Boards.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more x
Thread Closed  
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
21-02-2018, 09:20   #1
Boards.ie: Niamh
Boards.ie Community Manager
 
Boards.ie: Niamh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 7,241
Now Ye're Talking - to a Professional Writer

Elizabeth Rose Murray writes fiction for children and young adults. In 2014, Elizabeth signed two book deals with two different publishers, resulting in three books published in her first twelve months as an author. Her debut, 'The Book of Learning – Nine Lives Trilogy 1' was chosen as the 2016 Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read for Children and 'The Book of Shadows – Nine Lives Trilogy 2' was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards & Irish Literacy Association Award. Caramel Hearts was published in 2016 to rave reviews and 'The Book of Revenge – Nine Lives Trilogy 3' was released just last week.

In addition to these, Elizabeth writes short fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in journals across the UK and Ireland. She also provides manuscript reports and online workshops.

If you have any questions about writing as a profession or a hobby, about her books or other writing, now is your chance to ask.

Last edited by Boards.ie: Niamh; 21-02-2018 at 09:58.
Boards.ie: Niamh is offline  
Advertisement
21-02-2018, 09:43   #2
baby and crumble
Registered User
 
baby and crumble's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 7,743
Great idea for a thread, I'm one of those folks who think "oh yeah, I'll write a book at some stage" like it's that easy.

I write a lot for work though, and I struggle with getting into "the zone" of writing. Do you have any tips for concentration that you particularly do? What's your daily writing routine?

Oh, and I've always wondered how contracts for books work, like do you get the money in a cheque so you have quite a high bank balance for ages until in dwindles, etc... or is it like a weekly stipend? Probably a silly question.
baby and crumble is offline  
Thanks from:
21-02-2018, 09:46   #3
CruelCoin
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 4,278
Hi Elizabeth.

What is the deal with George R. R. Martin? How can his writing output be so slow?

What style of writer are you?
Ciggarette and typewriter, or pumpkin-spice-latte-on-a-mac-in-starbucks
CruelCoin is offline  
Thanks from:
21-02-2018, 10:32   #4
gerrybbadd
Registered User
 
gerrybbadd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 7,518
Thanks for doing this Elizabeth.

I've recently started writing myself. I'm 5,200 words into my story. Have the whole thing plotted out in my head. The problem is, I'm not sure my style of writing is very interesting. The language could be a bit bland.

Have you any advice for writers starting out? How did you go about getting published? I'm considering going down the Amazon self publishing route, but I feel this may be a cop out of sorts.
gerrybbadd is offline  
Thanks from:
21-02-2018, 10:35   #5
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA
Verified representative
 
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by baby and crumble View Post
Do you have any tips for concentration that you particularly do? What's your daily writing routine?

Oh, and I've always wondered how contracts for books work, like do you get the money in a cheque so you have quite a high bank balance for ages until in dwindles, etc... or is it like a weekly stipend? Probably a silly question.
Hi there! If you want to write a book one day, i say go for it. we can never have too many books - and like anything else, it takes time to build skills.

In terms of concentration, I genuinely love writing so I find it really easy to get going and can concentrate for a long time. I used to write every day and work towards a goal of 2000 words a day to build up 'muscle' (concentration, habit, productivity) but now it's so ingrained, I don't need to be so rigid. Over time, my process has changed eg I used to write in silence but now i'm trying to introduce more music into part of the day to make writing less isolating.

But for getting started I would say: 1) give yourself a set amount of time to write every day (even 15 minutes helps form a habit) 2) give yourself a daily goal (eg 1000 words, 30 minutes of writing, a page of something new and a page of something edited) & stick to it 3) Write without distraction (no music, tv, internet, radio).

In terms of the contract, you receive an advance usually paid in three stages - on signing the contract, on delivering the manuscript, on the manuscript being published. So, if you receive an advance of 5000 euro, you would receive it in three installments over the period of a year or to (depending on how quickly the book is to be published). Also, 15% goes to your agent. Then, when the book is published, you start to earn off your advance before you get royalties. The royalty check is once a year and you only receive royalties once you have paid off your advance.

