About Amy Bearce:
Amy writes stories for tweens and teens. She is a former reading teacher who now has her Masters in Library Science. As an Army kid, she moved eight times before she was eighteen, so she feels especially fortunate to be married to her high school sweetheart. Together they’re raising two daughters and are currently living in Germany, though Texas is still where they call home. A perfect day for Amy involves rain pattering on the windows, popcorn, and every member of her family curled up in one cozy room reading a good book.
What inspires you to write?
I’m not sure inspiration is the right word. Driven, maybe. I’ll get an idea, just a spark, and then it’ll marinate a while. Then once I can see the opening scene or hear the character’s voice, then I have to write it. I want to see how the story ends.
Tell us about your writing process.
For now, I’m a planner. I used to be a pantster until the first three manuscripts I tried to write that way didn’t work out. Either the middle sagged or the end didn’t work. I got sick of that business, so I read about the three act structure, the notecard/sticky note method, and other such outline tools. They have made all the difference for me.
Turns out I really need to have an idea of the big picture in my story –all the major, important plot points–to be able to write a complete story that makes any kind of sense. I find that I tend to write like I’m creating a painting.
It starts with a thumbnail sketch—a brief description of the story I have in mind, a sort of synopsis before I even begin more than the opening pages. Then I have to block out the big parts, first. The whole thing looks raw and totally unfinished after my first draft and I’m sure it’ll never come together even though all the main pieces are there. But then I add in details. Shadows. I layer, revision by revision, as I learn more about my character and my world. I am slow at world-building, and need lots of time to figure out details. The whole thing comes into focus slowly, and one part might be finished before the rest
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t really do either. I always wanted to be a member of that club who hears their characters talk and just dictate, but that usually doesn’t happen for me. I do my best to have them behave in character, of course, but I don’t think it’s the same thing. I feel I should perhaps get pity bonus creativity points for often not liking my characters while I’m writing, like they are forcing me to do a bunch of work for them without pay, during my free time. But I feel compelled to write anyway.
What advice would you give other writers?
Learn from your rejections. If you get fifty rejections from agents or editors, stop and rework your story. It’s not that these people are trying to stomp on your goals. They don’t hate you personally. They are looking for a great story. Likewise, don’t argue when all of your critique partners tell you there’s a flaw in your story or your character. It’s okay to ignore one person, but if five people have told you the same thing, stop arguing about why it works and FIX the story or the character. In the end, if readers find your story unbelievable or uninteresting, they won’t care about your story and you’ve not served your characters, your story, or yourself well.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
As a writer for kids and teens, I knew I wanted to be traditionally published. I don’t have the kind of platform that would get self-published books out there to that audience, and I don’t have the detail-oriented nature to deal with all the technicalities of publishing that a self-pubbed author must. I think self-pubbing is a great option for some, but it wasn’t the one for me.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I don’t have a firm idea of what the future will look like. I’m just trying to survive the now. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of options for people and, despite all the changes going on– traditional publishing is not disappearing any time soon. Agents and editors still serve an important role of helping curate the vast amount of stories being told out there.
As far as the ebook debate, I know a lot of people are enjoying ebooks these days—I buy as many ebooks as physical copies of books–but in my library science classes, we learned that kids and teens, actually, statistically still prefer print books. And I see that to be the case with my own children. So I don’t think the print book is disappearing anytime soon, either. I’m glad. I love a good paperback.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: upper middle grade & YA: fantasy (mostly), science fiction, contemporary realistic
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print