In the eighth episode of This Podcast Needs a Title, Peter and Erica talk with writer, editor, and story consultant Mara Raden about a little bit of everything. Chaos ensues. But the good kind of chaos. Plus, Peter and Erica each have some good news to share.
Hey everyone, welcome to this podcast needs a title. I'm Erica Davis. And I'm Peter Malone Eliot. And this is real talk about Writing, Publishing and everything in between. Just a few moments here, we're going to be talking to our stupendous guest, Mara Raiden, who is a sought after writer, editor and story consultants. But first, hey, Erica. Yeah. How are you? God, that was a no way disturbing. Um, Peter, I'm not gonna lie. I'm a little bit giddy right now. Yeah. That's why because a few minutes before we started recording, I hit the tweet button and officially announced that I signed with Nat Kimber, our guests from Episode Seven. She is going to be representing me with my nonfiction book, Confessions of a PAH didn't she's also going to be helping me out with my young adult horror, and possibly some graphic novel. If I'm looking at my screen writing, I don't know how this happened. Actually, I do know how this happened. You picked her to be on our show, and it was Kismet and fireworks and puppies exploded or something? No, that's it. Wow. Glitter, super graphic, Jason. Okay. Nevermind. That's really, I so I'm good. I'm good. How about you, buddy? How are you? Well, first, before I talk about myself, I just want to say Erica, I'm very proud of you. Congratulations. You deserve this. And you have such a bright future. How are you going to be wonderful. Thanks, pal. Yes, you do get some of the credit, though. And I'll give you a copy of the book again. Yeah, I guess I'm good. I'm good to add the the two big things that have probably happened for me since we last recorded. My I've talked about about this a little bit on the podcast, but not in great detail. I wrote and produced a movie that's was sold to distributor and is coming out later this year. And it's called Wired shots. And the distributor just announced the UK release date, which is September 6. It's going to that's okay, you're excused. And the North American release is going to be after that. So they're going to do the UK roll up first. I know, I know the North American release date. But I don't know if I can say because they haven't publicly released it yet. But it will be after the UK release. And the trailer is out online if you want to look at Wireshark. So that's exciting. And that's that's that's cool. Yeah, that's amazing. Congratulations. You carry that one onto your hat. Holy cow. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, so that's that's probably the biggest thing. And then the other thing is another thing that I'm sure our listeners have noticed. I got a Twitter. He's on the tweeter bird. I'm on the Tweety Bird. And you know what I I'm, I use it a very narrow scope. Granted, I like it a lot. How can our listeners follow you here? I am at PME. Writer. That's very clever. It's it took me a long time to come up with it. I know you're stuck with it. Well, no, it's not true. Actually. You can't change your handle. I find. That's awesome. Congratulations on the release states and the trailer. Thank you. Thank Yes. And let's hear how we're doing with accountability goals. Okay, do a drumroll. Hey, can you tell me how my literary agent net Kimber did? Ooh, how does that feel saying Does that feel good, weird. Weird. A F. A F. So yeah, so Natalie's original accountability goal was wanting to schedule more time for social media and her work day. And I checked in with her yesterday asking you how she was doing. I think I'm just gonna quote what she said. Here we go. You ready? Ready? I think COVID kind of killed my accountability last week. AK their case. But thanks so much for reminding me. I suppose I've been about half accountable. Since I had book releases and publications the boost. I managed to get those done. Yay. Now that's awesome. Yeah, so she was. Yeah, don't be happy. Don't pass. Yeah. That's good. How are you? How did you do, buddy? I did. Well, my goal, if my memory serves was to finish chapter chapter 13 of my novel, and it did. And I actually just finished chapter 14 today, but I'm not it needs a little bit of work still before the next chapter. But I did. I did finish I got to the end of the chapter today. That's awesome. Yeah. What about hey, I full disclosure, I did not meet my accountability goal, because at the time of recording, Nat had not yet asked me to send her my proposal. But now she has and I have since signed with her so I'm going to take that as a window. Yeah. 100% That's a win. That's a triple win. Yeah, thank you have an agent. You're a represented author. Oh my god. I haven't even Yeah, weird. Yeah. He has a you too. You know that right? You you pick NAT to be our guests and she brought up nonfiction proposals and then I squealed at her about having to teach myself I was there. I can cosign the squeal it was there. It's and it's been amazing with not because before I this is on Twitter but before the lovely news of Erica's signing the winner of the mystery thriller category from last year's unpublished contest sign with that as well, which is exciting. Awesome. So it's done. We've just got a big synergy going on with Nat Kimber in the rights factory, and I love it. Oh, my gosh, that's so good. And speaking of good, can you tell me about our upcoming guest, Mara? I sure can. Mara Raiden is a pen for hire, often engaged professionally as a writer, teacher, consultant, and filmmaker. She has over 20 years of experience working in publishing, journalism, theatre, television, and film. She specializes in consulting and mentoring writers and narrative storytelling, character development, comedy and dialogue for print and media. And along with my tremendous co host, Erica, hey, Mara is an editor for the book pipeline workshop. What well, shameless plug, let's bring her in here. Welcome, Mara. Thanks so much for coming on the show. Oh, it's great to have you. I know. It's so nice to see your faces. It really is. Yeah, Mara and I are both editors for book pipeline workshop. And we do that's right, shout out to them. They said shut up. Oh, Peter, shut up. And we don't it's not that we work in silos. But we work in silos. Because as those of you who are in publishing, and who are authors and writers know, it's a very solitary career. So this is a special treat to see