The Shit No One Tells You About Writing

By Bianca Marais, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra

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Description

This is a podcast for emerging writers, who are looking to improve their work with an aim to having it published, or anyone who would like a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry. Your host, Bianca Marais (the author of 'Hum If You Don't Know the Words' and 'If You Want to Make God Laugh') will be interviewing 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 and opening pages in their Books with Hooks segment. Expect good advice, honest insights, and a few laughs along the way.

Episode Date
Pacing at a Chapter Level, How the Industry is Faring, and We Answer Your Questions
3379

In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Hanny Mary McKinnon, author of NEVER COMING HOME, about how to write characters that we root for even though they’re bad; pacing at a scene or chapter level; adding in “sparkly touches” during the editing/revision stage; how to ensure a reader won’t want to put your book down; and knowing when a scene or chapter isn’t enhancing your story

 After which, Bianca chats with industry expert, Jane Friedman about how the publishing industry is faring; the lack of diversity in and social dynamics of the industry; current trends in publishing; how BookTok has been driving book sales; self-publishing vs traditionally publishing; thinking long-term when you’re making the decision about which publishing route you want to take; and all of Jane’s resources available for writers.

After which, Carly and CeCe answer all of your burning publishing questions!

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.com
Hannah can be found at @hannahmarymckinnon on Instagram and @HannahMMcKinnon on Twitter, and at www.hannahmarymckinnon.com
Jane can be found at @janefriedman on Instagram and Twitter and at www.janefriendman.com


May 23, 2022
The Secret to Incorporating Backstory
4529

In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe each critique two query letters. In the process they discuss closing the distance between narrator and reader; ensuring the reader knows exactly who to root for and what the hook is; how secrets in a query letter must carry inherent stakes with them; voice-y hybrid second person; and planting curiosity seeds.

After which, Bianca chats with Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas, about a ‘scaffolding’ writing technique; incorporating mythology into your writing; Stacey's writing process and journey to publication; being intentional with your opening pages; and the secret to incorporating backstory.

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.com
Stacey can be found at @staceyrswann on Instagram and @StaceySwann on Twitter, and at www.staceyswann.com


May 19, 2022
Being Out on Sub, Drafting vs Revising Mode, Answering Your Questions and Comps Titles
4452

In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca first chats with Jessica Payne, author of Make Me Disappear, about getting "the call"; how long the editorial process can take before going on sub; how publishing is like dating; how to tell when you’re close to getting offers of representation; writing under contract while launching a debut; and establishing relationships with Bookstagrammers and a potential launch team before you’ve sold the book.

Bianca then talks with Amy Jones, award-winning author of Every Little Piece of Me about writing as rewriting; saving your deleted work; how drafting a novel is like building a house; place-holding chapters and  scenes; and drafting mode versus revising mode.

After which Carly and CeCe answer your burning questions.

Finally, Emilie Sommer from East City Bookshop gives you comps titles!

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.com
Jessica can be found on Twitter at @authorjessicapayne and on Instagram at @jessicapayne.writer and at www.jessicapayne.net
Amy  can be found on Twitter at @amylaurajones and Instagram at @amlaujo and at www.amyjonesauthor.com
Emilie can be found on Instagram at @emiliegsommer and East City Bookshop can be found at @eastcitybookshop

May 16, 2022
Emily Henry's Advice for Writing Good Dialogue
3830

In today's Books with Hooks, we're joined by Paige and Rianne who submitted their work for critique. Carly and CeCe discuss how to make your query properly voicey and following the ‘language’ of your novel;  cornering your protagonist to create tension; the need for a personified antagonistic force in your query/novel; and the need for active emotions.

After which, Bianca chats with Emily Henry, NYT Bestselling author of Book Lovers, about developing characters; the progress made in the romance genre; writing as an inherently political act; what draws Emily to writing about publishing; and Emily's advice for writing good dialogue and witty banter. 

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com and www.theshitaboutwriting.com
Emily can be found at @emilyhenrywrites on Instagram and at www.emilyhenrybooks.com

May 12, 2022
What Makes an Editor Fall in Love with a Book & How to Manage Your Writerly Anxiety & A Bookseller Gives You Comps
4640

In today's Bonus Episode, CeCe chats with Sarah Cantin, Executive Editor at St. Martin's Publishing Group and the editor of the #BookswithHooksBC pick, The Ballerinas. They discuss what made Sarah fall in love with the submission for The Ballerinas;  what “pre-empt” means in an offer/deal; instantly knowing the genre vs pondering the straddling of two genres; the ratio of submissions vs offers; what to do when a book doesn’t sell as well as you thought it would; likeable unlikeable protagonists; and Sarah's book recommendations. 

After which, Bianca chats with Susie Orman Schnall, the award-winning author of We Came Here to Shine, The Subway Girls, The Balance Project and On Grace. They discuss hiring a professional editor to put your best foot forward for querying; rejections from publishers and the importance of talking about them; understanding the hook of your novel; how to manage the anxiety of being a writer; trusting in your agent’s capabilities; and allowing yourself to feel shitty, but also remembering to measure your successes and celebrate them as you keep going.

Finally, Emilie Sommer joins us from East City Book Shop to answer your comps questions!

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Sarah can be found at @sarahgcantin on Twitter
Susie can be found at @susieormanschnall on Instagram and at www.susieschnall.com 
Emilie can be found at @emiliegsommer on Instagram and East City Book Shop can be found at @eastcitybookshop on Instagram and at @eastcitybooks on Twitter

 

May 09, 2022
The Difference Between Memoir and Recollection
4055

In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe each review two query letters. In the process, they discuss being specific with hooks and ensuring that you're labeling/branding novel genres correctly; how to create plot points that will make a novel more upmarket/pacey; how emotionality builds tension; the ways in which your author bio should relate to the plot/idea of your book; dealing with the tropes of upmarket women’s fiction; and pages that deliver on tension.

After which, Bianca chats with Courtney Maum, author of the memoir The Year of the Horses, about advances from publishers; sticking with your book baby even if it means going to a different, smaller publisher; figuring out how to approach a memoir after writing fiction; the difference between memoir and recollection; the guiding principal in a memoir; and incorporating misrememberings into your memoir.

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Courtney can be found at @cbmaum on Instagram and @cmaum on Twitter

May 05, 2022
Setting as Character, How Your Journey Will Be Unique, and We Answer Your Questions
3363

In today’s Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Jennifer Fawcett, author of Beneath the Stairs, about her publishing journey; positioning yourself in the market for editors—and why comps and knowing your genre are so important; writing a book that stays true to what you want to write, but is also marketable and satisfies the readers of that genre; and having the setting become character.

After which, Bianca chats with Lydia Kang, author of The Half-Life of Ruby Fielding, about fitting writing into a busy work and home schedule; how your writing pace is not going to look the same as everyone else’s; keeping the same agent as you go through multiple genres as a writer; and researching historical fiction. 

Finally, Carly and CeCe answer your burning questions!

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Jennifer can be found at @AuthorFawcett on Twitter and at @jenniferfawcett_author on Instagram and at www.jenniferfawcett.org
Lydia can be found at @lydiakang on Instagram and @LydiaYKang on Twitter and at www.lydiakang.com
 
 

 

May 02, 2022
How to Make 'Quiet' Novels Unputdownable
5151

In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe evaluate the same three query letters, discussing developing character while developing plot; leveraging the reveal in a way that ramps up stakes and tension; having appropriate stakes for the age group and genre; framing what’s happening around the main character(s); how we need disruption, imbalance and conflict in the MC’s life, especially in the opening pages; and giving a personal universal element that the reader can imprint on in the opening pages.

After which CeCe interviews Jennifer Close, author of Marrying the Ketchups, about the inherent anxiety that comes with writing, and how feeling insecure and doubtful is a part of the process no matter how many novels you’ve written; how Jennifer’s process has changed now that she’s published four books; how to make so-called ‘quiet’ novels unputdownable and so-called ‘passive’ characters compelling; Jennifer Close’s list of Golden Advice to first-time writers; and the importance of sitting with editorial feedback before working on edits.

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Jennifer can be found at @jenniferaclose on Instagram and @jenniferclose on Twitter


Apr 28, 2022
Middle-Grade Fiction, Rom-coms, and a Bookseller Gives You Comps
3538

In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Alisha Sevigny, author of The Oracle of Avaris, about the difference between MG and Upper MG; the importance of reading in the genre you want to write in; guarding against talking down to kids or teaching a lesson; taboo subjects for MG and how to approach writing difficult topics.

After which, Bianca chats with TJ Alexander, author of Chef's Kiss, about their publishing journey, trying to find comps when you're breaking new ground; the psychology behind certain tropes; the importance of figuring out which POV will best serve the story; maintaining tension in romcoms; outlining or not outlining a romance novel; and emotional edging.

Finally, Laynie Rose Rizer from East City Bookshop answers your burning comps questions!

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Alisha can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @alishasevigny and at www.alishasevigny.com
TJ Alexander can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @tjalexandernyc and at www.tjalexander.com
Laynie can be found on Instagram at @thelaynierose and East City Bookshop can be found at @eastcitybookshop

Apr 25, 2022
Making Structural Choices to Best Serve a Particular Story
3889

In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are joined by Kim and Jessica who submitted their queries for critique. They discuss how to elevate a query so that it matches the quality of the pages, reminding us that the goal of the query letter is to get an agent to read those pages; how to lean into specificity to elevate a query; toeing the line between giving away too much and too little in your query; how to successfully write a multi POV query; and how to balance discussing theme and plot in a query.

After which, Bianca chats with Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of Take My Handabout how not to not ‘hit’ readers over the head with your moral themes; how to  make  characters who might traditionally be considered to be 'bad' sympathetic; inner and outer conflict; how to conduct extensive research; and defending your structural choices. 

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Dolen can be found at @dolenperkinsvaldez on Instagram, and at www.dolenperkinsvaldez.com 


 

Apr 21, 2022
Writing and Rewriting a Novel Until It's Ready & We Answer Your Questions
4398

In today’s BONUS EPISODE, Bianca chats with Matt Bell, author of Refuse to be Done: How to Write and Rewrite a Novel in Three Drafts, about how teaching has helped them become better writers; revising in layers versus all at once; how there's not just one way to write or revise a novel; revision tools for if you don't have beta readers; and the responsibility of being a creative writing instructor.