Does this help?
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA is offline  
Advertisement
21-02-2018, 10:45   #6
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA
Verified representative
 
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by CruelCoin View Post
Hi Elizabeth.

What is the deal with George R. R. Martin? How can his writing output be so slow?

What style of writer are you?
Ciggarette and typewriter, or pumpkin-spice-latte-on-a-mac-in-starbucks
Re George R R Martin, his books are very dense and huge and the world building is a crucial element - one slip and the whole premise falls down. I'm amazed he writes so quickly at all!

Re my own writing, I'm more a ten cups of tea on a MAC on a train/in an airport. Travel is crucial to my writing - I thrive on change!

Last edited by I'm a Professional Writer, AMA; 21-02-2018 at 10:57.
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA is offline  
21-02-2018, 10:45   #7
Mousewar
Moderator
 
Mousewar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,379
I wrote a book three years ago. Sent it out to agents. One of them signed me. He sent it to publishers. Lovely rejections letters back. No takers. Agent dropped me then quite suddenly. Found the whole thing quite deflating.
How did you get signed? Did you get an agent first? Did it take long? Did it take long then for a publisher to take you on? Did you have any 'ins' to the industry? Did you do anything special to get your book noticed?
Mousewar is offline  
21-02-2018, 10:56   #8
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA
Verified representative
 
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrybbadd View Post
Thanks for doing this Elizabeth.

I've recently started writing myself. I'm 5,200 words into my story. Have the whole thing plotted out in my head. The problem is, I'm not sure my style of writing is very interesting. The language could be a bit bland.

Have you any advice for writers starting out? How did you go about getting published? I'm considering going down the Amazon self publishing route, but I feel this may be a cop out of sorts.
Hi Gerry, you're very welcome. Well done on writing the first 5000 words of your novel!

My advice would be for now, don't worry about the quality of language, just keep going and get that story out of your head and onto the page. It's like being a sculptor - you've got to prepare the clay before you can mould it. Once you have your first draft, the real work starts. All good writing is rewriting - but this is a great thing! It's when you can play with the dialogue, the language, the style. if you do that too early, you might cut it out anyway and all that time spent on beautiful prose is wasted!

Also, don't be surprised if what's in your head starts to change on the page - this is natural and can lead to some great plot twists or characters. If it deviates too far, you can always clean it up later. For now, concentrate on getting your first draft down, enjoy the process, and keep up the motivation – attend some writing courses, make some fellow writer friends, go to some events at festivals.

Then, when you complete your first draft, put the manuscript away for a month, print it out and reread as a reader - you'll see plot holes and character inconsistencies, but shaping them is an enjoyable process. Everyone is different but i'm usually on at least draft four of a complete novel (85,000 to 100,000 words) before i even show it to my agent. and i don't worry about typos until the very final stages – it's all about getting the story and characters right first.

Re publishing, I chose the traditional route but many writers start out self publishing (eg Catherine Ryan Howard, Hazel Gaynor) or choose to self publish only. if you self publish, you still need several drafts, an editor, a cover designer, etc. The quality should be just as high, but you pay the costs (and receive a bigger share of the royalties). You have time to research while writing your book. Either way, it's a longer journey than you might expect, but if you keep it all about the writing, you'll love it.

I hope that helps and good luck!
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA is offline  
21-02-2018, 11:43   #9
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA
Verified representative
 
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mousewar View Post
I wrote a book three years ago. Sent it out to agents. One of them signed me. He sent it to publishers. Lovely rejections letters back. No takers. Agent dropped me then quite suddenly. Found the whole thing quite deflating.
How did you get signed? Did you get an agent first? Did it take long? Did it take long then for a publisher to take you on? Did you have any 'ins' to the industry? Did you do anything special to get your book noticed?
I'm sorry to hear you've had such a disheartening experience, but genuinely, every writer I know has gone through several similar stories until they get published so keep going and keep hope! And good for you getting good rejections - that's such a great sign.

