Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gearing Up to Get an Agent: Meet and Greet

Deana Barnhart

The first week for GUTGAA is upon us! If you an aspiring author who wants a critique partner, a chance to polish your pitch, or a chance to get picked up by an agent, the month of September is Gearing Up to Get an Agent over at The Meet and Greet post is first on the agenda, so here's mine!

I'm a fifth year high school English teacher (don't worry, I don't tend to correct people's grammar unless it's a formal occasion). I live in Oklahoma (and no, we don't live in teepees or ride horses to work) and wish the Thunder could have won the NBA finals against the Heat. But life goes on.

I have an awesome husband who coaches lacrosse. My favorite color is purple, and I'm a military brat, proud Air Force daughter, Navy sister, and Navy daughter-in-law. My favorite place to live was Okinawa, Japan. If I'm not writing, I'm reading YA or blogging.

Here are a few more things about me:

-Where do you write?
I write in my computer room/spare bedroom on the desktop computer. There's nice light from the window there.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
A mini-fridge that I used to have in college. Now it's our soda fridge:)

-Favorite time to write?
Mid-afternoon, sometimes all the way until 3 AM.
-Drink of choice while writing?, maybe I should pick a new drink.

-When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
Writing is the only thing I do that doesn't require music to complete. If I'm cleaning, exercising, getting ready in the morning, I HAVE to have music.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
My latest completed manuscript came from a dream. My most recent unfinished manuscript was actually inspired by a really cool friend's stories about her hilarious roommates and their shenanigans when trying to make ends meet.

-What's your most valuable writing tip?
Take out extra words. Don't use two words for something you can express with one.
I'd love to hop to your blog and read your answers, so leave me a comment! 


Robin said...

I live by a marine base and everyone talks about moving back to Oki or hoping to get stationed there again. It must be a wonderful place.

Impressed you can write ALL night.

Brinda said...

Hi Jenna. It's nice to meet you. I see that you recently finished The Fault in Our Stars by Green. Loved, loved, loved that book. I've read all his and thought it and Will Grayson, Will Grayson were the best.

Brinda said...

I forgot to mention that you can visit mine at .

Michelle 4 Laughs said...

I like the colorfulness of your blog. I also work in an elementary school, with special needs kids.

Angie Sandro said...

You have a beautiful blog. I love this color. I Leo agree with you advice. It's all about finding the right word.

Carrie-Anne said...

My favorite color is purple too. I also like your writing tip. It's kind of surprising to look back on something you haven't read through in awhile and find how you can take out some extra words. I remember one of my lines I changed was "the phone situated on top of the coffeetable." I suppose I was used to extra words from all the classic, wordy novels I've read.

Teresa said...

I recently read The Fault in Our Stars too! Purple is also my favorite color, but I have never been to Japan. Omit needless words is the best advice in the history of EVER.

Nice meeting you!

D. D. Falvo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D. D. Falvo said...

Stick with water, I say! It's the best thing for keeping the brain hydrated so you can write, write, write. Love your beautiful blog, and your advice is so important-- culling unnecessary words greatly improves readability and pace, yet so many writers overlook this. Good luck with your novel!

Cynthia said...

Saying hello from GUTGAA...I used to teach English before I had children. It's funny how people who know I teach and write also sometimes get unnecessarily self-conscious around me about making grammatical mistakes.

Alleged Author said...

I teach ELA to middle schoolers. Yay for teachers!

I'm your newest follower. *waves* Very nice to meet you. :)


Pk Hrezo said...

Wow I'd love to write for a ten hour stretch. I could do it if I was alone and had copious amounts of coffee.
Great advice! The less wordy the better.
Nice to meet you! :D

Triona said...

Hi Jenna!

That's a neat inspiration story--and I love your writing tip. So true!

Also: soda fridge = GENIUS.

Nichole Giles said...

Oh no, water is good for you. If that's all you drink, you're doing way better than me. Also, the mini-fridge= genius.

Kelley Lynn said...

Hello! *waves* So nice to meet you!

Great advice. Why say with many words what we can say with less?

Melodie Wright said...

Yay- another teacher! *waves* Tomorrow starts our fourth week of school already. Nice to meet you!

Suzi said...

