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The Shit No One Tells You About Writing
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The Shit No One Tells You About Writing

Author: Bianca Marais, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra

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This is a podcast for emerging writers who want to improve the quality of their work and learn more about the publishing industry. Your one host, Bianca Marais (the bestselling author of 'The Witches of Moonshyne Manor') interviews authors, agents, editors and just about anyone and everyone who's involved in bringing a book to market. She's joined by her cohosts, literary agents Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra from P.S. Literary Agency, who read and critique query letters as well as opening pages in their Books with Hooks segment. Expect good advice, honest insights, and a few laughs along the way.
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Insights from Mary Kubica

Insights from Mary Kubica

2024-04-0401:09:52

In today's Books with Hooks, Bianca, Carly and CeCe discuss choosing a unique title for your work; having a strong plot connection between your main characters in a multi POV novel; avoiding situations where the agent has to make too many assumptions in a query; choosing between italics and dialogue tags when having a character talk to themselves; balancing interiority so as not to leak tension; framing your story in a way that is accurate to your work; connecting external stakes to plot points; centering the reader in a memoir query; and CeCe's tension song!Bianca then interviews NYT bestselling author, Mary Kubica, about her latest novel, She's Not Sorry. The two discuss the thriller genre; readers’ fascination with the domestic suspense genre; how Mary approaches structure and the creation of tension; how personal universal elements can connect readers to characters; tackling the 50% chunk of Act II; writing an 'authentic' twist that doesn't make the reader feel manipulated; strategies for hiding clues in plain sight; and advice for thriller and domestic suspense writers.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Mary can be found at: https://marykubica.com/She's also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/marykubica/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MaryKubicaCarly's course for writers, The Author's Publishing Playbook, is now available at carlywatters.com/course. If you haven't grabbed it yet, podcast listeners can use discount code POD15To book for CeCe's upcoming Writing Tension Webinar on the 11th of April, go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_B9m5eRJIT_uxiVrUte381g#/registrationNote: Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra are literary agents at P.S. Literary Agency, but their work on this podcast is not affiliated with the agency, and the views expressed by Carly and CeCe on this podcast are solely that of them as podcast co-hosts and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of P.S. Literary Agency.Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
Defining Book Club Fiction

Defining Book Club Fiction

2024-03-2801:06:46

In today's Books with Hooks, Bianca, Carly, and CeCe discuss keeping your author bio paragraph concise; the need for causality in a plot paragraph; paying attention to the language you use in a query so you don't create confusion surrounding the book's premise; knowing who your protagonist is and highlighting their interiority and inner life over other characters'; the stakes in rom-coms; centering your protagonist's experience; making plot details realistic so your readers are on board with them; avoiding pages that seem crafted for the reader; and the 'blank canvas protagonist' issue. After which, Carly interviews award-winning journalist and bestselling author, Jo Piazza. They discuss Jo's upcoming novel, The Sicilian Inheritance; how she decided on a dual POV/dual timeline structure; whether Jo is a plotter or a pantser, and how she approaches her first draft; mirroring current themes in historical fiction; what a 'book club' book is; weaving elements of personal life into her work; how Jo views herself as a creator; the idea of letting fiction lead the way; the process of film and TV adaptations; and Jo's advice for emerging writers. Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Jo can be found at https://www.jopiazza.com/She's also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/jopiazzaauthorand on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jopiazzaOur Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
March Bonus Episode

