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.
You buy a block of hours which are valid for a specific length of time. 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. It is suitable for anyone who has completed a substantial writing course. 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, we’ll assign either Jo-Anne or Richard (or Michele or Fred) as your primary reader.
- We’ll assign you to a group.
- 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 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 your time period ends, 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.
- 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.
- 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 Cape Town) 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 only reading and feedback from only your primary reader.