Take out the extra words--that's a good tip. I'm slowly learning what all those extra words are. It's taking a long time. :)

Lauren said...

Nice to meet you! I drink mostly water while I write, too, although recently I've switched to coffee.

It's so cool that you lived in Japan! I'm jealous :)

amy kennedy said...

I'm a huge fan of doing anything to music (especially cleaning)but no music while writing either.

My brother, his wife and one of their daughters and her family live in Oklahoma (Air Force family) and my brother was stationed in Okinawa -- years and years ago. Still, funny to have those connections

Lily Cate said...

Hi Jenna!
Thank you so much for stopping by my little blog :)
My husband and sis in law were in Okinawa for a while as kids, too! Sis in law graduated from Kubasaki High (did I spell that correctly?)

Aidyl Ewoh said...

You guys don’t live in teepees? I’m so disappointed! Ok, maybe not. =) I do have a teepee that I write in though. One of my ways to get my imagination working. ~Aidyl

Aidyl Ewoh said...

Oh, and another thing: Nice blog! I’m following it now. ;) ~Aidyl

Stephsco said...

Shenanigans! I love it. I also like your writing advice to take out extra words. I read this great little book (it's actually little and only took an hour to read) about this guy who used to write copy for radio ads and he literally had to reduce words to fit the airtime. So many words we can trim down and the text reads cleaner. I'm kind of obsessed by spare writing and sometimes I have to work to leave in descriptors. All about balance I suppose.

I'm going to follow your blog. Good luck with GUTGAA! Here's my GUTGAA Meet & Greet post: A Girl and her Diary said...

"Take out extra words" is a very good piece of advice. I'm guilty of over-writing and I definitely need to work on that! Thanks for stopping by my blog, it's nice to meet you :)

Angela Cothran said...

Take out extra words :) Sounds easy but it is SO NOT! Great tip :) I'm not telling my hubby about a sofa fridge or he will want one.

Jeannette said...

It's so interesting to see how many people were inspired by dreams. It shows how much is lurking in our subconscious, and how much is begging to come out! Good luck with GUTGAA!

Laurie Dennison said...

So nice to meet you! It's amazing how many English teachers we have in the meet-and-greet. Best of luck with GUTGAA!

Diana Gallagher said...

Mid-afternoon until 3 a.m. is an impressive time frame! I too love omitting extra words, though sometimes I get a little carried away. :) Good luck in GUTGAA!

Clare said...

Hi, nice to meet you Jenna!

Wow, it sounds like you're well traveled, I bet you've got lots of great stories from the countries you've lived in. I'd love to visit Japan.

A soda fridge in your writing area?! Awesome. I need one of those! :D

Good luck with GUTGAA.

Mara Valderran said...

Hi from another GUTGAA member and fellow purple lover! Choosing the right word is so hard and it is so easy to rattle on rather than condense. Great tip!

Stephsco said...

I sent an email to the fansoffiction email regarding the critique partner match-up FYI. I didn't sign up on the larger post, so my info is not there, it's in the email. Just let me know if you're interested, if not, no worries!

Donea Lee said...

Hi, Jenna! Checking in for GUTGAA - so nice to meet you! And water isn't so bad... :)

Li said...

Nice to meet you! Of course, I signed up for GUTGAA and was promptly swamped at work, so I'm behind but trying to at least stop by a few blogs each day :-)

Johana Vera said...

Hi there, I'm hopping over from my Pitch Polish post's comments section at Bookworm's Multiverse to say:

Thank you! You're suggestions are amazing. I'll work on them.
Again, I know It's super annoying my thanking everyone over and over again, but really.. You are all amazing people!

And yes, the boys are important, so I'll fix that for sure.


Johana ;)

Tricia Skinner said...

Hi Jenna,

Thank you for the wonderful feedback you left on my query. I've added your suggestions.

Now, I want a mini fridge!


Ink in the Book said...

Hey! I'm stopping by to visit from GUTGAA!
I snooped around and read your "About Us" profiles. When I saw that Ashly lives on an Air Force Base in North Dakota I just about fainted. I would love to meet up with a fellow writer:) Such a small world!

Best wishes this month during GUTGAA!!

TerriKRowe said...

I loved your advice! Also-that you drink water as well. I was worried about sounding boring-and figured-truth is where it's at-I love water! :)