Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why A Selfish and Proud Person Like Me Doesn't Enjoy Writing in First Person

I'm currently struggling over whether to change my middle grade fantasy from 3rd Person to 1st. Two in my critique group are voting 1st and the other three are voting a kind of mix of 1st and 3rd. As one put it, "Just write in first person to really get inside Peter's head, then go back and adjust it to third, so you pull back a little, but not much."

I started out wanting to try third person omniscient because I was just proud enough to think maybe I was writing epic fantasy. Hah! Anyway, I'd pulled back to third person limited, but then I went to the ANWA Conference and pitched to Taylor Martindale with Full Circle Literary. She seemed interested but only asked me to send the regular submission--a query plus 10 pages--AFTER my final revision. I'd also attended her first class on "Writing and Selling Successful Children's Books." She emphasized voice, particularly first person, so I presented my quandary to her after my pitch. Her recommendation? Write a chapter both ways and judge for myself which seemed to speak more loudly to me.

Hence, my experiment with my critique group.

I still haven't made up my mind, but I realized some things about myself in the process.

1. I'm selfish. 

Yes, I knew that before about myself, but I'd never realized it entered into my reading too. I knew it entered into my writing because I have no problem shutting the door on my family when I'm in the writing groove. But this question of which point of view to use made me realize that I want to know everything possible about a story, both as a reader and a writer. I don't want to be limited to one person's point of view.

2. I'm proud.

Again, no news to me, but the fact that it affects my preference of POV was news. First person is so common in middle grade and YA fiction because children and youth find it easier to put themselves into the story that way. Would my deigning to write in first person mean I was acting less adult? Of course not, but it prickled my pride anyway. Somehow, I always saw first person as the easy way to go. It's not, by the way. It comes naturally to some authors and for others, like me, it's a forced process.

Do I enjoy coming up against my selfishness and pride in my fiction writing? No, I don't. But the truth of the story is what counts most, and if that means first person or really deep third person, then that's the way I'll go. 

I'll let you know next month the course I chose.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I've Changed

Me at my first Ladies' Night Out, American Fork Deseret Book
April 2003
Back when I was first published (yes, check out the picture of me ... little baby author Tristi) I had one main goal.

You see, when I got my contract, a friend of my mother's said to me, "I hope you don't change now that you're going to be published. An author lives in our ward, and as soon as she got published, she became totally different. She won't give us the time of day anymore."

Other people said pretty much the same thing. "I hope that when you're rich and famous, you'll still have time for us."  "Well, it was nice knowing you." "You'll be different now, I guess."

These comments all really bothered me. Why would getting a publishing contract mean that I would change? Why couldn't I be a published author and still be myself - wasn't there a way to be both? And so I set a goal, the main goal I mentioned in the first paragraph: I was not going to change. I would always be me.

My plan seemed to work. No matter how many book signings I did or classes I presented or book clubs I did, I was careful that I was always myself. I never put on any airs or acted stuck up or pretended to know stuff I didn't know. I didn't name-drop ... even though I actually know some really amazing, highly famous people ... and I tried to stay pretty low-key about some of the awesome experiences I had. I didn't want people to look at me and say, "She's changed. She got published and now she's a totally different person." I was going to fight that tooth and nail.

But then I realized something. I had changed.

I was more confident.

I was more educated.

I was more outgoing.

I was finding new talents to share.

I was becoming an expert in my field.

I was funnier.

I was more popular.

I was learning how to respect myself more.

I was making money.  (Not a lot, but some. Still working on that.)

I was sought after.

I was viewed as a mentor.

I was stronger mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Oh, no. I broke my promise ... I had promised not to change, and then I went and did it.

Almost ten years later, Storymakers Conference
2012. Photo credit Erin Summerill.
When I look at who I was back then and who I am today, I can't say that I regret breaking that promise. The fundamentals of who I am have not changed. I'm still friendly and approachable and helpful and as cute as a button, but I'm also wiser and stronger and more able to hold my own. I have learned so much, and everything I've learned has shaped me. I'm a far, far better person than I was ten years ago.

