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For my #WriteMentor Peeps!

Hey Guys! If you’re stopping by for more information on what I’m looking to mentor, here’s an idea of what I’m drawn to and what you can expect out of a mentorship with me! But before I get into that, first off, I’d like to say thank you for considering me as a mentor! Whoever ends up submitting their work to me, please know I appreciate you giving me the opportunity. Just last year I was in your exact position and was lucky enough to have been chosen. I’m truly humbled to be in a situation where I can now give back!

Here’s what I’m looking for:

All contemporary YA!

I have a soft spot for anything set in the early 2000’s, a funny and witty MC, sarcastic narrators, theater kids, romcoms, edgy and emotionally raw stories, snappy dialogue, stories set in New York City, anything reminiscent of Clueless, Mean Girls, Cruel Intentions, Never Been Kissed, Say Anything, and Pretty in Pink. I’ll basically love anything that feels real to me!

I’m not the best mentor for sci-fi, fantasy, or magical realism. I’d love to consider everybody, but I honestly don’t read enough in these categories to actually help someone better their stories.

If we end up working together, here’s what you can expect:

After I pick my mentee we’ll have a short phone conversation to congratulate, get pumped up, and discuss a timeline for revisions.

Then, I’ll likely email you some exercises/homework to get loosened up and get that creative flow going and get you thinking. Don’t worry, it won’t be anything too crazy, I promise!!

Then, I’ll give you an edit letter. In the letter, you’ll first find what I think is working and then I’ll discuss my ideas for what I don’t think is working yet and how to possibly solve these plot holes/problems. After you read through my ideas, I’ll have you take some time to think about my suggestions. When you’re ready, we’ll have another phone conversation to discuss your ideas and to make a plan of action before you actually start the re-write.

When you’re good to go and a plan we’re both confident with is in place, you’ll then get started on those revisions!! Along the way, though, if you get stuck, you can always email me or we can set up a time to talk and discuss anything plaguing you.

Probably sometime during the process of revisions, most likely at the halfway point, we’ll briefly reconvene and come up with a deadline to have your revisions done.

Once all revisions are complete by the set deadline, I’ll give it another read-through and depending on where I think the manuscript is at, we may do another round of edits before the agent showcase. It’ll really be dependent on the mentee.

Finally, prior to the agent showcase, we’ll work on polishing up that query as well as your synopsis so you’re in tip top shape!!

Here’s some other stuff I think you should know about me as a mentor:

I think my strengths are solving plot problems/holes. I’m good at deciphering what’s not working and why. Dialogue is my jam! If two characters sound like the same person, we’re going to get right to work on that.

My style as a mentor is that I’ll always be real with you but not mean. I owe you honesty, because I want you to succeed. I do you no favors if I spend all our time together stroking your ego and making you think it’s perfect as is. But I do promise to be here with plenty of compliments! If I choose your book, it’s because I truly love something about it!

If you have any specific questions I haven’t answered, please feel free to comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

I’m really looking forward to reading your submissions!!





Sarah Barkoff grew up in Detroit, Michigan, but spent most of her childhood traveling the United States as a child actress in various Broadway tours. A former New Yorker for nearly seventeen years, she earned her BFA in Creative Writing from the New School and studied musical theater at the American Musical Dramatic Academy, both in NYC. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids in their current home of Cleveland, Ohio.

Sarah’s debut, THE WANDERERS, is out Summer 2019 with Evernight Teen.


118 thoughts on “#WriteMentor

  1. Started reading your blog from Reagan’s. Lovin’ it. You had me when I saw the photo of you in Les Mis. ❀ πŸ™‚ Great writing, lots of fun. I"m a little jel of the adventure you're on right now. I'm in boring ole' DC .

    • Hi Allison! Thanks for reading! I always feel so special when people tell me that they found my blog from Reag, bc it means a lot that you guys would keep comin’ back:) P.S. Don’t let my adventure mislead you…Sometimes I am incredibly bored here, too!

  2. I must admit, your blog is the first blog I have visited that I have actually taken the time to read more than one post. I love your style. I think I am going to follow your blog. Yep, definitely made up my mind. Congrats on being a newly wed. Marriage is a beautiful thing if you have married someone for the right reasons. It can be a challenge at times, but as long as you hold on to what brought you together in the first place, then you’ll be just fine. I would suggest taking the tattoo test. The test is to ask yourself the question “Would I get my husband’s name tattooed on my body?” I would explain it more, but I’m tired of writing. If you’re curious, check out my blog alincolnformythinkin.wordpress.com, and read the R.I.P. Marriage posts. Trust me, it’s not as grim as it sounds. Well, maybe a little bit. I must fore warn you, language can be a little colorful, so hope you are not easily offended. Anyway, now that I have finished my “War and Peace” comment, great blog. I’m looking forward to your next post.

