Best Practice

We have high standards, and never let anything less than top quality leave our desks. Trevor Byrne and M.J. Hyland have developed a style and ethos which every member of our small, close-knit, dedicated, energetic team understands and shares, and which can be broken into three key ideas:

Honesty

No one comes to us to have their ego massaged. Parents, spouses, dogs, pet tarantulas etc. will give you all of the blind faith in your fiction you’ll ever need; it's our job is to give you an honest, professional opinion. 

 

Working honestly with a writer means two things:

  1. We never let a writer think their work is stronger (or weaker) than it is, in any department – with respect to both your personal writing habits and your novel or story, we’ll tell you what’s not working, but also what you’ve got just right (it’s important to know what works, and why);

  2. We never hold back with advice, fixes and story ideas, etc.: if we can see a way of improving a story, radical or simple, or have an idea which can elevate or compliment it, it’s yours. 

Balance

Every writer has strengths and weaknesses. Some writers need help with the fundamentals (here, our experience as Creative Writing teachers comes to the fore). Other writers need specific help on an almost-ready project (this is the fine needlework of final-draft editing, where issues of story, plot, pacing, characterisation, plausibility, narrative tension, clarity of description, authenticity of dialogue, atmosphere need to be explored). Most often, a writer needs at least a little of all of the above.

 

We work with writers of all levels, in a way that gets at exactly what they need. The information you provide us with at our initial consultation will help us pitch the level just right.

Fairness

Good fiction is good fiction, and genre doesn’t dictate quality. Whether your field is literary fiction, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, young adult, historical, cross genre or something else altogether, we can help you produce the best fiction of its type. What excites us is story, character and language, and all great fiction, regardless of genre, is created by close attention to and skilful and imaginative execution of these three fundamentals.

 

Same goes for style: Ernest Hemingway didn’t use many words, and none were fancy. By contrast, Jeanette Winterson luxuriates in an ornate yet vivid and pungent vocabulary.

 

Good fiction is good fiction, and we work with you on your own terms, while always having an eye on classical best practice.

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