March Bonus Episode

2024-03-2501:00:00

In this month’s bonus episode, Bianca interviews game designer, curator, and writer, Holly Gramazio to discuss her debut novel, The Husbands. The two discuss Holly's journey to publication; the novel’s inspiration and genre; how game design lends itself to novel writing; how she structured the novel; the importance of causality; Holly's approach to POV; and whether she feels pressure to write future novels in the same genre.After which Emilie Sommer of East City Bookshop provides the invaluable service of suggesting comp titles to our listeners.If you’re looking for our usual Q&A segment, that now gets published as part of our end of the month Substack newsletter. Subscribe to get access to that, and so much more, for free: https://theshitaboutwriting.substack.com/ Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWTo connect with Emilie Sommer go to https://www.instagram.com/emiliegsommer/ and you can find East City Bookshop at https://www.instagram.com/eastcitybookshop/More information about Holly can be found at https://www.hollygramazio.net/She's also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/holly_gramazio/ and Twitter at https://twitter.com/hollygramazioOur Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, Bianca, Carly, and CeCe critique a children's picture book and a literary fiction query. They discuss avoiding vagueness, no matter the genre; using illustrator notes in a picture book pitch; the need for tension, even in a children's book; framing your novel in your query so agents aren't confused when they get to the pages; the need for external plot points, even in a more internal work of literary fiction; the natural gravitation of readers to one POV in a dual POV work; the subjectivity of the industry; the purpose of interiority; and erring on the side of showing, rather than telling, to maintain tension.After which, Bianca interviews Sara Koffi, author of the debut novel, While We Were Burning. They discuss Sara's letter to the reader; her reasoning behind the setting she chose; how Sara chose her characters' POVs and her inspiration behind the characters; writing an unreliable narrator; weaving in overarching themes or messages; advice for writing an unlikeable main character; advice on writing characters experiencing grief; Sara's journey to publication; and avoiding comparing yourself to others.Note: Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra are literary agents at P.S. Literary Agency, but their work on this podcast is not affiliated with the agency, and the views expressed by Carly and CeCe on this podcast are solely that of them as podcast co-hosts and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of P.S. Literary Agency.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Sara can be found at https://www.sarakoffi.com/She's also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SaraTheKoffi and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/sarathekoffiTo sign up for the All About Memoir webinar on the 11th of May, go to: https://www.biancamarais.com/all-about-memoir.htmlCarly's course for writers, The Author's Publishing Playbook, is now available at carlywatters.com/course. If you haven't grabbed it yet, podcast listeners can use discount code POD15Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are joined by guest agent, Jo Ramsay, to critique two queries. They discuss the issue of withholding too much plot in a query; highlighting the stakes in your query; the importance of first lines in a novel; the need for psychological depth and acuity in your characters; the issue of comping to titles that are hugely successful; the risk of having too many POVs in a novel; avoiding too much backstory in your query; and the problems with a reader being too removed from a scene, even if it's done intentionally.After which, guest interviewer, Bronwen Keyes-Bevan from BoolaBos magazine interviews author and winner of the Bridport Prize for literary fiction, Fiona Williams. They discuss Fiona's debut novel, The House of Broken Bricks; her background in biological sciences and her shift to creative writing; the expert use of figurative language; how Fiona tackled writing four different points of view, and her reasoning for choosing certain perspectives for certain characters; writing from children's POVs; and Fiona's feelings around the potential of being conflated with some of her characters.Note: Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra are literary agents at P.S. Literary Agency, but their work on this podcast is not affiliated with the agency, and the views expressed by Carly and CeCe on this podcast are solely that of them as podcast co-hosts and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of P.S. Literary Agency. Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/ https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingFiona is on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/feewilliams75 and Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/fionawilliamswrites/Bronwen can be found at www.boolabos.com and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/boola.bos/ and at https://www.instagram.com/bronwenkeyesbevanJo can be found on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/thejoramsay/Carly's course for writers, The Author's Publishing Playbook, is now available at carlywatters.com/course. If you haven't grabbed it yet, podcast listeners can use discount code POD15To sign up for the All About Memoir webinar on the 11th of May, go to: https://www.biancamarais.com/all-about-memoir.htmlOur Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly, CeCe, and Bianca are joined by Ron, to discuss his query submission. They chat about Ron's curiosity-inducing first query paragraph; the line between giving away too much plot and sharing just enough in a query; how subjective agents’ opinions can be; the right emotional calibration within your characters; the issue with having too many names in opening pages; ways authors share the socio-emotional frameworks of their characters; balancing interiority with explanation and exposition; the difference between emotionality, interiority, and 'telling'; and the idea of putting characters in situations that will reveal the right things about them.After which, Bianca interviews Garrard Conley, professor, and New York Times bestselling author of the memoir, Boy Erased. They discuss All the World Beside; the letter to the reader in the advanced copy; Gerrard's unconventional journey to the publication with Boy Erased; the role of luck in the industry; whether Garrard had a large platform/following when he published his memoir; subjectivity of agents and publishers; Garrard's process in writing his latest book; the benefits of researching, even when some of the information doesn't make it into the final work; the number of edits Garrard went through before he produced his final draft; and the idea of 'jazz hands writing' versus simplistic emotional truth.