Today’s feature guest is the talented Amanda Eifert from Mandi Belle. Amanda is a writer of fiction and poetry. Currently working towards publishing her first novel. Please head over to Amanda’s site to read more about her writers journey!
By Amanda EifertAmaze me, be Brave, fight for you and I,
It’s unacceptable for you,
To say, ” I’m not ready yet.”
What length of time required,
Will cause you to move and,
Man up, be Brave,
Shake the past —
Sizzling skin, fascination that thrills me,
Providing us both with hours which,
Affection and comfort,
Between us lies more,
If only you tried,
To be Brave,
Name: Amanda Eifert
Please tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and have lived here all my life. I have a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Concordia University of Edmonton. At the age of 23-years-old I was working as an Administrative Assistant for a Commercial Development company when I became ill. Literally, it has taken me a journey of eight-years to come to a point where I can be a bit more independent and take part in more activities in life. I have a mood disorder (depression) and because of that severe fatigue. I am unable to work a traditional job.
I enjoy spending a lot of time writing, reading books, taking classes, blogging, dogs, walking, researching beauty and fashion, watching the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL, and watching the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL. I also like to spend time with my wonderful friends and family. I can be contacted @mandibelle16 on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr.
When did you first start writing?
I’ve been writing since I was young. As a girl of ten-years-old I would make up stories and write them in a duo-tang. I wrote prose poetry for a long time as a type of a journal. And I journaled in the traditional sense, in university because I had an English professor tell me in class it would beneficial for our writing if we (her students) wrote everyday. It actually worked.
When I first became ill, I couldn’t read well and writing was even harder so I had to practice those skills and relearn them. Reading came back pretty fast but writing at the level I did in university was a challenge. It is the reason I started my blog http://www.mandibelle16.wordpress.com. I wanted to improve my writing skills and have a place I could write about some of my health issues and other things going on in my life.
What does writing mean to you? Why Do You write?
‘Writing has always been like breathing for me.’
Often, I have so many ideas and topics I want to write about but there is only a set amount of hours in the day, and only so much time I have that I can concentrate on writing. I love writing. It is how I express myself most honestly and creatively. Sometimes it is easier for me to “talk” or say what I need to say through writing as opposed to talking out loud.
I write because I have this gigantic need in me to write. Also, I know I still need to improve my writing and keep practicing writing to grow in writing as a career. Now that I have been blogging a few years my writing has improved. My grammar is better (although never perfect) and I have taken creative writing and editing courses through different universities online.
I have also taken many WordPress courses on writing, poetry, blogging, and photography. These courses have helped to grow my writing immensely and to realize that networking in writing is an extremely important aspect of being a writer, as well as having a Social Media presence. I have met so many wonderful bloggers through WordPress courses and various prompts provided by other writers such as Flash Fiction challenges.
Where do you find your writing motivation and inspiration?
I read a lot and try to stay up on current events, which often inspires me. I would say I’m inwardly motivated and inspired to write.
‘Self-reflection on myself, my experiences in the past and present, happenings in the lives of those close to me, and looking at humanity as a bigger picture of a whole influences my writing.’
I also am motivated by poets and writers of the past whom I learned about in University — Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, John Milton, John Donne, William Wordsworth to name only a few. The prompts for different challenges such as pictures or a word for Flash fiction are inspiring too. As well, I adore fairytales and the meaning behind the true fairytales and folklore. Religion also to some degree is reflected in my writing.
What are your current projects?
I have three goals right now in writing. My first, is to finish a novel I have been writing called ‘How Was Last Night For You?’ It is a romance and supernatural genre book.
To give you a short summary: Nina Gudroe goes to the Martinie Bar under her condo one night and meets the mysterious John Eric. Three unusual and horrible things happen that night. Nina meets John a couple of days later and finds out he was cursed by an ex-girlfriend who was a sea witch to have terrible things happen around him all the time. The relationship between John and Nina escalates quickly and John is able to protect Nina because she is the first woman he has cared about since his ex who cursed him (Tia/Talise.)
Later, Talise decides she wants John back, that he has suffered enough and she will forgive him. This becomes a problem because John is falling hard for Nina. The only way for John to break his curse is for him to love a woman and sacrifice himself for her. Talise will attempt to ensure John does not break his curse and Nina does not remain alive.
