TLC February Newsletter
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Dear Friends of TLC,

A very warm welcome to our February Newsletter.

We've got lots to share with you all this month, and we lead with a reminder that we are still selling tickets for our Creative Writing & Wellbeing Masterclass with Elise Valmorbida & Vanessa King - something to put in your diary as we start to come to the end Winter?

Looking further forward to the Summer, t
here are only 5 rooms left available for our sunny annual writing retreat, the TLC Literary Adventure, which this year will feature award-winning writer Paul McVeigh as our guest tutor. Why not book now to secure your place for some time to write in an inspiring setting.

If you're looking for some inspiration closer to home, we also have some information on the final
Fiction Masterclass in our successful series with experienced tutor Shelley Weiner. More on that below...

We have a fantastic opportunity for emerging writers from our friends at London Library, and also a very helpful 'Top 5 Dialogue Tips' from TLC Reader Mischa Hiller in this month's TLC Blog.

And finally, we are very pleased to feature a former client in our monthly Showcase, with an extract of Christopher Owen's short story collection taking centre stage.

As always, happy writing, and reading. 


TLC Masterclass: Creative Writing and Wellbeing

Creative Writing and Wellbeing with Elise Valmorbida and Vanessa King
Saturday 29th February 2020 10am-4pm

If you focus on finding balance within yourself, you will write with more purpose and power.

Join acclaimed writer Elise Valmorbida and leading positive psychologist and author Vanessa King on 29th February 2020 for a unique and intensive workshop connecting the science of wellbeing with the practice of creative writing. Already a hit with literary festivals, and featured in a one-week format for Arvon in 2019, this is the first time Elise and Vanessa bring their learning into a one-day workshop format, especially for The Literary Consultancy.

This workshop is perfect for writers interested in developing techniques for enhancing creativity and wellbeing, putting aside ideas of 'productivity' and re-configuring how we think of success, failure, and creative energy as a precious resource. Together, we will explore how to engage the senses, free the mind, connect experience with words, access deeper levels of creativity and write with powerful authenticity.

Writers working at all levels, from complete beginner to advanced, are very welcome at this workshop.


5 ROOMS REMAINING TLC Literary Adventure 2020 with Paul McVeigh

We only have 5 rooms left available for our popular Literary Adventure, running at the beautiful Casa Ana (Spain) September 5th-12th 2020. Our 2020 tutor is the award-winning novelist Paul McVeigh.

Literary Adventures take place within the mesmerising Alpujarras mountain range in Andalucia, Spain, at a private house used exclusively for the week by TLC. You will have access to world-class teaching, get a chance to work, read, listen, learn and relax in a stunning setting which will open the mind and senses. The retreat is open to writers of fiction (novels or short stories)memoir and creative non-fiction, and will include morning workshops on elements of writing as well as a session on the publishing industry, plenty of free writing time, readings with your fellow writers, and optional trips to a nearby village with local hand-made artisanal products. All breakfasts, lunches, three chef-cooked three course evening meals using the finest seasonal and local ingredients, and your accommodation are included in the ticket price, with rooms starting at just £795 for the full week.

For detailed information, including a full itinerary, pricing and booking details, please click here.

To reserve a spot now, email Aki Schilz with your room preference.

TLC Fiction Masterclasses with Shelley Weiner

Finding Your Voice: Putting Your Story On The Page, Sustaining Momentum
Saturday 26th April 2020 10am-4pm

Do you have a finished or almost finished manuscript, but no idea what should happen next? Find out how to sustain momentum in the tricky editing stage, and build the stamina to get it done

You have invented and constructed your story. Your living, breathing characters, meticulously created, are striving for their destiny in the setting you have devised. Your narrative structure feels solid and workable. And now there’s the writing: the quest to find the words, the techniques, to tell your story to best effect – to get started, to keep going, and find the stamina to finish. This workshop looks at openings and endings; it offers tips to sustain momentum, to keep you interested and committed when the fiction seems to flag. Through discussion and exercises we’ll locate the heart of this complex activity that is the creation of fiction – and look ahead at opportunities to keep going, now that you have embarked on the adventure that is the writing life. The Masterclass includes tea, coffee, and feedback on a 1,000 (maximum) word extract of your writing.


