Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, chapter books,, Fiction, Life, Literary, publishing, Sharing, Social media, Uncategorized, writer's life, Writing Process, YA

Writing Dilemmas!

Amanda M. Thrasher

As most authors know, if we’re not sitting down and writing, our minds continually race with changes that need to be made to current projects or ideas for possible new work(s) that turn into potential books. I am no exception to this restless train of thought process that consumes writers. As usual, continually fighting with time to write, I find myself chomping at the bit to get back to my office to create, in silence, where I can think about the storyline I intend to forge and the characters that I desire to develop.

I was all set to start a sequel to my last novel when out of the blue an unexpected event involving my oldest daughter led me to an idea that could potentially include an entire series. The thought of writing a series and being invested in my characters for more than one book brought me so much joy that I abandoned my previous sequel idea. Before long, I had fleshed out my main character, mapped out the storyline, which included an intricate plot, and created most of my supporting characters. I’d even invented an unexpected twist that should leave readers surprised and wanting to read more, should, being the keyword. Isn’t this what every author hopes for, right, their readers sitting on the edge of their seats wanting to turn that next page desperately? Trust me, we all want that!

I’d been thinking about this potential new series so much I even had my cover picked out, the plot for the second book, and had developed the storyline for book number two. When I say I was thrilled beyond words to have a series on my hands, that wasn’t an understatement, and at over ten-thousand-words-in and continuously surrounded by content, I’m off to a pretty decent start! So then what happened, you might ask, well, the worst possible thing ever. I woke up!

I’d had the most amazing, frightening, unusual dream. Concerning, because the dream its self was incredibly thought-provoking, and the more I thought about it, well, the more interesting the concept of the dream became. Visual beyond words, continually scrolling through my head like an old fashioned movie reel scene-by-scene, this dream now consumed my mind twenty-four-seven. Intensified by on-going worldwide bizarre events only added to possible material that could be pulled and used. Now, forced to decide which work to do? Proceed with the series that I had my heart set on writing, write the unexpected project in a genre that I hadn’t yet tackled nor had the desire to enter until an unusual dream took over my mind, or write more than one book at a time. Writing multiple projects, which many authors do successfully pull off, isn’t something that I can usually do. Why? Simple, time, it’s NEVER on my side. Now what?

Readers’ Favorite International Gold Medal Award
Mom’s Choice Awards®
Readers’ Favorite Five-Star Review
New Apple Literary Award

This dilemma is something that authors/writers often find themselves in. What to do when one finds themselves in this type of situation can become a problem, an exciting challenge, a fun journey, or all of the above; I guess it’s how we look at it. Honestly, I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do. My gut instinct is telling me, and I often follow my gut, to start with the dream. It is nagging at me as if I’m supposed to write it, and I have no idea why. The visual in my mind is taunting me, and that inevitably means something, right? Maybe not. Either way, one thing is for sure, writing projects, I’m not going to run out of ideas any time soon, and I am, most definitely, ready to get started!

Copyright © 2020 Amanda M. Thrasher

Author Website Amanda M. Thrasher

Karen Vaughan, Uncategorized, Writing Process

CAUTIONARY TALE OF WHY NOT TO WRITE WHEN STRESSED

Ok, so you are smack dab in the middle of participating in NaNoWriMo and things are going along tickityboo when suddenly there is a crisis in the family. What to do? Does the show really have to go on? My answer nope! Drop what ever crisis your character is experiencing–one character of a friend was stuck being suffocated by a pillow at the time of her loved ones emergency and may still be in limbo for all we know but the emphasis had to be on the family at the time. My personal crisis happened this year. My husband experienced critical episode this November. I had just reached 50k required to win the month but I had to put the book aside to tend to my husbands needs. He was hospitalized  so I had some time to finish the project when I wasn’t visiting him. Did I? No, I did not. 

So this brings me to the point that if you are dealing with such a crisis don’t even try to finish the book or whatever you’re writing. Ok maybe somebody has nerves of steel and can carry on. Not this girl. The muse has left the building. I don’t have any inclination to pick up the story until I know hubby is out of crisis. I have the time yes but I don’t think it would be a great ending to a story I poured my heart into, I want it to end with a bang or two so I am happy to leave the project til I can give it my all.

Do not feel guilty about leaving your characters in limbo. If they bitch tell them to suck it up and that you you’ll be back to deal with them. You need to do self care during this time so get rested and well fed. You will be glad you set the story aside when things are better.

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Interview with the multi-talented Dellani Oakes

Dellani Oakes, a multi-talented woman, is the author of over a dozen award-winning novels. In addition to writing, she’s the host of a successful talk show, Books and Entertainment, where she often interviews authors, screenplay writers, and musicians. She is an author with Tirgearr Publishing company, and in addition to all of that, she’s a substitute teacher, all while managing to take care of her family. How she manages to keep up and handle it all is truly beyond me, but I couldn’t wait to find out more about her work.

Dellani started writing early in life, first pursuing poetry, but soon added song parodies, short stories, and humorous essays to her writing world. By 2002 Dellani started writing full time. In addition to multiple standalone novels, she has also contributed to several anthologies. I’m fortunate to call Dellani a friend, but everyone that knows her will tell you that she is one of the most helpful and approachable authors that you will ever meet. I can’t wait to share my interview with you, and when you read her books, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Interview Questions

  1. What is the first book that made you cry and did you write it?

That’s a hard one! I think that would have to be Little Women. My mother read to us a lot when we were younger, and that was a favorite. When Amy died, I cried like crazy. I think I was 6 or 7 at the time.

