Consultancy and Teaching

CONSULTANCY
Since 2011 I’ve worked a reader and editor for the leading consultancy, Cornerstones, helping authors shape and refine their works-in-progress.  I love it when I’m able to unpick the things that might not be working in a manuscript – but also identifying (and celebrating!) its strengths and reflecting those back to the author.

I’m available both for one-off manuscript appraisal and for ongoing mentoring.  Arrangements are individually tailored to suit the client’s best needs.  Please contact me (contact details are on my home page) to discuss how we can work together.

Client testimonials:

“Rachel’s excellent eye for detail and clear insightful advice on all aspects of my manuscript made her report a turning point in the writing of my first novel.  It was Rachel’s positive attitude and continued encouragement which persuaded me to continue with my project and led to my subsequent shortlisting in a literary prize.  I would not hesitate to recommend Rachel’s services to aspiring writers who are serious about improving the standards of their work.”
Catherine Stobbs, shortlisted for The Yeovil Literary Prize (Novel Writing)

“Rachel fully understood each layer of my novel and made me feel I could continue writing with confidence and, most importantly, in my own voice.

She was so easy to talk to – and listened so well – that the burden of trying to piece the novel together in the right order and interweave the characters’ stories began to feel lighter. I felt that she really cared about my novel.

Rachel taught me about how to adjust the pace of the narrative and how to increase tension, giving the areas which fell flat could be given new life.  Her observations helped me to discover dimensions in my novel that I didn’t know existed, opening it all out like a pop-up book.  Rachel found merit in every scene, including those requiring a rewrite or even cutting, and presented all her suggestions in a positive and encouraging way. She gave me lots of practical tips on how to restructure the chapters and improve their narrative flow.

When I finished the revisions, I was certain of two things. Firstly, my novel was the best it could possibly be. Secondly, I would not have found my way to that point without Rachel.”
Joanna Campbell, shortlisted for the Fish, Bridport and Bristol Short Story prizes

“Writing a novel can be both a world of wonder and yet also a lonely world where it is so easy to doubt that what you´re doing is worthwhile. I received Rachel’s review of my first novel “Eden Burning” and was amazed at the quality of her feedback. She managed to highlight significant strengths which perhaps I was not even so aware of. Her thoughtful and insightful report left me feeling both inspired to continue and determined to make the necessary changes to structure, characters and dialogue.

Rachel is a great listener and, in the follow-up call, demonstrated an ability to build on my ideas with creativity and warmth. Rachel challenged me to make significant changes to the quality of what I had written and at the same time reinvigorated my desire to complete “Eden Burning” with increased enthusiasm and inspiration. Thank you, Rachel.”
Deirdre Quiery, Director, Seven Rocks Consulting

“After suffering many years of frustration, my contact with Rachel for an expert critique was the most important decision I have taken. Personable, inspirational and eager to share creative ideas and tips; the level of detail and guidance within her appraisal was exceptional – the secret of great writing unravelled. Then the lovely and informal follow-up allowed me to understand and develop the essential improvements I required. This very helpful style of consultation, as compared to a group literary course, focussed on my own writing and my individual objectives. I’m indebted to Rachel for giving me the crucial tools, encouragement and most importantly, a crafted book that I am now proud and confident to promote. Thank you so much.”
Martyn Chapman

TEACHING
I have over a decade of teaching experience (in both literature and writing) in varied contexts – from courses in Universities, to adult education sessions, to one-off creativity workshops in local communities.  Do contact me if you’d like to discuss the possibility of me running a one-off workshop or an ongoing group in your area.

I’m proud to have had some great feedback on my facilitation and teaching.  Here are some comments on recent creative writing courses I’ve run:

“Really useful workshop on ‘place’ with Rachel Connor at Writers’ Block North East. A good sequence of exercises and some honest feedback. I ended up with the start of a story. I wish there were more like this!”
Shelley Day Slater, winner of the Andrea Badenoch novel prize, Northumberland

“I wanted to say a really big thank you for all your hard work and enthusiasm at the event yesterday. Whenever I looked, your group were utterly enthralled or lost to their writing- it was really exciting to see. I was so impressed when I had a wander through the gallery and found them all huddled discussing the best word to use and reading each other’s pieces. Your exercises worked really well.”
Jess Summers, Regional Co-ordinator, First Story North West (working with pupils in challenging secondary schools)
 

“I attended Rachel’s very enjoyable classes for 2 years.  We were a mixed group with a wide range of age, interest and ability and I felt that Rachel enabled everyone to contribute and feel included. She always balanced a structured course with the flexibility to develop individual interests and the space to share individual work. The sessions were supported with very useful hand-outs. Her feedback was always encouraging and helpful and she supported the group to develop positive critical skills.”
PK, Yorkshire

“Your real experience and the way you share it generously make a real difference.”
HF, Lancashire

“I feel privileged to attend a writing course with such a talented and knowledgeable tutor – in writing wisdom, people awareness and people management skills.  Feedback is always constructive and perceptively handled.”
JH, Midlands.

“Classes with Rachel are always informative and thought-provoking. She brings a personal style – thoughtful, calm, open – that puts people at their ease.”
TG, Hebden Bridge