How to Write A Strong Beginning


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New video today on YouTube all about writing a STRONG beginning to get readers hooked immediately. Even if you aren’t looking for an agent you still want your openings to be as great as possible. I have put together cheat sheet for you just for watching the video absolutely FREE as a gift for your time.

If you aren’t getting requests for your full manuscript or aren’t placing in those screenwriting contests your first pages could be the problem and with a few tweaks and revisions, you will change that. Trust me on this. The first page is the first impression, it’s the promise of the story and it’s why people keep going. It’s so important to nail it no matter what stage of your writing career that you are in. You don’t have time to get into the story because people are generally impatient and or just don’t want to read on if they aren’t hooked immediately.

Please watch, share, comment, like and subscribe. I put up new videos every week just for writers like you!

Check this week’s out HERE 

Thank you for swinging by!

Happy writing

xo Stephanie 

Happy Monday


Happy Monday!

Writers!! What are your goals for the week?

Mine is getting back to the revisions, now that I have a new laptop. 

If you follow me on social media you already know what happened on August 6, 2019! My MacBookPro did something and took ALL my folders from the desktop, the cloud, and my backups. It was AWFUL and devastating.

This is why I haven’t been here for two weeks.

It wasn’t anything more than just not having time to write a proper block as well I was lost as I now have to rebuild my courses and MY NOVEL.

OMG! Right? 

What do you do when that happens?

Well, you start over by making new goals for yourself.

At least, that’s how I’m handling it.

I apologize for not being here, but I am back.

Please comment with your goals for the week and or join me across social media.

For more about me and links check out my website here

Meanwhile, HAPPY WRITING xo



The Importance of Writing Goals for Writers


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Good Morning Writers! 

Happy Monday, happy new week and new month coming soon!

I hate summer but I love August because it means that fall is coming-even though, August is always one of the hottest months of the year but there is hope. And HOPE is something that I can build my days around.

This brings me to goals and why they are so important.

Let’s use the example of summer and fall.

What is my goal? To be cooler and enjoy cooler days? Sadly, we are in summer so I can’t do anything about the weather, but I can have the goal to make the best out of it. Go to an air-conditioned coffee shop once a day, to hit the gym, go to a mall–anything to reach the goal of being cooler.

The point is that I can take small steps to reach that goal of cooling off.

So if your goal is to be Quentin Tarantino and have 9 films out? or 10–I think he once said that his goal is to do 10 and then stop. If this is your goal but you don’t have a screenplay finished, an agent, and don’t live in Los Angeles then you have to start making those goals smaller. Keep the big dream there, but make smaller more reachable goals.

  1. You need to move to Los Angeles–or want to–you should for anything in the film industry–but that’s another kettle of fish. You want to move here, so your goal could be saving money every week into a special bank account just for your big move.
  2. You want an agent? Your goal could be to research one agent every week while you are building a submission list. Or finding out which screenwriting conferences have agent guests and pitch sessions.
  3. You want to have 9+ films made and on the big screen? Well your immediate goal is to finish the one in front of you and how you do that is write every day. Even if just 10 minutes.

See how this works?

Dreams and goals are different.

Dreams are what we aspire to and goals are how we get there. 

If you are a novelist and you want a bestselling novel with a movie deal–you need to make daily goals to reach that. What are you doing today to make that happen?

Some things you can do.

  1. Write every day.
  2.  Share your work with your crit group.
  3. Submit to agents.

So your weekly goal can be, write for 1 hr a day, share 5 pages with my critique group, and research or send queries (only on finished polished work) to agents.

It’s important to have these goals to keep us grounded in our bigger dreams!

I know that you can do it.

One way that I have found useful for the last 12 years is having someone to keep me accountable. Some programs call it an accountability buddy, someone you check in with daily. And some just do it in groups. However you choose to do it, just find someone to check in with.

Drop in the comments below on how you are going to work on your goals this week?

I’ll tell you mine are to write for 30 minutes a day this week. I have a crazy busy workload and have massive videos to shoot so realistically more than 30 minutes isn’t going to happen, but I will put in 30 minutes.

Tell me your plan!!

And let’s have an amazing week!! 

XO~ Stephanie

Tuesday Tips~How To Find The Right Agent For Your Writing


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Searching for the right agent!

Cheers to all the writers & storytellers who are here today!

I want to talk to you about finding an agent because this is something I am asked about all the time.

“How do you find an agent?”

“I have no idea how to find an agent.”

“Where does one find an agent?”

“I heard that I need an agent but have no idea how to find one.”

and finally.

“Do I need an agent?”

Let me start with the last one and work my way back up.

The answer is both YES and NO. It really depends on what YOUR specific goals are for your books. 

If you want to be traditionally published by one of the big publishing houses in New York–then having an agent is definitely the way to go. Of course, like anything, there are always exceptions to this that will prove me and anyone else who recommends you get an agent wrong. Those exceptions might be when a writer meets an editor at a conference, or when a writer wins a contest, or something similar. Some publishing houses allow non-agented submissions too–that’s a horse of another color and I will do a whole blog post about that at some point.