  1. Do you write what you want to write, (content-wise) or do you deliver what the market demands as in what we call marketable writing?

I always write what I love, what moves me. I’ve never been able to write toward market likes. At one time, I swore I’d never write a vampire story, but I did. However, it’s not your typical teen vampire romance (yuck). I also swore I’d never write about zombies, but I did that too. However, my zombies aren’t run of the mill zombies, either. While I might dip my toes into one genre or the other, you can expect the unexpected.

  1. What is the best investment you’ve ever made as a writer?

Crazy as it sounds, my best investment has been twofold: First, I decided to download Open Office (a free word processing program) I like it better than Word, and don’t argue with it nearly as much. Since I’m independent, and I also work for an author promotional service, I purchased Pizap to make covers and banners. It’s inexpensive and has paid for itself many times over.

  1. Which book did you write, the first experience, where a reader reached out (email, message, or other) and specifically told you that your words/work had touched or affected them in some way? … The power of your words.

I think that would be The Ninja Tattoo, a romantic suspense published with Tirgearr Publishing. One of my readers absolutely fell in love with Teague, the hero of the piece. She begged me to write a sequel and put her in it, so that’s how Conduct Unbecoming was born.

  1. How many times, if ever, have you started a project only to completely scrap it? If you’ve done this, why?

I’ve got many unfinished books, but it’s rare that I completely scrap something. I think that has happened once. I decided it really wasn’t what I wanted at all, so I deleted it. It wasn’t an easy decision, but after reading it, I realized I wasn’t ever going to finish it, and let it go.

  1. Do you ever doubt your ability as a writer?

I don’t know an author who doesn’t have moments of doubt! We spend so much time with a book, pour ourselves into it, heart and soul, finally finish it, get it published and it sits there – zero copies sold. That’s discouraging and disheartening. The only thing we can do is move on to something else, and fall in love with our work again. That’s not always easy, but if we want to continue expressing ourselves through words, we have to get over it and move on. (Not as easy as I make it sound, for sure!)

  1. Do you have a favorite character?

I have several. I adore Wil VanLipsig from my Lone Wolf Series. I also love Teague McMurtry and Jasper Waters from the Florida Families Series. My absolute favorite character would have to be Cullen Fellowes, from my Love in the City Romance Series. I haven’t published those books yet, but he’s in a bunch of them – so many, I lost track. I’m finally working on a book where he finds love. He’s an adorable guy, but he’s spent a long time looking for the One. He finally finds her.

  1. Have you ever been forced to give up on a character, hated to do it, but the storyline demand it; if so, what caused the scenario?

Yes. In fact, I had to kill off a favorite character. I cried like a baby. I was writing Wall of Time, a prequel to the Lone Wolf books (not yet published) and came up with this wonderful guy named Murdock Pickford. He’s just found out that his fiancée is going to have a baby, and he’s so excited about being a father. Then in a plot twist, which caught me completely unawares, he was horribly killed. It took me a while to get over that. I know that seems rather silly to some, but the fact is, these characters become our friends, and we’re very attached to them. To have one die so horribly, was sad. I truly didn’t want to kill Murdock, but for the story to progress, I had to.

  1. Which character have you developed caused you the most grief and why?

I think I have to go back to Wil VanLipsig to answer this. The Lone Wolf books begin in the year 3032. Wil is a Galactic Marine who was put through a series of medical experiments, which have made him virtually immortal. He’s lived 86 years, and doesn’t look a day over 30. With such a long and checkered past, he’s got a lot of baggage. It comes out at inconvenient times, causing him to overreact or go off the rails. More than once, I’ve been shocked at his actions. Then I have to realize that he’s acting well within his characteristics, and don’t reign him in. He knows what he’s doing (mostly) and his motives may not appeal to me, but they are legitimate. I feel if a character doesn’t go off the chain once in a while, I haven’t done a good job at creating him or her.

  1. I am by nature such a slow writer. How long does it take you to write a book?

With Indian Summer, my historical romance set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739 – it took me nearly 10 years to finish. Partly due to a lack of time, partly because of all the research. However, I have written novels in as little as 4 days. It depends on how loud and persistent the voices in my head are. If they’re cooperating, it then depends on how fast I can type, and how much sleep I get.

  1. Has there ever been a time in your life you doubted your path as a writer/author?

So many times! I think it was worst when I was sending out query letters and getting rejections day after day. That is truly depressing. Also, when I see how poorly a book is selling, or I get a royalty statement for .27 cents – bring on the doubt!

  1. Do you have a go-to author for inspiration?

I really don’t. I try not to write like other authors, though it’s often inevitable. I find more inspiration in music and movies than in reading. I have many whose work I read over and over, but not so much for inspiration, as for fun.

  1. I know you love music and listen to music when you write. Does the music affect your scenes?

I am always listening to music. I don’t do well in silence. A lot of the time, I don’t really listen to it carefully, but rather have it in the background. There are times, though, if I’m writing an action scene, I will put on fast-paced, instrumental music. I find that guitarists like Joe Satriani are good for this. I’ve written a lot of my sci-fi battle scenes with him in the background. The opening scene for Lone Wolf was written while listening to Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow album. I can still hear it in my head when I read it.

