Mentoring

‘I cannot overstate the impact of Natalie’s dedication, commitment and enthusiasm. She helped me to look at my novel with fresh eyes, to see the strengths, weaknesses and most importantly, to find new ways forward. She introduced me to the tools and discipline I needed me to complete my novel and to better understand the craft of storytelling.’ — Paul K Joyce, YA author of CRACK

‘It was as if Natalie turned a light on so that I could see my writing clearly for the first time. Following the report on my novel, a re-working of Hamlet, I met with Natalie who talked it through with me, using her expertise to strengthen my story further, working on particular scenes. It was great to have a discussion about my work with a professional writer and editor. I have now sent my story out to literary agents and am meeting an agent next week to discuss my project. I wouldn’t be in this situation without Natalie’s help.’ Lis Maimaris, YA author of ‘My Father’s Ghost’

‘I came to Natalie in need of direction and she has given me that, and so much more. As a mentor, her advice is so useful and constructive. Natalie is really honest and clear, and always encouraging and positive. She’s helped me to let go of fears and anxieties I had around writing, and is teaching me to enjoy the process. Technically, Natalie has a wealth of knowledge on literary techniques and trends, character, structure, plot, style, voice, etc. and she sends me articles, and books, and suggestions, all of which keep me motivated and enrich my writing and reading experience.’ — Laura Burgoine, crime fiction author

‘Natalie has the ability to see beyond the manuscript to the writer you could be and then finds a way to guide you there with more than just sensitivity and a masterclass in writing, but with her belief that within the work hides a rough diamond, just waiting for patient polishing. Under her tutelage, I’ve found the courage to step away from my original manuscript and begin my hero’s story anew, with fresh focus, a firm grip on action and a killer plot twist. Every conversation with Natalie is challenging, every suggestion thought-provoking. She knows instinctively where I come unstuck or when I’m trying to achieve too much at the detriment of my hero’s progression. I’ve signed up for six months mentoring and I will, without hesitation, be renewing this for book two.’ Sara Lilley, fantasy series author of Seven Sagas of Aion

‘I found the whole process thoroughly worthwhile and believe I’ve really improved as a writer thanks to my engagement with Natalie.’ Paul Coffey, literary author of WE ARE BROKEN

‘Natalie was challenging at the deepest level, never letting me get away with anything.  She knows so much about creative writing and how to achieve the highest standards.  Her advice called for a huge re-write, but already I can see the work will be improved by her suggestions. It isn’t an easy process, but it is so worthwhile, and such a powerful learning opportunity.  I hope to turn to her for mentoring in the future, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go to her for an appraisal.’ — Veronica Birch, author of BIRD ISLAND

‘Natalie was an enormous help to me in my first draft of China Girl. Not only was her advice constructive, but she prompted me to think in different directions, enabling me to explore my concept further and effectively, to reinvigorate my novel. Writing can be a lonely business and Natalie helped me to  build my confidence, inspiring me to improve and innovate. I would have no hesitation in working with Natalie again.’ Deborah Stone, author of CHINA GIRL

‘I had been struggling with my memoir for a number of years when I approached Cornerstones and Natalie agreed to give me much needed feedback. She sent me a detailed report accompanied by editorial advice on some basic writing skills I needed to practice before tackling a re-draft. Once I’d had time to absorb the report – roughly 6 weeks – we then had an in-depth discussion about the issues she’d raised. Our discussion was so helpful. Natalie was encouraging and honest in equal measure. After our discussion I felt equipped to set about a substantial re-write of the book, which took me roughly five months. The story is now with my agent and I am keeping everything crossed that the book will find a publisher this year. I could never have got to this point without Natalie’s suggestions, especially her recommendation to read a similarly challenging book for its structure. This became a key factor in helping me find a way forward with the final draft.’ —  Kate McFarland

‘Natalie got to the heart of my story and to the heart of my hero, and then helped me to understand why I’m writing this book. She got to work on key issues and we explored new ways of telling the story. It can be challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. With Natalie’s mentoring I feel I’m taking great steps forward as a novelist.’ – Paul Bradley-Cong

Natalie has a brilliant sense for story. She was able tell me exactly what was working in the first draft of my novel and, crucially, what wasn’t. From that initial feedback, and a brainstorm session on Skype, I have been able to build a much stronger narrative. I’m now just a few months from submitting. Gemma Harris