Writing Mentor

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    Natalie Cone

    Right now I’m going through the free Mindset course by Story Embers. In this video where Daeus is interviewing Jaquelle Ferris, she suggests finding a writing mentor, even if it’s a local writers group of some kind.

    Do you have a writing mentor? If you don’t, what do you wish for in a writing mentor?

    Peace, Love, and Pickles! ✌

    Brian Stansell


    Hi Natalie,

    I think a lot of us here are sort of co-mentoring in a way, rather than serving as a dedicated mentor.  Seems like that sort of thing might best be done by seeking a published author who writes the kinds of stories you wish to write or has been around a while and knows something more experiential about the business.  There are a few “published” authors in the forum, but I suspect they are self-published rather than traditionally published.  I think most of the traditionally published authors seek a more professional mentorship relationship to supplement their writing income, so I am thinking it is a paid gig.  Many of the article writers here on Story Embers and the Staff – (See the Meet the Team page) are, in fact, published authors and may offer these professional services on their own personal Author sites.  Click on the highlighted link of one of their names to learn more about them.

    In the forums, we are more like peer encouragers.  Some of us have more experience and some are newer at it.  Some have particular strengths in their crafts, and some of us, like me, need a little help in particular areas.
    Observe the interactions between members.  Browse and peruse conversations and samples of their writing when they put in a piece of it.  We all have more to learn. Sometimes the best learning comes from “the doing” and then putting something out there to share for input.
    I know Rose (@rose-colored-fancy) has a particular skill for the nuances of characters and can describe a very fluid scene.  It all depends on what aspect of writing you are wanting to work on and hone.  Sometimes the biggest hurdle we must jump over is our own self-critic.  I think we creatives, almost as a rule, always judge ourselves too harshly and may often crumble up a piece of our work that may actually have had a lot of promise and potential.
    I have been writing for several years but have only now started to pursue publication.  I could probably tell you a lot about what not to do, rather than what to do, so I think you need a more positive mentor that could bring the experience you need.  My experience is merely academic, but you need practical experience.  I need a mentor myself.  I do have a younger friend who has published 5 books and counting and she owns her own imprint.  Her name is Lindsey Backen and if you just take the space out between her first and last name and end it with a “.com” you’ll have her website.  She does teach some on SkillShare and is putting together a writing curriculum.  I spoke to her about you to get permission to reference her and she said if you wanted to reach out to her, she would be more than happy to speak with you, if you are interested.

    One thing that might help, when you start a topic, is to grab a list of people’s tags, to ensure someone will be able to see the new post for your topic.
    The best thing that has worked is to look under the Forum dropdown menu at the top of your screen and go under recent activity.  See who is active on the site.  Pick about 5-15 tags and list them in your new topic post to see who will bite.
    I wish just starting a new topic alone alerted all of the active members, but it doesn’t.  Let me know if I can be of further help to you.  We all sort of help each other here.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    Noah Cochran


    Hey Natalie! A writing mentor would be fantastic to have, in particular one who is a successful full time writer (or has been in the past), as having a mentor or private tutor in many academic or career areas would be. However, it is very possible to teach yourself writing, by using the many online or book resources on how to write available, as well as just reading a lot. Having other want to be writers or English lovers, or even people who just read a lot of books around to analyze your writing and give you tips is a great addition to those of us to teach ourselves how to write and don’t have a mentor (like me). I started writing a little over two months ago, and I first started by watching booktuber writing advice (like Abbie Emmons and Brandon Sanderson) and reading books on story structure and character development (mostly by K.M Weiland).

    I then started practice writing sessions where I would envision a scene and a few characters, and then put it on paper. After I had practiced writing for a while, I had a friend who read’s a lot, my sister who has been writing for a while now, a friends mom who is good at editing, and an English loving Texan all go over my writing, including some of my early chapters in my WIP. That had helped me out, as well as just been encouraging to have people to talk about writing with.

    Lastly, as Brian says, a website like this can be useful to find people willing to take a look at your writing and give you advice. Also, I second Brian’s recommendation of Rose (@rose-colored-fancy). She had helped me out a lot, and gone through quite a bit of my writing. She has only been writing for around a year she tells me, so she is still an amateur (though quite a good one if you ask me), but I’m sure her advice would be useful to you. And if you have questions on hairstyles for your character, she can definitely help you out. 🙂



    Hi Natalie!