And have I lost friends along the way? I'm sorry to say that I have. Some didn't realize that I wasn't going to dump them and they dumped me first, thinking they'd take it upon themselves. And some, even though I rarely even mentioned my writing, felt that I talked about it too much and thought I was bragging. What I've come to realize is this -the people who said "Don't change" were really saying "Don't leave us behind. Um, no, we aren't going to pursue our own dreams - that's too hard - so you stay back here with us so we can be more comfortable."

I don't like to think about the relationships that were left behind - it makes me sad. But a real friendship, a real relationship, doesn't punish you for growing as a person, and I learned that the hard way.

Being an author does change you, whether you want it to or not. Every experience you have in life should change you - that's what life is for. If your life isn't changing you, you aren't living it right. We should not leave this planet the same people we were as when we stepped on it. We should be stronger. We should be smarter. We should be more compassionate, more aware, more giving.

I like who I am now. I know I'm not everyone's cup of tea - a little Tristi goes a long way - but I'm proud of the progress I've made. I still have a lot to do - weaknesses I want to turn into strengths, character flaws I'm not too crazy about - and, unfortunately, I know that growth will hurt. That's just part of it. But what it all boils down to is this - I've changed. I've changed for the better, for the smarter, for the wiser, and no one should ask you to stay the same either.

Experiences that don't change you aren't worth having.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Feeding the Positive

by Michelle Wilson

Recently I decided to dust off an old manuscript and shine it up enough to pitch it at my next writer's conference. I started at it for days. It edited and rewrote the first page a kabillion times until I was simply disgusted with the entire project. The book seemed to blend into one big pile of rubbish, and I pushed it aside.

I think sometimes we can be too close to something to see it as it really is--our own stories, our family, our children, even ourselves.  Sometimes it's great, and necessary, to step away from the close inspection and take a breather. Of course I'm not saying abandon your treasured manuscript or leave your precious family!  But, there is great merit in stepping away from the focus on the negative and to look at only the positive.

I heard a person say recently that when you are redoing or revising a book, rather than go through and mark down everything you don't like or wish to change, it would be time better spent reading through it and noting all of the things you did like, and all the things that did work. That way, when you are finished reading through it, you not only DON'T feel like chucking the whole think into the fire, but you will most likely feel really good about your WIP and have a great idea about its strengths and what works. Then you can focus on enhancing those strengths, working off of them, and expanding on them.

That was a new concept for me--opposite of what I'd been taught. But, it sounds much more enjoyable that what I've been doing in my writing. But, this concept doesn't apply to just writing. I can apply it to my personal life as well.

Sometimes I get caught up in focusing on the things that I don't like. Whether it's someone else's quirks, habit, my own weaknesses and faults, life in general, or the stated of my microwave--if I try hard I could focus forever on the things I don't like. But that doesn't make me feel good.

So, I start anew today, with an eye single to the beauty of the things I like--in and out of print. I'll expand on the good things I see, work off of them, and enhance them as much as I can. And, hopefully, I'll get the best out of it all--my book, my family, life, and myself.

One of my favorite quotes is "What you fee grows." I plan on feeding that positive and see what will come of it.

I know it'll be good, because that's all I see.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is marriage easy?

I recently clicked on an article that someone shared on Facebook. It was written by a woman who believed that the only true accomplishments a woman can have is if she is not married and does not have kids. In fact, she stated that getting married is easy, so why do people think it is an accomplishment. I disagreed with the entire article, but her statement about marriage is what clung with me. Is getting married easy? Yes. But, that is not what the accomplishment is about. It is about staying married. There is the real trial and prize.

Many people get married everyday, and in today's world it is an easy task. Getting a divorce is almost just as easy. What the lady was not looking at was the work that goes into a successful marriage, one that lasts. I love this quote, and I don't know who to attribute it to, but it goes like this, "A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other." 

I have been married for twenty years, an it has not been easy. So many problems come up, from finances to personal behavior, and continuing on together is a struggle. But, my husband and I are committed to staying together and making our marriage work. The fact that I can tell people I've been married for twenty years feels like a real accomplishment. I believe the greatest and hardest accomplishment that a woman can claim is having a working marriage after many years. It doesn't matter if she works, worked, or had a lot of kids. The keeping it together over the years is the most important thing. I also love the quote from David O McKay, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” It takes two, it can't just be the woman. So, the success is in working together as a couple despite the hard times.

