Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Mentoring Program

Interested in being mentored by an experienced writer? Or are you looking to find a similarly-experienced/skilled author to work with? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then the FWG Mentorship/Partnership program is for you! Please fill out the questionnaire found here: http://www.furaffinity.net/view/11996018/ and follow the instructions to submit it. While we may not have a mentor or partner for you right away, we will hold onto the application for when we do.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a mentor? Please email me at furwritersguild@anthroaquatic.com and talk to me.

(For anyone that saw the email mix-up on the FA post, I have moved the FWG email from Gmail to AnthroAquatic because of the obnoxious Google+ ads. All emails sent to the Gmail account will forward to the AnthroAquatic one.)

Nice idea and a really good, unique service to offer. I’d love to be a mentor! (Could probably still do with a mentor of my own, mind :))

Well I didn’t make a rule that said there couldn’t be a mentor ladder going on haha. I’ll add you to the list of mentors. Thanks!

Yeah, the issue with a mentoring system is that in implies a known quantity of skill, so that people won’t get mentored by someone less skilled than they are. Not only does it imply that the quantity is known, it also implies that it can be measured. Neither is true if we go off the skill being ‘writing.’ I’d suggest a buddy system, where people are assigned to pairs that they can just bounce ideas and critiques off of each other.

Granted, you could make anyone entering the system a mentor if they have been published and a manatee if they have not. I don’t know.

No matter how it’s implemented, though, everyone will learn a lot, whether mentor or manatee, so I think this is an awesome idea.

That’s one of the things on my mind when I thought of this. The thought process was more along the lines of ‘experience with successful writing’, rather than just number of things published. Obviously if the items have been accepted and published they could be considered ‘successful’, but this also goes for stories that have been posted online and well received.
The follow-up question could be, “Well, the four people that read my story loved it, but I don’t think anyone else read it.” Promoting yourself can be another thing that can be help with in having a mentor. A name that comes to mind when I think of this is Whyte Yote. Sure he has a couple of things published, but he posts quite a bit for free online. A lot of people read and like his online stuff. He’s created a fan group, if you will, to where other people will read what you post even if it’s not their personal preference for a story.

The buddy system idea is a decent one as well. There may be a way we can merge the ideas, utilizing the mentors for people that are really struggling and letting the people who are more or less just stuck bounce ideas off of each other. We can pair up people with contrasting writing styles so that way they can get the most out of each other.

That sounds excellent and reasonable :smiley: I’m definitely interested in partaking.

I would be interested in participating as well – to Huskyteer’s point, I think that the mentors will find that their own writing improves as they help their “mentee”. In my experience, having to explain something to someone else really helps me define and refine my own ideas.

Has anybody considered how the mentors will be assigned? Do the mentees “audition” and the mentors pick the mentee that they think they can most help? Can the mentees request a particular mentor? I’m sure that there are other modes of distribution as well. Any thoughts on what will work best for FWG?

I was considering to have the mentors pick the people they would work with, probably by reading something of the one who they’d be mentoring. They might pick a style that clashes with their own so that they might learn from each other, or a parallel style with which they have a lot of experience.

This is one of the ideas I was (and still am) really hoping would come to fruition. I shall add you to the list though, and hope more people see this thread and support the idea.

To the best of my knowledge (as I’m not a HWA member), the Horror Writers Association has a similar mentoring program. I think a mentor program would be awesome and help serve one of FWG’s primary goals – the promotion of high quality furry literature.

I’ve seen potential mentors list there interest. Is there an interest on the part of mentees?

I wonder if it would be as simple as choosing a launch date and simply starting the program? A post to FA on January 1? Or perhaps a launch date to co-incide with the release of the FWG antho (cross-promotion)?

[Sorry – in full-on brainstorming mode: There should definitely be an “About the FWG” page in the anthology. Today’s reader may be tomorrow’s member!]

That is a slight problem; we have the three in this thread. Two mentors and one mentee, a higher-level mentee at that. I’ll probably put a little more focus into this program in the coming week. We could use something like this.

Posted on FA. http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/5135137/

A brief questionnaire for potential mentees to fill out might be a good idea – things like what genres/categories they write in, what their writing goals are, and then a writing sample (say 1-2K) to give an idea of where they are skill-wise. The mentors could then look those over when deciding who to take on.

Oddly enough I was just thinking of something like this. I will work on one. I’ve been looking at writing samples posted on FA for the few that have responded to be a mentee so far to give them a general skill level, but a writing sample would work better to show the mentors.

I think it would also be worthwhile to collect some basic reference guides on different aspects of writing. A lot of things that beginning writers need help with have already been explained countless times in books and articles, some of which are freely available online. (I don’t have a list of such articles myself, I’m just hypothesizing their existence and utility.)

Such a questionnaire should also, of course, describe what sort of mentor the person is looking for.

I’m working on some stuff that does actually have me picking up a few items of reference. I can share what I have once we get this thing started. If anyone else has anything to contribute to this that would be great as well.

Agreed. Someone who is very skeptical about their work may not want someone to come in and start pointing out a ton of flaws in their work; they may need someone who’s good at finding good points in work first. On the other hand, someone who believes their work is good but doesn’t know why it isn’t getting accepted may want someone who can really dig deep and find the problems.

Yeah, another concern I have about mentors in this situation is that they may be overly-critical. One person in the journal mentioned people getting upset at him when he pointed out everything wrong with a work. Honestly, that doesn’t surprise me. Having everything one person thinks is wrong with your work pointed out without and positive feedback would shred even the toughest of egos.

It may also be worthwhile to find resources for mentors that explain how to provide feedback in a constructive and positive way. I’ll take a look and see what I can find.

I want the mentors to be able to say WHY something is wrong. Otherwise it’s not really mentoring; it’s criticizing. The mentors are supposed to help develop authors. Having the resources would be helpful to say “this is why this needs to be looked at, and this guide will help you if you run into the problem in the future.” I’d be much more willing to follow advice if there was some sort of evidence to back it up.

As far as resources on how to crit, these are some links I’ve shared elsewhere in the past:

How to Critique Fiction

How to Cope with Critiquing

It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It

How to Critique Works That You Find Awful

(though this last one might not apply as much to a situation where a mentor would be choosing a mentee – if their writing sample’s that bad, probably better to move on and find someone else)

Tact and diplomacy are two things that have a tendency to be lacking in this day and age. Sure, they may have a ton of errors abd write on an elementary level, but being snide and snarky just make one come across as rude and elitist.

We’re writers! There are better ways of respectfully critiquing a written piece without being nitpicky as well. Whenever I find myself critiquing a piece of literature, I always start and end on a positive note and for every critical remark, I leave a positive one so that the writer is more receptive to what I have to say.

And OAN, I really need to upload some stories if you guys have been combing through our profiles lol!