#WriteMentor is holding a Children’s Novel Award competition. This is for pre-published and pre-agented MG/YA fiction writers.
I participated in #WriteMentor earlier this year after M. Dalto and Amber R. Duell chose THE LOST SAGES for the mentorship. It was an amazing opportunity, and I learned so much about writing. I can never thank them and Stuart White (founder) enough.
The shortlist judge is Chloe Seager, literary agent of Northbank Talent Management.
Winner – Trophy and 500 pounds.
Shortlist – a place on #WriteMentor programme if you don’t have an agent by June 2019
Entry fee is £5. If you’re low-income and unable to pay this, you can enter for free.
What Do You Need to Submit?
Submit the first 3,000 words of your novel and a 1-page synopsis.
Entry window: December 1st, 2018 to January 31st, 2019.
Longlist announced: February 2019
Shortlist announced March 2019
Winner announced: April/May 2019
Go on and enter if you have a finished manuscript! Good luck ❤ Find out more information here about the competition.
Please welcome the funny and lovely, M. Dalto, soon to be published author! Her debut novel releases tomorrow, December 11th, with Parliament House Press! I was lucky enough to be mentored by MB during #WriteMentor from the months of May to August. MB mentored me with Amber R. Duell (author of Dream Keeper) and it was a blast.
Welcome MB! I’m so happy you are here, today. Can’t wait to hear more about your journey with TWO THOUSAND YEARS and what’s next for you 🙂
Let’s get started!
Loie: When did you start writing TWO THOUSAND YEARS and what inspired it?
MB: The inspiration for TWO THOUSAND YEARS actually came to me in 1993 – and now I’m probably dating myself. Billy Joel released his album entitled River of Dreams and on it was a song called Two Thousand Years. My best friend and I had very active imaginations and often wrote our own stories, roleplayed, and the like — there was something about Two Thousand Years that called to me, even then, telling me there was a story there, and it needed to be written. They melody was moving, and the lyrics were inspiring- battles to be won and love that spanned centuries. It was just begging for a story to be told.
I socked the idea away for many years later, until 2014 when something in me felt the need to write a story for NaNoWriMo. So, using the same song for inspiration so many years later, that’s exactly what I did.
Loie: Wow! Love the story behind TTY. That is so cool, MB! Now I’m going to go and listen to that song 😉
Can you tell readers what Wattpad is? When did you decide to post TTY on it?
MB: Wattpad is a website where millions of writers and readers can come together, from all over the world, and share their stories and experiences. I had heard about it from a friend when I was looking to do more with TWO THOUSAND YEARS. What brought me there didn’t start out as happy though…
I finally decided to share my first chapter on one of the NaNoWriMo forums. And the person who read it, a total stranger, messaged me and told me that it may have been one of the worst pieces of writing he ever read.
I was devastated.
So much so that I was ready to just stop- no more writing, throw the story away, that was it.
Until a friend of mine mentioned Wattpad. I never knew it existed until she told what it was, where I could upload as much or as little onto it as I wanted, where the feedback I could get there would be far more diverse than one unknown person’s opinion.
So I finally joined in February 2016.
Loie: Super important to receive diverse feedback compared to one person. I’m so glad your friend mentioned Wattpad to you ❤
Did you have the novel finished before you started posting on Wattpad or did you write a chapter a week?
MB: TWO THOUSAND YEARS was fully drafted when I decided to post it to Wattpad, but I was still in the process of my first round of edits and revision. So once I had a chapter completed, I would post it to Wattpad. I tried to get at least one up a week at the time, sometimes there would be two. I remember when I was about 10 chapters away from the end I went on a posting spree and put up one a day, but because I wanted to mark it as ‘complete’.
Loie: Oh, that’s neat 🙂 How fun! Your readers must have been thrilled about the posting spree, hehe 🙂 ! I used to post on Fanfiction. I wrote Sailor Moon and Harry Potter fanfic (featuring Harry’s parents :D) and I remember how fun it was to receive reviews and feedback on my writing.
Can you share your journey with Two Thousand Years getting published?