The thing is, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, the reasons to have an agent far outweigh the reasons not to have one. 

Here is one example of a situation where having an agent is a good thing.

If you get an offer from a big publishing house–let’s say that you get really lucky and this happens–without an agent, you really are on your own to negotiate. I don’t recommend this for many reasons. Agents do these deals for a living. They know better than we do what is a good and what is a bad contract. They know the industry and they know what editors will be the best for you and your book.

***I have to stop and say–yes there are bad agents out there-but for the most part they are great to have on your side.

For the film and television writers out there-YES, YOU NEED AN AGENT. For all the same reasons that novelists do and more. The entertainment industry is so crazy competitive AND deals in Hollywood go south all the time. Your agent is the one who will have your back. Not only do they get your script in front of the right directors, producers, studio execs, they will also fight for you when you need it.

It’s the same as novels in that you could get lucky but it’s just not worth it in my opinion. I have worked in the film and television industry for more than 20 years and I have seen so many things go wrong that I would never go at it without an agent.

Yes, agents can make bad decisions too–they are humans, just like us but for the most part, they really are the best career partner you can have. 

“But aren’t all agents just there to make money?” 


Even if this was true and it’s not always true–that’s a good thing. This is SHOW BUSINESS. It’s a BUSINESS. Publishing is a business. The entertainment industry is a business. You want to make money.

***If you really don’t care or want money–you may be okay without and agent.

OKAY—now that we have decided that YOU NEED and WANT an agent.


There are many ways to get an agent. 

Tomorrow my YouTube video on finding an agent comes out so please watch as a complement to this blog today!

Also on YouTube, I have a video all about why agents are rejecting your query letter and you can find that here.

Here are some of the ways that I have found to be effective for myself and others.

Join organizations for what you are writing. There you will meet other writers and most likely meet agents at conferences and events that are held within that organization.  Also, most of these websites will have a resource page that has agents listed.

*See resources at the end of this blog

Here is a video on attending conferences.

Writing conferences are great for meeting and making connections.

When you go to writing conferences there are often workshops or pitching events where you get to meet agents one on one. This is a great way to make a connection.  Keeping in mind that this isn’t the place to pitch to agents in the bathroom, hallway, in a workshop–unless they ask you.

Social Media is another great way to find and research your agent. Following them is perfect to find out what they like, want, who they already rep and if they are open to submissions. Don’t stalk them, but following them is really good. Many agents also participate in things like Pitch Wars on Twitter and use hashtags when they are looking for something specific-Manuscript Wishlist #MSWL. Then you go to their agency website, get the submission guidelines and submit.

Twitter and Instagram are both exploding right now (summer 2019) but Facebook is still a great way to make and create connections through groups and just being FB friends.

Social media is NOT a place to pitch unless asked to or as part of a pitching event. 

Trade books like Writers’ Digest Marketplace books—although with the recent bankruptcy, I’m not sure what will happen with those in the coming years.

Query Shark, Query Tacker, Publishers’ Marketplace are all great too.

Asking fellow authors and or writers who their agents are and getting recommendations to submit.

The most important thing to do is your research and take your time.

Don’t send out hundreds of query letters. Would you do that when finding a spouse or significant other? Or if you were hiring someone to join your business? No, you wouldn’t. Your agent is like a business partner, so you don’t want to rush it.

Be selective. When you meet agents at conferences, it’s a great idea to come home and Google them. Find their blogs, social media, and anything else you can about them. You may find that they aren’t a great fit even if you loved their workshop.

I will say that the biggest mistake I see writers making is being too broad and just submitting to anyone who will and or is accepting queries. Don’t be that writer.

This is an important step in your career. Whether this is your first or fourth agent, the process is the same.

I hope that this is helpful for you. Below are links to some great resources for your agent search.

If you have other resources that you would like to share, please do in the comments! 


For Children’s Book Writers

For novelists (any genre)

Video for TV writers

For screen and TV writers


Resources from Judanie Bean 






Why You Are Getting Rejected by Agents


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Today I have a new video for you to watch, comment, share, subscribe and enjoy.

Are you getting rejections from your query letters?? Are you not even getting requests? Your query is the reason but don’t worry–I know that you can perfect it.

Check out my video here

Have a brilliant day and please come back soon!


What Do You Want to Know? (About Writing)


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Happy Tuesday Writers! 

I have decided a couple things about this blog! I love it, so don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere, but I may add the content from this blog to my new websites for my courses-both of my landing pages.

You can find them both in the links below

Judanie Bean presents STORY CONCIERGE  (this is still being built so this is a sneak preview just for you-my readers)  My writing website with links to my courses, YouTube, the Story Concierge Facebook Group and more!

The other thing is that since I’m posting videos on YouTube every week, I’d LOVE to get your input so if there is something you want to know about writing, working as a writer, publishing, getting an agent, story, writing queries—whatever it is and you want a video on it. Let me know!! 

You can comment here and or email me at 

I shoot the videos for YouTube 1-2 months in advance and will be shooting some later today and next week. I’m also BUILDING my Story Concierge Course as we speak–just for YOU, with YOU in mind so if there is something that you have been missing in courses LET ME KNOW!