  1. Do you have any writing quirks?

If you mean like I must have certain snacks, beverage or music – no. If you mean plot elements that carry over from book to book, yes. My characters spend a lot of time in hospitals. Grant you, some of them are doctors or hospital administrators. Others have accidents, are attacked, or are clumsy. Some movies, TV shows, and books ignore injuries. Their characters come through unscathed, ready to go. The reality is, if a character gets in a knife fight, he’s more than likely going to get cut. If a woman is running down the street, and the heel comes off her shoe, she’s going to break a leg. I could go on and on, but won’t. Since my characters get into a lot of trouble, they spend a fair amount of time recovering from their injuries.

  1. What advice do you have for aspiring writers in today’s market?

Nothing beats a great editor! We may think we’ve got the best book in the world, but if it’s full of grammatical errors and typos, it’s clearly not. Whatever an author might think about keeping their work pure and unadulterated, readers want to be able to read it easily. Nothing kicks me out of a story more than errors in the text.
Also, don’t let the How-To books, articles, websites scare you. Tell the story your way. Don’t listen when someone says you can’t write in the first person, or in present tense. Tell the story the way it wants to be told. Get it finished, then go back and fix it. Any issues it has can be mended in editing. Let me reiterate my first bit of advice, find a good editor. If you can’t afford one, find a friend who is good with grammar, and ask for a favor. Many other authors will trade like for like, if you read mine, I’ll read yours. It’s helpful to have other opinions.

Finally, don’t let it get you down. You’re not going to make instant money. You’re not going to be the next Fifty Shades or Twilight—well, you might, but those are rare. Write what moves you, do your best, and keep going. Writing is an extension of yourself, do what makes you happy, and don’t worry about anything else.

Visit Dellani Oakes 

Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, chapter books,, childrens stories, Fantasy, Fiction, GENRES, Life, writer's life, Writing Process, YA

When Inspiration Strikes You WRITE Back!

Like most authors, before one project heads to layout, the next novel I’m going to tackle is already being planned in my head. Sometimes it’s even wholly mapped out, storyline, characters, and plot twist, the works; while others are merely ideas written down. Either way, the next project or two are well defined. Most writers pride themselves in knowing what they’re next WIP is going to be (work in progress). But what happens when a new WIP sits before you, outlined, the characters all named and in place, timeline set, the first couple of chapters started, and all of a sudden another idea consumes your thoughts? Well, when inspiration strikes, you have no choice but to write. The question is, how? Many writers, when faced with such a situation, do one of two things: 1) abandon their first novel and set it aside for a later date. 2) write two pieces at the same time.

Now, I’m not opposed to writing two books at once, but I have to be conscious of my time and mindset. Time is limited, and one’s mindset, while you write, is an important factor or at least it is to me. Writing two different genres can be an issue. For me, do I lose myself in a fantasy piece, which is absolutely a wonderful thing to do, and still have enough time to pull my mind back into the throes of an emotional reality piece?

Who doesn’t love to escape, if only in their minds, to a timeless world hidden deep in Lafayette forest, explicitly created for Lilly, Boris, and Jack, and all of their friends? The colony, filled with beautiful fairies, who continually watch over each other all the while having exciting adventures. Sound sweet and fun? It’s designed to be that way – The Mischief series. A fantasy series developed for young chapter book readers.

The Mischief Series

While the fantasy world is quite delightful, often a fast and fun ‘write,’ it is the other novel that I believe would present a problem for me. It’s an NA (New Adult 18-30 +) bracket; the storyline emotional. With time continually an issue, pulling myself from a fantasy world mindest into a dramatic/emotional state of mind to write the scenes, dialog, and narration, that the characters and stories would demand can often take me a little while to transition. I find it necessary to dive into my head and become a part of the story to visualize what I’m about to write down to ‘see’ the emotion that my characters need. From fairies to where I’m going, serious NA, it could take more than a minute to get there. Do I have that kind of time to prepare my mind?

I know some authors do this all the time, write multiple novels at once, without any issues. I’d love to be one of those talented authors. But I know my limitations regarding time, and what it takes for me to prepare my mind to write the way that I do. Add the research required for the project that is currently consuming my mind, and trust me, I’m not sure I could pull off my best work. Again, due to busy work and life schedule, time is not on my side. Every author wants to produce quality work. To me, the quality of my work will always be more important than the quantity or amount of books I produce at one time. It’s only natural that writers evolve and the work improves with each novel, and I get that, but I do not want to sacrifice quality for speed of content.

Amanda M. Thrasher
signing – TLA

So what will I do? Believe it or not, chatting about it here with you has really helped. I can’t get the current storyline out of my head for the NA, and the only way to alieve that issue is to start writing it. I do have more than one project outlined, and even have one started, but like most writers, I love them all. Will the other projects get written? The answer is yes! What will the timeline be on those? The answer is when they’re completed. One WIP is not more important than the other; it just happens that one is nagging to be written more so than the other in this particular moment.

As much as I would love to whip out novels as fast as other writers, I know that I can’t. Family and work are real factors that take up the vast majority of my time. My writing schedule is vital to me, and I continue to write and share what I do, but my family will always come first. My books will get written. They’ll still be available, and maybe I will challenge myself to write both pieces this go-round. For now, it looks like the NA will come first, but perhaps I’ll dabble with both projects and try for the fun of it to write them both. The key is to write them well! The greatest thing about being an author – doing what you want in regards to the work that you produce, and that is always fun! Thanks for reading this if you do, and allowing me to chat this over with you. Keep writing your way, and everything else will eventually come to fruition.

