Writing is personal.
At Blue Pencil Agency we take your work personally.
There are many literary consultancies offering editorial feedback. As a bespoke consultancy we believe in matching each client with the right editor and pride ourselves on our steady list of returning clients.
Need time and space to work on your novel? we arrange writing retreats for small groups of like minded writers. We stay in comfort at historic homes with a creative and inspiring atmosphere. One on one editorial sessions with a BPA editor. Evening readings and advice on submissions. Visits and workshops from esteemed authors, publishers and agents.
We also run a programme of online tutorials and Q & A sessions for writers unable to attend our retreats and workshops in person. During the pandemic all events are run online via zoom. Give them a go and join our online community of writers.
A blue pencil was traditionally used by editors to show corrections to manuscripts as blue didn’t show in most reproduction processes. In the digital world blue pencils are seen more rarely but they still exist as a metaphor for editing.
The idea of collaboration between editor and writer isn’t new. Once it was the job of agents and publishers to nurture new literary talent. But in today’s saturated market you need to arrive with a polished manuscript. An editor is your second pair of eyes. Our job is to encourage, persuade and problem solve. Working with us is making the leap from the fear of criticism to accepting support and establishing a clearer perspective of the market – understanding work as product, not just art.
Writing isn’t just being heard, it’s about forming a relationship with the reader and understanding who that reader is.
I’m really enjoying these and a great way to stay ‘connected’ with a writing community so thank you so much for keeping them coming!
Thank you so much for organising “A Literary Marriage” with Jane and Claire this evening. It was fantastic – informative, inspiring and enjoyable.
Emma – thank you so much for arranging such an inspiring series of talks for the Online Writing Weekend. They were all of such a high level and unlike a lot of courses, had a very commercial focus which is important to remind of why we are doing this!
Thank you for another brilliant session. All three of the presenters at the retreat have been such high quality. I had high expectations but they have gone beyond those expectations. Thank you so much for all your hard work putting the weekend together.
Really looking forward to the next session. I’m trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can. It’s the only thing that’s getting me through lockdown!
Oliver’s editorial feedback was fantastically helpful. I’ve done a lot of workshopping of various kinds over the last few years, including an MA in Creative Writing, and this was honestly the best feedback I’ve had on the novel as a whole, the most helpful in helping me to see where I need to go next…
The tutorial was great – really, extremely helpful – and Emma was wonderful.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to join the Q&A session with Nelle Andrew today. It was so helpful to know what agents are expecting when receiving submissions. I definitely feel more confident going forward with the process, and looking for agents for the novel I’ve written.
Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Emma and Sara and all the lovely editors and speakers for a fantastic weekend, and to all my lovely retreat-mates. Of course it was such a shame not to be able to meet in person, but such is life these days.
I have just had my editorial session with David Simons. It was really valuable. Over all I think the online writing weekend course is outstanding. I have done a lot of writer’s courses and this one is really professional and focussed. I am really enjoying it.
Thanks Emma – the event with agent Jane Finigan and author Claire Fuller was fabulous and has filled me with enthusiasm. I loved my seat between you and Jane. I just hope I can polish my submission to meet your standards.
I am still riding high after the Blue Pencil writing weekend and must thank you again for a massively inspirational experience.
Thank you so much for letting me attend the writing weekend and for helping to make it accessible. I hate feeling like the annoying disabled woman but you have all been super friendly!
Today was such an inspirational experience. Thank you so much. You run such friendly and helpful sessions.
Emma Darwin was brilliant – she explains things so well. I now have a much clear picture of what Psychic Distance is and how it can be used.
The course has been so brilliant. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job organising a virtual retreat.
When Sara Sarre sent me my report, I never expected it to be so incredibly detailed and helpful. I will be reading and rereading it until I have everything memorised and completely etched in my brain! It is going to be completely invaluable to me. I have so much to learn and she has given…
Iain Maloney has reviewed two of my novels and both have been meticulous and hugely helpful. As a newbie writer, he has guided me and educated me in every aspect of writing a novel. Iain showed me why things work and don’t work, and what the industry expects from a story and its characters. He…
Sara is a generous hard-working editor who has a strong instinct for story and structure. With all three of my novels, she reached a deep understanding of the characters and honed in on problems with laser precision. From the very beginning of working with her, she supported and encouraged me, which gave me a huge…
Oliver’s great gift was to reveal to me all that habit, lack of distance and impatience were preventing me from seeing for myself, and beyond that to come up with simple but inspired suggestions that would never have occurred to me, but whose sharpness and perceptiveness seemed blindingly obvious once I’d had the time to…
Introduction to Agents
We work with leading literary agents and a number of our clients have secured publishing deals. It’s important to remember that getting published is difficult and we can only help with a perfectly polished manuscript that has commercial potential. For clients using our editorial services and whose work we feel is up to standard we may approach agents on your behalf. This would be discussed with you at the time.
FIRST NOVEL AWARD NEWS
LITERARY AGENTS CORNER
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
There are many literary consultancies offering editorial feedback. As a bespoke consultancy we believe in matching each client with the right editor and pride ourselves on our steady list of returning clients. Writing is personal. At Blue Pencil Agency we take your work personally.
A manuscript assessment is an investment. It is very hard to write a novel full stop, but a first draft is rarely the draft that will end up on the shelves. Every writer, whether published or not, needs a second pair of eyes. A manuscript assessment offers an experienced editorial viewpoint that will draw your attentions to technical details or character development or structural issues and point out the reason why your manuscript is receiving rejections. Often writers have come back to us and said that receiving their report offered them more insight into the technique behind novel writing than any course. If you intend to self-publish then we can advise you on the way forward.
An editorial report will provide you with an overall viewpoint to include, storyline, plot, set-up, narrative arc, structure, character development, world building, prose and technical analysis.
A short report is a review of the storyline and set-up and includes an analysis of the structure of the first 15k. It is a ‘how am I doing so far’ assessment.
A submissions report looks at the package that is submitted to agents. Your submission package should contain: a letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters of your novel, up to 15,000 words. Most agents complain that letters are often full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, or that there is more information on the writer than on the novel itself. We will ensure your submission is perfect.
All of these reports usually requires the writer to do some re-writing and will come with a marked up manuscript pointing out typos etc.
A reader’s report is aimed at published authors or regular clients of BPA, and is usually given to more experienced writers. This is different to our reader’s service. Please refer to Editorial services.
A copy editor will ensure your manuscript is correct in terms of spelling and grammar, consistency, and continuity, going through the document in details with marks on the page using track changes.
To read a novel and give a detailed assessment takes from two to three weeks and requires concentration and effort. All editors are carefully chosen to suit the needs of each writer. Editors bring with them a skill set that has usually taken years of experience to acquire.
- Mentoring allows writers to shape their novel as they go.
- Mentoring caters for the specific needs of each mentee
- Mentoring is fast track learning about structure, literary technique, character development and prose style
- Mentoring teaches you how to read like a writer
- A mentor will hold your hand and support you through a steep learning curve