Amy on writing

Capture the Tide

My book, my book. Capture the Tide by Amy Westphal…

The entire purpose of this blog, it’s very existence is for the sake of this book.

But where is it?

It’s been almost a year since I began platforming here on WordPress and I feel that I’m almost back to where I started. Not what I hoped. I’d rather be singing about a book deal.

But that is life. If it were easy, everyone would do it. As they say.

Nearly a year ago I finished writing Capture the Tide. A literary leaning narrative about a young woman surviving and coming of age in a post apocalyptic world.

I had it edited and I shopped it. Then I reworked it and shopped it again. 22 agents. All rejects except one R and R maybe.

And there I stayed. For some time.

Today I am rewriting my book. On Page 20 to be exact. My focus has been to embrace the YA. Remove my author voice and find the characters voice, be more immersive in her experience, in the moment, rather than telling a story about her.

This is proving difficult. My nature is to tell stories and read old books. Old books often focus on the classic third person narrative. We are onlookers. But today!

Today people want in, be in their head. Not first person style where the protagonist is unreliable and limited in their language.

Deep 3rd person allows the author to be both deep and shallow to suit the story. It is weaving of the most difficult fabric. And I am woefully out of my league.

But I am learning, I’m studying. I’m trying.

Kind of drowning here.

But I’m in this thing.

Wish me luck, I love it.

Cheers, Amy

Art, As usual, by me.

Amy on writing

It is the First of April

On this day of pranks I will instead share a list of today’s grievances. Some may even call it a Festivus for the rest of us.

This wonderful idea is from the fabulous and sharp AllaneSinclair.wordpress.com

And now the airing of grievances!

1- plates left next to the sink neither rinsed, washed or without the bare minimum of putting water on it.

2- people asking me to smile, as If I live to serve your fancy.

3- parents who don’t vaccinate because of what they read on Facebook.

4- people who start conversations with “Did you see that thing on Facebook?”

5- Facebook in general

6- Number 45

And now for a life changing video.

Jk. Always wanted to rick roll y’all.

Happy April Fools

Cheers, Amy

Amy on writing

Going Deep

One of the suggestions I received for my manuscript revision was an interesting one. I had to look into it deeper.

What is deep POV?

Most of us know that POV means point of view. In writing fiction, you usually decide whether you will write in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person. 2nd person being super uncommon.

(In fact. The only example I can think of is the Netflix series You. Anyone??)

I am most comfortable writing in 3rd person. I love classic literature and it feels natural to write in this generally traditional format.

Unfortunately, it ain’t hip.

People have become accustomed to something more intimate, immediate. First person gives you that, but to be more omnipotent, 3rd person is where it’s at.

So what do you do? You go deep. Deep POV.

This is my mission. To change my 3rd person limited narrative into a deep POV story that sucks you into the mind of the protagonist, it’s no longer a story about the hero. You are the hero. The hero with the power to see through both your own eyes in real time, without losing those beautiful narrative moments that only the all knowing can provide.

Seems daunting doesn’t it?

It is, that’s why I’m sitting around drawing blanks and not writing anything. Even the blog is suffering. I haven’t given you guys bad advice in weeks!

Whatever will you do with out it?

Anyway, what are your thoughts on narration? What do you prefer to read in? Or write?

And do you have any tips for me? I’m in the shallows here, I need to jump. Help Me!

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?

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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

Amy on writing, on writing and kids

Amy’s Bad Advice 6

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New advice, new season, new hair, new uncanny bitmoji. It’s still worth what you paid for it.

When you say Yes! I say No! Yes!…

No. Hells no.

Why I’m saying no to the “Yes” day and why I would advise you to do the same.

The “Yes” day, ever heard of it?  This post might seem more geared for parents with younger kids, but maybe you’re a grandparent or have other family or friends to bestow this bit of controversial advise on.

So, the “Yes” day. What is it? It’s a an idea based on a book aptly named, you guessed it:

YES DAY

And frankly, I’m not sure the “Yes” day de jour that has hit celebrity parents and their Insta accounts by storm has anything to do with this jolly little book but essentially, the purpose is to have one scheduled day a year when you say yes to every request your child makes.

“Can I have ice cream for dinner? ”

“Yes.”

“Can I stay up late and eat more ice cream?”

“Yes.”

Now most parents do put some restrictions on requests prior to the day. These restrictions are usually a price cap on activities and/or a cap on how far one can travel.  Otherwise, everything else is on the table.

You get it right? So what’s so bad about a special day where you cater to every whim of your young child? A Lot in my opinion. Kids don’t know what they want, or what’s best for them, that’s why we make decisions for them and these “Yes” days really seem like an excuse to eat absolute garbage all day long. And if these kids are anything like my kids, they probably end up with a tummy ache from too much sugar. But aside from being an excuse to eat candy and sweets all day, there is something more fundamentally terrible about granting your childs every request one day a year…it’s another way for attention needing parents to grandstand on their social sites and to spoil children that more than likely are too privileged as it is. And the bragging they do after? Man. It would probably be brutal to friends whose families do not have the means to support frivolity.

So if appeasing the next generation of self-indulgent jerks isn’t a strong enough reason to say no to the “Yes”, consider this: Why do you feel that this day is necessary at all?

Being a parent is all about striking balance and raising humans with grace and humility. We want to create good people, I hope. Instead of granting one day to appease your childs every whim why not start now with something simple. Spend time with them. Kids are so simple in their needs. They just want you.  Play board games with them, read, play video games or ride bikes, and make sure that you do say yes sometimes, even when no would be so much easier.

The biggest thing for me as a parent is making sure that I never say no to something simply because it is inconvenient to me. “I don’t want to” is not a good reason to say no to your child. If something interferes with existing rules, boundaries, plans or ability then a no is totally acceptable.  Kids need to know that the world does not rise and set out of their ass. They need to know that their feelings are important but what they want must be earned. And its a lesson you can teach every day. Reward and acknowledge your childs good behavior, little things that perhaps stand out, just to you. My youngest daughter always shares her treats with everyone, without asking, without question. It’s the sweetest thing in the world to me, and I always let her know that I noticed and tell her she’s awesome.

So whats the point of all this? Yes day, No day, the point is that you don’t need to have a “Yes” day to create wonderful memories for your child, you just have to be there for them, don’t let any one elses shenanigans tell you what kind of parent you are. I know what kind I am.

This concludes Amy’s Bad Advice for the first week of October. Boo! See above quote for its value. But lets talk about it, I do love our repartee.

SO is it a yes or a no for you?

Cheers, Amy