Feel free to visit my website and check out my work: Amanda M. Thrasher 

Copyright © 2019 Amanda M. Thrasher

Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, Book Marketing, Book Trailers and Teasers, books, Cereal Authors, chapter books,, Children's story, childrens stories, Fantasy, Fiction, Literary, Social media, Uncategorized, writer's life, Writing Process

Marketing – EEEEK

Writers and authors are often seeking advice regarding marketing their work. As an author, I’m no exception to that rule. After all, in today’s world, who doesn’t need a little extra help? Most authors realize that marketing their work is no longer a choice; it is a mandatory part of the sales process. Also, most authors have read or heard it all before, but sometimes hearing the same tips from a different voice clicks in a different way, and those tips become useful tools. I’m not sure there are any secrets out there; most techniques seem to be a combination of common sense and consistency. Yes, there are fads, but like most fads, the same goes for author tricks, they come and go. I’m sure every author is familiar with or already does the things I’m about to share. For you, we’re on the same page, but if you’re a writer starting out, don’t be afraid of marketing, we’re all dealing with it.

Many authors that I work with aren’t comfortable with marketing as a whole. They cringe at the word or immediately fear marketing means additional dollars have to be thrown down on the table. Sometimes useful marketing tools are expensive, such as hiring PR firms or purchasing advertisements in popular trade magazines. Add space is always costly. However, authors typically find ways to spread the word about their work without spending horrendous amounts of cash. The most important thing any writer or author can do is something – something each day that keeps their name or title out there in the universe and keeps them moving forward or provides some kind of social media exposure.

Everyone knows that building a social media platform or fanbase is crucial, but we also know that followers that engage do not always purchase the authors work. You can have a large fanbase, lots of followers, likes, and engagement with your fans, but have limited sales. Connecting with your fans is crucial whether they purchase your work right away or not. You are building relationships that readers enjoy, and this costs zero dollars if you’re doing it on social media. There are several platforms out there, and at least one should fit your lifestyle. I’m old-school and stick to the three basics FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Of course, writers these days already have websites, write a blog, have a YouTube channel (I don’t, I lack in that area), book trailers, swag, speak as much as possible, attend as many events as they can, and they do put out press releases from time to time, often paid. I like to use a company called 24/7 Press Release. They have many price tiers available. I’ve found, and I’ve used all of them, that the mid-tier press release is received well by the media outlets during distribution. However, there are multiple services out there that you can choose to use.

Less is more, and keeping things simple works best for me. Each author has to devise a strategic plan that works for them and their lifestyle. Lifestyle is an important factor. I’m a wife, mom, nana, author, CEO, and my teens are active. It’s ridiculous for me to pick a marketing platform that requires hours of attention. It will not work. Less and simple is best for my lifestyle.

If you’re uncomfortable with marketing as a whole, being comfortable with your work automatically gives you something to talk about on any platform that is available to you. Sharing what you know, the content of your book provides awareness about the subject matter or title of the book that you wrote. Confidence in your work offers ways to introduce your book to multiple niches. You don’t have to start fishing for content to promote your book or try to create catchy sales pitches; you already know everything about the topic that you need. Again, keeping it simple with something you already know.

Signing in the featured author area at TLA

I often write YA’s that provide gentle life-lessons throughout the pages. I’m grateful that teens do like the work, but the books could also appeal to the tweens and teens parents, educators, youth group leaders, book clubs, and even homeschool providers. It’s not unusual for me to bypass the tweens and teens, my target niche, and gear my marketing efforts toward the other niche groups. For example, my YA The Greenlee Project, which focuses on bullying, I actually target adults. “Bullying can affect any kid anywhere at any time; would your child tell you if they were a bully victim? Greenlee Lynn Granger is about to find out how easily social media can be used as a malicious tool: a normal teen one day and ruined the next! Parents, teachers, educators, and youth group leaders, The Greenlee Project, a multiple award-winning book, is a must-read for your tweens and teens. Pick up here: link.” I could have easily changed the verbiage to address tweens and teens, but the impact of the message hits the adults harder than the kids.

 

Regarding sales and making sales, it’s always tricky, but the first step is believing that your book is worth the dollars that you’re charging. Don’t be afraid to announce that your books are for sale, and to include a buy link. I use a simple bitly link, and it works well. When you run adds, add a where to purchase the book, and if you put promo videos together (I do love these), always include buy links.

I do offer discounts, but I do not give my books away on retail sites for free, this is a personal choice. It costs thousands of dollars, plus my time, to produce these novels and I always ask myself, “Would you walk into a store and expect to walk out of it with that item for free?” Of course, the answer is always no. Or, “Would you order a meal and expect not to pay for it?” Same thing. Services and products aren’t free. Why should your book be? The exception to this rule, for me, is during the Texas Librarian Association Conference. TLA is a large trade conference, five to seven thousand librarians, teachers, and buyers are present. Putting titles into their hands is imperative. By and large, they do not purchase books while at TLA but look for fresh new titles. At this event, I sign and put books into their hands by the hundreds per title. It is one marketing expense that I save for and value the experience every year.