your face, Mara. And you know, I mean, I make it so you, you two, you all don't talk to each other. It's specifically in my brain to say screw these guys. They're not talking to each other. That's it. I don't believe you know, maintained isolation. We're very happy in our pattern rooms. So Mara, I mean, as your bio kind of suggests, I mean, you are really an amazing kind of jack of all trades. So I mean, I given that you work in so many mediums, I mean, you your broad perspective on the different types of writing must help you as an editor and the approach that you bring to it, I would imagine, right? Certainly does. It, you know, some of it's my personality, and some of it is where I live. We make movies in Santa Fe, and we make books, and we make them all day long. And there's always a project and if you are making the effort and sort of connected, you'll get that like text at three o'clock in the afternoon. I need a script for an immersive, you know, experience on a train and this guy's backyard. Can you do that? You'll get a call. I'm shooting three films in five days in Albuquerque. Can you grab your director's chair and drive? See, yeah, it's super collaborative. It's definitely a circus. It's really fun. Um, the kind of writing I did before I was in Santa Fe, felt more traditional, but I do think it set me up craft wise, for that sort of, you know, seat of your pants involvement of, I'm doing, you know, an audio book, will you come at it today, I am putting together a play and we need lines for the, you know, second act that sucks. I can just jump in, and be all those people and be all those voices that help people and I love that. That's what I like to do. I really, I do not like to sit alone and work on like my personal war and peace and sit in your ivory tower. That's not my thing. Um, I've been I've been working in books. I think I grew up in a house of writers, right? Yes. My mom has published my data is published, my sister is published. My son just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, like everybody else is like, full of words and writing all day long. And so I got used to jumping in there, you know, 16 years old. Will you read a chapter and see you look at this article, what do you think about this? And so it's it's a big house full of lots of people doing this job. And I really enjoy it. That's awesome. Yeah. And it's just kind of interjecting myself for a second if I may. I kind of grew up in a similar sort of situation. My My mother is a novelist and my sister's a theatre director and I was always you know, it was always the process we share each other's work with one another we you know, workshop each other's we're like, we're hard on each other. You know, it's not like we just say, Oh, good job, pat on the head. It's not at all Yeah. But like, it's a really beautifully unique situation to grow up. And I think it's really benefited my writing, I think, yeah. Oh, sure. It has because it turns into this family business where sure that's the right word for it. Yeah, it is it's a family business and you see it from the perspectives of the specialties and talents of everybody else as well. Sure. So you can kind of learn to get an ear for all the specialties and talents that the people in your house have, you know, nonfiction. Are you listening to journalism? Are you listening to poetry? Is it a song? I've consulted on lyrics? Sometimes poetry, sometimes it's lyrics, sometimes it's, you know, like, but but all of those different rhymes and meters and tones. When you're constantly exposed, you can pick that stuff up. And so when I read a book through the workshop, and somebody is like, in the middle of it, you know, there's a scene from a television, I've seen that before, where it's like, on the TV in the background, right? edit that and say, That's not what TV sounds like, you know, what people on a subway platform sound like? Right? Right. So for me, a lot of it is is sound deep. Yeah. Sound my parents, you know, started out they met in repertory theater school. I like actors and writers. I mean, these were the people in our house. You know, if you couldn't set up a punch line and finish the joke, you weren't very interesting. You knew these things, because that was the house we lived in. And it wasn't sure. It wasn't though. That was the thing. That was fun. It was awesome. Because there was that sense of play with the night. Yeah, right. And so I think of all the things I can do, and I am visual, and I am exacting in an annoying era as well, what I'm selling people that I'm really working Oh, put that on a bumper sticker my ears, I'm selling people mark off that. I am curious as like since you and I both editors with workshop, shout out number two shadow pipeline workshop. I know what my my methodology is, I don't my habits are for better or worse with when we edit sample pages from authors. I'm curious, what are some of the common recurring mistakes that you see when we receive these submissions? There's like the sort of light stuff like picking a voice? No, I get a lot. We have not picked a voice. And that tells you so much about what you're going to read. I mean, that's like one author is telling me a story. Do I live in someone's head? Do I live in several people's head? Like, how is all experiences adventure going to happen? And I'm not going to be able to follow along? Or am I going to get nauseous? Like, how is that going to work for me. So that one is hard. Either no exposition or shoving it all into the dialogue is a real problem. Like I want to write a play write a play. If you do not want to write a play, don't put it in a book because even that's not a not film writing. You can't put your exposition in the dialogue. Nobody. It doesn't make any sense. That does not tell me the story of your story is a useless synopsis. Because I only get 20 pages of your voice when I'm reading, you know, 2030 pages I'm looking for. Who are you? Who are these people? How do I feel but it's a very subjective edit. When I look at the synopsis, that's an objective edit. Is your story. Good? Does it make sense? Does it and do I think you know it? Do I know it? Can we talk about it? Right? I don't get a synopsis like that at all. And I often tell writers, if you can't tell me the short story version of your book, like a plot summary recap of your favorite novel, then you don't know what it is, or it hasn't been written yet. I'll be writing an edit. And I'm like, I think this is I think this is your