Monday, February 28, 2011

Another One On Goals

I believe in goals. I believe they help you stay on track and push yourself to do better. It might be because I was a Cross Country runner throughout high school and our biggest competition was ourselves...or it might be because I LOVE the satisfaction that comes hand in hand with accomplishment, so I strive to give myself a reason to feel it. Either way, I always have goals. Long term, short term, temporary....

My first novel (tentatively called The Dying Process, or Confessions of an Immortal Heart) had its skeleton written mostly by the time I finished high school. In college, it got its ending, and now it's trying to find itself an agent. The goal of course for this, is to be published. The temporary goal is to see if I'll write a sequel...which I've been considering for about a month now..

My second still in the works. It was started for Tammy Henry (who also deserves a shout out here as being my first official reader for novel number one!!) because she gave me the little green book and a pack of pens to write with. I hand wrote over 80 pages that ended up getting typed up (and there are still more that I haven't....). But this one has me at a writers block, and has, sadly for a few years. I think about it from time to time (and the narrator has graced me with some vivid, vivid nightmares)...and I hope someday to also get this one published (this one is more on the adult side of the audience). So the goal for this, is to actually finish it....sooner rather than later.

My third novel...was started Thursday, February 24, 2011. In this time, the narrator has been circulating in my mind and shelled out 55 pages (15,420 words!). I am in awe of how much I've done. Seriously, I'm like a writing machine right now. Because of this, my goal is to write 10 pages a day. I told someone jokingly, that I'd have a novel written in about 20 days at this pace. Now I'm considering really trying that out. I know how the novel will end, I know the plot and's just tying one piece to the other in a coherent fashion. I read the first chapter to my sister the other morning, and she gave me the biggest compliment I could receive from her: "I think I'd actually read this one!" (See previous blogs for an explanation as to why this is huge.) 
This novel has the potential to be a series, which is daunting to even consider. Where I'm thinking of ending it however, it would at least need a sequel to tie up some loose ends that'll be floating in the reader's mind.
So primary goal for this novel: write 10 pages a day, or more (that way I'll have some slack off time the following day).

Today was supposed to be spent working on short stories and things like that because some competitions are wrapping up tomorrow for submissions....and...I'm thinking I don't have enough money right now. Plus there are several coming up March 15-16 and 31 that I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to enter into. So...I think I'll hold off on the March 1st deadlines, focus all my energy on novel three, and in a week or so, hit the competitions hard. 

Wish me luck, and have an awesome day!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

15 Minute Window

So, you've received your first rejection letter. No? Maybe your sixth? Maybe more?

Firstly, congrats on submitting to that many people. Hopefully you researched them, and decided that you were what they were looking for.  (Remember, personalize each query, each submission, if you didn't do this, this may be why you're staring at a shiney rejection letter)
Secondly, from the second you open that letter, you have what I consider the 15 Minute Window. In this time you're allowed to think:
What the f@#k?!
Oh man, I'm so sad!
Why didn't they like me?
Who cares I don't need them! I'll find someone better.


I said THINK these things. DO NOT, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER send a letter to the agent telling them this. Keep these things to yourself, or maybe a friend who is in person. Do NOT write a blog complaining, do not blow up your facebook wall, or your twitter if you have it. THINK these things. Or eat some ice cream. Maybe some oreos (which reminds me...I just ran out). Maybe even open a beer.

For these fifteen minutes, you're allowed to cry, to throw things, to punch your pillows, whatever you feel, (except attack the agent or editor who rejected you). Once that 15 Minute Window passes...


Chances are you were rejected due to a flaw in your manuscript. If people you've only QUERIED are rejecting you, maybe you need to start with your pitch. Re-edit. If you've been re-editing for what feels like forever and you're sick of your story, take a break from it. Start something new. JUST. KEEP. WRITING. Keep the creativity flowing. Hey, maybe even turn the person you were rejected from into an evil monster with sixteen eyes.

Keep trucking along. At some point, re-edit everything: your synopsis, your query, your MANUSCRIPT. Then find other agencies, other contests, and resubmit.

Yes, it's sad you've been rejected (I'm openly weeping for you right now). But the rest of us have been cast away too (even if it was being the kid picked last for dodge ball).

Keep your head up. This is a long distance race, not a short sprint :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Goals And Good News!

So, here's this:

       1) go to
       2) download the PDF list of second round entries for your category
       3) search for the author name from your submission form and the title of your entry

Look up the name Stephanie Schmidt and BAM you'll see my name. My novel has advanced to round two of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

Okay, now for the real blog.