MB: confess I had not interest in publishing when I started writing it. I merely wanted to write a story, and I did. But once I posted it to Wattpad and it won the Watty, I started to consider that maybe there was something more I could do with it. So I started querying it to agents. A lot. And it was rejected. A lot. I tried on SwoonReads and it ebbed and flowed in its popularity, but nothing came of it. It got some interest a Pitmad or two from indie publishers, but at the time I was focused on traditional publishing. I even tried throwing it into 2017’s PitchWars but it got me nowhere.
I soon lost count of the rejections, but for this one I was okay because it, and the rest of its series, was still extremely popular on Wattpad. But eventually the frustration got to me and I was seriously considering myself as a writer (don’t we all?) until a friend of mine whom I met through an ACOTAR FB group started posting about her new book coming out with a Parliament House Press. After talking to her about it and her experiences, I began to realize that TWO THOUSAND YEARS as a story I wasn’t going to compromise to sell, so maybe an independent small press was something to consider. So I queried them and they enjoyed what they read enough to request my full manuscript a month later, and a week after that I was sent the contract!
Loie: Writing is a journey and I agree, I think every writer doubts themselves. I’ve been there. So cool that you met a friend through your love of ACOTAR ❤ I love Parliament House Press. I’m so glad they’re releasing your book. Also, your cover is amazing!
What is your favourite 2018 read?
MB: This is hard because I can barely remember what I read! If you’re asking me what my favorite 2018 release was, it would definitely be A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas because her ACOTAR series is my favorite, with A Court of Mist and Fury still up there as my most favorite book ever. I know a lot of people were upset with this book, but it was a novella and it was a fun novella and I’m okay with the romantic fluff every once in a while, especially where Rhysand is involved.
Now, if you’re asking me about books that I actually, finally read in 2018, the favorites there would be Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Though I guess I can now throw Queen of Air and Darkness into the mix, as it’s a 2018 release though I haven’t finished it. Yet… But those books redeemed her Shadowhunters franchise for me and I absolutely love them. Almost as much as must as the ACOTAR series.
Loie: Eep! I haven’t finished ACOFAS but maybe I will in the next few weeks. Also, I need to get caught up with the Shadowhunters books so I can finally read this new series. It sounds amazing!
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do In your free time :)?
MB: What’s free time? 😉
Other than writing and wrangling my 8-year-old daughter, I love to read. YA and Adult fantasy are my favorites, though I’ll drop everything for the Outlander series. I also love playing video games – RPGs are my preferred genre, and I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for what feels like forever. And sometimes, when the mood arises, I’ll practice yoga- basic Hatha is my go-to.
Loie: Hahaha 😀 ! Outlander! Love it. Also, I haven’t played video games in ages but I would love to again. I was inspired by my love of Legend of Zelda to write my own fantasy novel.
Okay… now for a super important question: why is Jamie Campbell Bower the best :D?
MB: *HAHA* I see what you did there…
Okay, so let’s start at the beginning.
Hi, my name is MaryBeth, and I adore Jamie Campbell Bower.
I don’t want to use the term ‘obsessed’ because it still remains a healthy infatuation. For the moment. The man can do no wrong – he can act, he can sing, and he’s gorgeous… I mean…a very successful model. He’s well spoken, hilarious, and did I mention gorgeous?
So, Jamie is one of those actors who you know without realizing you know. He was in Sweeney Todd, Harry Potter, played the most amazing Jace in the City of Bones, and then there are those damn movies about sparkly vampires that we don’t talk about. He was also the front runner in Camelot for the one season it was on Starz and played the most amazing Kit Marlowe in TNT’s Will. He’s incredibly talented, and not only on the screen. He actually started his career in music before acting, and his band, COUNTERFEIT., is coming out with their second album in 2019. AND I can attest that he is as genuine in person as you may see in his interviews because I was fortunate enough to have met him in 2018.
But I digress….
Loie: Hahah! Thank you for sharing! I’m sold on JCB! I have yet to listen to COUNTERFEIT but I will sometime this week. Yes, I’ve seen a few interviews with him and he does seem really genuine. So neat that you got to meet him!
What does 2019 hold for you? Do you have any new projects on the horizon?
