Monthly Archives: April 2011

Gerald Baker

“Where were you last night?” She asked him. He had walked in with muddy boots in hand. Scratches and dried blood covered his face where the wrinkles of his sun beaten flesh would have laid. The nights were cold if there wasn’t a man around to harvest dead wood from the forest. The cottage in which they lived was near the river they had been tricked into buying three quarters mile of.

“Gold, is in this river,” the man lied to them. A small Pennsylvania river would be plentiful of quartz and coal, but nothing rating as high in value as gold. The man supplied two ounces of his own genuine gold which he had traded the year prior on the trails halfway to California. “I’ve made my wealth,” the man continued sensing the obvious question Gerald was about to ask. “Hell, I’ll even give it to ya’ for a shillings less.”

Gerald Baker was a kind man. One of pure innocence and hard work. Brought up on his family’s farm he learned that you work for every dime you earn and yearn for every dime you don’t. He had worked hard to manage the sum of $100. The land, once said and done would cost him a heft $140 with the $10 the kind man had knocked off. Gerald struggled to do the math but knew he would end up well off.

Greeted by her question he quickly put his muddy boots back outside of the door and walked in with his bare feet showing more blood drying among his toes.

“Good lord. What’s happened to you?” She asked now seeing the site of her pitiful husband walking through the door.

“I made gold.”

She looked at him. She took him in as if he were mad. He had to be mad. You can’t make gold. “What do you mean you made gold?” She asked.

“I captured the man that did this to us, and made him pay. I made him pay. I made him pay.” He repeated to her while he held the cloth over her mouth and nostrils. She continued to struggle, but the blame he had placed on her for the sourness of the deal urged him to continue the smothering. She finally fell still, but he continued his hold, and continued to tell her how the man had paid.

The first “Partial” request

Good Afternoon!

March 19th was a monumental writing day. That is the day that I got my first request for a partial manuscript! I have queried some twenty five agents and I finally got a response. Reading over the email she sent requesting the material left me reading it over four then five times. When I got home that evening I was able to sit down and really read through the email. Very specific instructions were outlined in the email, and asked for a two page synopsis, a biography, and the first fifty pages of my manuscript, double spaced with .5 inch margins all around…justified.

Querying, itself, has proven to be a difficult task. The first obstacle is finding a website that gives information on any agent or agency. Then you have to read each persons biography to find out which one, if any, will appeal to your style of story. Once you have found the perfect match, there is a process of rewriting the letter to meet the specific needs of the agent. The rest, we have all done a thousand times. OH and by all means don’t forget to compare your letter to Query shark.

I was completely unaware of the additional items that were needed once a partial was requested. I thought my query was as chopped down a synopsis as you could get! I began my search at 2 o’clock in the morning to find out what she might have been looking for when it came to a synopsis. Seeking representation means you have to play by their rules and ensure that everything meets their requirements before you can even decide if you want them or not. Oh, yes! Don’t forget that you can go through all of these hoops and ladders and finally decide that this is not the agent for you.

It took three days before I could respond to the email I was so excited to finally receive. I read through those first fifty pages about fifty times. I then had to write an acceptable synopsis using Nathan Bransford’s blog as a guideline. I then dusted off an old biography, fixed it up then sent my reply. Now I shall wait 12 weeks before I inquire if she liked it or not, but here’s hoping that I get a full request soon!

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

I’m not asking for too much

It’s not often that someone reports on the down side of writing. I don’t mean the bad associations, but the artist’s pain that usually coincides with the writing. I have often found myself locked (literally) into a room with all but the light coming from my computer, pitched into darkness. Albeit the sun hasn’t decided to shine on this day. It makes me feel a bit better. When I can’t talk things out I can always express them in some sort of writing. When I can’t read others work because of my anxiety, at least I know I can write it out.

Often, just with any other artists work, pain, worry, anxiety, depression, and other horrible feelings circle around writing. I only hope that the writer has a way of letting this all out into the words artfully scratched across the screen.

