Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Photo Essay

In recent weeks, some of you may have noticed that my blog, and perhaps my online persona has seemed somewhat like this:

What can I say, it's been a lousy month for me. Fact of the matter is, I am a very cheerful person normally. I like being happy. Being happy rocks. I want my outlook on life to reflect this:

You know, there comes a point in every writer's life when they have to make tough choices. When all is said and done, what is the end goal? What are the real priorities? Well, ladies and gents, I've reached a crossroads, and for once, I think I finally know what to do. How I can get more of those happy clowns in my life again. All I'll say is this:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Okay, so I am kinda sorta wigging out here, people. I need counsel. Here is the story:

Back in October, I queried two wonderful agents. Both got back to me within that first day, one requesting a partial, the other asking for the first chapter.

Mid January. No responses. So, figuring that enough time had gone by, I sent them each a status query. For the agent that has the partial, I sent her a revised version. (The first chapter didn't change much.)

I am sitting now on the two week mark from the day that I sent out those queries. Two weeks. Fourteen days. Needless to say, I am starting to get worried. My mind echoes with troubling thoughts.

Why haven't they responded?

It shouldn't be taking so long.

What if the emails got lost?

That's it, that has to be it! The emails never even reached the agents!

I'll sit here waiting for a response for months and months, and they'll never even realize that I emailed them!

Oh, the horrors, the horrors!

*sigh* I'm feeling very stressed because, if the agents DID get the emails, but I status query them AGAIN, I will be acting like a desperate pest. (And I am, okay? *sniff* I freely admit that I am, but I don't want them to know it.)

So, I am pretty much stuck. I won't re-status query them. I just won't. That would be shooting myself in the foot. And yet, why is it taking them BOTH so long?

Two facts to keep in mind:

-Both agents have a reputation (as far as my research has gleaned) of being speedy responders. And, after all, when they first contacted me, this was the case.

-I sent both emails within five minutes of each other.

I need words of wisdom. Maybe I need someone who knows Gmail really well, who can tell me if there is any way to check if the emails went awry. Or maybe I need someone to say, "Renee, I hate to tell you this but you are just going to have to wait and see what happens." (Don't tell me that! I don't want to hear it. . . . Okay, maybe tell me that.)

*sound of Renee pounding her head on the computer desk again and again*

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ticket to ride! Ticket to ride!

Look everybody!
Renee's boarding the Query Train!

Next stop . . .


After an almost two month hiatus, I've gotten back on board. Looks like my self deprecating sense of humor is right where I left it.

Actually, things have started pretty well (a partial request,) but still, it's interesting to see how all those feeling come flooding right back. The nerves, the boundless hope, the checking of the inbox every few hours. I thought that I had perfected a Taoist detachment to the whole querying business, but I guess I was wrong.

Oh well, that's all part of the wild ride that we aspiring writers must take.

All Aboard!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I heart the Inner Editor

I made a comment on Kiersten's blog which got me thinking about the infamous Inner Editor. Why are we writer's so down on her(him)? We always hear things like:

"Turn off the Inner Editor." "Kill the Inner Editor."

What gives? Personally, I love the Inner Editor. Think of all she does for us! In this current story I am working on, she has played a HUGE part. I was saying in my comment to Kiersten that no less than five times I have gotten totally stuck in a scene. I just won't be able to go on. The scene will bother me and bother me. I know it's her. The Inner Editor.

So, I'll not write for a while, think about the scene, consult Inner Editor as to what I should do. And then, five times now, I have ended up CUTTING the ENTIRE scene.

Terrible? Wasted time? Halting my forward momentum?

No. Because EVERY single one of those times I have rewritten the scene, which is SO much better. So much better! And that in of itself is great, but these new scenes will produce more scenes and new layers, and in the end the entire rest of the story will be different because I made that one change. If I had gone on and ignored that nagging Inner Editor, and kept the scene thinking I would fix it later, the rest of the story would have flowed from the tone of that scene and, I am convinced, the story would not be as strong.

So I LOVE the Inner Editor! I think she rocks! And, even if she makes the process of writing my novel much longer, I KNOW that my story will be better at the end because I listened to her. So call me a heretic, but I am never going to turn her off again.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


So, Natalie is having a Q&A on her blog, and I asked her a question that I'd be curious to hear others answer as well.

