Get the beginning right, and you’ll get the story right.
Barbara Kyle, bestselling author and acclaimed story coach
Right Start Mentoring
The beginning. The opening. The start. Beginnings in life are charged with possibility.
The promise of spring. The first thrill of a love affair. The elation of launching an enterprise. Or a yacht. Or a spaceship.
To begin demands confidence. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be your captain…”
To begin demands boldness. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client… “
To begin demands courage. Leaving home. First day on a new job. First day in a new land.
It’s the same with the book you’re writing. The first fifty pages are vital.
Those opening pages tell the reader you’re taking them on a voyage, one that promises enthrallment. An adventure, perhaps. A charged, fresh view of the world.
Your story’s first fifty pages must make this promise. If not, few readers will take the voyage with you.
Remember, your first reader is a literary agent. A gatekeeper. They decide whether they’ll open the doors to publishers for you – or shut you out. Often, they make that judgement from a story’s first pages.
With Right Start Mentoring you’ll have all the tools you need to make your first fifty pages irresistible to agents, publishers, and readers.
Get the beginning right and you’ll sail into the rest of your story.
Here’s Why You Need Right Start Mentoring
Agents and publishers are deluged with manuscripts, so they decide very quickly whether a story’s beginning promises a page-turning experience. If it doesn’t, the stark reality is that they stop reading.
I don’t want that to happen to you.
I want you to land that agent. I want you to sign that publishing deal. I want your book to reach a wide audience of readers who then tell their friends, “I couldn’t put it down!”
I’ll help you get there.
Everything depends on the beginning. I know, having read hundreds of manuscripts, that weaknesses that plague a novel are generally evident in the first fifty pages. Get your opening under control and you can confidently let your story unfold organically.
Here’s What You Get with Right Start Mentoring
#1 Private Session Face-to-Face. All the coaching happens in a one-on-one session with me on Zoom. Our discussion will be intensive. We’ll take our time. I want to hear what’s important to you about your story, and you’ll want to hear my recommendations for highlighting those themes.
Prior to the session, you’ll send me the first fifty pages of your manuscript and now, in our Zoom session, you’ll get my in-depth analysis with specific recommendations. I’ll point out strengths in the writing so you can build on them and identify weaknesses so you can address them. This focused analysis is liberating. It will stimulate you to release your finest creativity.
In your session we’ll also have a wide-ranging discussion about what develops in the rest of the book, because the opening fifty pages must set up everything that follows, including what motivates your story’s main character, the story’s major turning points, and a meaningful climax.
Throughout your session, I encourage you to ask questions so that my comments and recommendations – and the reasons behind them – are absolutely clear to you. I want our discussion to inspire you to make your book irresistible to agents, publishers, and readers.
You’ll finish our session knowing how to:
- Hook the reader from the very first page
- Give your main character an engaging entrance to make readers care
- Focus the inciting incident so it clearly motivates your main character
- Sharpen the dialogue so it’s fresh and reveals what drives the characters
- Be sure the POV choices are the most effective for your story
- Maximize the power of the settings to depict your characters’ world
- Enrich the narrative with “voice” and vivid imagery
- Craft chapter endings that make readers eager to turn the pages
- Be confident about your story’s target readership and its marketability
- Create a pitch-perfect query for submitting your manuscript to agents
#2 Video Recording. I’ll record our Zoom session and send you the video link the following day. This will save you the stress and frustration of taking notes during our discussion. Instead, simply review the video at your leisure, and as often as you like.
#3 Written Transcript. You’ll also receive a professionally prepared transcript of our entire discussion. This document will be an invaluable aid for you in reviewing my major recommendations and also the nuanced points of guidance. You can go back to it again and again as a helpful checklist.
Watch the Video
Why I’m Your Best Mentor
Unlike most editors and writing teachers, I have a successful career as a novelist. My ten novels, all published by major New York publishers, have received wide acclaim, and over half a million copies have been sold worldwide. My agent is Alec Shane of Writers House, one of the largest literary agencies in the world.
My experience is crucial. In my career as a successful author, I’ve faced every challenge you face right now. So I speak to you writer-to-writer, sharing techniques you need to write a book that can compete in the marketplace. I know what agents and publishers are looking for, what they want – and don’t want.
