Friday, August 31, 2012

GUTGAA Meet and Greet

Welcome to Gearing Up to Get an Agent (known as GUTGAA, and not to be confused with Gut Guy).



Deana Barnhart
GUTGAA is being run by the lovely Deana Barnhardt and you can sign up at that link, or through the Linky at the end of this post, if you're geared up to get an agent. If you have a manuscript all ready to show the world, you will want to participate. This isn't just a blog hop, but also a fantastic Agent Pitch Contest! Wheeee!

For this first day of the blog hop portion of the programming, Deana posted the following questions for every participant to answer, so we could all get to know each other a little better. Let me say it now, these are fun questions!


 -Where do you write?

I have several places where I prefer do do my writing. The first, and most frequent location is my Comfy Chair. It is an ancient overstuffed chair that's so battered and worn that it's become MY chair. Nobody else sits there. Or dares to.


My other favorite writing spot is seasonal. I have a screened in porch behind my house, and when the weather is nice enough, I'll sit out there for hours and write. By nice enough, I mean anything between "I'd consider going in for a sweater if it got any cooler" to "I'm bundled from head to toe, but I think my toes might be going numb, so maybe I should go in." Any hotter or colder, and I'll be in the Comfy Chair.


-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

In this order: Cell phone, coffee mug, coaster which is not under the coffee mug :/, pen, glass penguin, photo of me with Alex Trebek, hair clip, earrings, pet rock, red crayon, two receipts from the post office, my spare pair of glasses with the broken nosepiece, and three Christmas ornaments that I forgot to put away last December and decided to leave on the credenza until Thanksgiving rather than climb up to the shelves in the garage where the holiday decor is stored.

***Edit for everyone asking about Alex Trebek: Yes, I was on Jeopardy! (so was my husband)


-Favorite time to write?

I usually write from lunch time until my daughter gets home from school at 3:30, and then again after dinner until my eyes cross or I pass out from exhaustion.


-Drink of choice while writing?


Usually caffeine. Coffee, tea, and the dreaded soda.


-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?


I used to need silence, but after a while I trained myself to ignore distractions. I don't listen to music on purpose, but if some is playing elsewhere in the house it doesn't bother me. In fact, my comfy chair is in the living room, and the television is on in the evenings while I write. I don't even see it or hear it anymore.


-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?


The latest MS I've been querying was born from the fact that the first two novels I ever wrote were dreadful, and I didn't think they had enough commercial appeal even if I rewrote the dreadfulness out of them. I was terrified that I would never be able to come up with a new world, characters, and story. I have no idea where the idea for Running Down the Dragon came from, but I sure am glad it came from somewhere! Hopefully the story and writing hold more appeal! I wrote a second novel with the new characters, and I'm half way through a third.


-What's your most valuable writing tip?

Don't spend all your time reading writing advice. You'll end up befuddled and disillusioned. All you need to do is start writing. I mean, clearly you need a grasp of the language, an idea of what's expected in a manuscript, and a solid group of critique partners and beta readers. Other than that, though, it's your story. You have to find your own way to tell it.


And so that's all for now. I was going to snap some pictures of my Comfy Chair and the items to my left, but then I realized I'd have to stand up to do that. Not to mention the things to my left are in a messy pile. I don't want you to think I live like that. O.O

***Edit, for Feaky Snucker:

Ooh la la! The CREDENZA.

The crap to my left. Note the banana stickers decorating my fancy furniture, and my caffeine delivery system.


Interested in GUTGAA yet? I hope so! Here's the SIGN-UP LIST Linky:






87 comments:

  1. Nice to meet you, Laura. Running Down the Dragon sounds cool. I want to know more about it. I love dragons. My current WIP is called Dragon Dilemma. It is a fun distraction while I'm subbing my finished MG novel. Have fun and good luck with this whole getting an agent thing.

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    1. Hi there! Nice to meet you, too! I must check out Dragon Dilemma, then. Is it also MG?

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    2. It is, and it is still in progress.

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  2. You have a credenza?! *jealous of your fanciness*

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    1. I'll call it the food dresser, if that makes you happier. It's Ikea furniture, so not terribly fancy. I updated the post with a picture of it so you won't think I'm all uppity. You can see the Coke can, as well as the paper towel and can of computer screen cleaner I use to wipe smudges off my laptop with. Does that make me all fancy-pantsy also? :D

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    2. Nope. It's a credenza. Fancy. I bet you drink the coke with a pinky up.

