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Mentored

Or sensitive moments in raising manuscripts
By Lis Edwards

It’s a sensitive moment, handing over your manuscript –your baby- to someone else to read and criticise. Having to send it to mentor Patti Miller a month before I met her was also traumatic: what if she thought it was a load of rubbish? I spent many hours in that month before we met wondering if Patti had read my work in progress and what she thought of it.

I was one of three Central West Writers chosen to be given a mentorship by Patti, who lives in the Blue Mountains. The idea was for Patti, a published writer and professional editor and tutor, to help us lick our manuscripts into shape and overcome any structural problems.

Patti first of all met each of us individually to give us her assessment of our work. She had read each manuscript twice and written down her thoughts about it. In that first couple of hours I realised that Patti was an astute person who understood exactly what I was trying to do, despite the rather obscure nature of my story. She was non-judgemental, understood what my
strengths and weaknesses were and and talked me through the problem of trying to fit together the disparate elements of the story. What we came up with was a workable plan that filled me with unbridled enthusiasm. Here was someone I could confidently share my precious work with in the knowledge that she understood my deep need to write it, even if I didn’t really know myself where this came from.

On the second day, Patti talked with all three of us, giving us writing exercises as well as having group discussions on our respective manuscripts. This was also helpful as we all had opinions on how each other’s work could develop and improve.

After perseverance and a lot of thought, I think I am on the right track. I hope so because Patti is doing a follow up day with us later in the year and we have to send our revised work to her a month ahead.