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Apprenticeships in Fiction

Apprenticeship Appraisals & one-to-ones

We offer a preliminary stage to applicants whose work displays considerable talent, but who, for various reasons, may not yet be quite ready for the demands of the programme.

An Apprenticeship Appraisal is a detailed document (Usually about 5/6 pages single-spaced). It includes an assessment of your submission - synopsis and chapters - from a professional mid-career writer working in a similar genre. Appraisals are designed to offer you an overview of your work within the context of the publishing industry and to cover key aspects of successful fiction. We take a practical, example-led approach which will clearly set out which issues you need to address and offer you a clear step forward.

For the serious aspiring writer, this represents an invaluable opportunity to see their work in a professional context and to improve their chances of publication.

Apprenticeships Appraisals are offered at a discounted rate and are available for a limited period only.


I just wanted to say how pleased I was with the AIF appraisal for my submission package, it was really encouraging and has helped me already to focus to my mind on what I'm trying to achieve and how to get there.
Sophie Green
The Last Giant

Your comments have been hugely helpful and I will certainly take them on board when I start to work on editing my first draft. The section about viewpoints was particularly helpful - and also the synopsis. I'm now spending some time doing a bit of critical reading and really noticing how other writers handle viewpoint.
Lorna Hill
The Red Road

Brian (Keaney's) advice is great. I'm really pleased I have a plan to take forward. We talked on the phone for an hour and he's very kind as well as very knowledgeable. Well worth the money!!
Dorothy Crossan

I have to say that I was very pleased with the appraisal; (Claire Brown) had obviously taken a great deal of time to read and consider my MS in detail. Particularly helpful were the very specific practical suggestions she offered that gave me some new ideas for the novel and helped me to develop it further. I also liked the tone which was honest and frank without being derogatory (you might not believe it but I have had feedback from other "professional" sources which I found very negative and insulting.) I now feel much more confident in my approach.
Tracey Iceton
The Slain Gods

Many thanks for your detailed and analytical appraisal. I found your structured response to the individual aspects of the novel immensely helpful. Many of your points made me consider my ideas from a reader's perspective rather than my own. This, I believe, has made all the difference. Your appraisal has given me the inspiration to push though to the next level.
Richard Cole
The Six Realms

Please convey my thanks to Brian Keaney for my recent assessment. Have to say I am thrilled to bits with it. Not only did he give me a straight talk about structure, but gave me ideas on how it could be rescued. But, as well as the straight talk, the kind things he said about my writing ability gave me the confidence to persevere with a major rewrite. They say kill your darlings, don't they? Well I've drawn my cutting blade! A lot of work, but I'm energised and looking forward to it, so thanks again.
Jane Hicks
Rats, Troopers and Time

I have had feedback before, but often it focuses narrowly on the writing that's there, rather than taking a step back, if that makes sense. Your appraisal was more useful in that it gave a variety of possible ways of taking the project forward and pointed out what might have to be done either way.
Cath Ferguson
Tale of a Useful Idiot

I found the appraisal extremely useful - it brought into focus the areas I think I knew were weak and enabled me to look again at how to tackle them. I was surprised and delighted at the attention to detail and thoroughness.
Julie Farnworth
The Fat Angel

…it confirmed my judgment, and reassured me that my instincts re editing are good.
Ruth Dugdall
Innocence Lane

I have received your feedback and am delighted with it! I agree with everything you say and felt it in my bones anyway, though didn’t have the experience to spot what potholes I was falling into... It has already proved invaluable and had the effect of lots of insights dropping into place!
Jessica Nelson
Living with Volcanoes

I found the feedback immensely constructive and I'm looking forward to re-writing the book and making the suggested changes.
Simon Griffiths
The Lion of Senegal

Liz (Williams) has given me a great deal to think about…although there is a lot of work to do, the comments have given me new ways to connect with my characters and to think about setting and plot. Overall I was extremely pleased with my appraisal and glad that I have plenty of feedback to work with. Thank you for all your help!
Lindsay Kernahan
The Other Side of Coins

Brian (Keaney) was very specific that the main thing to work on was the structure of my story (this was also what another publisher told me, so it made sense), rather than the writing itself (although, obviously, that can always be improved). He gave me a lot of confidence in the fact that I can actually write. He also gave me a lot of information about the publishing process. I found it very useful to understand more how a publisher might look at my work when deciding whether to take it on or not.
Jane Frederick
The Zero Sum Game

It is extremely useful to have such detailed and constructive comments, which highlight some fundamental shortcomings but also offer some hope.
Clare Hawkins
Passage to Redemption


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A one-year professional development programme
Well, I have to credit Adventures in Fiction. I don't think I really knew what editing was until I began their apprenticeship course.
Kelly Cowley
The Vagabond Stage