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    3. But of course, straight out of the can, pinky held high! Don't you? *Scoffs at un-raised pinkies*

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  3. Hi! I agree with the writing advice -- you can kind of go crazy with it. I tried to apply so much advice while editing some of my work lost its spark! I think it's something you've got to learn over time.

    Nice to meet you through GUTGAA (such a funny acronym). I'll have my meet n' greet post up on Monday. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  4. I couldn't agree more with your suggestion of not obsessing about writing advice. It does my head in. Sometimes I'll find things that resonate and I'll stick to just those pearls. Otherwise, I'd go crazy.

    Best of luck with GUTGAA! (And Pitch Madness! I believe I've seen you on Twitter there, too!)

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    1. Oh, yes. I'm in Pitch Madness too. It's going to be a crazy couple of weeks!

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  5. Your writing tip is excellent - I know a lot of people who stress over writing the "right" way, but the best way to learn is to just do it! :D

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    1. It doesn't hurt to listen to advice, but I've found that if you listen to ALL the advice, you'd never get any writing done. And half of it contradicts the other half. It's all about finding what works for you.

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  6. Hey nice to meet you! I love your tip. It's so true. Only way to be a writer is to do it and let yourself suck at first. :)
    Love the Alex Trebek pic!!! Were you on Jeopardy???

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    1. Thanks! And yes, I was on Jeopardy. Somewhere on this blog is a post about it... If you're interested, I think one of my Labels is Jeopardy.

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  7. GUTGAA high-five! I wish I had a Comfy Chair, I’m definitely adding it to my list of writer aspirations. Perhaps I should get one now and trust that in about ten years after it’s been well used it’ll acquire an air of True Comfort. Also, best writing advice answer I’ve seen on GUTGAA yet – all writing advice sections should start off with “The best thing for you to do right now is stop reading advice about writing, and just got write.”

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    1. Well, my Comfy Chair is a hand-me-down that's more than 20 years old. I intend to sit on it until it disintegrates. :) And I like your writing advice!

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  8. Comfy Chair's Rock.

    "Running Down the Dragon" awesome title! Fab! newly following.

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  9. I love your writing tip, it's completely true!

    And having a Comfy Chair would be bliss for writing, =)

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    1. Thanks! The only problem with the Comfy Chair is that it tends to make me sleepy. It's alternate name is the Evil Chair, for that reason.

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  10. Love your comfy chair. I have mine too. Mine is a chair from the house I grew up in and stole from my mom. It is mssing buttons due to a new puppy but still comfy. you brave soul for taking a pic of your stuff. Mine is behind the chair on a chest. BIG MESS! Glad to meet you.

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    1. I'm not ashamed of my mess! It's all in the name of having everything at hand while I'm writing. Especially those Christmas ornaments... Yikes!

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  11. Wish I could get stuff done in a comfy chair if we had one! I do agree with your writing advice. There are so many opinions that you just have to spread your wings and attempt to write before you crash from the mass of "right ways" to do things. Also, a critique group helps with what they know. When you're really honing your MS, then you can look up those opinions.
    -Jenna

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    1. Agreed. I have no idea what I'd do without my Critique Peeps. They are worth their weight in gold! :)

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  12. Your screened in porch sounds like heaven. Nice to meet you.

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  13. Ok, so I've known how cool you are for a while, so no surprise there, but to just drop the term "credenza" into a meet and greet post? PRICELESS. Best of luck, babe.

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    1. What would you call it? I've always called it a credenza. Does it have another name that I'm missing out on?

      Like Moe on the Simpsons:

      Moe: Ooh! The garage! Well, la-de-da Mr. French-man!

      Homer: What do you call it?

      Moe: The Car Hole.

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  14. Dear Laura,

    I'm enthralled by your seasonal writing spot. I love the idea of a screened in porch. Thanks for sharing your answers to the GUTGAA questions. I enjoyed reading them.

    Happy writing!

    Warm regards,

    Don #138

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    1. Thank you! :) The porch is nice, just not on 88 degree days like today.

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  15. Hi Laura! So nice to meet you!

