A home writ­ing course led to a new chap­ter . . .

Daily Mail - - Freeview Primetime Planner - SARAH HAR­RIS

AM­BI­TIOUS Heather Burn­side launched a suc­cess­ful ca­reer as an au­thor after em­bark­ing on a cre­ative writ­ing course.

The 57- year- old from Manch­ester, stud­ied with The Writ­ers Bureau be­tween 1999 and 2002 and has since had six books pub­lished.

Two decades later, Heather is still writ­ing pro­lif­i­cally, with two more nov­els due to be pub­lished this year and a ninth next sum­mer.

Heather, who has two grown-up chil­dren, says: ‘The skills I gained with The Writ­ers Bureau have been in­valu­able. Dur­ing my stud­ies I learnt writ­ing tech­niques that have stood me in good stead not only as an au­thor, but also in my pre­vi­ous ca­reer as a copy­writer.

‘In terms of fic­tion writ­ing, I learnt many writ­ing rules and tech­niques in­clud­ing view­point, cre­at­ing at­mos­phere, building sus­pense, cre­at­ing re­al­is­tic char­ac­ters, show don’t tell, writ­ing good di­a­logue, out­lines, pace, con­flict, etc.’

The cre­ative writ­ing course also cov­ered ar­ti­cle writ­ing, bi­ogra­phies, writ­ing for trade mag­a­zines and jour­nal­ism.

The diploma is com­pleted on a home­s­tudy ba­sis so stu­dents can work at their own pace. Each stu­dent is al­lo­cated a per­sonal tu­tor who gives feedback on their work. Heather, who wrote mag­a­zine ar­ti­cles dur­ing her course, says: ‘ The tu­tors en­cour­age you to sub­mit your work to pub­li­ca­tions so you can earn in­come while you are study­ing. I became in­un­dated with work on the course.’

Heather even­tu­ally set up her own busi­ness, work­ing as a copy­writer and proof­reader, while pur­su­ing her true pas­sion: writ­ing nov­els.

She self-pub­lished her first gritty crime novel, Slur, along with a fur­ther two books.

She was spot­ted by a pub­lisher, Aria fic­tion, and the books were re­pub­lished as The River­hill Tril­ogy. This was fol­lowed by The Manch­ester Tril­ogy. A fur­ther three books will be pub­lished from June on­wards.

She says: ‘ With­out the Writ­ers Bureau I’d never have had the con­fi­dence to self­pub­lish. They taught me many valu­able skills, which I put to good use each time I write. I’m lucky to be earning a liv­ing do­ing some­thing I love, and it all started when I stud­ied for my writ­ing diploma with The Writ­ers Bureau.’

For de­tails on The Writ­ers Bureau cour­ses, log on to writ­ers­bu­reau.com. For more in­for­ma­tion about Heather, go to heather­burn­side.com

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