 After which CeCe chats with debut author, Amanda Pellegrino, author of Smile and Look Pretty, about the query letter that connected Amanda to her dream agent; how long it took Amanda to write her first draft; how Amanda broke the rules when querying (and it worked!); the importance of working with an agent who challenges you; the editorial work that went into getting her manuscript ready; researching professions to write characters with authenticity; how it felt like to go out on submission to publishers; writing for film and TV versus writing novels; the value of getting the bad ideas out to land on the good ideas; the importance of surrounding yourself with people you trust; how being self-disciplined without putting pressure on herself has served Amanda well; the importance of social media in marketing and promoting your book; and the generosity of the #WritingCommunity.

Finally, Carly and CeCe take your questions!

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Matt can be found at www.mattbell.com and on @mattbell79 on Twitter and Instagram
Amanda Pellegrino can be found at www.amandapellegrino.com and at @amandagpellegrino on Instagram and @amandapellss on Twitter

Apr 18, 2022
The Importance of Endings - Lisa Scottoline
3681

In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe evaluate two submissions each and discuss not feeding the reader all the information right up front; how the reader should be the co-pilot; that understanding how much you should reveal is a complicated  dance; not starting with a child's POV when it’s an adult novel; and having things happening in the first pages and not just setting the scene

After which, Femi Omotade joins Bianca again to interview bestselling and award-winning Lisa Scottoline, author of What Happened to the Bennetts. They discuss channeling empathy to create realistic characters; how all writing leads to other writing;  how writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised; the importance of endings; and how Lisa's writing has evolved over the course of her career.

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Lisa can be found at @LisaScottoline on Twitter and Instagram, and at www.scottoline.com 
Femi can be found at @thebookalert on Instagram



Apr 14, 2022
Framing Scenes, Writing a YA Series, and A Bookseller Recommends Comps
4736

In today's jam-packed Bonus Episode, Bianca first chats with Grant Ginder,  author of Let's Not Do That Again, about “unlikable” characters and what they might reveal about us as readers; the 5-Act structure; framing a scene to play with dramatic effect; and specificity in scenes according to what would be important for each particular character.

After which, Bianca chats with Tracy Wolff, bestselling author of The Crave Series about Tracy's journey to publication and writing across multiple genres; elements in YA that aren’t necessarily in other genres; being authentic to the experiences of your YA character; and the challenges of writing a series.

After which, Emilie Sommer from East City Book Shop joins us to give you comp titles!

Use the code SUPERTEA for 15% off your entire order at shoplakeandoak.com

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Grant can be found at www.grantginder.com and on Instagram and Twitter at @grantginder 
Tracy can be found at www. tracywolffauthor.com and on Instagram at @TracyWolffBooks and on Twitter at @TraceyWolff
Emili can be found at www.eastcitybookshop.com and on Instagram at @emiliegsommer


 


Apr 11, 2022
Organically Integrating Backstory and Context
3885

In today's Books with Hooks, Hannah and Beth join Carly and CeCe to discuss their submissions. During the chat, Carly and CeCe chat about the difference between ‘heart’ and ‘hook’; raising the stakes in your novel; a good way to describe a ‘quiet’ novel in a query; sharing anything that elevates your novel’s structure and style in your query; and how to deal with the issue of writing (or avoiding writing about) the pandemic.

 After which, Bianca chats with Gina Sorell, author of The Wise Women, about the genesis of an idea; family/sibling relationships and points of view; techniques for giving backstory/context; being an ‘underwriter’; and Gina's advice for emerging writers.

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Gina can be found at @ginasorell on Twitter and Instagram and at www.ginasorell.com

Apr 07, 2022
Fictional Beginnings and Non-Fictional Story Arcs & a Bookseller Recommends Comps
3637

In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Lee Gowan, author of The Beautiful Place about taking twelve years to finish a novel; the process of figuring out when your novel is done; advice on how to find the right beginning; cannibalizing your writing; the importance of knowing where your novel is going, and how cutting things out can help you figure out key parts of your novel.

After which, Bianca chats with Leo Carver, author of The Gardener's Guide to Seeding the Soul, about the process of writing non-fiction; putting a story arc in your non-fiction which lends itself to structure; turning challenging circumstances in life into a positive with creativity; writing a proposal; and transferring frustrations with work, etc. into energy for your creativity.

And finally, Emily Schwab joins us from Book Ends in Winchester, Massachusetts, to suggest comp titles.

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Lee Gowan can be found at www.leegowan.com 
Leo Carver can be found on Instagram at @leo.carver
Book Ends can be found on Instagram at @bookendswinchester 
Emily Schwab can be found on Instagram at @paperbookreader



Apr 04, 2022
How the Original Pitch Copy and Framing Device Can Change During Edits
4459

In today’s special episode of Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe welcome author Rachel Kapelke-Dale and her agent Sarah Phair to offer feedback on three query letters from members of the Books with Hooks Book Club. During the chat, they address how withholding information at the start of a story can create tension, not starting a story with descriptions on the weather (and how that is like wearing capri pants), and how reading a book out loud can help with proofreading.
 
After which, CeCe chats with Rachel Kapelke-Dale, author of THE BALLERINAS, and her agent Sarah Phair about how Rachel and Sarah started working together; the original pitch copy and framing device for THE BALLERINAS and how both changed over several rounds of edits; how the author might now know what genre they’re writing in until they finish the story and how comp titles can help with figuring it out; and how weaving in significant and active foreshadowing from the very first page can elevate a story.

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Rachel can be found at @rkapelkedale on Twitter and @rachelkapelkedale on Instagram
Sarah can be found at @SarahPhair on Twitter and https://www.greenburger.com/agent/sarah-phair

 Show notes link: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250834560/theingenue

 

Mar 31, 2022
What Chloe and Olivia Have Learned Along the Way & A Bookseller Offers Comps
3843

In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca begins by chatting with Chloe Benjamin, bestselling author of The Immortalists, about handling the perfectionism-induced burnout after finishing The Immortalists, and the techniques she uses to pace herself; the romanticization of being an artist and struggling with mental health issues; the toxicity of grind culture;  and various ways for you to research and organize your work.

After which, Bianca chats with Olivia, a brilliant 12-year-old writer who she coaches, about what Olivia's learned and the advice she'd like to share with all of you!

Finally, Rebecca Speas of One More Page Books joins us to answer your comp questions!

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Chloe Benjamin can be found at: www.chloebenjaminbooks.com and on Instagram at @chloekbenjamin and on Twitter at @chloebenjamin
One More Page Books can be found at www.onemorepagebooks.com and on Instagram at @onemorepagebooks and on Twitter at @justonemorepage
Rebecca Speas can be found on Instagram and on Twitter at @SpeasySpice

Mar 28, 2022
When You're Not Able to Let Go of a Rejected Manuscript
4172

In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe kick it back old school and both discuss the same three submissions. During the chat, they address dialing back on the exposition in the opening pages; keeping it to two comps and not trying to tick off all the genre boxes; not starting a story with the protagonist imagining too much; matching descriptions of surroundings to what the character is feeling about what’s going on presently in their life; making sure the “ick factor” is clearly laid out in the query letter; and how world-building can be whatever you want it to be as long as you’re making deliberate decisions so there isn’t an issue with plausibility.

After which, Carly and Bianca chat with Glendy Vanderah, author of The Oceanography of the Moon, about the benefits of Amazon First Reads for debut authors; how initial success can be a blessing and a curse; the journey of rewriting an earlier "lost" manuscript which became her newest novel; how far you can take an unlikeable character while still keeping the reader interested; and the art of teasing out backstory while keeping readers from getting frustrated.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Glendy can be found at www.glendyvanderah.com and on Instagram at @glendyvanderah

 

Mar 24, 2022
How Specificity Brings a Story to Life, Answering Your Questions, and a Bookseller Gives You Comps
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In today's BONUS EPISODE, Bianca first chats with Rosie Walsh, bestselling author of The Love of My Life, about when a story forces a plotter to become a pantser; figuring out how to work in backstory after the midpoint twist; pulling a manuscript apart and putting it back together multiple times; how the only way to learn how to write a book is writing one; knowing how to pitch your book despite straddling genres; hiding something in plain sight and the care it requires when it comes down to word choice; how the natural world can inform plot and character; how characterization is a process of painstaking layering; allowing your characters to be beige in early drafts; and putting your manuscript in front of non-writers to see a reader's reaction to a story.

We then answer the questions you've phoned in with.

After which, Bianca chats with NoViolet Bulawayo, the award-winning and bestselling author of Glory, about writing satire and building a lexicon; using allegories in your writing; using your art to be part of something larger; how to be engaged with the times, to facilitate important conversations; writing animals as characters; and her tips for emerging writers.

Finally, Bianca is joined by East City Bookshop book buyer, Emilie Sommer, who takes your questions to help you find comp titles!

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Rosie Walsh can be found at www.rosiewalsh.com and on Instagram and Twitter at @therosiewalsh.
NoViolet Bulawayo can be found at www.novioletbulawayo.com 
East City Bookshop can be found at www.eastcitybookshop.com and on Instagram at @eastcitybookshop on Twitter at @eastcitybooks
Emilie Sommer can be found on Instagram at @emiliesommer




Mar 21, 2022
How to be Creative During Difficult Times
4058

In today's Books with Hooks, Bianca is joined by guest agent, Emmy Nordstrom-Higdon from Westwood Creative Artists, who looks at four query letters.  Emmy warns against tokenism and avoiding vague comps that might oversell your work. They also discuss reputation clauses and their growing prevalence in contracts; why editors and agents are wary about debut novels over 100 000 words; how ‘quiet’ novels are being passed over, but their hopes that the industry will eventually change; difficulties in getting the YA ‘voice’ right; and the importance of accessibility in your writing.

After which Bianca chats with bestselling and award-winning author, Karen Joy Fowler, author of Booth, about the difference between creating and marketing a novel;  writing a novel involving an individual without centering them; using passive voice and omniscient narration, and the benefits of using those tools; and how to be creative during difficult times. 

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Karen can be found at www.karenjoyfowler.com.

Mar 17, 2022
Bonus Episode: Spotlight on Indie Authors and Publishers & We Answer Your Questions
3973

In today's Bonus Episode, we spotlight two awesome indie authors and publishers. Bianca first chats with Maggie Smith, author of Truth and Other Lies, about using the same title as another book; being able to collaborate on the book cover with a smaller publisher; running your marketing campaign as an indie author; giving ARCs to early readers and how running a campaign on NetGalley to get reviews out before the launch of your book is a wise investment; the difference between indie publishing and hybrid publishing; and writing several drafts in several POVs to determine what works best to help you really get to know your characters.

After which, Bianca chats with Amy Tector, author of The Honeybee Emeralds, about choosing which historical characters to tell your story; keeping track of timelines in your draft; indie publishers putting a lot of care into their books; the woes of rejections and how to work through them; getting “the call” that all authors hope for; and Amy’s publishing journey with an independent publisher.