A significant part of ensuring a title is successful occurs behind the scenes. Setting up the title correctly in the first place — metadata, including author name, bio, keywords, book description, and selecting Bisac codes for your categories, keeping them specific. Most platforms today will walk you through it, but the more information you can list about your book behind the scenes is for the best. Even if you set up the title correctly, ask for a purchase, contain a sales link, and promote daily, there still aren’t any guarantees.

I’ve witnessed authors do everything right: produce professionally edited and designed books, hire PR firms, spend money on advertisements, hire social media experts, enter and win prestigious award competitions, write articles for popular large magazine circulations, and still sell minimal units. I’ve also seen authors with poorly written work sell thousands upon thousands of books. Fair has nothing to do with it, and neither does the experience of the author. Luck no doubt, if you believe in that, seems to have a hand in it.

One can never tell which story or book an audience will connect with, but it doesn’t matter. Writers are going to write; it’s what we do. It takes one person to tell the right person about your work. The spark that starts a fire, and you have no idea who that one person is, and again, it doesn’t matter because you’re going to continue to produce work that you love to write regardless. Marketing budgets are helpful, but in truth, most people do not have a very extensive one. You can still market relatively well on a limited budget. It’s not the size of your budget that counts; it’s how you use your time, the platforms at your disposal, and most importantly, how often you market yourself – consistency. So forge ahead. Write and produce professionally edited and designed books, and love every second doing it. Otherwise, well, what’s the point?

Feel free to visit my site and take a peek around. Please let me know if you have any questions, thanks so much! – Amanda M. Thrasher

www.amandamthrasher.com

 

 

 

Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, Fiction, Literary, publishing, Ramblings, Teens, Uncategorized, writer's life, Writing Process, YA

Yep, I’m a Plotter

Like most authors, I receive emails from aspiring writers asking about my writing process. Most are referring to being a Panster or a Plotter, and admittedly, I have been both over the years, and some want to know about the writing process as a whole.

Early in my writing career, I took the Panster path. Starting with an idea and simply running with it to see where it would eventually take me. I had a general idea of where I was going, but somehow, my characters always seemed to lead me exactly where I needed to go to finish the story. Writing off the top of my head, having no idea which direction the story would take or end up, did work for me for a few years.

As my writing evolved, that process changed for me. Why? Honestly, I have no idea. I found my self Plotting instead of just running with a storyline. Each time I came up with a potential story, I’d spend time contemplating my beginning, middle, end, plot twist, the how’s and if’s, the main character, secondary characters, and auxiliary characters. As soon as I could, I’d outline the entire story on paper, making adjustments as the scenes shifted and changed in my mind. Once I started writing the book, I continually referred back to my notes and outline, and have been doing this now for years. I’m comfortable with it, do make changes along the way, and though I’ve been known to add to it as I write (the outline), it is now the preferred way of doing things.

I don’t believe there is a right way or wrong way to write your manuscript, Panster or Plotter. I think you need to find a method that works for you; that keeps you focused, on track, and allows you to finish the project. So to answer the Panster or Plotter question, for me, I’m a Plotter.

Writers are also often asked about their rough drafts. I’m sure we all have quirky things we may or may not do, but here’s what I do. I work my manuscripts a minimum of four times before edit, and it seems like a dozen times after that between the two rounds of the edit, accepting or declining the changes and applying recommendations, reread it again, add an outside set of eyes for proofing after layout and last but not least proofing again via my editor once completed. Of course, I’m reading it over and over.

The first draft is the obvious, the rough draft. It’s super important, it’s the story, and getting it out of your head and down on paper, which can be fun, can also be an eye-opener when you read it for the second time. For this reason, I reread and correct every chapter prior to writing a new chapter. The second time that I go through the entire draft is where I add any emotion that I may have missed the first time around, and I also double check my narration for cadence and flow during this time. It’s essential to keep the story moving. Often during the first draft these things can be flat. When I’m reading the manuscript in its entirety for the third time, I’m searching for holes in the story or the timeline that may have been inadvertently missed. Did the character leave the kitchen in one scene only to find herself speaking to her boyfriend in the driveway in the next scene? What? How did she get there? When did she leave the kitchen? Usually, a simple sentence corrects the issue. Example: Sophie walked outside to greet Clay. By the fourth read, I practically know my manuscript by heart and anything that I may have missed, repetitiveness, holes, flow, anything, should jump out as I apply the final polish. At this point, the author’s eyes and mind can predetermine what is supposed to be there, and we rely heavily on our editing teams.

Once I’ve completed the above, the work is sent to my editor, who edits the work and sends it back to me to accept or decline her changes and/or recommendations. It is then sent back to her for a second round. The same process is applied, and once I approve or reject for the second time, we hit layout and proofing all over again. Things appear different once the text has been laid-out in book format and it isn’t unusual for editors and proofers to catch different things that might have been missed. Everyone involved is human, have seen the files dozens of times, and our eyes and minds already ‘know’ what is supposed to be there, and it’s amazing how many times we’ll correct something automatically in our heads and therefore it is missed on paper. To avoid this, I read the entire thing out loud. Trust me, people walk past my office and I look quite crazy talking/reading away!

