Get Your Book Done - Fast / 2

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In the last few years I’ve mentored several talented writers. Most (not all) had publishing deals already.

The work has been very hands-on.

Sometimes it’s like ghostwriting, with me actually coming up with text. More often, I’m like an editor, making comments and suggestions – at sentence level and for the book as a whole.

You might be surprised to learn that even authors with publishing contracts can be poorly supported by time-pressed editors. These authors pay me to fill the gap.

Some feedback.

Mostly, the people I work with are writing non-fiction. But every story is shaped like fiction, and you’ll write better if you remember that.

I learned it working as a journalist, working full-time at Financial Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times. I specialised in long magazine stories that used techniques from fiction – scene-setting, dialogue, cliffhangers – to keep readers reading.

I was influenced by the New Journalists, like Tom Wolfe, who also wrote novels.

Since leaving full-time journalism, I’ve published seven books of my own (in 16 languages): non-fiction, fiction, poetry, illustration, memoir and how-to.

Some were commissioned, others written on spec. So I know what it’s like to write with support, and without.

It’s easier WITH

If you’ve read this far (and I see that you have!) you might like to know how I work with authors.

Well, there are several different ways – because authors have different budgets.

I’ve already mentioned the hands-on, one-to-one work.

For writers who work this way with me, I offer 2 × 60min Zoom sessions each month, to discuss work in progress. I’ll read as much as 5,000 words beforehand, make suggestions on paper, and send it back.

Me, Zooming with an author.

We record the Zoom sessions and I give writers full access to the transcript and an AI tool I use myself to “interrogate” the transcript for additional ideas. Some have told me they listen again and again to the recordings, at faster than normal speeds, while driving or cooking or whatever.

As well as one-to-one work, I frequently teach residential courses. I’ve been doing that for several years with Arvon, the foundation set up by Ted Hughes.

I run my own courses too.

Introducing. . .

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