protagonist. And I almost feel like I'm like trying to give them clues as to what this book could be about. But I don't really know. There's that like, Great Interplay too, between plot and character development where it's like, maybe you've written this great character, but what you've given her to do is not her backstory. Hanson who is like my favorite wrote in 21st century screenplay, which I think is for every novelist, every short story writer, every everybody No, really, it's it's just like, Sure, this giant, you know, singing tome on plot and development and how to do it. And I love it. Um, but she writes about characters like that, who are perfectly livable, but have no life that those plots are called people walking around. And she sees them in films. And it's just people walking around and I in my head when I read something, and I'm like, Oh, this is people walking around. And it's not just a failure development. It's like a failure of plot to give that person things to do that reassure who they are. Yeah, yeah. And so, you know, I totally agree with you there that it's a really useful piece of feedback to hear. I like that guy. He just kind of hangs out, you know? Yeah, I think there is kind of a common misconception when you know, someone wants to say, well, I want to do a character driven piece, like, great. Yeah, but there also, there has to be a plot engine, or else it's literally like you said, it's just watching a guy, you know, eat popcorn and drink beer. What's he driving right now? What's he driving? Does he blow the world up? Is he like on a train that where are we going? I love that's immediately where your brain would just blow. That's the first stop. I mean, that's the other thing that I don't always see. When people send me their work. And it's like, they're more than competent at writing, they're more at giving me an image, and an idea and a feeling. And it's like, So where in there is, is the thing that's original. That is the thing that's creative, you know, books that almost feel like style imitation of 100 other books I've read, and there's nothing wrong with them. They're just as good as the other books, except that I've already read them. So it's like, with blow the world up, right? I carry like, a character driven, you know, contemporary romantic drama where they blow the world up. I haven't read that book. So that's cool. Yeah. It's like, if you put that unexpected piece in, I think, as a writer, it doesn't take anything away from what you're trying to say. It just gives your character something to do. Yes. Go, you know, and that's where you get traction. And that's where you get people going. I'm actually interested in right, right, right. Matt's favorite word. He's gonna love this because this is the second time I've said it this episode. It elevates the material, it's elevated. Now says, you're quoting my my aunt, she always makes fun of me, because I'm that person who can like live on coffee and toast. I can just live on coffee and toast. And, and and I've said to her many times, I'm like, There's something about it. I don't want a piece of bread. Toast just like elevates it. There it is. There's this Jane. She's always looking at me going. Are you eating elevated bread? Martin toast is elevated bread. Yeah, it is. So good. Okay, so like kind of tangent off of what we just were talking about in terms of story and development stuff. The something that is also mentioned in your bio, is that you love mentoring writers and you love coaching them and really kind of bringing them from the ground up. So I mean, what, what do you think? I mean, obviously, there's a lot of answers to this question, I'm sure but what do you think are some of the most important things in a mentor mentee relationship that you bring to the table? or would like to see from a writer? Um, you know, if, if I want to talk about it in like, the actual sort of meaning of relationship, right? Yeah. That that kind of situation needs to be a real conversation, where you both have the feeling that the other person is acting in good faith, sure, for sure, bringing you their work, because they want your opinion. And your opinion, is the best you have for them, you know, what I believe each other. And I often find myself in that place where it's like, you've given me your work, and this is what I could take away from it. And the other person is in the position of, well, let me explain it to you. And it's like, you can't explain it to me, you have to write it to me, because that's what this relationship is. And then on the flip side, they'll come back to me with things that I wouldn't necessarily do, or I don't particularly like, but it works, and it's what they want. And that's not my job. My job isn't to get up in their art, right, my job is to help them with their craft. And that's two totally different things. And so my, you know, like, that's awesome. That's the important part of that relationship that I understand the boundary as well as they do their project and I'm here to help them make it the best. I can not make my project. Um, how do you find I'm just picturing this as you're talking? How do you find mentees? Okay, um, I belong to the editorial freelancers Association. Very often people find me there. And say, I have this you know, novel and I need developmental editing and I need whatever and we'll have a conversation and I always do a sample chapter. Because I want to know if I can do anything I'm in There are times where you're like, well, there's nothing I can do here, you need someone else you need something else, they'll, you know, take take editing back and I'm like, does this work for you? It are these changes you can make is this what you're looking for. But I think that's really important at the beginning, for a long time editor, writer relationships, were coming straight from a publisher. really uncomfortable forced marriages. And I don't interesting, you know what I mean, I think this level of collaboration is where I like to be. I like to be with someone who I've picked, and they've picked me and we want to do this thing together. Right? Right. So I find people that way, I find people who show up in my inbox who are a friend or a friend of a friend who are like, would you just look at this? Would you just look at a little more of this? Would you want to do this, and then we do this together? And that's me all kinds of work. When I work in short film, independent film, I'll come on, in whatever