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Writing True Crime One-on-One Mentorship (6 or 12 Weeks), Apply Now!
Writing True Crime One-on-One Mentorship (6 or 12 Weeks), Apply Now!
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Writing True Crime One-on-One Mentorship (6 or 12 Weeks), Apply Now!

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**Applications are Required**

Click HERE to Apply for a 6 or 12 Week One-on-One Mentorship. Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis.

IMPORTANT: Please do not pay for the mentorship until you receive an acceptance notification via email.

Any questions about this mentorship? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Taught by Lisa Levy, a contributing editor to Literary Hub and a founding editor of Crime Reads. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the New Republic, the CBC, the Millions, and the Believer, among others. She won a Notable in Best American Essays 2021 for her essay “We Are All Modern” which is part of a book project on modernism and biography.

This is the only mentorship devoted to true crime writers and their particular needs. Part of the mentorship will be a study in true crime: together, we will read some of the true crime masters and look at how and why their writing works. This will help you also write to your highest potential.

The ideal applicant for this 6 or 12 Week one-on-one program may be at any stage of their true crime project, but should have a topic and some writing completed. The applicant will come to this mentorship program eager to expand and revise their project. We will discuss the work—your work-- from word choice to your choice of form. Along the way we will tackle voice, theme, story arc, and the balance of experience, reporting, research, and exposition in your piece and as it applies to true crime. Applicants should either have one long piece (3K words plus) or multiple shorter ones we can work with. Drafts are fine, as long as the applicant is committed to the process of expansion and revision..

Lisa has a flexible approach to mentoring and designs the mentorship with your input so goals and deadlines are mutually understood . Each student will have their own program, with readings, writing deadlines, and critique at the line and developmental levels. Lisa will give you actionable feedback and advice, as well as pushing you to think about your overall goal as a writer.

You will be expected to submit new pages every two weeks (the number of pages will depend on the individual mentee’s goals) and to revise your work as the mentorship progresses. At the end of the program, you will have polished work ready to submit and new pages to revise, as well as a plan for your writing life (and life of crime).

You will also finish with writing tips, techniques true crime writers use to great effect, ideas about structure and form, and how to deal with rejection and other realities of publishing. You will also be free to ask about other aspects of developing a writing practice and how to achieve your long-term goals. When we begin, we’ll discuss what you want to accomplish during the mentorship and beyond, so we are working on what you feel you need most.

Overall, Lisa will help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and to devise ways for you to improve and grow. At the end of the mentorship, you will have a new vision of how to polish and proceed with your writing.

The pattern for the mentorship is that you hand in work, I send back edits, and then we meet to discuss the work or anything else you have questions about. I’ve found every other week works well, but there is some flexibility.

Mentor’s Input:

  • Three biweekly one-on-one hourlong meetings on Zoom or phone for the 6-week mentorship.
  • Six biweekly one-on-one hourlong meetings for the 12-week program.
  • Inline comments and critiques on submitted work
  • Devise reading lists tailored to your needs and interests
  • Suggestions of where to submit your work, now or in the future, and materials to aid you in preparing a pitch or submission.
  • Ideas for creating a writing practice and structuring your goals as a writer.
  • Discussion of book publishing and where your work might find a home.

Mentee’s Requirements and Benefits:

  • Commitment to one-on-one mentoring
  • Regular biweekly meetings
  • Personalized advice for achieving your project goals
  • Critique of your pages, including line notes and specific feedback for improvement and revisions
  • Personalized readings and assignments based on your interests
  • How to conduct interviews, do research, and balance your reporting and research with your narrative while balancing multiple points-of-view.

Mentee's Responsibilities:

  • Participate in one-on-one meetings (roughly biweekly) so for a 6-week mentorship expect 3 or 4 meetings and for a 12 week expect 6 or 7.
  • Honor all deadlines and responsibilities
  • Send pages to mentor based on individual project goals negotiated with mentor at the beginning of the program.
  • Stick to a schedule devised by the mentor and mentee at the beginning of working together.
  • Read articles or books the mentor assigns to stimulate ideas in specific areas.


