Gearing up to get an agent

September 3, 2012 12:10 pm by MRM in Writing

Hello and welcome to all fellow #GUTGAA participants and my regulars. It’s been something of a tumultuous year for me, both writing-wise and life-wise, but I’m getting back into the social side of writing and getting query letters ready for my manuscript to finally send it out and make a push for publication. In between finishing the polishing of my book and now, I simply couldn’t help myself from writing a completely different book, several issues of my web serial, Those Who Die Young, and toying with ideas for a third full novel. It occurred to me that I had to take a step back from writing new stuff to put out the books that I’ve finished, so here I am. I also bought my first house, ran three marathons, and went through a handful of other changes in how things go day-to-day.

To get back into the blogging habit, I joined another blogfest, which worked great to get me a-blogging the first time around (see all my old posts tagged REN3, which I loved). This one is called Gearing Up To Get An Agent, giving rise to the awkward acronym of GUTGAA. It’s actually the perfect blogfest for me, as that’s my main goal in writing right now and something I’m doing anyway. Thanks to Deana Barnhart for hosting!

Today is just the meet & greet, for which we’re supposed to post a brief bio and answer a few questions. Without further ado, questions first:

  • Where do you write?

I write in my living room, legs extended on the couch, laptop in proper lap position. I have an espresso lungo at my side and a corgi curled up at my feet. There could be lots of distractions, but in the morning I have everything off and the house to myself.

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

To my left is a picture my wife bought of Pioneer Square in Seattle taken in 1905. It’s always interesting to look back into the past like that. It’s been a few years since we’ve been to Pioneer square today, but it’s a different world now.

  • Favorite time to write?

In the morning before work. Writing for an hour is part of what I do to get my head in the right place before I walk over to my office.

  • Drink of choice while writing?

Espresso lungo. I usually have one or two while writing for an hour in the morning.

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

I’ll often play some music, either Chinese symphony or Medeski, Martin, and Wood. I can write with noise, but not if the television is on.

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

My latest manuscript (not the one I’ll be talking about in the pitch part of this blogfest, because it’s not polished yet) was inspired by a writing dare to myself. I’ve never written in first person POV before, so I wanted to try that. When I sat down to write a scene, I was thinking of cliches. One of the most cliche things you can do is start a story right after a murder (unless you’re writing a murder mystery, in which case this is forgiven). It’s also incredibly cliche to start a story with someone waking up. I decided to one-up this level of cliche-dom by having a scene that starts with a character waking up during a murder, just to see if I could make it work. Obviously, if he was the person getting murdered this would be a short and morbid story, but I thought it would be more fun if he was the killer. And I also thought it would be more fun (and less cliche) if, instead of being surprised or horrified, his reaction was "Damn it, not again." I loved the scene so much I made a book out of it.

  • What is your most valuable writing tip?

Write the scene you know. I never would have finished the manuscript for my best novel if I had given in to my impulses to stop when I didn’t know what happened next in the story. I might not have known what happened in the next scene, but I knew what happened several chapters later, and I went ahead and wrote that. It’s easier to connect two disparate points in time when you know what happens at either endpoint than it is to push forward not knowing where you’re going.

That’s all for the questions. As for my biography? I’m a thirty-one-year-old software engineer from North Carolina who loves reading and writing science fiction and fantasy when I’m not reading and writing in code. I’ve been writing for a little over a decade now, and only last year completed my first manuscript. This year I completed another. I’m also the author of an ongoing ebook serial, Those Who Die Young, which is currently for sale wherever fine ebooks are sold.

My interest in writing started back in college when I was editor of a student publication, though there I did more news and opinion writing than fiction. As I drifted into graduate school, collecting a handful of accidental degrees before settling on computer science, I started really believing I could be a writer and putting more effort into polishing my craft. I’m married to a  wonderful woman who is a fantastic critic when she has the time, and I have a Pembroke Welsh corgi who does everything in his power to stop me from writing if he hasn’t been exercised enough before I start. Jerky sticks can distract him, but only sprinting in circles for fifteen minutes can truly satisfy him.

I’m excited to meet all of the other GUTGAA participants out there, and I want to give a special thanks to one of them, Meredith Mansfield, without who’s heads up I never would have known about this.

About the Author

Written by MRM

I'm a speculative fiction writer that spent lots of time trying out new places to live before finally settling in NC. I love code, craft beer, football, and fiction - in no particular order. My currently running works of serial fiction can be found on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. If you're comfortable moving files around to your ereader of choice, always pick Smashwords as your e-bookstore of choice - they give authors a much bigger slice of the pie!

7 Responses to Gearing up to get an agent

  1. Lauren September 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve never had any success with writing separate scenes–I always have to write straight through, or I never finish. I have learned this about myself.

  2. Kelley Lynn September 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    I think its fantastic when writers can jump out of order and write different scenes, then piece them together. I cannot do this. I just put a bunch of crap down to get me to the next part I know. Then I go back later and fix it :)

  3. Kelley Harvey September 4, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I love the idea of a character waking up in the middle of a murder and saying “Damn it, not again.”
    Good Luck with GUTGAA.

  4. Jess Schira September 4, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I completely agree with Kelley H. That’s a great set up for a novel. I’m looking forward to learning more about it.

  5. Meredith Mansfield September 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm


    Just saw your name on the linky list and had to stop by.

    Oh yes, got to give those corgis enough exercise!

  6. Jeannette September 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I love the story of where you got your current WIP inspiration. Sounds pretty unique – you’ve twisted the cliches sideways! Good luck at GUTGAA!

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