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Vanessa Curtis Interview

Posted on 09 November 2013. © Copyright 2004-2018 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WW member NessieC aka novelist Vaness Curtis talks to WriteWords about her new creative venture, the Curtis Children's Literary Consultancy

Tell us about the Curtis Children's Literary Consultancy

The Curtis Children's Literary Consultancy has grown out of the freelance tutoring/mentoring work that I have been doing for a few years, firstly for Cornerstones and then for myself. I try to build up good, honest working relationships with my clients and am genuinely excited when I can see that my tuition is benefiting an author and helping to improve their book. My key aim is to help get a book the very best it can be before submission and I draw upon my own experience as a children's author and also my previous experience as an editor of not only my own novels and journalism, but various literary magazines. I decided to specialise in children's and young adult fiction because it's what I do and what I'm passionate about, although I also offer the same service to writers of adult fiction and non-fiction and I've previous published two books of adult non-fiction. When I was learning my trade I studied a lot of books about how to craft a novel and the sort of guidance I found in the books forms the basis of the sort of advice that I now offer to my clients, although on a one-to-one basis it is obviously in far more depth. I also find that advising clients about, say, characterisation not being one-dimensional or how to avoid over-writing, has a positive impact on my own works in progress.

What excites you about a piece of writing-

I get excited by a piece of fiction when I immediately get a strong hint of that elusive 'voice' which carries a narrative through and provides the reader with a strong sense of the novel's protagonist. I also love quirky, contemporary fiction for young adults and the ability that some authors have to inject humour without it being overpowering. I love reading about characters who have an element of the unexpected about them and always recommend that when drawing characters, a writer gives them some hobby or attribute or mannerism that will make the reader sit up and take notice.

and what makes your heart sink?

My hearts sinks a little when I have to deal with a novel which is 'over-written' - too many adverbs, too much descriptive prose, long paragraphs of back-story and dialogue which is stilted and unrealistic. All these things can be improved with guidance.

Do you help writers with their submission package?

As part of my service I offer advice on how to put together a great selling package. The best ones are succint, positive and adhere precisely to what the relevant agency/publisher has requested that they be sent.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

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