When writing or submitting always have goals. If you start writing something, are you going to be okay with stopping in the middle to return? Are you aiming for this to be a longer story? A shorter story? Are you open for anything?
When submitting to an agent, what do you want? Will you be satisfied with the asking for a partial? Will you be okay with rejection? Are you shooting for the moon and asking for an agent during your first round of queries?
Now...competitions. Do you want an honorable mention? Are you prepared to not even hit the mark? Are you prepared to win?

Here are my thoughts on life:
Writing--When I start, I allow the story to take me wherever it wants to. If the narrator's voice is strong and I feel a lot of anger or passion behind it, I know I'm in for a little bit of a longer story. Although, if she cuts me off, I'm okay with that too. I can always go back and edit and add more.
Agents--I just went through my first round of queries. Going into it my GOAL was a request for a partial, which I received and am SUPER stoked about. Even if they reject me, it gives me reassurance I have some semblance of an idea as to what the hell I'm doing. It also took out the sting of the rejections I had received, and probably will receive. I met my goal, I can relax a little bit, refocus, and make a bigger goal, the all elusive actual AGENT and FULL request (of course, not in that order!)
Competitions--I recently entered into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and my novel has advanced to round two! Out of close to 10,000 (that's what it gets capped at) entries, they selected 1,000 to move onto round two. My name, my work, has moved onto round two.

Here is why I'll get rejected:
Because my manuscript wasn't nearly as polished as it is now. Also, I was rushed for time (deadline was at midnight, I submitted at like 11:55pm, maybe even 11:58pm)...and forgot to de-color my text. (When I had written the novel, each chapter was a different color to help me go back to it/remember what the chapter was about).
BUT--I had a goal, that I would make it onto round two. And I did.

Now it's time to press on, and keep working for that agent!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Unreliable Narrator

I enjoy unreliable narrators in stories. As it is, you should never take what you're reading as the whole truth anyway (think of AVI's story, Nothing But The Truth. I thought that kid was a little punk ass anyway). Most people go into a story thinking, "Man, this character is totally telling the truth."

But everyone lies. Every single person walking this earth has told a lie. Hell, even my dog has probably told a lie. Chances are that your narrator (especially if the book is written in first person) has lied to you. Never, never, take a narrator completely at face value. (This is something I learned in my Shakespeare class in college.) Think of Romeo and Juliet, for example. She could have been the most epic rebound ever. They knew each other less than a day and were willing to die for each other? What kind of bullshit was that? Oh--and when Romeo met her, he was rebounding hardcore (poor lovesick pup), and was probably high. Have you really ever thought of this? Or do you typically just say "This story is so sad"? (Granted, I still think this story is EPIC, and I still think they loved each other despite these things.) All I'm saying is that when you read something, look into every sentence and think about what you're reading. (Is Bella really -that- into Edward, or is she enamored with the idea of living forever?)

My narrator in The Dying Process, I get the feeling is lying a lot. I feel like maybe she isn't as old as she's claiming, or that the world doesn't suck as much as she's leading me to believe (granted, it might...but I'm not sure). Can things really be -that bad-? She slips up throughout the story offering lies, half truths, full truths, which ties into the ending, I think. There are tid-bits that you have to catch as you go along. On principal though, even though I'm the one who wrote it, I think she's full of shit (even if I love her).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Some Writing

I don't really have anything to blog about today as I've been editing is a piece I had published in Zephyr (and now that I reread it, it coulda used some work...but hey, it got published):


