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

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

Amy’s Bad Advice #1

On writing…

It’s worth what you paid for it.

Amy’s bad advice for seeing your work with fresh eyes.

Believe it or not, this is not advice from the source, I read it somewhere and gave it a shot…literally…

Then I hand wrote this post in my journal while simultaneously mouse scrolling my manuscript on the computer. (Ambidexterity is a handy skill) I do admit that my Norwegian grandmother would have been ashamed of my penmanship. I too found it questionable. (And hard to transcribe🤫)

So you have edited your book many times, so many that you could easily recite it verbatim like a monologue for the school play. Your betas are exhausted and you’re without a CP. What do you do?

Drink. Drink a bit, not enough to take residence in your toilet bowl, and not so much that you can no longer read. Just a bit. Just enough.

Then….

Bask in the glory of your own work. Or balk at the horror of it. Either way you’ll have the fresh eyes of a new born baby. It seems like a very writerly thing it do right? Glamourous Martini drinking in a dim room with a typewriter? Smoke looming thick in the air from your cigar? Fedora artfully a tilt? I feel dashing just suggesting it.

I suppose an alternate outcome would be sulking in the corner lamenting your vices and cursing this ugly world we live in…. But that sounds pretty writerly too now doesn’t it?

There it is my writers, Amy’s Bad Advice #1. See above quote fot its value.

What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever been given? This? I love our repartee.

Cheers, Amy

Amy on writing

Amy’s Bad Advice

It’s worth what you paid for it.

This week I’d like to introduce a weekly-ish segment called Amy’s bad advice.

Every week(ish) I will post bad advice I’ve either given, gotten, or thought about giving on topics about writing, life, entrepreneuring, kids and whatever in between.

I’m not sure how personal we’ll get here, my well of shenanigans runs pretty deep, but we will see….

Also, please feel free share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and ADVICE in the comments. Is this a good blog idea? I love our little interactive interludes.

Stay tuned for my first post: Amy’s Bad Advice #1 : On Writing

(because that’s what inspired it of course)

Cheers! Amy

Spot on doppelgänger compliments of Bitmoji

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

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

Poetry… in Fiction?

Like reeds on water,

We sway, they cannot break us.

We will only bend.

— Lauren, Capture the Tide

I love haiku, I find it very cathartic. So much that my novels protagonist writes Haiku.

For me, utilizing poetry in my fiction novel offered another level of depth I was searching for. For both my writing and my protagonists character. But how do you take that further? Music, Art, Astro physics? How do you merge your passions and create a deep and believable world full of history and meaning?

I’ve spent a month in the blogosphere and I am still in awe of the incredible artists I have encountered. Novelists, poets, lifestylers, storytellers…..writers. It’s good company to be in. And it got me into some inspired thinking….

Feel free to tell me how you merge your passions in the comments….I love it…..Until then, I’ll be rubbing all my sticks together to see if they make fire🔥

Cheers! Amy

Painting by me.

Amy on writing

Do what?

Picking an editor that’s right for you.

I recently blogged about my querying journey, but how did I get there? Let me backtrack a bit and talk bout editing…

You’ve written a book, now what? Now it’s time to edit. Oh you already did? Ran it through spell checks, reread it a hundred times? That’s nice. You haven’t been edited though.

If you’re serious about launching your book and you don’t find a pro, you are doing yourself an enormous disservice. Even the best writers need a fresh eye.

So what do you do? If you’re lucky, you know someone who will do it for free or a small fee. Or if you’re more lucky, you can rely on critique partners and beta readers to help you work it right. If you’re me, you got Nothing and need to start from scratch.

I researched local editors first. People I could meet in person. I found a few. They had different styles, all valuable but Difficult for me to life manage, so I checked out internet services. There are a lot of those too!

Here is what I learned:

Benefits of In house editor- offer the chance to meet in person or Skype. Together you can go line by line and really get gritty with your work. Time consuming but a great option.

Benefits of Internet services- offers you opportunity to send them your work and they will edit your book using a tracker on Microsoft word, that way you can see every change they make or suggest, always keeping the integrity of your work in tact.

This is what I chose:

I chose the internet. Quick efficient and time tested.

I recommend skribendi, book baby or standout books. Each are excellent. I particularly love the comments and questions from my editor that allowed me To make the change, or take a suggestion, or to note any inconsistencies. And even better? It works with my limited schedule. I will admit that pros on either platform aren’t free. But it’s an investment in your career right?

So what’s your editing process? Tips to share or questions? Let me know in the comments. I love it!

Cheers, Amy.

Painting by me

Quote-Yeats

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

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