Ravens and writing desks

clattering of jackdaws

A reference to Nina’s own work – which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Recently my writing colleague, fellow SCBWI and friend Nina Wadcock asked if anyone would be her Beta reader. I volunteered straight off. We got on well and I had every expectation it would be a good read. She accepted my offer  – and then the second thoughts came fluttering in a black cloud…

Had I jumped in too soon? Who was I to offer critique – unpublished and unagented? Shouldn’t she waited for someone more experienced?


The WoMentoring Project Bespoke illustration by mentor Sally Jane Thompson

A moment of common-sense:  no-one else had offered at that point.  I did have some experience as well. After getting my Creative Writing MA I helped the next students as a Graduate Editorial Assistant – which I loved. I also take part in the WoMentoring Project (I am not responsible for the name) – and one of my mentees now has an agent. She was kind enough to say that my comments had been useful.


Corvidae feature in Nina’s work – and her writing name is Nina Kyte.

My friend Nina’s comments on ‘Wildfell’ came back quickly. I have to commend her on her speed, accuracy and effort. Truly helpful – so good at seeing the thicket not the brambles.

Blow me down – but so much echoed what my wonderful Golden Egg mentor, Nikki Marshall, had said about my other w-i-p ‘Stonespeaker’. I had thought I could learn to do it all by myself for this next one.

All her hard work made me reconsider. I had thought to enter a revised version of ‘Wildfell’ for the Times/Chicken House competition this year. Looking at the amount of radical changes I still need to make – or at least think through carefully – I have declined. If nothing else, she had saved me £15 + p&p.

Writer's_manifestoMy ego surely needs sitting on. It makes a very lumpy chaise longue,  I can tell you.

All the above confirms my hankering after the Golden Egg Academy Editor’s Course. I need this for two reasons:

  1. to better the editing of my own work
  2. to improve the quality of my help to others – it’s one thing to be supportive, but even better to be informed

I cannot really lose – and I may gain another strand to my literary life.


To finish – a quotation via the lovely Nina that I couldn’t resist:

One of my friends who is also a writer said there is nothing more scary than letting someone read your work and, given the choice, would feel less exposed streaking round Headingly!

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