Testimonials

“Hi Zena, I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you so much for last Saturday’s Creative Writing course. I absolutely loved it and it was exactly what I was looking for. Even though I’ve been a journalist all my working life… news journalism is not always that creative, more factual. Not sure if you have an email list but if you do can you please add my name and email! I would love to work with you some more!” Jenny Ward, journalist.

Under Zena’s tutelage, it’s been a brilliant year for writing my book. Right from the get go, I have been given down to earth, practical advice on how to develop my structure and writing in order to tell a story that would connect with readers. Learning how to build character and setting has proved indispensable and being able to keep to a monthly word target invaluable! For every word, page and chapter, Zena has been alongside as personal or class mentor, and has always offered unflagging support, motivation and feedback.” Juliet Clarke, writer.

“Thanks for today’s writing workshop which was just what I was hoping for, a valuable overview to get me started with the added bonus of being enjoyable.” Toni Campbell, writer.

“As an author, I like to concentrate on writing books – however, these days authors need to do many more things than just that: graphic design, all kinds of complicated formatting, web-publishing, marketing, twittering… the list goes on and ON. Luckily for me – I have a friend called Zena and she is a wizard on all things related to books! I naturally contacted Zena when I had problems with converting my photos and Word documents into PDF documents ready for print – and just like that all my problems were solved! And the results of Zena’s work are stunning. Plus, she is a great listener and she understood directly what I wanted and needed. Nothing is a problem for Zena – she worked beyond and above all my expectations. I recommend Zena to all authors who need any kind of help with converting their manuscripts and/or photos into printed books and/or book covers.” A.C. Efverman, Swedish crime fiction Author.

“I first met Zena at a writers seminar at the NSWWC earlier this year where she taught on Social Media for Writers. She totally won me over with her calm, warm, clear approach on the subject and I went home having learned a lot more than I expected. I knew immediately that I wanted, no needed her to help me further. When she helped me develop a plan and set some goals I finally felt I could breathe again and take the necessary steps to go forward with my novel. I am finding her help with mentoring, editing and expertise with social media to be invaluable.” Mary Carter, Author.

“Zena has been a fantastic writing coach and editor and a general knowledge of everything useful. She is quick-thinking, imaginative, smart and very easy to work with. She has helped me to make my books come alive. Thank you Zena, you have been wonderful! I highly recommend her to help you with writing or editing your book or any project you have.” Csilla Rackevei “Zena Fan”, Author & small business owner.

“Dear Zena, I just want you to know how pleased we are with the way you helped us get my mother’s story into a book. I don’t think we could have done it without your knowledge of publishing a book. From our first meeting you led us through the process and you were always available when we needed help or couldn’t work things out and now we look forward to receiving our book and can’t wait to show you. Thank you Zena!” Margaret Dunlop, Biographer.

As a complete ‘newbie’ going about publishing a book, I really had no idea where to start. That was until a close friend put me in touch with Zena.  I immediately felt that I was in good hands and felt confident that with Zena’s support I would finally achieve the goal that I had put off for so long. She explained all the options to me, prepared my work for publishing and guided me through the process of getting my book published. Zena doesn’t mess around! Straight to the point, very quick and efficient and all done in a delightful and understanding way. Thank you Zena.” Diana Hole, Author.

“I took a complex book manuscript to Zena and she applied herself with amazing enthusiasm and dedication until it all came together. Her abilities in the IT world meant she was able to help me with graphics, diagrams and colour schemes as well. Her knowledge of the book content, together with her abilities in social media and website design, allowed me to use her as my ‘translator’ for the book concepts in dealing with the website design team. I couldn’t recommend her more strongly.” Dr Varipatis, Author & Medical Practitioner.

