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Writing Crime with Arlene Hunt: Michelle Moloney King

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Michelle Moloney King

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Arlene Hunt, best selling crime author and publisher (Portnoy Publishing) was welcomed to Thrules Library as part of the Tipperary Reads Festival on a chilly Saturday morning. Her next book The Outsider is due out next month.

She started off with a bang: Once you get your leg into the world of publishing then kick the door in. Go for it. Here are some of her tips:

  • Don’t be shy, trust me being shy in publishing will get you nowhere.
  • If you find yourself skimming your story when you edit, you can be guaranteed that a lot of other people will skim also. Unless something is vital to the story then leave it out.
  • The book is your product and you are the brand behind the product. If you want to sell your book then you need to sell yourself. Sometimes writers can be shy, but you need a hook, something about you that is special that people can get behind.  Louise Philips is a good example, she is kind, caring, open and is excellent at marketing – she’s also a grandmother and lives in a beautiful restored house with spooky connections. She’s talked about all these things in interviews.
  • Get on Twitter, try and aim for a big following, write for writing.ie and read writing.ie; it’s a fantastic resource.
  • Nobody cares more about your book than you do. Get  social media behind you so people get to know who you are.
  • Often you are speaking for the dead in crime fiction, how is the reader meant to care about someone they will never know? The answer: through the people around them. You need to make the reader care through the words and actions of the people the deceased left behind.
  • Good characters will drive your plot.
  • You need to find time to write, everyone has busy lives but if you write even 500 words a day then your novel will progress. Even if writing is like being a horse in blinkers being whipped, still write. Don’t look back, just progress and when you have  that magical first draft then you can go back and work on it, play and tinker with it.
  • If a story is over written, then it will rob the energy out of it. It’s like having a fire lit and then opening the door and sucking all the air out. Keep it tight.

Arlene had this it say about facilitating a creative writing workshop. ‘It’s incredibly important, when teaching a writing class, that you are as honest about the ‘business’ of writing without crushing the joy of writing. Creating a story from scratch can be a complicated endeavor and for the fledgling author sometimes a daunting task, so I try to equip pupils with tools and advice I feel will help achieve their goals.  Most of all I like to remind pupils that slow and steady is the race: work every day and a book will progress; finish the first draft so you have something tangible to tinker with. Finally, I ask them not to be too hard on themselves. Writing can be tough, but it’s rewarding and satisfying and I want people to enjoy and explore their creativity as much as possible.’

Arlene’s energy, advice, and enthusiasm was as powerful as a high impact aerobics class. All course participants left pumped with our pens poised for kicking the door in on fiction.
The Tipperary Reads Festival www.tipperarylibraries.ie is an adult literary festival which encourages everyone in County Tipperary to read the same novel and then come together to discuss that novel with the author. This year we are celebrating the sixth year of the festival which in the past has hosted John Banville, Joseph O’Connor and Sebastian Barry, to name just a few. This year the Festival will centre on the novel Ratlines by crime novelist Stuart Neville.

As part of the festival we had Arlene Hunt in the Thurles library giving a writing workshop in crime writing.

(c) Michelle Moloney King
the outsider_arlene hunt smallAbout The Outsider
From the time she was born, Emma Byrne was different from other children. Shy and reclusive, her world revolved around animals, so much so that by the time she was 15, Emma was a much sought after horse trainer.
So who would try to harm this gifted young woman? Who was shooting in Crilly Woods on that fateful August day?Emma’s twin brother, Anthony, is determined to get to the bottom of what happened to his sister, and in the course of his investigations makes a terrible mistake, one that will change all their lives forever.The Outsider: sometimes those who love us most hardly know us at all.

About the author

Michelle is a Tipperary teacher who writes for young adults and children. She reviews books for Inis Magazine and on her blog –http://TeacherMoloneyKing.com. When not writing, reading or attending writerish events you can find her on a tennis court, in Toastmasters or in a bookshop.

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

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