Category Archives: lit agents

Word on the Street 2014

index 1 Toronto’s annual writing walk in the park, The Word on the Street, is back this Sunday. The Word on the Street is a literary festival that helps connect writers, readers and publishers of words with each other and the world. With a plethora of exhibits from all corners of the writing and publishing world, one can’t help but find something that he or she will enjoy be it in the form of an exhibitor’s tent, an author talk or interview, a workshop or a reading. The free event runs from 11am to 6pm on September 21st, in Queen’s Park.

Check out the website in the link above for all the details and follow the event on twitter @torontoWOTS.


Word On The Street

Today is Word On The Street in Toronto where publishers, agents and writers from all corners of the writing world go hang in Queen’s Park (on Avenue Rd. just south of Bloor St.) for the day and, well, hang.

I’m going…are you?

WD: “101 Best Websites for Writers”

The May/June 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest has a profile feature about the “101 Best Websites for Writers”. I will leave you to check it out for yourself but I highly recommend it.

I will be choosing some off the list that I found/find useful and be profiling them in more detail myself over time.

For right now though check out: Writer’s Digest

I tried to find a link to the actual list but there is nothing on the website. Oh well, I guess the good ole fashioned print edition will have to do.

Donald Maass – Novel Writing Workbook

Donald Maass of the Donald Maass Literary Agency ( has put out this workbook, (Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook) to try and help novelists work through and write a “breakout” novel.

I picked it up and I love it because the workbook sets out certain things that every good novel needs and, in Appendix A, provides 21 questions that help with creating an outline. My process involves writing a 1st draft and then answering these questions because then I find out what my manuscript is missing. Then, I can “fill in the blanks” so to speak and make sure I’m hitting all the bases.

I think this also works with screenwriting in terms of making sure the general story works and then you can take that story and maneuver it into the proper screenplay structure.

Check it out here: (the workbook @ amazon) or at a Chapters/Indigo near you. I picked it up at my local Indigo 🙂

Delinquent blogger.

I know it appears as if I’ve given up on the blog but I sincerely haven’t. I’ve been editing my latest manuscript because I want to get feedback from some people before I send it away to agents and/or maybe directly to publishers in the new year.

I will be back and I will be back with a love filled vengeance.

Something Big: “Tom and Charlie”

Here’s what I came up with for the writing exercise I posted yesterday:

When Tom Jarvis got the job as the new lit agent he was ecstatic. Now he could help make people’s dreams come true. Yes, the office was posh and the chair made sure his lumbar was very well supported but, ultimately, he wanted to help people get their deserving work published. That day twenty years ago was one of his most proud in his life. The birth of his children, the day Sheila said “I do”, and the day he took his last drink, leading him to fifteen years of sobriety, only top that first day when he looked through a slush pile and starting reading.

The slush pile was a favourite of Tom’s because it was where the rejects called home. The manuscripts that didn’t end up simply being shredded ended up conveniently in a box outside Tom’s office. “Tom’s pile” started as a joke but it ended up being more than that, because Tom, using his skills as an amateur editor, would read and annotate the manuscripts found there and then contact the writers, sometimes years later, and work with them. This process concluded with more manuscripts being published than not and instead of Tom’s colleagues scoffing at his methods they found that, if faced with something that wasn’t to their particular tastes, they would drop it in Tom’s pile not as slush but as a project for him. This respect was more “nod and smile” than “let’s present Tom with an achievement plaque” but plaques can fade and break while every smile is always new and hopefully genuine.

Charlie Logan found that the best way to write was to just simply write. Editing and grammar and spelling and plot and dialogue and structure could all go kindly, farg themselves until the 2nd draft. The 1st draft was about the pure, original, thought of a story, or of telling a story. Charlie’s romantic vision of sitting up all night at the computer and writing the next entry in Oprah’s Bookclub, was something he never actually found himself planning to do. But that’s what made it perfect. Because he hadn’t tried and failed at doing it, the story he was going to write and the future he envisioned for himself after sitting on O’s couch was perfect. This was just one of the perfect and untested things he thought about when he dreamed of finally being published because being unpublished didn’t really do it for him anymore.

