ABIGAIL STARTED HER STORYTELLING CAREER AT SYRACUSE
Class of 2012 from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Abigail graduated from Syracuse University (Magna Cum Laude) with a B.S. in TV, Radio, Film. During her studies, Abigail upheld a prestigious creative production internship at Overbrook Entertainment (Will Smith’s Company) during her LA semester (SULA). Here, Abigail provided dozens of script coverage along with other important responsibilities, all while taking entertainment industry-related academic courses taught by professionals, including TV/Film writers John and Julie Chambers. Deciding that she wanted to dive deep into where many stories begin, Abigail graduated and transitioned to the publishing world. She still holds scripts/film as a special place in her heart, and as one of her main editing and teaching niches.
YOU CAN’T GROW AS A STORYTELLER WITHOUT A LOVE FOR LEARNING.
While interning as the Marketing and Sales Intern for Charlesbridge Publishing (Abigail worked on the marketing team for Stuart J. Murphy’s bestselling children’s book series, I SEE I LEARN), Abigail became a long-term substitute teacher. She fell in love with teaching, and decided to go back to school for her Masters in Secondary Education with a specialization in English (Endicott College).
At the same time, Abigail became a monthly columnist for Gabriela Pereira’s writing company, DIY MFA, a Do-It-Yourself MFA resource for writers learning to 1) Write with a Focus, 2) Read with a Purpose, and 3) Build a Community. Here, Abigail acts as a team member and contributes to her monthly column, “Let’s Talk Books,” which includes articles like her 14-Signpost series on James Scott Bell’s craft book, Super Structure.
Abigail earned her Massachusetts Teaching License in English (8-12) and–forever drawn to digital storytelling–her Massachusetts Teaching License in Instructional Technology (All Levels). She worked at King Philip Regional High School for the next handful of years as a Creative Writing and Film/TV instructor.
Abigail believes in the invaluable importance of creative classes in every school system, which inspired her advocation and development of three new courses to KP’s course options: Creative Writing and Publishing, Short Film, and Screenwriting. All three courses were successful, and Abigail took great pride in independently developing and teaching each course’s curriculum. Her mastery of student-centered learning (workshop format) with additions of the classic lecture and Socratic learning method challenged students to spend their years writing full length feature films and fiction novels, and writing and producing short films and documentaries.
Abigail uses her deep appreciation and understanding of differentiated learning as an influential approach to her freelance editing services and writing workshops.
CRAVING MORE, ABIGAIL TURNED TO WRITING RETREATS, HER OWN RESEARCH, AND P.S. LITERARY AGENCY
One of the most rewarding roles as a writing and film instructor was the opportunity to continually research the writing/storytelling craft. Among her studies, Abigail dove deep into academic and narrative/big-idea research, from Louis D. Giannetti to James Scott Bell to Shawn Coyne.
Longing for more professional experience, Abigail also attended several writing conferences and conventions, including Writer’s Digest 2015 and Writer’s Digest Retreat in Scituate (hosted by literary agent Paula Munier and thriller writer and award-winning investigative reporter, Hank Phillipe Ryan), Writer’s Unboxed UNconference, and Authors on a Train (California, 2020).
Abigail genuinely believes in and encourages growth and learning through study and experience. Two such professional roles that immesaurably leveled up her mastery and understanding of the publishing business and storytelling craft were her priceless roles as Editorial Intern at P.S. Literary Agency (2018-2019) and becoming a Certified Story Grid Editor (2019).
HAVING MENTORS CARLY WATTERS, SHAWN COYNE,
AND BEING A PART OF THE STORY GRID EDITING COMMUNITY CHANGED EVERYTHING.
Abigail worked directly with VP and Senior Literary Agent of P.S. Literary Agency, Carly Watters during her Editorial Internship at PSLA. Here, she carried out essential responsibilities, some but not all including, reading and reviewing over 300 partial and full manuscripts, writing Editor’s Letters and R&R Letters, completing marketing and publishing research, and helping to manage the query letter inbox that receives over 2,000 queries a month.
Nothing beat Abigail’s invaluable 1-1 mentorship with Carly, whom Abigail reveres as one of the most admirable and passionate agents in the industry. She strives to carry Carly’s charisma, care, attentiveness, and sophistication in all of her professional relationships.
While upholding her editorial internship, Abigail continued her self-storytelling-education. None inspired and awed her more than the writing craft book, The Story Grid, by Shawn Coyne, an editor with over 25+ years working for the major publishing houses in NYC. In Abigail’s opinion, no editing tool outshines the clarity and practicality of Story Grid’s tools and principles, all of which focus on form instead of formula, and value the Socratic learning method. She attended an intensive editing certification course with Shawn and Tim Grahl in February 2019, and officially became a Certified Story Grid Editor in the spring of 2019.
Abigail is a Teacher-Turned-Story Grid Editor passionate about supporting and educating writers in love with the creative process and determined to publish their own stories. She is a major advocate of both collaborative and 1-1 student-centered learning. In addition to her freelance clients, she works as PSLA’s Agency Relations Assistant and an editor for The Write Practice, and she contributes to DIY MFA as a monthly columnist and team member.
Having spent a decade studying storytelling in both the publishing and production industries, Abigail has a wealth of craft and professional insights. She is an avid advocate for the Socratic learning method and Story Grid’s tools and principles, and works closely with writers looking to build a story plan and/or foolscap, have a mentor while drafting a story scene by scene, or receive a big picture edit on a final manuscript. Abigail works hard to share her knowledge with her clients/students to help them identify what works (and doesn’t work) in both their stories and others—while also embracing the journey of becoming a passionate life-long learner of the craft.
Abigail specializes in mentoring writers on how to write Scripts, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Upmarket Fiction, Book Club Fiction, and YA and Adult Fantasy/Fiction.
She prefers stories that engender empathy and have diverse casts, and are driven by sympathetic characters in search of meaning/purpose, success, and morals. She loves plots that focus on overcoming big social problems and have high physical, psychological, and professional stakes.
To hear more from Abigail and her passion for stories, check out her podcast, STORY EFFECT, a podcast that celebrates the butterfly effect stories have on our evolving perspectives, communities, and world.
For her own work, Abigail is writing a commercial fiction novel with magical realism elements, and she is under contract to write the Story Grid Masterwork Guides for some of her favorites: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway phenomenon, Hamilton.