Hi. I’m Tim Lott.  

I have been writing novels since my first fiction work ‘White City Blue’ was published in 1999.  It won the Whitbread First Novel Prize.  I was 43 years old so I had paid my dues ( and in my view, if you want to be a novelist, you have to pay your dues.)

My first published book was a memoir, ‘The Scent of Dried Roses’ (1996)  which won the PEN prize for autobiography and is now a Penguin Modern Classic.  

 I’ve now got ten novels under my belt.

 But that only means I can write.  Can I teach ( a completely different skill)?

I’ve taught for The Arvon Foundation,  Guardian Masterclasses, The Faber Academy, The Novelry, The Idler Academy and Brunel University.       I have worked as an independent writing mentor for the last ten years and have taught scores of writers on a one-to-one basis.    I’ve written maybe a dozen screenplays and I have also read pretty much every important book published on the craft of storytelling. 

I have worked with some of the best story teachers in the world.  This is what they say about me.

“Shaping a novel chapter by chapter requires complex psychological insight.
Tim Lott possesses that insight” Robert McKee, author, ‘Story’. “Tim Lott is one of the few novelists who truly understands story structure” John Yorke, author, ‘Into the Woods’. “Tim Lott has long experience of the practice of writing fiction as well as a deep knowledge the theory of story craft – a rare yet essential combination“ Will Storr, author, ‘The Science of Storytelling’

HOW DOES BOOT CAMP WORK?

I post my thoughts on novel writing twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  This will cover pretty much everything I can think of on the day,  but my emphasis will be on Plot and Character which to me are the magic helix of storytelling.  However, I have a point of view on nearly everything else – including Point of View.

There will be comment threads in which I will try to answer contributors’ questions as best I can and where you can offer your own answers.  Then we can spitball the subject. There will be Zoom meetings so everyone can meet one another – under my stern but benevolent stewardship – and discuss their glitches, struggles. problems and triumphs.   You will be able to swap writing samples with other members of the group and get feedback.  I will also post pieces by Boot Camp members, both good and not so good,  and give my feedback on why they work or don’t work.

I want the club to interactive, stimulating and tough-minded – not too many Paltrow-isms about the wonders and ecstasies of being a writer,  more frank and tough-minded discussions about what can make your writing better.  

And you can always make your writing better. 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Nothing – at first, anyway.  And for some, it can always stay free.  But in the longer terms, I will be running a paywall.

WHAT’S BEHIND THE PAYWALL?

 You can access personalised advice, receive discounted mentoring services, access special threads and discussions and anything else I can think of that might be worth the £5 a month or whatever pittance it might cost you to get your ‘backstage pass’. There will be interviews with other authors and other storytelling experts. There will be podcasts and videos.   And there will be other stuff I haven’t thought of yet but will definitely be brilliant. 

Interested? Then you can subscribe by putting your details in here

HOW CAN I GET IN TOUCH? 

On some posts, the Comments function will be open and I’ll be reading these and responding to them within the time I have available.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to get some great conversations going.

WHAT’S THE POINT OF ALL THIS?

From my point of view, I have the noble desire to share all that I have learned. I also have the ignoble desire to make a few quid in the process, since my novels consistently lose money and my teaching gigs are never going to buy me that second yacht. But I know I’m not going to get rich doing this.  I just love communicating about something I have spent decades trying to understand and to practise.

Also, hopefully, I can do something I do for my mentoring clients  - let them use my imagination to help them with their work. I guess I must have a good imagination since I’ve written so many books and I am quite happy to put it on loan, to make suggestions about where your story might go next, or what character arc might work. 

WHAT’S MY USP?

 I’m not really much like most novelists.   I don’t have a literature degree – and I didn’t even go into higher education until I was 27.  My background isn’t literary either - my father worked in a greengrocer’s shop and my mother was a school dinner lady. I know nothing about novel writing when I wrote my first novel, I did it on the seat of my pants.

At heart is my conviction that novel writing is not about erudition or education.  It’s writing something that matters to you, in a way that is honest and accessible for readers.  It’s not about constructing beautiful sentences ( although I am not against beautiful sentences),  it’s about telling a story that will engage the reader.   As such I am democrat – with very high standards.   Yes, anyone can write a novel.  But very few people can write a good novel, and even fewer a publishable one.  To stand a chance of becoming a real writer, you have to learn your craft – and I know my craft inside out.  

If you want more information – my website is timlott.com, where you can find a video posted on my mentoring services, testimonials, book reviews and other stuff.

Tim Lott's Writing Boot Camp is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts, writing advice and to join my writing community why not consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.