It’s a pleasure to welcome Amanda Brittany on to my blog today.
Hello, Amanda, thanks for agreeing to be my blog guest for January. I always enjoy your stories so it’s a real pleasure to chat to you about your writing.
It’s lovely to be here, Susan. Thank you for inviting me.
Q1/ Do you remember the first story that was accepted by People’s Friend, and how many submissions did you send them before they said, ‘Yes.’
A/ I sold my first story to The Friend in May 2012. It was called ‘Holly’s Harvest’ and I drew on memories of being a Brownie when I was a little girl. I’d only sent in three stories prior to that. But don’t be fooled. I’ve had lots of rejections from them since, and lots of rejections from other magazines too.
Q2/ I really enjoyed your recent serial, the one set in Weymouth. The newlyweds from the fifties were great sleuths. Is this an idea you’ve had for a while, and will there be more from the couple?
A/ I absolutely love cosy crime, so I think the story was drawn from years of enjoying those kinds of books. I knew The Friend was looking for longer reads, particular murder mysteries, so gave it a go. Yes, I think I might be tempted to write more with the couple, as I enjoyed writing those characters, and felt they had more stories to tell. Although writing a murder mystery was very challenging.
Q3/ You write lovely period stories with great characters. Have you ever been tempted to elaborate on a short story for a novel length story?
A/ I have written a few stories that I’ve been tempted to expand, but have never done so. The novels I’ve written recently: Shadow Sisters (written with Karen Clarke) and Phototime, weren’t originally short stories.
Q4/ I’ve read your stories in several of the Annuals. How far in advance do you submit these to editors?
A/ Holly’s Harvest appeared in the 2014 Annual. So you don’t really submit for the annual, as such. The Friend’s editors buy your story, and then decide if they will use it for the annual.
Q5/ How does your writing day go? Is there a set routine you follow, or is it something you get down to when you feel in the mood?
A/ I write better in the mornings. On good days, I will write a story or a chapter of my novel. Frustratingly, there are a lot of bad days, where ideas won’t come, or I’m getting in a muddle with the plot, or I finish a story and decide it’s awful. But I refuse to let those days beat me, and find reading magazines or novels really helps. Or just taking myself out and about, doing something different, or listening to people. I’ve written many short stories that have been triggered by a single sentence I’ve overheard. On days when the writing doesn’t flow, I will edit or rewrite old stories, so I feel I’m being sort-of productive. It’s SO easy to procrastinate.
Q6/ / what advice would you give to writers who submit stories and keep getting rejections? Apart from stop doing it)
A/ Ooh, NEVER EVER stop doing it! I read somewhere that the only writers who don’t succeed are those who give up trying. And never forget when those horrid envelopes drop on your mat, that the most prolific writers get rejections too.
There are ways of upping your chances of success, although I’m sure they are all pretty obvious really:-
Read the magazines you hope to sell to (or the style of novel you are writing)
Attend magazine writing workshops.
Find a fabulous writing buddy, or writing group. It doesn’t matter how good your writing is, another pair of eyes is so helpful. Sometimes we are too close to our own writing to spot the the most most obvious errors. Did you see what I did there?
Read books on writing for women’s magazines, and books on writing generally.
Follow helpful blogs on writing.
Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. (Develop a thick skin!)
Keep up to date with magazine requirements.
Attending a writing course really helped me, but I don’t think everyone needs one.
Write from the heart, and really get to know your characters.
And obviously – Never give up!
Thanks for sharing your writing life with us, Amanda, and good luck with the books.
To follow Amanda and her writing, click on the links below.
FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/amandatimoney2
BLOG SPOT: http://www.writingallsorts.blogspot.com