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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Meet Amanda Frederickson--Summer Contest Runner Up

WOW: Congratulations for placing in our summer flash fiction contest! Could you describe how you feel?

Amanda: When I got the email saying “You’re in the top ten,” I was ecstatic! I was bouncing off the walls. I even printed the email and taped it to the front door.

WOW: We love to hear details like yours! Please tell us, what encouraged you to write “Remembering Georgia”?

Amanda: When I read the prompt, I started thinking about my past summer vacations, and we really had gone down to Georgia one summer to help rebuild houses after a tornado had torn through (it may have been more than one, but I don’t remember a lot of the details). We really did meet the man and his son, and the son played with my brother and I since we were the only kids.

WOW: That’s a good use of the past to create the fiction. In your bio you mentioned that you recently graduated from college with a double major in Creative Writing and Communications. Congratulations on your achievement! Do you think these degrees play a huge role in your desire to write? Do they make it “easier”?

“Easier”? Not by a long shot! I don’t think the degrees themselves have really made much of an impact on my life (yet, at least). Going to college, on the other hand, was something that I’m only really just now realizing I had desperately needed. Not for the classes (the sum of what I truly learned directly from a class is this: don’t staple a manuscript), but for the experience. I ended up with the second major in Communications because there were so few Creative Writing classes. But the friends I made and the experiences I gained were priceless.

WOW: That’s great. You also said that this is your second time to get published. Would you like to share the first?

Amanda: The first was winning our college press’s chapbook contest, which was open to juniors and seniors. That win completely blew me away, because my school is rather infamous for poetry, and my skills for poetry can be summed up in what I think is the best poem I’ve ever written:

Writing poetry
Is as simple and painless
As pulling teeth.

My chapbook entry was not only prose, but science fiction. The acceptance letter even said “your poetry submission has been chosen…” So, at first, I was half convinced it had to have been sent to me by mistake.

WOW: That’s funny. But it was obviously not a mistake. So, have you found encouragement from other books or authors you could recommend?

Amanda: I highly recommend Holly Lisle’s book Mugging the Muse. It’s a lot of helpful, down-to-earth advice on not just writing, but on a writer’s life as well, like dealing with agents and critique groups. Another really good one is No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, who started NaNoWriMo (which is coming up in November, and which I really strongly recommend anyone who writes to take part in. It’s the craziest writing binge you’ll ever be on, and it’s a blast to boot). It’s an awesome book for just pushing through and writing.

WOW: Wonderful suggestions. Thanks. Do you have any additional goals for your writing career?

Amanda: The ultimate goal is to be a novelist. Technically, everything else is candy, though I’d love to see my name on a bestsellers list. One day. Over the rainbow.

WOW: Rainbows happen! We also learned in your bio that you you’re working on a website for your jewelry. Are you an artist first, or a writer first, or both?

Amanda: I am a writer to my bones. I finished my first book manuscript in 5th grade, before I even considered “being a writer.” My jewelry feels like a hobby (though I’ll probably never make as much writing; it’s the sad fact of that profession).

WOW: Yes, but it’s a satisfying career. In terms of the craft, which books do you find the most helpful?

Amanda: In addition to the two I already mentioned, another good one is The Plot Thickens, by Noah Lukeman (and I’ve heard his other book, The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, is really good too, though I haven’t read it). Also, Orson Scott Card’s book on writing Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and David Gerrold’s book, whose title slips my mind and seems to have slipped from my bookshelf. (A lot of the basic principles translate to other kinds of writing, even if Sci-Fi and Fantasy aren’t your genres).

WOW: Thanks again for more suggestions. As we near the end, would you like to add any advice to our audience of writers?

Write! Nothing will happen if you don’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

WOW: Well said, Amanda. Thanks for sharing a little about your writing self here on WOW! We wish you well with your endeavors.

If you haven’t yet read Amanda’s winning entry, go here.

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