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28 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
5.14 Writing Fantasy Horror with Erin A. Craig
Erin A. Craig joins the podcasters to chat about horror as a genre and how she approaches writing it. Erin is the New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows and Small Favors which will be out July 27th. For more about Erin and her books, visit her website. The chapter we critiqued with all our notes can be found here. To learn more about how to support the podcast (or participate in a writing group with some of the podcasters!) check out our Patreon.
30 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
5.13 Creating Near Futures with Axie Oh
Axie Oh joins the podcast to talk about how to create a shiny (or not so shiny!) near future world. Axie is the author of Rebel Seoul, Rogue Heart, XOXO (releasing July 13th), and The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea (Releasing February 2022). Find out more about Axie and her books here. To read the chapter we critiqued with all our notes, go here. If you'd like to learn how to support the podcast, check out our Patreon (we'd really appreciate it!) Please remember to like, subscribe, comment, and tell your friends! All those things (maybe the last one most of all...) helps others to find the show.
34 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
5.12 Smaller Publishers 101 with Lori M. Lee
Lori M. Lee joins us to chat about what it's like to work with a smaller publisher (compared with some of her other publishing experiences). What kind of publisher are you interested in working with? Lori is the author of The Gates of Thread and Stone series (Skyscape/Amazon), Forest of Souls and it's sequel Broken Web (Page Street), and Pahua and the Soul Stealer (Sept, Rick Riordan Presents/Disney Hyperion). To find out more about Lori and her book, check out her website! You can find the chapter we critiqued with all our notes here. If you'd like to find out how to support this podcast, check out our Patreon. For more about upcoming guests, first chapter submission guidelines, and the podcast, visit our website.
29 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
5.11 The Power of Subplots with Liselle Sambury
Liselle Sambury joins the Lit Service crew to chat about how to use subplots to flesh out our stories (and where to find them!). Liselle is a Toronto-based Trinidadian Canadian author. Her brand of writing can be described as “messy Black girls in fantasy situations.” She works in social media and spends her free time embroiled in reality tv because when you write messy characters you tend to enjoy that sort of drama. She also shares helpful tips for upcoming writers and details of her publishing journey through a YouTube channel dedicated to helping demystify the sometimes complicated business of being an author. Check out her website and her book (out the 15th!)! If you'd like to see the chapter we critiqued with all our notes, there are two version: one with swearing and one without. To find out more about how to support the podcast, please visit our Patreon.
30 minutes | May 26, 2021
5.10 How to Write an Adaptation with Katherine Cowley
Katherine Cowley joins the Lit Service Crew to chat about why adaptations, both of fairy tales and other stories people love, are so common, and how to approach writing one so it becomes your own story. To learn more about Katherine and her new book The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet, check out her website. The first chapter we critique with all our notes is here. To learn how to support the podcast, you can visit our Patreon page. Or, to find out how to submit your chapter for us to critique and upcoming guests, you can visit our website.
24 minutes | May 12, 2021
5.09 Orphaned Manuscripts (and what happens if your imprint closes!) with Erin Beaty
We chatted with Erin Beaty about the closing of Imprint/Macmillan and Simon Pulse and what happens to books that are orphaned because the imprint that acquires your book closed or your editor moves, leaves the business. To find out more about Erin and her books, check out her website. Here's the first chapter we critiqued! To find out how to support the podcast, check out our Patreon.
27 minutes | Apr 28, 2021
5.08 Anagnorisis: Characters Discovering Their True Circumstances with Erin Beaty.
Erin Beaty joins the Lit Service crew to teach them a new word (it's pronounced AnagNORisis, if you were wondering.) which is the moment when a character realizes the truth of the situation they're in or who they are or that another character is not who they thought they were. Erin Beaty is the author of The Traitor's Circle Trilogy (and provides many lovely moments of anagnorisis for readers to chew on). To find out more about her and her books, check out her website. For the first chapter we critique, go here: To learn how to support the podcast, check out our Patreon. Want a first chapter critique from us? Our list of upcoming guests is on our website, as are our submission guidelines.
