If you’ve registered for any of our writers’ workshops (at the Working Writer’s Club or the National Writing for Children Center) taught by prolific children’s author Nancy I. Sanders, you’ve heard her talk about mentor texts.
Mentor Texts – What Are They?
A mentor text is simply a published book that is very much like the book you wish to write.
For example, if you wish to write a middle grade novel, you’d find a middle grade novel that is much like the middle grade novel you wish to write.
Then you’d study that book very carefully.
You’d make note of how the author opened the story, how he developed the characters and the story problem, how he created rising action/tension that led to the climax and then the resolution.
You’d also make note of any literary devises the author used and how he used dialogue to advance the plot.
Studying the work of another, published author doesn’t mean you’ll be writing a book exactly like this mentor text.
It will just give you a chance to learn more about what goes into a marketable story.
Today, start looking for a mentor text for the type of book or short story you wish to write.
Once you’ve found a mentor text, get a spiral notebook to use to make careful notes as you read this book or short story.
Read it with a writer’s eye and you’ll no doubt learn many techniques you can use in your own book or story.
P.S. Here’s a great article (you can download the .pdf file) about how mentor texts can be used to help children learn to write.
It’s meant for classroom teachers, but this information can be helpful to adult writers, too. Just click here: