Elaine D’Alessandro won a three month mentorship with author Annie Silvestro. Here is an update from Elaine on her experience.
As a chosen mentee for the 2018 WWTS contest, I had t he honor of working with Annie Silvestro over the last few months. I received valuable and in-depth feedback on two of my manuscripts and their accompanying queries. Annie and I spoke on the phone at length about both of my stories before she critiqued them. She also gave me new suggestions and various venues for my agent searches, and counseled me on my query hooks to entice an agency.
The first draft for one of my stories, a multicultural themed manuscript, originated about six years ago. After many rounds of critiques through my writing groups and a professional editor, I found an agent that liked my story and submitted it to a few publishers seeking multicultural picture book manuscripts, but received no positive results. The agent then decided she wasn’t the right person to find it a home. I submitted it to many other agents, but kept receiving rejection after rejection. I came to the conclusion that something was missing in my story, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. After Annie and I discussed my history of submissions, she studied my manuscript and provided constructive and insightful feedback. She gave my main character a few more tasks before he solved his dilemma. The outcome is the same, but the reader gets to know the main character even better. I will now submit it with a newfound enthusiasm.
My other story has two main characters—siblings dealing with the recent death of their grandmother. One is more demonstrative and wants to celebrate their grandmother’s birthday, just like they always had. But her sibling is sad and doesn’t want to participate. Annie helped me with my word count. And she made concrete narrative suggestions that provided a role reversal toward the end of the story, resulting in the girls working together to celebrate their grandmother’s birthday. As I edited and revised. I was very pleased with the results.
I am so appreciative of the time and personal effort Annie provided me, making both my stories stronger and submission-ready again. And she boosted my confidence as a writer with her words and actions.