“Zena’s year-long writing course gave me the confidence to start writing. I particularly liked the development of our scripts that Zena helped with, and the hints as to how to get round tricky situations. Also the exercises that we wrote in class… helped flesh out what sort of writers we were and our own style compared to others. I found this very helpful. Zena’s ability to classify what we were writing into a pigeon hole was great. I had no idea mine was sci fi! This then lead to how many words we would need to write for our book and whether there would or could be a series of books from the one idea. Zena was also able to handle writers at different stages of their work in the one class, which meant that all of us could benefit from the one class. I do not think anyone in the class felt that it was not aimed at them. What was also great was that we each got 10 hours of personal coaching and Zena could then concentrate on our individual work. She is a discerning woman with a great memory, a quick wit and a way of writing that can get round problems. She is good at ordering your thoughts so that you can order your work!” Claire Cavanaugh, writer.

“Saskia LOVED seeing you the other day. Thank you so much. She literally bounced out of your place. We will be in touch when she is ready for the next session. Thank you again.” Katrina, Mum of Saskia.

“I named Zena ‘Wonder Woman’ when I first met her and she outlined how she could assist in making my draft book available as both an ebook and print-on-demand title. I felt elated and relieved to finally have some definite direction with the self-publishing option. She guided me through this complex process efficiently and patiently as she converted my word document into acceptable formats. Technically, her expert assistance was appreciated as well as her instruction, which made it possible to reduce costs by enabling me to do some of the work myself, such as reformatting photos. Along the way she gave willing, expert assistance by answering email questions about the big picture and was especially helpful in researching solutions and making suggestions. Working with her to deliver ‘Through the Heads to Balmoral, Sydney’ has reinforced that she truly is a ‘Wonder Woman’. Thanks Zena.” Claire Mitchell, Author.

“I recently attended two sessions of a three-hour writing class by Zena Shapter. It was a total delight, highly informative and presented in a relaxed, common sense and professional manner. Zena provided us with easy and useful, hands-on information for writers, writing exercises, and self-editing information. The course motto was: write, write, write. I loved it and would recommended it to anyone wishing to begin or improve their writing!” Irene Ashburn, Autobiographer.

“I learnt more in that single hour about creative writing, than I have all day!” Peter Dickison, writer.

“I found Zena’s course very helpful and it certainly matched my expectations. It provided a clear pathway to writing my novel. The practical, easily understood writing tips, which every writer can apply to whatever works they choose, were excellent. I valued her feedback greatly to help me improve as a writer.” Peter Fagan, writer.

“Twenty-five years ago, I wrote my first book and submitted it to five London publishers, complete with a marketing promotion proposal… After completing Zena’s excellent writing course, I understand it lacked both drama and good structure. She gave me the structure and skills to craft a new book that I yearned to complete. Zena is an excellent guide who is experienced in giving budding writers the structure, skills and challenges to complete the book lurking in their being. Such is my enthusiasm that I have another two books planned after this trilogy, with a target to becoming a published professional author. Thank you Zena for your expert guidance!” Stephen Berry, writer.

“Last Friday I had the great pleasure of listening to Zena speak at the NSW Writers’ Centre. It was one of those inspiring moments when I gained an insight about moving my author journey to a new level. Having focused on the writing side for the last three years, I now need to learn how to communicate and engage with my audiences. Zena clearly and simply explained how to do this, interspersed with personal anecdotes told with a natural storyteller’s flair. I am now really looking forward to reading her first novel. The idea behind it sounds intriguing and I am sure that the product when told in Zena’s lucid writing style will be outstanding.”  Graham Wilson, author.

“I wanted to learn how to write fiction. I didn’t think there was a much better way to do this than to have an award-winning local author teach me some core creative writing skills and techniques. I loved the practical writing exercises and expert feedback from Zena in a supportive group environment. Her “Writing Safari” course helped me to go home and actually start writing, instead of procrastinating in front of a blank page. I gained not only fundamental skills, but also self-confidence. I am more creative than I think I am! The ‘Big Five’ skills I learned – character, setting, voice, structure and self-editing – have additionally strengthened my writing in other genres, such as memoir.” Leah Boonthanom, writer.

