Big Bang Young Adult Mentoring with Lauren James

Our most memorable books are those we read as children – and none more so than Young Adult fiction, which acts as a compass in those tricky-to-navigate teenage years. That’s why being an author of Young Adult novels means creating challenging, experimental, and diverse writing that spans genres, styles, and time-lines – and most importantly inspires and shapes young people.

Comprehensive and advanced mentoring course

Dive deep into writing Young Adult fiction with twice Carnegie-nominated author Lauren James, whose books include The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. Our comprehensive and advanced 12-week online Young Adult mentoring course is designed for authors already competent in the fundamentals of writing but who wish to elevate their work to the next level.

Receive feedback on your Young Adult writing

Get thorough and constructive feedback from Lauren and your peers to develop your Young Adult novel, benefit from tutorials and craft notes, and take part in a 1-2-1 consultation with Lauren to discuss progress, strengths, and development areas. Plus, one of the most unique aspects of this course is feedback on your submission package from a top literary agent specialising in Young Adult fiction.

Cultivate connections with fellow YA writers

This is a natural continuation for writers who have taken part in our shorter courses and, especially for those new to WriteMentor, a valuable way to cultivate friendships and connections with fellow writers over a long and intensive period of time. 

This Young Adult fiction course requires a huge degree of commitment from everyone but, like pressure and heat does to graphite, you too can produce a diamond.

You will need to have written at least 15,000 words of your Young Adult fiction novel to do this course.

Course outline

Start date: 6th September 2021
End date: 29th November 2021

Cost: £720
We require a non-refundable £100 deposit to be paid at time of booking onto the course. Ideally, the rest would be paid at the start of the course. However, payment plans can be arranged on request – do speak to Florianne if this is needed.

Max number of students: 8 (1 scholarship available for the September start iteration of the course)

Time commitment

Approx 10 hours a week – this is an intense course and you should only apply if you feel you can commit this time for the duration of the course.

Mechanics of feedback

The students will send 3 x 5000 word extracts from their Young Adult fiction novels to Lauren for critique and also post 3 x 5000 word extracts for their seven peers to critique. Students may choose to have the same extracts reviewed by both Lauren and their peers, or they can choose to post different ones.

You will submit three Young Adult fiction extracts to Lauren:

First round: 1st 5,000 words submitted (Due at start of course)

Second round: 2nd 5,000 words submitted (Due week 5)

Third round 3: 3rd 5,000 words submitted (Due week 9)

Lauren will also review your query letter if you are at this stage.

1-2-1 consultation on Young Adult novel

Each student will also get a 1-2-1 consultation with Lauren during the second half of the course to discuss progress, strengths, development areas and moving forward. 

Please note that Lauren will also ask to see a 1,500 word outline of the whole story and will give you feedback on this outline and our students have all found this extremely worthwhile. However if you don’t have this, don’t worry.

Content of Young Adult course

Every fortnight, Lauren will produce a set of craft notes of a variety of writing topics related to Young Adult fiction. The course notes will use examples taken from Lauren’s published writing to illustrate the lessons.

  2. The Importance of Outlines (or, How to Break Down A Plot)
  3. Agent submission, query letters and pitching
  4. Working with publishers
  5. Money
  6. Characters
  7. Building Emotional Resonance 
  8. FAQ


Lauren will hold two ‘open’ tutorials during the course, where you can come along and pick her brain, chat about writing more generally or specifically and ask her anything! 

About the tutor

Young Adult fiction novelist Lauren James leads Young Adult mentoring course for WriteMentor

Lauren is the twice Carnegie-nominated author of Young Adult novels such as The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She is also a Creative Writing lecturer, freelance editor, screenwriter, and the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League.

Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide and shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Lauren’s writing is described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent.

A passionate advocate of STEM further education, many of Lauren’s books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.

About the guest agent

Hannah Sheppard is an agent for DHH Literary agent

Hannah Sheppard, Director and Literary Agent at DHH Literary agency, will read your query letter, synopsis and first three chapters towards the end of the course, and will give feedback to help guide you when you begin to query agents.

She has spent over a decade working in trade publishing: first at Macmillan Children’s Books and more recently running Headline Publishing Group’s YA and crossover list where she published Tanya Byrne’s critically acclaimed Heart-Shaped Bruise.

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