BIW Member Interview
Amy Krasnansky works part-time as a software engineer. When she’s not tracking down bugs in cyberspace, she enjoys quilting and gardening. She ranks writing as slightly less odious than coming up with something for dinner, and almost pleasant compared to cleaning her house. She lives in Baltimore with her husband, two children, a cat, and a menacing horde of dust bunnies.
Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Amy Krasnansky: When I was a kid, I loved drawing and painting and crafts of all kinds. I dreamed of being an artist when I grew up. Somehow I became a software engineer instead. Writing never even crossed my mind until about six years ago. At the time I was reading lots of picture books to my son who was four years old. His obsession with dinosaurs to the exclusion of all rational thought was apparently contagious: one day I sneezed and out came an idea for a picture book, starring dinosaurs, of course. So I wrote it.
When I had revised it to death, I thought I should try to get it published (oh, how naïve I was). Off I went to the library to bone up on publishing. The more I researched children’s literature, the more I wanted to write it. Thus began the long line of picture book manuscripts, poems, and novels-abandoned-partway-through that I have produced since that time. And some of them are not even about dinosaurs. In answer to your question: I’m still not sure I want to be a writer, but I can’t seem to shake the fever.
Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?
Amy Krasnansky: 1. It is harder than it looks.
2. Just write. Fix it later. If you get stuck trying to figure out what happens next, list the possibilities. Then pick one and move on. You can always rewrite it if you change your mind. It’s hard to steer the car while it’s parked. We all write both better and worse than we think we can. I’m embarrassed to read my first drafts, but then, after many revisions and a few light bulb moments, I read the final version, and I can’t believe that it came from me. That’s what keeps me writing.
3. Make your writing stink like Fifi’s litter box, throb like a toothache, bite like vinegar, irritate like a wailing baby, and leave psychedelic spots before your eyes with its flashes of insight. In other words, make it specific and sensory. But don’t use five similes in one sentence (four similes and a metaphor is acceptable.)
Moe: What are you working on now?
Amy Krasnansky: I am about halfway through a middle-grade fantasy novel, mostly written during BIW weeks. My commitments to BIW force me to work on it. Otherwise, it would be just another neglected file on my computer. It’s so hard to figure out what should happen next, how to keep the tension rising, and how to resolve everything at the end.
I also have several poems marinating at any given moment. For some reason, I actually enjoy working on them.
Moe: Do you have a favourite writing related book?
Amy Krasnansky: I like The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman. It is packed with questions to ask yourself about your characters, and clues about how to put those characters into action, maintain the suspense, and come to a satisfying resolution. Maybe I should read it again…
Moe: What is your favourite writing website?
Amy Krasnansky: I don’t really have a favorite, but this Absolute Write’s forum was in my “Favorites” folder. It contains some interesting conversations on writing. A good place to procrastinate or better, get revved up to crank out some pages.
Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?
Amy Krasnansky: I like to set a goal that I know I can make, and be completely committed to reaching it. Not very ambitious, but that is what works for me.