It’s a process, and it does take time, but if you’re currently writing a book, forge ahead. It can be nervewracking, fun, overwhelming, exciting, intimidating, all at once. However, it’s all worth it if you have a story to tell or something to say. Eventually, you’ll find a process that works best for you; it might take a minute, it took me a while, but you’ll get there. Keep writing, have fun, and feel free to keep sending your questions. For those that aren’t aware there’s a contact page on my website. I may not always have the answers, but I’m sure I know someone who does, and I’ll just ask them. 🙂 Have a great day and continue writing!

Text Copyright © 2019 Amanda M. Thrasher

Amanda M Thrasher

New Release
Captain Fin
Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, books, Cereal Authors, childrens stories, educators, Fiction, GENRES, Sharing, Teens, tweens, writer's life, Writing Process, YA

CAPTAIN FIN – What a NOVEL to me

CAPTAIN FIN – Cover reveal coming soon.

I’ve been working on a novel for what seems too long now, but in my defense time hasn’t always been on my side. The story CAPTAIN FIN is based on a screenplay written by the talented actor, writer, movie producer, and director, Kevin James O’Neill.

When Kevin approached me about writing this novel and I read the script, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was, thrilled doesn’t cover the joy that I felt. I immediately fell in love with one of the characters, Hannah. Oddly it wasn’t at all from an angle or perspective that was presented in the script that he had handed me. But I could envision so clearly the direction that I felt he wanted to go; thus the reason he sought out a writer like me, a children’s author.

I was so worried about my time commitments. Already in the midst of writing BITTER BETRAYAL and working every day at a company that I am a partner, owner, and as the CEO am obligated to be committed to running every single day.

At one point I even told him, “Kevin, as saddened as I am, I don’t believe I have the time to finish Captain Fin. I love this piece, and if you want to take my ideas, chapters, and give them to another writer, I completely understand.” To my surprise, Kevin did not accept my offer but gave me a call instead. His words not only humbled me, but I felt as if he handed me a gift instead. I don’t think I will ever forget his words.

“Amanda, I can’t really see anyone else writing this novel. I love your ideas, what you’ve written so far, and I understand how busy you are. I’ll wait. I’ll wait until you have the time to write it.” I can’t tell you the shock I felt. To hear someone had that much faith in my work was amazing to me. #humbled #grateful

I was worried that the flow of the work would be jeopardized by the amount of time that it was taking me to write the story, again, time wasn’t on my side due to work and family commitments. But I recently went back and reread my early chapters as I’m polishing off the manuscript before sending it to my editor. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I fell in love with Hannah all over again!!!! Her spirit, strong will, the sadness that reflects through her eyes, and the way that she eventually withdraws from others due to the hand that life has dealt her with her gentle spirit still intact, kills me! LOVE HER!

I can only hope that I delivered the novel the way Kevin had envisioned; I know it is exactly how I imagined it to be. It was challenging and exhilarating at times, but writing this piece was such a blessing. The images that you see are components of my cover. The design will be released soon. I am looking so forward to sharing this beautiful story of loss, discovery, love, friendship, and hope with the world. I sincerely hope that you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it! CAPTAIN FIN, coming soon. #TLA19

Amanda M Thrasher

Karen Vaughan, Musings, Writing Process

THE 2018 NANOWRIMO EXPERIENCE–KAREN VAUGHAN

I had a plan, or so I thought. I finally decided that Nigel Holmes was going to get a story. It would be a sequel to HOLMES IN AMERICA; HOLMES SWEET HOME-Where he goes back to the UK to solve the mystery of his cousins disappearance. It was great! I had set up my dashboard on the NanoWriMo site. I had the plot, the excerpt set up and ready to go.

working cover holmes sweet Home.jpg   Becomes  NEVER ALONE COVER.jpg

Then my muse informed me, yes informed me, why?  because shes a snarky sarcastic bitch who could give Sassy Sarcasm a run for her money. I digress so this muse had another idea. I listened but was ready to shut her down with the reasoning that poor Nigel has been waiting oh so patiently for the last two years for another story. (picture poor sad Nigel )

Image result for bitchy muse

 BITCHY MUSE SAYS JUST DO AS I SAY. IT WILL ALL WORK OUT

I made my argument but little miss Sassy pants would not be swayed. So it was back to the Nano site for my novel and changed everything. (Are you happy now?) It’s a great story this new one. It’s about a woman who lost her husband to murder the year before and goes to California to visit her brother. A friend of his is visiting as well. Ted his a hunky middle-aged actor from Australia who is also morning the loss of his wife. You see where this is going right? The two people commiserate, make friends and eventually love blooms with an HEA to rival Cinderella.

Scratch that! Enter Scott Masterson. Caseys neighbor back home in Canada. Scott is in love with Casey and admits the fact before she leaves on vacation. He urges her to think about it while she’s soaking up the sun. She says she will but clearly she feels awkward about it stating she isn’t ready for love.

Scott lets her go hoping she’ll change her mind about him. He’s not a patient man so he starts to harass her through texts and calls. Whats a girl to do?  Changing her number only enrages him and he goes into full stalker mode.  And Boom my simple romance has turned into a romantic suspense! Thank you Scott! Not. I decided I was gonna make him pay for this.  My two main characters fall into lust and love with each other while trying to evade the jealous maniac making their lives hell.

I am only demonstrating that the muse and the characters of a particular story are in charge. You are just the typist and the vehicle for the storytelling. Picture yourself in the drivers seat of a car going full speed ahead. The car has no breaks and your hands are tied behind your back. The characters are steering the story and the muse has put the peddle to the metal. You would be wise to embrace this because if you even try to exert your will in a story it will not end well. Let the characters tell it. It’s their job. Telling the story their way makes them more three dimensional.

