Instagram: Bethany Hensel
2020 Annual Contest Editor ✓
Mini-Event Editor ✓
BETHANY HENSEL is a writer, editor and teacher. With over ten years of experience, whose clients include both indie and trad published bestselling authors, she truly believes that no manuscript ever gets better unless it gets challenged, and she loves nothing more than asking big questions and digging deeper. She knows what it’s like to feel as if you’re wasting time and not getting anywhere. You just want answers! After thousands of pages read and edited, and with an eye toward big picture issues such as character motivation, world building, magic/eco/political systems, plot, pacing, structure and voice, she is ready and waiting to help you find those answers.
Bethany is especially committed to helping build up the vital voices of our most marginalized creators. She is a strong advocate for the #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices movements. What we read is powerful. Stories shape the world, and she wants to ensure our stories are representative and true of the incredible diversity that exists all around us.
Real. Whether it features unicorns and vampires, or a small-town girl and the boy next door, I need the story to be real. Caricatures, cardboard cutouts, stereotypes and manufactured drama need not apply. I want plots that feel so organic that they don’t need to be loud or crazy, just surprising yet inevitable. However, I am all the way down for a story that is full of thrills and twists and incredible, inventive magic.
Mostly, I want to work with stories that feature characters that haven’t existed before but need to. The kind of characters that – whether dipped in stardust, ten-thousand years old, falling in love for the first time, or trying desperately to save (or end) the world - can only exist by cutting your heart open and laying it bare.
- YA – contemporary, fantasy. Some favs: Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Tomi Adeyemi, Ellen Oh, Adalyn Grace,
- Adult – contemporary romance, fantasy, urban fantasy. Some favs: Tiffany Reisz, Lisa Kleypas, Helen Hoang, Victoria Schwab/V.E. Schwab, Jeaniene Frost
- I will not be accepting: historical, sci-fi, epic fantasy, non-fiction, excessive gore, animal deaths, gratuitous violence
- I will not consider anything over 100k words
How can a manuscript’s first five pages make you sit up and take notice?
Voice. Cadence. Confidence. Clarity. Don’t forget those grounding details. Also, character! Give me a lead who raises the hairs on my arms as well as the rate of my heart and I’m pretty much yours forever.
What can writers expect from working with you during #RevPit, including communication?
I am BIG on communication. If something doesn’t make sense, call me. Text. Whatever you prefer. In terms of the actual work…expect it. We have a short amount of time to get your manuscript shining, and I’m going to challenge all levels of your story.
So we’ll start with a call, and then you’ll get an in-depth edit letter going over the big stuff. Open communication the whole way through to brainstorm, talk, etc. I really want to do at least two rounds of edits on your book, so we’ll be running right out of the gate.
What do you expect from writers during the #RevPit revision process, including communication?
Trust and (prompt) communication. I want you to be happy you’re in this contest, not for bragging rights but because you know your story needs work and you want to do hard work. I want you to be excited you got a big ol’ edit letter, not because you want the adulation or compliments, but because you’re ready to be challenged.
I am not for everybody, so I do expect the person I work with to already have a healthy relationship with the delete key. I’m bringing a critical eye and lots of cheerleading. Having said that, never in a million years do I expect you to take every editorial suggestion I make. Ultimately, this is your story and I am only here to assist in making it the best it can be. If your vision is to write the YA version of Speed, we’re going to make it the best YA version of Speed ever, not turn it into The Lake House.
What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?
I run an Etsy store full of merch that celebrates what means the most to me, such as adoption, animal rights and living the kind life. I love movies. Playing sports more than watching them. I adore anything to do with River Phoenix, such as planning a heist to get back his My Own Private Idaho jacket from James Franco’s house. Who’s with me?
What is your favorite book to reread, and why?
Jeaniene Frost’s Halfway to the Grave. It has a killer opening chapter, incredible INCREDIBLE chemistry between the leads, a heroine that is so kickass and stabby and vulnerable. She’s just this side of Harley Quinn, except, not, y’know, psycho. And not all wrapped up in some mans. But girl is dangerous and sarcastic and funny and I love her. I also love that there is a story outside of the central love story that drives the plot; the urban fantasy elements are fresh; the sex scenes are really well written; and the ending is one of the most cinematic I’ve ever read. It’s a master class in pacing.