Join Toni for a Masterclass at Los Angeles Valley College, Saturday, October 18

Master The Skills Needed
to Write Your First Novel
or Revise Your First Draft!

You need the skills to impress a publisher enough to receive a contract on your first novel.

Toni Lopopolo Literary ManagementHere’s your chance to learn what it takes, then develop those skills with the guidance of a Master. Toni Lopopolo is a professional editor, seasoned instructor, and a successful literary agent since 1991. For twenty years before she opened her agency, Toni served as executive editor at Macmillan, then at St Martin’s Press in New York City. As an acquiring editor, Toni reviewed the best projects sent to her by agents.

When Toni opened her own agency, she realized, by what writers sent to her agency as “finished” manuscripts, that most had not mastered the required skills. Agents are the great “filtering” system, the “gate-keepers” who send only the most sophisticated writing they find, to editors in publishing houses. So Toni  has developed proven methods to help writers learn those skills, practice those skills, and master them.

Saturday, October 18, 10 AM-4 PM
Los Angeles Valley College


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Line of Dialogue Remembered Since 1949

Orson Welles’s short speech in The Third Man: Italy vs Switzerland

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Benedict Cumberbatch reads a letter from Kurt Vonnegut

This video is amazing. So’s the letter. In 1973 they burned 75 copies of Slaughter House Five.  

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What Writers Can Learn From Watching “Fargo”

Alan Sepinwall reviews a screening of FX’s Fargo:

“…the level of suspense that Noah Hawley‘s script and Matt Shakman’s direction create is almost unbearable, and that tension was palpable and powerful throughout the screening….

“…That there isn’t any violence in between the elevator massacre and Linda’s murder only illustrates the power of making your audience wait for something to happen, assuming you’re a good enough storyteller to make it feel like something more than just the marking of time.”


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How to Stop Saying the Word “Like”

Every language has its own vocabulary of vocalized pauses, which are meaningless words used to keep the conversation flowing smoothly.[1] In English, these are usually “um,” “er,” “ah,” or “you know.” In North America, especially among young people, it’s common to use the word “like” as a vocalized pause. This became popular with the rise of “Valleyspeak,” which is a stereotypical manner of speaking that originated in Southern California in the ’70s.[2] If you’re, like, totally hooked on using the word “like,” see Step 1 below to start speaking more professionally and stop being (like, so) annoying.


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No Winner For Pulitzer Prize For Fiction in 2012

In 2012 nobody was good enough.

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is one of the most prestigious awards in American literature. Previous fiction winners have included Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Jennifer Egan and Philip Roth. Publishers submit works according to published guidelines; winners for the literary categories must be U.S. citizens, except for the History category, where the subject of the book must be U.S. History.

The jurors for the 2012 Fiction prize were Susan Larson, the former book editor of The Times-Picayune, Maureen Corrigan, book critic for Fresh Air on NPR, and the novelist Michael Cunningham. They submitted three unranked finalists to the Board: David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King”, Karen Russell’s “Swamplandia” and Denis Johnson’s “Train Dreams.”

But for the first time since 1977, by failing to come to a majority decision, the Pulitzer Board’s conclusion is that no book is worthy of the prize.


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Weird Writing From Published Authors

roll your eyesOn The One Hand … ‘”There is one datum I can adduce, I believe,’ said Lebret, scratching his beard with his left hand and manoeuvring a cigarette out of its case with his left …” (Adam Roberts, Twenty Trillion Leagues under the Sea, 2014)

Eyeballs in the Sky. “His eyes seemed to disconnect themselves.” (Robert Moore Williams, To the End of Time, July 1950 Super Science Stories)

Easily Amused Corpse Dept. “For half an hour they left the man on his bench. His dead eyes were open and seemed to smile slightly at a photograph of the Minister of Rest and Culture.” (John Blackburn, A Scent of New-Mown Hay, 1958) Okay, okay, the era of the editorial three-martini lunch?

Dept of Guilt. “… This planet and its creatures! The erection/detumescence of each instant he’d shared with them lay on his awareness with scalding pressure. He felt like a bivalve at the tide-edge of the universe. History was collapsing within him and he could only remember the ages of his crime …” (Frank Herbert, The Heaven Makers, 1968) ) Oh no, not the Dune author, Frank Herbert– oh well, twas the 60’s–did he drink three martinis also, with his editor?

More from The Gap into Madness: Chaos and Order by Stephen R. Donaldson, 1994

“The Gap into Clench and Aura.”
“Angus’ heart clenched in a grimace which didn’t show on his face.”
“Her shoulders hunched into a clench of disgust, which she deflected into a shrug.”
“Nick let out a clenched laugh.”
“Above his open mouth, his eyes blinked like cries.”
“His aura yowled of furies that didn’t show on his face.”
“The smears on his lenses refracted his blue gaze into streams of hope and apprehension.”
“His eyes slid off as if they’d lost their grip.”
“The air had grown viscid with mortality.”

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