Wagner Writer

Hi you!

Here’s my 4-pronged update:


Current Book

I’ve received a couple more sets of feedback this week. Most of the comments are very positive in terms of the overarching story. It sounds like people are getting sucked in and the book keeps their interest, which is great. However, I have received some critiques, many of which make a lot of sense.

One has to do with age appropriate writing. I don’t mean that there are inappropriate sections. Well, there are, but the book isn’t intended for children. The problem is there are a couple children in the book whose thoughts and words seem way too adult. It totally made sense when I read the feedback – children can have very profound thoughts but they’re still children and that has to be taken into account. I was writing them too grandiose.

I’m also pouring through the book again on my own (I haven’t touched it in over a month) in order to catch anything. It really helped taking some time away as I feel more like a fresh reader. Unfortunately, I’ve already made mounds of comments. Things I thought I’d fixed are suddenly jumping out at me as problems. It’s kind of bittersweet – bitter that there are so many revisions but sweet that I’m developing a better writing/editing eye.

With what I’m looking at so far, I probably have a couple weeks or so of heavy work before a third draft is finished. Luckily, there aren’t any major rewrites like with the second draft. But there’s still a fair amount of work to do.

New Book

I made it about 200 pages into the new book on Friday, but had to stop and focus back on the old one. Hopefully I’ll be able to switch back soon. I look forward to it!


OMG… So I got the boom mic in this week and it’s a giant piece of crap!!!! I can’t tell you how frustrated I am. The thing barely works. You have to SCREAM into it to hear anything. Windy, Chris, and I ran a whole bunch of tests and you can’t hear a word until you’re about a foot away. Windy suggested I use the laptop microphone. She said I should tape the laptop to a giant stick like a boom mic and hang it over us. I think it’s a great idea! :p


A new opportunity has arisen this week. If it pans out, I may be singing to most of the town. Pretty exciting! It’s scary but I hope it happens. The funny thing is, I’ll have to find ‘hip’ music to sing. To be honest, most of what I know is musicals… That’s it. It’s pathetic how little cool music I’ve memorized (although I like Blurred Lines… it may not be appropriate for kids, though).

Regarding the other song (the one that requires me to play music), I sat down and practiced some on the piano last week. Oh my Jebus, I SUCKED. I haven’t played the song in awhile and couldn’t get through it. The problem is, I don’t know the music; I play it by feel. So when I miss notes, I can’t say “it’s supposed to be an A Flat”. Instead I’m more like “I think my pinky is supposed to feel a little more stretched on this note, and my index finger twists around.” As you can guess, it’s slow going.

Enjoying the Area

I’ve been spending the last few days in a small town on the Navajo reservation helping some nuns run a kids’ camp.

I don’t think I’m the best person to talk with about faith or anything, but it’s actually been fun. They set up a big white tent and created a bunch of age appropriate games. I get to walk around and act like an idiot (there’s a song with karate and I jump around yelling “heee yaaawww!” and the kids love it).

Also, the nuns are super, duper, amazingly, incredibly nice. Like they’re so nice, you just want to squeeze every one of their cheeks. Butt cheeks. Kidding! Am I going to hell for that?

Here are my favorite moments so far:

1. I learned that putting pennies in a bag of water keeps flies away. Isn’t that incredible?! Seriously, has anybody heard of this before? I am blown away. I think it’s more amazing than the moon landing.

2. I also learned that nuns command good behavior from everyone, even sinister people. One man pulled up in his truck saying he wanted to talk about religion. Two nuns went to him and asked me to join (as a bodyguard, I think). While they were there, the man talked about very proper things. After a few minutes, though, the nuns had to get back to the kids and left me to finish the conversation. The second they left, he started going on about this 20 year old woman who wanted him and that 25 year old who tried mounting him in his truck. He then asked me to join him to go shoot guns. For serious!

3. Because I have some acting experience, the nuns asked me to perform a short skit. All I had to do was get the kids to say “God!” So I stood in front of them and started dropping hints, which they didn’t get… AT ALL. Finally, I said I was going to give them a gigantic clue. When they were ready, I yelled “Who lives THERE!” and pointed up at the sky. Here were the answers I got: clouds, my dog (which made me sad), and Zeus.

Random Insights or Stories

My 20th high school reunion was this past weekend. Am I dating myself by saying that? Hmmmm well, it’s not hard to guess that if I graduated 20 years ago, and most people are 18 when they graduate, that I’m now 26.


Anyway, I had very mixed feelings about attending.

Here’s the deal. For a very long time, all the reasons I could think of for going to a reunion were negative. I seriously thought people attended to show off where they were, what they were doing, how much money they made, etc… Seriously, that’s the only rationale I could think of. And it just didn’t appeal to me, so I completely ignored my 10-year reunion.

Then a few years ago, something hit me. My best friends in high school were all a year younger than me. There were a group of four of us who were inseparable. One of them meant the world to me and taught me so incredibly much. Unfortunately, we’ve all grown apart over the years. That night a few years back, I randomly thought, “I’d love to go back and see those guys. If they’d let me attend the class of 1994 reunion, I’d definitely go.”

It seems like a harmless thought, but it really affected me. For the first time, I realized people didn’t just go to reunions to flaunt. I realized if I could attend the 1994 reunion, I’d be super excited just to see my old friends. I realized that’s probably why most people went to reunions.

Such thoughts made me curious about my own reunion.

In the end, though, I didn’t go. The positive feelings about it couldn’t negate the fact that I wasn’t that close with my class. I had visions about standing there alone, watching everyone else talk. But, strangely, I feel kind of bad for not attending. I guess a part of me asks “would I have forged new friendships?”

I’m honestly not sure of the right answer. Has anyone ever had an unexpectedly good or bad time at a reunion?

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