Imagine if D.H.Lawrence or Annie Dillard offered a manuscript reading and critiquing service. Paul Kingsnorth does just that, and at remarkably affordable rates. In one week Paul read all 300-plus pages of my manuscript, covering many of them with constructive comments, questions and suggestions, and providing a thoughtful and helpful big-picture final report. My book is better for Paul’s critique, for which I am deeply grateful.
Eric Utne, founder editor of Utne Reader, USA
What is the story you were meant to tell? How can you tell it? Is your work fulfilling its potential? How can you bring out the best in your writing?
The Wyrd School’s manuscript assessment and mentoring service is a literary boot camp for writers of any level of experience. Over the last few years we have worked with novelists, short story writers, poets and writers of memoirs from Britain, Canada, India, China, the US and Europe, to help them sharpen and focus their work, and bring out the best in it and them.
If you are stuck, if you need an outside perspective, or if you would like to take advantage of the eyes and ears of an experienced and widely-published writer and editor, we may be able to help. We 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.
Our mentoring and assessment service is run by Paul Kingsnorth, an experienced writer and editor with two-decades of experience. Paul has published seven books – novels, non-fiction books, essay collections and poetry – and has won numerous awards for his fiction, poetry and essays. He has edited numerous publications, from The Ecologist magazine to the Dark Mountain journals, via Greenpeace Business and OpenDemocracy. Paul has worked with hundreds of writers, of fiction, journalism, poetry and other forms, working to sharpen, improve and ultimately publish their work.
Writing can be a hard and lonely journey. We act as a Sherpa along at least some of the path.
In his wild way, Paul shook up my structure for a sharper narrative. His bold, playful and intelligent feedback was always delivered in service to the story, and in context of the book’s potential; thus, it was easy to receive and digest. I found his encouragement especially valuable, being both eloquent and authentic. I am grateful for the energy it has infused into my work; and I feel empowered to move forwards with confidence and purpose.
Joanna Eden, UK
We offer two services for writers: manuscript assessment and mentoring. In both, you will work closely with Paul to take your work in the direction you want it to go.
Manuscript assessment is a one-off service, in which you send us a piece of work, and we 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. We offer both three- and six-month options. Both are aimed at offering ongoing commentary on an ongoing piece of work. Every month, you send us 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, with Paul, at the beginning and the end of the process, and you will stay in touch by email throughout.
In both cases, we will deliver detailed responses to your work within a specified timeframe, which we will agree on when the process begins. 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 we 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 we don’t offer. We do not copy-edit in detail, or proof-read. We can’t, either, tell you how you can get published or find you an agent, though we are happy to offer advice or thoughts based on our own experience. Our work with you, though, will be editorial – helping you to get the best out of your writing, and helping you to realise your vision.
Our services are open to both fiction and non-fiction writers; and, indeed, everyone in-between.
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, China
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 us an email by clicking here.
Manuscript assessment – up to 10,000 words: €200
Manuscript assessment – up to 30,000 words: €400
Manuscript assessment – up to 60,000 words: €600*
Personal mentoring – 3 month programme (30,000 words): €1150
Personal mentoring – 6 month programme (60,000 words): €1750
*If you have a longer manuscript you’d like assessed, please email us about it.