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The Building Block of Karly Dizon, Fuse Literary

This month, we'll be highlighting the Donors from Our Rate Your Story *Build-A-Story* Contest (August 1 - 31st). Each will share a little bit about themselves and the building blocks of their career, tell you about their latest project and leave YOU a building block to help build your stories! Be sure to check them out! AND don't forget to enter our contest (more info here) to be eligible for prizes!


I’m an agent at Fuse Literary building KidLit universes with stories that matter. I first joined the agency in 2016 as a reader for Tricia Skinner and then was promoted to Literary Assistant soon after. In 2019, I was promoted to associate agent and then again in 2023 to agent. I’ve built a career with a strong background as a freelance editor as well as extensive experience with graphic design and marketing. I’m looking to develop long-term career authors and nurture their entire writing journey as a strong editorial agent with marketing, social media, and design support.


I actually didn’t know what an agent was. In 2015, I finished my first manuscript. It was shiny, beautiful, and guaranteed to be a best seller so I just put it on the bookstore shelf, right? As you can tell, I was very green. A friend encouraged me to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference where I learned the pathway to publishing. It was the interaction between author and agent and agent and editor (and the electricity in the air) that ignited a spark in my heart. For so long, I’ve always been a cheerleader for other people. I love encouraging people. I also love editing. And it was in this career that I could be both.

KARLY'S WISHLIST: I’m looking to build my young adult list slowly and intentionally. I’m looking to acquire BIPOC South East Asian, African, and South American commercial, SFF, horror, urban legends, myth, and retellings, all with a unique spin.


ON THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY: This industry is a long journey filled with lots of highs and lows. A piece of advice that I have is twofold as they go hand in hand. The first part is “strengthen your spine” and the second is “be your biggest champion”. This industry is completely subjective and there will be A LOT of passes. And this isn’t only applicable to querying an agent. There are editors, reviews, the market, and it goes on and on. Recognizing that passes are subjective and are part of the process will hopefully help reduce the sting. Following this awareness is “be your biggest champion”. You have to be the one to keep the motivation alive because no one else’s skin is in it like yours. This is your art, your passion, your journey. And ultimately why you started writing in the first place: to give life and breath to the voice and story in your heart. But while you do have fellow writers, CPs, family, friends etc to encourage you, if you in your heart don’t believe in that encouragement, their positive words won’t be as impactful.

ON STARTING YOUR STORY: Starting the story in the wrong place. I’ll often receive works that start too far into the story, and I have very little grounding and find myself overwhelmed with the number of characters, character relationships, plot arcs, etc., without much foundation. It often seems “right” to the author because they know the plot and characters through and through so it “makes sense”. But to a new reader? We do not have the same history with the story. On the converse side, there are stories with too much information where it reads like prologue and an attempt to cue the reader into every nuance of the character that there’s no tension and pacing. The inciting incident should happen within the first couple chapters and I should know who the story is about and in general a clue where the story is headed. I don’t need to know every tidbit about your character, their quirks, what happened in the past to develop those quirks, what the neighbor is doing, what color the couch is, etc in the first 10 pages (unless that information is essential to building that character at that time in a particular situation or will be addressed relatively soon). Tell us what we need to know, when we need to know it, and not a moment sooner.

ON WRITING: Practice your craft. And I don’t mean editing and writing your current work. This includes reading within your age group, outside your age group, within your genre, outside your genre. Understanding the market, what’s being published, the themes, arcs, characters that are being highlighted are so important. Reading in general toggles creativity too. The more you dive into these new worlds, the more your creativity blossoms as it's exposed to new opportunities. You should also take a break from your typical writing projects and experiment with different styles to help keep your thinking fresh and tackle different ways to approach an idea (e.g. if you typically write longer works, do a set of flash fiction or short writing prompts). Read a variety of craft books and articles to understand a wide range of ways to develop your characters, plot, etc. Continue to practice your craft. Always. Always. Always.

KARLY'S PRIZE: Karly has been generous to offer one (1) Query Critique with a Manuscript Critique of up to ten (10) pages.

Meet MORE Prize Donors and Find More Prizes HERE [Click on the Links]

The Building Blocks of #SeasonsOfKidlit ( The Building Blocks of Erin Dealey ( The Building Blocks of Dan Cramer ( The Building Blocks of Audrey Ades ( The Building Blocks of Michele McAvoy and The Little Press ( The Building Blocks of Linda Joy Singleton ( The Building Blocks of Helen H. Wu, Publisher & Author ( The Building Blocks of Jennifer Buchet ( The Building Blocks of Adam Blackman, Cardinal Rule Press ( The Building Blocks of Becky Scharnhorst ( And don't forget to send in your entry here: Announcing the 2023 Rate Your Story Summer Contest And sign up for our Monthly Newsletter here: Rate Your Story : Sign Up to Stay in Touch ( Be sure not to miss upcoming blogposts by signing up for future posts!

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