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WORKSHOPS ARE FOR JERKS.
WHAT YOU NEED IS AN EDITOR.
Writing fiction is not a game – though it involves play.
It is not a sport, nor a competition – though some people may optimistically see it as a way to win prizes.
It is not an academic discipline – or certainly shouldn’t be.
Fiction is art!
Do you really want to join any group that would have you?
The university ‘workshop’ and many a local homespun writing group are now accepted as the norm for people interested in writing. But working in groups has little to do with the private nature of reading and writing! Groups are not only distracting and unpredictable, they can be destructive.
At best, the writing workshop is a hit-or-miss approach to helping people with their fiction. At worst, it’s a gladiatorial sport.
Why gamble with your psyche and your work?
There are better ways to talk about art.
You don’t have to belong to any group. You don’t need a degree in ‘creative writing’. You don’t need random writing tips handed down from on high by overworked and under-published has-beens, neverwuzzers and wannabes who don’t even bother to read your work.
Universities destroy writers.
Universities are not good places for writers or artists, either as teachers or students. As Fiction Atelier’s Lucy Ellmann said in an interview in the Guardian in 2014:
“The purpose of corporations – which is what universities now are – is to scupper originality and dissent. Universities have gone from being culture-preserving institutions to being culture-destroying institutions. And people queue up to pay these culture-destroying institutions £9000 a year to ensure that any idea of literature is destroyed before it can enter their heads.” (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/04/creative-writing-courses-waste-of-time-hanif-kureishi)
Writing courses in universities are founded on the elimination of writing, not on its nurture. Universities lure unsuspecting writers into their midst in order to squash them. This leaves students in the hands of intimidated, demoralised depressives who’ve been neutralised as writers.
There’s got to be a better way.
We – Todd McEwen and Lucy Ellmann – have taught literature and writing at university level in Britain and America, but now see the Fiction Atelier editing service as the ONLY valid way of helping fellow writers.
Here we simply edit your fiction, one-to-one, by email, phone, and in person. We offer you a sincere response to your work, from a writer’s point of view. This method is based on our own artistic practice, many years of working as editors, and our experience of being editing ourselves. You do NOT need to be tortured by the university system nor by iffy, dull writing clubs!
Give us a try instead.
We want to help writers be the best they can be.
Individual editorial help is what every good writer needs. This type of interchange is the most valuable, sensitive and flexible critical method there is.
Why not go direct to an expert who cares about literature and its continuance? We are both internationally acclaimed novelists with years of experience in helping people write well.
An unedited book will remain unedited to the end of time.
Many publishers and agents are neither willing nor able to edit work thoroughly anymore. The book market is in disarray, and most publishers have no time for first drafts. They expect to see a fully finished product. So it’s up to you to get your work edited ahead of time.
That’s what we’re here for. We can help you with a first draft or the final edit – or both!
We only take on people we feel we can help.
We work individually with serious, aspiring writers of literary fiction, and offer a wholly confidential service. We carefully assess what you’re trying to achieve, and then start the delicate process of getting you to improve your work by looking at things afresh. This is an essential stage of the writing process.
We want to be of help to you in making your book the best it can be. We will challenge you to write BETTER. Our intention is to enrich writers’ understanding of their own fiction, and of literature in general.
The ‘atelier’ model.
Unlike the sterile world of academic Creative Writing courses, where ruined writers stand before you pickled in formaldehyde, the Atelier provides a mutually nurturing environment for both editor and client. We fit editing work in around our own writing, but are usually able to respond to clients swiftly.
And, free of constraints and university irrelevancies that sap teachers of so-called creative writing in universities, we are able to maintain contact with publishers, literary editors on newspaper books pages, fellow writers, and what’s left of the literary scene.
Most importantly, you get to work with active writers who have daily experience of the upsets, interruptions, and satisfactions of producing work.
The first consultation is FREE.
We want to see if we can help you. So we’d like to read a sample of your work for free and make detailed comments on it, as a sort of taster for you of the way we edit, and our particular take on the work you send us. This should give you a pretty good idea of what it would be like to work with us, if you choose to do so.
What we can do for you.
We want to work with you and for you. If you decide to proceed, we’ll discuss with you what kind of editing or other help you require. This could be:
A full line-edit with detailed comments
A read-through with comments
More general feedback on a planned project
A one-off consultation
A schedule and writing plan with agreed deadlines (a nudging service)
Discussion of literature and the publishing scene
Due to recent shifts in exchange rates, our fee is now £65/$80 per hour, paid in advance. This may fluctuate – we would let you know in advance of any change.
No charges will be incurred until we have agreed with you what sort of help you want and need, and what the charges will be. If we don’t feel we can be of help to you, we will let you know before any cost is incurred. And if we have over-estimated the time required, we will reimburse you.
You might be surprised by how much can be accomplished in, say, two hours of editorial time focused solely on your work.
Most of our editorial feedback is conducted by email, letter or phone, with people writing in English anywhere in the world – but we like to meet up with clients in person too, when feasible. There may be extra charges for lengthy email exchanges, long phone calls, and for printing out manuscripts and mailing them. If so, we will notify you in advance.
Get real – get edited!
If you have some work you’d like to show us for a free try-out of our editorial feedback, just send us a sample (up to twenty pages: approximately 5,000 words). It’s a help if you can send a short cover letter too (of up to 200 words) describing your fiction project, and a synopsis if you have one. Please email your sample to:
PS We are specialists in literary fiction and certain forms of creative nonfiction, such as memoir. We can’t usually be of much help with genre fiction such as thrillers, Sci Fi or fantasy, due to inexperience, not disdain. (Or not just disdain anyway.) Our apologies.
WRITER’S RETREATS IN EDINBURGH
Editing is really a form of companionship. We offer structured writer’s retreats in central Edinburgh, offering peace and solitude in a very pleasant, quiet B & B.
This could be a chance to meet and talk to us about your ongoing project in a relaxed way. Or you may want to use it exclusively as time and space to work on your own. We can tailor our editorial input to your particular needs.
The cost could be just the cost of accommodation, or that plus some editorial meetings. For this we charge at the usual rate.
This opportunity might best suit a writer who wants peace in which to finish a project, or a chance to talk over a substantial piece of work in depth, in person.
Contact email@example.com for more information.