    You know... I haven't read a single book on writing. There have been a number recommended to me, and I've always wanted to, but I haven't yet. I do most of my reading when I'm working out so I need a book that can get me through that. Pretty sure that's not going to be a book on writing. haha

    But so far so good. There are at least a few people who are willing to take a chance on my work so who knows if I'll ever read one :)

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    1. I haven't read a lot of books on writing, but the advice online seems to grow on trees. I could bounce around the blogs all day long learning how to be a better writer. Unfortunately, I won't ever improve unless I actually sit down and write myself! :) Thanks! Nice to meet you, too!

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  16. Nice getting to know more about you, Laura. I love what I've seen so far of Running Down the Dragon, and I hope it gets published one day, so I get to read all of it.

    Your writing tip was excellent, and I agree completely. It's so easy to get bogged down by the dos and don'ts of writing, that you can forget to actually write!

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    1. Even if it doesn't get published, you can read it. :)

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  17. And I thought I was the only one that decorated things with banana stickers ...

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  18. Hi, nice to meet you through GUTGAA! I love the title Running Down the Dragon, it's snappy and catches my attention.

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  19. I love your writing advice. I totally agree!

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  20. I love the title of your blog and I love screened in porches. :) Great to meet you and see your blog.

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  21. You sound a lot like me, especially when it comes to your drink of choice and your writing space. I mean, really, why climb all those stairs just to put away a couple of Christmas ornaments? Christmas will be here again before we know it - you're just ahead of the decorating curve for Christmas 2012! Those are two less ornaments you'll have to dig out for this year! :)

    I love that you write from after supper till you pass out from exhaustion. If I tried that, nothing would happen because I would barely be awake long enough to make it from my dining room to my bedroom. But then, four kids will do that to a person. You know, suck the energy out of them. Now if only I could find a way to keep that from happening...Surely there's a story in there somewhere... :P

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    1. Ooh, and it's not even stairs I'm worried about. I have shelving that goes up to the ceiling in the garage, and I have to either climb up on the ladder, or stand on the work bench to put the holiday decor away. Either prospect is unnerving! :)

      I only have one daughter, so I can't imagine four times the work!

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  22. So, how on the earth did you get a picture with Alex Trebec? Did I spell that wrong? And you and I have the same caffeine delivery system! It's so nice to meet you!

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    1. I'm going to have to re-post the Jeopardy info for all the new folks. I was on the show in 2010. Nice to meet you, too!

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  23. I like your writing tip. I had a mini-freak out a few months ago as I was reading my hundredth writing book that contradicted something else I'd read, and realized how much time I was wasting trying to find "the truth". Because it doesn't exist! There is good advice out there, but we don't have to listen to it all. Great to meet you! (I'm curious about Alex Trebec too!)

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    1. You've convinced me. I'll add a link to the Jeopardy post now. :)

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  25. Hi,
    I'm doing my GUTGAA blog hop and thought I'd stop by and say hello. Excellent writing tip, by the way. I needed that advice

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  26. Fun blog. As soon as I read comfy chair, my mind went to Monty Python. "NO! Not the Comfy Chair! Anything but the Comfy Chair" lol! Am I alone?

    Nice to meet ya! GUTGAA

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    1. No, I stole the Comfy Chair from Monty Python. I tend to put Python references into my writing, too.

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  27. Great advice. Sometimes, the best advice is to not take any advice but just to write. New writers can get lost in the world of writing advice. Oh and your line about Gut guy made me laugh. Nice to meet you.

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  28. Oh, how awesome you were on Jeopardy! I bet Alex is just as witty in person as he is on the show.

    It's nice to meet you! Stopping in from #GUTGAA=)

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    1. He's very nice, and yes, witty. Being on the show is such a whirlwind. I never really got my bearings, so I think I probably came off as sort of a dolt. :D

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  29. Hi from another GUTGAA participant.

    Jeopardy, huh? How did you do?

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    1. I won a game, and then lost the next game. I only won because of a few lucky breaks on Daily Doubles (and I wagered like a Vegas High Roller). I couldn't master that buzzer to save my life. This is why I flail at video games that require good hand-eye coordination.

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  30. Hello from GUTGAA! I also write until the very last minute when my kids come home from school, or at night until my eyes cross and nothing makes sense anymore. Great to meet you!
    A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

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    1. That was me last night, eyes crossing at 12:30 in the morning. I finally forced myself to walk away and go to bed. I have a goal, though, and I'm determined to make it, even if that means super late nights for a while. Great to meet you, too!

