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Catching up with 2019 Editor-Writer Mentee Dionna Mann

As we get ready for another year of amazing mentorship in The Editor-Writer Mentorship, we are excited to hear from our 2019 Middle Grade Fiction Mentee Dionna Mann, who worked with Editor Alvina Ling over the past year. Read more about Dionna and Alvina's journey:

1.) What surprised you about your writing or yourself during your mentorship?

I consider myself more of a rewriter than a writer. I analyze each sentence to the point where I feel crossed-eyed. So when Alvina asked me to complete a total rewrite of my middle-grade novel in just two months, I didn't think I could do it. But I wanted to make my mentor proud, so I forced myself forward. And guess what? Despite the whining and crying, I finished two days BEFORE her deadline!

2.) On a long day of writing or querying, what sage advice from your Editor-Mentor will be floating around in your mind?

"You have what it takes to not just be a published author, but to thrive in this industry!" Truth told, because I've been at this so long, I really needed that kick in the muse. So often I think I should just quit writing and stick to yard work.

3.) Will you share with us what you've been working on? Give us the one-line pitch of your manuscript.

I am always busy working on the Highlighter, the quarterly newsletter serving the Mid-Atlantic region of SCBWI, of which I am the content editor. For my personal writing projects, I am trying to get past chapter two of a new middle-grade I'm writing. It's entitled The Other Side of Crazy and is about a boy who is afraid he might have inherited a mental illness from his grandfather.

My one-line pitch of Mama's Chicken &  Dumplings, the manuscript I worked with Alvina on is:  With a jar of chicken and dumplings in one hand and a daddy map in the other, ten-year-old Allie attempts to make her life complete by finding a perfect man for her mama. 

4.) What's next for you and your writing career?

In the near future, I hope to hear from Alvina, though I know I must continue to exercise patience. (After all, she is a VP and editor-in-chief at the amazing Little, Brown that recently acquired 1,000 books from Disney Book Group!) Who knows? Maybe she'll say my plot and contemporary setting for Mama's works, making my next revision not quite so painful. I also hope to drum up more work-for-hire projects, maybe even trying on fictional middle-grade WFH for size.


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