capacity I've been called to duty. And working, the pages aren't lining up. We've had a change of scene, and now we need to add something I will fill in and go Wait, who's who? Okay, you know, and it takes a minute to get character voices, but I can write lines. You know, I'll read people's proposals. It's all some of it's word of mouth. Yeah. And that's an unfortunate thing to tell people because they're like, What, wait, how's that work? But getting out there going to table reads you know, participating in whatever you have access to? Sure people will just come to you you know, and and share I love table reads. For that reason I do. The New Mexico Film Office table reads with Suzanne Burrell. And I will bring in film, I will read other people's films, we all take turns and read together and then you get those calls on like Saturday. Can you help me fix this? And it's like, I would love to? Well, you fix mine? No, it was a short, high concept science fiction piece, Nora, I don't even understand it. I tried to write it seriously. In my free time. When it's fun. I love those like extra short Rod Serling like well crafted short story pieces. For you. That was weird in the first place. You mentioned the difference between art and knowing the differences of writing code between art and craft. I think that's a really fascinating distinction. And not one that all editors are able to make. I feel like there's a lot of people out there who want to rewrite something in their own voice, but they, you know, put it under the guise of being a writing coach, I am wondering how how long it took you to kind of develop that skill and to be able to kind of separate yourself and how you would do it from how you can see the writer wants to do it, if that makes sense. Yeah, I think I think it's two separate things. I think, not being at work for a publisher, not my job to make something publishable, you know, for a certain market that I'm in unless the writer has asked for that. Unless they say, this is what I'm trying to do, can you help me do that. So there's that I have the freedom to go, Okay, this is your, you know, personal dream, and we're going to make your dream happen for you. And I have no idea if you'll be able to publish it or not. But if you want to make this thing together, I will. The other half of it is just, um, I have five kids, and it is not my job to turn them into like sculpted human beings. So I have like a ton of experience of let me help you let me let go. That's a very specific quality of Yeah, you know, accepting and believing that a person an idea is their own? And if you can, like collaborate, that's great, but it's not your job to remake? Sure. Then the voice piece is just Can you hear their voice? And sometimes you can't, sometimes they do not. Right. Next point, you look at somebody and you actually say that, you know, I can't hear your voice, I can help you, you know, structure all of this into a place that makes sense, but Right, I'm not hearing it. And and that's different. Yeah, it's just adding on to that. I mean, like something that writers will ask me is what agents look for most, and I beat it over that the drum I mean, voice they want, I mean, obviously plot and structure and everything else. That's important too, obviously. But the first thing they noticed, and the first thing that stands out is their voice. Does it pop out immediately. And if it doesn't, you know, yeah. You don't need to do there's deeper work to do exactly. Yeah. Well, and that's where that sort of truth element comes in. And like that's a thing that I often have less ability to discuss working for pipeline, but I will often look at writers and say, you know, I can hear that this isn't true. And other people can hear it too and you really need especially as like a First time, novelists you know, there, there is so much craft over a 20 or 40 year career where you can write in other people's voices. But if you're just getting out there, you need to know what you sound like, you need to tell your actual truth on the actual page. And if it's uncomfortable or weird, you can put an alien suit on it and take it to another planet, but it's still inside. It's usually that baseball cap on a kid where you're like, wait a second, is that witness protection? Or why did they have tentacles? Yeah, exactly. That's the thing that I try really hard with me, let them know that, you know, you can tell the story of your life and dress it up. And that's where you're making art. But don't tell anything. You really know it inside. And everybody can kind of hear that. Yeah, talking about your bazillion projects going on which medium is your favorite at the moment. But what's my favorite thing I'm doing? I'm okay. Two things. There's an experience that I've been really enjoying, which is developing a television show with my sister, or last nonfiction book. And I love it. It's so much fun. This is like our second round her first book, her name plug, we're gonna plug Asia Raven. Her most recent book was the truth about lies. And it got a really, really nice write up from Penn Jillette. Because it's all about scams and cons and things cool. We're working right now with a production team, but we might change it and developing sort of a deck and a sizzle reel and that kind of stuff. And it's awesome. It's improvisational, which I love. Oh, what's a sizzle reel? Okay, a sizzle reel. Oh, good. Oh, this is fun. A deck is basically like, you're you're taking it to networks and executive producers and people to sort of sell what you're proposing as a television show. There's make them first producers making it. The sizzle reel is where you take the talent or the thing you're going to show and you have a bunch of sort of cuts and pieces of scripted work, unscripted work interview to send around to prospective producers to decide if this looks like something that should be on television. So it's kind of fun to make. So that is my favorite thing to do. Okay, thing to write. are still essays. I love essays. I love stream of consciousness essays. That's when I remember what I sound like. And that helps like, oh, wait, what do I sound like? I sound like that lady. Okay. I like to write really good. Where can we find some of your essays? Oh, my goodness. Um, I have some in the hopper right now. I'm over COVID I didn't put any out in the world because, okay. had to say was weird and sad. Like everyone else, so I know it right. Yeah. I focused on like everything else. For the