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Jaegur
04-02-2012, 04:57 AM
Hello everyone! Fairly new guy here with another exciting question.


(Please ignore me if I'm reposting something that's been asked/said/done before, as there's still moisture behind my ears.)


First off, the idea of a writing mentor has always intrigued me. I'm not sure if it's just a person that basically beta's your work, critiques your work, or is someone that actually gets down in the trenches with you. Do they learn about you as a person, and in so learning about you learn about your writing and what you can do to better yourself? Do they give you 'assignments' to do other than simply writing or working on your WIP, and then give you feedback on them almost as though you were in school?

I've looked around this particular subforum, since it is the one that popped up on Google when I typed in 'Finding fantasy writing mentor', but haven't seen much in the way of that topic.


Soooo, any help on this topic would be appreciated! Or, if you're a mentor and looking to pick up a slightly used aspiring writerist, let me know!

thothguard51
04-02-2012, 05:09 AM
A mentor is different from a beta, though a mentor could also beta.

A mentor is someone you generally work with in a one-on-one situtation. Your work is generally unpolished, because after all, if it was polished you would not need a mentor as much as you would a beta. You talk a lot about your novel goals, plot, characters and world building. Then once your ready, you give them your work and sit back and listen without interrupting while they tare it apart or you smile sheepishly as they praise your style, plot line, and pacing.

A mentor generally does not fix a problem for you, but may refer you to a source to read, or give you example. So they are not editors...

From my experience, I found a mentor in another group. They approached me after reading a chapter I put up. They introduced themself, told me their qualifications and what they liked about my writing. They then offered to work with me to clean it up and to help me understand my strengths and weaknesses. To this day, I call her my Yoda...

My only problem is that I did not always understand what she was telling me, but she was patient. I always worked at her pace because she had other family and real life crises she had to deal with during that time. In the end, we became more than Yoda and Grasshopper. We became friends...

But everyones experience is going to be different...

5398cane
04-02-2012, 09:59 PM
[QUOTE=thothguard51;7154809] In the end, we became more than Yoda and Grasshopper. QUOTE]

I am sorry but I must ask. Is this a Jim Butcher, Dresden Files refrence ?

FOTSGreg
04-02-2012, 11:14 PM
5398cane, it's not April Fool's Day anymore.

:)

Jaegur
04-03-2012, 06:36 PM
A mentor is different from a beta, though a mentor could also beta.

A mentor is someone you generally work with in a one-on-one situtation. Your work is generally unpolished, because after all, if it was polished you would not need a mentor as much as you would a beta. You talk a lot about your novel goals, plot, characters and world building. Then once your ready, you give them your work and sit back and listen without interrupting while they tare it apart or you smile sheepishly as they praise your style, plot line, and pacing.

A mentor generally does not fix a problem for you, but may refer you to a source to read, or give you example. So they are not editors...

From my experience, I found a mentor in another group. They approached me after reading a chapter I put up. They introduced themself, told me their qualifications and what they liked about my writing. They then offered to work with me to clean it up and to help me understand my strengths and weaknesses. To this day, I call her my Yoda...

My only problem is that I did not always understand what she was telling me, but she was patient. I always worked at her pace because she had other family and real life crises she had to deal with during that time. In the end, we became more than Yoda and Grasshopper. We became friends...

But everyones experience is going to be different...


I was going to wait for more replies before responding, but I'm thinking that yours may be the only one, lol. You basically describe what I'm looking for. I guess the only thing to do is post up some work in SYW when I have something worth posting, and of course after the limit, and find out if anyone is feeling charitable.

Though with the amount of good writers I've seen here, I'm somehow sure that no one is going to jump at the chance to mentor someone that still has a problem placing a comma in the correct place. =D

Maryn
04-03-2012, 08:03 PM
Jaegur, while some people have little patience for mistakes like comma placement, others have more generous spirits and can see past these to the story behind any gaffes. Which is wonderful, even if I don't see how they do it.

In my limited experience, the mentor arrangement is often whatever the two participants make it. It can include critique, beta reading, even editing, but many don't. More often it's about offering a hand up on learning about writing better in the 'big picture' sense, letting you self-direct but steering you if you head off in the wrong direction for too long, plus commiseration and encouragement as needed.

That said, it makes good sense for an aspiring writer who knows his weaknesses to master them. It's pretty easy to learn when a comma is needed and why. AW's got threads on basic grammar books people like--I'm a fan of the St. Martin's Handbook--and you can literally go through the comma section at whatever pace you need to in order to comprehend and be able to apply all of it.

It'll be boring, probably, but nailing the basics can do your potential as an author a huge amount of good.

Maryn, who also likes the Purdue OWL site

Jaegur
04-03-2012, 08:18 PM
That said, it makes good sense for an aspiring writer who knows his weaknesses to master them. It's pretty easy to learn when a comma is needed and why. AW's got threads on basic grammar books people like--I'm a fan of the St. Martin's Handbook--and you can literally go through the comma section at whatever pace you need to in order to comprehend and be able to apply all of it.

It'll be boring, probably, but nailing the basics can do your potential as an author a huge amount of good.

Maryn, who also likes the Purdue OWL site



Aye, agreed. I think my main issue with commas is that when I read over stuff I've written I sometimes feel like I've put in too many, or not enough. I don't really have a certain person that I can ask, so I just leave it for the time being and move on.

I think I've improved on it though, but we'll see!

thothguard51
04-03-2012, 10:01 PM
Part of a comma issue can also stem from the way we speak and think. If you pause a lot in speech, then when writing, you might put in more comma's than needed. But if you are writing dialogue and THIS is the way the characters speaks, then extra commas can add to the character's character.

Me, I tend not to worry to much about commas when writing my draft. Only afterwords, when I start the serious editing, do I question my use of comma's and other forms of punctuation, just like I do word choice.

Take it slow and enjoy the journey.

serita
04-10-2012, 09:34 PM
I've taught writing before and often help other writers by reading a chapter or two and giving comments. I'm happy to do that here. We're not suppose to list our site, but I'm easy to look up if you want to google me. And yes, bad comma use drives me nuts.
Serita Stevens