77 episodes

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.

The Shit No One Tells You About Writing Bianca Marais, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 10 Ratings

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.

    When a Pantser Becomes a Plotter to Get Published - Kirthana Ramisetti

    When a Pantser Becomes a Plotter to Get Published - Kirthana Ramisetti

    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: @SNOTYAW @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 

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Not Every Journey to Publication Takes the Same Route - Jayne Allen

    Not Every Journey to Publication Takes the Same Route - Jayne Allen

    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: @SNOTYAW @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 

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Trusting Your Gut in the Face of Rejection - PJ Vernon

    Trusting Your Gut in the Face of Rejection - PJ Vernon

    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: @SNOTYAW @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

    • 1 hr 4 min
    BONUS: Submitting to Presses & Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

    BONUS: Submitting to Presses & Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

    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: @SNOTYAW @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

    • 52 min
    Ken Follett's Incredibly Practical Tips for Writers

    Ken Follett's Incredibly Practical Tips for Writers

    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: @SNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @@ceciliaclyra 
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Website: www.biancamarais.com

    • 1 hr 3 min
    How to Write a Novel in Half the Time

    How to Write a Novel in Half the Time

    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: @SNOTYAW @BiancaM_author @carlywatters @@ceciliaclyra @maggieknoxbooks
    Instagram: @biancamarais_author @carlywatters @cece_lyra_agent @ the_shit_about_writing @maggieknoxauthor
    Facebook: @tsnotyaw
    Website: www.biancamarais.com

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

iluvcarrotts ,

Essential for authors

Wow, this podcast is amazing. I learn something new from each episode and hope to submit my own query for critique in due course. Keep up the great work.

Top of the Pods ,

The host is very insightful

... and has a very light touch.

Josordoni ,

Utterly fantastic!

What a brilliant episode. I loved it and found the deep dive so useful in my work. Keep up the good work

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