TLC December Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

It's our delight to welcome you to the final TLC newsletter of 2020, at the end of what has been a long and challenging year.

We hope that your preparations for the festive season are coming along nicely - we've been busy preparing lots of new offers and opportunities, and we're so excited to share them with you in this newsletter, and beyond into the New Year. 2021 is an important year for us - we are turning 25! Do look out for lots of birthday-related things in the coming months... 

Our biggest announcement is that we've taken our popular Writers' Day format online, with our Online Writers' Day - and tickets are available to purchase now. The day will feature inspiring online talks and workshops, access to a bonus video library with insights from key publishing figures and readings from rising stars, and entry to the TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition with a prize bundle worth £2,000. We're really delighted to share the full programme with you, and we'd encourage you to pick up a ticket before all the places get filled!

If you're looking to gift a well-deserved Christmas treat to the writer in your life, why not purchase a TLC Christmas voucher? They're available until 14th December, and you can use them on a range of TLC services. Vouchers come with a special 10% discount. 

Alternatively, if you're looking to kick off 2021 with something special for yourself, we have just three places left for our Inside Stories Masterclass with the brilliant Shelley Weiner. 

We're also delighted to feature a good friend of TLC, Maggie Barrett, and an extract of her fourth novel, Felicity, in our last Showcase of 2020. Read more about Maggie's work, and find a link to the book below. Our final TLC Blog of the year is on a subject we care a huge amount about here at TLC - writing craft, and playing with genre conventions. This month's blog is a fantastic piece from long-time TLC Reader and friend, Daniel Jeffreys.

A final word about our Festive opening times. The TLC office will be closed from Friday 18th December until Monday 4th January 2021. So please be aware that any enquiries that come through during that time will not be responded to until the New Year.

We hope you have a restful festive season, and as always, happy writing, and reading. 


Online Writers' Day: Tickets Available Now!

Our popular Writers’ Day returns and for the first time, we are going digital! Join us on 13th March 2021 for a full day of inspiring online talks and workshops to help you write, submit, and publish your work.

Hear from leading experts, and take part in creative challenges alongside fellow writers in a supportive environment. You will also get access to a free video library with insights from key publishing figures and readings from rising stars, as well as entry to the star-studded TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition. Alumni of the competition include award-winning authors and debuts that have sold at auction. All Writers’ Day talks and videos will be captioned.

Tickets are available to book via the Free Word Box Office for just £50+VAT.

Bursary tickets for low-income writers will be made available in the New Year.

Click here to read the full programme.


TLC Christmas Vouchers

TLC Christmas gift vouchers are now available, redeemable against manuscript assessment and mentoring (fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry and scripts) and our Submission Package ReportA unique and inspiring gift for the serious writer in your life, offering them professional feedback on their creative project by a highly experienced editor. Buy a voucher for £50, £100, £200, or any custom amount.

Some ideas:

For the Short Story Writer: Gift a critical assessment of a short story by a short fiction specialist (up to 2,000 words, £100 inc. VAT)
For the Budding Writer: Gift a critical
 assessment of the first 15,000 words of their novel-in-progress (£225 inc. VAT)
For the Intermediate Writer: Gift a full manuscript assessment (from £450 inc. VAT)
For the Writer who's about to Submit to Agents: Gift a
Submission Package Report (£280 inc. VAT)
For the Writer with a Project: Help them realise their dream by gifting, or putting money towards, a unique TLC
 mentorship to help get their book to completion working one-to-one with a professional editor, plus the chance to meet agents and publishers (£2,200 + VAT, 12-18 month programme).

TLC Christmas Gift Vouchers are at 10% discount on all services (e.g., if you purchase a £225 voucher, you pay £202.50). 

Vouchers will be available until Monday December 14th 2020 to ensure a Christmas delivery, by contacting us directly. More here.

TLC Fiction Masterclass

Inside Stories Masterclass: The Method Approach to Writing Fiction
Saturday 16th January 2021 10am-4pm Online 

Our popular TLC Masterclass series has returned once again and we're very excited to be working with trusted TLC assessor, novelist and writers’ mentor
 Shelley Weiner. In this online writing masterclass, tutor Shelley Weiner harnesses three decades of teaching experience to help you Find, Shape, and Write a story in a single day. It’s a day that will turn ‘make believe’ into the making of fiction in a creative, enjoyable way. This masterclass is ideally suited to those who are already writing and need help boosting their creativity.

There are just three tickets left for this Masterclass, so book now to avoid disappointment!


TLC Showcase: Maggie Barrett

“Felicity is the story of a seventy year-old, sober, feisty and furious woman who is on a mission to discover where her anger comes from and how to dissipate it while she still has time. Over a period of eighteen months we journey with Felicity as she revisits her past while struggling in present time with the rejection of her latest novel. The arrival of the #MeToo movement surprises her with the revelation that not only is her anger older than her, but that the personal and the political are always entwined.”

This month we're very pleased to feature a long-time friend of TLC, Maggie Barrett, as our final Showcase writer of the year. Maggie came to TLC with a draft of what would be her fourth novel, Felicity, last year. After feedback from Rose Gaete, she set about publishing the work herself, and has produced something truly wonderful. The book is available to buy now, and we'd recommend picking up a copy!

You can read the full extract, and more about Maggie's writing, in the November Showcase.

