“Working on a manuscript can sometimes be a long and difficult process, so it is great to have the opportunity to meet other like-minded writers who are working towards similar goals.”
Working on a novel you want to pitch to agents and wondering where to go for support? Writers’ Block North East (WBNE) is based in Middlesbrough and each year delivers a 12-month development programme for up to fifteen writers who would like to develop a novel manuscript.
The development programme consists of workshops, one-to-one mentoring and advice from industry professionals including agents and editors. The process begins and ends with events attended by literary agents from prominent London-based literary agencies, who offer guidance and advice on writers’ works-in-progress.
Dani Watson, who is a writer on this year’s programme, says, “I first got involved with Writers’ Block last year and I think it has really helped me to develop as a writer. I have learnt so much from the workshops and the mentoring I’ve received has been invaluable. I think working on a manuscript can sometimes be a long and difficult process, so it is great to have the opportunity to meet other like-minded writers who are working towards similar goals. During the programme I’ve had the opportunity to meet agents and receive feedback on my work which has really boosted my confidence. The workshops are fun and supportive and I always leave them feeling inspired to keep writing.”
Writers’ Block, which is run by Laura Degnan and James Harris, was set up in 2010 to support grassroots writers. Laura is a writer/director working in film and has provided mentoring for programmes including New Creatives, BFI Academy and Channel 4’s Random Acts. James is a comedy writer and middle grade novelist. His debut novel ‘The Biscuit Factory’ will be released by Hachette in early 2021.
Laura adds, “We love working closely with aspiring writers, honing their development skills and guiding them to create long-form narratives that really show off their potential.”
The writers are selected through an online application process. This year’s programme is in full swing, but submissions for their next programme will open in June 2021. So it’s not too early to be thinking of your application now.
To apply to the programme, you will need to submit a 1-page synopsis for the novel you’d like to develop as part of the programme, plus a 7-page writing sample. The sample can be from the story you’d like to develop or from a previously completed piece of work.
For more information about Writers’ Block’s work visit www.writersblocknortheast.com and for tips on writing a novel synopsis visit https://www.writersblocknortheast.com/post/writing-a-novel-synopsis.
pics by Jay Moussa-Mann
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