28 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
5.07 Setting as Character with Lisa Maxwell
Lisa Maxwell joins the Lit Service cast to talk about injecting your setting with that special something that makes it interactive and immersive, almost like an additional character in the story. Lisa is the NYT bestselling author of The Last Magician, The Devil’s Thief, The Serpent's Curse, and Unhooked. She grew up in Akron, Ohio, and has a PhD in English. She’s worked as a teacher, scholar, bookseller, editor, and writer. When she’s not writing books, she’s a professor at a local college. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two sons. Check out Lisa's books here or follow her Instagram. To see the chapter we critiqued with our notes, go here. To find out how to help support this podcast, visit our Patreon. We'd love to see your first chapter! To see who will be coming on the show next and how to submit your work, visit our website.
20 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
Bonus Episode: Hot Seat Query Critique with Tricia Levenseller
Tricia Levenseller joins Caitlin Sangster and Kristen Evans to live critique a few queries. Tricia Levenseller is the author of the Daughter of the Pirate King duology, Warrior of the Wild, The Shadows Between Us, and forthcoming Blade of Secrets. She writes young adult high fantasies with heavy romantic subplots. You can find more about Tricia and her books here, or preorder her new book (do it!) here. If you'd like us to do more episodes like this or have suggestions about what would help you the most, let us know! You can email us at email@example.com or can talk to us on facebook, instagram, or twitter. If you'd like to know more about how to support our podcast, you can find out more here. To find out who will be coming on the show to critique first chapters next, check out our website.
29 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
5.06 The Mentor Always Dies
Caitlin, Kristen, and Aliah chat about the roles mentors take in (mostly!) fantasy and sci-fi narratives, their purpose and the shape of their place in a story. For the chapter we critique with all our notes go here! To find out how to support the podcast, go here! (We're about to do a live q&a, so if you want to come as us questions in person, now's the time to join our Patreon!) For more about the podcast and how you can submit your work for a critique (and our next upcoming guests!) visit our website.
28 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
5.05 Satisfying Relationship Arcs with Eric Smith
Eric Smith joins the Lit Service crew to talk about what it is (and what authors can do!) that makes relationships arcs in stories satisfying. Eric Smith is a literary agent and author living in Philadelphia. An agent with P.S. Literary, he's worked on New York Times bestselling and award-winning books. As an author, his books include Don't Read the Comments (Inkyard Press) and the forthcoming You Can Go Your Own Way (Inkyard Press) and the co-edited anthology Battle of the Bands (Candlewick) with Lauren Gibaldi. Find out out more about him and his books here. The chapter we critique with all our notes is here. If you'd like to find out more about how to support this podcast (we'd really appreciate it!), you can visit our Patreon. For more about the podcast, how you can submit your work for a critique, and an upcoming guest list, visit our website.
26 minutes | Feb 24, 2021
5.04 Author - Editor Relationships with Sarah McCabe
Sarah McCabe joins the Lit Service crew to talk about the publication process once a book has been acquired and what to expect from editing and collaborating with an editor. Sarah is an editor with Simon & Schuster/McElderry (which is pronounced "mackle-derry", who knew). For a look at the chapter we critique (with our notes!) go here. Don't forget to check out our Patreon for extra content (want to hear Caitlin's story about the haunted house she came very close to renting? It's up now!) here. If you'd like a first chapter critique from us or an upcoming guest, check out our submission guidelines here.
37 minutes | Feb 10, 2021
5.03 Author - Agent Relationships with Ben Grange
Ever wondered what happens after you start working with an agent? Listen in while Ben and Caitlin discuss what happens behind the scenes, using one of her projects as a frame of reference from when she finished it to when it was sold. The chapter we critique can be found here. Submission guidelines if you'd like a first chapter critique from us are here. If you like the show, please remember to check out our Patreon
28 minutes | Jan 27, 2021
5.02 Prewriting 101 with Namina Forna
Do you ever stumble when you begin a new story? Maybe you're not sure where it should start, or you have a great opening, but stall out once you get to the middle? Namina Forna's got some advice for you :) Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the upcoming epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina loves telling stories with fierce female leads and works as a screenwriter in LA. The chapter we critique can be found here. Patreon (if you like our show and want us to keep going, please consider becoming a patron!) Future guests/submission guidelines if you'd like a critique from us are here.