            I stood helplessly as I watched her turn to glass in front of me. It started at her eyes, frosting over to crystalline perfection, and spread throughout her body, shaking so violently I was afraid to place my hands around her. My biggest fear was watching her hit the floor and shatter. I wrapped my arms around her, trying to keep the cracks from breaking her beautiful figure, and worrying the entire time that the pressure I placed upon her would be what pushed her over the edge.
            She whispered into my neck words that ceased to end, and all I could do was remain a shoulder for her. She was falling, I could feel it, and she stopped reaching for my hand long before I was ready to stop trying to catch her.
            I’ve seen her broken like this once before, and I’d love to say that I was part of the reason she was put together. But just as this time, I am destroying her, last time I couldn’t break her fall.
            Love is a silly thing. You would get sucked into a rip tide, go out into a blizzard dressed in white, lay in the middle of a street with a semi truck barreling forward, you would do anything in the world as long as it made that person happy. You forget for awhile that you even exist, and all you see is her.
            If the person you love is weaker than you are, you go through endless measures to stay strong for them. You create barriers between them and the rest of the world so nothing can get through without your consent. You are the bouncer to the nightclub known as life, and you gladly take your position.
            Even still, no matter how closely you guard those doors, something can still happen, and here you are, watching the love of your life crashing. If life were an operating table, you would be the surgeon praying to God that your scalpel doesn’t slip. If life were a dream, you’d be beside her waking her before she started screaming out in pain.
            Rather than being something fixable, however, life tears her apart. She’s broken, breaking, something you would more than readily take from her, but it is hers to bear. All you can do, all I can do at this moment is be stable, be that person that she craves more than anyone else to fall apart in front of.
            I take her face in my hands feeling her hot tears soak through the creases in my fingers and it burns straight to my heart. She tells me she just can’t do this anymore and I try to keep from breaking for her. I’ve never known a hard life, yet she has already been through so much. The burning in my heart quickly escalates to anger at everyone and everything that has ever wronged her.
            If her eyes weren’t already upon me, every wall in the room would be broken beneath my fists, but I know my anger scares her so I keep myself in line. I wonder if she knows her sadness kills me. If looks could actually kill as everyone says they could, the sadness in her eyes would have stopped my heart the first time I met her.
            She has had everyone in her life leave her. Some made the decision themselves to leave, others had God make the decision for them. I swore to her that I would never leave her side, and I am still trying to reassure her this very moment. She refuses to hear me as I expected. She assumes that she will always be let down. Yet here I am, waiting for the day she’ll let me prove that I am not going anywhere.
            When her sobbing ebbs faintly, I release my hands from her face and wait for her reaction. If she starts falling again, I will catch her. Instead, she sits for a moment, probably contemplating running out the door as she usually does once this passes, but instead, she takes me, wraps my arms around her and embraces me.
            “Thank you.” Her words are like air to me and I breathe off of them. Just as I am attempting to keep her afloat, she sends me a life raft.
            Some day she will know that I will be the one to save her, until then, every time I watch her turn into something so breakable, I will be by her side. As long as she keeps running to me, I will not leave her.
            Once more I draw her into me, pretending that I am so much stronger than I actually am. And I just hold her, until I feel the glass peel away from her, leaving only scarred skin. Someday, I will be the one to save her. Today, I am just the one to bring her back from battle.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I believe in the editing process. (Man, I'm obsessed recently with "The ____ Process" see; my blog, the last blog post, the title of my novel...)

It's hard because I want to re-edit pieces I've had published in Zephyr, or something else...something that I just didn't think of at the time. Right now my manuscript is floating off in space with agents I've submitted to...and while they're reading where I was at at that point...I'm continuing to edit. Why? Because I feel like no matter what, until the piece is published, it can always get better. Always. Even if you've submitted it for revision, you yourself should be revising it...or at least that's how I feel (I could be wrong).

I really enjoy editing with Laura (my sister). She goes through and says "This sounds awkward, I don't like this...I still don't like this. Take this out? This is redundant." I really, really appreciate her honesty with me, and though sometimes it hurts, I know she's doing it to help make the piece, MY PIECE, better, and that, my friends, is the end goal--having the strongest thing you have to offer.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Rejection Process

I'm slowly considering renaming my blog from The Submission Process to The Rejection Process. The goal this time around, though, was to have people ask for a partial, and one has, so I'm happy with round one of submissions, at least :) I will keep climbing this crazy ladder!

Rejection of any sort makes you doubt yourself. It puts those questions in your head, Am I not good enough? What's wrong with me? But in reality, I know nothing is wrong with me. I am a strong writer, though some areas may be weak, which is why my sister and I live edit almost nightly (except for right now because she has company down in Louisiana.) I can't remember whose blog I read, but they said something along the lines of: Being an agent and selecting who to represent is like walking into a huge bookstore. As you do so, you look at a few, and only end up buying one. It's the same with representing an author. My novel is one of those thousands of nameless books in that bookstore. It has to reach the right reader. This gives me perspective and it lessens each blow that says "I don't want you." It's nothing personal, it's just re-shelving me and my book.

When I first wrote this The Dying Process, it was SO weak. I still have an early draft if you'd ever like to read it and laugh with me. But it was the skeleton of something that is blowing my mind and making me consider starting a sequel. There are some parts that I've re-read and almost started crying because I can feel the character's pain an anguish at losing her other half. I want to cry with her because I've lost mine. But the fact that I have these emotions that she's capable of triggering them gives me hope that my writing can and will reach an agent, reach a publisher and start getting my work out there.

At work today, people who offered to read my story were discussing it and allowed me to listen in on some. The biggest compliment I received was them saying, "It's playing out like a movie in my head. I can see everything you're saying perfectly." Followed by, "I can't wait to read the rest."

