Ren has worked as a writer, creative producer and content contributor for games-related IP, and formerly managed communications for a non-profit arts council. She currently works in game dev, while also plotting her next twisty space novel. She loves weird mysteries, pop science, elaborate book playlists, and pondering about alternate universes. She lives in London, UK, where she frequently misses her stop on the underground because she was too busy reading.
I’m a lifelong speculative fiction reader, and I’ve been writing books since I was about sixteen. I wrote and shelved several non-SF novels before I returned to the arms of my first love, science fiction. Over three years, I wrote and rewrote the twisty, complicated space opera of my heart: a time travel book with a huge cast of characters, dual timelines and four points of view. I spent several months revising it before I finally decided to query for the first time in summer 2018. I got some interest from pitch contests, but my offers of representation both came from cold querying. I signed with my agent, Bridget Smith of JABberwocky Literary, later that year. After another round of revisions, the book went out on submission a few months ago. I’m currently in the process of revising my WIP, which is a space heist with a found-family group cast.
I’ve been a critique partner for writers at every stage of the publishing journey — some with agents, some with published books, and some finishing up their projects to query. I typically devote several hours a week to beta reads, and last year I read and critiqued over 1.4 million words of amazing unpublished manuscripts. My notes and feedback have helped many writers polish their projects. I have been an adult mentor in Pitch Wars for the 2019/20 session, and I’ve also mentored several other SFF writers on a personal basis. I’ve previously worked as an editor for a non-profit arts journal, and I hope to do a lot more of this kind of work in 2020!
I’m incredibly grateful to the mentors in my own life who have answered my questions and given me advice and encouragement about my writing. I want to give some of this energy back to other writers. I love seeing those magical moments when things click into place, I love being able to give that piece of advice that visibly pushes someone’s work further, and I love chatting through a tricky plot point with someone until they make a breakthrough. I want to be a source of strong support for my mentee — not only to help them improve their current manuscript, but to share all the things I’ve learned about this weird, wonderful journey.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned so much from fellow writers who have been open about their experiences and generous with their time. With their advice, I’ve improved my craft, grown my support network, and successfully navigated the start of my publishing journey.
I’ve seen the AMM community create essential connections between writers, and foster the kind of friendships and creative partnerships that can last through a writer’s entire career. That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of this mentorship program, and especially to be selected as a mentor in the first year that AMM is open to writers with adult manuscripts!
As a mentor, I’m detail-oriented and editorial, but I’m also a big-picture brainstormer who can break open deeper plot changes. I have a lot of experience editing multi-POV stories and non-linear narratives, and I’m not afraid of an unconventional story format. I’m a great match for a complicated book that needs a little untangling.
I’m open to adult sci-fi and science-fantasy manuscripts in a wide variety of subgenres, from space opera to time travel and magic-fueled tech! Above all, I’m looking for a story with strong emotional arcs and character dynamics that readers can really get invested in.
I’d love to receive manuscripts from writers with diverse backgrounds, and to amplify marginalized voices that have been underrepresented in fiction. As a queer reader, I’m particularly drawn to stories with nuanced, multi-dimensional portrayals of LGBTQIA characters.
- Science Fantasy
My inbox awaits character-driven SF of all flavours! Send me your space operas, near-future, post-apocalyptic quests, alternate histories & parallel universes. I’d also love to see science-fantasy books (tech x magic please!) and time travel stories of absolutely any kind. Check out my MSWL for more of my favorite elements & tropes!
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
I’ll write you an edit letter outlining what I loved about your manuscript, what I think needs work, and the high-level changes that I’m suggesting. I’ll almost certainly ask you to dig further into character motivations and emotional arcs, to ensure your characters are as compelling as they can be on the page. I’m a continuity queen, and I’ll help you stitch up plot holes. I have a knack for finding the small plot changes that make a huge difference to a manuscript, especially if you have a twisty narrative.
The feedback you get from me will always be honest. I’ll give you my guidance, my suggestions and my opinion, but you should feel confident that your story belongs to you, and the agency over any changes you make is always going to be yours.
I’ll be in touch with you regularly via Skype, text, or DM, and I’ll be as involved as you need me to be during your revision process. We’ll arrange a chat where we’ll go through the edit letter and discuss the changes. If you’d like to have a collaborative brainstorming session before you start revising, we can do that as well.
