Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Hanging A Shingle

Hi all,

A couple of things this week.

First, I would like to welcome the new subscribers. Every time someone new joins the small but beloved audience of this blog, I get nervous. I feel like going, “what me? What would they want to hear from good old me for, when there are so many other great, smart voices out there?”

At the same time,  seeing the new subscribers makes me want to try even harder. It makes me want to pump my fist in the air. I am proud and honored to be walking along this crazy-marvelous-always-twisting path with you guys, fellow writers, restless souls, friends, even if we have never met face to face. Because, we writers know each other, don’t we?

So, this is just a long-winded, nervous, excited way of saying, “thank you,” old friends and new subscribers, for being here.

Second thing this week: I have an announcement. I am going into business!  Katia's critiquing service

After completing the first semester in Writing for Children And Young Adults Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program, I guess I have gotten the confidence to start something I have been considering doing for YEARS. I now offer manuscript critiquing services! I have just heard from my second client! (Sorry about all the exclamation points, but this is exciting stuff.)


(Okay. Got it out of my system.) 🙂

The work is intense, time-consuming, but also gratifying.

Here is the info, in case you know of someone who might find this useful:

My speciality, of course, are YA and MG manuscripts — these  are the books I’d be best qualified to handle. But I can consider taking on an adult book as well, only if it feels like it’s the kind of project with which I could be helpful. I do NOT work with picture books. Unfortunately I don’t know enough about that tricky, magical genre.

Basically, my service includes a VERY THOROUGH, pretty intense in-depth line-by-line critique that deals with EVERYTHING, from language to conflict to logic to character development to plot and tension. If you seek my services, be prepared for LOTS of food for thought to chew over. Be prepared to reconsider your most darling of passages. Be prepared to be challenged. That’s my style. It’s the only way I know how to work.

Having said that, I will do my best to work with your vision, to offer you ideas and insight that seems to match with what you’re trying to say. I will also encourage, coach, offer advice on not only the story itself, but the writing life in general. My goal in working with every manuscript will be more than to give you a push. My goal will be to lift you up so you can soar.

I base and model my work on the feedback I have received from my agent, as well as the many exchanges with my editor, plus the generous comments from my fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts students, from my distinguished workshop advisors Kathi Appelt and Mark Karlins, and from my wise first semester advisor, a prolific, prominent, exacting Canadian author Tim Wynne-Jones.

I am really excited about becoming an entrepreneur. Of course, I am about to start my second VCFA semester, which means my time is going to be seriously limited, and I don’t think I am ready to face a deluge of requests. But I’d like to do this on the side, on a limited basis. I guess this is me, hanging a shingle. Wish me luck!

A third and final thing for this week I wanted to let you all know:

I am about to start my second semester at the Vermont College of Fine Arts! Next Monday I’ll be heading back to the tiny, picturesque mountain-y Montpelier campus. When I went to my first residency back in January, my nervousness rivaled my excitement. Now I feel I’ll be going back more seasoned, more prepared, anxious to hug my friends and classmates and teachers. I also know that when I get there, I’ll be knocked right back on my butt, overwhelmed all over again with all the stuff I have yet to learn, terrified of the new possibilities, excited to take new chances! But isn’t that the writer’s life?

I might take a short blogging break during my absence. But when I come back, some of you already know, I’ll have plenty to say!

So, until next time — and thanks for reading,




July 2, 2013 - Posted by | Personal Mirror, Updates, Writing Mirror | , , ,


  1. Congratulations to you Katia, how exciting!

    Way to Go!!!!!!

    Best of Luck! Maryann Candito http://www.magicallivingcoaching.com


    Comment by maryanncandito364 | July 2, 2013 | Reply

  2. The Vermont College program experience, so I’ve heard, is quite wonderful. Enjoy your second semester. Congrats on starting the business.

