Mary Elizabeth Summer contributes to the delinquency of minors by writing books about unruly teenagers with criminal leanings. She has a BA in creative writing from Wells College, and her philosophy on life is “you can never go wrong with sriracha sauce.” She lives in Portland Oregon with her wife, their daughter, their scaredy-dog lab/pitbull mix, and their evil overlor—er, cat.
I majored in creative writing and have been wearing various styles of writing hats in my day-jobs ever since. I love working with my critique partners to find the right balance of plot, character, and theme. And I’m constantly reading writing-craft books and blogs, so I can constantly improve my game. I love lifting the hood of a story and tinkering with the mechanics until it’s humming smoothly. I’ve also been through the debut-author wringer (and relatively recently), so I know the lovely back-end of the publishing world.
Ultimately, I’m a big softie. Make me genuinely feel for your characters, and I’ll be a fan for life.
Not a good fit for: patently unlikable protagonists (though a little tarnish is preferable to selfless innocent lambs), stories with animal or small-child death or abuse
I like to read a whole book at once rather than in chunks. I usually provide developmental edits and/or line edits, but not so much copyedits/proofreading. I’ll tell you if I catch grammatical errors, consistency errors, or typos, but I don’t look for those things specifically. I do feel strongly about including the serial/Oxford comma, though, so fair warning on that. I give honest feedback, but I’m adept at softening the blow, and I’m a big believer in the compliment-sandwich approach. I will always tell you what’s working well just as much as what isn’t. And I always provide suggestions for changes (which you can use or not as you like).
For me, an ideal mentee is someone who genuinely wants to explore craft and dig deep to find the right storytelling structure and best balance of flawed vs. sympathetic characterization while deftly weaving in hard-hitting and timely themes. In other words, someone who likes to geek out over story mechanics. Pretty words are nice, but punching in the feels is my jam. This probably goes without saying, but anyone who gets mentoring from me should be able to receive constructive criticism gracefully.
Firefly, LOST, Veronica Mars, White Collar, Lucifer, How to Get Away with Murder, Madam Secretary, West Wing, Star Trek (all), Star Wars (original 3), Harry Potter (all), Castle, Orphan Black, X-Files, Bird Cage, Burn Notice, Jericho, Queen of the South, Teen Wolf, Run to You, Secret Side of Empty