Vanessa Curtis

Vanessa Curtis - Editor

Devon

I'm an award-winning Young Adult and Children's author who works as a literary consultant/editor in all genres, specialising in YA fiction.

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Overview

I love working together with authors to make their books commercial, marketable and the very highest standard possible. Whether you want an in-depth editorial report on all aspects of your book or some help writing a query letter or synopsis, I aim to give you an enjoyable and productive time as we work on your book together. Although I am an award-winning Young Adult historical novelist I also love working on contemporary fiction, historical fiction, biography and paranormal books.

I review books for all the leading national newspapers such as The Times, TLS, Guardian and Independent newspapers. I was children's critic for the Herald Newspaper for a number of years. I have worked as a consultant for Cornerstones and also as an editor of a literary journal. My awards for my Young Adult fiction include winning the Young Quills Award for my novel 'The Earth is Singing ' (Usborne) and winning the Manchester Children's Book Awards for my first novel for kids, 'Zelah Green (Egmont). My most recent novel is 'The Stolen Ones', a harrowing tale of a young girl being caught between two mothers as a result of the 'Lebensborn' program in World War Two. It has just won the Young Quills award for the teen category.

As an agented author myself I am up to date with current trends in the industry and have a strong idea of what agents are looking for. As a literary consultant I have over twenty years of experience helping authors to shape and improve their novels with a view to submission. I enjoy the editorial process and am an expert in helping you to hone, tighten and rewrite your book so that it stands the best possible chance in a very competitive market.

Languages
English (UK)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Writing & Publishing
Fiction
Coming of Age
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Middle Grade
Women's Fiction

Awards

  • Waterstones Prize Shortlist, winner of Manchester Book Awards, winner Young Quills Award, Carnegie-listed, also shortlisted for NASEN/TES, Young Minds, Warwickshire and Portsmouth Book Awards

Work experience

Vanessa Curtis

Self-employed
May, 2005 – Present (over 17 years)

Editor and literary consultant

Self-employed
January, 1998 – Present (over 24 years)

Over the past twenty years I have helped many novelists, new and experienced, to rewrite and hone their books and novels to a high standard. I have published over ten of my own books (details can be found further down this page) and have won several awards for them. As the editor of a literary magazine and also a contributing book reviewer to the national newspaper, I have a keen eye for what sells and for current trends in publishing. I specialise in editorial assessment and developmental editing. My developmental editing takes the form of an in-depth report on your novel which can be tailored to suit your requirements but will generally give you feedback on the following aspects of improving your novel/book:

Characterisation - how to create really compelling, memorable characters
Plotting - I use a particular template which is fantastic for plotting out taut, fast-moving fiction
Sentence construction - how to avoid over-writing and repetition etc
Dialogue - how to make it believable and to use it to avoid passive writing
Similes and metaphors - how to use them to avoid 'telling' rather than 'showing' in your work
Believability - how to create fully-rounded, believable characters
Originality - how to write as only you, the author, can, so that your submission stands out in the slush-pile

Query letters:
I also have an in-depth knowledge of the publishing industry so can also help you put together a succinct, professional query or selling letter to an agent/publisher, along with a professional package designed to put you, the author, in the best possible light.

I look forward to working with you!

Portfolio (10 selected works)

The Earth is Singing

Vanessa Curtis

Lilah May's Manic Days

Vanessa Curtis

Lilah May used to be angry. VERY angry. But not any more. She's got her temper - and her life - back under control.Or has she?Things with her best friend, Bindi, are going from bad to worse. The whereabouts of her brother Jay is still a mystery. And gorgeous Adam Carter is still out of reach. Groo!Can Lilah sort out her family, her friendship and her love life? Or is her anger about to reach a... read more

Lilah May used to be angry. VERY angry. But not any more. She's got her temper - and her life - back under control.Or has she?Things with her best friend, Bindi, are going from bad to worse. The whereabouts of her brother Jay is still a mystery. And gorgeous Adam Carter is still out of reach. Groo!Can Lilah sort out her family, her friendship and her love life? Or is her anger about to reach a... read more

The Taming of Lilah May

Vanessa Curtis

I'm Lilah May and I'm ANGRY. So angry that I'm about to be excluded from school, my parents can't control me, and only one person in the world understands me. And that's my best friend, Bindi. I haven't always been this way. It all started with my brother Jay. And what no one realises is that it's all my fault.

I'm Lilah May and I'm ANGRY. So angry that I'm about to be excluded from school, my parents can't control me, and only one person in the world understands me. And that's my best friend, Bindi. I haven't always been this way. It all started with my brother Jay. And what no one realises is that it's all my fault.

The Haunting of Tabitha Grey

Vanessa Curtis

I've just moved into a creepy old manor house with my family. And it feels like the house is waiting for something. I can't explain all the things that are happening here. The maids I hear sobbing... The cold breath of... Life? Death? I don't know. I can't tell Dad or Mum. But least I've got my little brother Ben to talk to.

I've just moved into a creepy old manor house with my family. And it feels like the house is waiting for something. I can't explain all the things that are happening here. The maids I hear sobbing... The cold breath of... Life? Death? I don't know. I can't tell Dad or Mum. But least I've got my little brother Ben to talk to.