Next, we’ll plan out your revision. We can set some deadlines (if those will help you) or lay out some looser goals for the weeks and months ahead. If you prefer to send me a few chapters at a time as you revise, we can do that! If you’d rather do a full edit pass before you send me a new version of the manuscript, that works too. We can do more than one edit pass if we feel that the book needs it.
Once we have a revised version of the book, we’ll move on to line edits. I’ll make another comprehensive pass on the manuscript at the line level, looking for the tiny changes that will really make your story shine. We’ll work together to polish your query letter and synopsis, and get your submission package ready to send out. (I can also help to curate your agent list, if you’d like me to.)
On a personal note, good communication and openness is absolutely key to me. Above all, I would like our mentor/mentee relationship to feel positive and supportive, so you can feel comfortable coming to me with any concerns. I’d love to share everything I’ve learned about the publishing process with you, and help you to grow as an author beyond just improving this one manuscript.
My ideal mentee is someone who has a strong belief in their work and a clear vision of what they want their book to be, but needs a little extra push to get the manuscript to the query-ready level.
You’ll be open and receptive to feedback, and you love to solve problems by bouncing ideas back and forth as we find the best way forward. You’re committed to working intensively on your project and sticking with it until it’s finished, even through the frustrating stages. You communicate frequently, and enjoy receiving memes about your book from your mentor (because that will definitely happen!)
You’re looking for a mentor you can talk to, someone you can consider a friend, and someone who will get really, really excited about your characters.
I love all flavours of sci-fi, from sprawling space opera and galactic intrigue to small, intimate narratives that take place on a single ship. I like alternate universes, time travel and parallel worlds. I also love science fantasy that explores the coexistence of technology and magic. Above all, I’m looking for stories with great characters to get invested in.
I’D LOVE TO SEE:
– Mythical science fantasy crossovers like IN THE VANISHERS’ PALACE
– Intense, high-stakes space adventures like VELOCITY WEAPON
– Lush worldbuilding and complex intrigue like A MEMORY CALLED EMPIRE
– Time travel stories with heart like HERE AND NOW AND THEN
– Haunting alternate histories like FAMOUS MEN WHO NEVER LIVED
– Collisions of advanced tech & theology like SISTERS OF THE VAST BLACK
– Character-focused space opera like THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET
FAVORITE CHARACTER TROPES:
Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, underdogs who won’t give up, grumpy characters who are actually soft, cinnamon roll characters who are actually tough as nails, anti-heroes, bitter enemies forced to cooperate grudgingly, group casts of mismatched crew, quippy banter, rivals-to-friends & ride-or-die besties. I’m also always here for that one character with an obscure or seemingly useless skill that turns out to be essential 🙂
I love a dash of romantic tension (especially if it’s a queer romance) but I’m also interested in stories that explore non-romantic relationships like sibling bonds, strong friendships & found families.
MORE ELEMENTS I LOVE:
Androids, artificial intelligences (good, evil or undecided), immortality, ‘god in the machine’ themes, treasure quests, space archaeology, mythological or historical references, tech/magic mashups, post-Earth human civilization, uploaded minds, wormhole travel, time shenanigans of any kind, memory-hacking, reality-bending, simulation theory, theological & existential pondering. And yes, I like books with aliens (there are some in my book!) although I can be a bit picky about them.
Debating whether to send me your submission or not?
DO IT! If you don’t see your book described exactly here, but you feel I’d be a great mentor for you, give me a shot anyway. If you have a character-driven story with any of these elements, I’d love to see it. I never know for sure which books I’m going to fall for 🙂
DO NOT SEND ME:
Please do not send me stories containing sexual assault, graphic violence, or very descriptive gore.
Books (just a few):
The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet (Becky Chambers), A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (Alex White), Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel), Pushing Ice (Alastair Reynolds), In The Vanishers’ Palace (Aliette de Bodard), A Memory Called Empire (Arkady Martine), The City Stained Red (Sam Sykes), Famous Men Who Never Lived (K. Chess)
Movies & TV:
Lost, Twelve Monkeys, Donnie Darko, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pacific Rim, Star Trek: TNG, Russian Doll, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, Rogue One, Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, The Good Place, The Fifth Element
Star Trek captain:
The Voynich Manuscript