The photo taken above was over twenty years ago while my husband and I were dating at college. We we're so young (and skinny!). My marriage and my children are the greatest accomplishments of my life, and nothing outside can compete. Even fulfilling my life long dream of being a published author.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Writing Conferences--Why Every Author Needs Them

I love being a mom. I love being an author. Sometimes the two worlds collide and sometimes they merge beautifully. This week presented me with a little of both kinds of experiences as I juggled each role and prepared for one of my favorite parts of being an author: going to a writer's conference. Writing conferences are to authors what Christmas is to children: wondrous, magical, exciting, and when done right … informative and mind blowing.  :)

My two favorite conferences are: Superstars Writing Seminars and LDStorymakers. Superstars is a nuts-and-bolts seminar to help the serious author learn how to make a living at writing while LDStorymakers concentrates more on perfecting the craft of writing. Both conferences offer opportunities to network with other authors … as well as with top-notch agents, editors, and publishers. Networking and exchanging helpful information is essential to navigate the ever-changing waters of traditional and indie publication.

Serious writers need to be around like-minded folks for encouragement, training, and networking: three vital parts in the recipe to successful writing careers.

Discovering LDStorymakers a few years ago helped change my dream of becoming an author into a reality. While attending LDStorymakers, I discovered an incredibly gifted, multi-award winning storyteller, David Farland. I loved what he had to say and his willingness to teach others what he has learned.  He has taught other New York Times bestselling authors such as Stephanie Meyers (Twilight), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time, Steelheart, and The Mistborn series), and Eric Flint (the 1632 series), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven).

I have attended two of David’s intense week-long writing workshops. While at those workshops, I went on to meet and become good friends with three very talented women, Tina Smith (AKA Tina Gower-winner of last year's Writer's Of The Future's Contest), Kary English and Diann Read, as well as others who were unable to attend Superstars this year. 

Through Diann, Dave, and Kary, I discovered Superstars Writing Seminars last year. It was a transforming experience in countless ways. I have just spent the last three days at Superstars doing my best to glean insights into what it takes to be a successful author, (in other words, learn how an author can make a living at what he/she loves to do.)

The leadership of Superstars is second-to-none. Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Dave Farland, Eric Flint, Brandon Sanderson, and James Artimus Owen are individually six of the most successful authors in the world. Together, they are an incredible think tank of AWESOME. What makes them even more amazing is their willingness to share with their fellow authors how they got where they are today. None of them took the same pathway to success, and none made the journey without overcoming many hardships.

It is inspiring and a great privilege to learn from these amazing instructors, as well as their guest speakers: Lisa Mangum, acquisition editor at Shadow Mountain, Mark Lefebvre, an executive with Kobo books, and Diana Gill, an editor at Harper Voyager. Both women gave great advice to authors who want to leap out of the slush pile and into the hands of an agent--a critical first step to becoming traditionally published. Mark did a great job showing us that Kobo is an author-friendly resource and a great way to get more exposure for your e-books. (and on a side note, all three are super nice people.)


My artist son and his friend were thrilled to tag along when I picked James Owens up from the airport. Since they had read James' book: Drawing Out The Dragon (in which he drew the dragon you see below), it was especially cool for my son to meet a successful artist.

Two of my daughters, and one of their boyfriends, wanted to meet David Farland and James Owen. Each man took time to talk with them, sign books, and answer questions. Then the three kids browsed the stacks of books for sale and found a few more they wanted. I introduced them to the authors of those books.

Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. Anderson graciously discussed a joint love of zombies, vampires, and Star Wars with my kids. Which in turn earned me great ‘mom points' for introducing my kids to the authors. Win/win on both the mommy and the author fronts.

Writing books is a pretty solitary endeavor—except for all of the characters in your head begging you to tell their story. (That part of being an author is phenomenal.) Things like trying to figure out how to improve your craft, market your books, and formatting an e-book can be exhausting and frustrating. 


