Wagner Writer

Hi you!

Here’s my 4-pronged update:


I’m into Chapter 9 of the 2nd draft. There are 15 chapters total, so I’m making pretty good progress. I anticipate being done before the end of the month, and then I’ll be reaching out to readers, as promised.

However, now that I’m deep into it, there’s an overarching idea I’m not fond of. This keeps happening! I wonder if that’s normal for writers…

Moving on, the chapter 9 edits were slowed down some because I’m also doing the final work on my chapter 1 rewrite for the writing mentor. I thought I was pretty much done, but I found some holes regarding goals and conflicts.

Every character must have goals, no matter how inconsequential. And those goals should be impeded by some type of obstacle. That creates conflict and tension. I was so focused on simplifying and making things “less cartoonish” that I lost sight of the goal/obstacle conflict that is so necessary.

After reading through the rewrite, I realized there’s a scene where the goal is introduced but disappears until later, when it’s essentially resolved. There’s a whole piece in the middle where it kind of vanishes. Ugh. It needs to dwell, at least in the character’s mind.

So, this morning I fleshed it out and focused on four main things we discussed:

1.    Goals/Conflict as mentioned above.
2.    Character development – Make characters real. Less is more in many cases; a small gesture can be so more powerful than a large, cartoonish occurrence.
3.    Cause and effect – Every scene should impact a subsequent scene. That way, things that occur affect the rest of the story.
4.    Relevance – Don’t include random scenes or “day in the life of” moments. Even if they’re awesome. Every scene should pertain to the overall plot.

I’ll let y’all know what I hear back!


I sang at a funeral last week. It was extremely touching and very interesting. The person who died was a Navajo cowboy. He was apparently a super nice guy who passed away very suddenly.

The church was jam packed. 300 people squeezed in pews and makeshift chairs. Almost everyone was crying. I felt so sorry for everyone. But I admit I was also a bit embarrassed being the complete stranger. It’s so weird that, in a way, I was grateful that I didn’t lose anybody. I should have been counting my blessings. But it was uncomfortable feeling so disconnected. I actually worried people would think I looked too happy. The lady helping me made a few jokes and I tried to smile and look mournful at the same time. Silly, no?

Anyway, it turns out the deceased wasn’t a practicing Catholic. Neither was anyone else. It made for interesting moments as no one knew how to do anything. At the appropriate times, a handful of people would stand or sit or kneel. The other 295 people just looked around, wondering if they were allowed to do the same (Catholic churches can be strict). So the priest would say “you may sit” and everyone would rush to be seated.

At one point, a man got up and walked to the front. The priest gaped at him and we had no idea what was going on. The priest continued the Mass, ignoring him. The man just stood there, at the podium, waiting for him. It was like an odd tug-of-war. I’m sure they were both uncomfortable; the man had no idea what was going on, and the priest is very ‘by the book’.

Finally the priest acknowledged him (and I swear I could hear a collective sigh). It turns out he was the deceased man’s uncle there to deliver the eulogy. A half hour early.

I must say the eulogy was very nice, though. The man was well spoken and very serene.

The whole thing made me think of my own funeral. I envision like twelve people arriving, half of them saying “We’re gonna miss Colby.” Then the priest would whip out my driver’s license and say “We are here to mourn Cody Wagner. He led a full life and, um, was six foot three. Oh, and he had blonde hair and blue eyes. Like him, his license has expired. Such a tragedy.”

On a different note, the final part of my singing video has been recorded. I’ve already reached out to my editor friend and he graciously offered his help. Now I just have to decide which takes are the best and send them on. Even though I’ve said this before, expect something very soon! Unless it sucks and I have to start over.

It could happen.

Enjoying the Area

So I found out today we’re getting a double dose of family visitors this month.

First, my twin sister is coming in this weekend and staying for the week. We are going to take her and her girlfriend around and show them all the sights.On Sunday, we’re renting a boat and hauling it out on the lake. It should be super fun! The boat comes with water skiis and we have a tube.

I think I’m gonna try water skiing again. It’s been 5 year so I’ll have no idea what I’m doing. My goal is to kiss the water at least ten times. Last time I was able to get up for awhile, so I want to do the same. I think I’m actually healthier now so I have high hopes!

The day she leaves, my older brother is arriving from Pampa. He’s never been here so we’ll get to treat him like a true tourist! I hope he wears capris like the Europeans! He reads my blog so hopefully he’ll go out and buy a pair. Pleeeassse.

I’m excited to take him to all the cool sightseeing places. I’m also gonna take him out on my kayak one day. The lake sounds fun, but I heard we can paddle down river, which starts at the dam. Fun! They won’t let you launch from the dam, but you can pay a boat to tow you upstream. Then you paddle down for a couple miles. It should be awesome.

Then comes the piece de resistance. Skydiving.

Not me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He really wants to do it and the local airport offers skydiving over Lake Powell. Supposedly the jump is beautiful. BUT, I can’t even stress how not fun that sounds. I am terrified of heights.

However, he’s super excited and I can’t wait to see him jump. If they let me, I’ll even attend the class with him for fun. I can do 6 hours in a classroom again! But I’m not jumping. Oh man, I’d rather eat tarantulas on a stick.

Random Learnings or Stories

I’ll probably have lots of stories after family leaves so I’ll post something next time.

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