    • Well, thank you so much for taking the time!! Also, thanks for the congrats on being a newlywed! It’s the best!! Thanks for reading:)

  3. Oh, living in Grenada for a bit? Nice… I am from Trinidad and Tobago (also West Indies, if you didn’t know)
    Congrats on your new ‘alias’ =) I love that you and Matt are newlyweds that are studying… I’ve been thinking about if I could do the same as well. So it’s very nice to see some people are getting it done. Looking forward to articles on the newlywedded bliss and of course your Caribbean experience.
    Summer from T&T
    PS- subscribe to my blog theoryofstring.wordpress.com =) Then I may have some impetus to post more Caribbean stuff =)

    • I will definitely be posting more about GND! Hey, did you read my post about the fish market? I think you might like it. Thanks for reading:)

  4. Found your blog via “freshly pressed.” You have a gift. You write from the soul and let the stream of conciousness flow naturally. I’m a Brit brat, too. Watching Brit-coms on PBS is a favorite pasttime. Anyway…would love your feedback on my blogs sometime πŸ™‚

    • Why thanks cbgrace, that’s the best compliment I have received all day! One of my dreams is to actually write a novel! Thanks for reading:)

  5. Are you like…my twin or something?
    I recently got married too, and I still use my original name. I plan to use my new last name when I feel comfortable with it. =D
    I’m Italian-American, and I love salads too. Seriously. If I go into some new place and find nothing I like to eat, I’ll order a salad and be done with it.
    I lived in New York for six months with my aunt Maggie and miss the place so freaking much.
    I feel the world would be a very empty place without Jane Austen. She’s like…my writing idol. I know the first sentences of all her books by heart. It’s kind of like this insane obsession, really.
    I also love Harry Potter. Hence I love anything British, but hell, I’m not a brit-pick.
    I love crime shows to death. I can’t live without watching one a day. 20 mins in and I’ll be able to tell you who the culprit is.
    And by the way, you have an awesome blog! Keep writing! πŸ™‚

  6. Point 5 impressed me. You have a great sense of humor, witty manner of writing that I enjoy, and your travels/ pursuits have made you a well-rounded, respectable individual. Also, I love your muffin/bubble pictures. I’m actually jealous, they’re so cool. Great scenery, black and white is always superior.. anyways, will be staying tuned!

    Aun Aqui

    • Awesome! Thanks for reading!! Good to hear from a fellow Michigander. I guess Detroit-ish because I am actually from Dearborn, however, I am a die hard Detroit supporter!

  7. I def agree with the British movies and singers thing. I only just found out about Cheryl Cole when the whole x factor us debacle happened and I feel so cheated that I can’t buy her stuff here. British entertainment is on a whole other level. BBC , Spooks!!!

  8. Sarah,
    I too am from Michigan, I live and work in Grand Blanc which is south of Flint. Congratulations on the nuptuals!!! You sound devinely happy! I enjoy your blogs and have recently begun blogging myself. Self expression is a wonderful thing! I agree with so much of what you are saying. I’m older than you, I have a 22 year old son, I’m a former pre-K teacher of 12 years but thanks to budget cuts I had to look for something else before things got worse, I’m a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, etc., but most importantly…….I’m a cancer survivor! I love living life!! I look forward to reading more of your blogs.
    What were you in as a child actor?????

  9. Oh, Sarah! Your photos are so cute. I like them so much.
    My fiancee is a full on (haha) doctor. Prepare thyself, my fellow future doctor’s wife! That could be an entire blog by itself…but if I wrote it, it would have to be so anonymous it wouldn’t be fun!

    I wish you the best in all your adventures. You have gained a new reader today! πŸ™‚

  10. Great blog! I too have an unnatural obsession with true crime shows — I love me some Dateline or City Confidential. Not above watching The First 48 either. Don’t you love trying to figure out of the person they’re interviewing throughout the whole thing is actually in jail? Anyway…enjoying your posts!

  11. YOU are beautiful! What a ‘voice’ you have! Are you really from Detroit? You sound like “Brooklyn” to me. “Ai; whatcha doin”!!! “Toid avenue and toidie toid street! And Hurry!!”

    In my mind, I’m still on Flatbush Avenue.

    Anyway, you are a gem. keep writing. You’ve made an old man’s day!


  12. I’d like to read that picture above as: “I am bubbly.” You look like it. And on initial skimming, your blog looks interesting. So perhaps you can expect more of me visiting here. πŸ™‚

  13. I’m just start to walk on the pages and Δ± dont know how to write and read. So Δ±t’s okay Δ± guess. I wish to sarah and her husband smiles all the time.

  14. Sarah, you are absolutely hilarious, endearing, and totally real! How refreshing to blast out those cobwebs that collect dust in my heart! So cheers to you, the bravery you have to write, and putting a smile on my face while I adventure through life.

    I am soooo looking forward to reading your blog. It’s even better than working on my jigsaw puzzle! Yes, yes, my life is that interesting. We can all live vicariously through you.

  15. I think you’re so cool, love the tone of voice throughout your blog- I just kept reading and reading and i’m usually not a reader at all! Looking forward to your future posts πŸ™‚ xoxo

  16. You ROCK!! πŸ™‚ And before I read that you were a hair stylist.. I thought your hair looked so awesome and healthy.. hahaha.. very pretty, look forward to reading more..