Finally, Carly and CeCe take your questions!

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Maggie Smith can be found at www. maggiesmithwriter.com and on Instagram at: @MaggieSmithWrites and on Twitter at: @magpie0218
Amy Tector can be found at www.amytector.com and on Instagram at: @amytectorwrites and on Twitter at: @amy_tector

Mar 14, 2022
How to Ensure Each Scene is Doing the Heavy Lifting
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In today's Books with Hooks, Kelly and Paul join Carly and CeCe to discuss their submissions. During the segment, we discuss the difference between dual timelines and flashbacks; the importance of your ‘opener’ and what that is; the importance of striking a balance between interiority and external plot at the beginning; and the new initiative we have to help you with your comps!

After which, Bianca chats with Nita Prose, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Maid, about when prologues work well; creating neurodivergent characters; creating a Frankenstein genre; being a ‘tent pole’ writer; how to make sure your scene needs to be there and that it’s doing all the heavy lifting it needs to do; and working inciting incidents into every scene. 

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Nita Prose can be found at www. nitaprose.com and on Instagram and Twitter at: @NitaProse

 



Mar 10, 2022
BONUS EPISODE: Jesse Thistle's Advice to Memoirists & Our First Q&A Session
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In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with Jesse Thistle, author of the bestselling and award-winning memoir, From the Ashes, about the difference between memoir and biography; thinking about what you want the ‘message’ of your memoir to be; speaking to universal elements of your memoir; the emotional/psychological effects of writing memoir about traumatic events; and Jesse's advice to memoirists. 

After which, Carly, CeCe and Bianca take your questions! 

If you'd like to ask a question, head over to: https://sayhi.chat/TSNOTYAW

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Jesse Thistle can be found at www. jessethistle.com and on Instagram at: @czechmet and on Facebook at @thistlejesse

Mar 07, 2022
Writerly Insights with Bestselling Author, Elin Hilderbrand
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe tackle two queries each. In the process, they discuss how you have less time to get to the inciting incident in a YA novel; being mindful of ‘telling’ that doesn’t move the storyline forward or is irrelevant; why too much interiority isn’t good in a query letter and how to replace interiority with plot; avoiding redundancies and repetition in your query letter and pages ; and how building mystery requires specificity by the author.

After which, CeCe chats with bestselling author, Elin Hilderbrand, about how to make unlikeable characters whole and real; the benefits of third-person close, and why you can get even closer than with first-person; why Elin will never write in first person; how the University of Iowa writing program made Elin miserable; how Elin’s literary background has contributed to her commercial success; how classic techniques can be transformed into fresh ways of thinking and writing (the Greek chorus in Elin’s case); how Elin deals with writer’s block; how writing isn’t magic but hard work; and Elin's plans for retirement.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Elin Hilderbrand can be found at www. elinhilderbrand.net and on Instagram and Twitter at: @elinhilderbrand 

Mar 03, 2022
Writing Romance Masterclass
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In today's BONUS EPISODE, we do a deep dive into the romance genre. Bianca first chats with Farah Heron, author of Accidentally Engaged and Tahira in Bloom, about the sub-genres of romance; how romance is defined; the difference between romance and women’s fiction; The Bridgerton Effect; structure and plotting for romance; and tropes in the romance genre.

After which, Bianca chats with publishing phenomenon, Elena Armas, author of The Spanish Love Deception, about her journey from bookstagrammer to bestselling author; the power of Tik Tok; indie-publishing editing vs. traditionally published editing; how to make your own book covers; and how to write steamy sex scenes. 

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Farah Heron can be found at www.farahheron.com and on Twitter at @FarahHeron and on Instagram at @FarahHeronAuthor
Elena Armas can be found at www.authorelenaarmas.com and on Instagram at @thebibliotheque and on Twitter at @elenaarmasbooks

Feb 28, 2022
Why You Need to Be Your Most Sympathetic Critic
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are joined by Mire and Katy who have submitted their work for critique. They discuss not losing the plot in a quest for being true to the emotionality of the story; making sure that one character isn’t just a vessel for the other in a dual POV story; toeing the line between making the reader curious and leaving them frustrated; making sure that if you focus on one POV in your query letter, you still include who the other POVs will be; giving context so the reader understands certain details; limiting the number of ppl in your opening pages so as not to confuse the reader; and being present with your protagonist.

After which, Bianca is joined once again by Femi Omotade who interviews Marlon James, award-winning and bestselling author of Moon Witch, Spider King, about why Marlon is attracted to fantasy as a genre; how the best stories are about making new myths; how a novel can be born from research into something you’re interested in without knowing it’s going to be a novel; drawing from your mythological history; being careful what resources you pick for your research; how readers can feel like tourists in a work you’re creating but characters needs to be at home there; believing both your protagonist and your antagonist, and leaving it up to the reader to decide who’s telling the truth; and how where you begin writing isn’t necessarily the beginning of the novel.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Marlon James can be found at www.marlonjameswriter.com and on Twitter at @MarlonJames5
Femi Omotade can be found on Instagram at @thebookalert

Feb 24, 2022
A Masterclass in Writing Multi-POV Novels Across Various Genres
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In today’s BONUS Episode, Bianca chats with three awesome authors writing multi-POV stories across various genres. First up is Kim Fay, author of Love & Saffron, who talks about how being a bookseller influenced her writing; how writing is a craft and every sentence matters; letting the words flow when the magic happens; and including a piece of yourself in the story you want to tell.

Next is Kristen Bird, author of The Night She Went Missing, who talks about writing a successful 4-POV debut novel; the challenges of ensuring the reader can connect with each POV character with limited time on the pages; outlining a published novel to see how the author achieved their scene and chapter goals; treating your previous unpublished novels as practice, not failures; and allowing yourself to be content in the season that you’re in.

Lastly is Eliza Jane Brazier, author of Good Rich People, who chats about opening with a strong prologue; writing unlikeable characters that readers are still compelled to keep reading about; knowing what your villain truly wants; infusing social commentary into your writing; and switching hats from novel writing to screenwriting. 

Find us on our socials:
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com

Kim Fay - Twitter and Instagram: @kimkfay
Kirsten Bird – Twitter: @kbirdwrites and Instragram: @kirstenbirdwrites
Eliza Jane Brazier – Twitter: EJaneBrazier and Instagram: @Elizajanebrazier

 

 

 

Feb 21, 2022
Writing With an Intelligent Reader in Mind
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe kick it back old-school to review the same three query letters. During the segment, they discuss avoiding flowery language, especially in a query; avoiding "reviewing" your own work and letting the pages show what kind of work it is; pitching your story rather than your writing; making sure you have the right category/genre, so that the right people read it and judge it accordingly; and getting creative with your POV when you need to write a character that isn't a main character.

After which, Bookstagrammer Femi Omotade joins us again to interview #1 NYT Bestselling Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half. They discuss the writer’s responsibility to their reader; not giving yourself the burden of having to educate the reader; writing with an intelligent reader in mind; imagining that the reader is smarter than you; not trying to be universally appealing; writing as specifically as possible; how reviews are for readers, not writers; finding ways to protect your boundaries; how the book (rather than the author) is the product; and aiming for tonal fluctuations in a book. 

 Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Brit Bennett can be found at www.britbennett.com and on Instagram and Twitter at @britrbennett
Femi Omotade can be found on Instagram at @thebookalert

Feb 17, 2022
What It's Like to Be Out On Submission & Circling the Building in Your Opening
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In today's BONUS Episode, Carly chats with Andrea Dunlop, author of We Came Here To Forget, about comps and why they’re so important; what it feels like to be out on submission; writers not getting what they need in terms of knowing how to market themselves and their books; a day in the life of; and NaNoWriMo goals.

After which, Bianca chats with Nick Petrie, author of The Peter Ash Series, about backstory; being a pantser; internal and external conflict in the opening chapters; circling the building as you find your way into your opening; and how to structure chapters to keep readers turning pages.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Andrea Dunlop can be found at www.andreadunlop.net and on Instagram at @andreadunlop 
Nick Petrie can be found at www.nickpetrie.com and on Instagram and Twitter at @_nickpetrie_

Feb 14, 2022
When Writing is Both Therapeutic and Profitable
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are joined by Kathy and Leila who have submitted their queries for critique.  During the segment, they discuss why it’s important to frame a memoir as ‘why does this book have to be out there for others?’; why it’s okay to not have your hook fully fleshed out in a memoir query because agents are there to help you finish the job; how, in non-fiction, the hook is what you’re delivering to the reader and so it’s something you dig to find, unlike in fiction; how your story can start in multiple places, depending on taste; how starting in story is always the best place to start, even in memoir; using first person to help yourself write third person close; watching out for characters that are too generic/cookie-cutter/cliche; and how to make readers connect with characters in dark stories by making them very human.

After which, Bianca chats with Ashley Audrain, author of The Push, and bookstagrammer, Femi Omotade, about inserting non-typical themes into a thriller; writing about things that could be triggering for an author; writing being a cathartic experience—not therapy, but therapeutic; and the process of having a book get optioned for film or TV.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Ashley Audrain can be found at www.ashelyaudrain.com and on Instagram at @ashleyaudrain and Twitter at @audrain
Femi Omotade can be found on Instagram at @thebookalert

Feb 10, 2022
BONUS Episode: Discussing Action and Humor with Mark Greaney and Josie Silver
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In today's BONUS EPISODE Bianca first chats with Mark Greaney, author of Sierra Six, about writing espionage mysteries, putting your manuscript aside to work on something different so you can come back to it with fresh eyes; using every project as a learning experience;  immersing yourself in your research; writing a series; listing your characters if you have a lot of them; and how to manage the scene arc in shorter chapters.

After which, Bianca chats with Josie Silver, author of One Night on the Island, about writing rom-coms; publishing without an agent; infusing humor into your writing; writing in first person; giving characters a lot of emotional baggage, and using a plot mechanism to create humor; having internal and external conflict in the first few pages; and assigning each POV character to someone from your life or an actor to keep them separate and differentiated on the page.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Mark Greaney can be found at https://markgreaneybooks.com and on Instagram at @Mark GreaneyBooks and Twitter at @MarkGreaneyBook
Josie Silver can be found at www.josiesilver.com and on Instagram at @josiesilverauthor and on Twitter at @JosieSilver_

Feb 07, 2022
Mastering Multi-POV and Multi-Timeline Novels with Fiona Davis
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe each tackle two query letters. In the process, they discuss the importance of not only having internal conflict, but also having external conflict so that you can create a proper hook; the difference between women’s fiction and romance, and a larger discussion of what ‘women’s fiction’ actually is; making sure the types of stakes of your novel match your genre; the best POV when writing a non-human narrator; how women’s fiction queries should be less about feelings and more about plot; and how a good submission is about two main questions for an agent: ‘am I curious?’ and ‘is the writing strong?’