My story is moving along nicely. I am more than 80% finished. The other night Ted the hunky Aussie said he had more to say through out the story.  We were only hearing Casey’s thoughts so I have let him express himself. See I do listen to my characters.  I am happy because the enemy was dealt with and the happy couple will get their happy ending!

Article, Writing Process

SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK! ELEMENTS OF GREAT WRITING

So one day you decide you’re going to sit down and write a book

First you decide whether its going to be

  • Fiction–what kind of fiction-romance, mystery, fantasy, sci-fi or even horror.
  • Non-fiction- how-to manuals, biography, autobiographies
  • poetry-collection of your works

Ok so you’ve decided to tackle the great american novel, now what

you must decide on the following

  1. characters
  2. plot
  3. timeline –time period
  4.  setting.
  5. descriptions

Don’t write to get rich. Write a story that you as a reader would love to read! 

A personal story–When I decided I was going to write a story based on a dream I had I had no idea where it was going to go but i knew it was a mystery and that it would be something I would buy and read.  The plot was a simple whodunit and why?

My characters were a woman in her midthirties, adrift in life after a divorce and does temp work until a real job comes along.  She finds a dead guy on her livingroom floor and she knows him from the place she is temping at.  How did he get there? who killed him and put him there, and why her apartment.

Enter the hunky building manager, Gerry.  Laura our heroine knew him from high school as he played football with her exhusband.  Gerry wonders why Laura is entertaining a dead dude–Laura thinks he’s pranking her.

The police are called and time to meet Jeff Gibbons, the lead detective on the case. He is by the book and follows procedure.   Det. Gibbons doesn’t believe she is guilty but has to follow protocol.

Lauras mom and dad. Mom is nagging her to move out of her seedy apartment, closer to home. she is the quintessential catholic mom. Laying on guilt to get her way, also trying to fix Laura up with any Tom Dick or Harry with a medical or Law degree.

Lauras dad-sits and reads the paper and tells his wife to lay off the nagging and guilt trips and is there to support his daughter no matter what.

Time-line- this is a modern day story. I started the story in 2005  so thats when it was set.

Setting-Toronto and area to include Scarborough, Etobicoke and the area.

Description–It’s a subjective choice. You need to paint a picture for the reader. what the characters were wearing, hair, eye colour etc. describe the setting of the room or scene outside.  I am a minimalist in this area and I don’t believe in fancy 15 dollar words when a straight forward 5 dollar one will suffice.  I prefer dialogue to tell the story in each scene.   

A scene from Dead on Arrival involving dialogue

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“What in hell’s name is that horrible stench?”  Gerry stopped short, quickly noticing the dead dude on the carpet.  He quickly held the edge of his work shirt over his mouth and nose.  I was sorely tempted to gag again. The stoicism I exhibited was slowly dissipating and being replaced by panic.  What if the killer came back, and decided to finish me off? 

 “Okay Gerry,” I said, “cut the crap!  How did you get Velcro’s’ body in here?” “What do ya mean how? You mean you think I did this, thanks a lot!” he said, somewhat pissed.

“This wasn’t your handy-work?”

“No! Why would you think I would do such a horrid thing?”

“Not sure really; maybe because you and Ray have the only keys besides me, and you love practical jokes.”

“Yeah, I do, but nothing this heinous! My practical jokes are more of an April fool’s kind of gag.  Besides I don’t even know him.”

“Okay. I’m sorry I’m just trying to figure out how and why he got here. Furthermore he is wrecking my rug! “I know it’s odd to worry about a frigging rug right now but this is how I deal with stressful situations. I ignore the obvious problem, and settle for something mundane and harmless to worry about.  Okay so enough about the damned rug.  I focused on the corpse once again.

 

As I don’t do ‘cool nonchalance’ well, I retorted, “Gee good point I practically fell over him on my way out of the bedroom.” 

“Didn’t it occur to you at some point during the night, that there was a rotting corpse in the middle of your living room?” Gerry asked.

“For one thing, I sleep with my bedroom door closed and my air conditioning on; and second, I was so tired after this weekend; I just came in and flopped. I didn’t even realize

I had a guest, dead or alive.”   

“Well regardless of all that, we have to call this in.” Gerry got out his mobile and dialled 911.  It was definitely classed as an emergency.     

 

 I suddenly realized I probably had a lot of explaining to do. In fact, I was in deeper shit that I wanted to admit to myself.  I dreaded facing the local constabulary on this one. Picturing the headline, ‘Local girl kills debt collector in living room’ the guilt was flooding in, and I hadn’t done anything … yet. This thought was followed by what I thought my parents’ obituary might be, when they found out my predicament, ‘Man dies suddenly of a major coronary, directly preceded by death of wife due to gross shame”.   The reality of the situation was really starting to get to me.  I don’t look good in prison orange.

 

“So do you know John Doe?” 

“UH, yeah I do actually.”

“Did your date go that badly?”

“He wasn’t a date!” In fact I wouldn’t even have classified Hodges as a friend.  The shock was starting to wear off, and I could start to feel weak in the knees. Gerry caught me, as I was about to go down.  I love a mystery as much as the next person, but not in real life. Gerry guided me to the couch and forced my head between my knees. Shock had truly set in, as well as morbid disgust, and revulsion. This had to be the weirdest situation I have ever been in.