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Garrard can be found at: https://garrardconley.com/biographyHe's also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/gayrodcon/Twitter at https://twitter.com/gayrodconand Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/garrardc/Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, Bianca, Carly, and CeCe  discuss the need for external pressure in your major dramatic question; the three sets of questions that create tension at the beginning of a story; surprising your reader in your first five pages; the accuracy of third party manuscript wishlists; the need for world-building in a fantasy query; being too vague in your query; the concept of the 'new adult' genre; thinking about readers' expectations for certain types of stories; making sure that characters who appear in opening scenes are essential; and the importance of emotionality and interiority in your main character.After which, Bianca interviews Johnny Compton about his debut novel, The Spite House. The two chat about the psychology behind reading and writing horror fiction; the heavy-lifting that horror expects of its audience; the world-building that's involved; the idea of not needing an explanation for everything; how Johnny balances curiosity seeds and tension without 'cheating' the reader; the social commentary that Johnny weaves into his novel; and Johnny's advice for writing very young characters.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Johnny can be found at https://johnnycompton.comHe's also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/comptonwritesand Twitter at https://twitter.com/comptonwritesOur Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Bianca, Carly, and CeCe are joined by emerging author, Sarah. They discuss ways to make a novel sound less quiet in a query; the necessity of a hook; when it's acceptable to comp to a hugely successful novel; how to convey a longer timeline; how to share pivotal plot points in a query without spoiling the novel; and what made Sarah's pages particularly special.After which, Bianca interviews Donna Hemans, author of The House of Plain Truth. They discuss the DC Writers' Room; Donna's journey to publication; putting some ideas on the shelf until you're ready to do them justice; not being so rigid with the structure of your work that you hold your story back; deciding when to change your agent; and approaching characterization and backstory. Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Donna can be found at: https://www.donnahemans.com/She's also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/donna_hemans and Twitter at https://twitter.com/donna_hemans Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, Bianca, CeCe, and Carly critique an upmarket/southern-gothic query and a book club romance. They discuss a "perfect" first query paragraph; the importance of accurate framing in a query; when a content warning is necessary; tips for elevating your line level writing along with examples of sophisticated writing; writing protagonists' thoughts in a realistic way; mistakes writers make that make their writing appear less polished; and examples of how to build curiosity into your pages.After which, Bianca interviews Elba Iris Pérez, debut author of The Things We Didn't Know. They discuss Elba's winning of the Simon and Schuster "Books Like Us" award and Elba's subsequent journey to publication; the benefit of taking writing courses; writing magazines as good resources for finding contests; immersing readers in scenes that are unfamiliar to them; and writing children in first person in a convincing manner.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Elba can be found at: https://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Elba-Iris-Perez/195715113She's also on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/elbaip?lang=enOur Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, Bianca, Carly, and CeCe discuss the need for specificity with regard to plot details when you have a more psychological book/concept; avoiding too much backstory in the opening pages; the need for your first chapter to be as strong as your prologue (if you have one); being as specific about your genre as possible; and how emotionality adds layers to your work. After which, we have two author interviews. Bianca first interviews NYT bestselling Ali Hazelwood, author of Bride and The Love Hypothesis. They discuss how Ali started writing fanfiction; the unconventional way she got her agent; Ali's submission experience with The Love Hypothesis; reader fascination with vampires and werewolves; how Ali tackled world-building in Bride; writing an 'alpha male' trope that still aligns with feminism; how Ali approached making her prickly main character more sympathetic; and Ali's advice for writing steamy scenes. After which Bianca interviews Kiley Reid, author of the NYT bestseller, Such a Fun Age, and her latest, Come & Get It. They discuss Kiley's journey to publication; her choice of inciting incident for both of her novels; how she successfully 'broke the rules' with regards to character introduction in the first chapter; her strategies for writing authentic dialogue; leaning into specificity through action beats within dialogue; Kiley's 'signature move' involving the introduction of backstory; and tips for writing a quieter novel, but with strong, 'loud' undercurrents.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Ali can be found at: https://alihazelwood.com/She's also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/alihazelwood/?hl=enKiley is on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kileyreid/?hl=en and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/kileyreidOur Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
January Bonus Episode

