Louisa Reid selected me to mentor during the #WriteMentor summer programme 2020 and I could not have been luckier. She was able to quickly grasp the concept of my book and help me to see what I needed to focus on. Initially, my verse novel was written in sonnets with a direct quote from “Macbeth” in each one. Louisa encouraged me to have the confidence in myself to drop these unnecessary gimmicks. At the start of the process, she gave me an editorial letter. We then moved through several drafts which involved removing some characters entirely, killing others and unkilling the lucky few. Finally, she worked on line edits with me – selecting bits that just didn’t feel right. This resulted in a polished final draft that we were both proud of. I’ve since signed with an agent and, because of Louisa’s rigorous editing, I have had very little to do to the MS before it goes on submission to editors. Louisa is kind, knowledgeable and easy to work with. I was always surprised by how quickly and thoughtfully she got back to me with suggestions. I hope that we get to work together again in the future.
Anna and Louisa have critiqued parts of my YA manuscripts for over 5 years now. They have a superb up-to-date knowledge of English literature, decades of experience teaching English to teenagers in secondary schools and, added to that, their own experience of years of writing and publishing YA and teen novels. They are charismatic and perceptive teachers who understand the age group they teach and write for inside out; immensely useful for our SCBWI critique groups over the years. In addition they have always been very generous in passing on their up to date industry knowledge,
I’ve had the benefit of being in SCWBI critique groups with Anna and Louisa for over five years. Both of them wear lightly the fact that they are published and award-winning writers. They are constructive and generous with their comments.
Anna has been extremely helpful at seeing the overall structure of chapters, the bigger picture and at identifying key points/turning points/images and changes of tone within chapters. Some of her suggestions have stayed in my drafts and made significant impacts.
Anna’s workshop on Voice was the best, most concrete and pragmatic help I have had with this nebulous but vital foundation of any story.
Both Anna and Louisa have the huge benefit of being in close touch with teenagers through their English teaching and families and are invaluably helpful at word level about the sort of language contemporary teenagers use/don’t use.
I have found both very respectful of the story I’m constructing, being prepared to make specific suggestions to build on the narrative, without bombarding with too much detail.
Louisa provided me with an invaluable perspective regarding how I could improve my first historical novel. She understood my protagonist and expertly urged more from me than I thought I had. There were gaps in the narrative that were irritating and frustrating me, and Louisa identified them with ease and authority. Louisa is all and more I had hoped for in an editor; the ideal combination of a critical forensic eye and a graceful literary approach.