Our Mentoring Programme is tailored to each writer’s needs and provides encouragement, support, substantial feedback and advice every month. It is suitable for writers of fiction and creative non-fiction for the page or the screen.
You’re buying two hours of mentoring time a month for ten months. They can be used in a variety of ways: you can receive feedback and personal notes on your writing, as well as brainstorming help and advice on developing ideas.
With their distinctive honest-but-kind approach, our mentors Jo-Anne Richards and Richard Beynon with associates Michele Rowe for screenwriting and Fred de Vries for travel writing, provide notes and advice on story, characters, structure, scenes, point of view and style.
This programme will help you start – and finish – your book, collection of short stories or screenplay. We can work with you to develop a television series, and craft your proposal. We can help you turn a book into a screenplay, or vice versa.
It is suitable for anyone who has completed a substantial writing course or has industry experience. We hold your hand and walk you through the process.
How the programme works
- At the start of the programme we will, depending on the nature of your project, assign either Jo-Anne or Richard (or Michele or Fred) as your primary reader.
- Each month you’ll receive full written feedback on your submission from your primary reader. The secondary reader will comment if he/she thinks the primary reader has missed something significant.
- The programme is run through a private mentoring group on our online course platform, which is hosted by Ning.
- This is where you submit your writing and where Jo-Anne and Richard post their feedback.
- We use Zoom for brainstorming and the monthly half-hour feedback sessions.
Submissions and brainstorms
- Brainstorms – We can help you develop a story idea or character details through a three-way Zoom brainstorming session, in readiness for writing a book, or if at any stage you find yourself stuck. These can be in lieu of or in addition to your monthly written submission.
- Your monthly submission might consist of character descriptions, story outlines and scene descriptions etc or be part of the narrative.
- Before you get too far into the process, we strongly suggest you prepare by working with Jo-Anne and Richard on your story idea and character development. They will let you know when they think you are ready to begin writing.
- Once you’re ready to submit narrative, we suggest you aim for about 5000 words per month but your emphasis should be on quality rather than quantity.
- Feedback on 5000 words generally takes between two and four hours depending on how much work the submission requires.
- We suggest you submit as polished a piece of writing as possible so we don’t waste time on correcting typos and grammatical errors.
- If you have any hours in credit after twelve months and you sign up for another tranche, we will carry your hours forward.
- We’ll track your hours month by month and send you an occasional recon.
- We have two submission groups and we’ll assign you to one of the groups when you start.
- Submission days are always on Tuesdays.
- When you join, we’ll give you a list of the upcoming submission dates. We might occasionally change these dates but you’ll have advance warning of this.
- As a bonus to the hours spent on feedback and brainstorming, everyone is entitled to an individual half-hour feedback session on the specified Zoom days. During your thirty minutes you can also talk through your next steps.
- Both Jo-Anne and Richard will always be present at the Zoom sessions.
- The Zooms are always the Tuesday following the submission date. We run them in groups in the evening, and can offer some slots during the group two Tuesday of slots if need be.
- You also have the opportunity to ask Richard and Jo-Anne’s opinion on urgent problems between submissions. This must be done through the online forum, and not via email or phone calls.
One-on-one face-to-face meetings
Mentees are welcome to use their hours for a face-to-face meeting with Jo-Anne (in Simonstown) or Richard (at the British Library in London or in Bedford). There will be an additional charge for any travel costs incurred.
In return we ask that participants commit to:
- Reading and commenting on at least some of their colleagues’ work.
- Playing an active part on the online forum
- Submitting by the deadline every month. (The only exception is if you submit more than 5000 words then you agree to submit a week before the deadline.) Submitting late may result in reading and feedback from only your primary reader.