for the Writers

A not-so-merry blogmas

Okay, it can be merry for you if you want. But for me, it will be eerie and creepy and sinister. Muahaha.

Want to tell a holiday story (of any genre)? Step out into the wild unknown of someone else’s blogspace? Reach a whole new audience with your wondrous words?

Join the December blogmas event on my friend’s page. Tell a creepy story, a silly story, an inspiring story, a dystopian story (Hey btw sidenote: I told a dystopian Christmas story a couple years ago), a fairytale, or a tragedy… Squeal! This’ll be fun 🙂

What will I be writing about? I’m collabing with my friend to tell a story about a Christmas present gone awry. I’d tell you more, but we still have to plan it all out exactly. But trust me, it will be eerily enchanting.

But the real question is, what will YOU write about? Go over to the Blogmas page to sign up now, but comment below and tell me what you’ll be writing 🙂

Musings

Blogmas, AOL, murder, and all the things…

How have you lovelies been? I’ve missed you! I was out sick (Boooooo) and then busy with birthday plans (Woohoooooooo), and now I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things.

Last week I blogged about my birthday spy mission, so I figured I’d save my “I was sick” explanation until this week.

But I have great things lined up, if you have a little patience as I work through them!

  • A collaborative Christmas eerie horror-esque story, which will then spin off into a monthly-ish series probably. (Still in the planning stages, so tbd.)
  • Editing my quirky psychological meta murder mystery so I can finally eventually share it with all of you.
  • Setting up an email newsletter for updates such as this. It’ll be the insider’s place, the first to see the book cover, a chance to be a character in a story, win my books, stuff like that.
  • Oh and hey, I’m learning about the publishing process more, lots of research. It may bore you to know I’m even researching Gmail because I’m trying to get out of my AOL email and into the 21st century. Not fun! I feel like a grandma, I’m so lost with this technology 🙂

I’m trying to figure out how to juggle all these things on top of blogging – which has always been a huge priority to me, and still is.

If you want to school this grandma on Gmail or join a holiday blogmas or be a character in my story or – hey, even hear how my mermaid curse has been broken – stick around. I’ll update you soon. You’ll always be my first and biggest fans, and my greatest community <3

 

Exclusive Content, for the Writers

My 6 step process to editing a book

This post is top secret content for my most raving fans. There are two ways to get in on the fun:

  1. An abridged version of any new post is sent to those who receive my posts by email. You can sign up for free at the very bottom of my webpage. 
  2. The all-access pass for the archives and any future exclusive posts is available to paying patrons for just $2/mo. You can sign up through the below link to Patreon.com/AmyLSauder
The only question is, which will you choose? 
This content is available exclusively to members of Amy L. Sauder's Patreon at the time this content was posted. Become a patron to get exclusive content like this in the future.
for the Creatives, Musings

A little feedback can go a long way

Last week I shared the survey results for my quirky meta murder mystery book title. Maybe you want feedback but there’s no way you’ll hear from 50 people on a survey like I did (I asked thousands of people for that help.)

But I wanted to share that

I already thought I knew how the results would go before they ever happened.

Because before I created the survey, I asked a dozen people in a group and heard from about half of them. And the exact same results happened on a smaller scale – most liked “Memoir of a Murder” but for reasons that didn’t coincide with my story. Two people liked “I Know You Like a Murder” in a way that resonated with my story. And this response is like #lifegoals for a writer here:

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My friend Laura posted this – it wasn’t an analytical response as to all the reasons one title is superior to the other. It was an instinctive gut-level reaction, something that tugged at her that she couldn’t get out of her mind.

That’s what an author wants of a story, and I got that response just from the title. I had to pick that title! and as you saw from the survey results I posted last week, that reaction multiplied in the 50-ish people who responded there.

Mostly I just wanted to geek out and publicly squeal and gush over this comment, because let’s be real, it’s everything I hope my book will be <3

But let’s throw in a little encouragement inspiration for you too while we’re at it 🙂 If you’re not sure on a decision, just ask a small group of friends. But don’t just ask the multiple choice – ask why the choice they made and why not the other choices.

Then watch for the emotionally gripping response, not some logical reasoning. You’ve got your reader hooked when they respond from the heart instead of their head. You don’t want them to think “That’s smart,” you want them to think “I can’t let this go.”

Musings

The book title that got the least votes, but wins

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with politics. Let’s not go there 🙂

If you don’t follow me on other social media, you missed out on a survey to vote on the title of my short story. (I’m sorry, I actually planned on posting it here, because you’re some of my greatest fans, but I suddenly had an unplanned deadline of 24 hours, so…)

And wouldn’t you know it, the title that got fewer votes wins. 