January Bonus Episode

2024-01-2901:41:55

In today's January Bonus Episode, Bianca interviews Jami Attenberg, author of 1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round. They discuss Jami's 1000 Words of Summer newsletter and the idea of being a good literary citizen; the essays from Jami's latest work; writing for other reasons than to get published; remembering why you write; battling with imposter syndrome; the false concept of an expiration date as a writer; writing as strength-training; the need to live in order to write; and why writing isn’t a process that has to be efficient.After which Bianca interviews Jo Salas, author of Mrs. Lowe-Porter. They discuss the inspiration and research behind Jo's latest novel; the challenges of writing a character with dementia and how life experiences can lend themselves to writing; how Jo balanced the use of historical source materials and fictional representations; one of the chapters in Jo's novel where a fictional character has a conversation with the woman writing her; the struggle to make your writing a priority; and Jo's non-traditional journey to publication.Finally, Emilie Sommer of East City Bookshop provides the invaluable service of suggesting comp titles to our listeners.If you’re looking for our usual Q&A segment, that now gets published as part of our end of the month Substack newsletter. Subscribe to get access to that, and so much for free: https://theshitaboutwriting.substack.com/ Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/ https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWTo connect with Emilie Sommer go to https://www.instagram.com/emiliegsommer/ and you can find East City Bookshop at https://www.instagram.com/eastcitybookshop/More information about Jami can be found at https://www.jamiattenberg.com She's also on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/jamiattenberg and Twitter at https://twitter.com/jamiattenbergMore information about Jo can be found at https://josalas.com/Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, CeCe and Carly discuss what agents look for with a resubmission; the issue with starting with themes in a query letter; the need for your plot and stakes to have a 'domino' effect; infusing character description with emotionality; the need for specificity in plot points; the standards for literary fiction writing; the ever-present need for active emotions and interiority; and the subjectivity of the industry and taste in novels.After which, Bianca chats with Middle Grade author and former Simon & Schuster editor, Veera Hiranandani about her MG novels, A Night Diary, and its companion novel, Amil and the After. They discuss the age range of MG; what it’s like to write in this genre vs other age categories; a sequel vs a companion book; how illustrations can help inform a character’s arc; working with an illustrator; production costs of having illustrations; writing about difficult subject matter for children; and the biggest mistakes MG authors make.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Veera can be found at https://www.veerahiranandani.com/. She’s on Instagram @veerawrites and Twitter @veerahira.Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly, CeCe, and Bianca are joined by two acquisitions editors at Atria Books, Elizabeth Hitti and Melanie Iglesias. Melanie is a senior editor at Atria Books and has worked on various bestselling titles, including It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover. Elizabeth joined Atria in 2022 and has worked on various bestselling titles as well as The Crescent Moon Tea Room by Stacy Sivinski, a Simon and Schuster Top Shelf Pick for this fall.The four discuss the difficulties associated with writing a query with a larger cast of characters; the importance of having an overarching reason for having a large cast and why their worlds are colliding; whether publisher interest in historical fiction is waning; an example of how to make a hook punchier; the importance on having a strong sense of place; and the need for interiority to be realistic to your character.After which, Bianca interviews Kate Hilton and Elizabeth Renzetti, co-authors of Bury the Lead. They discuss how Liz and Kate's joint project came about; tackling the challenges of collaborating with another author, particularly when it comes to two established authors; the drafting process; keeping track of details like how characters and settings look; when descriptions are necessary and when they don't make sense; and whether or not Kate and Liz work with separate agents for their collaborative works.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Elizabeth can be found at: https://www.elizabethrenzetti.com/ She's also on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/lizrenzetti and on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/lizrenzetti/More information about Kate can be found at: https://www.katehilton.com/She's also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KateHiltonAuthor/ and on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/katehiltonbooks/Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Bianca, Carly and CeCe discuss the importance of specifying between awards for published and unpublished manuscripts; the difficulty with trying to sell a book whose main character’s race and culture differs from the author’s lived experience; the need for a main character’s interiority to accurately reflect their age; including specifics in your plot paragraph; being explicit with your stakes; including information that shows the relationship dynamics between your protagonist and others; and the need to start your story in the right place.After which, Bianca interviews writer and essayist, Maura Cheeks. They discuss Maura's debut novel, Acts of Forgiveness; intentionality with the novel's timeline; Maura's journey to publication; the reasons for the delay in publishing Acts of Forgiveness; the extent to which Maura's submission pitch aligns with the published book; the research process; writing a dual timeline as a debut novel; and incorporating news stories and speeches as exposition.