Los Angeles Region

Mentorship Contest 2016: E. Katherine Kottaras


“Critiques can be incredibly rewarding when they are completed with serious care. I offer thorough critiques that allow the writer to see what is working and that also show the writer areas that need work, without destroying the writer’s confidence.”

— E. Katherine Kottaras

Up to 300 pages of one large project or sections of multiple projects. Critique includes:

– A brief summary of the piece.

– Identification of what’s memorable, strong and working.

– Questions about sections that are confusing or need more detail.

– Feedback on language (grammar, diction, dialogue tags, etc.), if needed.

– Answers to the writer’s specific questions.


At least once weekly by phone and/or email, and at least six face-to-face meetings (once per month).


Prepare two documents as described below, formatted as follows:

– Set a 1-inch margin on all sides

– Double-space

– Use Times New Roman, 12 point font

1. In one document, provide up to 20 pages of your best, written work. Content can include the beginning of a book (fiction or nonfiction) as a complete first chapter, and/or short stories, and/or creative nonfiction and/or verse.

“I am not looking for a particular mode or genre of writing, but I am interested in hearing the writer’s voice. I am happy to work with a writer at any stage of her/his writing, whether they have completed a full manuscript or not.”

— E. Katherine Kottaras

In this document, create a header with PAGE NUMBER AND SUBMISSION TITLE ONLY. Do not include your name or any other information on your document. Save the document as a PDF file named with YOUR SURNAME_TITLE. Example: Rowling_Harry Potter


2. In a separate document, provide written responses to the following questions. Create a header with PAGE NUMBER ONLY. Do not include your name or any other information on your document. Save your document as a PDF file named with YOUR SURNAME_ANSWERS. Example: Rowling_Answers.

– How many manuscripts have you written?

– What are your short-term writing goals? In other words, what do you hope to accomplish within the next six-months to a year?

– What are your long-term writing goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?

– What are your favorite books? (MG/YA/adult)

– Who or what inspires you to write? (Can include other writers, films, TV shows, personal notes, history, etc.)


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

In the body of your email include:

– Your current SCBWI member name

– Address

– Contact phone numbers

– Email

– Genre(s) and title(s) of your manuscript(s)

– Attach your (2) PDF files


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 E. Katherine Kottaras

E. Katherine Kottaras published her debut YA contemporary novel, "How To Be Brave", with St. Martin’s Press/Griffin Teen in November 2015. Her second novel, "The Best Possible Answer", also a YA contemporary, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press/Griffin Teen in the fall of 2016.

Kirkus Reviews said of How To Be Brave: “Georgia’s realistically profane voice aptly captures her personality, carrying the novel; her traverse through grief and experimentation make for a believable and satisfying character arc. A thoughtful exploration of grief and life.”

Publishers Weekly said, “Kottaras’s debut traces Georgia’s struggles and triumphs as she reluctantly sets out to fulfill her mother’s final wish for her to try new things and be fearless. Georgia’s Greek-American heritage offers a distinctive backdrop for the novel’s themes of emotional healing and self-discovery, while Georgia herself emerges as a realistically flawed and genuine protagonist.”

Kottaras has worked as a writing teacher for more than 14 years, where her goal has been to enable other writers in the active and personal pursuit of creative expression and fulfillment. She currently teaches creative writing, composition and children’s literature (picture books through YA) at Pasadena City College, and received the Music Center’s Bravo Award for creativity and innovation in teaching in 2004. She attended her first SCBWI conference in 2012, which propelled her forward in writing for children. Through mentoring, she hopes to express her deep gratitude to the organization that gave her insight into the craft and industry, and to experience the joy of working with another writer.

“I am prepared to help my mentee with many different techniques – whether it be exercises to help combat writer’s block, strategies for revision, or insights and recommendations for submitting work for publication. With revision, we might discuss larger structural concerns, plotting, pacing, beats, etc. I also love to work with language and diction – finding ways to imbue exposition with poetry. My toolbox is large, and I’m excited to work with someone closely.”

— E. Katherine Kottaras


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