Amy Willoughby-Burle

Author, Editor


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My Writing Process Blog Relay

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I was invited to participate in this blog tour by Clifford Garstang a fellow Press 53 writer. Thanks, Cliff! This tour has been making the rounds since at least last October, and it’s a pleasure to be part of it. Each participant is asked to answer four questions and then pass the torch to a few more writers. You can check out Cliff’s post at cliffordgarstang.com  to see what he had to say. While you’re there check out the other writers who are carrying his torch along with me. Here’s my two cents:

 

1) What are you working on?

Right now I’m working on a literary, contemporary novel–tentatively titled Rain Coming Down. I’m on draft bazillion and have recently turned it over to the fresh eyes of some trusted readers to get their feedback. Some critiques have come back to me and although another overhaul is staring me in the face, I agree wholeheartedly with what I’m hearing from my readers. It’s so good to get that outside perspective on where you nailed it and where you hit your thumb instead. I’m a bit daunted by the work ahead of me, but mostly excited to incorporate some new “ah ha’s” into the next draft.

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t know that it’s a stand out “hey you’ve never seen this before” sort of thing as much as I might say my angle is using character and voice to get at those universal issues to create a specific experience in the story that speaks a larger message to the reader. (Which is what most literary fiction is aiming at, I would imagine) My hope is that mine touches the reader as much for its poetic depiction of people and place as it does for its story.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I write fiction because it lets me ponder truth in a different light. It’s let me be poetic and imaginative about the everyday and the mundane. Fiction lets me focus on the fireflies at dusk. Fiction makes the small stuff more poignant–and there’s way more small stuff in our lives than there are big dramatic moments–thank God.

4) How does your writing process work?

I get snippets of dialogue and ideas for character like I’m overhearing a conversation in progress. Usually I’m not privy to the set up, it’s just like walking into a room and there are two characters talking to each other and my job is to figure out the story around them. (I’m not really as crazy as that makes me sound.) What I mean is that I don’t set out to write a story about x,y, or z. Bits and pieces come to me and I generally make a dozen or so notes in my little pocket notebook before I ever sit down at the computer with those characters and try to figure out what story they’re trying to tell.

I don’t do too much editing as I go–I’m conscious of the sound of the sentences and I make a certain level of decision as I write, but mostly I’m just getting the story on the page. I skip around from start to end  to middle to some random piece whose placement comes to me later. I enjoy the freedom of writing that way, but I will admit, it does lend itself to some heavy rewriting as opposed to just editing sometimes.

I actually have a 400 page novel in “the Drawer” right now and I finally figured out what it’s about. I haven’t worked up the nerve to take it out again. When I finish the novel I’m currently working on, I’ll give myself a pep talk (or twelve) and open the drawer.

Thanks for reading!

 

Next up  is Beth Keefauver, Lauren Faulkenberry, and Anoosha Lalani. Their posts will appear on April 28th. Find out a bit about them and the links to their blogs below. Thanks for carrying the torch, gals.

Beth Keefauver‘s fiction has appeared in The Citron Review, Pisgah Review, Stirring, Blue Lotus Review, Press 53 Blog, and is forthcoming in two anthologies, Not Somewhere Else But Here: A Contemporary Anthology of Women and Place and Phantom Manners: Southern Gothic Fiction by Women. She received her PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee and currently teaches for the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville. Beth has written and performed in the Asheville area for LYLAS, an all female comedy troupe, and “Listen to This,” a monthly storytelling series. She is a former fiction editor of Grist. A Carolina girl with deep roots in east Tennessee, Beth lives in Fairview, NC with her husband, two sons, five chickens, and the occasional bear. Read more at http://bethkeefauver.wordpress.com.

Lauren Faulkenberry is a writer and book artist living in Whittier, NC. She currently makes small editions of prints and artist books, and teaches workshops in letterpress printing and book arts. She’s at work on a Kickstarter project and a novel. Find her online at www.therightsideof30.blogspot.com.

Anoosha Lalani has always had an insatiable desire to escape reality. It was a childhood trait that never seemed to fade out. If Anoosha were to make one wish, it would be to have wings to journey off the face of this planet and into the worlds of her stories. When she’s not writing, you may find Anoosha attending high school in Singapore. Having moved around so much, she has had the wonderful opportunity to be exposed to a vibrant range of cultures, which often seem to find their way into her stories. Anoosha was born in Pakistan, the setting of her most recent novel, The Keepers. Visit her online at http://myheartsblab.blogspot.sg/


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Workshop at Malaprop’s

This past Saturday I did a workshop at Malaprop’s called “Writing Character Based Conflict–Desire from the Inside out.” There was discussion as well and in-class exercises on character development. I met some amazing local writers and we ended up staying for about 3 hours talking with each other about story and character and just being a writer.

I’m planning on adding a page to this site soon that will have some recap of that workshop and also some other writing related programs that I offer–as well as other sites and places of interest for those looking for workshops and contests and the like.

Stay tuned!


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New Issue of Blue Lotus Review is out!

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Proud to announce the “out of hiatus relaunch” of Blue Lotus Review. I created this online journal a few years ago and then found myself back in the throes of new babyhood, and then again shortly thereafter and Blue Lotus Review bowed out gracefully for a while. But it’s back now and I couldn’t be happier with this issue. It’s a new format and really interesting new features. Come take a look! There’s art, literature, music, interviews, photos, book trailers, and more!

 

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