Getting Back to Business

Fridays are usually reserved for movies, but I feel like enough has been going on lately it’s time for an update. No big news as of yet, but lots of upcoming plans and projects to be had.


First of all, I’m officially querying out SHADE. Thanks to help from a lot of you good people out there, I finally got together a good query letter. Hopefully I’ll have good news to report soon. It feels good to be back in the querying game. I certainly feel a lot more prepared this time around.


I have a couple upcoming conferences, both Utah-based. The first is one I attended last year called Writing for Charity. Last year the big name attender was Brandon Sanderson, this year it’s Shannon Hale. But there are other authors you may have heard of as well. It’s not a huge conference, it’s a one-day event only. But you can get feedback from published authors on your stuff as well as attend forums. I found it super helpful last year, so I’m attending again this year. This one is at the end of April.

The other is LDS Storymakers, and this one does have a few agents attending. The big name author for this one is Anne Perry. There are a few agents attending. The one I’m hoping to catch the eye of is Hannah Bowman. I have a few workshops with her, so hopefully something might come of that. Plus they have a sort of writer’s bootcamp which I’m looking forward to taking SHADE through. Never hurts to have some extra polish. This one is longer, I think from Thursday to Saturday. This one is the first week in may or so.

I’ll definitely post notes from both.


I think I’m going to fill a lot of my query response waiting time with seeking out and entering contests. I plan to enter something in the big Writer’s Digest Contest, but I intend to do a little flash fiction and short story writing. I think building a little clout while you’re waiting is always a good thing, don’t you?


While I’ll occasionally edit SHADE as things progress, and certainly after novel boot camp. But I’m going to see what contests I can put Trick or Tree in and I’ve got a short story that needs finishing I’ve tentatively titled Dog Shy. I think it was inspired by my Ray Bradbury reading stint. Well, probably both short stories are.

I’ve also got something from a much older WIPโ€”this piece I think I’ll enter in the Writer’s Digest contest. I was going to use a newer project I’m working on, but I don’t think it’ll be ready in time. My older WIP I already know the characters really well, so it will be easy to take a selection and use it as a short story of sorts (or I guess I should say easier, because I know their motivations). I’m taking that to writer’s group next week.

But my Pitch Wars mentor recommended I work on something completely different than SHADE just to shake things up. So lately I’ve been working on a new project about a teen bodyguard. It’s a little futuristic, but certainly not fantastical. And this time my protagonist is female.

I started it trying to just panster write it, with no outline. I made it a few pages before the plotter in me started screeching about where is this going and don’t we need a plan. Because I’m guessing this will be novella length, I thought I’d be good to attack it pantser. Often my short stories come out that way. But nope, the plotter demanded some respect.

jae scribbles

I tried drawing straight into the computer this time. Trace and scan feels much cleaner, but this probably just needs practice…

Also, it’s hard to come back to creating mode when I’ve been in editing and polishing mode for so long. So I decided to embrace my old ways, and me and the plotter sat down and started devising an outline. It was like the key to the door holding back my creativity. Ideas flowed like crazy. Although I enjoy pantsing it sometimes, I think at heart I’ll always be a plotter.

Anyway, I’m excited about this new project. We’ll see how things go. I’ll be sure to update you all on the progress.

But it was a good lesson for me to learn. Sometimes if you’re stuck, you should try approaching things differently to see if that opens up creativity. But sometimes you just need to do things the way you’ve always done because that’s how you’ve trained your brain to deliver ideas. Most important of all: know how you create and work with yourself.

Are you currently querying? Filling the time with other things? Or making progress on your own projects? Do you find you have to create a certain way in order for ideas to flow? Do you only write one type of genre or have you tried to branch out? Let me know below.

26 thoughts on “Getting Back to Business

  1. I have a question for you… Do you attend the online writing conference Write On Con?

    I’ve lurker attended for the past two years. I might “properly” attend this year. I’m not sure, yet. Depends on a few things.

    • I have not. Think it’s worthwhile? I’ll look into it. I sort of wonder about the lack of IRL interaction, but I’m open to trying out new things.

      • Useful knowledge is useful knowledge. And they have live chats with agents throughout the event and agents popping into the forums to help writers out. While it might not be ideal for some (like people that can go to conventions), it is the best other can do because of life circumstances.

  2. Sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate, which is a good thing. Good luck with the contests and with polishing up SHADE! I hope the querying process is a quick and painless one for you.

  3. Scary and exciting! I’ll add to the chorus of people hoping the querying process is easy and quick. If I had your address I’d send you one of my jars of good-luck fairy dust, but you don’t need it, ๐Ÿ˜‰

    As to your questions: No, not querying, not ready and still undecided about all of that. Making progress in editing, have a few CPs I respect lined up for when everything’s ready, which is exciting. Don’t have any one way to get ideas to flow, but I can’t be a complete pantser. That would drive me nuts! Mainly write one genre (Fantasy), but I’m expanding into other branches of the genre and I can see myself trying others in the near future. It’s good experience, if nothing else.

    Whew. Was that everything? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I wish I could travel back in time and explain to my earlier self why I wasn’t ready to query then. But life’s a journey, so I guess it all worked out (and hopefully will work out). I’m glad you’ve got some good CPs lined up. It is pretty exciting to get some good feedback. Yep, you pretty much covered it. ๐Ÿ˜€

      I love the whole process of writing. Editing, creating, rewritingโ€”everything. Well, except maybe writing a query letter. But the querying process too, can be a lot of fun. You kind of have to treat it like the feedback stage. Take nothing personal and learn from it.

  4. The very best of luck with your query. What a brave thing.
    I am editing but at the same time I have started something else that is exciting. Actually I think anything new is exciting when I’ve been working on the same beast for awhile.

    • Um, 100% yes! I’m working on something new too while querying (it keeps the waiting less painful). Such a rejuvenating thing to try something new. And it’s interesting to see how much I’ve learned in the meantime. My first draft isn’t as craptastic as my previous WIP’s FD. Mind you, I’m certain it will still be full of crap for me to edit out, but it’s encouraging. Have you found the same thing for you?

      • Craptastic. I love it. I have found the same thing. I’ve noticed that when I start something new that is a new form to it. A knowledge there of the basics and when I read back I don’t cringe so much.

  5. Good luck querying at the conferences. Sounds like fun! I just submitted my first short story to WD’s competition. I agree it’s good to get a few of those under your belt. That’s just my first, so I have a long way to go. In the meantime, still revising my WIP. Don’t know if or when I’ll ever be ready for the querying stage, but I do enjoying hearing your process and can’t wait to hear how the conferences turn out!

    • You’ll be ready someday, but I think you’re wise not to jump the gun. One of my older WIPs I jumped the gun. Got lots of rejections. But I guess I learned a lot too, so in the end it all works out. Still, don’t query until you’re ready, you’ll be glad you didn’t.

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