returns the most promising feedback.

This is an award I wish was out there for me personally, and was born of that desire that all us novelists get, which is: should I spend the next 6-12 months drafting this idea? Does it have legs? If the premise isn't appealing from the outset, is this going to be a waste of time writing?

Hopefully we can help guide you at an earlier stage than we can with the full novel award.

And the prize is amazing - essentially 12 months of experienced mentoring on 60,000 words - you can even draft the book as you go, 5 words a month at a time, if you're at a very early stage. Again, this is something I would love, and I hope the prize appeals to you, too.

And of course, we have a brilliant SL judge, with Christabel McKinley of DHA, who represents our 2019 WMCNA winner, Alexandra Page. She is on the lookout for another outstanding talent like Alex...will it be you? If you want to know more about Christabel, we interview her recently here.

Entries are open until 16th May, 2021.

Read more about the award and it's eligibility criteria and rules 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.


  • 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

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

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.
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.

For more details and to enter, look here:
VIRTUAL EVENT: OH MG! A Weekend of Middle Grade

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

More details and booking here:
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.

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

Final word from...

Yes, that's right, it's me again! 

Sorry about that...we'll get someone decent on next week!

This week (and this whole period) has got me thinking so much about TIME.

I've been super busy with helping my daughter do her school work from home, with my baby boy (who just slept a full night in his own room last night, yay!), and of course, staying in command of the StarShip WM, with it's many passengers and smaller ships flying alongside.

Those things above all take up a LOT of TIME, as you know (if you're a working parent - I also have a job as teacher and WM is more a hobby) or could imagine. And it would be easy for me to make excuses about not having TIME to write, or not having TIME to read, or to spend some (very rare) quality TIME with my wife.

Some days I feel like I need Marty's DeLorean, Dr Who's (No.10, David Tennant, obvs) TARDIS or something similar to help me get it all done.

But, and forgive me for saying so, I think that we always have TIME. It is an excuse used a lot for not doing something, but my take on this (and feel free to disagree with me), is that we choose what to do with our TIME.

Sure, there are some things which we MUST do. Work, family etc is really non-negotiable. But other times, we choose to do one thing over another.

So to say, 'I don't have time to write' isn't really being honest with ourselves (or is certainly isn't in my case). I do have time, it's just the time I have, I choose to spend it on other things (and I'm not saying this is bad). But we do have a choice.

I chose to spend time this weekend rewatching S1 of the Mandalorian - a good use of time, you say? I hear you... - but that's a good few hours I could have spent on other things. I chose not to.

Now, this is the important bit (for me anyway): by being honest with myself and reminding myself not to use the phrase 'I don't have time to...' then I can remove that barrier. I may choose to still not write or read and do other things, but it places the responsibility back onto me - it removes that pretence that it is outwith my control etc etc. 

I always have 20 mins (no matter what my day is like) and I could choose to spend that doing whatever I want. Most days I don't, but that's a choice. I decided. Not a lack of time.

My favourite saying on time is this:
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. Earl Nightingale

Similar to this one:

Never delay in writing your book, because of the time it will take, as the time will pass anyway, and you just won't have written the book.

This hits home hard for me personally. I started this current book in 2018 and I have, truthfully, not given it my all for most of the time in between. I have had flirtations with inspiration. I had a lengthy affair with motivation last summer. But ultimately I have chosen to spend the last two months using my TIME to do other things.

Is that okay? Well, not for someone like me, with a self-punishing personality of a caged animal (caged animals suffer from awful repetitive behaviour patterns called stereotypy) and I constantly berate myself about it. But it's also on me. I can change it. I have that power to spend my time in a manner that will fulfil me on a deeper level.

I just need to choose to spend my time in a different way.

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

May the Force be with you,

Do YOU want to be the star of this newsletter?

Do YOU want to have the final word?
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