last like two years. Pretend very hard, like, like ground control to Major Tom. Like, I had to do something totally left. And so mine. Yeah, so I have some right now. And if I ever let go of them, they have places to go. And I will good. Clean artists would probably take them. I put one out. That was super saucy about please read artists, please read because I get a lot of proposals from people who I'm under the impression do not do a lot of reading. We live in a world where people don't actually sit down and read and I read like 24 hours a day. And I think it's really helpful. It's like running a marathon but not exercising. You know what I mean? I don't know anybody who says sits down and like talks about reading. Like, yeah, talk to me about it. You know, it's really funny. My husband and I started a two person book club years ago, because we, our kids have gotten big enough, we'd started going on dates. And we go on a date. And we'd sit there and talk about our kids. And they're like, this isn't really a date. We started going to bookstores, and I was like let's buy a book. And he's like, yeah, we'll read the book. And then we've all read the same book. You tell me about your book, and oh, not my book. And then we'll have something to talk about. And I love that. Yeah. And so we're I just finished my book early, because I always do and now I'm waiting for him. How often are those dates? They were weird in our living room during the pandemic, right, but a couple times a month, you know, and we'll give each other like ketchup. I just finished this is how you lose the Time War. And it's like the best thing I've read in forever. So letters from like angry time agents at the end of the world, but it's like this love story. It was really good was really interesting. He's of course looking at me like your book was 150 pages. And I got this giant Hemingway mask. Eric and I have discussed this before. I love Hemingway and she thinks he's just a big stinking pile of dog poop. If I wanted to hear a guy talk about being hungry in eating fish I would have hung out with my I don't know. That was horrible. I know it wasn't, it was totally fine. Because, again, go back to art and craft. Yeah. Like that man was a master craftsman, you did not like his art. It's a very, very specific style. And it's not everybody's cup of tea, let's totally find his right three pages a day, advice has stuck with me since I were 100 years ago, like, fight something, have a drink and write two pages, and then go back to what you're doing. And I'm like, You know what? I can do that. I like that. Right, Hemingway? Let's see, to that end. I mean, besides reading a lot, obviously, it's important for authors, what do you think are some other resources and tools that you think can help them along their journey of making a piece, I don't think a lot of the authors I interact with put words at the very top of what they're doing. And I think a lot of that has to do with the sort of visual storytelling culture of TV Media YouTube, that we live in, you know, I think about a story. And even I think in pictures, we all think in pictures show when you write it down on a piece of paper, you have to describe those pictures. And you can describe them better, or worse, to the utmost of your ability, you know, a lot of resources in terms of, you know, reading craft books, useful craft books, but also, I keep stacks of like dictionaries and the sources. I get up in the morning, and I do the crossword puzzle and the pangram every morning. Like go boom, boom, boom, where are your words? Mara, do you have any words today? Yeah, my friend, romance writer Daymond suede wrote a thesaurus of 30,000 verbs. Wow, verbalized. And people use it everywhere, like movie lots. You know, he teaches it places. And it's such a cool book, because you open it up and you're like, Oh, right. She didn't go down the street. She could have done 100 different actions to get Yeah, great. Yeah. And you forget, I use a rhyming dictionary myself, because I think about the way words sound, no, have this rhyming dictionary. And I'll be like, I want a word. And it needs an owl. And it kind of goes like a fan of the rhyming dictionary. But I mean, everybody's got their, you know, some people, those silly poetry magnets, you know, we're, yeah, I've been there, like a million different ways to enrich your vocabulary. And remember that every word has the potential for sort of different nuance. So we've kind of already touched on this a little bit, maybe it would have been better to talk about this earlier. But something that, I think is a fascinating discussion for all artists, but writers specifically, is the difference between making a living and making art because it's not always you're not always going to make money given doing exactly what you want to do all the time. And given that you've had such an illustrious career of doing so many different things, I was wondering if you could kind of talk about that topic a little bit for people that are looking to break in and, you know, juggling a day job and multiple other jobs, etc. Yeah, I think if you want to make a living, writing, you have to be flexible. You know, there are great advice, you know, many paying jobs and I'm not talking about careers or magic but paying jobs where you get to write whether writing copy, whether you're I mean now oh my god, there are so many jobs, writing people's blogs, writing other me's, you know, Facebook posts, you know, dumb stuff, where you're just like, oh, I can't do that. But you can, and it gets you writing and it gets you getting paid for writing, Tony, I started out, you know, doing transmission repair reviews for access magazine in the Chicago Tribune when I was 19 years old. Oh, wow. But I was like paying bills, you know? Like, yeah, that's okay. I wrote for health magazines. I wrote for science magazines. I wrote people's homework. Yes. Socratic dialogues. I used to get like 100 bucks for a C and 200 bucks for a B and like, there's always writing work if you want to do it. Yeah. You know, as we as we talked about before, Erica, the editorial freelancers Association has great opportunity for people to do everything from Will you proofread my book for this amount of money? There's just no reason if you are a competent, capable writer to take money to do writing work. And what that does is it keeps you you know, active and open to opportunity. also pays your bills. So you have time to write that movie or write