Rebecca Rasmussen just put up a blog post about having heart, and sticking it out. I believe in my work. My sisters believe in my work. In middle school Mrs. Watchorn continually pushed me along with my writing. In high school people used to steal my notebooks asking "What haven't I read yet?" In college, I had people asking me to sign their copies of Zephyr. I know I am capable of writing things that reach people, that people want to read. 

So as Jay-Z told me as I opened my first big rejection letter, "You gotta get that dirt off your shoulders," and as Reliant K tells me, "I'm pressing on."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Never Underestimate The Power Of The Reading Group

Reading groups are a HUGE part of writing. You need people other than yourself to critique your work. (This blog post may have millions of type-os, the computer I'm on is lacking auto-spell check, sorry.) When you write, you write words like BARLEY instead of BARELY (common mistake of mine). Your mind goes so quick, you forget words like "He" or to finish the word FIRST. You as the writer know what you mean and graze over these seemingly minimal mistakes while editing.

The people reading and editing your work? Not so much. After four people had read several chapters, it was the lovely Sandy, last night, who caught the barley/barely mistake. Several times. Others found missing words that completed sentences. I on my own would not have caught this. Nor, would I have caught things like "So...if she doesn't bleed, how can she cry?" or other questions that I had left unanswered in the original manuscript.

I am super excited because the more I talk to friends and co-workers (also friends) about the publishing process or trying to secure an agent, the more people say, "I'd love to read what you write." I'm gathering a reading group, which is AWESOME. Even if they aren't editing, they can at least say "Good book" "Mediocre" or "Umm....please edit. There was no plot". Willing readers are where it's at. (For the less willing, like that sibling of mine, I bribe with cookies.)

My novel right now is starting to feel more like a cross over. I have some high school aged people reading it (mostly seniors as those are the ones I work with), but overall my reading group consists of the age ranges of: 22-40. For the most part (except, of course, my sister) they love it. This novel is aimed at YOUNG ADULT meaning 14+. Why? Because I started it when I was in high school, I was writing for that audience.

But the concepts of love, and loss, and's pretty universal. I'm still bitter that Kellie is dead and it's been YEARS. You don't recover from death. My 30+ year old cousin still talks about my grandfather who died before I was born. He is still haunted with dreams of the man he loved. We as people, always are. Love and loss are feelings that EVERYONE experiences. My young niece and nephew lost their uncle and experienced "Why can't we go to Uncle Drew's anymore?" They were under 5 years old at the time. They cried with my oldest sister.

As a universal concept, I wonder if we'd be able to cross market?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Interview With Myself About Confessions Of An Immortal Heart

So...I'm bored and tired so I'm going to interview myself to answer all of your lovely questions about Confessions of an Immortal Heart. Why am I asking them? Because they're things I've been wanting to explain to people who are in the process of reading, or potential agents:

When did you write this?
I wrote this my sophomore year of high school? I know it wasn't my freshmen year, but I may have started it then. I finished it sometime in college when I submitted (kind of crappily) to an agent. Of course I got rejected.

Why did you write this?
Erika Wilke told me one day to write a story for I started...and kept going...and it kept going. I felt bad because I kept saying "Oh, you'll have it by Easter, by my the time I graduate...." but she still hasn't gotten a copy....(Now she and I don't really talk that much..)

So.....What happens if this gets published?
Well, hopefully I'd be able to do a book tour. I've moved around a lot, so I have three solid fan bases: in the towns of Shepherd, Mt. Pleasant, Auburn, and Bay City, Michigan (my home state), so I feel like that would be a good place to start. (I'd LOVE to have a book signing at Book Mark in Mt. Pleasant, or somewhere in Bay City, and I feel like I would have a good turn out.)
In Biddeford/Portland, Maine, where I attended the University of New England (getting a Med Bio degree!). I have a lot of friends that way who constantly say, "When you get published, I'll be in the store to buy it!" When I was published in Zephyr, a few people made me sign their copies which was HUGELY flattering. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have a signing at Bullmoose. And then on the Outerbanks of North Carolina where I currently reside. It's a smaller following, but I work for a pretty big company (Kitty Hawk Kites), so I feel maybe we could do a co-thing? Try to get both of our names out there?
Thankfully with these places, I feel I'd be able to set up the book signings myself (with maybe some research and direction from an agent/editor...but if they don't have time, I could figure it out. It's not that hard to call places and I'm familiar with the areas in question/the bookstores.)

So, the main characters don't have names...why?
When I first wrote it, I just kept going back to "I" and "me" and "he" and "him" thinking that I would name the characters later. But as time progressed, I listened to people talk about their significant others, and they constantly said, "I'm going out with him" "She's mad at me again". The more I listened the more I heard that we as people don't usually use names, and it's seems like it's a sign of affection. If you're with someone, you love them, and everyone else knows. You talk about them without using their you're telling a story about losing the person you love, everyone should know who that is without having to say the name.
I feel like this tactic makes the character more relateable (some may disagree, like my sister). But without names, the characters can become anyone they want to be, it can become your story, it can become mine.
Plus, I read Swann's Way in college, and the narrator was "I" I felt it was okay.

