Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Newsletter no.2

Hi All, 

Please find the second Newsletter. Hope you are all getting on well with your homework! See you Thursday around 10.30 in Stillorgan. 

Quote"There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder." - Brian Aldiss

On finding your writing voicehttp://www.megrosoff.co.uk/2012/02/06/finding-a-voice/#comments
Funny - my favourite actor Alan Rickman in a Broadway play Seminar where a group of young writers hire a critic and teacher Leonard, and what comes out of it. Give the video some time to get to the play scenes. 

Vocabulary - a list of rare and beautiful words we can use in writing 

Tips from Henry Miller - Commandments of writing and daily routine 

What makes popular books popular - just some thoughts of one writer how the Death Factor can make writing gripping

Poetry - How to write a poem

Exercise - Take your favourite poem and write a story based on it, using some key words and metaphors from it, either directly or paraphrasing, but trying to keep the atmosphere and meaning of the poem. 

Do the same to your favourite song and listen to it while writing. Try to see how emotions and feelings the music provokes influence your writing. 

Video - Some great videos from Margaret Atwood

Nadia Gativa

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Self Publishing Best Seller success on Amazon

Self-published ebook author becomes Amazon's top seller
Kerry Wilkinson's Jessica Daniel detective novels sell more than
250,000 copies on Kindle

A self-published author has beaten names including Lee Child, James
Patterson and Stieg Larsson to become the bestselling ebook author on
Amazon.co.uk for the last three months of 2011, the online retailer
said on Wednesday.

Kerry Wilkinson, 31, self-published Locked In, the first book in his
Jessica Daniel series of detective novels, last year, only to find it
shoot up the UK's Kindle charts. The three-book series has now sold
more than a quarter of a million copies, with Locked In selling its
100,000th copy on Christmas Eve and becoming the top seller on
Amazon's UK Kindle store for the last quarter of 2011. Kindle EU
director Gordon Willoughby said the news was a "significant milestone"
for independent publishing in the UK. Self-published author Katie
Stephens also took the fifth slot over the same period with her debut
novel Candles on the Sand.

"This time last year, I hadn't even started writing Locked In and now
I have a No 1 bestselling book in the Kindle Store, outselling many
authors that I have grown up reading," said Wilkinson. The author told
the Guardian that he was only prompted to start writing fiction when
he turned 30 in November 2010 and "decided I should probably do
something with my life".

"I always thought I could create something – not necessarily a novel –
and just thought I should do it. I'm not the type of person to sit
around pontificating so, as soon as I had my idea, I just did it. Then
I realised I actually enjoyed writing. I've got pages of notes left
over and found I can write very quickly if I want to," he said.

"Once I had finished Locked In, I didn't really know what to do with
it. I didn't write it for release as such, more as a test to myself.
Then I saw the 'publish with us' button at the bottom of Amazon's
website and just thought, 'What the hell?' I'm pretty good with
computers and figured out the formatting and so on. Then I was away."

He priced the novel low, with a selling price of 98p, and keeps 35% of
that; the later books cost £1.88 and £2.79, and Wilkinson keeps 70%.
Sales began to take off when he released Vigilante, the sequel to
Locked In. "With the reader's hat on, I never buy the first book of a
series because, if I like it, I want to know there's a follow-up. When
I released Vigilante, sales of book one soared. Locked In jumped into
the top 10, then crept into the top five. When it got to No 1, it just
stayed there. Then book two soared as well. I had the No 1 and 2 crime
books at the same time with both titles in the top five."

Wilkinson never approached a traditional publisher with his novel
because he "didn't set out to 'be an author'", instead aiming just to
"write something I thought I would like".

"I keep chapters short and snappy because I like that. I try not to
flit between characters too much because I don't like that either. As
such, in a literary sense, I know it's not perfect - but I wasn't
aiming for that. I wanted to create something I would like as a
consumer," he said. "When I realised I could release it on Kindle, I
bought one and thought about how they work. You can download 10% of
the book for free as a sample. I cram as much as I can into that first
10% because I want people to read the sample and buy the book. I try
to think like a reader because, basically, I am one."

