Mentoring

 

In 2014, I took on a writing project for which my skills were at novice level, and having started under Paul’s guidance, I will get professionally published for the first time this year. His knowledge of prose style and story structure was crucial to getting me to where I wanted.
Whatever your writing ambitions are, you will be in excellent hands.
– Kevin McGeary, Shenzhen, China

I have been a writer and editor for two decades. As well as writing my seven published books, I have edited numerous publications, from The Ecologist magazine to the Dark Mountain journals, via Greenpeace Business and OpenDemocracy. I have worked with hundreds of writers, of fiction, journalism, poetry and other forms, working to sharpen, improve and ultimately publish their work.

For the last four years, I have been offering my skills to writers via my own mentoring and manuscript assessment scheme. I have worked with novelists, short story writers, poets and writers of memoirs from Britain, Canada, India, China, the US and Europe.

I offer a literary boot camp for writers of any level of experience. I will work with you to help sharpen, tighten, improve and gain new perspectives on your work. We will look at plot, characters, structure, length, style and approach. We will help to get your work where you want it to be.

Writing can be a hard and lonely journey. I act as a Sherpa along at least some of the path.

I offer two services for writers: manuscript assessment and mentoring.

Manuscript assessment is a one-off service, in which you send me a piece of work, and I send you feedback on it, in the form of a written report and detailed comments on your manuscript. There are three different options here, depending on the length of work you want feedback on. Details, and fees, are below.

Mentoring is a longer process. I offer both three- and six-month options. Both are aimed at offering ongoing commentary on an ongoing piece of work. Every month, you send me up to 10,000 words of a work-in-progress, for which you will receive detailed written feedback aimed at improving the writing as we go along. You’ll also get two phone or Skype calls of up to 30 minutes each, at the beginning and the end of the process, and we stay in touch by email throughout.

In both cases, I will deliver detailed responses to your work within a specified timeframe, which we will agree on when the process begins. My comments will be in two formats – a written report on your work, which will cover the generalities of style, plot, structure, characterisation and the like; and specific, more detailed comments on the manuscript itself, where appropriate.

Areas I focus on may include:

  • Strategy: what are you writing, why are you doing it, what do you want to achieve?
  • Plot, narrative and structure: how have you built the architecture of your work?
  • Character development: are you inhabiting the people you write about (real or imagined)?
  • Originality: are you avoiding cliches, both in what you say and how you say it?
  • Description: how are you using words to present the world?
  • Getting the tone right: who are you speaking to, and what do you want them to hear?

It’s worth pointing out also what I don’t offer. I’m not a copyeditor or a proofreader, so I’m not going to correct your grammar or spelling for you – though I might comment on it if it needs mentioning. I can’t, either, tell you how you can get published or find you an agent, though I am happy to offer advice or thoughts based on my own experience. My work with you, though, will be editorial – helping you to get the best out of your writing, and helping you to realise your vision.

My services are open to both fiction and non-fiction writers; and, indeed, everyone in-between.

The fees for each service are below. Payment is upfront, via Paypal or bank transfer.

If you’d like to book a slot, or find out more, please send me an email by clicking here. 

Manuscript assessment – up to 10,000 words:                                   €170  (£150)
Manuscript assessment – up to 30,000 words:                                   €400  (£350)
Manuscript assessment – up to 60,000 words:                                   €570  (£500)*

Personal mentoring – 3 month programme (30,000 words):          €1140  (£1000)
Personal mentoring – 6 month programme (60,000 words):          €1700  (£1500)

*If you have a longer manuscript you’d like assessed, please email me about it.