MB: So the beginning of 2019 will bring the release of the first two companion novellas for the Empire Saga, REYLOR’S LAMENT and TREYAN’S PROMISE. After that, there’s rumor’s Book 2 could be coming out later in 2019, but we’ll see what happens there 😉
Other than that, I have a couple of other projects I’m working on, both with myself and others. A manuscript or two I’m trying to focus on finishing and polishing, and maybe a couple others that are ready to start from scratch. We’ll just have to see how the year goes!
Loie: Wow! I’m so glad there’s more on the horizon. Can’t wait to read the novellas! Congrats, MB! One more day until TWO THOUSAND YEARS releases 🙂 It’s one of my top reads from 2018 ❤
Thank you so much, MB, for visiting the blog today! You can connect with MB on her Twitter, Instagram, and Wattpad 🙂
Short post for today. The #WriteMentor Agent Showcase went fantastically and Stuart shared that every mentee received an agent request which is super rare and awesome! Woohoo 🙂 You can still read the lovely entries here!
What I’m Reading
I finished The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin and it’s definitely a 5 star book in my opinion! I loved the thrilling mystery and the close sisterly bond between Aster and Poppy.
I’m still working on Blinding Night and A Touch of Gold. But I also have a few more on my radar 😀 The life of a booklover! Haha.
Scion of the Fox is written by Canadian writer, editor, and artist, S.M. Beiko. The pitch is American Gods meets Princess Mononoke!
Saving Death was graciously sent to me by Oftomes Publishing to review. Very excited to dive in.
The Bone Roses is such a unique and fantastical story. It’s pitched as a Steampunk Western! I love it so far. Rags is such a spunky and brave main heroine.
This book was published by Parliament House Press. I think they are definitely a publishing house to watch. They have some great books lined up for the fall. My two mentors from #WriteMentor each have a book releasing from them in the next couple of months.
Upcoming Author Interview
I won’t say much about this because I want you to be excited and curious but I have a fantastic author interview going live on Tuesday! They are a bestselling fantasy writer and I cannot wait for you to read the interview ❤
Heading to the Country
I am excited because this weekend I am heading to the country to spend time with family. Hoping for rest and good conversation and inspiration. I also get to read my #cpsoulmate‘ latest draft of her science fiction adventure story, World Leaper!
Do you have any plans for the weekend? What are you reading at the moment?
Hey everyone 🙂 How are you all making out? Did some of you participate in Camp National Novel Writing Month? I started to, but then I got busy with a new job (I’m happy as a clam!) and settled into a new routine.
Also, can you believe it is August 1st? The countdown is on for the Agent Showcase.
Today I want to share my experience with the mentorship program, #WriteMentor. I am beyond blessed to be part of this fantastic group of writers. There is an excellent mix of published authors and aspiring authors.
Without further ado, here is my experience of being part of a mentorship 🙂
1. Writing Community Broadens
I have met so many wonderful writers during #WriteMentor. I am part of the mentees Facebook group. We share how we are doing during revisions or ask writing craft questions.
My Twitterverse has grown as well. It is so fun to login and see what everyone is up to. Sometimes we post silly GIFS about how revisions AREN’T going smoothly, haha, or we just tag each other in fun little writing questionnaires.
I love meeting new writers, and #WriteMentor has brought new writing friends into my life for which I will be forever grateful.
2. Learn More About Writing as a Craft
As a writer, working with two brilliant and funny authors has been amazing. Their level of insight is really awesome. I received my final round of edits around ten days ago. I took a deep breath and cleared my desk, then sat down to read through their notes.
My jaw dropped many times. They were so spot on! They picked up on things that I didn’t even notice. Bringing some of these things to my attention has already shifted something in my writing brain. I find I am looking out for those problematic areas in my writing or noticing passive and filter words more.
I am so grateful for Amber and MB. They are the best. Thank you both for the time you put in this manuscript ❤
3. Grow More Confident as a Writer
My confidence has grown. I think every time you learn something new, you feel more sure of yourself. The ambiguity clears up.