30 minutes | Jan 13, 2021
5.01 How to Train Your Heroes
Ever think training montages are boring? We chat about how to show your character training (both in magic or in fighting or in...schoolwork? Anything) without it feeling boring. Or like a sports movie. Check out the first chapter we critique with all our notes here If you'd like first chapter critique, visit our website to see upcoming guests and our submission guidelines. If you enjoy the podcast, please consider checking out our Patreon. It's patrons that keep us going, and you can get access to extra content and even a writing group hosted by Lit Service Crew members.
20 minutes | Dec 30, 2020
Bonus Episode: Hot Seat Critique with Caitlin and Cameron
To round out the year we're doing one last bonus hot seat critique! We also did a bonus episode with our reactions to the newest season of the Mandalorian now that the last episode finally landed--to listen, head over to our Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/litservicepodcast
31 minutes | Dec 23, 2020
4.25 Getting Your Characters to Squad Up
Aliah, Caitlin, and Kristen chat about how to get your characters to squad up. The chapter we critique can be found here. Don't forget to check our Patreon for video versions of episodes and other bonus episodes and content!
27 minutes | Dec 9, 2020
4.24 Illustration as Narrative with Isaac Stewart
You can find the chapter we critique here Isaac Stewart joins the Lit Service crew to talk about picture books and illustration and how to get a whole story out of so few words (and how illustrations have to pull their own weight!). We also chat about maps and collaboration between authors and artists. During the course of his life, Isaac Stewart has had more dreams than there are freckles on his back. When he was eight, he wanted to invent faster-than-light travel. At eleven, he dreamed of being the first person on Mars. At thirteen, he thought there could be nothing better than owning a sled-dog team and winning the Iditarod. Despite these passing obsessions, one dream never left him: He wanted to write and illustrate books. Since then, Isaac has lived in the Philippines as a missionary, graduated with a BFA from BYU, and has worked for two decades in entertainment, video games, and publishing. Though he hasn't yet made it to Mars, he loves to travel and has lived in Germany twice. He currently works for Dragonsteel Entertainment as Brandon Sanderson's art director, and has created many of the maps and symbols related to Brandon's works. Recently Isaac ran a successful Kickstarter for his first children's book, Monsters Don't Wear Underpants. Isaac hasn't yet found the sled dog team of his dreams (he's discovered he prefers warm climates to cold), but he did marry the woman of his dreams. They live in Utah with their four children and two weird cats. Check out his book here Find out more about Isaac on his website here and Isaac's instagram (which is a delight to follow!) For more about how to submit your work for a critique, you can visit our website. To support the podcast, please check out our Patreon.
26 minutes | Nov 25, 2020
4.23 Platonic Relationships
Join the core crew to talk about why having a good range of different kinds of relationships in a story is important and how to do it well. The chapter we critique can be found here. If you want a critique from us, here are our submission guidelines. We encourage you to check out our Patreon for extras (like the video version of this episode, extra hot seat critiques, occasional extra episodes, live q&a opportunities, and even a critique group with Lit Service Crew members)--we appreciate your support!
30 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
4.22 Balancing Those Plots with Sara B. Larson
Sara B. Larson joins the Lit Service Crew to chat about romantic arcs in YA, why they're so prevalent, and how to balance them against your plot in your own work. Sara is the author of the Defy Series, the Dark Breaks the Dawn Duology, and the Sisters of Shadow and Light duology (the newest one just hit shelves!!) To learn more check out her website. If you'd like signed copies of her books, you can get them here (be sure to put in the special instructions that you'd like it signed and to whom). You can find the chapter we critiqued with all our notes here. If you'd like a first chapter critique from the podcast or an upcoming guest, check out our submission guidelines. Please consider supporting us on Patreon! We're going through some growing pains right now, and need some extra help around here (and want to pay that extra help!). We really appreciate your help and that you listen to our dodgy writing advice!!
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