Happy Writing,

Caleb A. Mertz

Structured Steel

4/12/2011

An off season Christmas town was what we were leaving. Similar to the ones my parents would take me to when I was young. Little paths ran to small attractions while a pleasant amount of foot traffic still followed them. The night was an odd night. Gray, a dark gray, rather than a dark blue sky. It supplied a small amount of light enough to guide us through. I had a young lady with me. If I had seen a clear picture of her face at this time I’m sure dirt would have been smeared across it, and a tooth missing. Leaving, I noticed her hair was a grayish brown with a wild frizz to it.

Making a right onto the main drag, a long cement truck with it’s red and yellow caution tape tearing slightly off blocked the way. It stopped and merged halfway into my lane. I sit and take notice to how long the truck actually is just to haul cement. Other cars are beginning to pile up behind me. Their incessant honking forces me to look forward to explain why I can’t go anywhere when I see that there is plenty room for me to get through. I step on the gas to speed along, infuriated with their gestures of insult. About to pass the cement truck, the wheels begin to grow in magnitude indicating it’s getting closer to the side of my car, as he begins to merge into my lane. The road is inclining and steel frames nervously pass the windows to my right, now feeling the intensity of the pinch.  nervously. There is a weave lane coming up. The cement truck finally subsides into my mirrors and get into the lane he previously held. I continue to speed, now irritated by the people beeping, and the cement truck almost pushing me off the road. The road curves right, but the steering wheel is blocking my sight. Shifting my seat I try to get a clear view. My co-pilot, though saying nothing, is clearly as scared with my driving as I am with her quietness. I drift into the oncoming traffic lane slightly, yet she still makes no protest. Back on track, I second guess my speeding for only a second. I regain my site by adjusting my seat and begin to speed up again. I merge into the right lane to get off at the next ramp. As we take the exit the steering wheel is in my way once more. The landscape around me begins to blur as we begin to slide off the road in spirals. By the time that I have regained control we are down on a gravel road one hundred yards from the highway, and facing another car that’s up on a lift. There is no one around. It’s desolate, and devoid of any positive emotion. I look at my co-pilot frantically spinning the map to try and figure our exact location.

Fairly certain we’re somewhere we shouldn’t be, I grab the map. It isn’t easy to make sense of such a ridiculously drawn map, so I also begin to spin it. Helping with our orientation, I remain confused. A white workers van is coming down the gravel road directly off of the highway. If it had a theme song to play along it would have been deep and baritone. It would have warned of misfortune, and danger. Deep succint notes depicting the heart unsure of it’s surrounding, yet preparing for a flight for life. Knowing we aren’t supposed to be there I throw the car into reverse. At that time my co-pilot jumps from the car and begins to raise the lift the other car is on. I think her intentions are to create a greater area to hide behind, but I see through the flaws immediately. She insists that she stay there, though I warningly wave her back into the safety of the car.

Having faith that she has a plan, I drive down along the road to the fence. Steel structures fly past the left of my car. It’s as if this bridge had been constructed for miles through the same twisting of metallic muscle. Seeing the road ahead, but no way to get there, I search for an alternate. There is one opening that I could park my car in, but there’s no time for careful parking. I jam on the breaks and turn the wheel so that it is hitting rock hard against the turn stop. Successfully my car slides into the appropriate spot, which is relatively covert. The momentum still keeps the car rolling backwards, though slowly. The car itself continues to go. I put the car in drive and begin to give it a little gas to stop from hitting the other cars, yet they connect. Failure in the end. Being cautious I eye the familiar street that runs perpendicular to my car and begin formulating a plan on how to get out. Only moments pass to think on the plan before my co-pilot comes along and inspects the damage on my car. According to her the damage is too much to take with us. I, however set my sights on the vehicle I’d love to drive, and interesting bulky device that will surely get us out of the fencing. A tall red fire truck on wheels, yet with helicopter propellers.