  17. I am new to this place, and I stumbled upon your blog (and some others too) in the Freshly Pressed section. But I liked your posts, and they were probably the only ones that I read all the way! Anyway, I am looking forward to reading more! πŸ™‚

  18. Hi Sarah, I recently stumbled across your blog, and I am hooked. I just thought I would pop over and say hello, and I really look forward to continuing to read your blog in 2012! πŸ˜€


  19. i’m here via freshly pressed and i love your blog! congrats on being a newly wed, and your other life adventures! i’ve been married a little over a year now…isn’t it the best? anyway, you’ve got yourself a new follower! keep writing!

  20. Sarah, I think I LIKE you. You have a zest for life that I find rare in this stressed world we live in. You look at life a little differently, and that difference is refreshing. I look forward to reading more and more of your pieces. Great banner & profile pics. Who took them?

  21. Hi, Sarah… found your blog because you made the “Freshly Pressed” page (congrats on that – still not sure if it’s random selection or multiple hits… either way, that is great for ya!). Your posts are quirky enough that they caught my attention – looking forward to reading more, so keep them coming!

  22. My son and I went to see “Les Miz” last week during it’s short run here in Tampa ~ just wondering if you’ve had the opportunity to see the “new” version yet, and what you thought if you had? I’d been wanting to see the production for about 15 years, and had only seen the concert versions (10th and 25th anniversary) on PBS, and he wanted to see it too after watching the 25th anniversary one recently. Both of us loved the stage version.

  23. Hi! I nominated you for the Creative Chaos blog award cos I love to read your lovely blog. If you wanna know what to do for the nomination take a little look see on my blog. Yay!

  24. Pingback: The Results Are In… | Sarah Smiles Awhile

  25. I was going to keep this a secret as I have nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award as my seventh contestant, and I know how busy you are, but heck, why not, I’ll let you know about it anyways. πŸ˜€ http://wp.me/p1ex8U-Wn. Hope you know how much you are appreciated. Even if several weeks go by and we are deprived of your heartwarming humor. (Hint. Hint). πŸ˜€


  26. Persuasion, Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice…yeah! I love British TV shows and movies, especially period dramas. Fun to find another Austen fan! Have you seen the “Lost in Austen” series yet?

  27. I like ‘BritBrat’. I’m going to start calling my wife that. I probably should be commenting on your page because I’m in Boston, but I’m not ‘from’ here either, so I guess it’s OK. Nice blog. I enjoyed looking around. And re: underated stuff, yes, I enjoy comfortable silences and that scene in Pulp Fiction too. In fact, I just like Pulp Fiction.


  28. I only read a few posts but I love how you write from the heart and are true to yourself. That’s something beautiful. Keep it up and enjoy writing those novels, I think you’ll be really successful in writing like other’s have pointed out. I’m also planning to find that perfect agent for my novels by this summer, that should be fun to accomplish πŸ™‚ Wish you the best with it!

  29. Stumbled upon your blog this morning and really enjoyed the discovery. Best of luck with your literary pursuits. I have just been epublished in the contemporary romance genre, but have a YA manuscript I’m really trying to get published the traditional route (kinda like snail mail will always trump texts, a paperback novel is still way better than an ebook, although I love my Nook!!). Still getting agent rejections but still determined to find one! You are certainly a busy woman! Don’t know how you have time to do everything you’re doing. Wow! I look forward to reading more of your musings.

  30. I don’t browse peoples blogs often, but stumbling on this one, in a way satisfied me. If I could go into deep explanation I would. I like your style, and I will definitely be following.

  31. Just stopping by to say What’s up? And I am curious about what it was like to live in the West Indies. Are you doing the whole MFA thing? Because I’d like to apply this year and I want to know everything.

  32. I truly enjoyed reading your blog, very entertaining. I also like reading Jane Austen novels – I even read a spin off called “Jane Austen Bites Back” which was such a novelty. I hope that you do get to be an actress on the big screen since I believe you would have great onscreen presence.

    P.S. Congrats on your recent nuptials – the way you described it is so sweet, romantic and magical

  33. How adorable are you! Love your blog and think you are too funny. I also come from Detroit, moved to Los Angeles, met my paramour and then we somehow ended up in Pennsylvania?
    Huh :-/
    Dream Big!!!!

  34. “I love Jane Austen, Brit movies, and Brit singers. I am kind of a Brit brat.” Not heard ‘Brit brat’ before. As a Brit myself am wondering if I can be one of those.

  35. You sound absolutely deight-ful and funny!
    I’ve read a couple of your posts and I can’t help but agree and smile at the same time. Also as I was reading your Bio, I noticed that you said you like some british things. When I read that all of a sudden I imagined you talking in a Brit accent. Although you’re from Michigan so that doesn’t exactly work out . . haha.
    Anyway excellent blog.
    I’m going to follow you for more funny and relate-able posts πŸ™‚


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