After which, Bianca chats with Fiona Davis, author of The Magnolia Palace, about the difficulty of writing two POVs and timelines within one book; ensuring that each storyline has an inciting incident and key event, and that readers are fully invested in both; Fiona’s ‘w’ story structure and how she plots out her story beats and plotline; and deciding on an author brand and genre. 

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Fiona Davis can be found at www.fionadavisbooks.com and on Instagram  at @FionaDavisAuthor and Twitter at @FionaDavisBooks




Feb 03, 2022
BONUS: Experimenting with Structure - Mitzi Angel and Janice Hallett
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In today's BONUS EPISODE, we do a deep dive into experimenting with structure.

Bianca first chats with Mitzi Angel—publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and editor to publishing phenomenon, Sally Rooney—about the structure and unusual POV that Sally chose for Beautiful World, Where Are You. Mitzi also takes our listeners' questions about Sally's work.

After which, Bianca interviews Janice Hallett, author of The Appeal, about her Agatha Christie-esque novel that's structured entirely out of WhatsApp messages and emails. Janice explains how she stumbled upon this unusual structure, as well as the pros and cons of using it.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Janice on Twitter: @JaniceHallett and Instagram: @janice.hallett



Jan 31, 2022
Rachel Krantz's Advice on Writing Memoir
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are joined by Layne and Peter. They discuss the importance of having a clear antagonistic force that the reader is scared of/rooting against; having a uniting factor in multi-POV stories; the difference between a premise and a hook; balancing being literary in a thriller/upmarket novel; and how you can sneak in an effective prologue. 

After which, Bianca chats with Rachel Krantz, author of Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy, about her advice for memoirists. They also discuss the difference between a reported memoir vs a traditional memoir; how the fallout/revelations of #MeToo affected the way Rachel gathered evidence during her experience; and the importance of the awareness of privilege, and not just acknowledging it, but working to raise awareness in others.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Rachel's website: https://www.racheljkrantz.com/about
On Instagram and Twitter: @rachelkrantz 

Jan 27, 2022
BONUS EPISODE: A Romance Author Answers Your Questions & An Intro to Scrivener
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In today's bonus episode, Bianca first chats with Seressia Glass, author of The Love Con, about all things romance as Seressia kindly answers listener questions about the genre while sharing invaluable insight.

After which, Bianca chats with Julia from Scrivener about what value the writing software can add while helping streamline your writing process. 

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com 
Seressia on Twitter: @seressia and on Instagram: @seressiaglass
Scrivener on Twitter: @scrivenerapp
 https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overview


Jan 24, 2022
Building a Writing Resume on Your Journey to Publication - Deesha Philyaw
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe each take on two query letters. They discuss being cognizant of including descriptive features of the characters that don’t actually add any information/teach us anything about the character themselves;  the trick of re-writing a scene in a different POV to really fine-tune emotional feelings within a scene; ensuring that dramatic questions in your plot actually center around your main character; being careful of using descriptions that are too derivative; how sensory details can beef up a description; and being mindful of how many names you throw out in the query letter since you don’t want it to read too much like a synopsis.

After which, Bianca chats with Deesha Philyaw, award-winning author of the short story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, about publishing a short story collection;
having an agent that believes in what you want to write and the direction you want to go; not taking rejection personally; getting some short stories published first in reputable magazines/journals before presenting them as a collection to publishers; finding that place of play and experimentation in your writing; and how the most interesting stories can come from a place of discovery.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Deesha on Twitter and Instagram: @DeeshaPhilyaw




Jan 20, 2022
Granting Yourself Permission to Tell a Story - Kerri Maher
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are kicking it back to the old format in which they look at the same three queries together. They discuss how important it is to show that there's enough plot and escalation to merit a whole novel when writing a query; the pitfall of using the term "crossover"; being mindful of when your book is coming off as quiet or too interior to the protagonist; avoiding a recap beginning, where you give too much background info, like a recap on a show; looking out for redundancies during the polishing phase; the difference between telling the reader something versus making the reader FEEL something; and how it isn't enough to just paint a picture - the picture needs to feel real.

After which Bianca chats with Kerri Maher, author of The Paris Bookseller, about fictionalizing real people (including the potential pitfalls and how to do it in a meaningful way); the social contract involved in writing/reading historical fiction; how to quiet the doubtful voice when writing, granting yourself permission to write a particular story; and how to frame novels that span a significant period of time.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Kerri Maher on Instagram: @kerrimaherwriter and on Twitter: @kerrimaherbooks

Jan 13, 2022
BONUS EPISODE: From Rocky Beginnings to Strong Endings
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In today's Bonus Episode, Bianca chats with two awesome guests. The first is Genevieve Gornichec, author of The Witch's Heart, who discusses querying a book that's ten years in the making when you’re not sure if it has a place in the market; the whirlwind of quickly getting an agent and book deal; turning your NaNoWriMo novel into a successful book; avoiding info-dumping through dialogue; creating a narrative outline; and reading outside your genre.

In the second interview, Bianca chats with Jes Trudel, co-founder of writingcommunity.ca about The Story Endings Matrix. Jes discusses how publishers use a SWOT Analysis to analyze a manuscript; how YOU can use a SWOT analysis to identify areas of weakness in your manuscript; how to ensure you have the proper ending for your book in any genre; and reverse outlining—working back from your ending to the beginning.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Genevieve on Instagram and Twitter: @gengornichec 
Jes on Twitter: @jes_trudel
www.writingcommunity.ca

Jan 10, 2022
Knowing When You're Not Quite There... Yet - Tomi Adeyemi
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In today's Books with Hooks, guest agent Veronia Park joins us from Fuse Literary to discuss Joanne's and Gaylen's submissions with them. In the segment, Veronica chats about straddling the line between two age categories; knowing, with MG fiction, who your target parents and teachers are because they're the ones who're going to be putting your book in their children’s hands; writing a dual-POV query letter for a dual-POV novel; letting your characters lie a little, or hold back truths, especially in the beginning; and including the first few pages of each POV character in a dual-POV situation.

After which, Bianca chats with the amazing Tomi Adeyemi, #1 NYT bestselling and award-winning author of Children of Blood and Bone and Children of Virtue and Vengeance about working through rejection to use the feedback you’re given; making the most of opportunities like Pitch Wars; reading new releases in your genre so you know what’s currently doing well; knowing when to give up on a project and move on; getting validation from yourself rather than external sources; how to be inspired rather than intimidated by great work; why trying and failing isn’t a bad thing; and how rejected books can act as your MFA. Tomi also discusses her amazing writer's masterclass called The Writer's Roadmap.  

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Veronica Park on Twitter: @veroniKaboom
Fuse Literary on Twitter: @FuseLiterary
www.fuseliterary.com
Joanne on Twitter: @JoanneKelle
Gaylen on Twitter: @gaylenjoy
Tomi Adeyemi on Twitter: @tomi_adeyemi
Tomi on Instagram: @tomiadeyemi
https://www.thewritersroadmap.net/

Jan 06, 2022
Ending the Year with a Shot of Positivity from Alka Joshi
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In today's Books with Hooks, guest agent Veronia Park joins us from Fuse Literary to review four submissions. During the segment, Veronica discusses having the query vibe matching the sample pages vibe; under-promising and over-delivering with the sample; ensuring you have stakes at the end of each POV paragraph in the query; when not to include the prologue in the sample pages; and the three-part rule: what does your MC want more than anything, why can’t they get it, and what will happen if they do/don’t get it?

After which, Bianca chats with Alka Joshi, author of The Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur about how there isn’t a ticking clock for publishing; having and listening to external cheerleaders; tooting your own horn; when an MFA is worth it, and when it’s not; five crucial tips for emerging writers; taking time away to recharge and then coming back to appreciating your story; and the importance of knowing the story behind the story.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Veronica Park on Twitter: @veroniKaboom
Fuse Literary on Twitter: @FuseLiterary
www.fuseliterary.com
Alka Joshi on Twitter: @alkajoshi and on Instagram: @thealkajoshi

Dec 30, 2021
How Using Writing Software Can Elevate Your WIP
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In today's BONUS EPISODE, Bianca chats with Janet Forbes and Dimitris Havlidis of World Anvil about how the right writing software can take your writing to the next level. Janet and Dimitris discuss how they came up with the World Anvil software and the many ways it can assist with world building for those working in speculative or historical fiction. They also break down the ways in which the software can improve the writing process for those writing in different genres including the aspects like the community building, forums, feedback and writing sprints.

World Anvil is offering a 50% discount on all levels of its software for those attending the The Shit No One Tells You About Writing Virtual Retreat in January.

Find them at www.worldanvil.com
Twitter and Instagram: @worldnanvil

Dec 27, 2021
How Critiquing Other Writers' Work is the Best Way To Learn Craft
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are joined by writers, Michele and Lynne, who have submitted their work for critique. Carly and CeCe discuss writing a story from the perspective of the other; ensuring you have done lots of research to tell that story properly and sensitively; not starting the opening pages with a lack of curiosity; fear or desire as conveyed through surprise; and having sample pages for different POVs if you’ve written a dual- or multi-POV novel.

After which, Bianca chats with the author of The Way We Weren't, Phoebe Fox, about how editing other writers' work is the best way to learn craft; how to incorporate backstory into your writing; context, memory, and flashback types of backstory; treating backstory like a puzzle; how backward momentum slows the forward momentum; being confined to a character’s perspective when you’re in their POV; and using an author pen name and whether or not to disclose the use of it.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwriting
Phoebe Fox on Instagram and Twitter: @phoebefoxauthor 
Michele on Twitter: @michele_lomb and on Instagram: @michelevlombardo
Lynne on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlynnebryant and Instagram: @lynnebryantauthor
Website: www.lynnebryant.com



Dec 23, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: Why You Should Consider Writing Residencies
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In today's BONUS episode, Bianca chats with the writer Clarisse Baleja Saidi about everything you've always wanted to know about writing residencies. Clarisse gives her top 5 pieces of advice for applying for residencies, and breaks down why applying for—and attending them—could be the boost you need to finish your WIP. Prepare to be surprised!

Find us on our socials!
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwriting
Clarisse on Instagram: @clarissebaleja and on Twitter: @FreeBaleja

Dec 21, 2021
Incorporating the Epistolary Form into Your Writing
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe discuss starting a book with dialogue; having tension from page one; using sharp visuals from your character’s perspective (specificity); having the right comps for the setting, plot, tone, etc.; using time and character stamps in multi-POV novels; using the story-forward rule to make the reader curious about what’s going to happen next; and reversing stereotypical roles in characters.

