Whether you're serious about getting published or would simply like to explore your creative potential, my one-to-one, online tutoring programme offers in-depth, constructive and specific feedback on your writing.
My response to your work is based on my own understanding of the craft of novel-writing and my experience as the author of over twenty-five books.
What Clients Say
"Sophie's fantastic insight and experience have helped me grow as a writer. She makes me think about the plot questions I don't want to face and challenges me to overcome them. I can say without a doubt that any chapter we have workshopped together immediately reshapes for the better."
STEP ONE - INITIAL SESSION
Everyone begins with a one hour, one-off, one-to-one,
HOW THE SESSION WORKS
We'll discuss your writing ambitions and how you can best achieve these within the context of a wider conversation about your creative writing: What are you working on/would like to write? What are you hoping to achieve? What are the challenges?
I'll also offer verbal feedback on a sample of your writing, up to 2,500 words in length. This should be emailed as a Word doc, double-spaced, at least 24 hours before the start of the session. If you would like to submit a plan or synopsis as part of your 2,500-word submission, you are welcome to do so.
I'll provide in-depth, verbal feedback on your submission during the session. This will focus on the strengths of your writing as well as suggested areas on which to work. Elements such as characterisation, point of view, dialogue, descriptive writing, clarity, impact, tension and structure will be covered, along with many others.
HOW TO PAY
Once we've agreed a meeting date, I'll email you an invoice. This should be paid before the session. The cost for a one-off, one hour initial session is £79.
Sessions are available for over-18s only.
You may alter the date of your session, provided you give 24 hours' notice. All sessions must be taken within five months of the originally agreed start date. Please note that the fee for your session is non refundable. If I have to cancel, I will offer you the choice of rearranging or a full refund for that session.
HOW TO APPLY
If you'd like to apply for an initial one-to-one session,
please email me via the APPLY button below.
Your email should include the following:
A line or two on the story you are writing/would like to write. I am NOT asking for a summary or synopsis, just an idea of the general subject matter (eg thriller/romance/historical adventure) and likely readership (eg adults/younger children/teens.)
Any creative writing courses you've attended and any professional writing experience (eg academic/corporate/journalistic) you have.
Why you are interested in having tutoring sessions. (There's no right or wrong answer to this!)
A short sample of your creative writing. (No more than 500 words, saved in a Word doc.) Please note I will NOT be able to give you feedback on this sample.
After the initial session you'll be in a good position to decide whether or not you'd like to sign up for a full block of sessions.
Blocks are designed for people who are writing regularly and looking for in-depth feedback on their work-in-progress.
STEP TWO - BLOCK SESSIONS
50-minute, fortnightly sessions in blocks of six
for writers with a work-in-progress
These 50-minute, fortnightly sessions are organised in blocks of six that run through each of the three school terms, with breaks over the holidays.
You'll be able to submit up to 2,500 words for each session. During the session, we'll discuss your work. You'll be free to raise any issues you're having and I will offer constructive, in-depth verbal feedback on your writing.
At the end of each block, you are free to decide whether or not to continue.
The fee for all six sessions is payable at the start of each block.
All sessions must be taken within five months of the originally agreed start date.
All other terms as per the initial session, step one, above.
My standard rate is £55 per 50-minute session.
I’ve published over 30 novels, including best-selling, teen thrillers Girl, Missing and Blood Ties, both of which won the Red House Children's Book Award, the leading national UK prize voted for by children themselves.
My work ranges from short books for younger readers to psychological thrillers for adult readers, including Richard & Judy book club bestseller Close My Eyes.
My recent teen thrillers include Truth or Dare, Hide and Secrets and Secret Sister and I'm currently working on new ideas for both YA and adult stories.
In addition to my writing I’m an experienced creative writing tutor. I teach at the well-respected City Literary Institute in central London and have worked with clients privately for over ten years.
I've also worked as a journalist, a freelance copywriter and a screenwriter for a TV production company. I have a grown-up son, and live with my husband in north London. I study Spanish in my spare time, love baking - especially cupcakes - and I'm passionate about stories.
You can find out more about me and my books at www.sophiemckenziebooks.com
Is this a creative writing course?
Although my feedback is specific and focuses on particular elements of writing craft, writing techniques are not taught in any formal way.
I have an idea and I've started writing but I'm not sure where I'm going. Would your initial, 'step one' session suit me?
Yes! Most people I work with have a novel they are either writing or editing. However, the initial session is a great place for those who have done some creative writing and are looking to explore their options.
How will I know if I'm ready for block sessions?
Block sessions are primarily designed for writers with a work-in-progress, but they can also be helpful for those who would like to keep up their writing on a regular basis by focusing on a series of one-off, shorter narratives.
What platform are the sessions held on?
All sessions are held on Zoom, a free app which is easily available for download onto your PC or Mac.
How do I find out more?
You can email me for more info on firstname.lastname@example.org
SOPHIE'S TOP TEN WRITING TIPS
Make sure you have a compelling story to tell. Establish a strong, clear goal or need for your main character, then throw lots of obstacles in the way of them achieving it.
Make sure the stakes are high. Ask yourself: What will happen if my main character doesn't get what they want/need? Will anyone care?
Create strong, memorable characters. Start with a focus on two or three personality traits. Counterintuitively, this will help you build a more authentic individual than trying to show every single shade of grey.
Be clear. Sounds basic and it is, though it's surprising how often what seems obvious to a writer can cause confusion in their reader. Remember if people don't understand what you've written they'll soon lose interest.
Conflict is your friend...it leads to drama and is a great opportunity to reveal character. Build tension into every scene.
Ask yourself if each twist and turn of your plot is both unexpected (a predictable story is a boring story) and yet credible and convincing.
Show don't tell. It's usually much more effective to show the people, places and events in your story than to report or summarise them. Write 'in the moment'.
Use all the senses - write about how things feel, smell, sound and taste as well as how they look.
Be specific. whether you're trying to describe a person, a place or a feeling, it's the details that bring a story alive.
Be prepared to make changes to your first draft. everyone has to revise their work. Writing is mostly rewriting!