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

Write on, Writer…

img_0872

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

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, on writing and kids

…Stop, Collaborate and Listen…

Today is a very important day.

In honor of Harry Potter’s birthday, an ode to J.K. Rowling, my hero.

10 things I’d like to thank Jo for:

10- She can drop a troll with a single hilarious tweet.

9- Treacle. Treacle everything.

8- A trio of BFFs is truly the best.

7- I read books I Love twice, I have read every Harry Potter 8 times.

6- “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

5- World building. Period.

4-Her humanitarian work.

3- Treacle…

2- Ravenclaw motto (my house) “Wit beyond measure”..is a Shakespearian dick joke.

1- “Always.” Every human emotion in a single word.

Even if you’re not an HP fan, as a writer I encourage you to look up J.K. Rowling. She is an amazing human being, humanitarian and her success story is so inspirational. Her journey inspires me not to give up, even though it would be so easy to do.

Happy Birthday Harry!

Cheers, Amy

Image-20th anniversary cover art by Scholastic.

Title- radical 1990’s jam lyrics to go with said radical 1997 book release.

Psst…Don’t forget a Happy Anniversary to be 20th anniversary of The Chamber of Secrets

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

You want me to 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