EXAMPLE ONE - WRITER A.
Writer A had written several partial first drafts of a novel, but thought that the stories lacked direction and writer A was tempted to give up on the stories.
They ‘bought’ a taster session
for £100, which required writer A to submit a first chapter or up to 3,000 words and a synopsis.
The NovelMakers’ mentor performed an appraisal of the work, involving analysis of (at least): spelling and grammar; style; plot; characterisation; dialogue; point of view; suitability for the genre and overall impression. They also made suggestions for improvements such as cuts, rewrites, and clarifications.
The mentor thought that the writing had merit, and was suitable for the genre, but that writer A needed to develop a stronger premise and story structure. The mentor also thought that there were sections of the submission which added nothing to the plot, the story or character arcs. There was also a discussion on the writer A’s writing schedule, and the mentor could see that writer A’s writing time was taking a ‘back seat’ compared to writer A’s work, family and social life.
Writer A signed up for a 6-month mentoring programme
(£1,325). The mentor indicated that, in accordance with the substantial financial investment, changes should be made to writer A’s writing schedule to afford the project the time and consideration needed for success. Writer A agreed.Month 1
: TheNovelMakers’ mentor received a half-manuscript of 40,000 words, and they performed an appraisal on writer A’s writing so far, along the lines of the taster session.
The mentor then had a 45 minutes discussion with writer A on Skype, discussing the appraisal which was then forwarded in an email to writer A. The mentor suggested some fairly major changes which would require substantial rewrites. After some discussion, writer A agreed.Month 2
: Writer A reviewed their work, took the advice of the mentor, and rewrote sections of their opening 3 chapters. They emailed the new sections to the mentor, who looked at the work, and at the end of month 2, they had a one-hour Skype session, and the mentor gave further feedback, mostly positive about the changes that had been made. The mentor then emailed a ‘roadmap’, suggesting sections which should be rewritten and removed from the initial 40,000 word part-manuscript. They also suggested an improved story arc and character development for writer A to consider.Month 3
: Writer A was now experiencing improved motivation, and could see that their writing, and the story, was improving. They had some issues with ‘finding time’, and in email discussions, writer A undertook a half hour ‘off’ each weekday evening in order to concentrate on their writing whilst the family were watching TV. In a subsequent email, they indicated that their family had understood and undertook to ‘give them space’. Writer A was now super motivated. They submitted nearly 5,000 words of new writing, and the mentor noted that they were keeping to the roadmap, that the story was beginning to flow, and that the writing was much improved.Month 4
: a family bereavement had impinged on writer A’s writing time; however, they were still able to submit 3,500 words of new writing. They took advantage of a family trip to the mentor’s area for a face-to-face meeting. Following which the mentor amended the roadmap to include some changes to the story plot writer A was keen to include.Month 5
: Writer A submitted over 5,500 words, with an apology for exceeding the submission guidelines, but they felt it was important to show the mentor the new plotline they were developing. The mentor agreed, and in the one-hour Skype call, they talked about how the ending might pan out - how it fitted in with the rest of the story, and how appropriate it was for all of the characters involved. Month 6
: with regular email updates, the mentor could see that the ending of the novel was closely following the plan they had created together, and at the end of the month, writer A submitted the final 4,000 words of the novel. The mentor agreed that the ending was satisfactory for the story, and rounded off all of the plot threads.
After the end of the mentoring, writer A then booked a complete appraisal
for the manuscript which, at 73,000 words, cost £250 (discounted because the client had undergone the mentoring course).
The mentor placed this appraisal with another member of The NovelMakers’ team and, when completed, writer A made the suggested changes to the manuscript and placed it with a beta reader and a proof reader to make the manuscript as polished as it could be ahead of submission to agents and editors.
EXAMPLE TWO - WRITER B.
The NovelMakers were approached by writer B who thought they had a great idea for a novel, but couldn’t seem to ‘get going’ on it. They had made several attempts to write the manuscript, but all had ‘fizzled out’.
Writer B paid £100 for the taster session
and submitted a 2,500 word opening chapter. The allocated mentor could see immediately that writer B was having difficulty creating good technical sentences. The writing was ‘jerky’, changed point of view all of the time, and made for an unpleasant reading sensation.
The mentor indicated that there were issues with the fundamentals of fiction writing and, rather than sign them up for a book mentoring programme at this stage, suggested that writer B might benefit from joining some online writing groups instead. The mentor also recommended some books to read which would help writer B create writing which flowed better.