Writing Surgery

Sending your work out to literary agents and/or publishers can be a truly scary business.

Ditto self-publishing.

But at my Writing Surgery I can help make your writing the best it can be.

And advise you on how to pitch or self-publish your work professionally.

Chances are, you probably have a few doubts and fears when it comes to your writing.

Here are just some of the fears I was plagued with when I sent my first novel out:

  • What if my characters aren’t believable?
  • What if they’re the kind of characters only their author could love?!
  • And is the description vivid enough – without slowing the pace?
  • Oh God, is the pace PACEY enough?!
  • And how about my author’s ‘voice’?
  • What the hell IS an author’s voice?
  • Does the plot work?
  • Are there enough twists? 
  • And how many rejection letters featuring the line: ‘we just didn’t love it enough’ can I take?

‘Siobhan Curham is a plot alchemist! Her honest, insightful and supportive feedback has shown me how I might transform my thin story into a coherent, fully developed plot. She is completely on your side and wants you to succeed. I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time that I can stop revising the same few paragraphs repeatedly and start writing again. I have no hesitation in recommending Siobhan.’  Lisa Berry

It had taken a lot for me to write my first novel.

I’d had to overcome a major crisis of confidence and extremely difficult personal circumstances (you can read more about that here).

So I considered it a minor miracle when I did end up getting both a literary agent and book deal.

Fast forward 15 years and I’ve had ten novels (one award-winning) and three non-fiction books published under my own name and ghost-written several more.

I also work as an editorial consultant, helping publishers and writers whip their books into shape.

And I’ve taught thousands of people through my writing workshops.

Because it was so difficult for me when I was starting out, I love helping other writers achieve their dreams.

‘Siobhan has totally transformed my confused collection of ideas about my story into a coherent and compelling plot! She has shown genuine enthusiasm for my project and has helped me to believe I am capable of writing a novel. Her compassion and dedication is inspirational.’ Natalie Grahame

What is the Writing Surgery?

My Writing Surgery gives you the opportunity to get expert feedback on your work prior to you sending it to a publisher or agent – or self-publishing.

How does it work?

You email me your manuscript – or part of your manuscript – and I send you a detailed editorial report including the following:

  • My overall impression of your work: the larger bullet points
  • What I loved about it: it’s so important to know where your strengths lie
  • Feedback on the plot: what’s working, what could be tightened and what could be scrapped
  • Character appraisals: helping you make your characters believable, compelling and consistent
  • Voice: I highlight where the narrative voice is strongest – and where it strays
  • Non-fiction: feedback on the structure and content and how to pitch to your market

(Please note: My Writing Surgery editorial reports do not include proof reading or copy editing ie; spelling and grammatical corrections.)

‘Siobhan is great. I worked with her on my first book, Liquid Millionaire and I was so impressed with her attitude and expertise that she had to be my number one choice for my second book, How to Make Money in ISAs and SIPPS. I strongly recommend her and endorse her whole-heartedly.’ Stephen Sutherland, Chief Investment Strategist, ISACO

Self-publishing Advice

If you are interested in self-publishing I can include some expert tips, advice and recommendations in my report.

My self-published novel Dear Dylan won a national book award and – in the stuff writers’ wildest dreams are made of – ended up going to auction with six different publishers bidding for it and winning me books deals in the UK, France and Germany.

I was also self-publishing editor on Writers’ Forum magazine for three years, so I have plenty of knowledge and experience to draw upon.


What can I offer you?

I’m an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction for adults, young adults and children.

I’m also a highly-respected writing teacher and coach.

And in my role as an editorial consultant I’ve worked with some of the top publishers in the UK and US, including Penguin, Scholastic, Egmont, Usborne, Templar and Simon & Schuster.

I pride myself on having an eagle editorial eye and being a World Class Word Nerd. I love getting deep into the heart of a piece of writing and ironing out the glitches.


Teaching at the Bath Literary Festival

But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what some publishers and clients have to say:

‘Siobhan is one of the most gifted writers I have worked with in the last fifteen years. Subtleties of character, tone and plotting seem to come easily to her. She can turn her hand to writing for the very young right up to young adult, and in each case with real talent. She is unusually versatile and adept. And what’s more, she is a joy to work with – a true professional.’ Leah Thaxton, Publisher, Faber & Faber


‘Siobhan Curham not only knows how to craft a terrific story, but she writes with wit and intelligence, creating characters you believe in and who live on long after the last page is turned. Siobhan handles difficult issues sensitively yet energetically. Her writing is upbeat, life-affirming and full of that rare and wonderful ingredient: heart.’ Mara Bergman, Senior Commissioning Editor, Walker Books


‘It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Siobhan on a fiction series for 9+ readers. Her creativity and enthusiasm have been invaluable at every stage of the books’ journey – from plotting the stories to coming up with engaging end matter ­– and made this project such a positive experience.’ Lucy Rogers, Commissioning Editor, Scholastic