Amazon's success with self-published authors in the UK follows the US
arm of the retailer's announcement last year that two self-published
authors, John Locke and Amanda Hocking, had sold more than 1m books on
the Kindle. Hocking went on to sign a reported $2m deal with St
Martin's Press, while Locke has signed up with Simon & Schuster.

With two more Jessica Daniel books due out this year, Wilkinson says
he has an "open mind" about talking to publishers about his writing,
with some already making contact. "I have nothing against the
publishing industry at all. If they wanted to talk to me, I'd talk to
them," he said.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

William Trevor / Elizabeth Bowen Short Story Competition

         2nd prize: 500 Euro                 
 5 runners up prizes of 200 Euro each.
Mitchelstown Literary Society is pleased to announce the launch of the second William Trevor / Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition
The Society was founded to celebrate the lives and works of two of Ireland's literary greats with Mitchelstown connections. The short story competition evolved as a natural adjunct to our annual literary festival and aims to provide a competitive outlet for new and emerging writers in the short story genre. The continued support of William Trevor includes sponsoring the very generous First Prize.
Our adjudicators are both well-known short story writers and book reviewers. They will select a short list of approximately 25 stories to be passed on for final adjudication.
Drumshanbo born, Dublin resident, Ita Daly, our main adjudicator, was married to writer and editor, the late David Marcus.  Educated at UCD, Ita holds a Masters Degree in English.  She has published five novels, a collection of short stories and two children's books.  Two times winner of the Hennessy Literary Awards and an Irish Times Short Story Award winner, Ita's last novel 'Unholy Ghosts' was long listed for the Impact Award.
Details of rules, official entry form(s), payment methods etc. can be had from our official contact points indicated below.
There is entry fee of 20.00 Euro per entry and the Closing Date for receipt of entries is last post on Friday, 30th March 2012.
The winner and runners up will be notified personally as well as results being posted to the competition website as they become available.
Entries, by post only, to:
Trevor/Bowen International Short Story Competition,         
37 Upper Cork Street
Co. Cork,  
Contact Points:
Tel: (025) 84969.       
Email: cusackliam@eircom.net              

Friday, February 10, 2012

First Newsletter from Nadia Feb 2012

Hi everyone, here is our first newsletter with a selection of things and links you might find handy. Please feel free to add to it. :)

1. Attachment: Short Story Writing book - download and use, even if you are not writing short stories, some rules apply everywhere!
*And a beautiful image for your mood* - Shakespear and Co. bookshop in Paris

2. Video: Paolo Coelho's video podcast. There have been six so far...

3. Tips for Writers from: Joanne Harris (author of 'Chocolat')

- You're ready to edit your manuscript when the prospect of cutting an entire chapter fills you, not with anguish, but joy...

- When editing, try changing the font. It gives a fresh perspective and makes it easier to spot mistakes.

- Deadline (n): object approaching at warp speed. (n) ii: line to be reached, crawling if necessary. Being dead no excuse.

- Get used to the fact that, from now on, for you, there is NO SUCH THING as a weekend or a holiday...

- The most important test of all: the "So what?" test. Apply it daily. Remove anything that doesn't pass...

- Attack of the Killer Plot Device. Characters do not exist to serve your plot, however convenient that may be... :-)

- The "cup of tea" syndrome - when a writer rushes headlong towards the end of a scene in order to get it finished. Avoid.

- Teach your children to forage for food AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Choose a husband who likes toast.

- Live in a self-cleaning house.

- Learn to tell the difference between the people who like you for WHO you are, and those who like you for WHAT you are.

- Other writers are your colleagues. Persistent bad-mouthing of colleagues just makes you sound like a nob.

- You are not a writer until you have actually WRITTEN SOMETHING. Having potential doesn't count...

- Write because you want to write, not because you want to make money, gain friends, be famous or get laid. (You won't:-)

- This one was given to me when I was just starting out. "Writing is easy. It's the author shit that's hard."