    Comment by Rosi | July 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks, Rosi. We’ll see what happens, where it leads…As for the wonders of VCFA, sigh. (And swoon). I’ll try to share the learning and the awesomeness with you guys the best I can, as I go along. Thanks for accompanying me on this journey!

      Comment by Katia Raina | July 2, 2013 | Reply

  3. Hi Katia! Congrats on starting a new business! That’s awesome. On that note, I have a couple of questions for you. I self-published my first children’s book, “Peneloep’s Secret Cooking Club on Amazon in April of this year. The sequel, The Catering Disaster is complete and my illustrator is about 70% done with the illustrations. It’s a chapter book eries (similar to Judy Moody). 1. What is your comfort level editing a chapter book? Is this a project you would consider? 2. I paid Create Space to edit the first book and was overall pleased with their work, but it was just a basic edit. If you were to take on this project, do you more or less suggest changes for me to make? And then I do them? Or do you rip the manuscript down and I re-write it? If that is the case, do I still need someone to edit the book at the end? I ask this because I also self-published a chick lit book and what the editor did was just give me suggestions and I had to go back and practically re-write it. Her work did not include a full edit. Also since my illustrator is almost done, the storyline per say can’t change a whole lot. Are your services more for editing the book before illustrations are in process? I love your writing style and would love to work with you. If not on this project, perhaps on the next one. The third book is approx 40% written. Also, when you take on a project of about 12,000 words, what is the time frame in terms of completion? If I am confusing, in any way, let me know! I look forward to hearing from you. Robin Hutchinson Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2013 14:05:42 +0000 To: rhutchinson@live.com

    Comment by robin hutchinson | July 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks, Robin. My timeline depends on where I am with the program; we’d have to talk about it. I do more of a critique than an edit: I work with my clients the way my editor at Namelos works with me, also the way my VCFA advisor worked with me. I raise issues, ask questions, throw out ideas, probe, brainstorm, etc. I would work with chapter books. I do love them. Anyway, I’ll email you — hang on!

      Comment by Katia Raina | July 2, 2013 | Reply

  4. Now this news gets me motivated to work on my novel!!! I cannot think of a better editor/writer/person to critique my manuscript! Congratulations!!!

    Comment by Debbie Clarke | July 3, 2013 | Reply

  5. Katia, all of this sounds so wonderful for you 🙂 SO exciting with so much promise! I don’t have any need for critique services, but wish you luck as you obtain clients. You are in the company, and being taught by, wonderfully talented, knowledgeable people, plus YOU’re talented, so the only way to go is UP! 🙂 Enjoy school! I’m looking forward to whenever you post and offer us some valuable info 🙂
    P.S. Btw, I have two WordPress identities. My other one has the “eye” avatar and I think I just come up as “Donna Marie” whereas this one is connected to my not-yet-LIVE blog. Just so you know it’s one and the same person lol

    Comment by writersideup | July 3, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks so much, Donna. Yeah, I know who you are from Kathy’s blog! 😉

      Comment by Katia Raina | July 3, 2013 | Reply

  6. Congrats on the followers and new business. I’m thrilled for you. Oh, and of course the program, too, as well as your book coming out. This is such an exciting time.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | July 3, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks, Medeia. Yes, it is. And you’ve been there from the very beginning ❤

      Comment by Katia Raina | July 3, 2013 | Reply

  7. Congratulations on being an entrepreneur! That’s wonderful. I’m sure you’re very good at editing. And have fun in Vermont. It’s lovely and green at this time of year. We used to vacation there in July. Not that you’ll have much downtime…

    Comment by Joanne Fritz | July 6, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks, Joanne. This will be my second visit to VT, and so, summer will be a surprise.

      Comment by Katia Raina | July 6, 2013 | Reply

  8. Katia, congratulations! I just got my new hard drive; haven’t been on line for several weeks. Has Lynn Reebe received your info? She was once interested in writing children’s books.


    Comment by Norma Paul | July 16, 2013 | Reply

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