As a mentor, I’ve taught writers at the University of Toronto, presented Master Classes at international writing conferences, and coached hundreds of writers in my online courses. Many of them have become award-winning authors.
“Barbara, your sensitive and perceptive advice far exceeded anything I expected. I’m deeply grateful”
– Robert Saba
“Your suggestions sharpened the story by identifying the weak areas and providing the solutions. It has done so much to bolster my confidence.”
– Deborah Cannon
“Thank you for such targeted and specific advice. Your deep analysis of the characters, plot, and dialogue is just the coaching and validation I needed.”
– Diane Lapena
“Barbara, your mentorship has been crucial to my growth from writer to author.”
– Bill Hawkins
“I took Barbara Kyle’s excellent Master Class when I was stuck with my first novel. I’ve recently finished my fourth book, and Barbara’s wise words constantly guide my way.”
“Barbara Kyle was clear, down-to-earth, inspiring, and encouraging. I am forever grateful for her wise mentoring.”
“I had almost given up on this novel. Then I took one of your Master Classes and that gave me the courage to go on. You provided invaluable feedback.”
“Barbara, what a tremendously positive impact you had on shaping the final version of this story. The honest and timely ‘tough love’ was absolutely indispensable. Can’t thank you enough.”
“Thank you, Barbara. The insights and advice you offered helped me add depth and human complexity to the story that kicked it up two or three notches. Your inspiration made a huge difference.”
“Barbara, your insights were incredibly helpful. Plus, you were able to address my concerns and questions. A fabulously productive investment. Thank you!”
What About Genre?
I mentor writers working in any of these genres:
- Historical Fiction
- Science Fiction
- Speculative Fiction
- Mainstream Women’s Fiction
- Literary Fiction
- Narrative Non-Fiction
The only exception is children’s books.
Is Right Start Mentoring Right for You?
I’ve coached hundreds of writers, from those at the very beginning of their writing journey, to emerging writers, to seasoned authors.
However, that doesn’t mean that every writer is ready for Right Start Mentoring. To find out if it’s right for you, just fill out the application and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
We’ll go ahead only if it’s right for you.
Apply now for Right Start Mentoring
What’s the Investment?
The cost is $495. It’s payable only after you’ve filled out the application and been accepted and we’ve scheduled our session. In fact, that’s the very reason for the application process: I only accept writers who will get the most out of my mentoring. Acceptance means you’ll be sure to get the expert guidance you need.
Going Beyond Fifty Pages
After our Right Start Mentoring session, you may be eager to continue with my guidance for the rest of your manuscript. I do work with some writers this way. If that’s what you’d like – my help in getting your full manuscript into top shape – we can discuss the process after our dialogue about your first fifty pages.
Mary Ann McGuigan
“Barbara Kyle is a master storyteller, and she’s especially adept at helping writers see what’s still missing in their work. I sing her praises to all writers.”
Nancy Raven Smith
“Barbara Kyle’s input was a game changer for me. I received advice and suggestions that vastly improved my story’s clarity and vision. Working with Barbara is like having a secret weapon in your writing arsenal.”
Steven T. Wax
“Barbara, thanks for all the help in getting there.”
“The ability to bring a story down to its essentials was something I honed with Barbara Kyle. Her input and expertise have been invaluable in getting me to where I am today.”
“Words are scarcely adequate to encompass my gratitude for your help. It kept me going through times when I felt discouraged and adrift. You have been the major force behind my achievement.”
“If you are looking for a writing mentor, Barbara Kyle would be at the top of my list. Her input really improved my new book, and I learned from her comments.”
Let’s Get Started
- Fill out the Right Start Mentoring application.
- Include a 3-page sample of your writing.
- I’ll let you know within 24 hours if your application is accepted.
Right Start Mentoring application
Get the Application Form
Apply now for Right Start Mentoring
“The beginning is always today.”
– Mary Wollstonecraft
Barbara Kyle is the author of the bestselling Thornleigh Saga series of historical novels and of acclaimed thrillers. Over half a million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Barbara has coached hundreds of writers in her online classes and many have become award-winning authors.