Monthly Archives: January 2019

Haleigh Wenger – #WriteMentor Success Stories

Interview by KC Karr

Haleigh, what about Brandy’s bio convinced you to sub to her?

Brandy writes YA contemporary romance and so do I, so right away I knew we’d be compatible. What really got me excited, though, is when I read an excerpt of the first chapter of her debut, Meant to be Brokenthat she had posted on her website. Her words swept me away, and I could tell I had a ton to learn from her.

Brandy, what made you fall in love with Where the Tide Takes Us?

Haleigh had me at the title of the manuscript, Where the Tide Takes Us. I mean, a contemporary romance at the beach?? YES, PLEASE!! That is my absolute jam. Then I dug into reading her sample pages, and yet again, she hit me square in the feels as her protagonist is dealing with a family loss and on top of that, it is set in the South. Haleigh’s book checked all my favorite boxes right out of the gate. After asking for the full and reading her words, I fell in love with the story, what it was and what it could be. Immediately, I saw a path for moving forward and could tell from her writing style that Haleigh was both talented and determined enough to do what it took to polish the manuscript. It was basically love at first sight (read)!

Haleigh, looking back, what was your favorite part of the #WriteMentor experience? 

It sounds cliché but finding a writing group has definitely been the best part of the whole experience. 

Brandy, tell us what it was like working with Haleigh.

Haleigh was a dream mentee. She listened to my thoughts on her manuscript, we chatted at length about vision, and she never once complained when I gave her the BIG homework to do. She was a champ! She dove into the manuscript with a vengeance, and she turned out a beautiful story that tugs at all of the heartstrings. 

Haleigh, what was the most surprising part of the #WriteMentor experience?

The most surprising part was how much I learned about writing and about my own writing voice. I went into it assuming my MS would get better, not realizing in order for that to happen I’d have to grow and change as a writer.

Haleigh, the revision process is only three months and can be intense. Tell us about your revisions and how you dealt with constructive criticism from Brandy.What advice do you have for future mentees?

Brandy offered up a ton of great ideas, but she ultimately left all the big decisions up to me, which I truly appreciated. She did a great job of guiding me in the right direction while reminding me that in the end it was my story to tell. The best advice I can offer is to be willing to make scary changes, because they will likely be for the best!

Haleigh, after #WriteMentor, you signed a contract with Literary Crush Publishing. Give us all the details. 

I connected with my publisher when they liked one of my pitches during #KidPit. Less than two weeks later, they sent me an email saying they loved my story and wanted to publish it. I loved the direction they want to take the story, as well as the idea of a publisher focused specifically on what I love to write. A few weeks after that I signed the contract!

What does your writing process look like?

Haleigh:I typically word vomit a first draft over the course of a month or so. I have a pitch in mind and usually an ending, but for the most part I’m completely pantsing it. After I let my first draft sit for a few weeks, I pick through it slowly, fixing obvious mistakes. Then I send to CPs, making big picture changes once they’ve sent it back. Rinse and repeat until I can’t stand to look at the story another second. 

Brandy:Ha! Y’all don’t want to know because I go against all the common advice. LOL It takes me around four months to generate a first draft. With that being said, my first drafts are generally more like 2ndor 3rddrafts before they’re complete? Why? Because I’m an edit-as-you-go sort of girl. (I know, I know – grab the torches and pitchforks!) I literally cannot do the first draft traditional let-it-pour-out-of-you thing. It causes me too much anxiety! LOL And expanding on that more fully, I used to be a total pantster but now I find myself making detailed beat sheets before starting. I’m still not a total plotter, though, and more than once, my characters have taken off on their own tangent! Another key part of my process is to find images online that “look” like my characters and to make Spotify playlists I listen to before writing. It helps set the mood for the scene I’m currently involved with.

You’re on deadline! What are your go-to writing snacks?

Haleigh:So much chocolate! And lots of water.

Brandy: If I could buy stock in Cheez-its, I would! Oh, and don’t forget the whipped cream cheese to dip them in!

Tell us about your favorite writing spot.

Haleigh:I have a nice desk with a bookshelf above it filled with my favorite books, but I end up writing most often in bed.  Once everyone else is asleep, it’s much easier to write in the quiet!

Brandy:I have a writing desk and area where I feel most comfortable, though I have been known to curl up in my front porch swing with my laptop.

What is your favorite book (or series). Why?

Haleigh: It’s so hard to pick a favorite! The big nostalgic ones for me are Harry Potter, Little Women, and Ella Enchantedbecause they remind me of the magic of falling in love with reading for the first time.

Brandy:Well, I’m going to go total predictable here with the first one: Pride and Prejudice. Can you write romance and NOT love this story? Another all-time favorite book is Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides.Southern and full of family drama? Yep, that has Brandy written all over it!

Where does your inspiration come from?

Haleigh:A lot of my inspiration comes from reading other books, watching movies, and talking to other people. I often see questions I have about life and the world around me reflected in the themes of my novel.

