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WWTS Mentee Update: Becky Scharnhorst

Becky won a mentorship with author Laura Gehl. Here are a few words from Becky about her experience.

When I found out that Laura Gehl had chosen me to be her mentee for the WWTS contest, I completely flipped out. In a dignified way, of course. I’d always admired Laura’s succinct writing and humor, and was also impressed with her ability to convey emotion with so few words. I was grateful and honored to be picked by her, and I knew this opportunity would have a huge impact on me and my writing.

Soon after the results were announced, Laura contacted me by email and asked what I’d like to focus on during our time together. We decided on a plan of action and hit the ground running.

First, Laura critiqued several of my manuscripts. She helped me decide which ones were ready for submission and which ones needed more work. She also critiqued my query letters and helped me with my pitches. She said writing pitches was her super power. She wasn’t kidding! Soon I was referring to her as “the amazing Laura Gehl” all over social media and in person to anyone who asked. And even to some who didn’t.

In addition to working on manuscripts, Laura helped me create a submission plan. I made a list of 30 agents I was interested in querying and added notes detailing what they were looking for and why I thought we might be a good match.

After reviewing my notes, Laura pointed out that many of the agents on my list were looking for character-driven manuscripts. She encouraged (pushed) me to step outside my comfort zone and write one. After my first miserable attempt, she kindly told me to toss that one and try again. After my second slightly less miserable attempt, she encouraged me to revise and try again.

I’ve now written three character-driven manuscripts, each one a little better than the last. It was frustrating and difficult and I ate way too much chocolate. But I’m so glad I did it! Laura was there to offer support, encouragement, and honest feedback every step along the way. She was quick to respond to my questions, generous with her praise, and kind in her critiques. I could not have asked for a better mentor.

I will be forever grateful to Tara for creating the WWTS contest. As expected, it had a huge impact on me and my writing. I revised old manuscripts, wrote new ones, stepped outside my comfort zone, grew in confidence, and gained a new writer friend. Thank you, Laura, Tara! For everything.





  1. David McMullin says:

    Congratulations to you for taking in what Laura shared and putting it to good use. It takes dedication on both sides for a good mentorship. Good luck with those manuscripts.

  2. Zoraida Rivera says:

    What an amazing experience! I feel good envy! Happy for you and grateful for sharing.
    I had a mentor growing up. He helped me appreciate my poetry.
    Mentors are great.

    • Becky Scharnhorst says:

      Thank you, Zoraida! Mentors really do make a huge difference, don’t they? I’m glad you had one who encouraged you in your poetry. It’s hard to imagine where we would be without all of those who have helped us along the way. Blessings to you on your journey!

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