Gearing up to Get an Agent: Meet and Greet

GUTGAA: The Beginning

A day late, as I always am in life, but I’m really excited to be participating in the “Gearing up to Get an Agent” blog hop this September. If you’re not already a part of it, you should join up. There may be agents trolling the linky list, but even if you don’t get an agent’s attention there is always great fun to be had in connecting with other writers.

Deana Barnhart

On to the Meeting and Greeting

A little about me: I grew up in Plymouth, Land of the Pilgrims, and moved back to Boston for school where I’ve lived on and off for the past 8 years. I took a year off from Boston to teach English in Japan for a year, with excursions to South Korea and Singapore. I taught early childhood education for two years and just recently switched into work for an educational publishing company.

I’ve been writing, as most of you have, since I burst forth into being. Yes, before I was even old enough to hold a pen I was writing stories. I’ve only been seriously writing for a fraction of that time, but even now my writing isn’t very serious.

My genre is “funny fantasy” for young adults. The theory is that by entertaining myself, I will also entertain others. Whether it’s working or not, the point is that I enjoy it. Or I do when I’m not trying to rip my hair out staring at the endless list of plot holes I have to shore up before submission.

Where do you write?

I primarily write in cafés, and did an article not too long ago about how to get the most out of your café writing experience. When I do write at home I have a desk, but it’s covered in books and papers so there’s not a lot of room for a computer.

 

Note the black cat creeping silently through the chaos.

 

 

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

The PS3, TV, and the comfortable nest of blankets on my unmade bed. The left side of my desk is cluttered with paper drafts and drawings and paintbrushes. The whole space is very busy and I am this moment promising myself that my future writing room will be all white with no windows and only a desk. Until then, it’s just easier to write in a space I’m not familiar with.

 

Better view on the left at the coffee shop. 

 

 

Favorite time to write?

I like writing in the morning on the weekends. I set three alarms to wake up and go to the café down the street. Give myself time to grab a little breakfast and coffee and read something on the craft of writing or otherwise inspirational for the project I’m working on. It helps to get me into writing-mode. This can very easily degenerate into a time-sucker, so I set deadlines. The alarm on my phone works well.

Drink of choice while writing?

Coffee of course. I’m sure I’m a special little snowflake in that regard. Not all writers drink coffee, right? Most of them drink alcohol.

Specifically, I like my large iced caramel latte. I may switch to the warm stuff as it gets colder, but iced espresso really wakes up my mind. I’m contemplating applying for writer’s grants in order to cover my growing coffee budget. Does that count as a writing supply?

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

It depends. Sometimes music helps, especially when there is the competing noise of roommates or coffee shop patrons. I have noise reducing headphones that work really well for that. Matching the mood of the music to what you’re writing, or listening to songs you already know so you don’t try to listen to the lyrics or rock out helps cut down on the distraction. Right now, I’m listening to angsty alt rock from the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

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

I have a pinterest account where I save inspirational images for my stories. It’s called productive procrastination. I’ve always been interested in fairy tales and folklore. Good old-fashioned curses, witches, magical animals, and happy endings. A friend of mine wanted an idea for a comic book and I wrote a script about a girl whose job it was to cure the cursed in a modern setting. After a few years I developed it into an idea for a YA urban fantasy.

What’s your most valuable writing tip?

It’s true what they say, you have to devote time to writing. In the past year I’ve started averaging between ten and twenty hours a week writing and it’s the only reason I’ve made any headway on my manuscript.

If I was allowed to have two writing tips my second one, which is almost equally important would be to join a critique group. It takes a little while to get a tough skin, and some nights I still weep into my pillow, but it vastly improves your writing and gives you an audience. Sometimes you forget you’re not alone in this journey. It’s a great support system too if you can find a good group.

Looking forward to seeing how other writers do their writing thing on the blog hop this week.

 

This is a blog hop! Meet and Greet.

10 responses to “Gearing up to Get an Agent: Meet and Greet

  1. There’s nothing like a critique group to push you along. Whether they raise doubts in your head, they make you better. I’m sure you’ve found that sticking with it is the key.

    Nice to meet you. Hope to see more of you.

  2. Happy to meet you. I love the idea of funny fantasy. Best wishes with GUTGAA.

  3. Hey Lauren,

    Just dropping by during my optimal reading time to say nice to meet you! Your tip is bang on – I could only manage short stories until I took some time off in order to get some real time with my writing. I actually find I’m most productive using “sprints” of 8,000 – 10,000/day. Yikes!

    Cheers and have fun during #GUTGAA!

    John
    http://www.johnkrissilas.com/

  4. Hi Lauren,
    Stopping by to say hi. Nice to meet you. Love the writing tips. Good luck with the contest.

  5. Critique groups really are important. It’s hard to know where you are as a writer without peer review! Nice to meet you.

  6. Hi Lauren, thanks for stopping by my blog. So – I grew up in Brockton! Small world. When I saw that you grew up in Plymouth, I remembered how I was sick the day my class went to the Plymouth Plantation for a field trip. If I am ever back in that part of the world, I may have to visit Plymouth (not necessarily the plantation!) And my daughter’s name is Lauren. Other than that – I’d love to read some of your funny fantasy!

  7. I love that story concept – I’m sold already. 🙂 And your philosophy about entertaining yourself is bang on (even if I have taken that so far I’ve fallen madly in love with my MC that my partner is literally jealous!) Good luck in GUTGAA. Hope you get to check out Beyond The Hourglass Bridge.
    Kat 🙂
    http://beyondthehourglassbridge.blogspot.com.au/

  8. Hey Lauren! I am amused that we had such similar writing tips. I love the pictures in your post, too. I need to come by some time and try out this coffee shop of yours…

  9. Nice to meet you Lauren. Your first sentence sounds so much like me. A day late, the story of my life…” and then there’s the drink of choice, coffee. Mmmm. I drink way too much I’m sure.
    Best wishes this month:)

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