“Thanks so much for an awesome day of learning and connecting on the Central Coast, Zena. I really appreciate all you had to offer us and appreciated you sharing your creative writing process with us. You Rock!! :-)” Lisa J Butler, writer.

“Thanks for a really informative seminar. You covered a lot of ground in a nice breezy way.” Claire Scobie, writer.

“I would recommend Zena’s writing classes to anyone who wants to take the leap into writing. Her class is informative and fun – the day flew by. I walked away with key information but also real steps and exercises for writing on my own. I also saw a few things in my own writing that I can now work on and improve, and the confidence to explore my own voice. I found the day insightful.” Renee Mansfield, writer.

“I asked Zena Shapter to help me create a new website and blog that could reduce to an iPad and iPhone. She was very patient describing the different themes and explaining the advantages. Zena was fabulous to work with and I highly recommend her for web, blog or any creative or technical support.” Jan Latta, Author, Wildlife Photographer and Publisher.

“I created a Facebook Ad to promote my recent book, but was unable to understand the tracking progress. Luckily I was introduced to Zena who helped me navigate the intricacies of Facebook and Google Analytics. She is patient and a definite authority in this field. Thank you Zena, for helping me out.” Clio Calodoukas, Author.

“I have worked with Zena over the last three months on a series of children’s books I have written. Being a Mum herself she knows how hard it can be to meet deadlines and juggle schedules. She has been very helpful, understanding and has done an incredible job of editing my books. She also helped with ideas and cover letters I sent to publishers. As a first time writer I am over the moon to find such a professional and knowledgeable person with whom I can work. I plan to use Zena in all my further projects.” Victoria Vanstone, Author.

“Every time I go to one of Zena’s writing classes I learn more to help me develop my writing skills. There’s still a long way to go before what I produce can be called ‘art’, let alone ‘competent’, but Zena always points me in the right direction. There have been many head-slapping moments when I thought of my writing: ‘Why didn’t I see that before?’.” Philip Rhoades, writer.

“Wonderfully presented and very comprehensive introduction for new, fledgling and accomplished writers.” Maureene Fries, writer.

“Excellent presentation. Obtained a very good idea on creative writing techniques.” Yauter Ratnamsashore, writer.

“Very engaging and much more than I expected.” Maureen Hennessy, writer.

“Zena was excellent, informative, and I enjoyed her seminar thoroughly! I’m a reader who wants to write for my own enjoyment. Books inspire me! And Zena was top notch! She speaks and presents to all levels! Thank you, Zena!” Lynda Harwood, writer.

Very comprehensive with a good overview. Great presenter – easy and relaxed style – gave great examples when explaining aspects of story writing. Zena’s experiences in the literary field are invaluable and sharing these with aspiring writers gives them the confidence to pursue their dreams. Thank you, Zena!” Janice Rowan, writer.

“Zena was an excellent speaker. Her handouts were also very good.” Wendy Watson, writer.

“Totally inspiring and I loved it. Zena made it totally easy to learn and a real pleasure to listen to. Keep up the great work!” Louise Dicks, writer.

“I’m already writing and thought I would not learn much from an introductory seminar. What a surprise! Best presentation on all the tools a writer needs. Better than other courses at NSW Writers’ Centre!” Meg Dunn, writer.

“A great insight into writing, a very knowledgeable approach, thought-provoking.” Sheryl Taylor, writer.

“The speaker Zena Shapter was excellent – very personable with great tips!” Frances Jackson, writer.

“Our writing groups from Ettalong and the Hunter Valley attended presentations by Zena on Social Media for Writers and Vividness & Voice, funded by a grant from Romance Writers of Australia. At our stage of development, we found these a great help and highly recommend them for emerging or published writers wanting to develop their art and promote their work.” Anne Swan, writer.