How many rounds of editing has this piece gone through?
Oh geeze....umm...a million?
When it was first finished, I left it alone for a few years and went back to it. As I read through it, I found that the writing was unGodly weak, but I had some solid ideas behind the writing. Around the same time I read Three Weeks With My Brother, by Nick Sparks, and he talked about his first book, and how he scrapped it, and I considered doing the same with this...but there was something about it saying "Just edit me, just edit me!" so for the last few years, it's what I've been doing.
When I finally got it to the point I started considering submitting to agents, I sent it out to friends who were avid readers and read things like Twilight, or Harry Potter, and things that were slightly outside our realm of comfort (except, again for my sister...this is NOT her genre). They LOVED the idea behind it. My sister on the other hand said, "I read three pages, lost interest. Please don't make me read anymore."

Wow, that was harsh....what did you do?
Well...I looked at from the reader/author relationship. If she's not connecting well enough to the character, it's a problem on my end of things. I ended up cutting the intro from about 20 pages, down to 5. I described in more detail the world the narrator lived in and rearranged a million scenes.
She later had a problem with the first meeting scene, so I added more dialog with that. I also completely deleted chapter 9 sucked. I'm not afraid of changing things as long as it conveys what the story is about

And what is the novel about?
Hahahaha, I hate this question. Actually after the first rejection today, I went to Taco Tuesdays and told the bartender about being rejected after she asked me how I was. We finished our conversation and I heard someone behind me say "So...what's your novel about?"
I laughed and said, "Okay, but you gotta not judge me."
So in short: The narrator is immortal (and unnamed as previously discussed). While most stories have the man stronger, this one revolves around her trying to protect him in some way. Well....he gets murdered, and she basically loses her mind and goes on a killing rampage.
(In this description, I leave out the fact that 90% of the novel builds up to that moment, and explains their relationship together. It follows their meeting where she hated him, to falling in love with him, right up to his death).

Wow. That's pretty intense. What is your inspiration behind this?
Well...there's a lot. The relationship/emotional aspect of the story revolves around my relationship with the guy I loved in high school. Some of the stories are based around things we did, and really it gives me the strongest sense of love and the ability to write about what I felt at that time period.
The death scene and those emotions around it are tied into the death of my best friend, Kellie Lynne Wheeler, who was killed in a car accident when she was seventeen. (I was in my sophomore year of high school when my sister called and told me the news...). It's hard going from returning home from school each day and waiting by the computer to chat with suddenly never seeing her log on again. I wanted something to cement the fact that it's okay to grieve forever, to be in pain from the absence of someone you love. I was so pissed when I went to school, and a week later one of my friends said, "It's been a week, you're not over it yet?" I wanted to strangle him.
I wrote the murder scenes when I was pissed off at my sisters for one reason or another. It helped manage my anger :)

What do books do you consider to be similar?
Umm....the romances are similar to that of the Twilight Saga (the whole "Oh man, this person is my entire world, and I feel like I'd die without them) and the Kissed By An Angel Trilogy (the guy dies and she has to learn how to function again....)

What is your target age group?
When I started this, I was in high school, so that was my original target. But now I'm 22, and have friends my age, and older, and younger. Most of the people who've been reading this are between the ages of 20-40+, but most of us still feel like young adults. I think because of the LOSS and LOVE factors of the novel, anyone who has lost someone can related to the narrator's story. So really, all ages, I guess (though there are some rather graphic scenes) maybe young adult and older? If you're making me be specific, I'd aim for 14 and older.

Would you be willing to do an audio CD or anything like that?
I would be. I'm not sure how those work, like...would I be the one reading, or do they hire someone to do it? I'd honestly kind of like to be the reader (don't get me wrong, I hate the sound of my voice), but I LOVE Sylvia Plath, and for the first time last year, I heard a recording of her reading, and it was....horrifying, and inspiring, and if my work reaches anyone, I'd like them to be able to hear -me-. If not...that's okay, I'm sure I'll get to do a partial reading at some point in my life :) Yey youtube!

What other things are you working on?
Well, I'm midway through my second novel, which I started writing because of the great Tammy Henry. If that one gets published, it will be dedicated to her. It's tentatively called The Secret Keeper. I've been working on the ending for quite some time now....
I also write short stories, nonfiction, and poetry, so a lot of my time has been spent submitting things to competitions and trying to bulk up my resume/publishing background.

