Mentoring for Writers
UDEMY Courses
Video Courses
The Writing Life

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 and 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

  • Private Session
  • Video Recording
  • Transcript

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

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.

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.

“Barbara, your sensitive and perceptive advice far exceeded anything I expected. I’m deeply grateful”


“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.”


“Your suggestions sharpened the story by identifying the weak areas and providing the solutions. It has done so much to bolster my confidence.”


“Barbara, your mentorship has been crucial to my growth from writer to author.”


“What a wonderful session! Thank you so much for your insights and suggestions. Clear, concise, and to the point.”


“I can’t thank you enough for all your comments. I enjoyed every single minute of it. And the transcript is definitely a perk!”


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.

What’s the Investment?

The cost is $495. It’s payable only after you’ve filled out the application and been accepted, and then we’ll schedule 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.

Apply now for Right Start Mentoring



Apply now for Right Start Mentoring



What About Genre?

I mentor writers working in any of these genres:

  • Mystery
  • Thriller
  • Romance
  • Historical Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Speculative Fiction
  • Mainstream Women’s Fiction
  • Literary Fiction
  • YA
  • Narrative Non-Fiction

The only exceptions are children’s books and memoirs.

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.

Watch the Video

Liquid error: Nil location provided. Can't build URI.

“The beginning is always today.”

– Mary Wollstonecraft

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

Barbara Kyle is the author of the internationally acclaimed Thornleigh Saga historical novels and thrillers. Over half a million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her latest novel is The Deadly Trade. Barbara wrote the screenplay for the feature film Saving Dinah, available on Amazon Prime. As a story coach, she has mentored hundreds of writers, and many have become award-winning authors. Barbara and her husband live in Ontario.