Monthly Archives: September 2010

Bad Query, Good Query

By this time I am almost terrified to post anything more on my queries.  It, at times, feels like my babies ripping my hair out for me.  I am sure that my facebook friends are tired of me asking them to check out the latest query.  Even though I realize this I am still re-writing the damned query!

One night I sat down and rewrote my letter and thought ‘This is great! It tells the story and kind of tells what the books about‘ — Well the very next day I woke up and reread the query being nothing but excited.  I was overwhelmed with a horrible and sickening emotion.  Heck, now it just read as if it were a faith novel about the end times!  I am not querying christian faith agents, but mainstream fiction/ thriller types.  So I write again.

I come up with another one that seems cool.  AH! I can’t write a friggin query letter that “Seems cool”!  I re-write again.  I feel content with the opening paragraph and focus on the second.  After re-reading it about thirty times and making small grammatical corrections, I am dissatisfied with the first paragraph.  Those first few words are what determine if the agent will continue to read.  Ultimately I realize that this process takes some serious time, but boy is it ever fun.  It creates the possibility to exercise all of my creative writing skills along with practicing my grammar.  This isn’t such a bad thing.

Anyway, only when I have a query letter that wows me as the author will I post it.  I will keep everyone posted till then, but just wanted to rant here for a bit.

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

Reading our writing; to find out who we are

Whenever you write something whether it be an essay, short story, or novel you have gone back and read through it, have you not?  When we go through and read something that we wrote we work on grammar, punctuation, and over all flow of the story.  Why not go back and re-read everything with an attempt to get a better grasp on who we are as people?

Which of your characters do you resonate with the most?  Which of your characters were inspired by people in your life and why did you select them to be a part of your story?  What situations do your characters go through that you have seen and experienced first hand?  Are these characters reacting the way you wish you had, or wanted to react?

These questions come to mind after reading over an essay in the book,  “Words Overflown by Stars“.  The essay is titled “The Fictional “I” in Nonfiction” by Phyllis Barber.  She goes on to interpret the way nonfiction authors find their voice when writing.  Using a matryoshka doll as her illustration she describes how it can be taken apart again and again.  A new layer revealed each time until you can’t split it anymore.

Reading over her words of wisdom, I couldn’t help but to think of the two books I have out now and how much of my personal life is within those pages.  I then think about the phrase my mom always tells me which inspired this new book.  Having had my interest peeked I went back to review a few chapters of my work.  Although it was me writing the entire time I found it almost therapeutic to take a distant look at myself through a readers eyes.  The reader may never have to know which parts resonate the most with you, but face it there’s a big peace of you in there.

Now, the next time you set out to edit, and redraft, make sure you check out the side of you revealed through your writing.  You may be surprised to see what you find. Me, I was terrified.

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

My third Query Letter

Writing a query letter to an agent is something that seems like a horrible task when reviewed and researched on-line.  Never being one to quit I took the advice of many agents, authors, and reviewers into view when compiling this query.  Please tell me what you think, and again take the poll.

“The climbing number of terrorist actions had brought the world to Washington D.C. for Mr. Rakford’s inauguration.  At a place of peace and in a time of hope did death and fear strike by the force of “Christian” terrorists.

Andrew Rakford, 35, was a man of altruistic authority when he was named President of the United States.  Wanting to take the woes of the world and turn them into victories along with the wrongs into rights, would he make the world a better place.  He wasn’t, however, the only one with a plan.  His mother always reminded him that God had many great things for him to accomplish, but as these plans came to confrontation the world began taking an agonizing turn.  Though they melded and worked perfectly together, it remained tethered at the final result of Andrew.  Would he be the best president in years, releasing the world of the terrorist hold, or the greatest evil known to man in the form of the Antichrist?”

I need an insightful blog!

What a wonderful day it has been so far.  I woke up at 12 with a bad headache and feeling like I would never be able to drink enough water, let alone get to it.  Smoked a cigarette, had some coffee and now sit in front of my computer wondering what to type next.  I am disconcerted with the fact that I can’t just make a random blog stating something about my life, but one that needs to be insightful.

Many things were swimming through my head, all pertaining to me that I wish I could scream across the internet.  No one wants to read about how I spoke too much last night, I was up until six, or that Dewar’s twelve and ginger ale tastes very similar to Dewar’s white label and ginger ale…  One of the main reasons that I have this blog is so that I can do a writing exercise but put it out there in public form creating something for people to read.

Any way I still hate where this is going, so I am going to stop it here.  I hope however that you don’t ever just write to write, but write to get better.  Write to develop your creative muscles and write to expand the little world you call your own.

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

“I was having a Jeff Lewis moment…”

“Where’s my power cord?”  I had asked.  It took several minutes for my power cord to finally make it’s way to my laptop.  After it was FINALLY handed to me I said, “Next time, realize that I use this office too.”

This brought me back to my favorite Obsessive compulsive personality on television right now, Jeff Lewis.  My little buddy from the Bravo Network on flipping out.  This man always seems to have a self serving attitude about him, which makes great for television.  If you have never watched it, you should.  Otherwise, back to my moment.  It had used to be called, “catty”, “bitchy”, or just “mean”.  Now it holds a new dimension.

It’s not something that I truly aspire to be.  I was only joking around with the man that I love, and earlier at work when I told a server that it took her longer than 45 seconds to sit her ass down on a rack of glasses, I was again having a Jeff Lewis moment.  Is this really a good thing?

Having a Jeff Lewis moment means that you were very determined to get what YOU wanted, and didn’t care too much about how it came out, but that you were indeed expecting perfection.  In my writing I try my hardest to be a Jeff Lewis when inspecting my own writing.  I don’t want anything to be sloppy or disorganized, but neat and orderly.  Sometimes being your own worst critic comes out in what you do on a regular basis.  Is this the most effective way? Of course not!  I have always loved to be the nice guy (though that doesn’t always work either) but you generally get better results when you’re kind and thoughtful to the people around you.

I apologized for about a minute before I was finally waved off by my love, but then again he knows what I am talking about.  He’s not so sensitive either (being the GM of a big time restaurant) and loves Jeff just as much as I do. There is no solid way to close this blog, except that it was a random thought on my mind and I wanted to write a little tonight.  Even someone like Jeff Lewis, who appears to be quite the self centered perfectionist, has a side that isn’t shown to the camera.  Who wants to watch someone that is nice to everyone and expects the best out of them?  Everyone knows that feedback fuels the performance.  If your boss never seemed upset with you on something would you ever make it better?  Jeff, we love you buddy!  Sorry for officially coining your name in this manner, but then again I understand some of the times (minus the pee in the hair…)

Thank you all for reading this random rant.

CALEB a. MERTZ