After which, Bianca chats with Lindsay Zier-Vogel, author of Letters to Amelia,  and Wayne Ng, author of Letters From Johnny, about epistolary-style writing in novels; how to write this way and not have it be pure exposition; moving through an epistolary scene so that it feels natural; using voice in epistolic scenes; and developing your own authentic diary/letter writing voice so you can nail it in your character’s voice.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/theshitnoonetellsyouaboutwriting
Twitter: lindsayzv
IG: lindsay.ziervogel
WayneNgWrites.com
amazon.com/author/WayneNg
goodreads.com/WayneNgWrites
Instagram.com/WayneNgWrites
facebook.com/WayneNgWrites
twitter.com/WayneNgWrites





Dec 16, 2021
When a Pantser Becomes a Plotter to Get Published - Kirthana Ramisetti
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In today's Books with Hooks, Emmy Nordstrom Higdon joins us from Westwood Creative Artists to chat with Tyler and Vickie about their work. Emmy unpacks starting with action to get a good sense of voice and character; how the story needs to be front and center with opening pages before digging into issues; starting with something dramatic and compelling; showing the MC out of their depth with internal and external conflict; and dramatizing epistolary parts of a novel.

After which, Bianca chats with Kirthana Ramisetti, author of Dava Shastri's Last Day, about how transitioning from a pantser to a plotter paid off; having your pick of agents and what criteria you can use for deciding on one; writing an ensemble cast and introducing a lot of characters quickly; writing a sweeping family saga; tracking character arcs and timelines; how to choose your POV character for each chapter; writing a story that’s based in the future; making choices about character and plot that work for your story, and incorporating backstory in an organic way.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Emmy Nordstrom Higdon on Twitter: @emmy_of_spines
Kirthana Ramisetti on Instagram: @kirthanaramisetti and on Twitter: @popscribblings
Tyler on Twitter:  @writerthoughts 




Dec 09, 2021
Not Every Journey to Publication Takes the Same Route - Jayne Allen
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe are joined by writers, Sally and Katherine, to discuss their query letters and opening pages. We discuss trigger/content warnings in query letters; being specific without being spoiler-y; as well as weaving in emotion. And... wait for it... we actually suggest a prologue! Yes, we do that sometimes!

After which, Bianca chats with Jayne Allen, author of Black Girls Must Die Exhausted, about how rejection doesn't mean your writing isn’t any good; how indie-publishing can lead to traditional publishing; not letting the publishing industry choose what’s relatable and what’s not; reaching your audience; believing in your own story and championing it yourself; and how your journey to publication may take a different route to what you imagined.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Jayne Allen on Instagram: @jayneallenwrites and on Twitter: @JayneAllenSaid
Sally on Instagram: @Sally_Lotz and on Twitter: @SallyJLotz
Katherine on Instagram: @kcaldwellwriter and on Twitter:  @kcaldwellwriter 




Dec 02, 2021
Trusting Your Gut in the Face of Rejection - PJ Vernon
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, we have Emmy Nordstrom Higdon from Westwood Creative Artists join us as a guest agent to review submissions not directed at Carly or CeCe. In this episode, Bianca and Emmy discuss authorial voice; jumping right into where the action is; how using appropriate comps can help cut down on a query's word count; including sample pages for more than one POV; and carefully choosing your story’s timeline/setting.

After which, Bianca chats with PJ Vernon, author of Bath Haus about the value of art; changing publishers in between books; trusting your gut when it comes to writing a story you want to write; differentiating POV voices; playing around with interesting structures; starting your book with high stakes; and book club conversations you'll be having once you're published.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Emmy Nordstrom Higdon on Twitter: @emmy_of_spines
PJ Vernon on Twitter and Instagram: @pjvernonbooks

Nov 25, 2021
BONUS: Submitting to Presses & Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone
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In today's BONUS episode, Bianca chats with Ami J. Sanghvi and Patrick Hogan of Gutslut Press about the top ten reasons why indie presses reject submissions even if the writing is really great.

After which Bianca chats with author, Lee Matthew Goldberg, about sharing your drafts with other writers; the writing process when it comes to writing characters whose gender and age are different from your own; using sensitivity readers; muzzling the critical part of your brain, and giving yourself permission to draft; how crowdsourcing information can help generate interest in your book; authoring books in different genres; and using song lyrics in your book.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com
Ami Twitter and Instagram: @HotWraithBones
Ami Website: www.amijsanghvi.com
Twitter and Instagram: @gutslutpress
Email: gutslutpress@gmail.com
Lee Twitter: @LeeMatthewG
Lee Instragram:@LeeMatthewGoldberg

Nov 22, 2021
Ken Follett's Incredibly Practical Tips for Writers
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Liz and Jami join us to discuss their submissions. Carly and CeCe unpack when to put the stakes at the beginning of the query instead of at the end; the Pixar storytelling rules about coincidences; weaving in emotion with explanation to make it more showing than telling; writing a story in first person and then going back with a “you” lens to make it hybrid second person; and giving a character a small but important goal in the beginning of the book that’s tied to the larger arc. 

After which, Bianca chats with world-renowned bestselling author, Ken Follett, about what to do when what you write isn’t coming out the same way the idea played out in your head; having a solid research process including reaching out to experts to ensure authenticity in your story; how to give crucial background information without it sounding like an info dump; tips for stitching unrelated scenes together; and the empathy that’s required to be a historical novelist and a writer in general.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @@ceciliaclyra 
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com


Nov 18, 2021
How to Write a Novel in Half the Time
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe discuss whether publishing is ready for Covid stories yet; using an inciting incident that is super specific, but doesn’t give away any spoilers; the importance of having a great, unique hook and a beautiful first line; why emotion needs to be on the page before description in a tense scene; and how a protagonist’s unconscious should also be on the page.

After which, I chat with The Holiday Swap's Maggie Knox, the pen name for writing duo, Karma Brown and Marissa Stapley, about when two writer friends have a wild idea to write a book together; how they facilitated the process; how they seamlessly brought their writing voices and styles together; and what advice they have for writers looking to co-author a project.

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @@ceciliaclyra @maggieknoxbooks
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing @maggieknoxauthor
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com

Nov 11, 2021
Why You Shouldn't Compare Yourself to Other Writers
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Melissa and Stephanie join us on the show to have their query letters and opening pages critiqued. Carly and CeCe discuss the importance of hitting current social and class elements; not missing opportunities to let readers know more about the MC by adding in descriptions and reasons behind their choices; when and why a prologue works; and anticipating readers' questions and answering them at just the right time.

After which, Bianca chats with the author of My Sweet Girl, Amanda Jayatissa about submitting to POC agents/editors vs. non-POC agents/editors; structuring your novel in a linear vs. non-linear way; using old journals if you have them to put yourself in the mindset of a younger character; using Aeon 2.0 Timeline software; and why you shouldn't compare yourself to other writers. 

Find us on our socials: 
Twitter: @TSNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @@ceciliaclyra @amandajayatissa
Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing @amandajayatissa
Facebook: @tsnotyaw
Website: www.biancamarais.com

Nov 04, 2021
The Secret to Overnight Success - Jesse Q Sutanto
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In today's revamped Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe each tackle two queries that have been directed at them via the new submission process. They also discuss writing your first scene as if it were being filmed; trigger warnings vs. content notes; deciding what to include in the first five pages, and what to put elsewhere in the story.

After which, Bianca chats with Jesse Q Sutanto, author of the hugely successful Dial A For Aunties about her journey to publication; participating in NaNoWriMo; using the Ginko app for story structure; how a previously small deal can make a big splash later on; and the secret to overnight success.

Oct 28, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: When to Break the Rules - Leila Slimani
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Emma joins us on the show to discuss her query and opening pages. Carly and CeCe tackle sparking curiosity;  hooking the agent with keywords; repetition with dialogue tags and replacing them with action beats; writing in multiple POVs and making the reader question who’s doing the narrating; as well as homemade pasta!

After which, Bianca chats with Leila Slimani, author of In The Country of Others, about sticking to what you’re good at;  how Moroccans can identify with American Western movies and Southern Lit; finding your distinctive voice; having confidence in your reader; when to break the rules of writing; and dealing with imposter syndrome.



Oct 26, 2021
Staying True To Your Vision for Your Work - Ella Berman
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe discuss putting a fresh twist on a popular trope; taking care not to use titles of novels that are already published; how the present tense offers tension and immediacy; not burying the hook in your query letter; not inadvertently dating your work; and stating specifically what obstacles are getting in your character’s way.

After which Bianca chats with Ella Berman, author of The Comeback about writing a novel that gets swept up in a social or legal movement; moving on from rejection; staying authentic to the characters; having characters experience quiet reckonings; the process of querying agents; dealing with rejection at every stage of your career; going out on submission to publishers; allowing yourself to process your disappointment; developing complex secondary characters; incorporating subplots; and writing as social commentary.

Oct 21, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: Romance, Rom-coms and Writing Sex Scenes
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In today's bonus episode, we have three romance/rom-com authors who join Bianca to discuss all things related to the genre. NYT bestselling Lana Harper discusses her queer rom-com, Payback's a Witch, as well as world-building, character development, her inspiration for the novel, and her change of genre. Sarah Echavarre Smith, author of On Location talks about writing those racy sex scenes and the conventions of the genre. Jane Igharo, author of The Sweetest Remedy chats about how romance can tackle serious issues, and her journey to publication. 

Oct 19, 2021
A Wealth of Information Shared by Super Editor, Amy Einhorn
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, we do a lot of brainstorming, which doesn’t necessarily align with the author’s vision for her novel, reminding us all that the author is the one who decides what their story is and isn’t. Carly and CeCe also chat about how editors like unlikely friendship stories; authors not having to give up on manuscripts, but persuing the ones that give you the best chance at publishing; taking care not to give resolutions in the query letter; aiming for a pressure cooker vibe; and how life-tense and story-tense differ.

Bianca chats with Amy Einhorn, President and Publisher at Henry Holt & Company, and editor of Liane Moriarty, Sarah Blake, Jenny Lawson, Laurie Frankel, Min Jin Lee and many other award-winning and bestselling authors. Amy shares a wealth of information about publishing, editing, the qualities of a good story, what makes an author successful, and much more. 

Oct 14, 2021
How Being Impatient to Publish Actually Works Against You - Ruth Ozeki
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss avoiding hypothetical questions; escalating baseline stakes and tension; how authors are the puppet masters of their own universes and need to justify all of their choices; giving the reader something familiar in the opening of a fantasy novel; the difference between head-hopping and omniscient POV; how to format dialogue; how you need to frame your memoir with a hook; and avoiding writing a character's struggles that are all internal.

