Final Deadline for Spring Cohort: June 27, 2024 Apply Now

Francesca Lia Block

Francesca Lia Block

Join Francesca’s Cohort

Francesca Lia Block, M.F.A., is the best-selling and widely-translated author of more than twenty-five books of fiction, non-fiction, short stories and poetry, and has written screenplay adaptations of her work. She received the Spectrum Award, the Phoenix Award, the ALA Rainbow Award and the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as other citations from the American Library Association and from the New York Times Book ReviewSchool Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly.

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What excites you about writing? How has it affected your life?

To me, writing and reading are ways to connect to ourselves and to each other. I believe story-telling is cathartic and healing for both writers and readers, that it can teach empathy, and that, ultimately, it has helped us, and will continue to help us, survive as a species.

What mindset does a writer need to continue to grow and learn? 

I think that this is an ongoing process that involves diligent and dedicated reading, writing, and living. Growth as a writer involves both the solitude of study and creation, as well as connection through a supportive community. It involves a level of openness to inspiration and feedback and also the development of wisdom to know when something does or doesn’t serve us at the time.

What makes a good writing mentor?

For me a good mentor is kind, attentive, compassionate, intuitive, supportive, thorough, direct, flexible, and appropriately challenging, with a strong understanding of craft and an even deeper understanding of human nature.

What is your style of feedback?

I hope I provide the type of mentorship mentioned above. We will start by getting to know each other through a detailed discussion and questions about your work. Then we will create a contract that outlines your objectives and gives you a clear path toward meeting them. I read pages carefully with detailed Track Changes line notes, including questions and comments about where the work moved me in various ways, as well as suggestions for punctuation, grammar, diction, syntax etc. I also provide global notes and I’m open to meeting on Zoom to discuss them; sometimes this can be even more effective. In addition to exploring character, setting, voice and theme, I’m passionate about structure and will help you consider the larger shape of the work. Reading is so important so I will try to help you create reading lists that are relevant, inspiring and instructive. I like to call my teaching style “Attachment Based,” meaning that I get to know you and your work in a deep way and support you in meeting your individual goals.

Join Francesca’s Cohort