"Lisa’s mentorship has transformed the way I approach every aspect of the writing process – from conceptualizing essays and strengthening syntax to writing compelling pitches and optimizing my public profile. Lisa’s depth of experience and insightful advice has been critical in guiding my transition from academic writing to more general interest and creative non-fiction publications." —Natasha Varmer (mentee)

"I spent several months in a writing mentorship with Lisa, and she helped me break loose from my academic writing to make my work more publishable. I am writing about the lives of criminals, and she was right there with me—understood the nuance I was trying to capture. She is thoroughly professional as well as kind, and very productive. She taught me how to get out of my rut and be more creative. Very helpful.” —Kate Allen (mentee)

"Lisa Levy enabled me to see the shape of my book and organize my material when I got bogged down. She read deeply for subtext and helped me surface the themes in my work. I had never undertaken a memoir before. With Lisa at my back, I felt less intimidated. Her keen knowledge of genre helped me understand what my narrator needed to do. All this while she kept me laughing!"  —Kathryn Trueblood, Take Daily As Needed

"I’m what I’d call a pure creative writer (fiction, memoir, personal essays), and I wanted to explore what it would take to expand my readership by writing articles for magazines. The rules are indeed different (as I learned), and Lisa, as a seasoned pro who has worked in these venues for years, gave me essential insight into how this more journalistic world works, as well as specific instructions for breaking into it and clear feedback on my attempts. After a few sessions with her I was ready to go it on my own." —Steve Adams, client

"I am in the early stages of working with Lisa, but already the change in my productivity and outlook on writing is palpable. She has provided valuable advice and recommendations and helped cultivate a mindset that has re-energized my writing practice. Not only does she offer practical help with deadlines, suggestions, and attainable goals, she also sees me as a writer, understands my unique challenges and my voice, and has shown me that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so excited for what’s to come!" —Devi Singh (client)

"Within the last year, I’ve taken two online workshop classes with Lisa Levy through Hugo House in Seattle. In “Foiling the Marriage Plot”, and “Getting to Know You”, Lisa assigned readings to inspire research about the concept of marriage, or about using an interview to profile a person or idea. She suggested ways that students could use these topics to develop personal projects. In addition to introducing challenging assignments and thoughtful discussions, I also felt that LIsa made an effort to include each student in a way that recognized our different learning styles. I would definitely take another class with Lisa, on any literary subject." —Cy Matthews Semrau (HH)

"I came into my three-month mentorship program with Lisa with very tactical expectations, and left with so much more as a writer. I had three essays I wanted to work on, and I hoped that Lisa could help me prepare them for submission. Not only did Lisa provide me with guidance and edits on those pieces, but she helped me become a better and more serious writer, in multiple ways. She helped me build a rich and regular writing practice, she guided me through the ups and downs of writing, she made excellent and inspirational book recommendations that nourish my writing life, she helped me set ambitious and attainable goals as a writer, and she exposed me to resources, templates, and strategies for the publishing side of things. I got so much out of our time together, and would highly recommend Lisa to anyone looking for guidance, excellent edits, accountability, and someone who will support you as a whole writer." -Julie L.

"The One-on-One Mentorship with Lisa Levy exceeded my expectations. Lisa's editorial suggestions are insightful and her willingness to provide counsel is what I appreciated the most." - Michael C.

"I wasn’t sure what to expect; what impressed me was Lisa’s attention to detail in responding to my writing, as well as the 'big picture' feedback. Lisa responded to my memoir with a fresh writer’s eye. She really “got” what I was trying to do and made helpful and concrete suggestions for how to deepen my writing to achieve my goal. This is a very individualized course; what you get out of it is guided by what you ask for. Lisa was very responsive and clearly took time to answer my questions, as well as offering her own very helpful take on how I can approach my project in a more effective way." -Susan B.

