In Fabula-divino guest writer, friend and INCREDIBLE AMAZING author Kaaron Warren is a great advocate of mentoring, having been a mentor herself. Here, she talks about some of the aspects of mentoring she loves.
I’ve mentored writers through the Australian Horror Writers Association Mentor program and through the JUMP Program. Both have been hugely satisfying and challenging.
The AHWA is a short term mentoring, where we take three stories and work together for four or so months through various drafts, hoping to find publication at the end.
Joanne Anderton, a mentee one year, has done really well, publishing two novels with Angry Robot, a collection of short stories from Fablecroft Press, and winning a tonne of awards. I’m not claiming to have made any of that happen, but I think we worked together at a time when Joanne needed that final push to believe in herself and to continue in her endeavours.
I also worked with AJ Spedding, who has sold a tonne of stories and edited Midnight Echo, the AHWA magazine.
This year, I have two mentees, both of whom are writing original, disturbing and very clever stories.
The JUMP program is much longer term, lasting most of a year. Kimberley Gaal and I worked together on her novel, and writing processes, and being on panels, and meeting other writers, and many other things. Her novel is almost complete, and I have great hopes for this book and for all the books she’ll write in the future. She has a bright, distinctive and intelligent voice and I loved working with her to develop it.
Being a mentor is a very positive endeavour. It takes a lot of effort and time, often far more than I originally committed to, but I don’t give a moment grudgingly. I’m learning, too, the more I spend time with these writers who are honing their craft. I’m learning about my own writing, and about opening my eyes to other ways of achieving a fiction goal.
I received very little encouragement as a young writer, and I wish that I’d had someone believe in me. I want to give other people that belief; I want to support people who are early in their careers, at the time when you are filled with the most self-doubt. A lot of being a mentor is answering emails at midnight, and also suggesting good markets and editors. Thinking about the places the writing will be best appreciated. I’m no expert, but I know a lot more now than I did 20 years ago when I published my first story.
A mentorship is a partnership, and one I cherish.
PLACES THAT OFFER MENTORING PROGRAMS
JUMP Mentoring, Australia Council
The Australian Society of Authors
Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards
British Council’s Realise Your Dream program
The Australian Writers’ Marketplace
The Australian Writers’ Guild
Kaaron Warren has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Fiji, She’s sold many short stories, three novels (the multi-award-winning Slights, Walking the Tree and Mistification) and four short story collections. Two of her collections have won the ACT Publishers’ and Writers’ Award for fiction, and her most recent collection, Through Splintered Walls, won a Canberra Critic’s Circle Award for Fiction. Her stories have appeared in Australia, the US, the UK and elsewhere in Europe, and have been selected for both Ellen Datlow’s and Paula Guran’s Year’s Best Anthologies.
She was shortlisted for a Bram Stoker Award for “All You Can Do is Breathe”, and is Special Guest at the Australian National Science Fiction Convention in Canberra 2013.
You can find her at http://kaaronwarren.wordpress.com/ and she Tweets @KaaronWarren