Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Amadea’s Bio:
Amadea Tanner writes predominantly historical fiction, and is interested in using stories to navigate the cycle of time. Partial to noir banter, philosophical musing, and featuring inanimate objects as characters in their own right, she is currently polishing a novel which explores the eternal and the ephemeral through a female correspondent’s journey during WWII. 

You can find Amadea in the ether @amadea_cadence or 

If you haven't read Amadea's story, take a moment to click through and read "The Usual Solace" before coming back to learn about her inspiration and her writing process. 

WOW: What was the inspiration behind your story? 

Amadea: This piece was inspired by a research stint into birth control methods of the 1950s for a separate project. I found myself fascinated and disturbed by the fact that, for lack of alternatives, many women truly took their lives into their own hands out of sheer desperation. While outlining some of the more extreme examples, I realized that this background information was the story itself. 

"The Usual Solace" recounts some of the untold personal tragedies of women living in a post-war society propagandizing opportunity and abundance, principles that applied to everything but their own lives. I found it to be a dark and insidious story as I was writing it, and finished this piece before any recent political agendas overturning progress for women’s health and rights. It is painful to consider this story feels a bit prophetic now. Inspired by true events, this piece was originally intended as a meditation on how far we’ve come, but has lately evolved into more anecdotal evidence that we have not progressed all that far. 

WOW: It is awe inspiring and frightening how timely a story can become! One of the most important elements of writing is rewriting. How did your story change during the revision process? 

Amadea: I was never intending to write something this short, but as the characters began coming to life, I found that their circumstances felt more poignant when their personal histories were condensed rather than expanded. Leaving out details helped to add a certain mystique, and the story evolved to take on an omniscient, journalistic tone. Opting for conciseness and borderline ambivalence in describing these women’s deaths seemed to me to heighten their tragedy. 

WOW:  The way the stories were told, it made me wonder who I might have known in my life who might have been portrayed in "The Usual Solace." What advice do you have to give readers who have never attempted flash? 

Amadea: This piece was my first attempt at flash fiction, so I would not consider myself an authority on the medium. But what I have learned is that flash fiction can be a very effective means of testing out ideas to see if they work in narrative form. If you are holding off on starting a writing project because it feels intimidating, flash can function as a micro rendering of a story that could potentially exist as an outline or proof-of-concept to inspire the bigger project into being. For me, flash has become my go-to way of simply generating ideas onto the page. But I have also found that many of my story ideas truly can be told in under 1,000 words, which is why flash can be so resonant. 

WOW: You write short stories, articles, and films. What have you learned working in multiple forms? 

Amadea: Working in multiple forms has given me a tendency to blend approaches. Sometimes I find myself constructing articles like narratives and writing prose stories with the arc of a screenplay. Exploring different genres simultaneously has ultimately emphasized this beautiful universality of storytelling as part of the human experience. Whether it is fact or fiction, we are drawn to narratives and character journeys. 

WOW:  So true! What can you tell our readers about the novel you are currently polishing? What have you learned through the process of working on this manuscript? 

Amadea: This novel actually began as a screenplay. Filled with dance scenes, noir banter, philosophical musing, and artifacts that bring the past back to life—including a typewriter named Gladys—this story is a reflection on how the people who come before us have helped shape our lives, revealing that the eternal and the ephemeral are not always diametrically opposed. 

The story initially seemed compelling as a script because it is highly visual—there are numerous flashback sequences that connect past and present throughout the narrative. But when I was outlining the script, I kept hearing from peers and mentors that the story had enough content to make for a decent novel. Eventually I got through enough drafts of the script to realize that they were right, and I believe the only reason I was able to dive into writing this novel is because the script served as a very comprehensive outline. 

This adaptation journey has been an opportunity to break away from the minimalism and efficiency in script storytelling which requires a constant consideration for film pacing and audience attention span. With prose, there is a lot more freedom in letting the story unfold. The greatest challenge has been simply recognizing the sheer scope of storytelling tools that prose affords, and the manuscript transformation has ultimately given this story more depth, nuance, and resonance. I have especially enjoyed getting to know my characters on a deeper level!

WOW: I love how your emphasis throughout, whether flash, script, or novel, is telling the story in the best way possible.  Some stories flourish in short forms while others require a larger scope.  Thank you so much for sharing both your flash and your writing process with all of us.

Interview by Sue Bradford Edwards, blogger, author, and WOW instructor. She teaches Pitching, Querying and Submitting Your Work, Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adultsand Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session in each course will begin on May 1, 2023.  


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