WriteMentor success story: Meagan Dallner
Meagan Dallner grew up in beautiful Colorado and now raises her own family in the suburbs of Denver. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from University of Colorado at Denver after completing an Associates Degree in the Applied Sciences of Diesel Technology.
When blessed with spare time, she enjoys reading ARCs for her local indie bookstore and spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Meagan was a mentee on WriteMentor’s summer mentoring programme, and now she gives back to the programme as a mentor.
She shares her experience of the programme and how, thanks to the support of her mentor and the writing community, she secured representation with literary agent Jana Hanson.
What made you apply for the WriteMentor summer mentoring programme?
I’d been querying my manuscript for about four months and racked up a quite a few full requests (yay!), but then they all began turning into rejections and I knew my manuscript needed help. I had no idea where to start or what the issues were. WriteMentor was the perfect opportunity to find support and whip my manuscript into shape and hopefully turn those rejections into offers.
What was your experience like?
It was so rewarding but also a ton of work! When Kate Foster selected me for the program, I sent several emails to agents who had fulls and asked if they’d like the revised manuscript in September. The overwhelming response was YES! Being mentored by Kate Foster was a dream come true. She knew exactly where my manuscript had gone wrong and how to fix it. I worked for months rewriting the novel, and Kate was my rock when my confidence went all shaky. I barely finished my rewrite in time for the showcase! Luckily, I had several requests from the showcase and sent out the fulls to the previous agents the same week. Two months later I had two phone calls with agents and chose to go with Jana, who was one of the agents interested in a revised full. The whole community celebrated with me when I signed and it was honestly just the best experience ever!
Tell us about your writing journey from start until now
I’ve always been a reader, but I didn’t start writing novels until after my first daughter was born. I struggled with postpartum anxiety and found writing in the evening to be a good way to get out of my own head (and into someone else’s). I wrote a mess of a first book, but I edited as best I could, I queried, and I learned a lot. Then I wrote a second book and that one was better, but still not there. The third book I wrote (and then rewrote during WriteMentor) is the book I signed with.
Can you tell us a little more about the book you worked on and signed with?
NO GEEKS, NO GLORY is the story of Jo, a girl genius who puts an incredible amount of pressure on herself to live up to her perfectionist, genius girl label. However, when her mentor goes missing and leaves hidden mathematical clues behind, Jo will have to make imperfect choices, confront betrayal, and solve nearly impossible puzzles if she is to save her teacher and her friends before they all sum to zero.
What is your best piece of writing advice that you learned on the programme?
1. Keep going. There will be obstacles and set backs and times when you think it will never happen and that you can’t do it, but pushing through is the best way forward.
2. Critique is helpful.
3. Descriptions are important and I should include some of them sometimes, lol.
Why do you think mentoring is important for writers?
Someone who understands the industry, sees the potential of your story, is your cheerleader and writing therapist (lol, but seriously), can help you shape your manuscript so it is on par with industry expectations, and BELIEVES IN YOU is invaluable. I struggle with self confidence and knowing Kate believed in me, and still does, is such a strong motivator in a profession that sees so much rejection. I think no matter where you are in the writing journey, having a mentor to guide and cheer for you is an experience I cannot recommend hard enough.