TLC Blog: Who Said What Now?

"Speech should match character. A lot of dialogue sounds like the author speaking, rather than the characters. Make sure your characters’ speech varies, both in terms of vocabulary and phrasing. Sometimes it is a matter of using expressions in a distinguishing manner."

This month, we're featuring an incredibly helpful and practical TLC Blog from TLC Reader and prize-winning author Mischa Hiller. Here he gives us his Top 5 Dialogue Tips, covering everything from adverbs to 'character-splaining', so that you can make sure that your dialogue is clean and sharp before you send it out into the world.

Read the full 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:

The London Library: Emerging Writers Programme

The London Library has announced the second year of its Emerging Writers Programme, an opportunity which offers writers one year's free membership of The London Library alongside writing development masterclasses and networking opportunities.
The Library’s Emerging Writers Programme is open to anyone who is committed to pursuing a career in writing (for publication or performance), who hasn’t yet had a full length work published.  Applicants should be working on, or planning, a specific project which will make extensive use of the Library’s resources and is intended for publication or production.
With its rich cultural heritage, extensive open access book collection, dedicated writing spaces and diverse community of established writers, the benefits of Library membership are invaluable.
The closing date for applications is midday on Wednesday 19 February 2020.
For more information about eligibility requirements, please contact
Details about the Programme and how to apply, can be found at

TLC Showcase: Christopher Owen

“In 2016 I put together a draft collection of stories which were expertly appraised and reviewed by TLC’s assessor Alan Mahar. This assessment of the collection proved to be most helpful and encouraging. It enabled me to focus on the what worked and didn’t work in my writing, to understand where my strengths lay.”

Our February Showcase features the talents of TLC Client and short story writer Christopher Owen. Christopher’s stories have been published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Store Security, which is showcased here, won 2nd prize in the Wells Festival of Literature Short Story Competition 2019.

You can read Store Security, and more about Christopher's writing, in the February Showcase.

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...

* Split Lip Magazine is currently open for submissions
* Arvon are currently accepting applications for Free Reads if you received a low-income grant or benefits-related concession to attend an Arvon course in 2019
An award for new and emerging flash fiction writers has been launched by Manchester Met University in memory of Manchester-based writer and critic Dave Murray. £1k First Prize.
* Three organisations changing the face of publishing, via Hope 100 
* 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 Masterclasses

Creative Writing and Wellbeing with Elise Valmorbida and Vanessa King
Perfect for:
Writers interested in developing techniques for enhancing creativity and wellbeing
Saturday 29th February 2020 10am-4pm


Finding Your Voice: Putting Your Story On The Page, Sustaining Momentum with Shelley Weiner
Perfect for:
 Writers who are nearing completion of or have completed a first draft of a creative writing project.
Saturday 25th April 2020 10am-4pm


"The manuscript assessment through TLC was the best investment I could have made, and was worth every penny. My reader gave such an insightful report. Her comments made me look at my own work in a different, more objective way, and I've been able to use a lot of that advice to improve other work since. I genuinely believe the help from her and TLC played a crucial part in being picked up by an agent, and subsequently landing a two-book deal. I couldn't recommend them highly enough."

Robert Scragg, What Falls Between the Cracks (Allison & Busby)
Do I need a manuscript assessment?

Do I need a literary agent?

What should I send to agents?

Will I be considered for the TLC Talent Showcase?

How do I write a synopsis?

Where can I find a proofreader or copy-editor?

Ask TLC: See our FAQs

Writers' Corner: Click here
"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.
"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)
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
"My TLC editor made me see my book in a new light. It took a bit of hard work, but I am so pleased I followed TLC's excellent advice. Thank you so much for helping me discover the book I didn't know was there!" 

Andy Rumbold, The Last Fiesta (Red Door Publishing)
"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
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