‘I have worked closely with Siobhan for several years and on many different projects. We’ve brainstormed the very loosest of ideas then worked together to create and shape, develop and produce high-quality fiction series for children, so I’ve seen Siobhan at every stage of the creative process. She is one of the very best. She’s always bubbling with rich ideas of her own, yet remains wonderfully responsive to those of others: she’s a thoughtful and considerate listener, an intuitive enabler and encourager, with a gift for finding the heart and soul of a story and bringing it to vibrant life, usually through richly imagined characters, and a distinctive voice and telling detail. Touches more magical than just the words – of which she is both master – and mistress.’ Reg Wright, Director, Hothouse Fiction


‘Having worked with Siobhan in various capacities, I can vouch for her expertise. As her editor, I’ve seen how her own writing leaps from the page and touches her readers. And in her work as an editorial consultant, creating, shaping and developing concepts, and working with other writers, she’s an absolute pro. Creative, insightful, reliable and fun – what more could you ask for?’ Ali Dougal,Editorial Director, Egmont UK


‘Working with Siobhan on the Harry Hammer series has been an absolute pleasure. Her speedy turnaround times, collaborative approach and formidable creativity have led to a full-of-fun series of which we can all be proud.’ Katie Cotton, Templar Publishing



Talking Writing in Dubai

‘Siobhan brings out the best in her clients. She is always honest, good humoured and manages to fill us with hope and the desire to do better. She’s a gentle and inspiring guide. I went to Siobhan when I was pretty much down and out in writing terms. We talked, I cried a bit and laughed a lot and having listened to her wise words came away enthused to start afresh. I did, and my new attitude has brought good luck and success – and my sessions with Siobhan were the launchpad.’ Anna May Mangan, best-selling author of Me and Mine, and radio and TV broadcaster


‘Siobhan is great. I worked with her on my first book, Liquid Millionaire and I was so impressed with her attitude and expertise that she had to be my number one choice for my second book, How to Make Money in ISAs and SIPPS. I strongly recommend her and endorse her whole-heartedly.’ Stephen Sutherland, Chief Investment Strategist, ISACO


‘I joined Siobhan’s Harrow Writing group in 2007 and attended regularly for several years. During that time I started to discuss with her my idea for a novel which had been in various formats and versions for some time. Siobhan agreed to coach me regarding content, plot and characterisation and within nine months, my novel, Brothers and Lovers, was completed. It has sold well worldwide and I owe a great debt of gratitude to Siobhan for her interest, enthusiasm and guidance. I cannot praise her patience and understanding of an author’s problems too highly and can whole-heartedly recommend her services to any aspiring authors.’ Michael J Davidson, author of Brothers and Lovers


‘Siobhan is a caring, intuitive and professional writing and life coach.  She has helped me reach the stage where I am poised to submit to publishers.  I never would have got this far without her special gifts. I would certainly recommend aspiring writers to seek out Siobhan to find an endless source of inspirational guidance.’ Patricia Jacobs


How much does the Writing Surgery cost?

The fees for my Writing Surgery are as follows:

Up to 5,000 words – £100

5,000 to 15,000 words – £150

15,000 to 30,000 words – £300

30,000 to 50,000 words – £400

50,000 to 70,000 words – £500

70,000 to 80,000 words – £600

80,000 to 90,000 words – £700

90,000 to 100,000 words – £800

Submission package for agents (first 15,000 words + synopsis + covering letter) – £200

Please note: Fees must be paid by bank transfer in advance.


Book your appointment at the Surgery now…

To book a place at the Writing Surgery or find out more, please complete the form below:


Writing Coaching

I also offer one-to-one writing coaching sessions in Brighton or Lewes – or via Skype.

A 90 minute follow-up session for Writing Surgery clients costs £50.

You can find out about my writing coaching sessions here.



Dare to Write a Novel

If you’re currently on a tight budget why not try my book, Dare to Write a Novel?

It’s packed full of advice on every stage of the writing process, from coming up with ideas, creating characters and crafting plots, to pitching your work to publishers and agents.

Here’s what one Amazon reviewer had to say:

“This is a fantastic guide to help you through the process of writing a novel. The author writes from her own experience, and her advice is very clear, practical and true. But ‘Dare to Write a Novel’ also allows gives you the chance to experiment and grow as a writer in your own way, as you find your own voice and use Siobhan’s wise advice to help you through the different stags of the process and the inevitable difficult times. I felt this guide would work very well for someone starting out as a writer, but it’s so sharp and so true that an experienced writer will also find it very helpful. The podcasts and work sheets are fantastic.”

Dare to Write a Novel is currently just £1.99 on Amazon.

Download it as a PDF and find out more here.


Free Resources

You can find a collection of my posts on writing – full of information, exercises and advice – right here.

And here’s my most popular post on self-publishing.

I hope you find them useful and enjoy.

Happy writing!