The Shit No One Tells You About Writing

By Bianca Marais, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra

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Subscribers: 342
Reviews: 1
Episodes: 247

Laura Barrow
 May 16, 2023
For aspiring authors, this podcast is a must! Learn how to write a successful query letter and get practical tips on how to polish your first five pages. Amazing resource!


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.

Episode Date
Figuring Out What Genre You Should Be Writing In
Apr 18, 2024
Choosing the Best POVs for a Multi-POV Novel
Apr 11, 2024
Insights from Mary Kubica
Apr 04, 2024
Defining Book Club Fiction
Mar 28, 2024
March Bonus Episode
Mar 25, 2024
How Research Should Inform a Novel Without Leaving Too Many Fingerprints
Mar 21, 2024
Balancing Curiosity Seeds and Tension Without Making the Reader Feel Cheated
Mar 14, 2024
Insights from Acquisitions Editors & Working on Author Collaborations
Mar 07, 2024
Being Intentional With Your Novel's Timeline
Feb 29, 2024
Bumper February Bonus Episode
Feb 26, 2024
How Some Stories Need You to Become a Better Writer Before Telling Them
Feb 22, 2024
Torturing Your Characters in the Second Act
Feb 15, 2024
How Writing Contests Can Help Launch Your Career
Feb 08, 2024
Insights from NYT Bestselling Authors, Ali Hazelwood and Kiley Reid
Feb 01, 2024
January Bonus Episode
Jan 29, 2024
How the Close Third Person POV Can Get You Closer Than First Person
Jan 25, 2024
The Dos and Don’ts When Writing For Children
Jan 18, 2024
Creating intimacy With Your Reader
Jan 11, 2024
Working with a Writing Coach
Jan 04, 2024
Finding Your Voice
Dec 28, 2023
December Bonus Episode
Dec 25, 2023
What to do When a Scene is Falling Flat
Dec 21, 2023
Writing with Respect and Authenticity
Dec 14, 2023
How Writing Interiority is Like Squeezing an Orange
Dec 07, 2023
Writing Retellings and Reimaginings
Nov 30, 2023
Bumper November Bonus Episode
Nov 27, 2023
In Praise of the Essay
Nov 23, 2023
Writing Morally Ambiguous Characters
Nov 16, 2023
Encouragement from NYT Bestselling Author, Jean Kwok
Nov 09, 2023
Adapting a Novel into a Screenplay
Nov 02, 2023
Bumper October Bonus Episode
Oct 30, 2023
Bumper October Bonus Episode
Oct 30, 2023
Trusting in Yourself and the Process
Oct 26, 2023
Making Mindful Choices Regarding Characterization
Oct 19, 2023
Writing an Opening Chapter That Ticks All the Boxes
Oct 12, 2023
Getting Published Without an Agent
Oct 05, 2023
Choosing an A Plot
Sep 28, 2023
September Bonus Episode
Sep 25, 2023
The Method Writing Technique
Sep 21, 2023
The Hero's Journey in Memoir
Sep 14, 2023
The Layering Method of Writing
Sep 07, 2023
How POV Choice Lends Itself to Emotionality
Aug 31, 2023
August Bonus with Emma Donoghue and Lisa Jewell, plus Q & A and Comp Title Segments
Aug 28, 2023
Using Peripheral Characters Effectively
Aug 24, 2023
The Importance of Plausibility in Storytelling
Aug 17, 2023
Striking the Right Tone
Aug 10, 2023
Writing Pages That Will Make You Competitive in the Marketplace
Aug 03, 2023
July Bonus Episode With Ann Patchett, Booktalk, etc. & Ramona Ausubel
Jul 31, 2023
How to Elevate Your Descriptions
Jul 27, 2023
When Breaking the Rules Works
Jul 20, 2023
The Short Story vs The Novel
Jul 13, 2023
Referencing the Pandemic in Your WIP
Jul 06, 2023
Setting Up Your Social Media Platform
Jun 29, 2023
June Bonus Episode with Julie Carrick Dalton and Kerryn Mayne
Jun 26, 2023
How to Make Readers Connect With Your Characters
Jun 22, 2023
When to Begin With ‘The Big Terrible Thing’
Jun 15, 2023
Doing Everything Wrong in Your First Draft
Jun 08, 2023
Creating Conflict For Your Characters
Jun 01, 2023
May Bonus Episode: All the Romance & We Answer Your Questions & Give You Comps
May 29, 2023
Writing Dream Sequences That Work
May 25, 2023
When Not to Give Up!