Bianca chats with award-winning author, Ruth Ozeki, about there being no age by which you need to publish; writing in your own time when you give yourself permission to write; people assuming the main character is based on yourself; how you need to work hard to find yourself in all of your characters and give them a part of you; how the antagonist is the hero of their own story; the creative process vs pathology; writing a book because you have questions you get to act out with your characters; how the author and reader co-create a different book every time a reader reads it; and taking your time and understanding the tension between the poles of patience and impatience.

Oct 07, 2021
From the Archives: What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Published - Courtney Maum
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Host and author, Bianca Marais, talks with the fabulous Courtney Maum, author of Before and After the Book Deal, about writing killer query letters and the ten things Courtney wishes she knew before she published her first book, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You. The episode is filled with tons of practical writing advice and lots of laughs. Learn from someone who's been there, done that, and wishes they'd known better.

Oct 04, 2021
In Praise of the Prologue and Organic Backstory - Christina Clancy
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss digging into trauma to reveal the root emotion; how even literary fiction needs a hook; readability and writing in italics in certain fonts; needing to connect with character; how a query letter must include details of a specific climax; always keeping the reader wondering about what’s going to happen next; and tackling certain themes responsibly. Carly also sings a time stamp jingle!

After which, Bianca chats with Christina Clancy, author of Shoulder Season, about the research that goes into writing a novel; thinking about your book even when you’re not able to write; knowing when to stop researching and start writing; how close you need to stick to historical fact and how much can be invention; starting a whisper campaign; finding ancillary resources; when a story needs a prologue; being willing to cut things even during a third draft; figuring out where the beating heart of your story is; and why every writer has to despair at some point of the process.

Sep 30, 2021
From the Archives: Talking with the Bestseller Whisperer
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with Tara Singh Carlson, the first editor to have two of their novels picked by Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine Book Club. Besides acquiring numerous bestsellers like The Silent Wife, The House at Tyneford and The Light We Lost, she's also edited the publishing phenomenon, Where The Crawdad's Sing by Delia Owens, which has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for more than three years. Tara discusses what it takes to be the next Delia Owens as she shares amazing insight into how bestsellers happen. 

Sep 27, 2021
The Evolution of a Rejected Manuscript on its Journey to Publication
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On today's Books with Hooks segment, we have an author come onto the show to discuss her submission with us. In the segment, Carly and CeCe chat with Shari about linking multiple POV stories in a query letter; answering the 'why now?' question; establishing what’s at stake for each POV character; how an offer implies a transaction, and how all of life is about power; being careful who you comp as that creates expectations; explaining the thematic pressures that affect characters; how regret is a passive emotion; and nailing entry and exit points in each chapter.

After which, Bianca chats with debut author of The Tiger Mom's Tale, Lyn Liao Butler, about how to find support as a debut novelist; debuting in a hostile climate; how much is out of your control as a debut author; revising a novel and changing POVs in the process; all the mistakes writers make with their first novels; the evolution of a rejected manuscript on its journey to publication; why reading is so important; how to use feedback and critique; and how to choose the right agent. 

Sep 23, 2021
Having Fun with Your Writing & Getting Out of Your Own Way - Lauren Groff
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In today's Books with Hooks, Carly and CeCe discuss thinking of your query letter as real estate with curb appeal; considering what you’re providing for the reader’s sake vs what you’re providing for the character’s sake; being clear with memoir with regards to what you’re working towards as a climax; memoir needing to have a sub-genre; immersing a reader in scene instead of giving a round-up of feelings; and the problem with presenting a character just to immediately kill them off.

After which Bianca chats with award-winning novelist, Lauren Groff, about avoiding perfectionism; laying the groundwork for inspiration; how dialogue should complicate what’s happening on the page and deal with power structures; dealing with characters’ emotionality; how historical fiction has the past speak into the present day; how good art is trying to speak as truthfully as possible; how omniscient POV is the most fun you can have; and how fiction is the art of sculpting time through words.

Sep 16, 2021
The Importance of Staring into Space - Sunjeev Sahota
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss how paranormal stories are making a comeback; having YA characters sound like, and have the emotionality of,  teenagers; the difference between loud and quiet novels; always focusing on what’s happening in the present; who is allowed to tell which stories;  and avoiding starting stories that begin with surrender as that doesn't invoke curiosity. CeCe is also forced to eat her words of advice given in a previous episode!

 After which, Bianca chats with the award-winning author of China Room, Sunjeev Sahota, about finding your writing groove; coming up with your own process that works for you; the importance of staring into space; and why chasing a changing definition of success can be dangerous. 

 

Sep 09, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: 10 Legal and Business Topics for Writers to Consider
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In today's BONUS episode, CeCe chats with Katherine Miller Goldman, an intellectual property attorney, to answer all of your questions! They discuss what an intellectual property attorney does; what intellectual property is; what you can and can’t copyright and trademark; quoting song lyrics in your novel; what permissions you need when writing about real people in a memoir; if a therapist or doctor can write about their patients; what composite characters are; using pen names; offering teasers for free; filing a copyright application; setting up LLCs; writing true crime and getting permissions; considering derivatives; what fair use is; and getting out of contracts.

 www.creativelawcenter.com

Disclaimer:

Nothing on this episode is specific legal advice for any individual's situation. The information discussed on this episode is no substitute for speaking confidentially with a qualified lawyer about your concerns. What you’ll listen to here is intended to help you be more thoughtful about intellectual property and the law when you write your stories, create your art, and build your business.

 

Sep 07, 2021
Every Story Will Tell You What it Needs - Megan Collins
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss leaning into specificity; concerns over white saviorism and teachable moments; dialogue needing to sound exactly like the character would speak; requiring drama outside of parallelism; starting with character and putting the reader in someone’s head right away; how multi-POV books should be pitched; and focusing on plot rather than feelings.

After which, Bianca chats with author of The Family Plot, Megan Collins, about writing limited omniscient third person; getting approval from your publisher; the immediacy of present tense; how every story will tell you what it needs; bringing poetry into any genre of writing; how you should choose your POV character; and coming up with secondary characters based on the purpose you need them to serve.

 

Sep 02, 2021
Finding Your Plot Engine - Megan Abbott
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss focusing on trauma and conflict rather than the perfect life that came before; not taking up too much space for a set up in a query letter; starting with the inciting incident; the problem with objectivity in omniscient POV; how curiosity comes from active emotion; writing well on a line level; pitching plot rather than feelings; and the golden rule of dialogue.

 After which, Bianca chats with  Megan Abbott, author of The Turnout, about the themes writers return to; the research that goes into a novel; how you don’t need to just write what you know, but what you’re curious about; the struggle to write authentic movement and gestures as your characters make their way through the world; making the reader do the heavy-lifting; and writing an unreliable narrator.

Aug 26, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: A One-on-One Books with Hooks & Preparing for #PitMad
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In this BONUS episode, we have the author, Ruth N,  join us to chat about her query and first pages. Carly and CeCe discuss giving the characters more agency; describing the plot rather than the ingredients of a plot; and how a query should focus on your hook, inciting incident, and the escalating stakes. 

After which, Bianca chats with Sara Nicolas who gives some pro tips on how to navigate the upcoming #PitMad and Pitch Wars Blog Hop. 

Aug 24, 2021
Writing an Engaging First Chapter - Caitlin Wahrer
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss being careful with your verb choices so as not to create misunderstandings; the query letter question test; describing the tone of your book as one thing or the other; being careful not to have characters who just have unrelated drama happening to them; changing locations in opening scenes; what constitutes historical fiction; guarding against overwriting and too much mind wandering; getting to the hook faster, and not repeating what’s in the opening pages in the query letter. 

After which, Bianca chats with  Caitlin Wahrer, debut author of The Damage, about what needs to be in an opening chapter; hooking the reader with immediate questions; writing dual timelines as opposed to flashbacks in the present day; choosing past tense and then struggling with the tenses during flashbacks; structuring stories in a non linear timeline; writing multiple characters in third person close; working with an agent on a revise and resubmit; why writing a query letter for a novel with multiple POV characters is difficult; and the pros of third person close compared to first person.

The query letter can be found on our Ko-fi page: https://ko-fi.com/post/Caitlin-Wahrers-Query-Letter-with-spoilers-remov-T6T65UBFS


 
 

Aug 19, 2021
How to Know When You're Ready to Query Agents
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss not being vague in your query letter; letting us know what’s at stake for a character;  why repetition is your enemy in the first five pages; making the geography and the hook of the novel clearer; inciting specific curiosity; and taking care not to write a hidden protagonist.
After which Bianca chats with Julie Carrick Dalton, author of Waiting for the Night Song about how to know when you're ready to query. Julie discusses being in the query trenches, as well as entering writing contests; taking part in literary idol events and charity auctions; doing workshops run by agents and editors; working with Manuscript Academy; asking for scholarships or fee waivers; entering Twitter contents like #pitmad; studying writing; what climate fiction is; and answering why you’re the most qualified person to tell a story. 

 





Aug 12, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: How to Make Your Imaginary Worlds Come Alive Through Worldbuilding
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In this bonus episode, Bianca chats with Andrew Wall of Craft Better Books about everything you need to know about worldbuilding. Whether you write adult fantasy, YA fantasy, dystopian fiction or sci-fi, there are many elements of worldbuilding that you need to consider and incorporate into your work in order to make your fictional world come alive and feel authentic. Andrew guides you through the process and what you need to pay attention to. 

Aug 09, 2021
Finding a Hook & Writing Dual POV Stories - Andrea Bartz
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss what an action prologue is and the pitfalls of using it; telling us what characters like rather than what they don’t like; how if you know someone’s problems and passions, you know their life; entertaining rather than explaining in the opening pages; sharing the details of prior representation; and the process of changing agents. After which Bianca chats with author, Andrea Bartz, about coming up with a hook; how everything is potential material; why the sophomore novel is so scary; having energy around the kernel of an idea; choosing the best POV for your story and navigating the limitations for third person; the challenges posed by dual timelines and POVs; and readers' reactions to less likeable narrators.


Aug 05, 2021
From the Archives: 10 Harsh Truths Writers Need to Know
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with literary agent and author, Cece Lyra, about the 10 harsh truths writers need to know about writing and publishing. In the discussion, Cece drops some truth bombs about the importance of standing out in the market, making a living off of your writing, not being able to please everyone, taking your craft seriously, dealing with rejection and the importance of a platform. 

