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Mentor Type:

Traditional

Natalie Lockett

Mentor

April

she/her

Tara Gonzalez, EMLA

PLEASE NOTE: Natalie is only taking submissions from neurodivergent writers. Details in MSWL.

Natalie Lockett is an author, essayist, and podcaster of autistic and witchy proportions. Her podcast, Write Away with Nat & PJ has welcomed guests like Charlie Jane Anders, Erin A. Craig, Bob Eckstein, and many more. She writes horror adjacent fantasy in adult and YA, and her nonfiction work has been featured in Brevity Blog, HerStry, and Across the Margin. Her fiction is represented by Tara Gonzalez at Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Nat lives in Wyoming with her husband, a zoo of pets, and her beloved rock collection. When not writing she can be found running a small marketing company and trying to convince herself to switch to decaf.

FUN FACTS: has never said no to french fries | owns a three legged cat | terrified of fish | never learned to whistle

Working Style

What does mentorship mean to you, and why do you want to be a mentor?

For those who don't know, I'm the creator and program director of Rogue Mentor--and it happened completely by accident.

In 2020 I was fortunate to work with Lakesedge author Lyndall Clipstone, and when I got my agent I was so excited and SO READY to be a mentor. Unfortunately, the program I applied to didn't have room for me, so I improvised and put out a tweet...never expecting to get any subs, let alone the response I received from potential mentees and authors who wanted to get involved. The passion and dedication and love from all sides has been pure magic to witness.

To me, mentorship is an act of community building. It should be uplifting and illuminating to all involved. I've learned at least as much from my mentees as they've learned from me.

What is your mentorship style? What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?

I tell my mentees that I'm a friend and critique partner on steroids. I'm thorough and incredibly enthusiastic and I love to tear apart and stitch together stories. My strengths are:
- Prose
- Characterization and internalization
- Theme, symbolism, and metaphor
- Pacing
- Brainstorming and ruthless killing of darlings

HOWEVER, it's very important to me that my mentees retain their personal vision throughout the process. Traditional publishing is the big dream for many of us, but the heart of this process is creativity and if you don’t protect that part of yourself, you’ll lose the joy that brought you to the keyboard in the first place. Publishing takes no prisoners--or maybe, all of publishing is just prisoners of story?

When my mentees read their edit letter, I instruct them to ask themselves questions:

Does this stay true to my story, even if it isn’t exactly as I imagined it?

Can I work with this suggestion, or would I prefer to brainstorm an alternate solution?

If this suggestion doesn’t excite me, is it because I’m afraid of the work or because I can’t see its potential?

If I’m not happy with the suggestion as is, how can I make it mine? If I AM happy with the suggestion as is, how can I make it mine?

My hope is that all of the authors I work with leave with not only a beautifully polished book they are proud of, but also new skills they can carry into their career.

Instead of calling it my weaknesses, I'll say I'm not the best fit for someone who is super sensitive as I can be pretty blunt in my communication. I am autistic and sometimes don't realize how I'm coming off. I do my best to be open to critique/discussion around this if I need to adjust my methods.

As for a real weakness: I’m okay-ish at proofreading and will make an effort to catch typos in a final polish, but I’m much stronger at syntax and flow. I’m good at making sure your words sing, but not always the go to for making sure they’re spelled right.

What makes a great mentee? Describe your ideal mentee/mentor relationship. 

My ideal mentees is an enthusiastic and hungry learner. They don't shy away from tough stuff--revision isn't easy. They ask questions, they are introspective, and they aren't afraid to either turn down an edit that doesn't resonate, or explore an edit they might be afraid of.

How would you describe your normal working speed?

VESPA

You will receive your edit letter on announcement day!

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Communication

What kind of communication can your mentee(s) expect from you?

I am autistic and have ADHD. I’m medicated for the latter, which can sometimes lead to hiccups in my mood (if I don’t eat on a regular schedule or exercise my personality just disappears, or if I drink too much fully caffeinated coffee I get the “wiggies” (anxiety) and I try not to interact with people when I’m in that place.) I’m very open about all of this, so if you ever have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

I can sometimes be slow-ish to respond to texts and emails in relation to the above. BUT: I will communicate delays or times I’ll be away at the earliest possible convenience

If you don’t hear back from me within 48 hours, do nudge. With my day job I have many in boxes and may have missed it.

