Writing Mentors · Writing Resources

The Importance of Writing Mentors

Property of Vancour Manuscript Intensive

This week has been a study in writing mentors. It began with a post I read somewhere, alas I forgot, where a writer said: Build up your writing community. So I went on the hunt to find an exclusive, fantasy-only writers community where I could participate in a forum and maybe even write some articles.

What I found was Fantasy Faction. It’s a website that started in 2010 by, I believe he’s an ex-military man, or ex-navy? Ah, no, boxing! But he got so many injuries and was in pain, so he retired from that. Then he had a lot of time, and started reading fantasy books. Eventually he made Fantasy Faction. It’s gotten awards the past couple of years for the Best Fantasy Writing website.

marc ffaction
Marc, creator of Fantasy-Faction Website

On Fantasy Faction, before I could even register, this article caught my attention. The Kingkiller Chronicles, a trilogy by brilliant author Patrick Rothfuss, to be made into a movie, a TV show, and a videogame?? No way!! At first I was scared, but then I was excited. It looks like Rothfuss (I don’t feel quite comfortable calling him “Pat” just yet…) will be involved in the makings-of these projects.

Because that article mentioned Pat Rothfuss’ blog so profusely, I decided I had to read it. Then I stayed up until 2AM reading the sheer hilarity and brilliant prose and humor of his blog. For some stupid reason I thought he would be tall and elegant, like his MC Kvothe: Instead he’s….well, a rather hobbit/troll looking guy, with a beard and graphic comic book character T-shirts and jeans. It took me some time to wrap my head around that! I know, I know, how silly of me…

Kvothe by Sandara on Deviant Art
Kvothe by Silvaticus on Deviant Art
Author Patrick Rothfuss

So I’ve been really enjoying reading Rothfuss’ blog, and I joined the Fantasy Faction forum and found these rants on writing fantasy. So far I’ve only read two, but they are really funny and smart

The theme of my little story here: Writing mentors are important. They help prevent you from making stupid mistakes, submitting your book baby, and then getting five billion thousand rejections over and over. They help you to hone your craft to be so sharp that it would decapitate someone. They also help to realize that you take yourself way too seriously *ahem* and need to make your writing blog more personal and lively *coughmecough*.

There’s a quote somewhere in the universe that goes roughly like this: If you want to be a millionaire, hang out with one and observe what he does, his choices, his way of speech, his decision-making, etc.

It’s the same with writing. If we deeply study the fiction of our idols, and try to not just mimic them like parrots but get at the essence of how they write and do that, well…us and the rest of the world will be happier for it. And we will know that we produced a damn good book.

What if there’s too much to study, you say. What if I have questions that can’t be answered just by reading my favorite authors’ books?

Well guys, it’s 2015 and real authors are actually really, really accessible these days. This is another lesson I’ve been learning this past week. You can tweet to authors on Twitter, not just follow them. You can find their Facebooks, emails, write to them. Ask them questions on their blogs or website. You don’t have to just read other people’s questions; ask your own, and who knows? Yours might be the one they pick for their next Q&A blog post. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Fantasy authors of today and yesterday

I know that I would love to get in contact with some of my favorite authors. Alas, many of them are dead, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and others, but…there are always some who are alive (one hopes). As far as fantasy genre goes, we’ve got Pat Rothfuss himself, George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling, Robin Hobb, Neil Gaiman, Terry Brooks, and so many others who are around and may be able to answer our questions personally. Yes they are busy and writing, but if you really need help or want to tap into something in their writing but can’t quite get a finger on it…wouldn’t hurt to ask, right?

There are also forums and talking to other, fellow writers who may or may not be published, or editors, agents, etc. These days all sorts of literary world people are available for questions, or just browsing their posts in general. We’ve got awesome magazines like Poets & Writers, which I am personally subscribed to, which features a literary agent article every issue. There’s the classic Writer’s Digest, too, and more.

So go out there! Study your favorite authors, get your questions answers, read up, and then – write!

Happy writing,

Chaitanya

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One thought on “The Importance of Writing Mentors

  1. Good points all. And you’ve encouraged me to get in touch with some of my favorite authors. You’re right, they are so much more accessible today than ages gone by!

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