2011 (Wrap-up) and 2012 (Resolutions/Goals/Thoughts)

As always, I can hardly believe it when another year ends.  This time around, though, I have to admit that I'm mostly grateful for the fact that I get to have a new year, a new start.  My reasons for this are simple–it feels like the time has come to really start over.  And in many ways, I am.

2011 began beautifully.  I had my then boyfriend over, and I spent the night hanging out with a bunch of friends and celebrating.  I had someone to kiss at midnight (for the first time, I might add.)  It was all very wonderful, and it fooled me into thinking that everything would stay that way.

If you've kept up with this blog at all in the past year, you'd know that wonderful was not how my world remained.  I saw a relationship with my first love fall apart.  I had family issues to deal with.  I've fought with friends, with loved ones, with people I care about very much.  I'm still not agented.  On paper–if all you do is look at the big things–it wasn't a very good year.

But I'm not one for looking at just the big things.  The little things have always been what defined my view of myself and my surroundings and my day to day life, and it's those I choose to focus on as the year winds to a close.  I began querying.  More importantly, there were people out there who liked my work.  I may not have landed an agent yet, but I really do feel that I'm close.  I've accomplished a ton with my writing, completed the first draft of my honors thesis, befriended a ton of amazing people, explored different sides of my personality only to find that I quite like them, gotten closer to most of my friends, watched people I love succeed, spent time with my family, traveled, and had a plethora of new experiences.

What am I hoping for in 2012?  Here's a short list.

I want to find a job that I like, that can be a stepping stone to bigger and better things professionally-speaking.
I want to see my family succeed.
I want to find an agent and really get going on getting The Recruited published.  
I want to complete many more books this time around, and find new and exciting stories to tell.
I want to graduate college with an honors designation for my major.
I want to see my friends find jobs that they love or continue to excel in their educations.  
I want to enjoy new artistic mediums–from books, to art, to movies, to music.
I want to find someone worth my while and fall in love again.
Most importantly, I want to be happy.  And I'm getting there more and more every day.

I don't know who to attribute this quote to, but I saw it on Twitter and quite like it.  May the best of 2011 be the worst of 2012.  

Happy New Year!     

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Christmas Cheer

It's been a busy last few weeks.  Between wrapping up final papers/projects, celebrating with friends, and getting back home for break, I haven't had a lot of time to myself.  So far, this suits me fine. 

I've spent time hanging out with a bunch of different home friends, making cookies and catching up.  We're planning to go and have drinks and talk some more, since it's going to be hard to get everyone together this break.  One of my friends is going back to school for New Years, and another plans to be back shortly after.  Already I can tell we're all getting older.  Hanging out has become something we all do after days worth of texting or facebook messaging, not something spur of the moment.  I guess that's the issue with working around all our respective schedules.  Still, I'm looking forward to that and New Years.

One of the other awesome things about this holiday season has been having my West Coast family in town for the first time in four or five years.  My aunt and uncle flew out from Washington, and the others took the train with their son from California.  Not the kind of adventure I'd want to have, but they handled it pretty well.  We've been over at my grandparents almost every night, playing cards and watching sports, eating, talking, and drinking wine. 

Christmas Eve was particularly magical, as nearly our entirely family was there in the same house.  We played a men vs. women game of Trivial Pursuit–the women won!–and opened gifts.  It's funny; I can get tired of being around certain people after a few hours, but the older I get the more I like spending time with my extended family.  My cousins have all grown into really awesome people, and are a ton of fun to hang out with in their own right.  Not to mention the aunts and uncles have started treating us all like adults, which feels like a long time in coming but isn't, really.  

At any rate, Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy holidays to you and yours!  I'll try and be back to my regularly scheduled blogging, since I'm on break for another three weeks or so.  It's easy to lose track of time in this in-between semesters place.      
 

Querying Update

So, I promised an update a few days ago with regards to my querying progress.  I guess you could say this is me delivering.  🙂

At any rate, I heard from the agent about my full request, and ended up earning another rejection.  This person was very kind, and gave me a ton of good feedback about how I can further improve The Recruited, and I'm grateful for all the time they took with my story. 

I had five pages of my story requested and then rejected by an agent within the space of a week, which was kind of depressing.  Still it was countered by the partial request I had from about a week ago from an agent I've spoken with in the past.

For those of you keeping score, that's two partials I still have on the table, though I'm beginning to wonder if one of those has been rejected without my realizing it.  It has been well over two months since I've sent them the material, and I haven't had a reply to my emails in that time span either.  Having them reject me because of an email mistake or an issue with my submission would be way worse than being rejected on my own merit.  Ah well.  I'll probably give it another week, then send one more email asking whether they still have my submission before I give it up for gone.  

That's where I currently stand you guys.  I'm going to reread The Recruited over Christmas break, do some more editing, and then send out more query letters.  And, as always, I'm going to hope that one of those agents will end up being someone who wants to represent me. 

November Ate My Life (and other Tales from NaNoWriMo)

So, I meant to update this blog at least twice as much as I actually managed to do over Nano.  Which is to say, it would've been updated two times, since I managed one update over the course of a month.  *facepalms*  I am sorry, you guys.  All I can say is that Nano, school, and thesis braining completely took away what little time I might have had.  Not to mention trying to have a social life during the biggest writing marathon of the year.  It was pretty crazy.

That being said, I had a blast doing Nano this year.  I worked on my honors thesis–a creative piece, don't worry–and I actually managed to finish the whole draft, which was what I'd been aiming for in the first place.  That was super exciting, as now I have a manuscript sitting on my table waiting to be edited down.  (I'm super torn about this, because the thesis itself can only be about eighty pages, and mine is at least 70-80 pages over that.  I know there's some cutting that needs to be done, but at the same time, I would have to expand if I plan to try the publishing route at some point.  It's a weird double standard.)

Anyway, I at least have a draft of sorts to play with, final word count right about 46,500 words.  Because I was shy by a few thousand words, I also had to write on another novel and a few pieces of short fiction belonging to a larger collection in order to win this year.  That was fine with me.  Even if I ended up abandoning the second novel about a week in to focus solely on the thesis, I have a second idea I still like, even if I did approach it all wrong.  

That being said, it was a thrill to finish a novel and still like it at the end of the month.  "Between Two Lives" as the thesis is tentatively titled, turned out pretty well for a first draft, and I'm definitely going to be doing that whole 'plan the entire novel beforehand' approach again, just because it worked out so well.  

Thanks to everyone who listened to me bitch and moan over the course of the month about how I was never going to finish, and handled my regular word count updates without complaint.  You guys rock.

I'll be posting again in the next few days–please, God, I hope–to catch you guys up on how the querying process is going.  Thanks for sticking with me.