Wagner Writer

Hi you!
Here’s my 4-pronged update:
I got the second set of mentor feedback. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I’d say my first read-thru of her notes was bittersweet.
The sweet part was the acknowledgement of my growth and progress. I worked really hard to address her initial feedback and I think it really paid off. She said parts of the opening are “brave, curious, and open.” I really like that quote because I want the beginning to have a certain vulnerability and I think I’m on my way.
Overall, she was just thrilled that I could take her feedback and actually act on it. She said the rewrite demonstrates “dexterity with both narrative and with language”. I think that’s also a really good thing. Being able to tell what could even be the same story in other, better ways shows that I’m not necessarily pidgeon-holed or stuck.
All things considered, I think I showed her that I have some potential as a writer. And that’s all I should ask for right now.
On the other hand, the remaining issues she saw are fairly major. I think I hoped that she would be good with the story-telling and begin nit-picking.
I think that reasoning comes from the acting lessons I’ve taken over the years. When I first started, my teacher would give me these huge, overarching pieces of feedback on character and delivery. He wouldn’t get into certain sentences; it was all about the character and scene as a whole. By the time we reached the final lessons before I moved, we finally dove much more into details.
Deep down, I was expecting the same thing but, the difference is, I did acting lessons for a couple years to reach that point.
It’s that whole thing I mentioned in a previous post about allowing myself to be a novice and grow.
With that said, I wanted to get into the problems she sees with the current draft.
First, she’s very focused on character development and said there are some issues. I read through these notes very carefully as characters are the most important aspect of a story. The decisions a character makes based on who they are is what drives momentum and keeps readers turning pages.
I think I’m on my way with character development but she said that, sometimes, they appear cartoonish. That’s something I will really have to address, because they need to feel very real, for this story in particular. I think she gets that impression because of the way my main character reacts with someone else. It’s not quite authentic which throws things off.
The second piece of feedback has to do with the structure of the story. I think she likes the story (well, at least she likes it FAR more than the last draft). But she stressed cause and effect. Instead of saying “This happened then this happened then this happened”, I need to be saying “This happened because that happened.” It might seem like minutia. I mean, things obviously happen BECAUSE of the preceding action. But, in writing, there’s a big difference in momentum if the reader UNDERSTANDS the cause and effect of every scene. The reader gets much more invested in how the scene and character’s actions influence things later.
I admit I was a bit stung reading this feedback as it reminds me how much work I have left to do. But, if I can generate the best work possible, it will be totally, totally worth it to the reader. So I have to put aside my ego and work on improving. Obviously, I have a lot of work remaining on this chapter. I’m now wondering if the current version is salvageable or if it needs to be rewritten again. I’ll find out when we talk on Friday!
So this past Saturday got me thinking just a bit about small pieces of fate. By ‘small pieces’ I’m referring to those more trivial events that just seem to work out. A book I’m reading refers to it as synchronicity, when things just seem to happen in the right way.
It’s like the time I was about to start working out and realized we were out of milk for protein shakes. Almost on cue, I got a text from Chris – who was coming back from a trip – asking if I needed anything from the store. He had no idea what was going on and was just checking in.
Or it’s like the time I was looking at porn and… Just kidding :p
Still, there are those weird moments that just seem to work out. Sometimes I’m sure it’s just coincidence (like with the protein shake milk, lol). But there are other times I’m not as sure. Does fate or a higher power really care about tiny events that aren’t really that big a deal?
This is why I ask:
On Saturday, I was set to sing the song I ruined a few weeks ago. I wanted a chance to redeem myself, but not this past weekend. We had to clean the entire house in preparation for new carpet and I didn’t get to warm up like I wanted. I was dreading it.
Welllll, I got a call that day and, because of something going on, they wanted to change one of the songs. And it happened to be THAT song. The replacement was a good one and I ended up having a really good singing experience that night.
That’s why I’m thinking about those little fate moments. Does someone really care about those tiny little things? I mean, if the songs weren’t switched, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. What’s the worst that could have happened? I might have missed the note again and life would have continued as usual.
I’m not sure. I guess the other possibility is they didn’t want me butchering the song again and made an excuse to change it, lol. You never know!
Enjoying the Area
Windy, Chris, and I have started a new outdoor workout since it’s getting warmer. We all love being outside and unanimously agreed exercising in the heat would be fun.
Chris had an idea to check out the local middle school. It has a decent track surrounding a grassy football field covered in hundreds of little ant beds. The area is on the edge of town and overlooks some really beautiful scenery:
Anyway, we came up with a fun yet challenging workout routine. Basically, one of us ran across the field while another did exercises from the Insanity or P90X videos. The third person rested. When the runner reached the opposite end of the field, we switched positions. Therefore, the rester began running, the runner began exercising, and the exerciser rested. It was a good way to bring interval training outdoors.
In the span of twenty minutes, I did 20 sprints and groups of push-ups, dips, etc… But it didn’t feel like exercise because we were outside working together.
If anyone wants to lose some weight, feel free to come join us. It’s the foolproof plan!
Random Learnings or Stories
OK because my mind is still on the middle school workouts, I have to tell a story. It really won’t be funny to everyone who wasn’t there (which is the entire world minus 3 people… so to 6,999,999,997 people, it’s not funny. I like those odds!). If I could go back in time to any period of my life with a camera, this would be it.
After we finished our work-out a week ago, Chris got an unopened Peanuts kite out of the truck. We brought it that day because it was cloudy and very windy. Perfect kite flying weather!
Also, let me say that Windy has never flown one before. For reals. My grown-up sister has never flown a kite in her entire life. I say “has”, present tense, because even now, she still technically hasn’t flown one…
Chris opened the package and dumped out the kite. OMG the thing was JANKY. Even though ‘new’, it already had a hole in it. Also, one of the rods had torn from the plastic and the left half drooped like the kite had a stroke.
In true janky fashion, Windy pulled the gum out of her mouth and used it to stick the rod back to the plastic. It appeared to work OK so we unraveled the string and tied it to the triangular kite flap.
Then we gave Windy a lesson on how to fly a kite. Yep, she needed a tutorial. So we explained that Chris would hold the kite, she’d be about thirty feet ahead with the string reel, and they’d begin running together. After a bit, he would let go and she’d continue running to pull the kite into the sky. I would stay just behind Chris, supervising.
Lesson finished, we all got into place, Chris yelled “GO!”, and everyone took off running.
After a bit, I waited for the kite to lift off. Five seconds. Then ten. Then fifteen. Nothing. So I ran around the side to gauge what was happening.
I saw Chris holding the kite as expected. Windy was holding the string as expected. The string was tied to the flap as expected. But the flap wasn’t on the kite anymore. It had torn completely from Charlie Brown’s face and dangled thirty feed behind Windy. She had no idea and kept running as fast as she could, dragging the little plastic triangle behind her.
Again, you had to be there, but it was soooo funny. Afterwards, Windy tried flying the flap around the field to get her kite flying experience. More awesomeness.

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