May 18, 2023
Special Episode: Her Name is Coceka Lubobo
May 15, 2023
Being Intentional With Your POV Characters
May 11, 2023
Insights from Caroline Kepnes, Author of the ‘You’ Series
May 04, 2023
How Setting Informs Plot and Character
Apr 27, 2023
Bumper Edition: April Bonus Episode
Apr 24, 2023
Two Authors Review Your Work While Discussing Their Own
Apr 20, 2023
Insights from Bonnie Garmus, Internationally Bestselling Author of Lessons in Chemistry
Apr 13, 2023
Using Curiosity Seeds in a Dual Timeline Narrative
Apr 06, 2023
Keeping the Plot Moving Forward
Mar 30, 2023
Bumper Edition March Bonus Episode
Mar 27, 2023
How to Know When You Need a Prologue
Mar 23, 2023
How to Ensure Your Characters Aren’t Just Puppets Being Manipulated Through a Plot
Mar 16, 2023
Rebecca Makkai's Writing Insights
Mar 09, 2023
Writing About Trauma
Mar 02, 2023
Jam-packed February Bonus Episode
Feb 27, 2023
Being Intentional With Setting
Feb 23, 2023
Grady Hendrix’s Insights on Writing
Feb 16, 2023
Books That Get a Lot of Buzz
Feb 09, 2023
Welcoming Critique & Using the Hank 'Tuck' Method
Feb 02, 2023
The Different Routes to Publication
Jan 26, 2023
Writing About Grief & We Answer Your Questions & We Give You Comp Titles
Jan 23, 2023
Finding Mentors in Your Writing Journey
Jan 19, 2023
Pitching a Book Before You Write It
Jan 12, 2023
Seize the Day and Write the Book!
Jan 05, 2023
Using Emotional Memories in Writing & Our End-of-Year Wrap Up
Dec 29, 2022
Writing Tightly on a Scene Level & Keeping Your Characters in Motion
Dec 22, 2022
A Podcast Listener's Success Story
Dec 15, 2022
December Bonus Episode: We Answer Your Questions & Give You Comp Titles
Dec 12, 2022
When All the Rejections Become Resounding Yeses!
Dec 08, 2022
The Importance of Surprising the Reader From the First Chapter
Dec 01, 2022
Writing Strong Character Arcs That Are Tied to Character Wants
Nov 24, 2022
Jeffrey Archer's 14-Draft Process & Writing Plots Twists vs Reveals
Nov 17, 2022
The Importance of Having No Ego When Receiving Critique
Nov 10, 2022
Adding Tension, Conflict and Stakes to a Novel That's Not Working
Nov 03, 2022
Inciting Incidents and Key Events
Oct 27, 2022
Bonus Episode: We Answer Your Questions, Give You Comp Titles, and Chat with Susie Yang
Oct 24, 2022
Why You Don't Need an MFA to Become a Better Writer
Oct 20, 2022
The Process When Publishers Acquire a Novel & How to Make Yourself More Marketable
Oct 13, 2022
Fleshing Out All of Your Characters, Including the Antagonists
Oct 06, 2022
Including Diversity in Your Writing & Always Thinking About Your Reader
Sep 29, 2022
How to Know if You're the Right Person to Tell a Story
Sep 22, 2022
Bonus Episode: We Answer Your Questions and Give You Comps
Sep 19, 2022
How to Stop Talking to Ourselves and Start Talking to Our Readers
Sep 15, 2022
Tearing a Story Apart Until the Puzzle Pieces Fit Perfectly
Sep 08, 2022
Writing a Successful Book Proposal
Sep 01, 2022
How Classic Literature Can Inform Your Own Work
Aug 25, 2022
Balancing Character Development, Curiosity Seeds and Plot
Aug 18, 2022
Letting the Story Be Bigger Than You
Aug 11, 2022
Maximizing the Benefit of Working with a Freelance Editor
Aug 04, 2022
From the Archives: Dealing with Rejection
Jul 28, 2022
From the Archives: How to Create and Maintain Suspense
