writing


As part of the Smashwords Summer Sale, The Lair of the Twelve Princesses is 50% off for the whole month of July! The price is set in at Amazon; for other formats, you’ll need to hit its book page on Smashwords to get the coupon. (Want to use Smashwords to pick up a Kindle-friendly format, such as .mobi, and put it on your Kindle? Here’s how.)

If you’re also participating, put a link in the comments so we can all check out your work!

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Bay has nothing to show for her years of military service but the clothes on her back, a bad leg, and a sardonic imp in a bottle who’s more harm than help. When she hears an open call for bodyguards for the twelve headstrong princesses, she thinks the job could reverse her fortunes. Unfortunately, her new charges are under a nightly curse, and everyone seems determined to keep the details a mystery–including its victims.

Luckily, Bay has a trick up her sleeve. Her imp owes her three wishes, and is desperate to grant them. She’s been hoarding his magic for an emergency, but it might be time to cash in: according to a fine-print clause in her contract, if she cannot solve the princesses’ curse in three nights, she’ll be executed the following dawn.

This 9000-word novelette first appeared in InterGalactic Medicine Show in January 2012. Cover elements by Jessica Truscott and Jeannie Ann Numos.

(I’m not saying I’ve also got a small, free collection of zombie stories over there too…but I’m not saying I don’t.)

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Lair of the Twelve Princesses on Amazon

Suddenly, Zombies on Amazon

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Everyone’s writing goals are different, but I think it’s safe to assume we all want to be productive and happy. Easier said than done. Last year, I asked Twitter two big questions: “What motivates your writing–what helps you be and stay productive?” and “What encourages your writing–when do you feel good about your writing and yourself as a writer?” Twitter is pretty smart, cumulatively, and I got some terrific answers. Funnily enough, those answers boiled down into three major “types”.

Now, a quiz. Pick the phrase you are most likely to say.

“I got so much writing done today! Thank goodness for

A) that deadline at the end of the week–it gave me the push I needed!”

B) that new idea I got–I couldn’t wait to see it on paper!”

C) that writing conference–it really got me fired up!”

“I had a great writing day!

A) I made a huge dent in my work in progress!”

B) I wrote the best scene–I’m still laughing!”

C) I got some great feedback!”

“Guys, I suck at writing.

A) I haven’t written anything new for a month, and missed an open submissions window.”

B) All my words are dead on the page and my characters are boring me.”

C) None of my beta readers are getting back to me, and I got a mean review.”

Tally your scores! Most people who talked to be about their motivation and encouragement fell into one of three broad mindsets, which I’m calling the Striving, the Story, and the Social profile.

All or Mostly A’s: Striving

These writers reported being motivated by: “hunger”, “deadlines”, “filling in the blanks.” Their encouragements were things like: “having written”, “hitting a goal”, “getting paid.” Sample responses:

feeling of accomp when I finish a scene/thing – just that it’s done — I finished a thing, and there it is, and even if it’s bad I could let it loose in the world

Knowing I have written is the reward for writing.

to be honest i get encouragement even from writing what turns out later to be crap. i always feel like it’s great @ the time…

Encouraged by sales, money and being TOC with great authors.

All or Mostly B’s: Story

These writers said they were motivated by things like “exciting ideas”, “a concept I can’t ignore”, “great new characters.” They were encouraged by “expressing a scene just the way I envision.” Sample responses:

Fun when it’s going well

Finding my work to be something I’d want to read

My positivity is all thanks to characters.

Enjoying what I’ve written and being able to picture the scenes (either written or upcoming) in my head

All or Mostly C’s: Social

These writers said they were motivated by “community”, “accountability”, “sharing the story”. They reported being encouraged by “feedback”, “getting it out to readers”. Sample responses:

getting good feedback that helps me grow as a writer

knowing others will read them helps too

Encouragement you get from other people, friends and colleges. You can’t do that either unless you have work to be commented on

I love it when people say they like something I’ve written. So, having a story get published and kinda disappear without a trace is a bummer.

All three profiles are capable of producing great stories. Almost everyone cares about all three things, but one tends to dominate. Identifying your motivation-encouragement profile is all about getting things done and feeling good about yourself.

So you know your motivation-encouragement profile: what now? Well, it can help you identify the source of a block, and what you can do about it. Striving writers can set a low goal, and trust their momentum to carry them from there. Story writers might skip ahead to a scene that’s really grabbing them. Social writers can find a reader who’ll enthusiastically push them for the next part of the story.

If you’re a mix of profiles and you’re having trouble, think about what’s lacking right now. Something to work toward? A great idea? A reader? Work through the possibilities, and you might land on something that gets you going.

