My many thanks

ThanksgivingHere in the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day. There is a lot of dark history behind this day, but ideally, the day can still be enjoyed as one of fellowship and gratitude. This has been a very dark year, although it is neither the first of such years, nor it is likely to be the last. The world (and my own country) is gradually becoming steadily darker as a result. Thus, my first thanks would be for the safety of my friends and family both local and abroad and my prayers go out to all of the people caught in war-torn areas, to the survivors in Paris, to any victims of monsters in the guise of man, and to all of the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of those who have died and keep dying to the plague of gun violence in our country. This year has been a living hell for you and will continue to be one of the worst, so my hope is that you find some peace and solace soon.

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Guest Post: The 4 Platform Elements That Catch an Editor’s Attention

Publishing wisdom from Carly Watter‘s guest blogger, agent Maria Ribas. Good sage advice for stacking the deck in your favor before your big debut. Definitely worth a read.

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

Headshot for Stonesong websiteEditor-turned-Agent Maria Ribas has a guest post for everyone today! It’s a small world in publishing and the story of how Maria and I know each other is a reflection of that. When Maria was an editor at Adams Media I sold her a cookbook called THE WELLNESS KITCHEN. She left Adams Media a couple years ago now and is currently at agent at Stonesong Literary in NYC. Maria represents non fiction and specializes in lifestyle and cookbooks. She has a great post about platform that I think you’ll all learn something from. You can also check out her site for more great information: or follow her on Twitter @maria_ribas.

I started out in publishing as an editor. And about once a week, I would get rejected. Our acquisitions meetings were on Thursday afternoon, and I’d spend much of that morning preparing a pitch for why…

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NaNo Thoughts #5: The Art of Writing Recklessly

As we near the end of the month, I wanted to share with you one of the most important lessons that I have gained over the last four years of participating in NaNoWriMo. While the chief goal (in my mind) is learning how to consistently dedicate an hour or two a day to write in a way that progresses both your manuscript(s) and your craft, I think another important lesson to be gained is to step back from your prose and let it form on its own.

I am a dedicated Plotter. I do not go into a writing session without at least a bare-bones guideline for what I plan to write. I have a story I want to tell and I want to make sure that my tale progresses in the way that it should. However, this is not a scholastic essay we are writing but an evolving, living piece of art. It breathes and grows of its own accord and trying to rein in its growth will stifle your story.

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NaNo Thoughts #4: Halfsies

halfandhalfSo, it’s November 15th and already NaNoWriMo is half over. How are you doing? Have you hit 25000 words yet? If so, how does it feel to be half done? Do you feel like you’re half done? I personally have already questioned the 50,000 word novel idea. For most publishing industries, the standard is 80,000 words. At best, you’re half done on a novella. My advice is to look at NaNo as something more than a mad-dash to the finish line. Embrace everything NaNo can mean and everything it can show you.

I would say that halfway done in NaNoWriMo is a great time to evaluate your progress: what’s working and what isn’t? Is your narrative progressing like you expected it to? Or did your story take an unexpected turn? Halfway through a thing is an opportune time to evaluate what you’re doing and determine if it is working or not. Consider it a license to take an unexpected turn. Deviate from the expected. Treat your novel like a slasher film: have the story take a detour halfway through into the odd and unexpected, challenge yourself and your reader.  Kill half your characters.  You know, whatever works.

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