“Thank you for that workshop, Zena. It was very good to get genuine, helpful feedback on my writing. Some very useful general insights too.” Peter Fagan, writer.

“Dear Zena, I really enjoyed your two short courses: self-publishing and author promotion. The course work and the way it was presented was very useful and practical. Many thanks.” Anne Donnelly, writer.

“Many thanks for the informative and inspiring day spent writing and digging into our creative ‘talents’. I enjoyed the time which flew passed and was most challenging and stimulating.” Ruth Purdie-Smith, writer.

“Zena’s ability to research, analyse and present complex ideas in plain accessible English is a valuable talent. Zena is professional, timely and knows the importance of a brief. A pleasure to work with.” Shaun Weston, Senior Legal Writer, CCH Australia.

“Zena has empowered and taught me how to design and constantly update my website so I can add photos and information whenever I want without having to pay someone… Zena has a wonderful grasp of the structure of language and the importance of correct phrasing and the impact of this knowledge on one’s prospective clientele. She obviously loves what she does, is very intuitive and makes this process very enjoyable indeed. I now have a very classy and user-friendly website, she has guided me to this end seemingly effortlessly and I am now looking forward to learning how to tie this all in with social media. All a thoroughly enjoyable experience.” Victoria Hannah, small business owner.

OMG Zena Shapter is like the real deal. I super mean that too, no jokes. When Susanne was writing my book ‘Bridget Spaghetti Reveals the Secrets to a Happy Life’ she asked Zena to help mentor her. That means like hold her hand and suggest better ways of writing it. Writing me that is. I’m 12 years old and working out how to manage my life and get stuff done. My mum once said to me, ‘Bridget, if you want something enough, you will go out there and find it for yourself, don’t expect others to find it for you.’ Yawn! Typical mother speak 🙁 Anyhow Zena helped Susanne with things like the structure and how to pitch me to potential literary agents and publishers. She’s a pretty cool chick, that Zena Shapter.” Bridget Spaghetti, fictional character from ‘Bridget Spaghetti Reveals the Secrets to a Happy Life’ by Susanne Mitchell.

“Although I have some talent for editing, I know there is still a long way to go before I feel competent at it. So I depend on Zena to catch all the stuff I miss, as well as for the different, interesting and more experienced perspective she brings to editing the stories submitted to Domain Science Fiction.” Philip Rhoades, Author & Editor.

“Thank you again for the writing course on Sunday. It was clear, precise and well planned. I learnt a lot and have written my ‘children’s’ story to a full 500 words which is what I understand the publishers want. I may not pursue it but I was so excited after doing the exercise on your course that I thought about it all the way home, then during the night and just had to write it. This is a compliment to you that you stirred up such excitement in me that I gave up other things to write. Years since I’ve done that.” Shirley La Planche, author.

“Zena does a great presentation on how to use social media. She’s enthusiastic, she’s entertaining and, best of all, she’s very, very clear!” Richard Harland, internationally bestselling fantasy author.

“I’ve attended a couple of Zena’s workshops and her knowledge of internet media is astounding. Her skill and expertise are inspiring, matched by her warm personality. Can thoroughly recommend her presentations.” Beatrice Yell, former president of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, Manly.

“Zena’s workshop course: ‘Introduction to Social Media’ is methodically well-presented. With everyone awake and participating, it sure is fun. She has unravelled many of participants’ confusions and for this, we are grateful. Thanks, Zena.” Edita Diamante, Secretary of The Society of Women Writers NSW.

“My previous website was a financial drain. Then I went to one of Zena’s Blogging Workshops, and magic happened! The course was so enlightening and I started to realise how much better my website could be done for a lot less cost and stress on my part, and much more enjoyable. I have now been having private tuition with Zena because I find it much more productive one to one. She has empowered and taught me how to design and constantly update my website so I can add photos and information whenever I want without having to pay someone who doesn’t have the same passion for what I do.” Victoria Hannah, small business owner.

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