Jul 21, 2022
From the Archives: Learning Your Craft
Jul 14, 2022
From the Archives: Coming Up with A High Concept Premise
Jul 07, 2022
Writing Scenes Involving Multiple Characters, Understanding Writing Theory & We Answer Your Questions
Jul 04, 2022
Tess Gerritsen's Advice to Writers
Jun 30, 2022
Writing Memoir, Planting Curiosity Seeds & Choosing Inciting Incidents
Jun 27, 2022
Using a Pen Name & Advice for Showing vs Telling - Riley Sager
Jun 23, 2022
A Genre Guide, What Postcard Scenes Are, Resources Available to Writers, and a Bookstagrammer Gives You Comps
Jun 20, 2022
May Cobb's Insights on Writing
Jun 16, 2022
Tips for Romance Writers, Blurred Genres & We Answer Your Questions
Jun 13, 2022
Trusting Your Subconscious and Yourself
Jun 09, 2022
Breaking the Rules & The Importance of Juxtaposition & A Bookstagrammer Gives You Comps
Jun 06, 2022
How Racism in the US Pushed Tara M. Stringfellow to Write Memphis
Jun 02, 2022
Combating Query Fatigue & A Bookseller Gives You Comps
May 30, 2022
The Poetic Efficiency of Writing Well at the Line Level - Emma Straub
May 26, 2022
Pacing at a Chapter Level, How the Industry is Faring, and We Answer Your Questions
May 23, 2022
The Secret to Incorporating Backstory
May 19, 2022
Being Out on Sub, Drafting vs Revising Mode, Answering Your Questions and Comps Titles
May 16, 2022
Emily Henry's Advice for Writing Good Dialogue
May 12, 2022
What Makes an Editor Fall in Love with a Book & How to Manage Your Writerly Anxiety & A Bookseller Gives You Comps
May 09, 2022
The Difference Between Memoir and Recollection
May 05, 2022
Setting as Character, How Your Journey Will Be Unique, and We Answer Your Questions
May 02, 2022
How to Make 'Quiet' Novels Unputdownable
Apr 28, 2022
Middle-Grade Fiction, Rom-coms, and a Bookseller Gives You Comps
Apr 25, 2022
Making Structural Choices to Best Serve a Particular Story
Apr 21, 2022
Writing and Rewriting a Novel Until It's Ready & We Answer Your Questions
Apr 18, 2022
The Importance of Endings - Lisa Scottoline
Apr 14, 2022
Framing Scenes, Writing a YA Series, and A Bookseller Recommends Comps
Apr 11, 2022
Organically Integrating Backstory and Context
Apr 07, 2022
Fictional Beginnings and Non-Fictional Story Arcs & a Bookseller Recommends Comps
Apr 04, 2022
How the Original Pitch Copy and Framing Device Can Change During Edits
Mar 31, 2022
What Chloe and Olivia Have Learned Along the Way & A Bookseller Offers Comps
Mar 28, 2022
When You're Not Able to Let Go of a Rejected Manuscript
Mar 24, 2022
How Specificity Brings a Story to Life, Answering Your Questions, and a Bookseller Gives You Comps
Mar 21, 2022
How to be Creative During Difficult Times
Mar 17, 2022
Bonus Episode: Spotlight on Indie Authors and Publishers & We Answer Your Questions
Mar 14, 2022
How to Ensure Each Scene is Doing the Heavy Lifting
Mar 10, 2022
BONUS EPISODE: Jesse Thistle's Advice to Memoirists & Our First Q&A Session
Mar 07, 2022
Writerly Insights with Bestselling Author, Elin Hilderbrand
Mar 03, 2022
Writing Romance Masterclass
Feb 28, 2022
Why You Need to Be Your Most Sympathetic Critic
Feb 24, 2022
A Masterclass in Writing Multi-POV Novels Across Various Genres
Feb 21, 2022
Writing With an Intelligent Reader in Mind
Feb 17, 2022
