My debut Teen novel OH MY GODS was published by Scholastic in January 2019, but my author journey started ten years ago: it was the moment I opened my notebook to jot down a few sentences that would become my book proposal. Since then I’ve attended countless writing workshops, seminars, retreats and festivals. I’ve been part of communities with fellow writers, both online and IRL, swapping critiques, tips and ideas. And I’ve bookmarked hundreds, if not thousands, of articles sharing sage words of writing advice.
My WriteMentor workshops will focus on some of the most important things I’ve picked up every step of the way on my writing journey. When designing my workshops, I focused on the information that I believe is most useful to other children’s writers no matter where they are in their writing journey:
- UNLOCK YOUR NEXT YA NOVEL: As writers, we all hope for longevity in our careers. But what if publishers are keen to hear your next idea and that second book concept just isn’t forthcoming? That was the exact position I found myself in earlier this year. In this workshop, I’ll take you through a series of creative exercises that will help you to draw out the elusive second novel idea.
- WRITING AUTHENTIC TEEN DIALOGUE: With pop culture moving at breakneck speed, writing authentic teen dialogue in novels is now harder than ever. In this workshop, we’ll learn how to craft realistic dialogue that won’t have teen readers cringing into their paperbacks.
- CRAFT A CAPTIVATING FIRST CHAPTER: The first chapter of your novel must set up the story world, plot and your protagonist’s problem - as well as being riveting enough to hook your reader, including agents and publishers. In this workshop, we’ll learn how to balance the elements that make a fantastic first chapter.
- THE PERFECT AGENT SUBMISSION PACKAGE: In this workshop, we’ll explore how to put together a synopsis and query letter that allows your wonderful manuscript to shine.
- I’ll also share the resources (including books, blogs, YouTube videos and podcasts) that have helped me the most on my writing journey.
We’ll also have a 1-1 with superstar agent Lauren Gardner, so come prepared with your elevator pitches! Lauren is judging the 2019 Bath Children’s Novel Award and represents incredible authors such as Katy Birchall, Alesha Dixon, Lucy Powrie and Emma Read.
The writing weekend will also have space for creative writing sessions between workshops. You can use this time to work on your WIP, but I’ll also be on hand for 1-1 questions and critiques (if you send me a short 2-3k extract of your work in advance).
If you have any questions about the workshop, please do drop me a line on Twitter (I’m @alexsheppard). My DMs are open!
Alexandra Sheppard is an author based in North London. Her debut YA novel OH MY GODS was published by Scholastic UK in January 2019. When she isn’t writing teen fiction, Sheppard is a freelance social media strategist with experience on dozens of award-winning campaigns.