I'm wondering about writer day dreams. We all have them. In the middle of the day, or when we are driving, or showering, or right as we lay down to sleep. Personally, I can't escape mine. Not that I want to. In fact usually, I am like, "Oh good, church--time to think about PAMR." (kidding . . . mostly.) So, what are your daydreams like? Do you envision possible new scenes? Dream about ones that you have written? Wrestle with plot problems? Think about your characters? Maybe their back stories? Where does your wandering take you?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

So Right

*This post was written last night, but due to completely aggravating internet problems, I was unable to actually post it until this morning. I only mention this because I really am trying to do better at posting on my blog. It's just not always my fault.*

So, today was an absolutely awesome day. Seriously, one of the funnest days I've had in a while. My sister, Rebecca, is a Junior High teacher, and today, for some crazy reason, she allowed me to speak to her Creative Writing class. It was SO fun, for so many reasons.

I started off the class by telling them the whole saga of how I became a writer. Then I told them all about the publishing industry and getting an agent (at which point I had to sheepishly mention that I had not yet been able to land one myself. I worried that I would lose a little credibility, but they were actually quite forgiving. :) ) Anyway, then came the really fun part. I borrowed an idea from Orson Scott Card, which I read in his book Character and Development (great book, by the way,) which he calls a "Thousand Idea Session."

We had a very basic start: boy or girl MC, and how old? The kids all shouted out answers, and we settled on a 14 year old girl.

"So, what does a 14 year old girl do?" I asked.

Many answers thrown out, but we picked "Go to the mall."

"Okay," I said. "Spending whose money?"

The class shouted in unison, "Her parents!"

"And how do they feel?"


"They make her get a job," one kid shouted.

"Where?" I asked.

Again, in unison, "McDonalds!"

And it took off from there. :) After a few moments, we had a fairly outlandish, but amusing plot, chock full of conflict. The point of the whole exercise was to show them that we could come up with an interesting plot from almost nothing, just by asking questions and exploring ideas.

Well, they had a lot of fun, but they weren't off the hook there. I then explained the importance of having the first page of a story hook the reader. So, I had each one of them write the first page to our Shopper-girl-working-at-McDonalds story, and then share. The results were fantastic. They were funny, smart, and surprisingly good. I was very impressed.

Overall, the whole day was just a blast. It felt so right to be up there, talking to the kids about writing. I was totally in my element. If I could have, I would have taken the job that day. It's good to know that if the whole published writer thing never works out I can always be a Junior High Creative Writing teacher. :)

Of course, I guess I'll still aim for famous-published-writer-who-gives-writer's-workshops-to-teens. Yeah, that'd work too. *dreamy smile*

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Oh Snap!

I'm fond of campy phrases for blog post titles. Can you tell? :)

Anyway, do you like my new blog title? ME TOO! I have to give a HUGE thank you/shout out to my awesome friend and fellow MoMo, Natalie!!!

This girl seriously rocks. Not only is she an extremely talented writer (I couldn't put her story down on my trip to Grand Junction, and I was supposed to be seeing the sights,) she is also an amazing artist. Check out her blog for weekly art samples and sometimes writing samples too! Natalie just rules.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ala ka'SLAM!

The title to my post is how I feel right now. Okay . . . it's cheesy, but you get the picture. Point is, I am feeling really good right now! Great, in fact!

As you may know, I moved recently and my entire schedule went out of wack (sp?). Everything went out of wack. Well there was this one little thing that I used to do, pretty much daily before, that has fallen by the wayside. What is that thing?

Making notes in my Moleskine.

Oh yes, my beloved Moleskine. Almost as good as a laptop, and coming from me, that is saying A LOT. For those of you unfamiliar with my little gem of a notebook, here is a picture. Beautiful, isn't it? You should try it. They are awesome. Anyway, I used to make notes and plot out things in this little book every day, often several times a day. Well, for whatever reason, I hadn't even taken it out since I got here. NO WONDER my writing was going kind of slow. *slaps forehead.*

Anyway, yesterday morning I pulled it out and started making notes and ALA ka'SLAM!!! The plot started pouring into my brain faster than I could write it. I then took some writing time yesterday afternoon, and BOOM!!!! I was off like a rocket, and once again madly, madly in love with my story.

*satisfied sigh* Oh, it feels so good. Now, I have the story almost plotted to the end. And, it's going to be SO fun to write. I literally can't stop thinking about it/writing notes in my Moleskine/blabbing to my husband about it. WOO HOO! I am on a roll. :)