What It's Like to Be Out On Submission & Circling the Building in Your Opening
Feb 14, 2022
When Writing is Both Therapeutic and Profitable
Feb 10, 2022
BONUS Episode: Discussing Action and Humor with Mark Greaney and Josie Silver
Feb 07, 2022
Mastering Multi-POV and Multi-Timeline Novels with Fiona Davis
Feb 03, 2022
BONUS: Experimenting with Structure - Mitzi Angel and Janice Hallett
Jan 31, 2022
Rachel Krantz's Advice on Writing Memoir
Jan 27, 2022
BONUS EPISODE: A Romance Author Answers Your Questions & An Intro to Scrivener
Jan 24, 2022
Building a Writing Resume on Your Journey to Publication - Deesha Philyaw
Jan 20, 2022
Granting Yourself Permission to Tell a Story - Kerri Maher
Jan 13, 2022
BONUS EPISODE: From Rocky Beginnings to Strong Endings
Jan 10, 2022
Knowing When You're Not Quite There... Yet - Tomi Adeyemi
Jan 06, 2022
Ending the Year with a Shot of Positivity from Alka Joshi
Dec 30, 2021
How Using Writing Software Can Elevate Your WIP
Dec 27, 2021
How Critiquing Other Writers' Work is the Best Way To Learn Craft
Dec 23, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: Why You Should Consider Writing Residencies
Dec 21, 2021
Incorporating the Epistolary Form into Your Writing
Dec 16, 2021
When a Pantser Becomes a Plotter to Get Published - Kirthana Ramisetti
Dec 09, 2021
Not Every Journey to Publication Takes the Same Route - Jayne Allen
Dec 02, 2021
Trusting Your Gut in the Face of Rejection - PJ Vernon
Nov 25, 2021
BONUS: Submitting to Presses & Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone
Nov 22, 2021
Ken Follett's Incredibly Practical Tips for Writers
Nov 18, 2021
How to Write a Novel in Half the Time
Nov 11, 2021
Why You Shouldn't Compare Yourself to Other Writers
Nov 04, 2021
The Secret to Overnight Success - Jesse Q Sutanto
Oct 28, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: When to Break the Rules - Leila Slimani
Oct 26, 2021
Staying True To Your Vision for Your Work - Ella Berman
Oct 21, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: Romance, Rom-coms and Writing Sex Scenes
Oct 19, 2021
A Wealth of Information Shared by Super Editor, Amy Einhorn
Oct 14, 2021
How Being Impatient to Publish Actually Works Against You - Ruth Ozeki
Oct 07, 2021
From the Archives: What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Published - Courtney Maum
Oct 04, 2021
In Praise of the Prologue and Organic Backstory - Christina Clancy
Sep 30, 2021
From the Archives: Talking with the Bestseller Whisperer
Sep 27, 2021
The Evolution of a Rejected Manuscript on its Journey to Publication
Sep 23, 2021
Having Fun with Your Writing & Getting Out of Your Own Way - Lauren Groff
Sep 16, 2021
The Importance of Staring into Space - Sunjeev Sahota
Sep 09, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: 10 Legal and Business Topics for Writers to Consider
Sep 07, 2021
Every Story Will Tell You What it Needs - Megan Collins
Sep 02, 2021
Finding Your Plot Engine - Megan Abbott
Aug 26, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: A One-on-One Books with Hooks & Preparing for #PitMad
Aug 24, 2021
Writing an Engaging First Chapter - Caitlin Wahrer
Aug 19, 2021
How to Know When You're Ready to Query Agents
