One Time Critique/Novels
Includes a full read of the current WIP. Bethany will read, review, and within 2 to 4 weeks respond to the mentee’s pages. An in-depth editorial letter (usually 5-15 pages) will follow, outlining the manuscripts strengths and weaknesses, as well as character motivations questions, thoughts in regard to structure and plotting, etc. A follow-up phone or in person conversation up to 45 minutes will follow, allowing the mentee to ask questions and have points clarified
Fee: $1300 for novels up to 250 pages in length.
“Bethany has been a tremendous source of guidance and inspiration. It’s only the beginning of our journey together, but I feel more empowered than ever as a writer. After writing the first draft of my novel, I was determined to find a mentor. I couldn’t be more blessed to have found Bethany. The process she took me through after her first read-through of my novel opened my mind and my heart to see what my novel really needed. Through assigned readings, revisions, writing exercises, and a lot of reflection, Bethany has helped to unleash the fearless writer within me. She is a wonderful teacher and supportive mentor who guides you to your own truth as a writer and a storyteller.” —Nicole Malesky
Ongoing Private Instruction for Novelists
Bethany and the mentee will work together with the goal of shaping and strengthening the work together in a process equal to MFA level instruction, with the hope of preparing the manuscript for agents/publication. After the initial critique of a full read of the WIP (up to 225 pages) an assignment will then be made and a deadline given for the next month, which may included character development exercises, suggested books to read, a craft essay topic for the mentee to write (or for the mentor and mentee to discuss), a read of revised pages, a minimum of 40 and a maximum of eighty 80 pages and an in-depth editorial response as outlined above. Also a read of the craft essay and a response to how to integrate craft lessons learned into the current WIP.
After the feedback letter (usually between 5-8 pages) along with the margin comments and track changes in the word doc are digested, we make arrangements for a 30 minute session, whether it be over Skype, a local coffee shop or at The Writing Barn to address any questions, further discussion, and firm up deadlines for the next packet.
Fee: $950 a packet, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 9 packets.
**Packets do not have to be monthly and can be set up every 6 to 8 weeks, depending on growth for the writer, time for all involved, and finances. For ongoing private instruction, a full read of the WIP is included in the first month’s fee. And a full read is also done, at the end of the mentoring, should it exceed more than 4 packets.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say Bethany completely changed my professional life; I feel so very lucky to have had her as a mentor. Not every writer is a great mentor, but Bethany has several unique gifts I’ve never had in another teacher: she works by aligning each individual’s unique vision with what his or her story is trying to become, regardless of genre. She empowers her mentees to trust their own instincts, as well as offering invaluable exercises/feedback to help her students better understand craft and story structure. Working with Bethany, I found myself developing much deeper relationships with my characters, and with my complicated story itself; I began to understand what it really means to build a story and to trust myself as an author.” —Salima Alikhan
Ongoing Private Instruction for Picture Book Writers
In an ongoing monthly private instruction on the craft of picture books, we will examine: picture book structure, character intention, kid-friendliness, voice, the rule of three, lyrical language, story-boarding, style, rhyming or not, texts by authors only or author/illustrators, page turns, POV, sentence variation/punctuation as used for craft purposes, read-a-loud ability, humor, picture book pairs, and non-fiction for those interested.
Mini-lessons on each of the above will be shared and lessons will give examples from my own writing, craft books to read, sample exercises, as well as point you toward blogs and other online resources on each topic.
Each month, a number of titles will be assigned to be read based on lessons that are the theme of that month. The readings are important as are the analysis of the assigned books as well as the 5 to 10 that you read on your own. Each month, you will compile a “reading list” and will break down each book and comment on the story elements as you revise your own work. This analysis is important and is the key to absorbing the very difficult process of creating a picture book that will stand the test of time.
Also, each packet 2 to 3 picture book texts in proper manuscript form will be due. I will critique each and we will revise and produce new texts as the learning continues. Feedback will be written in letter form of 4-6 pages.
Fee: $550 a packet, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 9 packets. Packets do not have to be monthly and can be set up every 6 to 8 weeks, depending on growth for the writer and finances.
Many mentees have gone on to sign with agents at Upstart Crow, Folio, EMLA, Pippin, Gernert Company, Talcott Notch Literary Services, KT Literary , New Leaf Literary and Media and more.
Novels out by previous mentees are: Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Stevenson.
Picture books forthcoming from previous Writing Barn attendees: Whobert Whoever: Owl Detective by Jason Gallaher and A Pie is for Sharing by Stephanie Ledyard. Picture books forthcoming by writers taking PB I and II: Penguin and Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime by Cate Berry, The Ramble Shamble Children by Christina Soontornvat.
Lee & Low New Voices Honor to PB I&II and Nonfiction attendee: Gloria Amescua for Luz Jimenz: No Ordinary Girl.
Novels out by previous Writing Barn attendees workshopped at The Writing Barn are: Finding Paris by Joy Preble, A Season for Firelies by Rebecca Maizel, A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry, Evidence of Things Unseen by Lindsey Lane, Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin, Ghostlight by Sonia Gensler, and a forthcoming MG novel by Gail Shepherd.
Books worked on by retreating writers at The Writing Barn: The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox and Wait for Me by Caroline Leech.