Excitedly we get into the vehicle and bust through the gates. Lights flashing, and propellers playfully spinning we drive fantastically down the highway. Going through underpasses and being seen by everyone now is not such a bad thing. I am, however, holding the remote that only spins the propellers above, where as a buff man with a shaved head, and cut off sleeves drives the truck. His head bobs at the excitement he has to drive his baby, as he seems to be along for the ride. Playing in our new toy we happen upon a cop car that is in the foreground of multiple fire vehicles. Lights going on our vehicle it would be understandable that they would think we were coming to their aid. The police man, though confused by the device they drove, motioned for them to move through the barricade. In a panic the driver of our device turned right, away from the scene that everyone thought we would be going to. A small path with wheel marks, something of what you would find in a park way is what we found ourselves careening down. A forest and a hill to the right, and a small canal to the left, hundreds of feet above the river. It was only a few moments and a few pedestrians later before we bailed the vehicle and took refuge in a small cabin like structure over the canal. The floor boards were separated two to three feet apart. It was important to watch footing while moving about within. Still not sure what the purpose of this place was an odd sense of a past acquaintance of my co-pilot and the truck driver begins to bloom.

Three of us are in this cabin when me and my co-pilot decide it’s time for the driver to get back out into the fire drenching aerodynimc automobile and go to the scene where he was needed. He obliged and left the building. Leaving this room I stop by what looks like a horrid expression of a public bathroom. By no interest to me. I didn’t have to use the restroom at all. Instead a device within me caught on and drifted inside as if in spirit. The driver of our truck full of tatoo’s and fully naked was pleasuring himself in a vicious and tortuous manner. Finally projecting his explanation to the walls for several seconds does he realize there is a young man watching from a stall with a door. The driver reaches his arm around where the unit is usually bolted to the wall, rips the bolts out, and plunges the unsuspecting peeper’s head into the side of the wall multiple times. Blood spatters the wall before I quickly leave and leave my subconciousness in it’s darkness.

Just remembered being out on a trelice and having two groups of people that were embarking on two different sets of obstacles. There was no way to get down from this structure but to climb down four prongs of bamboo to ultimately fall into a river, or monkey bar across to a netting that seems far too uneasy to navigate. I chose the four prongs and plumbeted after what I had assumed as a grown up group of girl scouts.

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

Ten Opening Sentences

Each of these ten opening sentences are mine. Not taken from some other place or time. Feel free to use them if you will.

– Ties of each color illuminated the closet, fat ones, little ones, short bow ties, they all had a purpose, all had a time.

– Daniel Schmidting stared into the corner of the single room apartment his sister owned, while her first client of the day began to take away any of the morality that she had left.

– She had been praying for it to happen, and just as she had done before, she looked to the doorway.

– The java machine began spitting and slurping away at the water provided, while Jenkins stood over pondering the mistakes of last night.

– April fields left barren, still rumbling of the feeling of new life, stretch across Liani’s sight.

– He had read every book that stood on his shelf, he was bored, he wanted more, he couldn’t go outside, yet maybe today was the day.

– Blueberry muffins were baking in the oven when young Alivander woke.

– His car had come to a screeching halt in the fast lane of the highway, as a man lay head first still praying that Fred’s car would continue the trek it was on, and run over his brain.

– A normal load of laundry lured Sumil to the basement, where the tar like substance had congealed just above the machine.

– “I’m trying to make it easy for both of us,” Adrianna said before allowing the painful tears to begin their torrent down her face.

Time to run for the hills?

Just a random question based on the news I watched on CNN.com last night, but is it time to run for the hills? Our own government talking about “shutting down”, then not paying our soldiers… (Can you say rebellion within a few days time) Civil unrest in norther Africa, but then all the supporters of these nations in other nations taking to the streets as well. Not covered on major news channels, but IT IS HAPPENING! Based on my upbringing this means it’s just about time to take a retreat to the mountains for a week, and see what develops in the regular world. Chances are you might not want to come down from the mount. This has been a chain reaction, and I can only see it getting worse. God be with us, PLEASE!