Free, voluntary mentoring programme which matches agented/published authors of children's fiction with those looking to take that next step. Applications usually open in April and mentoring commences from May to August with a September agent showcase, where your work will be on display to a host of top agents.

VISIT: 2020 #WRITEMENTOR SUMMER PROGRAMME

I was lucky enough be a mentee myself in the first WriteMentor programme in 2018, mentored by the amazing Kathryn Clark, a fabulous experience which completely changed my luck. I learnt so much in a very concentrated period of time. Following that, during the 2019 summer programme, I mentored a very talented writer for her YA speculative thriller.

Since 2018 I have been signed by the fabulous Jo Williamson from Antony Harwood agents. My Teen novel, with the working title ‘Troglodyte’ (which Kathryn mentored in 2018) is still in edits with a publisher… Suffice to say it’s an adventure with ghosts, horror and lots of mystery, told in a dual timeline. Most of the action centres around a cave.

I have no magic wand to wave, but I can offer the experience I have gained so far. And I know what an amazing opportunity WriteMentor can be – as I’ve been through it myself!

I’m a SCBWI Network Organiser for the South-West and run a SCBWI critique group which meets monthly where we give detailed feedback on everyone's work. I hope therefore I can respond sympathetically to all writers, and value their strengths, as well as flag up areas for improvement, or suggest alternative routes to try. A while back now I studied English at Oxford University, and followed it with a secondary teaching qualification, where I was taught by Philip Pullman!! Teaching has given me plenty of experience nurturing writing, and I know how much positive encouragement is required, as well as constructive criticism.

To develop my own creative writing craft, in 2016 I completed a Curtis Brown Creative Writing for Children Course online, taught by the excellent Catherine Johnson.

I am also one of the mentors for the WriteMentor Spark programme.

That’s my writing background! Read my About Me and Favourite Reads pages if you want to know more.

My #WriteMentor 2020 Summer Programme Wish-list

Genres: Historical, Thriller, Adventure, Mystery, Paranormal, Crime, Magical Realism, Time- Travel… or anything novel!

YA or Teen – the upper end of the MG market suits me best – about 12+

What I’m looking for is an original and engaging concept! Yes, of course good writing is important, but a really hooky idea, which draws me straight into your story is what I long to read.

Genre-crossing narratives are brilliant especially something with a little magic and mystery in the mix, but I like my stories believable, even if they're fantastical, in well-realised, amazing settings. I like exciting plots with adventure and thrill, which might have historical settings or contemporary ones, which play with dual narratives, or interesting timelines. Obviously I want a character who draws me in, but I like complexity: heroes who have serious flaws and make mistakes, and antagonists who could be heroes. (I really dislike stereotypical villains.) I like stories which are thought-provoking, which make me re- examine the way I see the world, or show me unique insights into unfamiliar lives and places.

I totally believe #ownvoices narratives tell their stories better, and would love to see #ownvoices outside contemporary writing: historical, mystery, thriller etc – and the same for LGBTQ+ – where the representation is part of an exciting or thought-provoking story. I want stories with high stakes, and emotional impact that will move me.

My mentoring style

I fully understand how difficult it can be to make changes to your work, and take on board criticism. Obviously a mentor cannot provide all the answers, but with any luck we can be well-informed readers, whose judgment a writer can trust, because we are a little further along with our writing experience.

From running a critique group for SCBWI, from being mentored and critiqued myself, I know the emotional demands of having feedback on your work. I would ask that you are ready to make changes, that you are ready to try out new ideas and be open to other possibilities. Critiquing can be a very creative process.

Communicating via email, messenger, Skype, phone calls or even in person would be fine for me – or a mixture of all of these. Whatever suits my mentee best.

I’m offering a partial/submission package which would be the first three chapters, plus the query letter and synopsis. I would love to offer more, but am unsure of the demands for my current novel. If time allows, I might be able to offer advice on more, though probably not in huge detail.

I would give reports on each section of your writing, and add notes, picking out everything from fine detail to bigger picture issues in pacing, characterisation, stakes… whatever is required.

As I say, it’s the story and concept that counts – something unusual please! Play with the tropes, and surprise me!


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