Welcome, Write Mentor Hopefuls!
Updated: Feb 21, 2020
So you're considering applying to Write Mentor? FANTASTIC! This program is such an incredible opportunity to grow your craft and connect with other writers. I found one of my most trusted critique partners through Write Mentor (you can find her here -- she's also mentoring this year!), and my mentor gave such valuable feedback on my novel. She identified areas that were strong as well as areas that weren't quite working, and we came up with solutions together until I had a manuscript I was proud of.
And now... I get to give back to the program that helped me so much. I WILL BE MENTORING THIS SUMMER! So if you write YA that’ll make me laugh and cry, something I won’t be able to stop thinking about long after I’ve finished reading, I hope you’ll consider submitting to me!
Here's a little bit about me, what I’m looking for, mentor style, etc:
I live outside Atlanta, GA, with my husband of almost 6 years, cat, and dog. I teach 9th grade Literature (ages 14-15) to advanced STEM students, so I'm used to giving feedback in a way that's soft but firm and helps open writers up to possibilities they might not have considered.
I love stories, and as such am an avid reader, movie watcher, and TV series follower. If you want to get an idea of who I am and the stories I love most...
MY FAVORITES (in no particular order):
Authors: Jandy Nelson, John Green, Maureen Johnson, Jennifer Niven, Adam Silvera, Angie Thomas, Nic Stone, Sabaa Tahir, Becky Albertalli, Neal Shusterman, Victoria Schwab, Laurie Halse Anderson, Markus Zusak
Movies: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Lion King, Mean Girls, Memento, Fight Club, V For Vendetta, Harry Potter, (Not movies but) Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen
Shows: The Simpsons, The Office, Scrubs, Friends, Degrassi, New Girl, Supernatural, The Good Place, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Schitt's Creek, Good Girls
Voicey, character-driven contemporary YA with heart and humor. I’m cool with speculative/magical elements, but I’m definitely not the best fit for a high fantasy or heavy sci-fi story. Send me your underdogs, your soft boys (or your bad boys), your badass girls, your MCs struggling to find themselves, your imperfect MCs who make me scream at the screen but love them all the same. Send me your lyrical prose, unique descriptions, lines that stop my heart. Send me your stories about… something bizarrely specific and interesting (But well-researched), something that will open me up to a weird little pocket of humanity I’ve never seen before. Send me something twisty and complex that pulls everything together in an unexpected way, like a mystery or a heist story. Send me #ownvoices! Don’t be afraid to send me your dark night of the soul, BUT please don’t use trauma/mental illness purely for plot or shock. I want something with HEART, something important, something unforgettable.
DON’T SENT ME:
Death of a pet I’ve come to love throughout the story. I will not watch a movie with a dog on its cover. Hopeless endings (I love a realistic, happy-for-now ending, but don’t leave me in the dark without hope of light). Glorified toxic relationships (I’m okay with toxic if it’s clear we shouldn’t be rooting for it). I’ve already said this, but I’m not the best fit for high fantasy or heavy sci-fi. I fundamentally don’t understand time travel stories, so best not to send me those, either—unless you think you’ve really nailed the quantum mechanics of it all.
The Full Package! I’ll read your full manuscript and provide in-line comments and a 3-ish pg edit letter with my thoughts on what’s working, what’s not, and where we might go from here. My in-line comments range from reactions to suggestions, both at the line and structural level. I’ll probably save grammar things for a later read-through (you get as many passes as you need!), but I might sneak a few in on the first read. As an English teacher, I can spot your dangling modifiers, comma splices, and awkward phrasing—and give you an explanation for why you might want to reword something. That said, my feedback will always be constructive, enthusiastic, and kind! In addition, I can help you cultivate your query list and provide lots of puppy gifs (or other animals, if puppies aren't your thing, but really? What's better than puppies?) for moral support at any point in the process! I'm here for the long haul!
I’d love a mentee who knows their story needs work, but also knows what story they’ve set out to tell. If you’ve gotten your MS as far as you can on your own (and/or with critique partners) but know it can go so much farther, I’m your girl! I’m good at digging to the heart of a story and helping writers hone in and make that heart beat even harder. That said, I’d like someone who is open to big changes if need be. At the end of the day, it’s your story—but you’ll go farther with revision if you keep an open mind.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I want to be your cheerleader! I’ll rejoice over your successes and commiserate when you feel like you’ve been kicked in the face. I’ll flail at your beautiful writing and help you identify places that need to be strengthened. I can’t guarantee you representation (just as an agent can’t guarantee your book will sell), but I can guarantee I will work just as hard as you throughout the entire process!
If you made it all the way here, and if you've connected with anything I've written above, I sincerely hope you'll consider submitting to me!
Here's a picture of my dog in a tie.