What is The Writer’s Plan?
Carmen Marcus, award winning author and Jenna Warren, Owner-Manager of Book Corner Saltburn, have teamed up to offer aspiring working-class writers a unique course on developing a strategy to write professionally.
As a working-class writer and creative facilitator Marcus has encountered many barriers, both personal and practical, to breaking into the industry. Knowing how to overcome these barriers is as much part of a writer’s life as the daily wordcount. From primary school to conference workshops writers are told to ‘just write’, as though that’s all that’s needed. But not all writers are supported by a scaffolding of confidence and the practical means to just write, especially those from underrepresented groups.
It takes courage to tell a story you’ve never seen on the bookshelves before; it takes confidence to believe your story belongs and it takes industry knowledge to get it published.
So, before we can just write we have to build that scaffolding of confidence and practical know how – to do that we need a plan.
Based on personal experience and needs identified from other underrepresented writers Marcus created the Writer’s Plan: a five-step route-map to build confidence; provide practical insights on how to balance writing and life; how to access development opportunities and how to break into the industry – that’s what we’re offering to you.
Marcus had the opportunity to trial the plan as an online blog in its early phase, here’s what one participant said:
“By working through Carmen’s Writer’s Plan with a trusted buddy, I have re-defined my writing goals, and identified what I need in order to achieve them. It is wonderful to have confidence that my goals are within reach. I finally feel that I am – and deserve to be – a writer.”
Helen Anderson, Author
If you’d like to see the plan blog please see the posts here.
The course will comprise five, two-hour sessions and take place bi-weekly between the 22nd September and 17th November on a Sunday afternoon at Book Corner, 24 Milton Street, Saltburn-by-the Sea. You will need to commit to all course dates.
The course will be free for all successful applicants and a travel bursary of up to £20 per applicant per session will be awarded to support travel costs.
Who are we looking for?
Are you an aspiring or emerging writer from the Tees Valley and Teesside region? Are you unagented and unpublished? Do you self-identify as being working class or from a working class background? Do you feel a bit lost when it comes to pushing your writing forward? Then we’re looking for you.
Your work may well be a work in progress, unfinished or unpolished and that’s absolutely fine. We’re looking for people who are committed to starting a writing career but need support to boost their creative confidence and their industry knowledge.
We are looking for writers of fiction, narrative non-fiction and poetry. We will consider all genres, themes and topics including young adult, memoir, novels, short story, poetry, nature writing and literary essays.
We don’t expect you to be published by a professional publisher, have published a novel or full collection of work but it’s okay if you’ve had single pieces published in on-line journals, on your own blog, or in independent print anthologies.
You need to be over 18 to take part.
If you are a student, either undergraduate or postgraduate, you can still enter if you can show that you are permanently resident in Teesside.
How to enter?
You will need to complete an application form – it’s not scary. We’ve kept it as uncomplicated as we could. It’s not a test. It’s just a chance for us to get to see your work and help us make the right decision about who will get the most out of this activity.
Deadline for entry is 26th August 2019
You can download the application form from: The Writer’s Plan Application Documents
We want you, in 500 words, to tell us how you will benefit from taking part.
We’d like to see a Writer’s CV – you will not be judged negatively if this looks quite bare. It doesn’t matter if all you can say is that you write every Sunday. It’s just to help us see what stage you are at.
We’ll also expect to see:
A writing sample of no more than 800 words of your best work. Your sample can be fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, essay, memoir of any genre. Your work does not need to be working-class in subject matter to be considered.
How will it be judged?
Decisions will be made by Carmen Marcus and Jenna Warren and will be final. Decisions will be based upon the quality of the writing excerpt, but how this support will benefit your writing career to date will also be taken into consideration. Successful applicants will be notified by the 9th September at the latest.
What will we need from you if you are successful?
We will need you to attend all of the sessions, so please make sure that you will be available for the following dates:
We’d like you to be happy to take part in publicity activity surrounding the project. Please be aware that we will be sharing news via various standard and social media channels.
We hope to grow the project and we want to know that it worked for you, so we’ll ask you to take part in some evaluation and feedback activity too.
Who are we?
About Book Corner:
Book Corner (www.bookcornershop.co.uk) is an independent bookshop in Saltburn-by-the-Sea. It was established in 2014 by Jenna Warren, a creative writing graduate. Book Corner stocks fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s books, and Jenna is particularly pleased to promote the work of local authors. The bookshop holds an ongoing programme of writing workshops, poetry readings, book launches, signings, and various other bookish gatherings. In 2019 Book Corner held its first literature and music festival, Saltburn Festival of Seaside Stories and Song, in collaboration with Saltburn Folk Club.
About Carmen Marcus:
Carmen Marcus is an award-winning author based in Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Her debut novel, How Saints Die was published with Vintage in 2017, it won New Writing North’s Northern Promise Award and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. As well as an author she is a performance poet, she was named as a BBC Verb New Voice and her work has been commissioned by BBC Radio, The Royal Festival Hall, The South Bank Centre, Durham Book Festival and Apples and Snakes. She is an experienced creative facilitator who regularly teaches and speaks at conferences and events including Penguin Random House’s WriteNow Scheme, Northern Writer’s Conference and Words Weekend. Having made the journey from a council estate to the bookshelves she is an advocate and campaigner for the voices of underrepresented writers.
You can read more about her and her work at
We’d like to thank the Bookseller’s Association for making this scheme possible.
We look forward to reading your entries and good luck.
Carmen and Jenna