Okay, I feel like that's sufficient. If you guys have any questions about the novel, the submission process, or anything else, feel free to let me know and I'll answer!


The word REJECTION is funny if you think about it. Re-as in repeated, Jection (if you look it up) has the connotations of: hurl, throw, send, fling, hurl, in they throw my manuscript away, they hurl it in the trash...etc. Just as the impact of being impaled from the wall or concrete would hurt...being rejected stings, a lot.

I had been researching an agent for MONTHS, and finally felt my manuscript was strong enough to submit and BAM, rejection in under 20 minutes. It hurts...but it's all part of the game and I have to keep saying that. Thankfully Jay-Z was singing in the background as I opened the e-mail saying, "You gotta get that dirt off your shoulders." And I do. I'm better at handling rejection than acceptance. I always have been.

I think I'll keep collecting my rejection letters. In the end (when I land an agent or get published, or both) I'm going to print them off and make a super awesome dart board (maybe even a Zarts! board). At least that way, I'll have something to look forward to each time I receive a letter saying, "I'm sorry, I won't represent you."

Still waiting to hear back from the rest of them!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jumping The Gun

I jumped the gun to my deadline and submitted my first query letter today to Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Management. I'm terrified and shaking (which could be because I'm starving...). On Tuesday the next round of query letters will go out.

All agents are interested in paranormal romance or magical realism (and mine is kind of a cross breed, oh, and throw some revenge romance in there!). I feel like all of them would like The Dying Process (which has been re-named from The Immortal, as well as Memories of an Immortal Heart).

I would love to tell them (or anyone else) how much this story has saved helped me through Kellie's death, the incredible feelings of loss and confusion that to this day resurface...through Alex's betrayal...While it is completely fiction (clearly, I'm human) there are pieces of me that were poured into this work.

With no further monologuing (not sure if I spelled that right, and I currently don't have spell check...) here is my query letter:

Dear Agent (Don't worry, I actually used their names for this),

He’s dead, and really that’s the only thing that matters to her. In the young adult novel, The Dying Process, which is just over 67,000 words, the unnamed narrator falls in love with an also unnamed young man who is murdered much too soon. No one else believes his death was deliberate, not even his family. Through their minimal time together, he tried teaching her to let her explosive anger pass, but it refuses to leave her. He was the only thing that pacified her. Now he’s gone and she becomes overwhelmed with raw emotions of loss, helplessness, and vengeance.

The lack of names plays into the ending of the mixed paranormal-revenge romance and magical realism based novel. Set in a dystopic world where all ice caps have melted and the Earth is in ruin, the immortal narrator is not a vampire, werewolf, angel, or zombie; she simply has not died. Unlike the typical "male is immortal and female is in danger" love story, the girl is the one with the quirk and the male love interest is breakable. She is a strong, angry protagonist who responds via emotion. The story also dances around the question, is she actually immortal, or is it the loss she's encountered that makes her feel so ancient? Is she actually capable of dying?
My publication history includes an essay in Authors of Tomorrow, and several short stories and poems published sequentially in the 2007-2010 editions of Zephyr, the University of New England’s literary magazine. I am also a regular attendee of the AWP Conferences. This is my first young adult novel and this is a simultaneous submission.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration,

Lynne Schmidt

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Finished Product

Alright. After years of editing and revising and writing, the grand total stands at:
220 double spaced pages
Approximately 73,000 words
And one exhausted potential author. :)

Here's the game plan for the remainder of the week:
Today--Rest up, read my book "Writing Great Books for Young Adults" (Thank you Elizabeth!). See if there's more that needs to be edited.
Tomorrow--Go to work, continue reading said book. Make three perfect query letters that say "My novel rocks, finally!" without saying it.
Monday--Get edits back from my readers. Go to work, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit. Sleep.
Tuesday--Go to work, be nervous the ENTIRE day. Send out three awesome query letters, and however many pages they ask for and hold by breath. Whew.

At this time I'm also looking at getting some business cards. I also sent out my creative nonfiction story this morning, it cost $1.39 for shipping and $20 for the competition...

Have I mentioned I'm broke?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Creative Nonfiction

This genre scares the shit out of me, and yet I write it frequently. When I was younger, I was too afraid to have my stories about Alex titled "Alex's Stories" so I code-named him Matt. (I'm not sure why, I really liked the name at the time).'s always been difficult for me to admit that my writings were truthful, that I loved this person this much, that I cheated on this person, that I cut myself, that I hate myself. 