that novel or absolutely want to know who you're gonna meet in those places too. I, you know, being being open and flexible and interested, I have met so many people who have been invited me to something better than awesome. Things happen. People don't realize me various types of writing is flexing the muscle right and developing that muscle is half the battle becoming a good writer, you know? Yeah, exactly. It also helps you develop voice because everything right isn't for you anymore. Sure. Technically, in a pay for, for words, you're in a ghostwriting capacity. So now you're learning how to write other people's voices, you're learning how to write other medium, you're learning all kinds of things. And those are really useful skills. I want to interject about the fact that I am a lapsed member of the editorial freelancers association I am that was it's still resource, I point some of our our clients to if they want further development work or whatnot. I haven't yet thought about renewing it only because when I was a member, I got too many opportunities on my plate. And it I burned out so quick, working, working as a freelance editor full time, I crashed and burned. So I figured out my best mode for both a day job that helps them pay the bills. And still focusing on my, my creative work, whether that's freelance editing, or my own works in progress, is 20 hours a week, 20 hours a week. So I'm, I'm just wired for part time contract work. And no more than 20 hours of my own creative work. Anything beyond that, unless there's a deadline and a really cool deadline I'm happy about Yeah, I will, I will run myself into the ground. And I just, I'm not wired that way. I can't do that to myself. And my own sister is kind of the opposite. She actually she is just, she's good with full time work. And she has my three beautiful nieces, and my beautiful brother in law. And I'm like, I don't know how she does it. I have three dogs and I go bananas and they sleep 40 hours a day. But I just that's just so for those of you who are somewhere in between where Mara and I are, it's okay to be wired differently. Like I was never cut out for a day job, an eight hour day job desk work. Yeah, I work so much better from home doing my own thing with my own clients. And, but, but no more than like 20 hours a week. I think that's an important thing to know about yourself as a person, you know, in any career in any lifestyle. But as a writer, it is hard because you tell yourself, well, I'm at my house, and all I have to do is open My Computer. So I should just work forever. All the time forever, if I can. Sure. Yeah, sure. And I've had a rule for about five years that I I don't work on Wednesday. It's the dialogue that I just don't work with. It doesn't matter what you've got. I don't work on Wednesday, because I have kids and they're gone during the week and Wednesday. You know, they're at school. They're doing their stuff. Yeah. And say is my day. And and that's it. I don't have something left for everything else. Yeah, yeah. working like crazy on Monday or working like crazy, you know, a couple days in a run or whatever. But Wednesday, I tell people different things to like, Oh, I'm in production meetings on Wednesday, or like, it's okay. Well, I'm like, This is my thing. I did it. I'm just Yeah, I just gone fishing, you know? No, and that's it's okay. It's content. I can picture myself telling different people different things to if I'm unavailable for a project. I've been working really hard on professional boundaries, personal boundaries lately, and a huge piece of self care it pretty much is self care. But I've had to tell one of my favorite writers for my screenwriting group a couple days ago, I just I don't have the bandwidth for this right now. Yeah, sure. I could have absolutely squeezed in like two to three hours to look at his stuff and give him like some really thorough feedback. Like I have the physical space for it, but not the mental or emotional capacity right now. That if I even felt myself resisting being honest about that, I didn't go into the emotional details of it. I was comfortable enough with him to say, I wish I had time for this. I don't have room on my plate. And yeah, I love you anyway, chance. And that's so important. I mean, I used to like a month ago, I used to work six days a week, pretty full, full tilt all out. And then like, a month ago, I was like, why am I so tired, like while you're working six days a week. So I take the weekends off now and I feel so much better and so much more energized and productive those five days, you know, 100% important as a person who has to be creative and has to be interesting and has to have, you know, ideas. life experience. Yeah, I have to have a day of the week where I've kicked everyone out of the rental space in my head. Like find a place where I'm like, Oh, this is my head. I'm you know, and so I just take one and stays, and it's just me up there. And that's good. That's really helpful. Yeah, I have a question for the both of you. Because I mean, this applies for editing. And so Erica, yeah, I'll loop you in on this too. For the people out there that maybe are writing their first book, and they're not that familiar with the publishing world and the editing, you know, process. What do you what do you think the most common misconception about an editor for hire is that you would want to dispel? And I guess, wave your hands like a maniac. If I if I made this was, this is just because I know my limits. I am an editor, I am not a proofreader, I can if I had to look for if there are four typos in a paragraph, and you told me to find them, give me like a couple of weeks, I find them. I am not that kind of editor. And it's not that I don't do that. It's that I can't do that. I'm actually considering looking a little further just to find out what's going on in case I can have some of the resources available to me. But I think that's a very big piece of the reason why I'm I'm not good at it. And it it stresses me out my I get physically ill when I have to think about that level of thing. Now, if you're listening, don't worry, I will get better at it. I promise. It's something that does not come naturally to me. Versus feedback, big picture developmental stuff. It's like It's like Neo seeing the matrix. And like you guys don't see this. It's so obvious what's missing. And that's probably something newer people to this process don't realize that, you know, like, an editor isn't necessarily