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  • Writer's pictureBB Swann

WriteMentor Time!!!!

Hello, WriteMentor hopefuls! I’m excited to be back for my second year of the contest and can’t wait to see the wonderful stories you have prepared for us mentors. If you’re thinking about submitting to me here is what I am looking for in a mentee and story.

I want to work with a writer who is ready to dive in and make their MS sparkle like the sun. That means work. Lots of work. Weeks and weeks of work. But don’t worry, there will be fun, too. Be prepared to put in the time and effort needed because no matter how polished you think your book is, there is always SOMETHING we can do to “take it to the next level.” (That’s my agent’s favorite thing to tell me. Which usually means more revisions😊)

So what kind of stories do I want? I am a YA romance writer. My strengths and passions are heavily skewed toward this genre. I prefer sci-fi, magical realism, fantasy, paranormal or anything generally considered weird. I should warn you, I am a member of RWA and follow the “rules” for romance. If you’re not sure what those are, you might want to check them out here: Romance Guidelines Normal contemporary isn’t really for me, neither are historical fiction or westerns. Some of my favorite authors to read are Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, Danielle Paige, Brandon Mull, Neal Shusterman, and Allie Condie. That should give you an idea of what I like and what I am most prepared to help with in the YA realm.

Middle Grade is not for me.

I am also interested in working with a picture book author. In PB for me, anything goes! I am not an illustrator so don’t expect too much direction with that area, but I LOVE writing and reading PB stories! As a twenty-five-year veteran early childhood teacher (I’ve taught pre-k special ed through 3rd grade) I have read thousands of picture books. This is one area where I feel extra qualified to help. I am a member of SCBWI and co-rep for our area’s chapter critique group. So bring on those PB submissions!

I hope I’ve answered your questions and given you an idea of what I’m looking for. But if you think you have something I’d like, send it in. I’ll leave you with a few words from my past mentees to see what they thought of my mentoring style. Good luck to everyone and enjoy the ride!

Bonnie was such a great mentor! Not only did she encourage me where I was doing well, but she helped me see the places where my story needed work. The homework she gave me also gave me good tools to use in future writing. They were especially helpful for someone like me who has a harder time with the big picture. This pantser is super grateful for this awesome mentor!

What I like about her mentoring is her encouragement, and for someone that was terrible at grammar, I am a lot better. I didn't even realize that she steadily helped to improve it by setting up notes and being patient with me, so I learned. I also really found it valuable with what she taught me about show don't tell. Expressions and breaking it down for me so I understood that the audience needs to have a clear picture of the person's face or reactions to important scenes.

If I had to describe the best mentee for Bonnie, it would be someone that is not afraid of learning and putting their nose to the grindstone, for real. They really need to be willing to get down and rewrite whole scenes or even add new ones. It's not for the faint of heart when you think as a writer you did great on a scene and you're told that it needs to be rewrote or added to or even struck completely. There is a push to have that manuscript polished.

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