Los Angeles Region

Mentorship Contest 2016: Catherine Linka


“If I’m critiquing someone’s work, it can be very emotional, and sometimes when I’m talking through a critique with a writer I learn something new that totally changes the advice I give them.”

— Catherine Linka

One novel of up to 350 pages – to include:

– First round editorial notes

– Second-round editorial notes on the revised manuscript (with line edits depending on manuscript readiness).


In writing and live – either by phone or in person depending on time and distance.

“Genre is not important, but I would not be interested in working with someone who is flitting from project to project. I don’t think I would be the best mentor for a novel in verse.”

— Catherine Linka


1. In one document, provide a one-page synopsis of your work-in-progress or finished manuscript; the first 10 pages of your manuscript; and answers to the following questions:

– What aspects of writing present the biggest challenges for you?

– Why do you want a mentor?

– Have you ever participated in a critique group? What was that experience like for you?

– Does criticism galvanize you or scare you?

– Would you be willing to throw away a substantial portion of your manuscript or start over if that change holds the possibility of creating an amazing novel?


2. Format your document as follows:

– Your synopsis is on page 1 of your document

– Your manuscript is on pages 2-11

– Your answers to the above questions begin on page 12 of your document.

– Set a 1-inch margin on all sides

– Double-space

– Use Times New Roman, 12 point font

– Create a header with PAGE NUMBER AND MANUSCRIPT TITLE ONLY. Do not include your name or any other information on your document.

– Save your document as a PDF file named with SURNAME_TITLE. Example: Rowling_Harry Potter


3. Send your submission in an email with the subject line MENTOR LINKA to:

In the body of your email include:

– Your current SCBWI member name

– Address

– Contact phone numbers

– Email

– Genre and title of your manuscript

– Attach your PDF file


4. Your complete entry must be emailed by 11:59pm (PST) on March 17, 2016. You will receive an auto-response stating that we have received your entry.

About Catherine Linka

St. Martin’s Press published Catherine Linka’s duology, "A Girl Called Fearless" (2014) and "A Girl Undone" (2015). "A Girl Called Fearless" was an ABA Indie Next Pick and winner of the SCIBA Young Adult Novel 2014.

For a sense of Linka’s writing, read Sparrow’s Story: A Girl Defiant free on

For a sense of Linka and her approach to writing, read Becoming Fearless: A Conversation With A Girl Undone Author Catherine Linka by Devra Maza on Huffington Post

Linka worked for seven years as a children’s book buyer for an independent bookstore during which time she read hundreds of children’s books. She has participated in more than 300 hours of critique groups, including 75 hours at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she earned an MFA. She also has judged writing contests including the Tomorrow Prize and Adventures in YA Agent Challenge. She brings to the mentorship a strong desire to give back to SCBWI and to help other writers achieve their goals.

“Every writer has different skills they need to develop, so what I will bring to the relationship will depend upon the mentee. But there are aspects of craft in which I am particularly strong including analyzing plot and uncovering opportunities to more fully exploit what is already in the text. I believe I can provide significant help bringing scenes and characters alive, and eliminating issues with clarity and pacing. In addition, I am happy to share all that I’ve learned about the journey to getting published.”

— Catherine Linka