TLC Blog: Necessary complications and genre

"Genre offers both adrenalin and ready-made scaffolding, the constraints can be both liberating and rather like the straitjacket your protagonist is struggling to escape from. For a writer with concentration issues genre can be therapeutic. However, what writers fail to stress is where the real writing takes place. The gaps and holes in your synopsis are not places of pain and despair but laybys providing plenty of authorial wiggle room where you can play about with unforeseen complications."

We end our year of blogs with something that we care a huge amount about here at TLC - writing craft, and playing with genre conventions. This month's blog is a fantastic piece from long-time TLC Reader and friend, Daniel Jeffreys. Daniel explores how important it is to complicate the expectations of your reader, and has some wonderful insights on where you can play with the gaps in your synopsis to really flex your authorial muscle.

Read Daniel's blog here.

Do you have something on your mind, about books, literature and the value of literature, or publishing, that you'd like to blog about for us? We are actively seeking pitches to:

Writing Inspiration

Are you on Twitter? If so, make sure you're following our page @TLCUK for all the latest news, tips and inspiration, including our #TLCTips series of writing tips.

Remember to also follow us on Instagram.

Other things from around the web to inspire you this month...

* We received lots of questions for our #ToughLovingCare partnership with Free Word, and you can read all the blog responses from TLC Director Aki Schilz on the Free Word website now. Look out for a video from TLC Reader Angela Clarke soon, responding to other questions...
* The 2021 New Welsh Writing Awards: Rheidol Prize for Prose with a Welsh Theme or Setting is now open for entries until 16 March 2021.
* Our friends at the Women's Prize for Fiction have launched Discoveries, a brand new writers’ development programme for aspiring female authors.
* New Writing North's Northern Writers’ Awards are now open for entry until Thursday 18 February 2021.
* BBC Writersroom's annual window for unsolicited scripts (TV, film, radio, stage or online) will open between 11am on Monday 7th December 2020 and 5pm on Wednesday 6th January 2021.

* As always, our handy TLC Press Craft and Creativity Mini Guides are on sale and cover such craft elements as 'Dialogue', 'Plot' and 'Voice'. Pick them up for just £1 each (or the full bundle for £8) here.
Thank you for reading this newsletter. For further information on TLC's core services including manuscript assessment, mentoring, and other editing services including copy-editing and proofreading, do visit our website. All general enquiries and manuscript submissions should be sent to Editorial Services Assistant Nelima Begum at

We also have Facebook and Twitter pages where we share information and insights, articles on writing, editing and the publishing industry, as well as tips and recommendations. 
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 TLC Literary Adventures 2021 - Casa Ana, Spain
Spring Retreat
March 20th-26th 2021 Tutor: Paul McVeigh Only 1 Room Left!

Autumn Retreat

September 4th-10th 2021 Tutor: TBC

"My TLC reader read my novel and her feedback was excellent. She helped me see what didn't quite work with the pacing and storyline, and she helped me see that I was writing a thriller; I'd been unsure of the genre up to that point. She was also very encouraging, which is exactly what I needed. After working on my manuscript, TLC put me in touch with Sapere Books, who are publishing Running in Circles. I'm so grateful to everyone at TLC; I feel like they offer something very special, and they have kickstarted my career."

Claire Gray, Running in Circles.
Quick-Fire Chakras
by Julia Forster

Spark your inner energy centres and further connect with the artistic impulse which has led to you becoming a writer with these seven meditations for the seven chakras.

I feel the scheme has set me up for a writing life. In this sense, it really has been priceless.

Rachel Connor, Sisterwives (Crocus Books)

[Chapter and Verse's] combination of personal attention and truthful critical advice is ideal for anyone who is serious about their writing.

Joanna Briscoe, Sleep With Me (Bloomsbury)

In a nutshell, I now have a novel on its way to completion with the possibility of being read by someone. 

Jennifer Makumbi, Kintu (Oneworld)

It's been the best investment I have ever spent.

Liz Harris, author  

Find out more here
"Having my manuscript assessed by TLC was the best investment I've made in years." 

Kerry Young, Pao.

Published by Bloomsbury

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Book Prize
Three Poems
by Alex Vellis

Alex Vellis reads poems by Anthony Anaxagorou, John McCullough, and Joelle Taylor.

"The team at TLC were very helpful. I got a detailed report back on the manuscript which encouraged me to look at it through the editor's eyes. I used it to edit and hone the story. The novel read so much better afterwards. My experience with TLC was wonderful and I'm so glad I chose them."

Faiqa Mansab, This House of Clay and Water
"Since the day I mailed my manuscript to TLC, they would not stop until I was accepted by a top literary agent. The result: my novel, The Black Coat, being published by Penguin Books in India in 2013 and Periscope in the UK in 2015. Thank you to my TLC reader Kavita Bhanot, for her insightful report, and to Rebecca Swift for her personal encouragement. TLC has been with me at every step since 2011.

Neamat Imam, The Black Coat (Penguin India/ Periscope UK)
The Retype Draft
by Andrew Wille

Find a new perspective on your writing project with this surprising trick from writing tutor Andrew Wille.

Inside Stories: The Method Approach to Writing Fiction

January 16th 2021

Write a brand new story in a day in this online fiction writing Masterclass with Shelley Weiner. Challenge your creativity, find new inspiration, and let your ideas fly. 

Why not sign up for Being A Writer, our programme of online courses, podcasts and other resources designed with creativity and resilience in mind? You can sign up now by clicking the Being A Writer button.
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