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Mentoring

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is helping which goes beyond the editorial. As a mentor, I will be your cheerleader and encourager, your support. It will involve whatever is needed to help you get, or keep, the wheels turning on your project. Usually, it will take the pattern of regular, usually monthly, phone, video or in-person conversations. Mentoring is of most help during the early stages of a project but can also be useful when a project has stalled. It will also involve me looking at your work, but my feedback will be general and not detailed. 


How does it work?

This service revolves around the client’s needs, so the first step would be for me to find out what those needs are and if I can help you in fulfilling them. To do this we would discuss the project and make a plan for subsequent meetings. This first meeting (whether in person, by phone or on video call) would be free. On the basis of that, and if we both felt that we could work together, I would draw up a contract and we would plan our first session.

What will mentoring do for me?

My roles are:

Being a soundboard – Giving the writer an audience to batter ideas against. Helping them to form and develop their ideas.

Being a questioner – Asking ‘What will happen here?’, ‘Why is she doing this?’, ‘Why do they go there?’, ‘What is this character’s role? ‘Is he really needed in the story?’ ‘Does it make sense for her to be so angry?’. By doing this – helping the writer to look at the roles of characters, their motivations and the story arc – the writer can develop a more objective, fresher insight into their novel. 

Being an encourager – Writing is hard! Even the exciting first-draft stage. I am there to remind you of what you love about your story and why you are writing it. And that you are not alone.

Being a critic – If I feel that some aspect of your novel is problematic, I will bring it to your notice and brainstorm with you about how to fix it.  

Being a deadline maker – In a world of distractions and duties, it can be hard to get writing done. Sometimes you need someone breathing down your neck. I am happy to be that someone! When we make our original plan for the course, we will discuss what you want the course to do. My job is to be the bee in your bonnet and help you stick to that plan. When we book our meeting, it goes in my diary; if you don’t bring anything to the meeting, you lose the opportunity. That’s a very good motivation to keep going. 

What genre?

I only work in genres that I read. These are literary fiction, historical fiction, ‘women’s’ fiction, crime/suspense (of the light or ‘cozy’ variety) and narrative non-fiction. But the main basis for my decision will be if, on our first meeting, I feel I can help you to move your writing forward.

Will you look at my writing?

Yes. To help you move forward I will read as any beta-reader would, offering advice and turning the story over in my head. I won’t do any line- or copy-editing (punctuation, grammar and other sentence-level work, see here for what this is).


How do I pay?

With mentoring, you pay per meeting. Each meeting will last between one and two hours. The cost of the meeting includes the cost of me looking at your writing – though I don't do any editing on it. One meeting will cost £50 (plus travel or call charge if applicable).


Can I buy a mentoring course as a present for someone else?

Yes. And when I meet your ‘someone else’, if, after one meeting, we find we can’t work together, I will refund in full.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Client 5

Everything about Alison Gray is organic – her food, her clothes, her original writing and – yes – even her editing process. She gives feedback in such a way that the author feels engaged and included and does so with gentle prodding, understanding and tension-relieving bits of humour. With Alison in your court, meeting a deadline becomes a process to enjoy. 

Sarah Oba, writer and editor

Client 6

Throughout the last year I have found Alison Gray’s mentoring advice to have been invaluable in driving forward my writing project – a historical novel set in Scotland and China.


Her feedback has been detailed and insightful, providing me with help in creating effective conflict and tension, exploring relationship dynamics and sorting out plot issues. 


Her one-to-one tuition is excellent and inspiring. I would highly recommend her as a creative writing mentor.

Julie Robertson, writer, artist and teacher