Aug 03, 2021
Writing Intuitively Without Plotting or Outlining - Samantha Downing
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly reveals that she's a bionic super agent! CeCe and Carly also discuss mixing up your sentences so they don’t all begin the same way; aiming for the quirky rather than the generic; ensuring there’s an emotional shift in each scene; the importance of getting dialogue right; choosing a setting that reflects the story's conflicts; plausibility and the domino effect; and giving your characters clear goals in each scene. And then we answer more of your questions! 
Bianca chats with bestselling thriller author, Samantha Downing, about why backstory is bullshit; teasing suspense for as long as you can; writing intuitively without plotting and outlining; learning how to write as you go rather than formally studying writing; not needing any fancy software to write; hiding clues in plain sight; not being predictable; and writing characters that are compelling and relatable. 

 

Jul 29, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: Delving into the Author/Editor Relationship
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In today's jam-packed bonus episode, Carly chats with author, Jael Richardson, and HarperCollins Senior Editorial Director, Jennifer Lambert, about the author/editor relationship. They also discuss having an outline to work with to keep you on track and feeling motivated; creating a fully developed dystopian world; working on one thing at a time during each draft; making the world building rules disappear for the reader; informing and entertaining readers; what a writer’s responsibility is to their audience; characters’ upward or downward trajectories; figuring out who your audience is, and whether that shapes the writing process; writing for young adults vs adults; the FOLD (Festival of Literary Diversity); how acquisitions happen in publishing; how important a platform is for nonfiction; and how the publishing industry has changed during Covid. 

Jul 27, 2021
Curiosity May Kill the Cat but it Makes a Writer
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss avoiding wordiness in your opening pages; how writing is a dance and you’re leading, but the reader is dancing with you; how important world building is; giving characters emotionality; being careful of writing dialogue of agreement; avoiding repetition and hand holding; the importance of establishing your tone in the opening pages; explaining comps so they clarify things rather than confuse the agent; using active emotions; and listening when a book tells you what it wants to be.

After which Bianca chats with bestselling author, Karma Brown, about why eavesdropping  is an essential writing skill; the importance of avoiding info dumps in dialogue; why flamingos are amazing; paying attention to your instincts; the value in waking up at 5am to write; writing across genres; finding time in the day to write when you are less needed; and breaking down your goals into manageable chunks. 


Jul 22, 2021
BONUS EPISODE: What it Takes to be a Successful Indie Author
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In this BONUS episode, Carly is joined by her client and indie author, Kiersten Modglin,  to chat about what it takes to be a successful indie author. Carly and Kiersten discuss why an indie author would need an agent; using social media effectively; why persistence pays off; how to get comfortable with TikTok; building an author brand and being consistent with it; interacting with your readers; building buzz as an indie author; running your own business, and capitalizing on the audiobook market. 

Jul 20, 2021
Reading: The DIY MFA
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss giving your characters the opportunity to react to big events; only including what's essential to intrigue an agent in the query letter; not giving away spoilers; and not counting on backstory and secrets to do the heavy lifting in dual timeline narratives. After which, Bianca chats with Anne Bogel (author, the creator of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy, and host of What Should I Read Next? podcast) about what writers can learn about the craft through reading. 

Jul 15, 2021
From the Archives: Two Opposing Views on Handling Tricky Backstory
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Bianca Marais, finishes her discussion with Lisa Cron, author of Story Genius and Wired for Story. In this second of two episodes, Lisa unpacks her approach to backstory. Weighing in with an opposing view, is bestselling author, Karen Dionne (The Marsh King's Daughter and The Wicked Sister) with her advice of how to work in backstory without dragging your story backwards. Be prepared to pick sides!

Jul 12, 2021
Pitches, Loglines and Queries
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss quiet plots; using the #MeToo hashtag; deciding what kind of author you want to be; plausibility in fiction; the 'looking back' vibe; and how comps intersect and are in conversation with one another. After which, Bianca chats with Mary Kole, founder and executive editor at Good Story Company, about pitches, loglines and queries; the premise of a story; and the meat of a query. 

Jul 08, 2021
From the Archives: The Biggest Mistake Writers Make: Lisa Cron
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Bianca Marais, chats with Lisa Cron, author of Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) and Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence. In this first of two episodes, Lisa discusses the biggest mistake writers make, discovering your character's misbelief, the myth of plotting, and why character profiles don't work. Bianca and Lisa also disagree about backstory! This episode will be continued next week.

Jul 05, 2021
Focusing on Tension Rather Than Plot - Emily Henry
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss prioritizing plot and character over voice in a query letter; giving an old trope a fresh twist; why love at first sight is so tough to write; how writing is a political act; and avoiding defamation or licensing issues in your writing. After which, Bianca chats with Emily Henry, author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation, about focusing on tension rather than plot; keeping yourself and your readers guessing; backstory being why front story matters; starting with misdirection; and not giving your characters too much self awareness. 

Jul 01, 2021
Director's Cut Bonus Episode: 3 Agents Explain Book Adaptation for Film and TV
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In this BONUS episode, Carly is joined by Dana Murphy, an agent from The Book Group, and Addison Duffy, an agent from UTA, to talk about all things related to film and TV rights, including book to film, and book to TV adaptations; what intellectual property is; how agents get a project ready to shop around; how books get optioned; which books are appealing; how a sales record no longer matters; and why it's an exciting time for writers to be capitalizing on  all of this!

Jun 28, 2021
Writing Those Tricky Unlikeable Characters - May Cobb
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss the difference between urban fantasy and magical realism; using a scalpel in writing surgery; delivering answers to readers' questions; coming-of-age stories vs YA fiction; and knowing who your audience is.  After which, Bianca chats with May Cobb, author of The Hunting Wives, about writing those tricky unlikable characters; making sure your readers know why your characters make questionable choices; the iceberg approach to characterization; firing an agent;  having the right people read your work; and writing the story that keeps you up at night. 

Jun 24, 2021
The Importance of Finding Your People
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss making it clear what's at stake, and what the hook is, in your query letter; how important readability is; not leading the reader too much; pitching plot as opposed to feelings; limiting your use of punctuation; and guarding against white saviorism. After which, Bianca chats with Jessica Payne, the host of #MomsWritersClub about finding your people; the challenges faced by mothers who write; being creative when you're exhausted; drawing on creative reserves; having a sense of community; and keeping your tank full.



Jun 17, 2021
Plotting, Outlining and Structuring Your Novel - Hannah Mary McKinnon
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss the heartbreak of the querying process; the power imbalance between agents and authors; giving agents an idea of whether your novel is commercial or literary fiction; picking your comps and inciting incident; and avoiding two heroes' journeys in one query. Bianca also challenges Carly to name her nemeses. We all talk and disagree A LOT about Mare of Easttown, and we take more of your questions. After which, Bianca chats with Hannah Mary McKinnon, bestselling author of You Will Remember Me, about plotting, outlining and structuring your novel; skeleton drafts; the 16 beat structure; layering your novel during edits; and choosing POV. 


Jun 10, 2021
Genre Tropes and Conventions - Uzma Jalaluddin
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss leaning into unlikable characters but how to make them relatable; avoiding info dumps, especially in dialogue; starting at the right place; and trusting both yourself and your reader.  After which, Bianca chats with Uzma Jalaluddin, author of Hana Khan Carries On about writing rom coms; the tropes and conventions of the genre; choosing the best setting for your story; tackling important themes in all genres; the three-act structure; and keeping your secondary characters in check.

Jun 03, 2021
What Goes Into Overnight Success & Mastering Pacing
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss being more explicit about genre and tone; establishing emotionality in your main characters rather than just having them being observers or vessels; giving your reader access to your character's thoughts and feelings, while balancing show vs tell; setting not just the story stakes, but scene stakes as well; and eliminating wordiness.  After which, Bianca chats with Heather Chavez, debut author of No Bad Deed, about pacing and tension; how long overnight success takes; being stubborn and passionate about your work; how to effectively integrate action/reaction sequences; and using action beats vs dialogue tags. 

May 27, 2021
Bonus Episode - Taking All Your Questions
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In today's bonus content episode,  Bianca, Carly and CeCe take all your questions about agents' and publishers' contracts; finding a reputable agent; being out on submission; the etiquette of querying;  why agents might offer R&Rs; the kinds of revisions you'll be expected to do, etc. 

May 24, 2021
Hooking Your Reader & Keeping Them Turning Pages - Jeffery Deaver
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss falling in love with a story before falling in love with an author; what constitutes a memoir and the different types of non-fiction; giving time frames for your manuscripts; and using the present tense for more immediacy.  After which, Bianca chats with publishing phenomenon, Jeffery Deaver, about hooking your reader and keeping them turning pages; and why books are products with your readers being your customers. 

May 20, 2021
The Writer's Life - Lily King
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss using pseudonyms; the difference between women's fiction and book club fiction; beginning your book with adult characters in adult novels; giving agents trigger/content warnings; how to propose sequels; and how to find the most compelling entry point into your story.  After which, Bianca chats with award-winning and bestselling author, Lily King (author of Writers & Lovers) about the writer's life; scrapping novels halfway through; dealing with rejection; and starting the process all over again with a new book.

May 13, 2021
What You Can Learn From Your Rejections
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss the issue of swearing in novels; how characters feel about the action playing out on the page; and moving around the puzzle pieces of a story. After which, Bianca chats with Katie Wall, a book coach at Craft Better Books, about what you can learn from your rejections; why patience will pay off down the line; and why you might do better working with a book coach.  

May 06, 2021
Writing Starter Novels & Establishing a Research Process
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe fall in love with another submission; discuss writing from perspectives that aren't your own; what the 'arrogant win' is; how to write prologues; and writing second person PoV. After which, Bianca chats with Kristin Beck, author of COURAGE, MY LOVE, about writing and researching historical fiction; how to establish an effective research process; what you can learn from starter novels; and putting off writing your passion project until you're a better writer. 

Apr 29, 2021
What Every Writer Can Learn From Other Great Writers
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In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe fall in love with one submission; suggest using a different PoV for another; discuss how characterization can be revealed through what a character notices, and how a writer is an artist who doesn't get to see their audience. After which, Bianca chats with Daniel Ford, author and podcast host, about what he's learned about writing from his years of interviewing great writers, as well as the benefit of creating a writing playlist, and how patience really is a writing virtue. 

Apr 22, 2021
How to Build Your Author Platform in an Authentic Way
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Carly Watters and Cece Lyra are now co-hosts of the podcast (Yay!),  who will be doing the Books with Hooks segment every week, in which they discuss your query letters and opening pages. This week's segment specifically looks at how to trust both yourself and your reader. After which, Bianca Marais chats with author, Kerry Clare, about how to be a human on the internet as you work to raise your author profile ahead of publication.  