going to be able to encompass every single thing, you know, the editors for specific things. Yeah. And not just because it's different skill sets, but it's on different stratosphere hours of the writing process. Sure. And that's one thing I wish we could adapt into a book pipeline workshop is a space for the the submitting author to tell us, is this zero draft? Is this something you wrote on the back of an outline? Is this your final draft? Is this Are you about to start querying? Knowing where that author believes they are in the process is going to help me center my feedback a lot better, I can do that in my sleep. I don't know where it came from. I'm grateful that I have that skill set straight. Well, I think yeah, I think so you I get paid to do it now. So I mean, proofreading is great. But there's a lot of that that's automated at this point. And then specific people who take over it. Mara, how about you? Um, I guess two things. One is that when you hire an editor, that doesn't mean that the book you're finished with is publishable in a traditional publishing format. There you go. Not exactly. It's not a pay to play. You have not paid and now therefore this and I try to make an enormous point of saying floodgates to the industry are now open. Yeah, I cannot make that happen. Even if you did have a book that was publishable by traditional industry standards. I can't make that happen. Either. That one that's that's one. The other one is just shoddy world building. People like are like, we're on a funny planet. And that's cool. And you're like, No, we're in the past. But we use modern credit cards. No, no, no, you don't know. I'm actually writing a world building book right now world building for authenticity. Oh my god, I valuable in everything from like a Christmas card you write to Star Wars, there, there are basic pieces that are really important for making someone think they've gone somewhere with you, whether just to 1965 in your language in your country, or whether it's to somewhere far more, you know, unimaginable. But I always when I get you know, a sci fi piece, that's crazy. I'll just send one note. That's like even trolls take out the trash. Trash on your world. Okay. People want to know how something really works. They want to be able to feel like it makes sense. And that works for every genre. I don't think there's a genre that doesn't have that element in it. Yeah. And it goes back to show not tell and tell the truth and all kinds of things. But, but fundamentally, you know, you've been submersed or you can see the lights dangling and you're just like, No, this is fake this. And that's something I mean, it's important in every single medium, obviously, but especially in novels and television. I mean, it's like it is the probably the most important thing, you know, I mean, if Mara there was so much amazingness packed into that but what my brain fixated on was Star Wars Christmas card and I'm not sure if that's what you meant, but I want to get out of this. Okay. They came together and they're fine this perfectly. If we're in the middle of winter is there is there not business and if so, why? You know, it's tough, where you You've put yourself and a reader somewhere and it matters if it's coherent it right, right feels real. So wow, that's a thing that I get in first draft submissions where you're like, I don't think these people can breed government but do they vote? I don't know. Oh, man, loose ends so many loose ends. Yeah, it's our bread and butter, our elevated bread and butter. Match. You go, it's gonna be just through the roof. Now now that we've used his phrase gonna be Oh, hey, snap. Speaking of elevated bread. However, transition you guys, I like that. I want to ask you, my Raiden Do you snack while you're working? This is so disappointing. I do not you don't know. Okay. I'm gonna get a chalkboard for next episode. And just I'm going to tell you everything. I drink coffee. Yeah. And I keep a notepad. And so as I'm working, I'm writing notes to myself in longhand. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Hands are busy. And like, I'm a pianist. Like, uh, yeah, yeah. Wow. So I love typing. I actually don't even like the longhand part. That's more of a like how to have a conversation with yourself. Right? And I type and I keep typing, and I'm typing and I'm typing and I'm typing. And when I was a kid, and my sister and I would like take piano lessons and stuff. There would be crumbs in my keys. And I did not like crumbs and my keys. I like seriously, I don't eat when I play the piano. I don't eat when I type on a computer. I associate all of that clickety clack stuff with the sounds in my head. And I want to hear it and I sometimes I read out loud. So all of me is very busy. And yeah, isn't any chewing happening? There is coffee. There's a lot of coffee a lot. Yeah, I was I was gonna. My follow up to Eric, his question is always how much coffee do you drink? Yeah, I'm talking about I have a farmhouse percolator. Oh, wow. Okay, grandparents had like four to six. Not particularly strong. You know, six ounce cups of coffee just all day long. Nice. Little boring. I am weird. I do like the Pinyon roasted coffee here. Because it smells different. In Santa Fe, there are million coffee roasters and Neon Trees are everywhere. So it's not interesting. There's a specific type of coffee in New Orleans. chicory, chicory coffee with my god, it's so good. I like I would if I could order that and drink it. I would but like ordering it on Amazon is like 20 bucks a bag and it's like, it's and it's so good. And it makes me think of Cafe Du Monde in the venue. But I haven't found I haven't found anyone that drinks as much coffee as me yet because I drink three double espressos a day, which is not great. I had I took like a 10 year break when I was having babies. And when my fourth, my fourth child, she was my daughter. When she was born. She was like three months old. And I looked at the midwives and I'm like, would it really kill her because I'm so tired. You can have a cup of coffee a day breastfeeding? And I was like, okay, cool. Because like it's been up until like, everybody was done. And then I was like, Alright, I'm back to me. For five cups. All right. So that's amazing. Yeah, coffee drinker. I want someone I want someone to invent an IV drip for coffee. I feel like there's there's a market for that. I feel like it's untapped. Like, three hours. Yeah. You just have a little bucket in there and