Writing conferences like Superstars and LDStorymakers recharge an author’s creative batteries and sense of purpose. They give you hope, renew your focus, and validate what an author does—which many of the instructors emphasized as: "Being an author is the greatest job in the whole world."

I concur... and furiously scribbled notes of insight as they gave advice on how to make a living at my career of choice, so that one day, I too, can join the ranks of bestselling author and make a living doing what I love.

For those of you who couldn’t attend, here’s the main secrets: Write the best book you possibly can, have it read by several beta readers, get it professionally edited, make the changes that will turn it from a good book into an amazing book, send out queries or indie publish, and move on to the next book.

Keep multiple projects going so that you can be in several stages at once: querying for one book, writing another, doing edits on a third. If you just write one book and stay focused on that one until it sells, you are wasting a lot of time (and that could turn into years). Instead, write more books, perfect your craft, and tell the other stories in your head. 

Having multiple projects opens you up to more possibilities as well as opportunities. When you are a known producer of quality projects, other people get interested and may open doors you never dreamed of. And the truth is, when you find a reader who loves your book, they often want to buy another book. If you don't have one to offer them, they will go elsewhere.

It is equally important to network: learning from and sharing with like-minded individuals. At Superstars, the combined knowledge, resources, and talents of the attendees is mind blowing. We have lawyers who know how to read contracts, marketers who know how to navigate all the many avenues of social media, authors in all stages publication: indie, hybrid, and traditionally, all of which are willing to share the secrets to success and the pitfalls of each path.
  Superstars attendees range from unpublished newbies in the business to internationally bestselling authors who have been around for decades. 

Each has the same goal: to tell a great story and make a difference in the life of their reader. Writing conferences are a wonderful place to make that happen. (Oh, and they sure are a lot of fun!) 

Laugh lots ... love much ... write on!

by: Monique Bucheger

For information on next year's Superstars Writing Seminar (Feb 5-7, 2015) stay tuned here.
For information on this year's LDStorymakers Conference (April 24-26), click here. (You don't have to be LDS to attend. Orson Scott Card is the keynote speaker on Friday night.)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A new writer on the block.....

We will say good-bye to Anika Arrington for the wonderful posts we have read from her and say hello to

Monique Bucheger

An amazing mother of 12 and author of some pretty wonderful middle grade adventure books.... We look forward to hearing from you, Monique.....I'm sure it will be great!!!

When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi cab driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, 2 sons-in-law, an adorable granddaughter, two cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of  the Ginnie West Adventure middle-grade series: The Secret Sisters Club, Trouble Blows West, & Simply West of Heaven. The fourth book: Being West Is Best, will be published soon.
Check it out!!!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fifty Ways to Hook Your Reader

(Do you remember that hit song by Paul Simon? As a kid, I felt SO ripped off that Paul only actually wrote FIVE ways into the lyrics. Yet here I am, doing exactly the same thing.)

When I posted in December about figuring out where to start your story, the very talented Sarah Dunster asked a good question about hooks. Mark Penny responded--quite astutely--that the first quarter of the book should go thusly: hook/inciting incident/plot turn. I agree completely. Lots has been written analyzing both the inciting incident and the first plot turn, while defining the hook remains a little more hazy. Here's my crack at it.

Your hook should be (or at least start) on page one, and its function is do to exactly what it describes: hook the reader. It raises questions in the reader's mind that the reader wants answered. When I'm reading a book, the hook lets me know I can trust the writer. Once I'm hooked, I have a reasonable certainty of knowing that my time (and money) spent with this writer will not be wasted. I'm safe and relaxed; I'm invested and intrigued.

So, yes, writers. Spending a large amount of time perfecting your hook is very much worth it. Here's a subjective, somewhat overlapping, NOT exhaustive list of ways to hook your reader. 

First sentence: This one we all learned in middle school English class, right? It's a classic for a reason: it works. Consider, first from George Orwell:
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. (1984)
And Jane Austen:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. (Pride and Prejudice)
And C.S. Lewis:
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
Genius first sentences like the above examples establish voice and world and theme and raise reader questions--all with just a few carefully chosen words. 

