Amy on writing

I Hear Them Coming

As I near the end I hear them. The heat on my proverbial pen grows cold, and soon it will hold only the memory of warmth if I don’t respond.

It’s all in my head now and I hear them, speaking as they do or might. Speaking as I wish. Carefully mulling their inflections, intentions, desires.

Who are they? These people who speak inside my head? Fleshing themselves out, becoming.

It’s a good sign I think, the incessant chatter that fills the void as their predecessors stories come to an end. Does it mean I’m ready perhaps? To take my darlings, who’ve survived beyond the mighty pen and cast them into a cutthroat world where the first words they utter could be their last.

I’ve given them everything I have to ensure their survival and I’m ready to let them go. Will they make it? Will I?

They are only words they say, but it is I they speak to, I am all they have. And they are as real to me as anything. I don’t want to let them down.

They are me and I am them, these voices that crave the imprint of forever in ink and paper. To speak through my fingers in clicks and taps, hunts and pecks.

I’m almost ready, keep talking. We’ll get there soon enough.

*If you read between the melodramatic lines I hope you’ll smell what we’re stepping in here….

I’m done! I finished my rewrite of CAPTURE THE TIDE!

Baring the completion of a very critical beta read from a very exceptional WP blogger, I’m ready to get my book out there again. Send my R and R, Query it, whatever it takes. I’ve given it everything I have and I feel good.

So good that other WIPs MCs are conversing nonstop in my head ready to be told.

Come! Bask in my glory and tell me of your latest accomplishments. Toot some horns!

Cheers, Amy

Amy on writing

Down

Heres to another installment of Amy’s Vent-sesh poetry for the chronically stressed. Come commiserate with me my WPs!

It falls so fine you cannot see.

Down, down.

Softly, slowly.

Bask in the translucent blush, watch the sheen as it shimmers down.

Down, down.

Softly, slowly.

Coat after coat, dust to dust, bury me down.

One effervescent sheet at a time, bury me down.

Caked in layers you cannot see.

Down, down.

Softly slowly, softly slowly, until there is nothing left of me.

Today’s super satisfying vent sesh is brought to you by my immense guilt of not editing my book.

But. I opened the file yesterday made some notes and am prepared to finally start. April’s gonna be my month!

I will no longer bury my passion project and guilt myself about it. I have plenty of other things to stress about. THIS SHALL NO LONGER BE ONE OF THEM.

Feel free to hold me to it…

Cheers, Amy

Amy on writing

A Little R n R

I’d love to say that I’m talking about a little rest and relaxation, but I’m not…

I’m talking revise and resubmit.

It’s not the worst thing a writer can hear, but it ain’t my favorite either.

A revise and resubmit is when an agent likes your work but your work isn’t ready. All agents do a bit of editorial work and coaching. But when it’s more than just a few tweaks, they might request an R and R… if they don’t just reject you.

This is predicated on how much they like your concept and what not. Most of the time, even if an agent requested your full and loved the idea, they will reject you if your writing isn’t up to par.

An R and R is light years above a rejection. Especially when it’s your dream agent.

And here is Amy… between a rock and a For-fucks-sake-do-I-have-it-in-me-to-do-this-again place? Painstakingly rewrite my book, change my POV, remove backstory…Forsake all other things in life like home cooked dinner and laundry? All in the bleeding hope of getting that call, that sweet wondrous phone call, where said dream agent tells me they love my book and graciously want to offer me representation, champion me and ultimately sell my book.

Do I have it in me? I want to, I really want to, but it’s so all consuming, so intense I almost just let it all go. ( you may have noted an absence recently…)

Well I’m still here, that’s a start.

Cheers, Amy

Amy on writing

Nevermind

Drag me swathed in never mind.

I do not feel. I cannot feel.

Press me hard against the glass.

I do not break. I do bend.

Rattle my cage, feed the animal.

Pet me nice. I’m a good girl.

To and fro, stretch me thin.

I am gossamer whisps of never mind.

Been a minute since my last vent poetry sesh. Feels good every time.

Happy weekend everyone!

Cheers, Amy

Amy on writing

That’s My Jam!

Finding inspiration through music.

“Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen

I’ve hit a number of writer blocks in the years since I began writing Capture the Tide. And an interesting thing I noticed, about myself, is it wasn’t so much that I didn’t have an idea. But I couldn’t find the mood. I remember driving in my car and listening to the radio. And this song came on, I liked it so much I bought it for a buck 29 on iTunes! Anyway, why did I like it….. as I listened, an entire scene unfolded in my head, it was everything I needed. I simply needed to feel the feeling, hear it, away from the sterile blue light of a computer screen. The intense rawness of new love, of being young and totally impetuous. It’s so easy to forget those feelings when your day’s full of toddlers or you’re feverishly typing notes into your phone between ballet classes and lunch time.

I should note that if you find yourself having those wondrous feelings, enjoy them, please don’t stop to write them down for fucks sake!

Cheers!

Amy

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

Is It Worth It?

cropped-c09c1573-32d4-468d-bc3e-0e2066d2a15b.jpeg
Capture the Tide cover art by Amy Westphal

Lets research it…

Paid book reviews and the independent or emerging author.

Is it worth the cost or the effort? Good question. Here’s my take.

I entered the Readers Choice Awards Contest the last day of the deadline. My book wasn’t finished by my editor yet but I really wanted to find some literary street cred and based on my research, this contest is the real deal. Not only do they judge completed works, they also judge unpublished works. Exactly what I needed. For more info go to http://www.readersfavorite.com

Needless to say. I did not win the contest. If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you’ll know I’ve had my fair share of rewrites since I started my journey and my book is a different book today. However… I did submit an updated manuscript to be reviewed and got a really nice 5 star review for my novel CAPTURE THE TIDE. I will post the review below. I’m pretty pleased with it.

Now, some people might think that a paid review is meaningless. You’ve probably seen them on Amazon or something, but it doesn’t mean that all paid reviews are equal and that they don’t have value. As an emerging writer, I see no reason not to take opportunities that give you legitimacy. Everyone knows that a strong platform pays. Agents love a platform, and even better? A platform with a healthy following. And I’m working on that here. I don’t have staggering numbers like some literary bloggers, but I am pleased with the growth of my website and blog. But up until now I have mostly talked about my writing process and managing mom life with entrepreneuring, I haven’t actually discussed my book itself with much detail. And I think its time to change that.  So for the first time on http://www.amy-westphal.com I’d like to use my professional review to share a taste of what CAPTURE THE TIDE is all about.

Readers Favorite Book review for CAPTURE THE TIDE by Amy Westphal

Reviewed By Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite

“Life is ugly, gritty, complicated, glorious, and beautiful. But not pretty. Stories are pretty, saccharin tales of black and white and no gray.” It takes Lauren a remarkable journey of discovery to learn those simple truths about life and about humanity as a whole. There will always be the good and the bad, the glorious and the evil, the happy and the sad. Even with a fresh start, a cleansing if you will, humanity will always recover with the same mix and make the same mistakes. When an asteroid hits Lauren’s world, it takes away her home, her family, her life. She has to start again. But she is not alone. And once she discovers that simple fact, she is able to fit together again the pieces of the puzzle that disrupted her life and will create her new life. 

Amy Westphal’s novel, Capture the Tide, is more than an Armageddon story of total destruction and the survival of the few in the aftermath of disaster. It’s a powerful story about the human tenacity to recover and to try again, to survive in the best possible way under unknown, uncertain circumstances. The plot develops from Lauren’s entrapment in a bomb shelter, securely locked away for two years with no connection to the outside world. She has no idea what will await her when the clock finally ticks down and the lock on the door disengages. She finds a world totally different from the one she remembered, but also a world not so different. There are the good, the bad and the ugly, as well as the glorious and beautiful everywhere she wanders. Until she finds her family again and a way to create a new life for herself. A powerful plot that outlines the many faces of humanity. The description invites the reader right into the story and the characters are so real that the reader feels they know them intimately.

So honestly my darlings, what do you think? Does this sound like a book you would like to read? Inquiring minds (mine) want to know..

Post up in the comments.

Cheers, Amy

And for more information about paid reviews I recommend checking out http://www.janefriedman.com  she is an incredible resource for writers.

Image- My cover design for CAPTURE THE TIDE