The second project I am working on and the third are tied together. I am attempting to get into a Master’s Program at the University of British Columbia in Creative Writing. I need to work on a portfolio for that in two or three areas of creative writing. At the same time, I am trying to get my name out there as a writer and have some of my work published in literary magazines and pretty much anywhere I can find to publish it.
Have you published works, or do you plan on publishing works in the future?
(Mentioned above) I did not say, however, I have been guest publishing on a few other blogs as of late. I also wrote for a young women’s magazine for a year on a variety of topics about three-years-ago. The magazine has since changed sites so my work is no longer available online but I do have copies. I did a couple hundred articles so there were quite a few on topics related to things woman in their late teens or early twenties would enjoy.
What process did you go through to get your book published?
I’m still working on completing the first draft and then I will go through some of the constructive criticism other writers have given me on the various chapters and do a second draft. Then, I would like to look into hiring an editor to help me with editing and how things are arranged in the book.
I have never written a book before. This is my first go at it, so I’m hoping to find a great editor who will look at the book overall and then a copy editor. I’m learning as I go, so I’m not quite sure where I will go from there. I know you can self-publish on Amazon, but maybe there are other ways to look at publishing too. I would love to see my book out in actual hardcover or paperback. But right now I need to finish the last quarter of the book’s first draft before I can even think of what is too far ahead.
Tell us about your writing process:
My writing process is something of a developing thing itself for creative writing. If it is a short piece or Flash Fiction I start writing and write until I finish. I begin cutting and editing then. I have learnt to leave only the sentences that matter remain for short fiction. Every sentence has to mean something.
For longer fiction, my book specifically, I learned how to plan the book out from another blogger; The Writing Chimp. I was stuck for almost a year and a half because I didn’t know how to plan a novel. I was inspired when I read her posts and started writing out all of the characters in my book one at a time. I wrote what they looked like, what the did, what events occurred to them, their past and aspirations.
My main characters were more detailed then my minor characters of course but this simple step gave me material to work with. Then I started writing what happened at the end of the of the book ( in the fourth quarter) with material from my character analysis, and I had already written up my first quarter of the book and my inciting incident. Then, from there I organized the remaining events that I wrote about having happened to my main characters for the second quarter of the book and the third quarter, keeping in mind half-way through the book the main character stops “reacting” and starts “acting” – Nina/John start dealing with their problems the curse and Talise.
Then, I started dividing what happened in each of these quarters into chapters. This has given me an excellent framework to write with. I never realized how much planning is needed for a book. Often, I find myself adding new aspects in and scrapping old aspects. Sometimes what I wanted in each chapter, actually takes me two or three chapters to explain. Sometimes, it only takes a paragraph. I’m learning. Every blog post I can find about writing goes into a folder for reference.
Do you have a specific writing style/genre?
I like to write about people and their relationships. I like to read books that have a love interest so at times I like to write about that. A fellow blogger named Andy told me I needed to make something happen when I write.
He used the example of Lord of The Rings. Frodo has an evil powerful ring and this isn’t exciting. But Frodo taking the evil ring on a quest to destroy it is exciting. So, it is great to have a happy story but I have learnt that stories need to have action.
Hence, I have learned to like and write thriller stories too with some romance included at times. Scary stories can be fun to write too.
Poetry for me is more personal, even though I currently am exploring different forms of poetry, the topics of poetry tend to be more about what is going on in my life. I also write short non-fiction stories about my personal life as well.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
‘You have to start somewhere; if you want to go write, write! Whether that is blogging or journaling , start writing and write everyday.’
I think blogging is a fantastic way to go because it exposes you to other writers and their critiques. It is a good idea to get to know other bloggers and writers through writing prompts and courses and to make a point of commenting on people’s work. This opens up doors for you as well by developing a bigger reader base for your blog. The people who follow your blog now might not like a certain piece, but other bloggers out their might enjoy it immensely. It is also essential to get your name out there on Social Media. Twitter is extremely great for this and a Facebook page is worth it once you start to gain followers. Sharing your work on Social Media sites is critical.
From the first draft of the book I’m writing:
Chapter 17: Family Dinner and Defeating Talise
Chapter 18: Defeating Talise and Breaking Nina’s Heart