Here's the first sentence from my work in progress. It came to me out of the blue one day, a pure gift from above, and I think it will sell this book:
I swear: I did not mean to set the squirrel on fire. 
See? Don't you want to read more? But there are other ways to establish the hook.

Voice: A compelling and unique narrative voice can grab a reader very effectively. Think of The Catcher in the Rye's Holden Caulfield:
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
He's a spoiled, angry rich kid, yet his vulnerability and insecurity grab the reader and force us to empathize with Holden, even when we don't ever really like him. (Remember, your reader doesn't have to like your main character, but she does have to care about him.) Holden's skillfully rendered voice allows vulnerability to seep through his petulant bluster, and that vulnerability is key. 

The Catcher in the Rye is told in first person, but you don't have to use first person or even your main character to hook a reader with voice. Terry Pratchett is brilliant at creating voice within a third-person narrative. Here's an excerpt from the first page of his book The Wee Free Men
Miss Perspicacia Tick sat in what little shelter a raggedy hedge could give her and explored the universe. She didn't notice the rain. Witches dried out quickly.
Pratchett instantly creates interesting questions for the reader with his wry, authoritative voice. Who is this witch with the wacky name? If she's powerful enough to explore the universe, why is she outside under a raggedy hedge? Why do witches dry out quickly? Using voice, Pratchett has promised a fascinating story in a quirky world. 

Flash forward: Many writers choose to drop the reader into the thick of the action, in medias res, as it's formally known. We immediately find our main character(s) reacting to a situation. Margaret Atwood's narrator Offred in The Handmaid's Tale describes being imprisoned with many other women in a smelly gymnasium patrolled by stern female guards. Andrew Wiggin endures having a monitoring device removed from his body as he wonders what will happen next in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game

Hooking a reader with action first, backstory later, has been successfully used as far back as Homer writing The Odyssey. Never mind when your character got up in the morning or what she had for breakfast. As Isaac Asimov counseled, "Start your story as late as possible." Which may mean beginning right up near the end, like Harper Lee does in To Kill a Mockingbird, or writing a near-climactic prologue, as Stephenie Meyer does in each of the Twilight novels. 

Visualization: But maybe your story isn't action-packed. Maybe it's a pastoral romance or a leisurely memoir, or maybe it's fiction that tends to be more literary/upmarket than commercial. You still need to hook your reader. This can be done in quieter, more contemplative works through visualization--painting a vivid scene for the reader. 

Marcel Proust does it gorgeously in Swann's Way. "For a long time, I used to go to bed early," he writes, then goes on to describe in painstaking detail--"the whistling of trains," the "shifting kaleidoscope of darkness"-- the particulars of a young child falling asleep. 

Jeannette Walls is no less a master. From her "true-life novel," Half-Broke Horses
It was late on an August afternoon, the air hot and heavy like it usually was in the rainy season. Earlier we'd seen some thunderheads near the Burnt Spring Hills, but they'd passed way up to the north. I'd mostly finished my chores for the day and was heading down the pasture with my brother, Buster, and my sister, Helen, to bring the cows in for their milking. But when we got there, those girls were acting all bothered.
Make sure you have a firm grip on "show, don't tell" if you want this kind of hook to work. (That's true for all hooks, but especially this one.) And make sure there is some question raised and some emotion evoked so the reader is willing to commit to your story. Pretty scenery is one thing, but readers want story above all. See Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale or Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell for more fantastic hooks through visualization. 

Quote: When I first read Frank Herbert's Dune as a kid, quotes from fictional sources such as the Orange Catholic Bible immediately sucked me into Herbert's deep, vivid, fully-realized world. Quotes are a great communicator of both theme and tone, a shorthand of sorts. 
The sleep of reason breeds monsters.– Goya 
(Second epigraph from Stephen King's The Shining)
Whether it's a quote at the beginning of the story (in which case it's called an epigraph) or a heading for each chapter or section, it can clue the reader into what to expect in the following pages. Note that it's much easier from a copyright standpoint for the writer to use fictional quotes than real quotes--unless the quoted source is in the public domain (or unless you're Stephen King, and your publisher will happily shell out some cash to the original source). 

