Happy New Year

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It's time for New Year's goal setting. I'm a bit delayed in my FINAL revision of Sweet Revenge, but it should be finished by next week, assuming all goes well. Then I will resume looking for an agent.

I submitted my first chapter to Firebrand Literary Agency, but they haven't responded yet, but then I don't expect them to ever respond. I heard they've gotten several thousand submissions during their query free submission fiasco, and they still have all of January to go with their offer. I think they're crazy, but it's what they want to do, and I'm not complaining. I hope I do hear from them, but I'm not holding my breath.

So, for my New Year's writing goals:
  1. Finish revising SWEET REVENGE
  2. Find an agent for SWEET REVENGE
  3. Finish writing GERTA!
  4. Begin searching for an agent for GERTA!
  5. Start new novel
This year may prove to be a busy one. I wish everyone who reads this good luck and prosperity in the coming year.

Author (wannabe)

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Wednesday, December 31, 2008

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to all of my faithful (all 1 or 2 of you) followers. I pray the spirit and love of Jesus Christ will abide in you and in your homes.

(By the way, if you haven't read Basic Guy lately, I think he's made some wise comments that we need to listen to)

And remember, wise men seek Him (Jesus Christ) still.

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I thought today, I would deviate from some of my usual posting subjects and talk a little about Christmas.

How many of you (all 1 or 2 of you can raise your hands) know where the "12 Days of Christmas" idea came from?

Most of us think the 12 Days of Christmas begins on December 13 and goes through the 25th. I know I've participated in "12 Days of Christmas" activities by bringing gifts to the less fortunate. It's fun and exciting to see the smiles of unsuspecting children as they open their front doors on a frosty evening to see a box of gifts and goodies and food from some anonymous giver. It's also fun to find ways to be deceptive as we ring the door bell and run to some pre-determined hiding place before we get caught. I love it all - giving. It's a great tradition.

But that isn't how the "12 Days of Christmas" began. Historically, the 12 Days of Christmas actually began on December 25 and ended on January 6. Huh? I know you all (all 1 or 2 of you) are thinking, where did that idea come from?

In the Catholic tradition, January 6th is the Day of Epiphany. So, what is that, you might ask. Again, according to Catholic tradition, it is the day the Wise Men had an epiphany, or that "Ah, hah!" moment, when they realized Jesus was the Christ, and brought him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It's supposedly the day they visited, and worshiped, the Christ Child, again, supposedly, in the stable.

Realistically, however, we as Latter Day Saints, don't necessarily believe the Wise Men visited Jesus in the stable. I think Joseph and Mary would have moved him by then, even if it were only 12 days later. More realistically however, is that the Wise Men probably visited him nearly two years later. The scriptures tell us of Herod, King of the Jews, killing all children in Nazareth (not Bethlehem, two years of age and younger in an attempt to destroy his competition -- Jesus. When the Wise Men visited Jesus, the scriptures tell us they entered the house, Jesus' house, where he was living as a child with his mother Mary and step father Joseph, and it says he was a child, not a baby.

Still, the story is basically true. Wise Men did come to the realization that Jesus is the Christ and brought Him gifts. Today, wise men still have an epiphany and come to the realization that Jesus is the Christ, and they still bring him gifts: "broken heart and contrite spirit." We also give him gifts when we help the less fortunate.

Let's hope at this Christmas season we all remember who we are, sons and daughters of deity, brothers and sisters in Christ, and we're all in this mess, called mortality, together. We need to help each other, we're expected, even commanded to help each other, and come before our Savior with a broken heart and contrite spirit so we can inherit ALL He has -- the Celestial Kingdom of God.

I pray you all will have a wonderful Christmas.

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A few weeks ago, I mentioned to all my faithful readers (all 1 or 2 of you) that I have decided to revise Sweet Revenge again (for the last time - I hope). I had decided to add back in some of the story elements that I'd deleted some time ago in order to get the word count down something agents and editors would consider reasonable (around 70,000 words) - not an easy task.

I originally had a lot more of a secondary characters' (Gary's and Kathy's) story, and had a word count of somewhere around 130,000 words. I toyed with the idea of putting some of that back in but now have decided against that idea as it really takes away from the main story. I did put back in a lot of what I'd cut of my main characters' (Mark's and Genie's) story and after doing that, the total word count is now hovering around 81,100 words. I hope that's not too far out of line.

The upshot of this is that I thought this would take me months to do, but thanks to WordPerfect's side-by-side window comparison feature, I was able to simply compare the old with the new and add what I felt was needed to make the story richer. Now, I just need to read through the story, using a hard copy and a red pen, to make sure the story flows and tracks, then I'll be ready to market it again.

Wish me luck with that one.

Another idea came to me, and I've been playing with it for some time now. As I've been going through this story and editing it, I've come to realize it's not only a coming of age story, but it may also be literary since it's totally character driven. I don't mean to say there is no plot, there's a strong plot, but the plot is driven by the characters, not the other way around. I'm not sure where mainstream, young adult, coming of age ends and literary begins, but it's something to consider.
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