Award-winning sf writer and teacher Nalo Hopkinson has an interesting new authorial business-model: she's offering $2,000 intensive, one-on-one mentorships to budding writers, via email. She's got some health problems so she's only taking on a few students, and will work personally with them to improve their work and their skills.
It's basically an audience-funded writer-in-residency; I benefited immensely from writers in residence, especially Judith Merril. This model looks good, but it'd be even better if some charitable foundation would give Nalo and a few other writers rotating grants to do this. I'd certainly kick in $500 towards a scholarship fund for a budding writer to get the kind of instruction I got, as part of paying it forward.
Nalo is a wonderful writer: accomplished, smart, wildly imaginative. This is a hell of an opportunity.
Your joy in the art of creating fiction is important to me. I cannot predict whether you will be a successful writer. I can't even reliably tell you whether you have talent or not; those are puddings that are very hard to prove. But I love it when a light goes on behind a student's eyes because they've perceived something new about the craft of writing that they can't wait to try out. My goals are: to help you write the story you want to write, not the one I would write; to help you develop an intuitive, body-based sense of the rhythm, structure and movement of a story. (I've discovered that when it comes to art, content and container are the same thing.) At the same time, I'm committed to challenging your skills and your understanding of what fiction does and how it works. I won't dish out empty flattery. I will be honest with you about what I perceive the strengths and weaknesses of your writing to be, and I aim to do so as one peer addressing another.