you forget about it. And it's there. And it's just, you know, PP, you can also just go to your kitchen. You know what to do that. Okay. Put your percolator on your desk. building for the future. He's good. Exactly. That's exactly right. Mara. We have covered every little question and then some and it's just this has been amazing. So Peter and I are wondering, would you like to join us in Canada? That's totally fine. I'm making a list in my head right now. Oh, good. We got a list. Peter. We have a list, sir. Hey, Mara, would you like to start? Oh, my goodness. Okay. Um, first goal is to finish my outline. Okay. First chapter for the world building book. I have a messy messy outline. It needs cleaning. That's cool. Yeah, I need to do that. And that would take me about two weeks. That's awesome. What about you, Peter? Um, I so I just recently finished chapter 14 In my book, but I'm not quite happy with it yet. So I want to revise chapter 14 and have it to a place where I'm happy with it. can move on. So that and then also I'd like to start Chapter 15. Wow, that's pretty great. No, Erica's, what about you? What about your accountability goal? Well, the first one is to try not to murder my neighbor who's mowing his lawn really loud right now. So if you guys hear that, I feel it in my office right now I can see everything shaking because he has like, I don't know, a go bot doing it or something. So apologies for that. I think I'm going to hit reset on the priorities for my works in progress. Now that I have a literary agent, just weird to say thank you, I am going to rearrange my priorities of which manuscript gets, you know, 80% of my attention throughout the week, and then my beta project when I need a break from that one, I'm going to swap them around. And the other half of that is to just actually organize my virtual desktop accordingly. Awesome. That's all and of course, the neighbor just stopped. That's fine. That's fine. That's a great goal. Thank you. Um, Erica, I should have said this when we talked about resources. Do you ever use story planner as a visual planner? I don't know what that is. So I'm gonna say no. Okay, website, but it's even better as an app. Oh, like my favorite thing on the planet. It's called Story planter. That's literally it. Story planter. little orange picture of a book, okay, lit up. And it keeps all of your work in progress titles. And you sort of click on them and go in and it has synopsis spaces, outline spaces, who's your protagonist? What is she doing? How does this work? I mean, it's a visual dissection of every piece of work you have going at any particular time. You finish doing that, it takes very little effort to finish your work. Oh, really nice. Visual organizer. I really love it. I think it's great. No, I, I'm gonna, I'm gonna check that out. I'll take whatever support external support I can get for offloading my brain organization, which I know needs help. So thank you. That's great. Yeah, I always forget it even I don't think about it, but I'll be sitting somewhere. Oh, no, I'm not even kidding. I was with my son the other day. And we're in a store. And this is a peyote joke. So it's probably not gonna play because not everyone's from New Mexico. We're in the store. And there's a book and it has as close to a smiling coyote as like his natural and fun facts you want to know about coyotes. And I looked at my son and he looked at me, and I looked back at him and I said, Are we like in an alternate universe where some coyotes used a phone and called someone to write this book? Because God wrote this, like, literally the only possible author of this book is like a coyote Muppet man, like, this is my mom, you're so weird. I'm like, I know what he said. But I think it sounds like a Pixar movie. And I'm like, that's what I need. Oh, my God. So I pull out story planner. And I'm like, coyotes wrote a book about coyotes for coyote propaganda purposes. thing while I'm sitting on the floor of this bookstore, and then when God, I won't necessarily ever use that for anything, but it's come, but I got it in real time that I had this thought, and that's amazing. Now I can go back to it and find it. That's cool. That's beautiful. That yeah, that's actually a great plug for this app. And also makes me want to shout out to my one of my favorite Twitter accounts, not a wolf on Twitter if you're not following that a wolf. Wrong. Okay. Definitely not a wolf. Typing these tweets. Yeah, it's up. There was like Arby's nihilist account and seen as like, just less blockbusters before? Yes. Yeah, more serious internet. This is a question. Is it coyote or coyote? It's Coyote. It's Coyote, okay. It's coyote if you live here. Got it. Follow your dreams. Follow my dreams. And on that note, Mara, thank you for joining us. Oh, I'm so glad and it's always just nice to talk to you guys. Anyway, thank you. Yes. Where are we recording? Peter? We should check it it was so good to see her face Mara was an amazing guest Yeah, and it was the first time I realized that you too have like actually seen each other's face. Yes, that's true. Which is which is that's a no have you don't know that? We don't have a secret society of pipeline editors. It's true. I don't know yet anyway. Maybe we don't know you're the Michael Scott to our Dwight. Oh, really? Yeah. i You are Don Draper? Yeah, there we go. They're both shitty humans Yeah, so that concludes episode eight I mean, I'd see i i know eight of these eight of these Jeezy Pete Jays will wheeze cheesy paid paid hair. Oh my god. What do you want to tell us? We've got next Sorry, I got so excited about episode eight is great. Up next. In episode nine. We have author screenwriter and editor Kira Duggan on the show system Dude, and if you have any questions, rants or raves about writing, or you want to learn more about us or pipeline, please visit pipeline artists.com And follow us on the Tweety Bird at the podcast title. And on Instagram and Facebook at this podcast the title and now you can follow me on Twitter at at PME. Writer. We're done. We're done. Bye. Click down do the outro music with me. I haven't listened to the outro music enough to know it. Gotta Never mind you did it. Sort of. Yeah. What's the Don Draper music the madmen? Did you say Mitch? Ben? You just said middlemen? No. That's fine. What is the madmen theme song sounds like a bunch of white dudes being dicks their women and other people and it's a great show. Great show. You don't hear me bitching about that.