"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: August 2016

Thursday, August 4, 2016

FREE Writing Course, Book, System - plus Mentor Advice

As part of the roll out of my new Writing Academy, I want to give you access to a FREE fiction writing course.


If the above link isn't working use the one below - click or copy n paste:


Your Success is my Concern

What to Look For In a Writing Mentor
First of all, you have to decide what you need.

Look at your writing critically, decide where you are deficient, define the areas where you need to sharpen your skills, and outline the specific writing goals you want to achieve.

And by specific, I mean very specific.

Is your problem grammar, characters or plotting? Sentence construction or style? Maybe it's motivation or just finding the time. A good mentor can help in all these areas - as long as they know what you need.

When you start seeking out mentors, ask questions. Not only is it important you know what you want, it's important you're confident the mentor can and will deliver for you.

When I take on a new author, I ask lots of questions. First, I want to be sure I can help. Second, I want to build a close connection with the author. Third, I want to be sure the writer knows what to expect - at every stage. Here are a few examples:

Damian came to me with his second novel. He'd lost his way and wasn't sure the book really worked. I agreed to help him because he was enthusiastic and wanted to work hard to learn more about his craft.

I read his book and recognized the problem - it wasn't the story so much as his style, which lacked some immediacy. We worked step by step on his scene construction - deepening the perspective of the protagonist so that he became compelling and believable. After that, the story began to work better and Damian was much happier with his work!

Bill was different. He knew he had a great book. It was his sixth - to all intents and purposes he was a professional. He just wanted his novel proofed and edited for sense.

As I began sending him over corrected chapters, Bill started asking questions about improving his writing style. I was more than happy to offer advice.

A few emails later, Bill understood and appreciated my writing philosophy much better and went away to re-write huge sections of his book, thereby improving the work even more. Bill later told me his agent thought it was his best book so far.

Julia was different again. She'd written only the outline for her novel and saw 'the writing' as a huge task she might not complete without help. 

We spent a lot of time preparing before she started. I showed her how to prioritize her life, organize her time and make room for her writing.

Three months and four drafts later Julia submitted her romance to a publisher.

It's about flexibility - from both the student and the mentor. There must also be communication - usually lots of it - and a certain rapport and trust.

Because just as all authors are different, so are mentors.

Not all of them will be best-selling authors or have a string of writing credits. Some are just good at what they do.

But what do you look for?

Intelligence? Patience? Professionalism? Yes, all of these things.

If academic qualifications are important to you - go for them. But beware, when John, another 'mentoree', came to me, his book had previously been edited by a writing professor - but not to John's satisfaction. The writing had come back 'correct' but so wooden it was almost unreadable!

We worked through the text, deleting qualifiers and all the clumsy (but grammatically correct!) conjunctions until we had writing that was fresh and fun to read. John has now self-published his book in his hometown, much to the joy of his family.

But are those writing credits important to you? Do you believe that only a best-selling author can give you the advice you need? If you do, you might be better advised to buy books like "On Writing" by Stephen King and see what you think.

Failing that, you could contact a famous - or favorite - author and ask if they ever mentor new authors. Most don't but some will.

What about the cost?

Again, it depends on what you want. Just need an overall assessment and a little guidance? You're probably looking at about $300 to $500 for a 100,000-word novel. It's almost an industry standard.

Want to give your book and attitude a thorough workout (editing, reworking etc?) Then budget perhaps double up to $1500 a novel. 

Anything less and you have wonder what you're getting. (You get what you pay for etc.)

Need complete handholding, lots of encouragement and blow by blow assistance? Most reputable mentors will charge anything from $500 to $1000 a month for that - but are usually open to negotiation depending on your circumstances. Some will charge more - a lot more.

But remember.

It's not all about the writing. Sometimes it's about turning you into a writer, gaining the right mentality and putting you on the road of self-discovery, with the confidence and skills to handle success in this industry.

Whatever you get from it - it should be rewarding and fun. Shop around to find a mentor that suits you, makes you feel good about yourself and helps you grow - as a person and an author.
The Easy Way to Write
Keep Writing!

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