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Masterclasses For New And Experienced Writers: It’s Not Just Crime!

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The masterclasses that the Murder One festival have developed are specifically designed to get results. Whether you are a new writer looking to improve or an experienced writer who needs a boost, they have been programmed by Sam Blake/Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin who has been running workshops for writers since she began Inkwell almost twenty years ago, and over the years has been instrumental in a significant number of award winning and bestselling authors getting their work noticed. Sam says, “I learn something new every time I listen to a writer speak and I’ve developed this series to meet the needs of writers, focusing on problem areas that I see repeated in manuscripts. They are designed to move you forward in your writing, and are being facilitated by the top authors in the industry. None of us have time to waste these days and every one of these masterclasses will move you forward towards your goal.”

Sam Blake’s own Masterclass, Crafting Compelling Characters, focuses on character and developing both series and standalone characters. A No 1 bestseller, she’ll be bringing in two expert witnesses: Olivia Kiernan and Andrea Mara to discuss how they develop character. Both bestsellers themselves, they have lots of experience and, as Sam says, the value in a Masterclass is discovering new ways to approach fiction writing technique that you can adapt for yourself.

William Ryan, a lecturer in creative writing at London University, as well as being a multi award shortlisted author has recently launched the Writers and Artists ‘How to Write a Book’ guide, bringing his huge knowledge and experience to the page. William’s Killer Opening Chapters Masterclass will be invaluable whatever stage you are at, and whatever genre you write in. Both Nadine Matheson and Femi Kayode were his students and he helped these debut authors land an agent. Finding out how they crafted their stories and what key elements those opening chapters needed to hook an agent will be fascinating and revelatory. William will be answering all your questions and this Masterclass aims to give you the tools to grab an agent’s attention from the moment you submit.

Sam Blake has taken one of Sophie Hannah’s previous Masterclasses herself, and having interviewed her for the Red Line Festival a few years ago, is very excited about her How to Write a Bestselling Crime Novel Masterclass. Sam explains: “Sophie focuses on mindset as well as technique – writing is a tough game, and techniques to keep writing and overcome feelings of imposter syndrome or the fear of rejection are absolutely invaluable.”

Sophie Hannah is an international bestseller who has been entrusted by the Agatha Christie estate to keep her legacy alive with new stories, her tips for plotting and planning your novel are, as Sam explains, quite brilliant, and have provided hundreds of authors with major AHA moments.

The last Masterclass of the festival focuses on finding out how the business works and what needs to go into that all important submission package in On the Editor’s Desk. William Ryan is back to discuss your cover letter and how to write a synopsis, and will be talking to two of London’s top editors, Stefanie Bierwerth, Editorial Director of Quercus, and Sarah Hodgson who spent many years with Harper Collins before joining Corvus Atlantic as Editorial Director. Find out what they look for in a submission – and they don’t just work with crime, so if you’re not a crime writer, this Masterclass with be just as valuable – and find out how the publishing landscape looks today. What’s hot and what’s not, and what do you have to do to your work to ensure it lands on one of their desks?

The Murder One Masterclasses are all €25 plus booking fees and happen on Saturdays – they are online so accessible to all, and will make a real difference to your work. Places are limited, so don’t hesitate, book now!

Find out more about each Masterclass here: https://www.murderone.ie/murder-one-masterclasses-2021/


  • The Dark Room: A thrilling new novel from the number one Irish Times bestselling author of Keep Your Eyes on Me
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