If you need something quickly, text is the best way to contact me.

I am a firm believer that open communication solves 99% of problems. If you have a deadline you suddenly can’t make, or you decide this isn’t for you, or you need something from me, just let me know. I’m committing to do the same.

What kinds of communication are you able to accommodate?

Email, Zoom/Skype/Video, Text/Whatsapp, Social Media DMs, Phone calls

Are you able to make accommodations for mentees that request them?

Yes

Mentorship Details

Expected Timeline

This is a single pass critique with an edit letter. However, I'm happy to answer questions, talk things out, etc. indefinitely.

Check all that apply: What do you plan to offer as a mentor?

One pass manuscript critique with edit letter and outlining support, followed by a post-revision submission package (query, synopsis, first 50 pages) critique and querying support.

Submissions

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How polished should your submissions be?

Antique Mirror, Magic Mirror, Funhouse Mirror

All I require is that the manuscript is complete.

MSWL

Age Categories:

YA, NA, A

Genres:

Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Gothic, Horror, Historical Fantasy, ND Writers ONLY

Send Me:

Please note, I am only taking submissions from neurodivergent (autism, adhd, dyslexia, etc.) writers. The manuscript itself doesn't have to be an exploration of that part of yourself, but I am particularly interested to see these representations in genres they don't often appear. You will not be asked to self identify unless you would like to. If you aren't public about it, the announcement of your selection will be just between the two of us.

Things I'm a sucker for:
- Magic of all kinds, but particularly unique magic systems and folk magic

- ROMANCE ROMANCE ROMANCE. Open to all kinds/spice levels.

- Horror mixed with other genres. PLEASE. I love being totally creeped out and afraid to turn the page.

- Witches, always.

- Angry girls. I cannot stress enough how much I love a mad woman.

- Ruthless girls. Reckless girls. Girls who get themselves into trouble.

- Weird interests, hobbies, jobs, or skills.

- Snark, humor, irony

- High emotion of any kind, personal stakes, themes of identity, discovery, growth.

- I am open to both dark AND light stories so long as the stakes are there.

- Retellings, monsters of all kinds

- Mind benders that lean more toward fantasy/contemporary than science fiction.

If you can comp to any of the following, I want to see it:

- Hill House or Bly Manor
- ACOTAR (I know and I refuse to be shamed)
- Anything Stephanie Garber
-Olivia Dade
-Naomi Novik
-The Love Hypothesis
- Pretty much any Taylor Swift song
- The Lost City
- Literally ANY weird history like the casket girls
- The Bachelor. The Selection, etc.
-While You Were Sleeping
- Bridgerton

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Please do not send me:

This opportunity is for ND writers ONLY. Please do not send me books about your experience with ND people in your life.

I am not the right fit for books with more than two POV characters.

What are some of your favorite books? 

When I'm not reading unpublished books, I'm a guilty pleasure reader SO DON'T JUDGE ME.

- ACOTAR
- The Selection
- The Love Hypothesis
- Ella Enchanted
- The Sookie Stackhouse novels
- Enchanted Life (non-fic)
- Little Weirds (essays)
- Once Upon A Broken Heart
- The Forest of Hands and Teeth

I am for sure missing A LOT. I suddenly don't remember ever reading a single book in my life.

What are some books, movies, shows, games, etc. that you've recently enjoyed?

Shows/Movies: Servant, Dickinson, The Lost City, Bridgerton, The Dropout

Games: Fable, Degraman (if you know what this is and it's a comp GIVE IT TO ME NOW), FE3H, Bioshock, Stardew Valley

Music: Listen, I love folklore but I'm an evermore girl at my core. Also, I wouldn't be a YA fantasy writer if I didn't mention Florence and the Machine.

Is there anything else you want potential mentees to know?

If you have subbed to me in the past and would like to do so again (even if it is with the same manuscript), please do. I have had a lot of books cross my desk this year and my previous pass (unless expressly stated) isn't indicative of future success.