There was a knock at the door again and it was the police. 

The lead inspector and the crime scene unit converged on my building at once. Immediately, my home sweet apartment becomes a crime scene, confirmed by the usual crime scene yellow tape. The coroner waited outside until the initial investigation was finished.

DEAD ON ARRIVAL AT AMAZON

 

A SCENE FROM DEAD TO WRITES USING DESCRIPTION

KAREN ebook.jpg

 

Terri decided she needed to have some of the fruit and a piece of the rich dark chocolate from the gift basket as the wine was kicking her ass. She was halfway through the carafe of wine already, and at this rate, she’d be downright snockered by the time Sylvie arrived. Terri held off having another glass of wine until Sylvie arrived to share with her. Instead, she took a drink of water along with the snacks.

For the evening, Terri had chosen a form fitting, fire engine red, knee length dress which accentuated all her curves. Paired up with four-inch stilettos, she could pass for a runway model. She wore her hair in a side braid and inserted black onyx earrings to finish off the look. Man. You’re dressing like you got a date or something, she said to herself. She was right. It was a date with her best friend. Why not look nice? Just as she was finishing putting on her makeup, she started to feel nauseous and a tad dizzy. Her vision was fuzzy, and she found it hard to navigate her way across the living room, especially in the heels. She started bobbing and weaving like a drunkard. I was right. That was way too much wine for one person, and I am a bit of a lightweight in that area. Halfway across the room, she lost her balance totally and went flying in to the glass top coffee table, crashing through it. Somewhere along the way, she had begun to convulse uncontrollably. She hit the floor with glass sticking out of her head and foam around her mouth. She was dead within seconds.

DEAD TO WRITES ON AMAZON

ADVICE ABOUT WRITING

“JUST WRITE THE DAMN BOOK”-KEN FARMER-WHAT’S WRITE FOR ME WITH DELLANI OAKES.

LEARN THE BUSINESS SIDE OF BEING AN AUTHOR. -CHRISTINA GIGUERE AUTHOR OF SELF-PUBLISHING HACKS : WHAT OTHER AUTHORS ALREADY KNOW.

JENNY BURKE ON DESCRIPTION AND WORLD BUILDING-Many writers ignore the senses of smell, touch, and taste. Using more senses pulls you into the story.

Article, Karen Vaughan, Literary, writer's life, Writing Process

IT’S TIME TO BRUSH UP ON YOUR LITERARY TERMS.

You probably learned them in middle school but how many writers remember the  literary terms?  In the next few articles I will review some of these terms.

Literary devices are techniques that writers use to create a special and pointed effect in their writing, to convey information, and/or to help the reader understand the piece on a deeper level. These devices are often used for emphasis or clarity; they are also used to get the reader to more strongly connect with either the story as a whole or specific characters, themes, etc.

 

Okay let’s go!

SO WHAT ARE THESE STORIES REALLY ABOUT

ALLEGORY

An allegory is a story that is used to represent a more general message about real-life (historical) issues and/or events. It is typically an entire book, novel, play, etc.

Image result for GEORGE ORWELLS ANIMAL FARMExample: George Orwell’s dystopian book Animal Farm is an allegory for the events preceding the Russian Revolution and the Stalinist era in early 20th century Russia. In the story, animals on a farm practice animalism, which is essentially communism. Many characters correspond to actual historical figures: Old Major represents both the founder of communism Karl Marx and the Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin; the farmer, Mr. Jones, is the Russian Czar; the boar Napoleon stands for Joseph Stalin; and the pig Snowball represents Leon Trotsky.

 

 

NO THESE ARE NOT ACID FLASHBACKS

Flashback

A flashback is an interruption in a narrative that depicts events that have already occurred, either before the present time or before the time at which the narration takes place. This device is often used to give the reader more background information and details about specific characters, events, plot points, and so on.

Image result for wuthering heightsExample: Most of the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a flashback from the point of view of the housekeeper, Nelly Dean, as she engages in a conversation with a visitor named Lockwood. In this story, Nelly narrates Catherine Earnshaw’s and Heathcliff’s childhoods, the pair’s budding romance, and their tragic demise.

 

 

 

 

 

SHADES OF THINGS TO COME!

Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is when an author indirectly hints at—through things such as dialogue, description, or characters’ actions—what’s to come later on in the story. This device is often used to introduce tension to a narrative.

Image result for FICTIONAL ACCOUNT OF AMELIA EARHARTExample: Say you’re reading a fictionalized account of Amelia Earhart. Before she embarks on her (what we know to be unfortunate) plane ride, a friend says to her, “Be safe. Wouldn’t want you getting lost—or worse.” This line would be an example of foreshadowing because it implies that something bad (“or worse”) will happen to Earhart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISN’T IT IRONIC?

Irony

Irony is when a statement is used to express an opposite meaning than the one literally expressed by it. There are three types of irony in literature:

  • Verbal irony: When someone says something but means the opposite (similar to sarcasm).
  • Situational irony: When something happens that’s the opposite of what was expected or intended to happen.
  • Dramatic irony: When the audience is aware of the true intentions or outcomes, while the characters are not. As a result, certain actions and/or events take on different meanings for the audience than they do for the characters involved.

 

SOURCE:

https://blog.prepscholar.com/list-of-literary-devices-techniques