Amy on writing

Enemy Mine

 

I close my eyes to reclaim my peace. But in the darkness I come at you swinging with the force of a thousand wrongs.

 

Always swinging, never connecting.

 

I bat at you with kitten paws but you never even flinch. I kick and scream at your impenetrable walls, but you’re a fortress. I am lost.

 

I break the glass with banshee cries and chew the shards to sand. I taste the blood and spit it out, a bitter pool for your reflection.

 

I hope you drown.

 

I grab your hair and lick your face to mark you as my own. You belong to me I say when I Holyfield your ear.

 

And when I think I’ve won again, again you slip away. The light of day has won this one. It always is the same.

 

Enemy of my enemy, enemy mine.

 

In my angsty, community raised, couch surfing, teen years I wrote a lot of poetry. In lieu of a heart dotted i diary, I would sit with my Mazzy Star, The Doors or Alice In Chains and write all the wrongs of my little world. When I was done, I would smile and frolic off on my merry California way, refreshed and ready to do what teenagers do.

 

I miss that feeling of renewal.

 

I love poetry, and have mentioned how cathartic I find it. However, I seldom write it just for me anymore let alone share it. Especially since I get to read wonderful poetry everyday here on WP. But lately, in my self possessed, collected adulthood, my old outlet found me in a time of need.

 

So in honor of candor and stress relief I decided to share.😅😳

 

Cheers, Amy

 

Self portrait in sepia pencils on canvas by me.

Amy on writing

What I learned…

I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart. – Sia

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What blogging has taught me about writing.

If anyone read Know When to Hold them…they will know that I’ve hit a rough patch in my publishing journey. I’m getting through it though, you lot are pretty nice with your encouragements and stuff..

Anyway. In my frantic rewrites, I decided to take my blog approach and go balls-to-the-wall, full-on pantser mode, and I must say I Like it! My blog is a semi string of consciousness that I edit lightly, but is almost essentially, my voice*

(Significantly less f-bombs, I’m a lady and a professional after all, not a ruddy fuckin’ pirate.)

And why did that work for me?

Well, to spare you too many details, the beginning of my book is overwritten. I tried too hard. But using my blog approach, I sat down and wrote like I was verbally telling the story to someone, I let the words fall out and land. When I was done, I had written something fresher and more vivid than I thought was possible after spending so much time with the material. And that felt amazing.

I’m not saying that this is the new way to fly, but I’m glad to know the next time I get stuck, I have a solution that doesn’t involve me sulking in the fetal position.

How has your blog affected your other writing?

Amy on writing

Know When to Hold them…

…and know when to fold them.

I am the patron saint of mediocrity. Antonio Salieri, Amadeus

For the past few days I have been in a pit of rewrites for my novel. After a handful of rejections from agents, I have done what the internet told me to do: review my first five pages.

First I read them over and tried to lightly edit. That didn’t work. So I deleted them and started over. I have printed them out, draft after draft, scribbled on them, crumpled, ripped, chucked… And just when I thought I was getting somewhere I was told they were so overwritten they couldn’t be read. 😔 That sucked…

So I recoiled into a ball of self-pity and sulked, cursing the very notion that I had a right to write a book.

And now? I am finally getting somewhere, I’m close to trying to shop it again. I might end up in another sulking assball but that’s okay.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. It might cut deeper too. But nobody said this shit was easy. My advice? If you want to be a writer, keep writing, write more, write often, and be tough. Your book is yours but it is not you. Separate the work from the person you are and be proud that you aspire to something, because that is something.

Write on writers, cheers, Amy.

Amy on writing

Quid Pro Quo

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I’m drowning here, and you’re describing the water!

-Melvin Udall, As Good As It Gets

This post is about the importance of critique partners and beta readers.

So you wrote a book and had it edited, your mama and your friends love it. So obviously, you’re ready to hit the query trenches.

Wrong…

I learned this one the hard way.

Even your smartest, most well read loved ones are not enough. And your editor? Their job is to clean up your book with out destroying the integrity of your writing. But if your integrity is questionable, you have a problem.

NOT ONE OF THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO TELL YOU YOUR NOVEL SUCKS.

So who will tell you your shit sucks? Hopefully your CP will. And perhaps a beta or two who have no need to stroke your fragile ego.

So now that you know you need one, where do you find a CP?

I only have one answer for this, and please advise that this is only my opinion, I advise you to take to the internet. Join a writing group, connect with fellow bloggers on WordPress (👍) and cut a deal.

If you don’t find someone suitable to CP with, you could look up people willing to beta read for a small fee. Or, if you are time and cash-strapped, you could check out the super awesome resource http://www.querytracker.com  that I mentioned in Query, Querying, Queried…and sign up to post in the forums. Here you can not only post your query for anonomous critique, you can also submit your first five pages for a critique too! Just remember to reciprocate.

Write on Writers, Cheers! Amy

Amy on writing

Query, Querying, Queried…

Literary agents. How do you find one that’s right for you?

I’m currently querying….

And this is what I’ve learned:

WAITING SUCKS!

In the meantime I thought I’d share my process and some processes I’ve learned.

1- make a list of all the agents that fit your genre, and are accepting submissions.

2- put those agents in order of preference. (I would recommend searching quick responders to get your toes wet, querytracker helps you there.)

3- indicate on your list, the agents submission guidelines, estimated response time and whether the agency is a no from all or free to query another after a pass. You may also note something unique about them to help keep memory fresh.

4- send out batches of 5-10 queries and find something to distract you while you wait.

And how do you organize said list???

If you’re computer smart (not Amy) I recommend using an excel spreadsheet.

If you crazy, I’d just send out emails in batches of 10 to random agents and see what happens…

If you’re me… http://www.querytracker.com

What an amazing resource for querying writers. Querytracker allows you to upload your query letter and select agents from their database to query. It helps you track all the info above plus clues you into a plethora of details about the agent.

And it’s free, unless you go premium for 25$

And if you struggle to busy yourself with something other than your hopes and dreams in the palm of someone else’s hand, you could always twitter and tumblr stalk your favorite agents. Some of them update when they are caught up reading by a certain date. You don’t even need accounts to do it… I wouldn’t know anything about this of course😉

Happy querying! Write on writers, Happy Weekend!

Amy

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

Amy on writing

Watch me platform

Now that I’ve covered who I think I am. Let’s talk about why you should care. Fuck, I don’t know. But I want you to care because I wrote a book, a story that I want to share with the world. That’s big for me. I’m an introvert, an infj if you’re interested in that. A Virgo if you’re interested in that. So putting myself out there is not my first nature. Its hard and so different now too. In my days of gallery art. I had my little black portfolio with slides that I put in an actual envelope with stamps. Maybe I had more confidence then too. The same is true with the cake world. It was still visual art. Writing is a different art. Obvs. And unlike my fine art skillz, without the education to back it up (Academy of Art University BFA) I often feel unsure. (Understatement) But I understand that’s normal based on my internet research. But at the end of the day I Continue because I do believe in my work, That I have something interesting to say. And a film adaptation would be just marvelous. Btw. As a visual artist first, I see the movie in my head already, with a glorious cast and all.

But let’s just get published first.

Cheers, Amy