For me, the biggest benefit of discovering these profiles was learning how to better encourage other writers! Someone complaining about a lack of feedback won’t be comforted by being reminded how much they wrote today. If we can learn to motivate and encourage each other in the ways that work for them, we all get closer to being productive, happy writers. Mission accomplished.

Have you thought about what motivates and encourages your writing? What’s your motivation-encouragement profile?

Two Things, a space-horror-comedy, has been reprinted and recorded by Wily Writers, free to read and/or listen to, here:  http://www.wilywriters.com/blog/two-things-by-amanda-c-davis/

This is the first full-length story of mine that saw print (ink-and-paper), so I’m thrilled to see it get a second wind. Let’s be honest: a) it’s Shawn of the Dead in space and b) that’s awesome.

If podcasts and audio books are your thing, you can check out Wily Writers’ archive of stories at the main site.

Other recordings of my stories (and one poem) are linked over at my Listen Free page.

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Bay has nothing to show for her years of military service but the clothes on her back, a bad leg, and a sardonic imp in a bottle who’s more harm than help. When she hears an open call for bodyguards for the twelve headstrong princesses, she thinks the job could reverse her fortunes. Unfortunately, her new charges are under a nightly curse, and everyone seems determined to keep the details a mystery–including its victims.

Luckily, Bay has a trick up her sleeve. Her imp owes her three wishes, and is desperate to grant them. She’s been hoarding his magic for an emergency, but it might be time to cash in: according to a fine-print clause in her contract, if she cannot solve the princesses’ curse in three nights, she’ll be executed the following dawn.

This 9000-word novelette first appeared in InterGalactic Medicine Show in January 2012. Cover elements by Jessica Truscott and Jeannie Ann Numos.

On Smashwords | On Amazon

2013 was a very different year in writing-and-publishing for me than the previous four.

I sold much less than usual–four stories, two poems, and a piece of flash that’s still kind of Schrodinger–but all four stories went to pro markets. I wrote a lot fewer short stories and poems–thirteen, not all polished yet–but my yearly word count nudged 200,000, twice my usual yearly rate, thanks to compulsive novel-drafting (two and a half new books first-drafted in 2013). And that doesn’t count any rewrites.

I also wrote eight guest blog posts (discovery: I do not like writing them!) and several personal blog posts (not a big fan of those either) and a fan game and all of my NaNo region‘s pep talk/reminders and a couple lines that were pretty funny on Twitter.

And of course this is the year the book came out.

Like I said, weird. Despite all the cool stuff that happened, by all my usual metrics, 2013 was a huge failure. I wrote far less submittable material, therefore I submitted far less, therefore I sold far less. If I have any goal for next year, it’s to get back on the submissions wagon. Write One Sub One is too much for me, but I liked #tenbythen, which required ten submissions, of anything, per month. That would bring me back in line. In the meantime, I’ve got QUITE a lot of novel editing to do. I hope I get slightly faster at it next year.

Stuff that came out in 2013:

Remembrance in Stone – Daily Science Fiction, 12/5/13

A Fixer-Upper (reprint) – Niteblade, 12/1/13

The Scry Mirror – What Fates Impose, 9/23/13

Things I Wish I’d Known Before Drinking the Faerie Wine – Penumbra, 9/1/13

Missed Connections > Pocket Universe – Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #57, 4/30/13

Sparks Between Our Teeth (reprint) – Bull Spec #8, 4/23/13

Song of Snow – Enchanted Conversation, 4/1/13

Wolves & Witches – World Weaver Press, 2/19/13

O How the Wet Folk Sing – FISH, 1/27/13

Stats:
Rejections: 42
Sales: 6, possibly 7
Still on submission: 22 (mostly reprints)
Wrote: 198,000 words (incl. 2.5 books, 6 stories, 6 flash, 1 poem)

By request: the pages of a monster-hunting artifact I tried to make back in 2008 or so. Didn’t get far…

(Not shown: the blank pages that make up 90% of that notebook.)

(Everything in here is an actual news story.)

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Kate Hibbard

Science and English just don’t mix. Stereotype has it that, if you’re good at one, you’re rubbish at the other.

Amanda C. Davis smashes that stereotype to pieces.

Davis graduated from Grove City, a liberal arts college about an hour north of Pittsburgh, with a degree in mechanical engineering. She found work at Bloom Engineering Co. in Pittsburgh.

After being laid off in 2009, she accepted a job with her current company in Lock Haven at which she helps build industrial boiler burners.

Davis started writing at a young age. It all began in the first grade when her teacher gave the class a prompt, “How to Train a Dinosaur.” Davis has been writing almost constantly since then.

These days, Davis mainly writes short stories in the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres.

She has well over 40 published works under her belt, the most recent being “The Scry Mirror…

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