TERMS & conditions
FYN Mentoring Terms and Conditions
• We want to get you to a publishable standard. A high proportion of our writers have gone on to publish their novels (and we mean for money). Therefore, here at FYN we work to the necessary high and uncompromising standards. So…
• We won’t pat you on the head and say 'Well Done' if we don’t think it is well enough done. We never lie to writers.
• That said, we hope our critiques are always constructive and thoroughly explained. And if you don't feel anything we say/annotate has been properly explained or justified, take us to task. But sometimes, for all that constructiveness, what we say may be crushing. This is unfortunately the nature of the beast: creative writing calls on something more than the hard work which you may have applied to other courses and qualifications. It will always feel like part of you that is being criticised. Every single time, for the rest of time. So we know it hurts. But none of this means that we will not give you the analysis – tough, radical, honest – which will make you a better writer.
• You may have experienced an important catharsis or self-revelatory moment in writing-exploring a particular piece/chapter. But the only thing that matters to us is whether it works as prose. Does it communicate to a reader (who doesn't know you)? If it doesn't, we will tell you and so we apologise in advance if we tread on important or significant toes. But no agent or publisher is going to say "Well, she really bared her soul there, so obviously I must represent this." or "It's important to him to have written that scene, so I really want to publish it."
• Don't ever say, 'Sorry, but that's just how I write'. If your writing methodology is creating problems in your prose or storytelling or if it is preventing you from making crucial adjustments, then the methodology has to change. By methodology, we mean things like 'I always write fast, I can't stop myself' or 'I have to write it first as a screenplay and then convert it'. We are here to help your prose reach the heights and sometimes that will require methodological change – and we are here to help you with that. And anyway all writers change their methods over their careers so there is nothing sacrosanct about them.
• One other thing: there are no rules
Sending us your work:
• We really need writing submitted at least 72 hours in advance of your mentoring session, unless explicitly agreed otherwise.
• All writing should be submitted as a Word Doc, not a pdf. This is to enable us to line comment. Please also ensure you add page numbers, set line spacing to 1.5, and run a Spellcheck before submitting (and do make sure it’s set to the right sort of English.)
• When you send us writing, always send us your best, most polished prose. Of course, you may be experimenting with a new tonality or a new POV or a new plot line, and you may be in two minds about it. That's fine. But the prose – the actual sentences – should nevertheless be polished to a shine. We can only judge your writing by what you send us. If you send something and then later, in the tutorial, say "Well, I wanted to get you the words, I hadn't edited them fully", we will have wasted a whole lot of time line-editing that prose. Worse, we will have formed a false opinion of your potential or the potential of this new voice, new POV. So, always experiment, please, always push the boundaries, but then make sure the prose is the best possible within the terms of that experiment. (And make a real effort with the punctuation: it is a crucial component in the readability of your prose).
• It is helpful if you bed any questions/rubrics/comments into the document itself (at the end) rather than in an accompanying email. We tend to print off or send-to-kindle your work, so the email never accompanies it. And please do not leave comments/track changes in the body of the work, so turn them off before submitting. We want to be able to consider your work as though it were in its final published form. Having your comments and questions alongside as we read makes this difficult.
The Nitty Gritty:
• Mentoring sessions are charged at £100 plus £95 per 10,000 words of reading.
• We will never nitpick if it’s a few hundred words over, but if your wordcount falls well in between posts (e.g. 25,000 words) then we will contact you to agree the fee in advance of the session.
• When you book a session and send us your words, you are entering into a contract with us to provide a mentoring service.
• FYN will invoice you before each session and full payment is required within 15 days.
The Full Course:
• The Full Course consists of 10 mentoring sessions, which must be taken within 24 months of the starting date (namely, the date we receive full payment). Our aim in structuring the course in this way is to provide you with a series of deadlines and help you sustain the momentum you need to successfully finish your novel. In exceptional circumstances, we may be able offer you an extension, but this will need to be agreed in writing with FYN.
• Finish Your Novel is unique amongst mentoring courses in the sheer number of words we are happy to read. In our view, it is difficult to give useful feedback regarding the structure of a novel, pacing, character development and so on via extracts of 5000 words. For each mentoring session you may therefore submit up to 20,000 words. This does not mean that you mustsubmit 20,000 words for each and every session! It really depends on the sort of feedback you are looking for at any particular time. In early sessions, in particular, it may most helpful to focus on plotting, or to look at a few thousand words in close detail (which we will mark up for you with line comments). Later, when we are thinking more in terms of the broad sweep of the novel, it will be helpful for us to read a longer extract and provide wide-view feedback.
• Sessions may be taken via Zoom (or equivalent) or in person (usually in London) and may be scheduled for daytime, evening or weekend. Your mentor will always work with you to find a mutually convenient time.
• We welcome feedback. Every writer is different and every novel is different. Mentoring is a highly individualised process, and we want to ensure that you are getting the support you need. We would encourage you always to raise any concerns with your mentor in the first instance. In the unlikely event that you remain unhappy, please contact Finish Your Novel directly and we will do our best to resolve the situation.
• If problems should occur that cannot be resolved, and it is agreed that continuing the mentoring process would not be the best option, FYN will offer a full refund for sessions not yet undertaken, less £250 to cover our administration costs.