“Lisa Levy was one of my first freelance editors. She's sharp, savvy, and easy to work with, an editor who can help you shape your writing and guide you through the ins and outs of the publishing world.” -Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay, editor of Best American Mystery Stories

"Working with Lisa Levy is rewarding and inspiring. She keeps me focused, productive, and up-to-date on the latest publications in my areas of expertise. I recommend her without qualification as a mentor and writing coach." -Amy Stambach (author of Faith in Schools and Lessons from Mount Kilimanjaro)

“Lisa Levy is one of our foremost critics and writers about the culture. She has a nose for the latest trends and when I read her stuff I always come away impressed by her street smarts.” -Adrian McKinty, author of The Chain and the Sean Duffy series

"I really loved the course. You get out of it what you put in. My instructor, Lisa, required a lot of readings, and you obviously don't have to do them, but the whole point of doing one of these is to learn by doing the work. If you don't shortchange yourself, these can really be a great avenue to get feedback on your writing. 10/10 would do again." -Dustin H.

“I’ve worked with many editors and Lisa is up there with the best. Her feedback helped me finally see how to fix an essay I've been wrestling with for over a year. My future work will also be stronger because of how she highlighted some of my writing "bad habits," along with strengths I hadn't noticed before. Her editing style is clear, straightforward without being abrupt, and always productive. My biggest takeaway from the experience is that Lisa genuinely loves reading and working out the puzzle of making work the best it can be on its own terms.” —Sara B.

"Lisa is really very good at pop culture. And she's wonderful at pushing you in a good direction without really telling you where to go. A gentle nudge that gets you thinking, basically, and then you're off to the races. I would highly recommend this class if you have any interest at all in pop culture writing." -Rachel H.

“Nothing gets by Lisa. She is precise in her naming of voice, style, and literary device etc.; she inspires me to be just as careful/open-eyed in my close reading and critique. At the same time, she is a generous conversationalist. Lisa buoys all student-perspectives, and invites nuance in the interpretation of readings--even those she's taught for years. It is clear that Lisa lives what she teaches. A book/author recommendation to help mentor your personal writing-passions and pitfalls is always on the tip of her tongue--just ask! She is committed to helping her students pursue a sophisticated reading and writing life--one in which we observe the world critically, make original connections, and hone our distinct voice. Lisa is a swift, clever editor of works-in-progress. She helped me re-see my essay draft on both the macro level of narrative structure/organization, and on the micro-level of sentence configuration. She will help you 'Kill Your Darlings' without killing your self-esteem/ in the most freeing of ways. Lisa is a generous communicator outside class hours (book recommendations, personal writing advice, tech-support, etc).” —Martha K.

Tuition Payment:

Full Tuition for the 6-Week one-on-one program is $1200.

Full Tuition for the 12-Week one-on-one program is $2400.

Accepted writers must commit to the program and meet all assigned deadlines. You can pay the tuition in full or opt for equal monthly payments by selecting Affirm or Shop Pay at checkout. If you decide to create a monthly payment plan using Affirm, you can do so once you add "Full Tuition" to your cart, enter your contact information, and are on the payment page.

Additional Program Information:

  • Tuition is $1200 or $2400 depending on length.
  • The Mentorship is fully online and students may participate from anywhere.
  • NOTE: Shifting some dates around may be necessary but any changes will be communicated well in advance, if possible.

Please contact us if you have any questions about this program.

Instructor Lisa Levy is a critic and essayist. She has written for many publications, including the New York Times Book Review, the New Republic, the CBC, the Walrus, and the Believer. She is currently working on three books: one about feminism, rebellion, and Gone Girl. THE IMPATIENT is a study of her chronic migraines, dispelling myths about migraine, and demonstrates that the migraine brain is a neurodiverse condition that has inspired some of our most foundational and creative people: Virginia Woolf, Sigmund Freud, Joan Didion, Charles Darwin, Emily Dickinson, and many others. She is a contributing editor at Lit Hub, where she started crime coverage, and a contributing editor and columnist at Crime Reads, which she helped found. She won a Notable in Best American Essays 2021 for her essay “We Are All Modern” which is part of a book project on modernism and biography. She has an MA in English and an MFA in nonfiction writing from Goucher College.