Your Writing Mentor Sharon Zink
Learn from literary editor and best-selling author, Dr Sharon Zink
Dr Sharon Zink is a former English Literature academic, having studied at London and Cambridge, who has over eleven years’ experience of editing and creative writing teaching.
Her first novel, Welcome to Sharonville (Unthank Books, 2014), was longlisted for The Guardian First Book Award and is currently being developed as a TV series. She has won numerous awards, such as being named as Young Poet of the Year and Writers Inc. Writer of the Year, as well as being shortlisted three times for The New Writer Short Story Award and for The Raymond Carver Prize.
She is very proud that many of her clients have gone on to get agents and deals, including bestselling authors, Amanda Prowse and Kathryn Hughes, as well as the twice Macmillan-published, Mark Gartside, and Kate Glanville, whose books are with Accent and Penguin US. She has recently helped Helen Fisher’s novel become the lead title for Simon and Schuster in 2020.
Specialises in: Literary and contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, crime, memoir, nonfiction proposals, academic work and poetry. She is also open to quirky or more experimental work.
Sharon provides tuition for our Mentoring Service.
Why We Love Sharon
We’ve been working with Sharon as an editor for a number of years and have seen first-hand what a difference her tuition can make. If your writing is a bit quirky or falls between genres, you’ll be in safe hands under Sharon’s guidance.
What Sharon Says About Mentoring
I know just how important mentoring is because, without it, my first novel, Welcome to Sharonville, would still be languishing in a drawer!
I believe deeply in the mentoring process’ ability to give writers’ not only detailed feedback which helps them build their craft, providing a gentle challenge to make their work better – which is something we all need at any stage of our literary careers – but I also have seen the importance of encouragement and accountability to keep writers on track.
I’ve read reports which say that around a whopping 97% of novels aren’t finished (I know!) and I am aware it’s so easy to let life get in the way, so I work with authors to create a sustainable writing practice, if they’re struggling to find time to create.
However, I also support authors to build their confidence as often we don’t write or aren’t as productive as we want to be simply because we’ve lost our faith in ourselves and our project. With my unique coaching tools and my interest in how we deal with creative self-doubt, which I’ve given workshops on before at various institutions, I can ease a writer’s insecurities and get them feeling passion for their work and a sense of their talents again.
I work to a writer’s strengths, building these as much as I can, and I see my role as a mentor to be a cheerleader, so clients often email me between sessions for reassurance when they’ve hit a sticky spot in their narrative. I’ve found that having a writer who’s been further down the literary path than you and knows its joys and perils and can shout back advice down the trail is immensely valuable.
Even so, I’ve been a literary editor for many years and possess a Ph.D. in English, so I’m known to be rigorous and thorough in my feedback, holding my clients to the high standards of the publishing industry. My mission then is to make my mentees the best writer they can be so they can get their literary dreams and, indeed, I’ve had various success stories in my career, including bestselling writers like Amanda Prowse.
I give a lot of commentary on work and, if I find issues in a text, I will also suggest possible solutions, but always remember it’s another writer’s project, so they have the final decision. However, it’s one of my favourite things to brainstorm with a client in a session about plot, characterisation and so on.
I also help my mentees navigate how to approach the publishing industry, if they want to go the traditional route, and hold their hands through the inevitable ups and downs of submission process. I’ve also experience in helping many authors self-publish with style and am happy to work with writers seeking to take either approach.
My main mentoring area is the novel, but I’ve also started publishing memoir myself, so I’d be happy to talk to writers of autobiography or even those working on book proposals, as I also have experience in creating killer outlines for business and other projects.
I also was a short story writer and poet before I started writing novels, so I often edit anthologies and would be happy to take mentees in that area who are looking to develop their craft and create a literary reputation.
In general, my approach is one which balances writing craft advice with a strong sense of personal support as I know just how tough creating and then selling a MS can be and I feel that having a mentor to walk by your side as you go through this process can make the difference between a completed and impressive MS which is taken seriously by the industry and general readers and never getting to type ‘THE END.’
Start your mentoring today
Get expert one-to-one advice from Dr Sharon Zink as you write and edit your manuscript.