Thursday, October 1, 2015

I'm hosting a REVIEW FOR THE WIN giveaway--and a Recipe for Successful Revising.

This month I am celebrating the release of my latest book, the young adult urban fantasy/thriller UNTIL BETH. As you may or may not know I DESIGNED THIS COVER as well as many others for Spencer Hill Press and other clients. You can purchase UNTIL BETH here.

How would you like a Lisa Amowitz design for your indie-published book--or a banner design for your blog or website?

I will included up to five royalty-free images and you must agree to accept the cover/web banner as I envision it for you. If you wish a more complicated design, we'll need to negotiate new terms.

OR you can choose three web graphics to promote your book instead--like these:

Or you can choose one of my detailed and comprehensive five page critiques.

To give you a little taste of my style, I'm going to share my REVISION RECIPE (this segment originally appeared as part of a larger interview posted on the Istyria Book Blog by the wonderful Bieke and Rachel.


Writing a first draft is hard and takes a lot of time, but the actual hard work comes after that. How do you go about revising and editing that first draft?

Ah—I think I hinted at the hair-pulling aspect, but let me try to break this down into something useful for aspiring authors. I’m going to write it out like a mad-cap recipe for things you need to put on your checklist

5 cups of character. Know your main character. Know his/her background, idiosyncrasies, loves, obsessions, fears. Know what they need to learn/find on their journey. Know this FIRST before you do anything else.

1 cup of setting. Where and when are they? Contemporary? Future? Past? Research, research, research. Is this fleshed out? Is it pertinent to the story? Create a sense of place and atmosphere.

A gallon of conflict. Character + conflict =plot. Yeah—not conflict, no story.

Take these ingredients and mix them in a bowl. Add the following advice that comes largely from a great book I read called Hooked, by Les Edgerton.

Stir in Make your you have a first sentence that grabs your reader immediately, tells them something about your character, and sets up what’s about to happen. Edgerton calls it the “surface problem”. I call it the catalyst. It’s the event that sets the story in motion. Your first chapter should create a situation that tells us something about our protagonist and puts events in play. It does not have to be the actual situation. That’s why Edgerton calls it the surface problem. It then leads the protagonist to the “story level problem—the issue they must solve to get to the conclusion of the book.”

Mix in action in every chapter. Something has to happen. You cannot just describe things and let your reader fall asleep…because they won’t fall asleep—they will throw your book across the room or delete it from their ereaders.

Chop any words, scenes, dialogue, description that does not move the story forward. ALL DIALOGUE and settings must add to your narrative. Use description as part of action.

Add a pinch of quirky details that bring your story and characters to life but don’t weigh down the narrative.

Cook on high heatkeep going! Don’t stop!

Allow to cool Always be ready to “kill your darlings.” That’s advice from Stephen King from On Writing. That means be merciless and cut whole chapters, sentences, even characters that bog your narrative down.

Writing Books I recommend:
Stephen King’s; On Writing, Anne Lamotte’s; Bird by Bird, Les Edgerton; Hooked.

And most important—write the story YOU want to tell—not what you think will sell.


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  1. Hey. I'm trying to build a place for authors to discover commissionable artists for their cover work. 'Author and Artist Connection.'

    I invite you to join, and invite all artists you may think might be interested

    Come on over