Zelah Green: One More Little Problem

Vanessa Curtis

The wonderful second in Vanessa Curtis’s books for teens about one girl and her uncontrollable obsession. Ideal for girls nearly ready for Jodi Picoult.My name is Zelah Green – and I’m still here. Summer’s supposed to be good, right? But I’m stuck at home with a lousy laptop, stacks of homework to start and dad being more useless than ever. And then Caro turns up out of the blue, all heavy met... read more

The wonderful second in Vanessa Curtis’s books for teens about one girl and her uncontrollable obsession. Ideal for girls nearly ready for Jodi Picoult.My name is Zelah Green – and I’m still here. Summer’s supposed to be good, right? But I’m stuck at home with a lousy laptop, stacks of homework to start and dad being more useless than ever. And then Caro turns up out of the blue, all heavy met... read more

The Baking Life of Amelie Day

Vanessa Curtis

Baking Life of Amelie Day

Baking Life of Amelie Day

Zelah Green: Who Says I'm a Freak?

Vanessa Curtis

A wonderful book for teens about one girl and her uncontrollable obsession. Ideal for girls nearly ready for Jodi Picoult.My Name is Zelah Green and I’m a cleanaholic. I spend most of my life running away from germs. And dirt. And people. And I’m just about doing OK and then my stepmother packs me off to some kind of hospital to live with a load of strangers. It’s stuck in the middle of nowher... read more

A wonderful book for teens about one girl and her uncontrollable obsession. Ideal for girls nearly ready for Jodi Picoult.My Name is Zelah Green and I’m a cleanaholic. I spend most of my life running away from germs. And dirt. And people. And I’m just about doing OK and then my stepmother packs me off to some kind of hospital to live with a load of strangers. It’s stuck in the middle of nowher... read more

Virginia Woolf's Women

Vanessa Curtis

The Hidden Houses of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell

Vanessa Curtis

The Hidden Houses of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell Presents a biography of place that studies the 'hidden houses' in conjunction with the novels of Virginia Woolf and the diaries and letters of both Woolf, and her sister Vanessa Bell. This book provides a glimpse into the world of the upper-middle-class Victorian/Edwardian holidaymakers, whilst giving an insight into their minds.

The Hidden Houses of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell Presents a biography of place that studies the 'hidden houses' in conjunction with the novels of Virginia Woolf and the diaries and letters of both Woolf, and her sister Vanessa Bell. This book provides a glimpse into the world of the upper-middle-class Victorian/Edwardian holidaymakers, whilst giving an insight into their minds.

The Stolen Ones

Vanessa Curtis

My name is Inge. I am sixteen. I live in Munich. Food is rationed, though the war ended years ago. My boyfriend is Jewish. My parents would not approve, so I hide this from them. I think they are hiding something from me, too. Letters arrive on my birthday, but they are not addressed to me. They are for a girl named Kasia. This is her story.

My name is Inge. I am sixteen. I live in Munich. Food is rationed, though the war ended years ago. My boyfriend is Jewish. My parents would not approve, so I hide this from them. I think they are hiding something from me, too. Letters arrive on my birthday, but they are not addressed to me. They are for a girl named Kasia. This is her story.

Vanessa has 23 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Ellen Currey
I am very happy with Vanessa's notes. Her insight is valuable to me and I know I will be able to make a better book from her suggestions.

Ellen Currey, April 2022

Vanessa Curtis
Thank you, Ellen. It was a pleasure to work with somebody so professional and enthusiastic.

Reply from Vanessa Curtis


Joanna Moran
Vanessa has been prompt to communicate from the very beginning. She offered encouragement and praise from the start and maintained a positive angle when finding issues to address. Her comments showed great insight into my story world and characters, with clear details for what and how to improve. From issues of genre and engaging an agent, to small observations on sentence structure, Vanessa c...
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Joanna Moran, March 2022


Wallace Briggs
Vanessa will be my first port of call for any work I produce in whatever genre. I am greatly appreciative of her thoroughness and expertice. Even when she gives me considerable rewriting work, I am grateful for her input.

Wallace Briggs, March 2022

Vanessa Curtis
Thank you very much, Wallace. I am always delighted to work with you and hope that my reports continue to help you with your Jimmy Crikey series.

Reply from Vanessa Curtis


Jen U
The thing I liked most about Vanessa was her punctuality and communication. I knew exactly where and when I stood in the proceedings. This was the first time getting a report on my novel, any novel so I can't comment on value as I have nothing to compare it to. The report I got, I felt it was detailed with lots of worthy points and if I had been honest with myself, I had known for a while. ...
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Jen U, January 2022

Vanessa Curtis
It was a pleasure working with you, Jen. You have exactly the right attitude to your work. I wish you all the best.

Reply from Vanessa Curtis


Xiaolong Huang
Vanessa provided a highly organized developmental report with substantial details to my book. She carefully read my draft, gave abundant high quality actionable suggestions with her knowledge and experience. I could see she cared about the work I did, paid attention to details from many different angles. Her suggestions also came with examples from other books and quotes from the lines in my bo...
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Xiaolong Huang, January 2022

Vanessa Curtis
Thank you so much, Xiaolong. It was a real pleasure to work with you and I appreciate your professionalism.

Reply from Vanessa Curtis

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