Aug 12, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: How to Make Your Imaginary Worlds Come Alive Through Worldbuilding
Aug 09, 2021
Finding a Hook & Writing Dual POV Stories - Andrea Bartz
Aug 05, 2021
From the Archives: 10 Harsh Truths Writers Need to Know
Aug 03, 2021
Writing Intuitively Without Plotting or Outlining - Samantha Downing
Jul 29, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: Delving into the Author/Editor Relationship
Jul 27, 2021
Curiosity May Kill the Cat but it Makes a Writer
Jul 22, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: What it Takes to be a Successful Indie Author
Jul 20, 2021
Reading: The DIY MFA
Jul 15, 2021
From the Archives: Two Opposing Views on Handling Tricky Backstory
Jul 12, 2021
Pitches, Loglines and Queries
Jul 08, 2021
From the Archives: The Biggest Mistake Writers Make: Lisa Cron
Jul 05, 2021
Focusing on Tension Rather Than Plot - Emily Henry
Jul 01, 2021
Director's Cut Bonus Episode: 3 Agents Explain Book Adaptation for Film and TV
Jun 28, 2021
Writing Those Tricky Unlikeable Characters - May Cobb
Jun 24, 2021
The Importance of Finding Your People
Jun 17, 2021
Plotting, Outlining and Structuring Your Novel - Hannah Mary McKinnon
Jun 10, 2021
Genre Tropes and Conventions - Uzma Jalaluddin
Jun 03, 2021
What Goes Into Overnight Success & Mastering Pacing
May 27, 2021
Bonus Episode - Taking All Your Questions
May 24, 2021
Hooking Your Reader & Keeping Them Turning Pages - Jeffery Deaver
May 20, 2021
The Writer's Life - Lily King
May 13, 2021
What You Can Learn From Your Rejections
May 06, 2021
Writing Starter Novels & Establishing a Research Process
Apr 29, 2021
What Every Writer Can Learn From Other Great Writers
Apr 22, 2021
How to Build Your Author Platform in an Authentic Way
Apr 15, 2021
In Praise of Bookstagrammers
Apr 08, 2021
Career Advice from Bestselling Susan Wiggs
Apr 01, 2021
Writing From Rage & Own Voices Stories
Mar 25, 2021
Capturing Time and Place - Ann Mah
Mar 18, 2021
Why Writing is a Marathon - Marissa Stapley
Mar 11, 2021
Indie Publishers
Mar 04, 2021
First Books with Hooks & Freelance Editors
Feb 25, 2021
Turning Rejections into Success Stories
Feb 18, 2021
Finding Your Process as a Debut Author
Feb 11, 2021
Showing vs Telling and Online Writing Retreats
Feb 04, 2021
Creating Characters That Feel Real : Claire Lombardo
Jan 28, 2021
Balancing Heartbreak and Humor - Steven Rowley
Jan 21, 2021
My Journey to Publication - Julia Claiborne Johnson
Jan 14, 2021
Kicking Off a Wonderfully Creative Year
Jan 07, 2021
How to Create and Maintain Suspense in all Genres
Dec 31, 2020
Point of View and an Update on the Industry: Carly Watters
Dec 24, 2020
The Latest Literary Trend: Writing Partnerships
Dec 17, 2020
What All Writers Can Learn From the Thriller Genre
Dec 10, 2020
Talking Audiobooks & Elements of Craft with Katharine Lee McEwan
Dec 03, 2020
Why Writing Groups are Integral
Nov 26, 2020
What You Need to Know About Self Publishing
Nov 19, 2020
Succeeding in the YA (Young Adult) Market
Nov 08, 2020
Writing Sex Scenes & Befriending Booksellers
Oct 15, 2020
When You Don't Make Shit Up - Memoir & Nonfiction
Sep 24, 2020
Bestselling Jane Green's Advice to Writers
Sep 18, 2020
How an Editor Acquires a Manuscript
Sep 18, 2020
Delving into the Author/Agent Relationship
Sep 18, 2020