For example, filter words are the worst, HAHA! Also, make sure the weather doesn’t drastically change in a scene without explaining why. Good ol’ continuity 😉
We will always grow and learn more. We can only get better! That is an encouraging thought. Even if I don’t get an agent or a book published in the next year or so, I know I am learning and growing. All of this is important on the journey.
We will get there.
A big shout out to Stuart White, who is an awesome, kind, and great encourager in the writing community! He is brilliant. You can tell he has a genuinely good heart and wants to help others. He is the mastermind behind this program.
Also, a big thank you to the rest of the mentors who are giving up their precious time to work with us. You are all amazing ❤
I hope someday if I get enough experience I can give back similarly and mentor a new writer. If you are thinking about applying for a mentorship program, I highly recommend it.
How has your summer been? What are you all working on? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
Hello, lovelies! I hope you are having a good week so far. Happy Camp NaNoWriMo for those of you who are participating, whether you’re editing, writing, or outlining. I hope to write a novella set in the world of THE LOST SAGES, and explore one of my secondary characters, Tsura. I’m excited to learn more about her 🙂
I’ve decided to start blogging about the craft of writing, with the hope of better understanding it. In my own search to understand various techniques, I’ve found some neat books and informational videos.
The wonderful thing about being part of a writing community is getting to share information and tips with one another. After you read this blog, I would love to hear your own thoughts on how to create compelling and real characters 🙂
Writing video notes
I stumbled upon Kim Chance’s writing videos on YouTube. I really enjoyed listening to her break down some of the various craft elements. In this video, she shared how she creates well-rounded characters. Kim kindly provides a character profile questionnaire that can be found on her website.
She discussed these key points: cultural influences, mannerisms, occupation and socioeconomic status, family relationships, spirituality, and education. Life experience is a big one. What have the characters gone through or what has happened to them before we meet them on page one.
In my book, THE LOST SAGES, Evren is poor and alone at the beginning. This really influences her decision making when Captain Sa’av, infamous pirate, arrives on Ionoke Island, seeking a navigator to bring him to the sinister Sea Queen’s lair.
Personality, of course, is a huge one. How does a character view themselves and how do other characters see them? I loved these two questions!! Oftentimes, we can see ourselves in a different light than those around us 😉
To become three dimensional, the character must experience some change over the course of the novel and journey.
What is the character’s goal? What is the motivation behind the goal and what is at stake if the character fails? For example, if Evren does not find the sinister Sea Queen’s lair, then her and Captain Sa’av won’t be able to retrieve an antidote to an epidemic that is claiming the air from thousands of lungs across Tarkais.
Do you brainstorm all the details of a character before writing them? Do you have an image of the person or perhaps a feeling or situation they are involved with?
When I received an edit letter from a manuscript critique I won, the editor kindly suggested I begin to think about how Evren moves, talks, and interacts with others.
There were some things I knew from the beginning when I drafted THE LOST SAGES. But as always in revisions and rewriting, I learn MORE about my characters. A bit of backstory sheds new light. It’s amazing, the continual unfolding and learning that goes on.
With the help of the questionnaire and a character profile sheet an editor sent me, I found I had plenty of questions to answer when it came time to brainstorm Evren.
I also like to listen to music and let my brain wander, imagining Evren in certain scenarios and wondering how she would react. Free-writing also helps a ton before drafting a novel. I write a random scene with Evren in it. This allows me to see how she would handle a confrontation with a character or a dangerous situation.
Finding their voice
I find voice a bit tricky and elusive. However, each draft I write or re-write, brings me that much closer to capturing the voice of the character. I think details in the book revealing how they walk (do they slouch, stride, or saunter) and talk (do they have a lisp, accent, or use certain words repeatedly) for example, help with capturing the unique voice of the character. Everything that makes them unique and different, will stand out.
Captain Sa’av, in the first draft of this book, was ice cold and arrogant. I realized early on that wasn’t really him. In fact, he was more goofy and eccentric. Evren appears to be uptight at the beginning, but she really relaxes once she is around people whom she feels safe with. All of this I discovered as I re-wrote.
What do you do?
How do you create characters? I’d love to hear in the comments below!