Improve your Pitch or Synopsis thanks to Nano


Did you get the message from Nano HQ this morning about Pitchpalooza with the Book Doctors? I hope you did, because it sounds pretty cool.

They did this last year too, but somehow I missed it. This February I am definitely entering. The idea is that you email them your (less than 200 words) pitch for your novel. The pitch is the synopsis you would use to convince an agent or publisher or reader to want to read your book.

They will randomly select 25 from the pile to review online and the best one gets an intro to suitable agent/publisher. The one that gets most public votes (the Fan’s Fav) gets a free copy of their book and a 20 minute consultation with them on improving their pitch.

All the details are here.

The 25 pitches from last year (and their critiques which are really useful reading) are here.

Yes, we can take part even though we’re in Ireland.

Yes it can be any novel, not just the one you wrote in 2011.

Yes the novel doesn’t have to be complete – although you’d want to be sure of the plot to write the pitch, I think.

It’s one pitch per nano participant.

Deadline is 29th February 2012.

Good luck and let us know if you’re shortlisted so we can all vote for you to become the Fan’s Favourite.

I’m off to finish submitting my Nano2011 novel to Createspace for the free copies. I’ll post How To details here once I’ve completed the process. So watch this space – or better yet, subscribe – press the Sign Me Up button on the top right to get emails when we do a post)

Until next time, happy writing,

Grace (ML for Ireland NorthEast)

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NaNo 2011 is Over – Now What?

If you’ve written anything at all this month (even a lot less than 50,000 words) and you enjoyed it – you may want to continue writing. I hope some of the information below will help you in that plan.

Writers’ Groups in Ireland NorthEast

Note: This is not a comprehensive list – if you know of others, please let me know via a comment and I’ll add it in. Thanks!

The Saltwater Scribblers are a Drogheda-based group who meet every Monday. Find them on Facebook and twitter, or email them at Several of their members do Nano every year. They also host a monthly event on the last Wednesday of the month where published authors/poets read from their work.

The Laytown Scribblers formed this year and have yet to find a permanent meeting place, but meetings are usually every second Monday evenings and are arranged via Meetup – see The organizer is Nicola Blendell.

The Meath Writers Circle meets on the first Thursday of every month in the Trim Castle Hotel. Contact Tommy Murray at 046-31747 or

The Boyne Writers group meets on Thursdays twice a month in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim. The emphasis is on constructive feedback in a non-threatening atmosphere. New members are always welcome. Contact the group by email:, post to Castle Arch Hotel, Summerhill Road, Trim, Co. Meath, or web :

The Ardgillan Castle Writers’ Group meets every Saturday morning 10.30-12.30. There is no charge. Contact them via Ardgillan Castle, Skerries, Co. Dublin.

Sadly the Balbriggan Library Writers’ Group is currently on a break. It may re-form during 2012, so if you’re interested let me know and I’ll pass it on to the rest of the former members.

Apparently there is a Dundalk Writers’ Circle but I have been unable to get contact information for them.

Monaghan Song and Poetry Writers – again I don’t have contact information for this group

Cootehill Writers Group – contact Kay Phelan at 049-5552321 or Station Road, Cootehill, Co. Cavan.

The Cavan Lit Lab – contact 4 Gardenrath Road, Lower Kells, Co. Meath. They have been heavily involved in the recent Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann festivals in Cavan town.

Useful Market and Contest Ezines

The Irish Writers Centre runs a variety of courses and has recently begun a Novel Fair (they got 600 applications for 20 spots at the fair to pitch your novel). Their weekly newsletter often has details of Irish contests and magazines seeking submissions.

Hope C Clark’s Funds for Writers weekly newsletters are the best I’ve come across. She lists contests, arts grants, jobs, agents, and publications seeking submissions. Many are in the US as that’s where she is based, but she regularly features Irish/UK items too and the feature article and her editorial are valuable sources of information too. She is open to Irish submissions for the feature article.

Brendan Nolan’s Ask about Writing site is a good weekly source for UK and Irish writing news and submission calls (

Links to Writing Sites

See the list of links on the right of this post. I strongly recommend for help with revising your novel.