    Thank you for mentioning me, Noah, and Brian!


    I know Rose (rose-colored-fancy) has a particular skill for the nuances of characters and can describe a very fluid scene.

    Wait, what? I do?   XD Thank you so much, Brian!


    She has only been writing for around a year she tells me, so she is still an amateur (though quite a good one if you ask me),

    Thank you! Yep, entirely correct! I have no clue what I’m doing XD  I try, and I’ll be happy to help if I can XD

    As for the mentor question, I agree with Brian and Noah. I don’t have one specific mentor, but I have many people on SE that I go to for advice. (A lot XD) Everyone here has different experiences and different skill sets and there’s always someone who can help.

    As Noah said, books and Youtubers! It isn’t as personalized, but I’ve learned an awful lot because of it.

    I highly recommend posting some of your writing on here for feedback. (It’s helped me a lot) Either like how Noah’s been doing it, with short excerpts and specific questions, or somewhere like on Brian’s Audio Cinema (Highly recommended, very awesome)

    Or even via something like the Character Castles! They’re so awesome because you can just drop your characters in and have some fun with them and get to know them better. I do a lot of experimentation on there. (Backstories! Character voice! Weird POV’s! *quizzical look at that one second-person part I wrote*) And you get feedback from people who by that point love your characters too. (And you get to read about their incredible characters!!) It’s awesome!

    I also need to add, the inner critic is very annoying, and allowing yourself to write trash is an important part of the process XD Just finish the trash, you can fix it later XD. *Glances at 75k manuscript of my first book, soon to be rewritten. Every single word is terrible and awful, but I learned a ton!* (I’m mostly talking to myself. Self-doubt is nasty and frequent.)

    I believe a mentor would be cool if I was planning to publish, but until that point, SE is awesome and I’ve learned more about writing via the amazing folks here than anywhere else!

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?



    Hi Natalie!  How are you?  How have you been enjoying the S.E forum?

    I’ve heard of the Mindset course, but haven’t tried it yet.  How is it?

    Wow, everyone has a lot of great advice.  I usually turn to books or articles on the web, like Noah suggested.  One of my favorite ‘mentors’ is C.S Lakin; her book on novel construction is super helpful and challenged me as a writer.  She also runs a blog and features guest posts from many other published authors.  Jane Friedman’s blog has also been helpful; and if you’re writing a kid’s book, then the Institute For Writer’s has a specific blog for that genre (under ‘Resources’).  It’s written by a lady named Jan Fields, and I enjoy hearing her tips.

    We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. — Ernest Hemingway

    Taylor Clogston

    @nataliecone I wrote most of this post before I realized you were talking about the mindset course. The new Breakthrough Strategies course also talks about finding a mentor, and that’s what I had in mind.

    The mentor section of the [breakthrough] course was good advice, but I really wish they went into more detail, because clearly different people have different ideas of what a mentor is, and it seemed to assume the person taking the course already had a network of writing professionals through cons and college and whatever else.

    I’m firmly of the opinion that in-person relationships are more useful than online writing groups, and that there’s only a certain extent to which writing books and videos can teach you. I have sixty-one titles in my “books for writers” shelf on Goodreads, and I’ve attended a few writing conferences and taken about a half dozen writing courses, but after the first few craft books I didn’t find much new in the hundreds of hours of courses, classes, and craft books. I’ve also received some great insight from my local writing groups over the years, usually more than from my online writing groups.

    Generally, I learn more from critiquing someone else’s book than I do from any other teaching source, and the same usually goes for having my own writing critiqued.

    Though I don’t have a mentor because I’m too lazy to try to find someone I think is in a position to teach me, I have to imagine that receiving specific advice for your particular case from someone more skilled or even just more experienced than yourself will be infinitely more beneficial than listening to a Brando Sando lecture intended for a general audience. He can’t answer your questions or make clarifications, can’t tailor his advice to you.

    And while I can’t read the minds of the course writers, I feel they probably weren’t referring to mentors as writing coaches? I know the [breakthrough] course does mention writing coaches, but that was when talking about editors, which makes me think they likely were referring to getting someone like a college professor or a more experienced author to take you under their wing rather than you paying them an hourly rate to answer your questions.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

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