How’s that possible you ask? In short:

Reader responses….

If you ever plan on surveying your reader base, having an open comment section can make it take more of your time, but that time may be important.

If I only had the multiple choice options, here’s what I would have seen:

 

 

The image on the left is a “Select All” question of which titles the reader might purchase. The image on the right is the “Select One” question of which title I should name my book.

Either way, that light blue color is definitely not the “winner.” I would obviously name my story off the dark blue title. Right? 

But I’d made the decision to ask the voters to plead their cause. “Why that book? Why NOT the others?” and that’s where things got interesting.

First off, I found out the Yellow title – which off the bat was actually winning the “race” – a voter informed me that title was very similar to a title of a different story. Mine sounded like a spin-off. So I deleted that option right away. (Thanks voter!)

So what were the two competing titles, you ask?

Dark blue: Memoir of a Murderer

Light blue: I Know You Like a Murder

How did I Know You Like a Murder win without winning?

Reason #1: The response of those who chose I Know You Like a Murder

You probably knew this was one of the reasons. Check it out!

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To sum up, the readers who voted for I Know You Like a Murder got it! It made them think. They’re my type of reader. “Quirky, personality, weird, unusual”, they get the vibe of my story. If you voted for this title, this may be the story you’re looking for 🙂

 

But there was another reason that pushed me to choosing I Know You Like a Murder.

Reason #2: The response of those who chose Memoir of a Murderer

Maybe you didn’t see that one coming. But first off, those who picked this title were looking for a deep internal look at a murderer. And my story isn’t that story – though that’d be a great story for someone 🙂

More than that though, their responses about I Know You Like a Murder and why they didn’t vote for it, just made me want to pick it even more. 

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  1. My protagonist is definitely patronizing
  2. Doesn’t that “I’m not sure about buying it because I don’t want people to think I like murder comment” just make you want to name the title that?
  3. “Odd.” Uhmm, yeah. If everyone thought the title was odd and wouldn’t buy it, sure, I’d want to take that into consideration. But the fact it’s odd reaches a niche audience that we’ve already seen want odd, and that’s what I’m going for, so this just confirms that THIS reader isn’t MY reader. And that’s fine 🙂
  4. My protagonist is definitely presumptuous, and this is hilarious.
  5. “I don’t like murder.” Uhmm, yes you do, in the first sentence of your response you said you found it intriguing 😉 hehe once again, doesn’t this just make you want to name it I Know You Like a Murder?

The responses showed me that if I named the story Memoir of  a Murderer, more readers might pick it up, but they’d be the wrong readers. They’d start reading and hate the story and I’d have missed my audience.

But if I named my book I Know You Like a Murder, it’ll be a smaller audience, but it’d be the right audience, that audience looking for a story like mine, that would like a story like mine. It’s my niche, my tribe, my people who get me 😉

 

Do You Like Murder [Mysteries or Writing]?

And so, that’s how it was determined that my story will be titled I Know You Like a Murder.

  • Sound interesting? Stay tuned to get your hands on it.
    Sound horrible? Mehh okay, it’s not for you. Sound off in the comments below – don’t worry, we’re still buds 🙂

Think I made the right choice, or wrong choice?

And hey, are you interested in writing Memoir of a Murderer, because it sounds like a cool story that people want to read 🙂 Have at it!

for the Writers

10 writing experiments to avoid

My friend was going to do a writing experiment, but was worried I as her writing coach wouldn’t approve. So I sent her a comprehensive list of all the experiments I disapprove of. If you’re thinking of experimenting with your writing, here’s a cautionary look at what experiments to avoid.

  •  Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you refuse to write until 5 years have passed.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you only write when inspired.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you never write again.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you only research your novel but never write.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you talk about your idea but never write.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you always say you’ll write “someday.”
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you’ll write when you retire.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you open up Facebook instead of write.
  • Oh no, you’re doing an experiment where you binge on movies and books and then talk about how you could write better, but you don’t actually ever write it to write better.
  • Oh no, you’re doing a writing experiment that somehow keeps you from writing entirely.

If you get any idea from this list, know that if you have a writing experiment in mind, I probably wholeheartedly embrace it! In fact, I think the best stories come from being innovative, playing with words, and experimenting.