Irish Fiction Publishers and Agents

{Always research a publisher or agent before approaching them. Make sure your submission is right for them and that they are right for you too}

Irish Fiction Publishers

New Island (

Poolbeg ( )

Hachette Ireland (

Penguin Ireland (

Transworld Ireland (

Lilliput Press (

Liberties Press – mainly non-fiction (

O’Brien Press – no adult fiction (

Little Island Press – teen fiction only (

Arlen House – mainly poetry and short fiction (

Irish Agents

Geraldine Nichols and the Book Bureau – 7 Duncairn Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, Tel: (01) 2764996, Fax: (01) 2764834,

Marianne Gunne-O’Connor Literary Agency – Ireland, Suite 17 Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2, Tel: (01) 6779100,

The Lisa Richards Agency –

Jonathan Williams Literary Agency – Rosney Mews, Upper Glenageary Road, Glenageary, Co Dublin, Tel: (01) 2803482 , Fax: (01) 2803482

Font Literary Agency –

Emma Walsh –

Author Rights Agency Ltd –

Prizeman and Kinsella Literary Agency –

The Feldstein Agency in Belfast –

I hope some of that information is of help. If you know of something I left out – please contact me via a comment here. I’m especially interested in expanding my knowledge of writers groups in Cavan and Monaghan so I can invite them to join us on NaNoWriMo.

happy writing, Grace

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Week 3 Blog Post at IWC is up

Here’s the week three installment of my NaNoWriMo 2011 journey as ML and writer.

How did your week three go?

Grace (day 24 and mostly on track with 39,657 words written so far)

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Week Two Guest Blog is up


Week two of my Nano guest blog is up at the Irish Writers’ Centre. Lots of tips on how to catch up on your wordcount if you’re lagging behind, like me.


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Follow one writer’s experience of Nano 2011


If you’re curious about how an ML manages to write 50,000 words as well as manage a region on NaNoWriMo – check out my weekly blog posts as The Irish Writers’ Centre’s blog. There first one is up here.

Writing it is an excellent way for me to procrasinate about my novel this year, sigh.

Anybody else blogging about their Nano adventures in the NorthEast this year? I see rycardus is at her blog in Kells.

Happy writing, Grace (ML for Ireland North East)

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Preparing for Nano 2011


There’s only 12 days to go until the start of NaNoWriMo 2011 and I’ve been setting up our region, Ireland NorthEast on the Nano site. Looks like there’s issues with setting your home region correctly, so do make sure you do that.

So what can you do while you’re waiting for the mania of writing 50,000 words in the 30 days of November to begin?

You can…

1. plan your novel – pick character names, choose a setting, rough out a line per chapter of a plot, buy a new notebook and pencil.

2. stock up on freezer meals and takeaway menus.

3. tell your friends about this adventure and encourage them to join you, or at least not expect you to be available during November.

4. make a note in your diary of our Kick Off Meeting in the D Hotel, Drogheda on Monday 31st Oct at 10a.m.

I’ve got a title and some character names, so far, for my novel. How about you?

Hope to see you online or in person during November,

happy writing, Grace (ML for Ireland NorthEast)

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Read your Work Aloud

As far as I can tell, most writers don’t enjoy public speaking. However it has a number of benefits for writers.

1. You get audience reaction. There’s nothing like hearing a roomful of people laugh at what you hoped was a funny line.

2. You raise your profile as a writer. It’s called building a platform and it’s more important than you might think.

3. You make contact with readers and other writers in a face-to-face world. It provides  moral support, advice, information, and a chance to speak with others who understand the world of words.

Why am I rambling about this? Because the Saltwater Scribblers writing group (contact them on facebook or are now organising the Poetry in Motion event that runs monthly in the Droichead Arts Centre Cafe in Drogheda, Co Louth.

The next one is Wednesday the 26th of January at 7.30 pm. Special Guest poet and editor Christodoulos Makris will be reading but literally anyone can come along and read whatever poetry or prose they like, or just to listen and mingle with other readers and writers.

Several of their members did NaNoWriMo 2010 in our region. Go along and support them as they bring their words out in public.

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