Blue Pencil Cafe

The Blue Pencil Café brings together established, published authors with aspiring writers, offering something unique in the industry: mentoring.

If you have participated in our Blue Pencil Café before, please note: our Blue Pencil Café format will differ slightly from previous conference formats:

This is how the Blue Pencil Café will work in 2017

Blue Pencil Café Mentors are established, working, published authors who read the first 10 pages of a manuscript that has been submitted to them before the conference begins. They review, critique, and offer editorial suggestions to their Mentees during 15-minute private, one-on-one meetings scheduled during the conference. In 2017, Blue Pencil Mentors will have no more than 3 Mentees assigned to them.

Blue Pencil Café Mentees are authors who are new to the craft of historical fiction, whether they come to it from another form of writing (nonfiction, journalism, etc.) or are exploring the craft for the first time.


The Guidelines

Mentors and Mentees will sign up to participate in the Blue Pencil Café when they register for the conference. Mentees who enroll in the Blue Pencil café are required to submit to their respective mentors the first 10 pages—formatted in Times New Roman, double spaced, and no more than ten pages—of their novels by a specific due date. Additional pages, re-submissions, and/or revisions will not be accepted, read, or critiqued.

The Mentors will read and review their Mentees’ first 10 pages prior to the HNS2017 conference and will arrive at the conference with the pages marked, or having made notes about them. Mentors and Mentees are expected to arrive on time to their respective appointments within the conference hotel and to conduct themselves professionally.

Mentees are requested to be respectful of the time before and during the conference that their Mentor has taken to review and mentor the submitted work; and to understand that their time with their Mentor at the conference is limited to their BPC critique session. The conference asks Mentees to refrain from pigeonholing their Mentors in the hallways, at the conference cocktail parties and dinners, etc., with additional questions about their manuscripts.

Mentors must critique the pages submitted, guiding the Mentee toward the strongest work the Mentee can produce, and resist the temptation to compare the Mentee’s pages (favorably or unfavorably) to those of any other author (living or dead), or to their own writing. Although a Mentee’s style or voice or choice of material may not ordinarily be an individual Mentor’s cup of tea, it is the role of the Mentor to help the Mentee brew the finest cup of “Mentee tea” possible, offering guidance on how to help the Mentee shape his/her own voice, narrative structure, characters, etc., in the pages provided.