Apr 15, 2021
In Praise of Bookstagrammers
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In the regular Books with Hooks segment, author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with P.S. Literary agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra about query letters and opening pages that listeners have submitted.  After which, Bianca interviews Traci Thomas, Bookstagrammer and host of the wildly popular podcast, The Stacks,  about the value of Bookstagrammers, the influence of social media, and fighting for the the community who champions authors.

Apr 08, 2021
Career Advice from Bestselling Susan Wiggs
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In the regular Books with Hooks segment, author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with P.S. Literary agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra about query letters and opening pages that listeners have submitted.   After which, Bianca interviews bestselling author, Susan Wiggs (author of The Lost and Found Bookshop) about staying relevant; treating your writing like a business; showing up for yourself; and how to combine creativity with making shrewd decisions for your career. 

Apr 01, 2021
Writing From Rage & Own Voices Stories
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with P.S. Literary agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra, in their regular Books with Hooks segment, in which listeners submit their query letters and first pages to get advice on grabbing their dream agents' attention. After which, Bianca interviews South African author, Keletso Mopai, about writing from rage, how to publish a short story collection, social commentary and activism in writing, and the necessity of #OwnVoices in publishing.

Mar 25, 2021
Capturing Time and Place - Ann Mah
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with P.S. Literary agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra, in their regular Books with Hooks segment, in which listeners send in their query letters and first pages to get advice on grabbing their dream agents' attention. After which, Bianca interviews author, and food and travel writer, Ann Mah, about capturing time and place; how to be inspired by your travels; doing in-depth research; and when setting becomes character. 

Mar 18, 2021
Why Writing is a Marathon - Marissa Stapley
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra, in their regular Books with Hooks segment, in which listeners send in their query letters and first pages to get advice on grabbing their dream agents' attention. After which, Bianca interviews bestselling author, Marissa Stapley, about why being a writer is a marathon and not a sprint, and what it takes to be successful. 

Mar 11, 2021
Indie Publishers
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra, in their regular Books with Hooks segment, in which listeners send in their query letters and first pages to get advice on grabbing their dream agents' attention. After which, Bianca chats with Alexandria Brown, co-owner of indie publisher, Rising Action Publishing Co, about the pros and cons of  the various types of publishing, and why you might want to consider going with an indie publisher. 

Mar 04, 2021
First Books with Hooks & Freelance Editors
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In this jampacked episode, author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with fabulous agents, Carly Watters and Cecilia Lyra, as they launch their exciting new segment, Books with Hooks. In it, Carly and CeCe read the query letters and opening pages of novels that listeners have submitted in order to get useful critique. This will be a regular segment of the show going forward. After which, Bianca chats with freelance editor, Rachel Spence, about everything you need to know about developmental edits and manuscript evaluations.

Feb 25, 2021
Turning Rejections into Success Stories
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Author and Host, Bianca Marais, chats with writing team, Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman, authors of Girls with Bright Futures, about how they turned their rejections into a success story, as well as learning to write fiction in your 40s; seeing headlines ripped from the pages of your novel; overcoming adversity; and believing in yourself and your work. 

Feb 18, 2021
Finding Your Process as a Debut Author
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with award winning author, playwright, screenwriter and journalist, Byron Lane — author of the acclaimed A Star is Bored  (which was inspired in part by Byron's time as assistant to beloved actress Carrie Fisher) — about finding your process as a debut author; getting help when you need it; learning your craft; and mining tough times in your life for fictional gold. 

Feb 11, 2021
Showing vs Telling and Online Writing Retreats
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with Amherst Writers & Artists method facilitator, Susie Whelehan,  about supercharging your creativity with online writing retreats. These 60-90 minute retreats are a great way to revive your imagination during tough times, and to remind yourself that there's a whole writing community out there; that you're not going it alone. Bianca also does a deeper dive into showing vs telling, exposition vs scene.

Feb 04, 2021
Creating Characters That Feel Real : Claire Lombardo
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with Claire Lombardo, the New York Times bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had, about creating characters that feel real, writing scenes that won't ever be used, showing vs telling, writing realistic dialogue, and keeping track of multiple timelines. It's an episode so jam-packed full of useful information that you may have to listen to it twice!

Jan 28, 2021
Balancing Heartbreak and Humor - Steven Rowley
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with bestselling author, Steven Rowley (Lily and the Octopus, The Editor and The Guncle) about writing tearjerkers that are also hilariously funny. Steven gives his advice for writing humor and how to incorporate it when delving into heavy themes.  He also shares many nuggets of wisdom about point of view, writing from life, being a gay writer,  taking a circuitous route to publication, and how to talk about your work. 

Jan 21, 2021
My Journey to Publication - Julia Claiborne Johnson
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In this hilarious episode, author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with Julia Claiborne Johnson, bestselling author of Better Luck Next Time and Be Frank with Me,  about becoming a debut novelist in her 50s, her journey to publication, the challenges she faced with her second novel, juggling writing with being a mother, managing expectations, and the advice she'd like to share with emerging writers. 

Jan 14, 2021
Kicking Off a Wonderfully Creative Year
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, discusses the main reasons why writers give up, as well as all the things that get in the way of creativity: the pursuit of perfection; allowing the inner critic too much head space; not prioritizing your writing; procrastination and the fear of failure. Consider this your pep talk to ensure a kick-ass creative year!

Jan 07, 2021
How to Create and Maintain Suspense in all Genres
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with Putnam editor and adjunct professor of publishing for NYU, Mark Tavani, about all things suspense: techniques on how to create it, how to maintain it, and how to apply these concepts across all genres. Suspense is why we read; it's what keeps us turning pages. A story without some elements of suspense will fall flat. Learn how to avoid making that mistake in your work in progress. 

Dec 31, 2020
Point of View and an Update on the Industry: Carly Watters
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Author and Host, Bianca Marais, chats with literary agent, Carly Watters from P.S. Literary Agency, about elements of craft and the state of the literary industry. Carly discusses factors you need to consider when choosing the right point of view (PoV) and PoV characters for your novel, as well as what the industry looks like after Covid and the Penguin Random House purchase of Simon & Schuster. 

Dec 24, 2020
The Latest Literary Trend: Writing Partnerships
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Author and host, Bianca Marais chats with bestselling author duos, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, as well as Lynne and Valerie Constantine (who write as Liv Constantine) about the pros and cons of writing partnerships, as well as everything you need to know to run one. After this discussion, Bianca is on the search for her bosom writing pal!

Dec 17, 2020
What All Writers Can Learn From the Thriller Genre
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with bestselling author, Samantha M. Bailey, as well as Nita Pronovost, editor and vice president/editorial director at Simon & Schuster Canada, about the lessons all writers can learn from the thriller genre, including coming up with high concept premises; something known and unknown, something hidden and something shown; the labyrinth approach; considering your novel two halves when it comes to pacing; and how to nail your endings.  

Dec 10, 2020
Talking Audiobooks & Elements of Craft with Katharine Lee McEwan
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with award-winning British actress, writer, and producer, Katharine Lee McEwan, about all things audiobooks — including producing your own — as well as: scriptwriting, narrative voice, tone, emotional impact, torturing your characters and incorporating humour. 

Dec 03, 2020
Why Writing Groups are Integral
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Author and host, Bianca Marais chats with two members of her BACKSpacers writing group, Alek Trpkovski and Suzanne Dugard, about why writing groups are integral in your writing journey. They tackle issues like: what you should look for in your writing group; how to critique each other's work; effectively managing a group; the highs and lows of getting your work critiqued; how to incorporate feedback; how to start a writing group. NOTE: this episode contains some profanity and mature themes. 

Nov 26, 2020
What You Need to Know About Self Publishing
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Author and host, Bianca Marais,  chats with author, K.A. Tucker, who's gone from self publishing to traditional publishing, and then back again. Kathleen explores the pros and cons of both kinds of publishing; moving back and forth between genres; building your brand; reader loyalty and Bookstagrammers; and what you need to know if you're considering self publishing. 

Nov 19, 2020
Succeeding in the YA (Young Adult) Market
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with the effervescent Liara Tamani, author of two YA novels, All the Things We Never Knew and Calling My Name, about writing for the YA market, knowing what young people want to read, getting your message across without preaching, her circuitous route to a writing career after being accepted to Harvard Law School, the importance of timing, as well as barriers to entry that writers of color face in publishing.

Nov 08, 2020
Writing Sex Scenes & Befriending Booksellers
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, loves booksellers! And she especially loves Rebecca Speas of One More Page Books in Arlington, VA. In this episode, Bianca and Rebecca talk about the power of the bookseller, why authors should foster relationships with their local indie bookstores, how you can be a feminist and love bodice rippers, and how not to write awful, cringeworthy sex scenes. This episode is a bit risqué and a lot funny. 

Oct 15, 2020
When You Don't Make Shit Up - Memoir & Nonfiction
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Author and Host, Bianca Marais, chats with Kelly S. Thompson, an award-winning writer and editor with a broad range of experience and education in the writing and editing field. Kelly is the author of the memoir, Girls Need Not Apply - Field Notes from the Forces, and instructs at several universities and colleges in Canada teaching creative writing and nonfiction. In this episode, Kelly discusses memoirs, creative nonfiction, fact checking, asking loved ones for permission, and various other aspects that nonfiction authors have to consider. CBC Canada Reads shortlisted author, Jesse Thistle, who wrote the memoir, From the Ashes, weighs in on honesty, paying tribute and putting personal stories out into the world.

Sep 24, 2020
Bestselling Jane Green's Advice to Writers
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with the delightful international bestselling author, Jane Green, about her twenty-five year career in publishing. Jane gives insight with regards to rejection letters, bidding wars, bestselling novels, a writer's brand, when it's time to change agents or publishing houses, appreciating success, and the extreme highs and lows that are all a part of the industry.

Sep 18, 2020
How an Editor Acquires a Manuscript
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Author and host, Bianca Marais, takes you behind the scenes of publishing as she chats with editor, Kerri Kolen, about how editors acquire manuscripts; what the acquisition process looks like; how interminable the wait for news is; as well as how advances are calculated, how royalties work and Audible's opportunities that are available to authors.

Sep 18, 2020
Delving into the Author/Agent Relationship
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In today's episode, we're exploring the most important professional relationship that an author will have in their career - the one with their literary agent. Powerhouse author/agent team, Jill Santopolo (bestselling author of the The Light We Lost and More Than Words) and Miriam Altshuler (of DeFiore and Company) , give us a behind-the-scenes look at how to find the perfect agent, how to successfully pitch yourself to them, and how to ensure that the relationship is a successful one going forward. 

Sep 18, 2020