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  31. Another GUTGAA-er here. Love *your* writing advice!

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  32. Hi. I also write until the last second I have to leave to pick the kids up from school - I haven't been late yet, but get scared I might get be. :)

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    1. Oh, I have been late, several times. To be fair, once it was an early dismissal day (two hours early). This is why my daughter has a cell phone. She's technically old enough to walk home from the bus stop by herself, but it's a very long walk (half a mile or so), and a very dangerous road (one lane, blind corners and hills, no sidewalk, and kooky drivers who think they're at the Indy 500).

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  33. Best. Writing. Advice. Ever. It's great to meet you, Laura! And I think it'a about the coolest thing ever that you were on Jeopardy:)

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    1. I think it's funny how many people are impressed by the Jeopardy thing. I didn't even bring it up in the original post (other than to describe the things immediately to my left), but edited it in after questions about my picture with Alex Trebek.

      Good to meet you, too! :)

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  34. You were on Jeopardy? That is super cool!!

    Also, I actually LOLed at that "national hero" bit. ;) Nice to meet you, much luck with GUTGAA!

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    1. Thanks! I really enjoyed answering your bonus GUTGAA questions.

      And attention to anyone reading these comments: Go over to Charlie's blog and answer the seven additional "getting to know you" questions! MORE GUTGAA FUN!

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  35. Hi Laura! Yours is genius writing advice. I *totally* get flummoxed, and worried, and damn near paralyzed when I read too much advice because I just can't get the 'you suck!' voices out of my head.
    And Jeopardy? Awesome. Nice to meet you, and good luck with GUTGAA!

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    1. Thank you for using the word flummoxed. I love that word. :) Good luck to you, too!

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  36. I have to admit that my favourite part of your post was finding out that you (AND YOUR HUSBAND!!) were on jeopardy!! I used to watch it every day, even my daughter who wasn't quite one at the time, loved it! I have to ask though.... Did you win?

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    1. Yes! I won one game because of a few lucky wagers on daily doubles and in the final round. I lost the second game because the man who won was competent at ringing in at the right moment. I apparently have faulty reflexes. :)

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  37. Ha! love your writing space pictures! Great to meet you!

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  38. Hi, Laura--

    I've always wanted to be on Jeopardy. I've tried twice at local auditions, and have taken the online test twice. It still hasn't happened yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime, I'm keeping my butt in my chair working on my novels. I think your advice about writing more and reading the writing advice less is spot on.

    Michael

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    1. Keep trying! It took me NINE TRIES to get on the show. I was in the contestant pool for ELEVEN YEARS before I was called. My lucky husband was called about six months after he took the test the first time. I cant say enough good things about my experiences on the show. :) It was all worth it, even if I'd lost!

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  39. haha...love your answers. Your desk sounds like it looks like mine. The Christmas ornaments made me laugh. And, it's so cool that you and your husband were on Jeopardy! I'm highly impressed.

    I love the fact that you write outside. I'm envious. I'm down in GA, and it's almost always too hot and buggy to sit outside. And if you even try going out at dusk, you get eaten alive. Ugh.

    Anyway, I'm from GUTGAA too. I was so inspired by all the great blogs that I finally started my own. I'd love it if you'd stop by. It's www.onemagicbeanbuyer.blogspot.com I'm kind of in desperate need of followers. haha.

    Good luck with GUTGAA. Nice to meet you!

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    1. The only way I can write outside is we have a screened-in porch. Otherwise, I'd surely be eaten alive.

      Good luck on GUTGAA! :)

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  40. Your tip is so true. If you tried to follow every single tip ever written, you'll never get anything done. :-D

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  41. Hi Laura! I know, I'm late meeting and greeting. My husband says I'll be late for my own funeral if I'm not careful. No, seriously. There are just a ton of people signed up for GUTGAA.

    Your answers were so funny! And your desk looks so much like mine. It's just that I am not brave enough to take a picture of mine!!

    hope to see you around GUTGAA!
    Talynn

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    1. I'll be around! Good luck! And no worries on the lateness of commentary. I still haven't gotten to everyone, and I likely never will at this rate. The list keeps growing! :(

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  42. Just dropping by to say 'hi'. I'm slowly making my way through the list. And I love your writing advice!

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