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If you’re looking for permission to think outside the box, the building, the rules of story, the world of writing, consider this your invitation. Dabble all you want. Just keep writing 🙂

Exclusive Content, for the Writers

13 tools for editing your book

This post is top secret content for my most raving fans. There are two ways to get in on the fun:

  1. An abridged version of any new post is sent to those who receive my posts by email. You can sign up for free at the very bottom of my webpage. 
  2. The all-access pass for the archives and any future exclusive posts is available to paying patrons for just $2/mo. You can sign up through the below link to Patreon.com/AmyLSauder
The only question is, which will you choose? 
This content is available exclusively to members of Amy L. Sauder's Patreon at the time this content was posted. Become a patron to get exclusive content like this in the future.
for the Creatives, for the Writers, Musings, My Creative Projects

Do You Have a Book in You?

If you’ve ever wondered if you could write a book, should write a book, or if you’ve dabbled with writing and wondered if it’s worth a shot to pursue it more seriously, I have news for you!

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I have a new FREE online class to help you answer these questions:

–Do I really have a book in me?

–Can I write a book?

–What’s the process?

–Is this really something I want to take on?

–What am I taking on?

I’m give you a brief overview of the writing world and help you decide if and how you fit into that. This isn’t supposed to be the end-all-be-all decision-maker, but I hope it gets you going in the right direction, whatever that may look like.

This free course has approximately 30 minutes of online material that you can go through at your own pace. After this course, you will have a more firm grasp of what you’re getting into when you sign up to become an author.

What are you waiting for? Sign up now here 🙂

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Musings

Strangers: A Secret Society

Who hasn’t wanted to be part of a secret society?
I’m a writer and educator, specifically for high schoolers. I can’t do that alone. I need teenagers on the inside. I’ve created a facebook group to talk about weird writerly, readerly, teacherly, or weirderly things. I ask questions, my secret society of teenagers answer. Also includes exclusive material on my story and writing tips.

 

Are you a teenager who’d want to participate? Know a teenager that’s into stories (whether reading, writing, telling, or watching)? Join my secret society….message me! Vacancies currently open.

 

for the Bookworms, for the Writers

Why “American Sniper” Couldn’t Hold My Interest

I may have been the only person who found “American Sniper” to be the most yawn-inducing movie of the year century decade quite awhile.

“But that’s unpatriotic!….’American Sniper’ is a hero that should be taught in every high school history class!” I know, I know, my mom told me. And I don’t have a problem with the guy or the theme or my country or anything extreme like that. I have a problem with the film….that’s it.

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Caveat: I don’t generally enjoy this genre of film.

That being said, this was still worse than all most the others in the genre. I’d say “it’s bad when the only part I like is the two minutes I see Jesse from Glee,” except really that would probably be a whole bunch of movies if he would just show up in more movies, please! So anyhow, that maybe isn’t a good example of how bored I was.

Here’s why “American Sniper” failed to grab my interest:

Stories Need Structure

Your main character starts out with an internal or external goal – something they really want. And stakes – something they’ll lose if they don’t get it. And an obstacle – villain, per se – something that’s in the way of achieving their goal. The entire story from there is the character overcoming the obstacle to either achieve (or NOT achieve) their goal.

Veer from that very basic structure and it’s really difficult to hold an audience’s attention.

This story didn’t start with a clear goal – Chris Kyle was just living his life and ended up joining the military due to girlfriend troubles and shocking national news. Then everything from that point is the different battles he fights.

Maybe you say “His external goal is catching Mustafa.” Sure, in the background is this elusive bad guy he needs to get, but the majority of the loooooong story has nothing to do with him progressing towards or falling away from catching Mustafa – he’s just brought up every so often of “Oh yeah, and this guy we want to catch still.” So there’s a whole lot of “fluff” if that’s the story’s goal.

Maybe you say “His internal goal is to live a fulfilling life despite the trauma of war.” Sure, I can go with that. The PTSD and figuring out ways to cope and deal – that’s rough. And add in the family dynamics and reverse culture shock – it’s crazy difficult. But once again, there’s so much that doesn’t add to that storyline either.

Overall, it ended up being a mod-podge of life events. That’s kinda how telling a person’s life works, except quality writing finds a way to mash it all into a story structure. And I personally didn’t think this cut it – I couldn’t figure out the POINT of the story long enough to care about any of the events.

What do you think?

Am I way out of line?

Am I just reading this story wrong since I dislike the genre? (I’ve been wondering….people who like this genre, what’d YOU think?)

Is there anyone who felt the same way watching the movie? Pipe up, I’m feeling alone in this 🙂