Bennett Dixon won a Writing with the Stars mentorship with author Alastair Heim. Here are a few words from Bennett about his experience.
Has it really been six months?
Time flies when you’re having fun, and working with Alastair Heim has indeed been fun. A good thing when you loathe making revisions as much as I do.
Yet here we are, nine revisions later, with a fully-polished manuscript (and query letter) ready for submission. How did Alastair do it?
I could say it was due to his creative talents as an author. I could say it was because of his first-hand experience bringing numerous picture books to life. Or his spot-on editorial insight and hard-won understanding of the publishing world. Or maybe his mad FaceTime skills. All of these things would be true, but they wouldn’t explain what made the process of revision so much more enjoyable for me.
Rather, I think it was because Alastair challenged me to try things I probably wouldn’t have dared (or even thought to try) on my own. Because he set ambitious goals and urged me to stretch for them. Because he encouraged me when I was down. And because he gave me unfiltered honesty—in both compliments and criticism.
But perhaps more than any other reason, I think it was Alastair’s sense of humor, generous spirit and genuine interest in helping another author. That’s really why I always looked forward to our FaceTime sessions (the accompanying glass of wine also helped).
I’ve been lucky getting to work with Alastair and getting to know him, and I highly recommend you get to know him, too. A great place to start is http://www.alastairheim.com/. Alastair’s Hello Door is a favorite in our household.
Similarly, I‘ve been fortunate getting to know Tara Luebbe, creator of the Writing With the Stars contest. From all of us who’ve participated—thank you, Tara. Be sure to check out the latest work from Tara and her writing partner (and sister!) Becky Cattie at https://beckytarabooks.com/books/ .
My sincerest thanks to Alastair, Tara, Becky and all the other talented authors who’ve generously given their time to Writing With the Stars. May the good fortune I’ve come to find here extend to others who aspire to create children’s books.
Thank you, Bennett.