I’ve been taking questions from writers and building from there but am super happy and open to suggestions.

Thank you so much for being here —- it’s GREAT to be back!

You can find me on YouTube every Wednesday and soon I will be doing two a week so please SUBSCRIBE

Cheers and happy writing!

    xo Stephanie

How To Survive A Writing Conference


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Good morning writers, or afternoon on the east coast. 🙂

Sorry that I missed yesterday. I’ll be honest, it’s getting a little overwhelming as I’m creating courses for writers, shooting videos and posting them on YouTube and keeping up with social media, but I’m still planning to be here every Monday and Tuesday for sure.

Monday Motivation & Tuesday Tips 

So please excuse my absence yesterday.

Today I wanted to give you some quick and easy tips for attending a writing conference.

I know so for so many it can be really scary, especially if it’s your first one. This is totally normal, trust me on this. I am an extreme extrovert and it’s still overwhelming at times and when I started? I wanted to hide in the corner and not talk to anyone.

It’s hard because you are putting yourself out there and that is terrifying.

I always think back to the film BACK TO THE FUTURE


And this is something that literally SHAPED me as a teen. I saw that and it changed everything for me. I had been acting and performing in musicals, and I was in band and dance so I was on stage a lot and sometimes was completely horrible–I’m 100% sure of it, but I always did think “what if they don’t like me?” then I saw this movie and I felt better.

If Marty feels this way and someone wrote him as a character then we all must feel this way and BOOM! My perspective shifted—for the most part.

Then cut to many years later and I’ve been published, spoken at screenwriting conferences, attended many and I was going to my first children’s book conference with three unsuccessful adult/mainstream fiction books under my belt and I felt like everyone would see that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I didn’t have a fancy degree or MFA in writing, I came from acting & animation, so I didn’t belong.

I remember like it was yesterday being in my hotel room at the Hyatt in Century City and changing my outfit 6 times. I remember texting friends to make sure that I didn’t walk down alone. I remember being terrified.

Then I ran into someone who I didn’t know was going to be there and she invited me to coffee and BOOM, it all went away. I quickly realized that these were my people-my colleagues–they were just like me. Sure some were further along on their journey but for the most part, they were me.

Conferences are great for many reasons. I joke that I go to them to socialize, but I go for many reasons, seeing my friends from all over the country and the world is just a bonus. I also get craft, networking, and submission information. Although that last part hasn’t really helped me because I usually come out of the craft and critique sessions with 6 months of revisions but the networking is amazing. You also can learn so much about the industry and how it’s changing.

I highly recommend going to them if you can afford it. It’s worth it.

I made a video that drops tomorrow on YouTube about it so please check it out and meanwhile take the tips in the image I posted and enjoy yourself.

I’m always around for help if you are feeling overwhelmed or nervous. 

Also on Twitter and other social media so many of us have posted articles and things like that about going to them.

From an article that I wrote in 2015 for the SCBWI Los Angeles blog-it was for that children’s book conference but all the rules apply to any writing conference in any genre.


  1. Be yourself – be genuine, kind, courteous and thoughtful.
  2. Choose your breakouts/workshops based on your interests and desires, not just what your friends are doing. You signed up so make the most of it. You can meet your friends between them, and sit with them for keynotes, hang out at night. It’s great to be together, but this is your time.
  3. Show up on time to everything – it’s professional. Remember you only get to make a first impression once.
  4. Be open to critiques in the intensives, portfolio show, first pages, or anything where your work may be read or shown.
  5. Introduce yourself to someone, or many people, whom you have never met before.
  6. Do unto others – remember that? Treat others how you want to be treated – with respect, kindness, and consideration.
  7. Say THANK YOU a lot.
  8. Remember that everyone there is just like you, so ignore those feelings of “OMG, he/she wrote best selling novels so I am not worthy!” etc. You are just like them, they are just like you. Think of them as colleagues. They will be someday.
  9. Be excited to talk about yourself and your work, but without bragging, or selling.
  10. SMILE
  11. Be humble.
  12. Make real connections with people who you really like.
  13. Talk about things other than your work.
  14. Get, and hand out business cards, phone numbers and emails.
  15. Dress comfortably and stay hydrated.

Writing conferences are a great place to learn your craft, be inspired, and make life long connections. Be ready to have fun. If you are a shy person, like so many artists and writers, try not to be intimidated by the number of people there. It’s okay to talk to authors, agents, editors, and artists who you like. Just be aware of their time. So no pitching in the bathrooms, etc. Talk to people in pairs. If you have a more confident friend, ask them if it’s okay to hang with them, and/or get introduced to someone through them.

The art of the SCHMOOZE

If there is a gala, happy hour, or dinner/lunch you can meet tons of people in an organic way. Just be genuine, happy, and gracious all the time, and you can’t go wrong.

Don’t forget to tune into my YouTube channel and subscribe–this week, I am talking about this very thing in a short fun video!

Sign up for my newsletter, freebies, and information on my Story Concierge course HERE

Join the FB group I created for all storytellers HERE

Follow me on social media  




xo Stephanie