Brandy: Life in general, including news stories, music, personal stories, etc. It can’t go without saying that my characters’ internal journeys always do have a twinge of “Brandy” in them as well. It sort of bleeds in. 😊

Haleigh Wenger has been creating new worlds since she could talk. Born with a vivid imagination, she became enthralled with reading and from there hoped to create books of her own someday. Some of her favorites include Little Women, Ella Enchanted, Harry Potter,The Raven Cycle series, and anything by Morgan Matson, Jenn Bennett, or Kasie West. When not reading or writing, she enjoys baking, hiking, and spending time with her sons and husband.
HaleighWenger.com
@haleighwenger
Brandy Woods Snow is an author and journalist born, raised and currently living in beautiful Upstate South Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing has always been her first love, the media has been her home for more than 17 years, during which time she has built a strong platform that includes articles in Delta Sky, Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Home Design & Décor magazine (Charlotte, Triangle). She has also worked in corporate communications, public relations and business development for international and regional companies. Her first novel MEANT TO BE BROKEN, the first book in the Carolina Clay series, was published by Filles Vertes Publishing in July 2018. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA).
www.BrandyWSnow.com
@brandy_snow (Twitter)
@BWSnowWrites (Facebook)
@snowbrandy (Instagram)

#WriteMentor 2019

Information page for 2019 version of the #WriteMentor summer mentoring programme.

See our regularly updated list of participating agents for 2019 here:

https://write-mentor.com/mentoring-programme/participating-agents-2019/

And here are the Mentors!

https://write-mentor.com/mentoring-programme/writementor-2019-meet-the-mentors/

We are making changes to how we run the programme. This is based on feedback from mentors/mentees last year but also based upon making it increasingly flexible for all involved.

We are changing to a bi-level structure.

This means there will be two options you can apply to.

A. submission package/partial

B. full manuscript

A. submission package/partial

If you apply for the sub package/partial option, you will work with a mentor on those aspects but we forsee this taking much less than 4 months, so you’d be free to query once you’re done. If you apply for this option, there is no agent showcase at the end.

I would imagine your mentor will help you with querying at this stage, but this option is for those who don’t want a complete overhaul (or are not able to commit to overhauling a full ms in the summer).

Picture books mentors/mentees are likely to apply for this option, unless they are working on/willing to work on several picture books (in which case you may apply for option B).

B. full manuscript

For those applying for a full manuscript mentorship, this will mean a full 4 month commitment to overhauling your manuscript to make it submission ready for the agent showcase.

The expectation is that you will be open to making larger changes to your manuscript and spending all/most of your summer making your manuscript the very best it can be. If this is not possible for you, no worries, but do apply for A instead.

This is not the option for those who aren’t able to work intensively or are not responsive to making large changes to their novels. You are going to receive 4 months of mentorship from an experienced writer, so the expectations are greater.

We have extended the overall period of this years programme.

This is again in response to feedback we received from last years mentees. This extra time should allow for not only large structural overhauls, if they are needed, but also the finer elements.

I have to honestly admit, as a mentor myself, that I struggled with the timeline, to fully help my mentees, and so others have said. I don’t want to compromise the quality of this programme by imposing restrictive timelines. This extra month should help.

Smaller application window

Again, in the interest of the applicants welfare, we have reduced our application window, and also our reading window (a little!). This is to ensure that the painful wait between applying and receiving a decision is reduced and less stressful/anxious.

There were many positives last year, but we also appreciate there are things we could have done better. We will address all of those suggestions and will endeavour to improve the programme in every aspect this year.

For the prospective mentors

A few words on mentors and those considering applying. I am VERY open as to who we take on as mentors. We probably can’t say YES to everyone who applies, but if you’re on the fence, go for it, or chat with me. Don’t self-reject.

So many of my writing friends told me last year that they didn’t think they’d be any good or be able to help their mentees. Imposter Syndrome struck hard. But they had a go anyway and the feedback from their mentees blew the imposter out of the water!

Please trust in yourself and your experience and ability. I certainly will, if you apply, and are successful. We are looking for writers with experience and skills to help another writer. Who have great values and altruistic reasons for applying.

We are looking for agented/published writers, editors, anyone who works in the industry and has experience of working with writers and feels they can offer valuable skills and experience to improve another writer’s craft and manuscript.

While we are primarily looking at MG/YA, this year I’d love to have a few mentors for the younger end of children’s fiction, i.e. chapter books, or even picture books (these would most likely fall into the A category). If you write either, do consider applying.

What do I need to apply?

You will need to have a completed manuscript.

You will need to send us a query letter, 1st chapter (double-spaced, 12″ TNR), and 1-page synopsis (single-spaced) along with your application, so ensure these are as good as they can be.

You can apply to 3 mentors. So be sure to research them thoroughly and chat to them during our Twitter Mentor chat week, starting 8th April.

It is 1 application (1 novel) per person.

Full timeline is below: