Jericho Writers
4 Acer Walk , Oxford, OX2 6EX, United Kingdom
UK: +44 (0)345 459 9560
US: +1 (646) 974 9060

Your Writing Mentor Daren King

Work alongside an award-winning author on your novel

Daren (view his author website) is an award-winning English novelist. His debut novel, Boxy an Star, was shortlisted for the 1999 Guardian First Book Award and longlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize.

His first children’s novel, Mouse Noses on Toast, won first prize in the 6-8 age category of the Nestle Children’s Book Prize. His books have been published around the world, including Canada and the US, and have been translated into Italian, German and Russian.

Daren began working with us as a mentor in 2008, and has worked in just about every genre.

Specialises in: Crime, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, contemporary, literary fiction, children’s and teen/YA fiction, non-fiction and biography. Daren has also worked with authors of erotic fiction, women’s fiction and romance.

Daren provides tuition for our Mentoring Service.

Why we love Daren

Daren has helped dozens of writers go on to write brilliant books, get published and even get longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. When it comes to helping writers getting the best out of themselves – no one knows more than Daren King.

What Daren says about Mentoring

Most successful published authors I know – myself included – learnt to write the hard way: through trial and error.

Ultimately, the only way to hone your skills is to sit down and write; but your learning curve will be considerably less steep with an experienced author to guide. I believe that good writing can be taught. Certainly, I was not born able to write. My own writing skills began to come together during my mid-twenties, when a university lecturer—herself a published author—explained to me that the last word in a sentence tends to carry the most emphasis. I had to figure out the rest myself, and this took several years and a vast amount of work, all the while not knowing for certain I would ever get published at all. It is not uncommon for an unpublished author to spend two years working on a project only to discover—perhaps after sending their manuscript to an organisation such as Jericho Writers—that they have written the entire novel in the wrong voice or from the wrong viewpoint, or that the plot begins halfway through.

Whether writing a commercial children’s novel like Mouse Noses on Toast or a literary novel like Boxy an Star, I always take a structured, methodological approach. There are unpublished writers who shudder at the thought of following a methodology. Surely rules and restrictions will curtail their creativity? In fact, more freedom is the last thing most writers need.

If you are setting out on a career as an author of plot-driven fiction—perhaps crime thrillers, historical romances, fantasy, children’s adventure fiction or horror—I can teach you the methodology I have developed over some years while planning my forthcoming crime thriller The Men and the Women. I am sure you know how painful it is to stare at a blank page or screen, scratching your head, waiting for ‘inspiration’ to strike.

More often than not it doesn’t, and you end up with prose that feels contrived, and lacks insight or any real sense of direction my method avoids this trap by enabling you to create a highly structured rough draft, first by developing a single line synopsis into an increasingly detailed plot outline, and secondly by building up the scenes in layers.

Those of you who wish to master literary fiction—works driven by characterisation, theme or voice—may prefer a less structured approach. I can help you explore your characters and themes and develop your voice, and lead you through the techniques and concepts which I have developed while writing my own literary fiction. I can teach you a concept which ensures that your novel’s premise can be felt in every sentence; and how to keep your reader with you by rooting your more abstract and emotive passages in a concrete reality.

Most crucially, whatever type of fiction you choose to write, I will teach you how to perfect your use of language, so that you can tell your story with confidence and style.


Daren has been a brilliant mentor and has provided invaluable help and insight. He has given me advice in relation to all aspects of the book, from plotting and structure, to fine linguistic details. I’m not sure I could have finished it without him.

Eve Harris

‘The Marrying of Chani Kaufman,’ longlisted for the Booker Prize
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