Sheffield WriteMentor workshops

I’m someone who loves a new, shiny project. I love new characters, new possibilities, the snippets of dialogue that my brain loves to craft. But since I’ve been writing seriously for eight years with two novels published in three countries, the one thing that I’ve learned above all else is this: it takes hard work, determination and resilience to turn all that enthusiasm into to a piece of work that you can be truly proud of – one that lives up to the potential it had when you first started. And to add to hard work – you need to know your craft, the skills and tricks to transform your beautiful, messy idea into a book which might sell.

In my WriteMentor weekend, I will run four workshops which aim to take your draft from something glorious but maybe messy, into something more polished. I will try and cram in as much as I’ve learned from all the courses I’ve attended in recent years, some of which have transformed my writing.

  • We’ll learn how to write our pitch. Not only could a good pitch help grab an agent’s or editor’s attention, this should be your key concept. You will need to keep this at the heart of any re-draft so you know to keep true to this idea.
  • Plotting surgery – we’ll remind ourselves of the different plotting methods and take from them top tips on how to keep your story structure tight. What are the common mistakes, how to avoid them and how to keep your reader on their toes.
  • Whether you are writing high fantasy, dystopia, time slip, historical or contemporary, the reader has to build into your world. You may love your world but can you make sure that your reader does too…
  • The Voice. Every agent and editor says they want a new ‘voice’ but no-one can define it. We’ll analyse different examples of writing with a strong voice, and work on how to bring out the ‘voice’ of our work in progress.

All of this and a 1-1 to with the legendary Melvin Burgess – what’s not to love?

If you have any questions about what the workshops will cover and whether you want any content tweaked to suit your needs, ask away to @anna_mainwaring on Twitter.

Anna read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ aged 7 and hasn’t stopped reading yet. She has had two contemporary teen books published, ‘Rebel with a Cupcake’ and ‘Tulip Taylor’.


Melvin Burgess was born in 1954 and was brought up in Sussex and Berkshire. He started writing in his twenties, and wrote on and off for fifteen years before having his first book, THE CRY OF THE WOLF, published in 1990. In 1997 his controversial bestseller JUNK won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award and the Carnegie Medal. It was also shortlisted for the 1998 Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year. Four of his novels have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal: THE CRY OF THE WOLF, AN ANGEL FOR MAY, THE BABY AND FLY PIE and THE GHOST BEHIND THE WALL. Melvin Burgess now writes full-time and lives in Yorkshire.

His latest novel, THE LOST WITCH, was published in 2018 by Andersen Press. It is a thrilling fantasy for young adults about magic, myth and following your instincts.

According to the Guardian, ‘In the UK, fiction for “young adults” has grown hugely over the past decade…The godfather of this new fiction is Melvin Burgess.’

Twenty years since it was first published, JUNK was awarded the YA Book Prize special achievement award.

SHEFFIELD – #WriteMentor Writing Weekend Workshops

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