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This month we have expert advice from Lorraine Mace on how to pitch the perfect non-fiction proposal, Ten Top Tips looks at some of the more common English errors, Successes will leave you feeling ready to tackle anything and Useful Websites has an extra treat.

Student Stories


Thanks to Paul for sending us his success story – it’s a great read and hugely inspiring!

“I started writing seriously when I was a teenager in prison, serving a six year sentence for GBH. I initially started writing a novel whilst in my cell. Then I found a book about William Goldman, a screen-writer, and started writing a comedy feature film after studying a screen-play layout in the book.

“I was released from prison in 1992, aged 24. Shortly after that I had a breakdown and have since suffered from schizophrenia. That’s why writing is extremely cathartic and therapeutic – it helps me.

“In the 25 years I’ve been writing, I’d only had six different articles published. I’ve also had three letters published in a magazine and 11 poems published in books, in a newspaper and on a website.

“The stuff I’ve had published is just a tiny fraction of what I’ve written. I am basically a self taught writer, except for a short screen-writing course I completed many years ago. I figured that maybe if I had professional training I’d stand more chance of being published, as it would make my work better. Hence, I enrolled on a course with The Writers Bureau.

“I started the course just over a year ago, I’m currently working on my sixth assignment and I recently had some very good news. One of my diaries that I wrote in 2010 has just been published. For the first six to nine months it will be sold as an E-book on the publishers website, then it will be released as a paperback and will be sold on sites like Amazon. I will be receiving five to ten percent royalties from all E-book and paperback sales.

“I wrote the second half of this book whilst studying with The Writers Bureau and I honestly feel that since starting the course my writing’s become so much better, improving very quickly. I feel that I’m making the transition from quantity to quality.

“Over the years I’ve also studied filmmaking at college and university and now I am a semi-professional filmmaker who’s made many short films. I want to continue being a writer and filmmaker in equal measure and since starting the writer’s course I feel that it’s opened up my mind – I realise that I can write about a wide range of subjects. Thanks to the internet I’ve realised that I can write about almost anything as you can research virtually any subject.

“As well as making films, I also want to write about the film industry, and maybe write ‘how to’ teaching articles about filmmaking. I’ve also have a huge amount of ideas for other articles that can be aimed at local and national publications. One of the great things about the course is it stimulates many ideas.

“Now I’ve finally had a book published it’s done wonders for my self esteem. As a writer, I feel more balanced and whole now. Over the years I feel that some people haven’t taken my creativity seriously and that they were thinking things like, ‘When are you going to do something normal and get a real job?’ Now I’ve got a book published and I’m starting to see myself as a professional writer. I feel that I’m now getting respect from people and, most of all, I am feeling satisfied with my work and have respect for myself.

“My book is called ‘Diary of a Christian schizophrenic, Volume 9’. My pen name is Christophrenic. You can buy or view the book here.

“One of the reasons why I enrolled on the course was because of the testimonials and the guarantee that if you hadn’t earned your fees by the end of the course you’d be refunded. I realised that I didn’t have anything to lose. However, because I’ve got a mental illness that is disabling in some ways, I worried that I wasn’t strong enough to be published regularly or have something substantial published like a book. I’ve realised now though that with proper training, it’s possible for most people to quickly improve and make their writing skills more powerful.

“I believe even more now that soon I will be able to earn a living from my writing and filmmaking. My hope is that one day my writing will enable me to provide for my wife and four children. The Writers Bureau has already done a lot to feed that hope and is part of my journey towards this goal.”

Well done to Paul and thanks for sharing your story. If you would like a prospectus for any of our courses please email us here with your full name and postal address.

Or, to share your success stories with others, log into the student forum and post in the success section or send an email to with ‘Success Story’ in the subject line.