Amy on writing

Pantser or Planner?

This question seems to pop up a lot, here’s my take:

What kind of writer are you? Do you stream consciousness, shoot first and ask questions later? Or are you an airtight, color coded, outliner with a calendar of to dos?

I’d like to say I’m something in between… but I’d be fuckin lie’n if I did. 😉

My first novel came to me as a vague dream and one sentence. I taught myself to write by editing and rewriting the first 10 chapters. What did I learn?

I learned that the voice that is passive sucks, and adverbs suckingly suck.

(I filtered paragraphs through free websites like Hemingway.com and pro writing aid to learn this.)

I came a long way writing those 10 chapters over and over. By the end of 7 years I finished the remaining 21 chapters with a pretty defined picture of where the arcs and ending would take me, a journal of hard to read notes and a hope for what the hell I’d do with this infernal book when I was done.

With all my hard work I decided to invest in a pro editor from skribendi. (Its worth it! And no one told me to say that.)

And now? Working on a query package that will slay em dead. Because if your query’s bla, agents and publishers won’t even turn the proverbial page. (I know this because the internet told me.)

Feel free to share what kind of writer you are through comments.

Cheers to your bestowal of wisdom!

Amy

Amy on writing

Who are you?

“Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.”

–The Brain, The Breakfast Club

Who am I? I’ve been asking my self this question a lot lately. Who am I. Why am I interesting…

My name is Amy Westphal and I’m an author…. amongst many others things. I am a wife, a mother, a painter, a cake designer, a Harry Potter enthusiast and now, after seven years of toil. I am ready to call myself a author.

Being a author sounds so simple but it’s not. It’s more than just editing a story you wrote a million times and telling yourself you suck until one day you decide hey, This doesn’t suck anymore.

As I come to completion of my first novel, I find my attention turning to the business of being a novelist. Like my time as a gallery artist and cake designer, as a novelist, you are your business. So I’m my own business and I need to promote my business.

And to be honest. It’s been a while since I’ve had to promote my art and I’m daunted. I’m 37 and I’m not tech savvy. Its embarrassing. I can paint you anything, design you a cake that doesn’t look like a cake. I can talk your ear off and make you laugh and I’d like to think I can write a compelling story. But I can hardly use my iPhone. I type with 3 fingers and I’m not on social media. Gasp why. I don’t get it, I don’t like it, I don’t have time for it. I do however love some well timed tweets that make their way into the news sites I read everyday, all day, as the time allows (bathroom). My world for the last few years as been my daughters. And the crazy world of family daycare. 6 cousins, 1 grandma, 2 aunties, and me. And a houseful of other wonderful butter beans and peanut butter cups fill my day.

Which brings me back to this quote. Who do you think you are. Who am I.

I’m a writer who needs a platform. An artist out of the game ready to make a valiant effort to join the digital world.

I’m Amy Westphal and welcome to my blog. I hope I don’t bore the shit out of you.

Amy on writing

Write on, Writer…

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One for my homies…

I’d like to take a moment to commemorate the fallen warriors on my quest to publish my first novel Capture the Tide.

 Photos are captioned. 

And the ones that keep on keepin on through kids, life, fire and ineptitude, and kids.. Did I mention that one?

Cheers! Amy

Amy on writing

The Muse

If your muse was a real person…

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In mythology, 9 Grecian sister goddesses preside over the arts and sciences. The muses… Today, the muse is any personification of inspiration.

So what is your muse like? Look like? Talk like? Could you take them out for drinks and have a good time, or does that creeper need to stay chained in the basement?

I like to think of my muse as an uncut, despicable version of myself. She is ruthless and undiplomatic. She takes what she wants. She’s a bitch, but I love her. I need her because I will back burner everything and anything to meet the needs of my loved ones. I happily forgo me. But she reminds me, gives me shit for slackin’. And if I ignore her, she fights her way to the front of line.

It’s nice of her really…

Tell me about yours in the comments, I love it.

Cheers, Amy

Sculpture by Me

 

 

 

 

Amy on writing

Writing…with zombies

Is your writing being taken over by Zombies?

Avoid the passive voice with this unique and super fun tip I found from a most unexpected place: Archives.gov

I use it every time I taste the unpalatable flavor of inactive language in my own writing.

https://www.archives.gov/open/plain-writing/tips/passive-voice.html

image from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Amy on writing

50 Shades of Adult

Is your novel clearly defined?

Separating Young Adult and New Adult, is it just the absence of sex that defines them? Or something more? And where does Adult fit in?

I’d like to make a case for New Adult fiction. Not just to sex up YA or “young” down Adult. Perhaps there is a full fledged market of post education 20-30 somethings being somewhat dismissed.

There are stories that transcend time and space like Harry Potter of course 😏, and anyone can find resonance in any genre, but to have an actual section in a bookstore that speaks directly to this age group would be alright. Perhaps just as alright as any other subgenre? Fucking octogenarian paranormal crime fiction anyone?

I know, I know, the horror of more categorization, learning new things, stifling, finely wrapped boxes… I get it….

When I started my novel, I never considered the market I had in mind. I simply wanted to write a book that I would like to read.

But now that marketing is on my brain, I can’t help but wonder…

I remember reading books like Exit to Eden, The Silence of the Lambs and The Doors when I was maybe 13 years old, but would I want my tween to read them? Not yet. But did I also devour The chronicles of Narnia and Anne of Green Gables? Absolutely.

But something in between. Something if I’m not in the mood to recapture my youth or ponder the deep minutia (impending fucking realness) of seasoned adulthood. Hmm. Books for that nebulous in between. I say New Adult…Why not?

Image found on digitalsynopsis.com

on writing and kids

Daytrippin’

Summer reading list

Where will your vacation take you?

If you ask my 8 year old, it’s Hogwarts…

As for my summer reading list? It’s short but sweet, I got a website to manage and agents to query now after all….

In no particular order:

-A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

-Little Fires Everywhere

By Celeste Ng

And for family reading time-

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

(my 9th time reading🤩)

What is your number 1, gotta read this summer?