Solitary Writer at the Boston Book Festival

Each year, I try to attend the Boston Book Festival, held in October. It’s a well-organized event that has a little something for everyone.

As usual, I made sure to attend the event I look forward to each year, Writer Idol. It is exactly what it sounds like–a literary version of American Idol. Brave writers submit the first page of their work, and someone reads them aloud. Three agents listen intently. They raise a hand when they would have stopped reading the submission, and when two of the three agents have raised their hand, the work stops being read. The agents then explain why they stopped reading.

I have never submitted my pages for this event (I am SO NOT BRAVE!), but I love listening to everyone else’s work, and it’s always interesting to watch the agent’s faces as they listen. It’s especially interesting to hear their thoughts on why they stopped.

Here are the takeaway lessons I got from this year’s Writer Idol event.

*New writers often “over-write.” The agents stressed that excellent writing should sound like the author barely put any effort into the prose. It should not be clunky or “too creative.”

*Writers need to simplify. Or, as one agent put it, “You don’t need all that shit!”

*Get rid of all the adjectives.

All of these lessons are sort of the same idea, but since I’m not allowed to over-write my manuscript, I figured I could take advantage and spell it all out in a blog post. 😉

I commend all of the brave, thick-skinned souls who submitted their work to be torn apart for the benefit of all.

So to my reader friends–please feel sorry for the writers who have to craft stories around all these dang rules we’re given every other minute. (No adverbs, no adjectives, no over-writing, no under-writing, no this, no that, blah blah blah). And to all of my writer friends–have a great big drink (and don’t forget to invite me!)


Amanda 🙂

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Making Things Up As I Go Along

I’m a writer.

I make things up.

Stories, conversations, people.

When I write a story, I don’t model my characters after anyone I know. This can be hard for non-writers to understand.

Don’t get me wrong, bits and pieces of everyone I encounter make up the characters I create, much the same way we are all made of stardust. I can’t pretend to understand where my ideas come from… nor will I ever be able to truly explain the process. I shock myself with some of the things that happen with my characters and my books.

Do my characters act like me? Ha. I’m rather boring in person, so I hope not! My characters make decisions based on who they are, not who I am. (Imagine how boring the book world would be if authors only wrote about themselves???) Readers are way too smart–we know when a character acts in a way that isn’t congruent with their psychological profile. How many times have you screamed at the television, “She’d never do that!”

Just as I/we read to escape, I also write to escape. To dream up a world with problems that are different than mine. To coax two characters toward the happily-ever-afters they deserve. To give my characters the opportunity to say the things I wish I could or would say. (You know what I mean–like when the perfect comeback forms in your head HOURS after the argument? In a book, the author can go back and add that bit of dialogue when it percolates. Don’t you wish you could do that in real life from time to time?)

Writing can feel like magic. Seeds are planted early on in a story, and I’ll often have no idea WHY a certain something was mentioned. Later, it becomes clear. “Oh, so THAT’S why he grows flowers!” Or whatever. By the time the story is written (and rewritten, and rewritten, and oh, did I mention rewritten?), I hope to have pieced together enough of the magic to bring the characters to life in a way that can make them feel like living, breathing characters.

So someday someone can play the guessing game about who I modeled my characters after. Because if I tell you that the hot hero on the cover is really tied up in my basement, you probably won’t believe me.  But if I tell you that the people you’ve grown to think of as friends (hopefully!) were complete figments of my imagination and not my friends, family, or neighbors, it may be even harder to believe.

Loving a Wildflower - Amanda Torrey 1600x2560


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The world we live in…Man has it changed. ADDENDUM!

People should be ashamed of themselves.

Left, Center, Right

I thank God every day that Facebook and Twitter, instagram, vine, Youtube, all of it, did not exist when I went to High School. I can’t imagine the dumb stuff I’d have been caught saying and doing.

If you are a dad this is something you well know already, if you are a dad with a daughter this is likely to get your blood going. If you are a boy, or young man, or husband, and you haven’t experienced children yet, or haven’t had a daughter, it’s next to impossible for you to understand.

My daughter, my one and only daughter, has worked her ass off playing sports the past 9-10 years. She’s loved it, and I’ve loved being able to both watch, and coach along the way.

Last week we were told she’d been accepted to college and will begin playing softball there next year.

Clearly an incredibly proud day.

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New social network! :)

Join me on tsū, they are sharing social revenues with all of us #tsunation

It’s actually quite fun and easy to use!  All the cool kids are signing up. 😉

*Amanda 🙂

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gluten free vegan garlic herb breadsticks

Making these ASAP.  As in, now. Wish me luck!  🙂

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Rising from the ashes

Here I am with a shiny new blog. I’m hoping to become more active on here now that I’m able to actually compose a blog and post it from my phone. (What has the world come to???) I’m still in the testing phase as I try out my new relationship with WordPress, so this one will be short and sweet.

I’ll leave you with a joke–my favorite joke of all time.

How do you say goodbye to a sandcastle?

With a WAVE!

Ha, ha, ha–get it???

See why it’s my favorite joke?


Okay, signing off now. Because clearly I need sleep. 😉

Love and hugs and magical wishes to all,

~Amanda 🙂

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Testing new blog…

This is a test of the Amanda Torrey Blogging system, this is only a test.

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