AWP has helped me step out of that. I've submitted two creative nonfiction pieces (as previously stated in past blogs), and tomorrow I will be shipping off another, one that hits much more close to home and hurts a lot of people. Granted, I hate names so most of my stories lack them (especially when in first person), this one has Mike's name repeated throughout it (though I never use last names). 

I texted Laura today saying "I think he's mad at me," and she replied, "He needs to understand that you're a writer, and he's a story in your life." *This is quoted very loosely* I also told Pat about the story I had submitted. After all it is written from his perspective of the "affair". He told me he hopes it gets published and to let him know how it goes, which amazes me. I never used his name, but I used his mannerisms, and secrets that he told to me in private (I've had him read this story), and he's allowing me to show it to the world. I am so thankful for his support even if it's taken us awhile to get to his place. 

Mike on the other hand constantly tells me that he hopes it doesn't get in ("though if it does, I'll be proud of you"). This hurts, a lot. It's not just our story I'm writing about and getting rejected by. It's my writing ability, my ability to convey something that at the time was important to me, and he doesn't see that. Instead he sees me displaying our failure of a relationship....

Either way, as a writer it's something I'll have to deal with. I will offend a lot of people. But in my poetry class, I defended Sylvia Plath's writings saying "Fuck her kids, it's her writing. If she hated her life, then she should be allowed to write about it." I also get irrationally angry when I hear people bash someone for being honest. I've lied my entire life (and been lied to). I've doubted my entire past (including where I was born). It's time for me to start being able to write about it, and have other people read it. 

It's my story that I'm writing. You know I write scenes and stories from experience. If you don't want to be a character, get out of my life, thanks. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Today at the lovely cost of $1.05 I submitted to FinePrint Lit's Backspace Conference Contest. I printed off the cover letter and my first two pages of Immortal (for short), and shipped it out during work. In exactly five days I will be submitting the novel to agents....Woo

Tin House has contacted me back, my story Breaking Myself Down is still in progress. That's good news, I hope.

I have submitted Mike and Drinking to The Way We Sleep Anthology Collection, a creative nonfiction about one of my numerous fights with Mike. This was written actually while I was drinking, because as the last line states; "It's better than crying or cutting, right?" It's scary reading through old pieces like that because of how far down I was...I'm so grateful to be stable again. (But...that's not for this blog.) I'm amazed by my writing in those time periods, it is very intense...because I was feeling very intense.

I spent some time last night over Sandy's, reading her paragraphs from the novel as I'm editing, and a story I had written about her son. She also edited The Unmaking of a Fiction Girl for me, which...was going to be submitted today, except I forgot to double space the 19 page short story ended up closer to 40. Sadly, the competition said "Up to 25 Pages, double spaced". Well, shit. Looks like I'm not submitting there. :(

The piece I read Sandy about Gary was called Stop Sign Drama (submitted to Weave Magazine). It is about the first time we stopped talking. We got into an argument at a stop sign, and I just completely shut down on him. I couldn't run away, but I wanted to...I'll keep everyone posted as to how it goes.

Right now, Zu Vincent, Tammy Henry, Laura Schmidt, Elizabeth Henry, Jennifer Olson, and Mike Appel are reading my novel. I am hoping the edits come back QUICK so I can fix up what they've given me before submitting to the three agents I've selected. 

I will keep everyone posted as to my progress :) Thanks for checking in.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Literary Love

This weekend I attended the AWP Conference in Washington D.C. It was a fourish hour drive, and I got lost a few times (as per usual, I always take a wrong exit somewhere along the way). Either way, it was AMAZING. I met some awesome people (writers, editors, agents), and made a few friends along the way. I also have a TON of things to submit to, and people to e-mail :)

I would firstly like to state that I almost was unable to attend this conference. I also may have lied to AWP and said I was a student, because otherwise I couldn't afford it (but I just graduated in's close to the truth right? Creative non fiction and all :) ). Anyways, I haven't paid my rent this month. I paid my car payment a month late. I am super broke. It is thanks to the amazing Peter Macsovits that I was able to attend. Tuesday morning he had placed three very large ziplock bags full of mostly silver change on my car. This HUGE amount of change paid for: 2 tanks of gas ($26, $28, $5), food (well over $10), and various other things I didn't have enough money for. I still have some change left over.

I'm going to skip over the rest of the nonsense, and just start at the conference, basically. (If you want my more emotional responses, check this out.)

Thursday, I drove in from Miranda's place in Waynesboro, PA. I left around 6am, forgetting about traffic, and made it in around 9am. Because of this, I missed the first round of panels, and was super upset.

