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Writing Advice. How do we know what is total horse poop?

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Writers Wise

Sharon Thompson

‘Don’t talk to strangers.’

That’s a piece of good advice in certain circumstances. I should heed advice shouldn’t I? Yet, talking to ‘strangers’ has lead me to meet a wonderful array of writers. It has helped me to find a direction in life.

But… How do we know what is correct and what isn’t?

There’s heaps of information and opinions on writing. I get lost with it all. But one way I jumped through the publishing obstacle course was by talking and listening to other writers.

For my new writing group #indulgeinwriting, I am interviewing writers to hear what about their lives and I am taking tips directly from what they tell me. (From the horses’ mouth as it were… but there’s no poop here!)

I’ve interviewed two writers Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin and Orla Kelly. In listening to their writing lives, you might get some advice for yourself. 

The first is Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, who is founder of this very writing website. Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin is Ireland’s leading literary scout, the founder of The Inkwell Group and of the online national writing resources magazine www.writing.ie Vanessa conceived and developed the National Emerging Writer Programme for Dublin City of Literature, and her third crime novel ‘No Turning Back’ has just hit the bestsellers list.

Vanessa is the current Chair of Irish PEN and the Irish and Eurozone Adviser to the international organisation The Alliance of Independent Authors. 

As an event programmer Vanessa developed the Great Writing, Great Places series for Dublin City of Literature, and is currently working on the Murder One International Festival of Crime Writing that will run in Smock Alley in November

Vanessa is a regular presenter at literary festivals around the country giving her own comprehensive and inspirational Getting Published workshop. Through this workshop Vanessa has been able to provide invaluable advice to new authors, and place numerous writers with agents.

Some points to take from her interview are;

1. Her book pitch – Vanessa shows you how you might describe and pitch your book to an audience. She talks about her new crime novel, writing as Sam Blake ‘No Turning Back’ and mentions it’s part of a trilogy and makes it sound very exciting. (It is!)

2. Also, she discusses the process of writing and the need for research.

3. Vanessa mentions it can take many years to get published. You may write many books before there’s the one publishers love.

4. And, how we do know what we should do, but just need to hear someone else say it. She mentions that with each workshop, event or talk, we learn something.

5. Dedication and practice at writing are key to success. You have to be hard-working and do it because you love it first and foremost.

6. We cover how she writes to deadlines and sometimes may have to ‘write’ herself into the story. Many thousand words might be needed to get her into her plot and the characters.

To watch the full interview see below

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DLv6wj6iBo]

Orla Kelly is just as passionate about authors as she is about their work. She started off as an author and is 100% committed to delivering the best quality, cost-effective, personal, bespoke self-publishing service to all her clients. @OrlaKellyAuthor and OrlaKellypublishing.com is where you will find further details about Orla but watch her below. She talks about her writing and the five main points which I took from her interview are;

1. We should be proud of what we do and talk about it, share it and take it seriously.

2. I loved listening to how Orla came into writing. How she fulfilled promises to her children, to make them a book and stories. 

3. Orla talked self-publishing and being prepared as an author – with a good social media presence, good cover and tagline. Also knowing your genre well and building confidence and relationships, before you go to print.

4. Being open to change and feedback, while having done some homework, was also on Orla’s list.

5. She mentions working hard too and leaning on others, for help, if need be.


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V_I5J4MyvM]

And then, as I look for an inspiring quote to cap all of this off, what do I find? This


Maybe, mature writers can listen to each other? Whatever happens, we must simply write and form writing lives for ourselves. Sifting through millions of articles on writing and how to succeed is hard work, isn’t it?

by @sharontwriter Sharon Thompson


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