- In the steakhouse that is publishing, the writer is the head chef. In Hollywood, you're just the cow.

- Live with the fact that whatever you do, someone, somewhere will hate you.

- When the magic runs dry, use blood. People rarely spot the difference.

- Only write if there is NOTHING BETTER you can do. If you can fight the compulsion, do it. Life awaits.

4. Exercises:

First lines.  Authors often try to make those as memorable and compelling as possible. Write ten first lines of your own—funny, sad, suspenseful, surprising, or intriguing.  Share what you have written and discuss how yours compare to your favourite author's first lines. Then each person can choose one of his or her opening lines and write a short story following it.

Film director. Analyse your own or your favourite book and cast it as a film director. Explain their casting choices in one to two paragraphs based on the characters of the story, they general mood of it, etc. 

5. Some Fun stuff: Warning! Strong language (but very honest)

6. Useful websites: 

7. Craft: 20 Common Grammar Mistakes + some in the comments 

Nadia Gativa

DLR Writer in Residence Chris Binchy update

dlr Writer-in-Residence

Since his appointment as writer-in-residence, Chris Binchy has been running workshops, meeting local writing groups and holding one-on-one clinics with individual writers to discuss their work.

“From the numbers of people attending the Mountains to Sea festival and the Library Voices series, you know that there’s a very high level of interest in books and literature in the county. But I’ve been amazed at how many people are actively engaged in writing themselves. They’re male and female, young and old, people who have been published in various formats for years and first timers. What comes across when you meet them is how seriously they take their own work, how committed they are to it and how open and enthusiastic they are about discussing it. At a time when there’s a lot of uncertainty about the future of books and publishing, it’s really encouraging to see that.” Chris Binchy.

Over the next couple of months Chris will be running a series of workshops in schools, organising fiction and poetry events as well as a public reading of Ulysses to mark Bloomsday, and will be available to meet local writers to discuss their work. You can contact Chris by email at DLRWriter@gmail.com

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Library Voices Series Dun Laoghaire

Date: Various
Location: County Hall & The Pavilion Theatre, Marine Road,
Dún Laoghaire
Time: Various
Cost: €5 to €15 on sale from The Pavilion Theatre

The Spring series of DLR Library Voices features a stellar line-up of international names starting on 7th February 2012 with Joanna Trollope. Trollope is one of the most successful authors in the world and she will be chatting with journalist/broadcaster Sinéad Gleeson about her latest novel The Soldier's Wife.

The series continues on Friday 30th March with a reading by Jodi Picoult of her recent novel Lone Wolf. She will appear at dlr County Hall at 7.30pm.

We have a packed schedule for April which includes Peter Carey in conversation with our own Joe O'Connor on 4th April. Carey, the double Booker prize-winner will be discussing his new novel

The Chemistry of Tears. Renowned poet Paul Durcan appears on 22nd April with his eagerly awaited collection of poetry entitled Praise in Which I Live and Move and Have my Being.

Finally, Irvine Welsh will be a giving a reading from his new novel Skagboy on 24th April, a prequel to his cult novel Trainspotting.

Tickets for all these events can be obtained from the Pavilion Theatre. Call (01) 231 2929. With thanks to DLR Library Voices Curator, Bert Wright. Apart from Jodi Picoult's reading in County Hall, the remaining events take place in Pavilion Theatre

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Updates to the Blog

Hi all.  Please check out the side bar for updates to the site, especially competition deadlines for 2012.

Also, click on the link to the 'authonomy' site operated by Harper Collins publishers - there are some interesting items for writers.  Registration is free.

Let me know if there are any links etc that you would like us to add.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor

Just finished reading this.  It made me cry at the end.  I never cry over fiction. Fiona

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Last night myself, Angela, Nadia and Seamus met in The Grange pub in Deansgrange to talk about setting up regular meetings as a follow-up to the Chris Binchy series of Workshops in Deansgrange Library.  We may be using this blog as a force for good in the world of writing, so watch this space....