Firstly, let me tell you this... The Book of Learning - Nine Lives Trilogy 1 came close with a major publishing house but in the end it was a no deal. There was no point continuing with the story if it wasn't going to be published, so I put it aside and wrote another book. I decided that it might be the book that got me my agent and therefore, time to continue on. When this next book, Caramel Hearts, went on submission, I reread the first and we (myself and my agent) decided to send it back on submission to different publishers. This was two years later and it got signed right away. So what I'm saying is, don't give up hope.

So many issues come into play with book deals - marketing, balance with other books on the list, timing, finance, style, other publications due – e.g. is the book similar to another, more famous author? If yes, it would be unfair to pitch against each other. It's very subjective and you might have written the best book ever, but if the publisher doesn't think they can sell it, they'll pass (think of the Harry Potter scenario!). This certainly happened to me a few times.

The only thing you can control is the writing. Have you written more books? Have you tried a new agent? I don't think there are any in's into the industry other than continuous hard work and improving your craft. I spent two years solid on a book before i secured an agent, then we worked for another year before submitting. The whole time i was writing and submitting short stories, attending festivals and workshops, using social media to meet like-minded people and over time, I saw many people achieve their dream of getting published. The one thing that everyone had in common was this: they didn't give up – and they could say hand on heart that even if they still hadn't signed a deal, they would keep going.

I understand your experience will have been a knock, but keep on writing, give it the dedication and time it needs and enjoy the process and I believe you'll get there eventually. Good luck!
I'm a Professional Writer, AMA is offline  
Advertisement
21-02-2018, 12:04   #10
nozzferrahhtoo
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,689
I read the BFG to my 6 year old girl, then at 7 I have been reading her the "Rose" novels, Harry Potter, a wonderful book I recommend to everyone called "Seraphina and the Black Cloak".

And I am noticing, especially reading the marketing blurb for your own books, that the main character(s) being Orphaned is a major theme in Children's literature.

Why do you think this is such a go-to starting point for a lot of authors? Given the quality of the books I have listed above, it generally seems to work well, but I am wondering why that might be.
nozzferrahhtoo is offline  
21-02-2018, 12:40   #11
glasso
Registered User
 
glasso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7,949
Hi - were you working at something else before writing books full time, if so what did you do and how did you decide to make the move over to writing full time?
glasso is offline  
(3) thanks from:
21-02-2018, 14:00   #12
Ave Sodalis
Registered User
 
Ave Sodalis's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6,662
How do you keep a consistent writing style over a series of books (such as your trilogy)?

For example, a book series I read has 6 books in the original series and when you open them, you can tell straight away from the writing style what books they are. However, a 7th book was released a few years after the last book of the original series was published and it just didn't have the same "feel" to it.

Since you wrote a different book after the first book of your trilogy, how did you get back into the trilogy and not have a different style of writing?
Ave Sodalis is offline  
(2) thanks from:
21-02-2018, 15:36   #13
Gloomtastic!
Do Not Be Afraid.....
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 4,510
Quote:
Originally Posted by nozzferrahhtoo View Post
I read the BFG to my 6 year old girl, then at 7 I have been reading her the "Rose" novels, Harry Potter, a wonderful book I recommend to everyone called "Seraphina and the Black Cloak".

And I am noticing, especially reading the marketing blurb for your own books, that the main character(s) being Orphaned is a major theme in Children's literature.

Why do you think this is such a go-to starting point for a lot of authors? Given the quality of the books I have listed above, it generally seems to work well, but I am wondering why that might be.
The majority of Disney movies before Pixar came along were based on orphan characters as well. Be interested to see if there’s a story-telling reason.
Gloomtastic! is offline  
21-02-2018, 15:46   #14
Sirsok
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,832
Thanks for doing this. I find it hard to finish my stories, mainly script writing, I could have a six episode arc, and find in the final third im rushing or dont have enough to fill it. I have the start middle and end, its just the build up to the end that kills my motivation and I start thinking about the next prohect. Any tips on how you stay focused on the one story?
Sirsok is offline  
(2) thanks from:
21-02-2018, 15:51   #15
GLaDOS
Testing
 
GLaDOS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 20,126
At what age did you start writing for yourself? (ie not school assignments etc)
GLaDOS is offline  
(2) thanks from:
Thread Closed

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search