The panel I first attended then, was What They Didn't Tell Us (about the publishing process). It was here I spoke with Rebecca Rasmussen. She was amazingly personable. We talked about how broke we are, and I told her about Peter giving me money. (I actually told many people about his kindness, and dropped KHK's name throughout the conference.)
It was also because of her, that I learned "Hey, don't talk about your book, or really yourself. Be yourself, if people like you, they'll look  you up." Which was pretty good advice and how I ended up meeting several other people. I now follow her blog :)

Around 4:30pm, I attended my next influential panel. Zu Vincent was on a panel discussing Writing The YA Novel. After, I spoke with her, and recognized me. (I'm not sure if she read my name tag, or if she remembered or expected me, but either way, she said hi, and I'll take it...also, check back to this blog post, I'll add pictures at some point). We discussed my query letter a little more, and from there, she allowed me to talk about my novel, my pitch, and also offered to go through the first 10-12 pages, and help edited them (and POTENTIALLY send it/them off to her agent). I literally was flabbergasted. Thankfully, I was able to cover up my shock and excitement, and like a normal human being say, "That would be amazing, thank you".

I was super tired after, but had been invited to the Poetry Foundation's reception, so I attended. Here, I met Pamila (Ammy) Novak. She and I exchanged phone numbers, and met some younger people as well (here I am only 22 and saying this, hahahaha). It ended up being an open bar (which would have been AMAZING if I didn't have to drive 2 hours home, or had a DD). She offered to house me for the remainder of the conference, so I actually ended up staying with her Friday to Saturday night. (Secretly I was fearful that she may murder me...just because I'm cautious of strangers, but it ended up being wonderful, and she fed me, and we rode the Metro together. It was awesome)

Friday I arrived super early and browsed around the bookfair. The gentlemen who I had walked up with actually published a book of poetry, which he signed and gave to me for free (Richard Peabody). From there I attended Relocating Poetry which discussed that -WE- as poets are the emotional translators. It is our job to convey emotion to the readers, to trigger their brains to feel in pain, in love, whatever. It was pretty good. The next round was To Tell You The Truth, and discussed memoirs. It was PACKED (I took pictures of me sitting, also to be posted soon). They did give very, very helpful advice so that was excellent.

The panel that really rocked my world was Love At First Query. There were agents and writers on this panel. Gordon Warnock spoke, and everyone discussed falling in literary love (with the white picket fence, and the two children).  I ended up talking to him on Saturday about my novel, and he gave me feedback on that as well as my query letter, which was amazing. I was well aware that he as an agent would not be interested in my work, but he did give me the name of the agent at his agency to look up. Thus, the countdown continues to February 15th and submitting my query letters.

The Stranger Than Fiction panel had Kerry Cohen as one of the panelists. For those of you who don't know her, she wrote Loose Girl: A Memoir Of Promiscuity. (I can't spell, I'm sorry, the computer I'm on is lacking spell check). Last year at AWP, I attended her Truth Or Trash discussion and it ROCKED MY WORLD. They were all amazing, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it for over a year. Kerry has an amazing voice in her work: she is so brave and saying "Yes, I slept with a lot of people, yes I made a porno". She completely amazes me, and I finally got the courage to speak with her (picture to be posted soon :) ). I told her about the time in Target when I couldn't put her book down (but sadly haven't been able to finish reading it, as I have no money), and she gave me her book for free.
--For those of you who don't understand how epic this is, this is HUGE. As writers, we're not in it for the money. We're all usually broke, and every sold book, we only get  FRACTION of what you pay. So her kindness also muted me, and again I had to cover it up and say "That would be amazing, I'll meet you at your table tomorrow." Saturday, as promised, I went to her table, she wasn't there, and the gentlemen who was there asked me to wait for her (she wanted to sign it). So a little bit later, I came back, and she and I spoke some more (talking about how much Stephenie Meyer's writing sucks)...and she signed my book, and took another picture with me....and I am completely amazed by this woman...

The next panel I had planned on attending was SUPER packed so I left. The following one, again was Kerry, who waved to me as I walked in. Again, this woman is amazing and made my day.

After that I attended the reception for the Two Year Caucus (spelling?) at Cafe Paradiso. Ammy had been elected President of the two year caucus!!! (Yey! Congratulations!). She, as promised, allowed me to stay the night at her hotel room.

Saturday was sadly the last day. In all honesty, I only attended one panel....and that's even a stretch. I showed up late, and left early. I was burned out, and Ammy and I spend most of our time picking up swag from the bookfair. This is where I spoke with Kerry and Gordon, as well as several other editors. I'm BEYOND excited to submit to some of these people (they seemed genuinely interested in my work). I cannot WAIT to send out e-mails and query letters (even if I hate them).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Very Lengthy Blog Coming Soon!
In The Mean-time,
Off To Washington D.C. For AWP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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