Twenty years ago Charlie was ten years old and he was more concerned with playing street hockey and bike riding then reading a stupid book or, god forbid, writing one. Twenty years ago Charlie witnessed something that, with the help of therapy, he put out of his mind until twenty years later when he was thinking about possible story ideas and that incident popped in his mind. He decided that if he was going to be great, in writing and in life, it was time to open his heart and bleed himself onto the page.

Charlie started writing at 8pm and didn’t stop until 6:42 the next morning. That next day was filled with a satisfying sleep, followed by a coffee, some food and a few episodes of Rescue Me. Then he poured himself another bowl of Honeynut Cheerios and went to his computer. He was still full of the feeling that he had done something great. He felt that what he had accomplished last night was one of those things he would always look back on as the game changing moment in his life when he went from dreaming-dreamer to dreaming-doer.

“Fuck it,” Charlie said when he thought about giving it a full edit. He clicked the spell check button and that was it.

That day twenty years ago when Tom started agenting was one the most important days in his life and Charlie’s. Not only had Charlie witnessed that incident but Tom’s first day led him twenty years plus one day later to pick up Charlie’s all night writing project from the top of his pile and help make another dream come true.

Anyone know any Lit. Agents? And Finished Stuff

Hey, so, thanks for coming and reading this. I figured since I’m trying to ‘make it’ with this writing thing, I should do anything and everything within my power (with the exception of selling my body, who am I kidding…really) to get that first break. So first step, create a blog and post stuff that will help me get the ‘break’ and use all resources at my disposal.

So anyone know any lit agents? I’ve written a book and a screenplay ‘pilot’ for a television show so both regular lit agents (books, etc.) and screenwriting lit agents would be awesome to contact. I”ve been contacting people the old fashion way as well (queries, emails, etc.), so please don’t think I’m an idiot and just using this blog as my only way get the ‘break’ thing I was talking about earlier. Earlier being seconds if your a fast reader or minutes if you still read by following the words with your finger. If you do do (ha! doodoo) the finger thing I mean no offense. It is a totally functional way of reading childrens books and friends blogs, so no worries.

Finished Projects:
1) “Conversations…”
-a book
-it’s about ‘he’ and ‘she’ and it follows them and stuff that happens to them from the time they are 17 until they are about to turn 30
-it’s all dialogue, with little bits of 3rd person narration throughout to help move the story along
-it’s truthful and honest
-it’s fiction
-I kept it as simple and ambiguous as possible so that no matter who you are or where you live you can read it and put yourself in the story
-if you like David Eggers, Paulo Coelho, the movie Juno and amazing song quotes – you will like this book

2) “Astoria”
-television pilot
-1 hour, dramedy
-think a mix of ‘Sex and the City’, ‘Entourage’, ‘Californication’, ‘Scrubs’, and of course ‘Dawson’s Creek’ and ‘Friends’
-written for HBO/Showtime/pay per view channels
-I wrote it for HBO, etc. because in real life, people swear, girls take off their bras during sex (I hope), and people drink and do drugs among others things
-it’s about six friends – a writer, an actor, a publicist, a musician, a teacher, a nurse – their shared past, the prospect of turning 30 and either giving up on their dreams or doing everything they can to make them come true
-if I have my way the soundtrack will be epic
-I can’t think of anything else right now, but I’ll add more if it comes up

I’m putting the finishing touches on a screenplay about a guy who has to deal with the death of his wife, raising his daughter who didn’t know her mother was alive (it makes sense, trust me) and trying to find meaning in his meaningless job. Think ‘Garden State’/’Definitely Maybe’/’The Last Kiss’/’One Week’.

So thanks for reading and we’ll talk soon.


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