Writing can be a lonely occupation. Alone at your desk, perched precariously between all of the other demands in your life, it’s easy to lose heart, and faith in yourself and your words. If it is the first time you have attempted a book-length work, it can be hard to know where to start … or how to finish.

At Olvar Wood, we are great believers in the mentorship model for learning the craft of writing.  It is more practical and personal than a university course or workshop, and, we believe, usually much more effective. Our goal is to support you in completing your project and improving your writing and self-editing skills.

A mentorship is about you, your writing project, and your dreams as writer.

A skillful mentor can help you draw out the full potential of your work – and yourself. It can be a challenging but often exhilarating working relationship, during which you make far more rapid progress than you would if you stumbled along by yourself.

Olvar Wood offers three month, six month and year-long mentorships. We also offer short term residential mentorships as part of our DIY retreat option.

The year-long mentorship is designed around developing your book-length manuscript for submission to a publisher. It includes a broader program of reading, research, thinking, exploration of your creative process, and self editing skills. From 2014, year-long mentorships are available via application only.

All mentorships are based around a fortnightly submission cycle of up to 5000 words. Your mentor will read your work and provide detailed feedback within a fortnight. If you live near Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast, you can also meet with your mentor regularly to discuss your progress. This option is available by phone for those farther afield, or by email if you prefer.

Where do we begin?

The first step is to contact us:

It would be helpful if you could provide some details about your writing experience and achievements, the project you are working on, and your goals. And a short sample of your writing (2000 words).

Then we’ll contact you to set up a meeting/phone call. The initial meeting is an opportunity for you to ask questions, to make suggestions, and for us both to see whether we’re a ‘good fit’.

The first meeting is obligation free, and (if in person) coffee is on us.

Mentorship agreement

Shortly after the first meeting, we will email you a draft mentorship agreement, which will include a clear statement of the mentorship’s goals, your responsibilities as the writer, and the mentor’s responsibilities. We’ll work at finetuning this agreement as the foundation of a mutually-agreeable professional relationship between you and your mentor designed to help you achieve a set of clearly-defined, realistic outcomes within the timeframe.


The feedback you will receive depends a great deal on where you are as a writer and the nature of the project. It will range from structural/big picture issues, right down to grammar, punctuation, and formatting. It will usually cover the basics of plot, character, setting, dialogue and so on, as well as style and voice – and how all of these things work together to tell your story. If there are particular areas – say writing dialogue or action scenes – that you wish to work on, your mentor can tailor additional material and exercises to suit. Feedback and discussion can also include tips on writing practice, planning and self-editing, and preparing work for submission to a publisher. It will usually include suggestions for further reading, research, and potential markets for your work.

The aim of the feedback is to be as honest and constructive as possible, explaining what is working well and what could be improved, using practical examples and suggestions, and equipping you with the skills not only to complete your project to its full potential – but to continue to develop as a writer.


Rates are based on a cycle of fortnightly 5000-word submissions.*

  • Three months: $1350.00
  • Six Months: $2600.00
  • Year-long: $5000.00
  • Short term residential mentorships: Six hour mentorships from $275. Custom packages available. (Accommodation is booked and paid for separately.)

*Mentorships are personally tailored and flexible, with the cost based on the mentor’s time spent (and your words submitted) rather than calendar time elapsed. You can choose to suspend your mentorship at any time or spread it out over a longer period if you need to take a break or have limited time to spend on your writing.

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