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Maura can be found at: https://www.mauracheeks.com/She's also on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/mauracheeks?lang=en and Instagram at:  https://www.instagram.com/mauracheeks/Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Bumper February Bonus Episode, Bianca kicks it off by interviewing interviews tech anthropologist and author, Nikki Payne. They discuss her latest novel, Sex, Lies, and Sensibility, a retelling of the classic, Sense and Sensibility; how Nikki approached writing her retelling, one which specifically centred diversity; decentering whiteness in the romance genre; Nikki's experience using sensitivity readers; how much 'shorthand' you can use when writing a retelling; reframing scandal in the modern world; and Nikki's clever way of introducing backstory.After which Bianca interviews author Jessica Bull, author Miss Austen Investigates. They discuss Jessica's inspiration for her series and her journey to publication; the length of her work and how she pitched it with series potential; the process of writing real characters while also making up other aspects to the novel; how creating a ticking time bomb helped Jessica in creating tension and upping the stakes; and how Jessica managed to straddle genres when writing.Then, Bianca interviews returning guest, Samantha M. Bailey, author of Woman on the Edge and Watch Out for Her. They discuss Samantha's latest novel, A Friend in the Dark; the myth that novel writing becomes easier with each new book; the new challenges that Samantha faced in her latest novel; how she successfully broke the rules with her prologue; making the opening pages compelling even though the protagonist is alone for most of them; when you purposefully leave out a second POV in the novel’s flap copy; and why she chose to structure her characters' interactions partially through DMs on Facebook. Finally, Emilie Sommer of East City Bookshop provides the invaluable service of suggesting comp titles to our listeners.If you’re looking for our usual Q&A segment, that now gets published as part of our end of the month Substack newsletter. Subscribe to get access to that, and so much more, for free: https://theshitaboutwriting.substack.com/ Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and ww.cecilialyra.comBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWTo connect with Emilie Sommer go to https://www.instagram.com/emiliegsommer/ and you can find East City Bookshop at https://www.instagram.com/eastcitybookshop/More information about Nikki can be found at: https://www.nikkipaynebooks.com/Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, Bianca, CeCe, and Carly discuss small tweaks for an overall 'fantastic' query; a good example of framing and planting curiosity seeds; starting a novel with a scene where the protagonist is waking up; being careful about word choice in a query; being mindful of when you're being vague vs specific; and the importance of showing inner life in your characters.After which, Bianca interviews NYT's bestselling author, Robin Oliveira. They discuss Robin's latest novel, A Wild and Heavenly Place; how long it took her to write; the importance of the research trip to Scotland that Robin took; keeping the 'intention' of a novel centred while writing; torturing your characters, especially in Act Two; leveraging different types of conflict; how cutting plot points is like unravelling a thread, and strategies for 'pulling the thread' successfully; and how to know when a book is finished.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comTo ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Robin can be found at: https://www.robinoliveira.com/ and she can be found on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/Robin_Oliveira_Author/Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe discuss the importance of eliminating any confusion in your query; the distinction between having a 'perfect' query letter and one that does the job; how plausibility issues may or may not be a problem for different agents; the need to be intentional with dates you choose in your novel, rather than just convenient; the art of giving specifics when they are needed; and the need for active rather than passive stakes and inciting incidents.After which, Bianca chats with Julie Chavez about her memoir, Everyone But Myself. They discuss Julie’s untraditional path to publication; understanding the role of an agent and why it’s helpful to have one; working on the next manuscript to distract yourself from publishing the current one; the book coaching process; setting boundaries for yourself; building a community of writer friends and asking published authors for blurbs; creating intimacy with the reader; reading your work aloud; and structuring your memoir so that it reads like fiction.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Julie can be found at https://www.juliewriteswords.com/. She’s on Instagram @juliewriteswords and Facebook @juliewriteswords.To ask a question, go to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAWOur Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are joined by guest Alicia Clancy, executive editor at Lake Union Publishing. They discuss the need to establish what is real and what is made up in a fantasy query; the importance of physical movement in the opening pages to help with pacing; avoiding vague plot points in your query, especially when relating to the climax; sufficiently explaining why you chose a specific character to focus on in your query letter when writing a multi-POV novel; the importance of including reasons why you're the person to write your story in your author bio paragraph; and being mindful of showing rather than telling.After which Bianca interviews Chelene Knight, author of Let It Go. They talk about Chelene's various literary initiatives, including the Thrive Coaching Program and Forever Writers Club; writing as a marginalized writer and the pressures associated with that; the 360 view that Chelene has of the publishing world; choosing an audience for your book, rather than trying to appeal to everyone; Chelene's intentions with how she outlined and framed her latest book; and advice to writers who want to publish nonfiction. Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/ Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAW Websites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Chelene can be found at: https://cheleneknight.com/She's also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/bsc_literary_studio/?hl=enOur Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice

2023-12-2801:17:24

In today's Books with Hooks, Bianca, Carly, and CeCe discuss an example of an excellent hook and query letter in general; the issues with beginning your novel with a cliched scene; the importance of emotional layers in interiority, especially with big, messy emotions; framing your query letter in a way that gives your protagonist more agency and 'protagonism', or that shows how a character's lack of agency pushes the plot forward; the problem with using self-published books as your comp titles; the difference between third person close POV and omniscient third person; and the difficulties with using an omniscient third person POV.After which, Bianca chats with Estelle Erasmus about her book, Writing That Gets Noticed. They also discuss Estelle’s credentials and experience; writing essays and op-eds; finding your voice; writing your essays for yourself; literary fiction vs purple prose; finding your rhythm and syntax; asking yourself “so what?”; personal universal elements; and revealing vs concealing. Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Estelle can be found at https://estelleserasmus.com/. She’s on Twitter @EstelleSErasmus, Instagram @EstelleSErasmus, TikTok @EstelleSErasmus, and Facebook @Estelle.Sobel.Erasmus.Our Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
In today's Books with Hooks, CeCe, Carly, and Bianca are joined by Harvey to discuss his submission. They chat about illustrating plot escalation in a query; boosting SEO through your title choice; stakes that are personally important to the protagonist; the importance of cross-over with characters when you have multiple main characters; the need for causality when it comes to plot points; CeCe shares a 'masterfully written' line; the need for sharp specificity and active emotions in character interiority; and how subjective agent and reader perspectives will always be when reading your material.After which, Bianca interviews Beth O'Leary, bestselling author of The Wake Up Call and The Flatshare. They discuss Beth’s journey to publication; the appropriate time after which to nudge an agent; overcoming the pressures that come with ‘instant’ success; the universal love of the 'grumpy/sunshine' trope; when to plant curiosity seeds; and Beth's advice for people looking to write romcoms.Find us on our socials:Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyraInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_shit_about_writing/ https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/https://www.instagram.com/carlywatters/ https://www.instagram.com/cece_lyra_agent/Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TSNOTYAWWebsites: www.theshitaboutwriting.com, www.biancamarais.com, www.carlywatters.com and www.cecilialyra.comBookshop.org affiliate page: https://bookshop.org/shop/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwritingMore information about Beth can be found at: https://www.betholearyauthor.com/She's also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/betholearyauthor/?hl=enOur Sponsors:* Check out Wooga: www.wooga.com* Check out undefined and use my code TODAY for a great deal: undefined* Check out undefined and use my code TSNOTYAW for a great deal: undefinedAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands
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