Okay, so I, like Paul Simon, only made it to five. (But here's a bonus: your title itself, like mine, can be an excellent hook.) I'm sure you can come up with more. Hit me with your best shots in the comments. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Coming Late To The Party

My mom told me when I was growing up that I lived a life most people would be envious of.  I grew up out of town on property with horses and other animals.  There was never a lack of things to do, including walking down to the pond and doing nothing but watching the water bugs and skaters in their mini world with the moss green like an underwater grass and the cattails bobbing back and forth in the breeze making shadows like giant trees on the bottom.  I remember climbing Russian Olive trees in our pasture and just laying on a branch for hours staring at the mountain in the distance- to my mind one end looked like the face of a camel- watching the color change from velvet green to stony blue as the sun set.  My entire life until I got married I had horses.  My dad took me riding for the first time when I was two weeks old, tucked in his coat and gave me my first pony, an appaloosa mare named Moonglow, when I was two.  Before you freak out, my dad was one of the best fathers ever given children and one of the best horsemen I have ever seen.  I had been riding for months on his thoroughbred bay, gelding, Innocence- probably the most incredible horse EVER born, before I got Moonglow. 
This is my little sister on Moonglow at her first 4-H show.

 He gave me a palomino gelding for Christmas when I was ten.  I named him Thunderbolt.  In between I had a sorrel mare named Terry, a palomino pony I trained by myself named Taffy, his mother an appaloosa pony named Quartermoon and my last horse was my dad's old horse, an appaloosa gelding named Bo-probably the most stubborn horse ever born.
This is me on Taffy at a 4-H show.

  I am a horse person by birth, by blood, by whatever it is that stirs that inner ache for horses.  It goes beyond that thing girls get for horses around the age of eight.  It is not necessarily something non-horse people can understand but I know I am not the only one who feels it- and I don't have anything against non-horse people. 

This is me on Thunderbolt.

 I have now lived longer without a horse than I have with one.  My internal feelings have not changed, just my external realities.  My backyard is not big enough for all of my kids much less a horse and we would need more than one. All of that being said, I find myself wondering how I didn't know what was going on with the wild horses here in the United States. 
 For the last few weeks I have been trying to catch up on what the Bureau of Land Management who is responsible for the care and management of the wild herds has been doing or not doing for the last few years.  I only found out there was a problem because my sister told me about what they are doing to the herds in Wyoming.
  I like to look at everything that is being said before I make judgments about things.   I try to be reasonable, look at things from as many perspectives as possible because I want to make correct choices and say things that are right and true.  Because I have grown up and had to face the realities of budgets and close quarters I realize that sometimes things look like cruelty or just plain wrong but there is no realistic alternative and you do what you have to do.
That isn't what is happening in Wyoming.  They are deliberately "zeroing out" wild horse herds to appease cattle ranchers who are getting tax-payer subsidized grazing on the public lands.  Lands the horses were supposed to be protected on.  They have rounded up and gotten rid of over five hundred horses.  They are converting the herds to non-reproducing and many of the ones that will be allowed to remain have been sterilized.  It may take a few years, but without the ability to reproduce in a healthy way, the herds are effectively eliminated.
There are still wild horse herds, but as I looked around the country to find out how things were happening in other states I found the same things have been going on.  The herds are being reduced and converted to non- reproducing- zeroed out.  Many have asked what the big deal is.  The horses don't do anything- they are not profitable.  The only value they have is that they are pretty.  They might even be destructive to the environment.  They are not really wild animals.
Well, there are a good many species of animals and plants alike that have no practical value and are only pretty- at least if that is how you look at things.  Ants are destructive to the environment if the wild horse herds are. For not really being wild they have found a way to adapt and thrive in a wild environment- at least until people get involved.  It just seems to me that when people want to justify themselves, they come up with reasons that other people will buy whether or not they are true or legitimate.  
Our government shut down an entire farming community in California because of a fish.  Despite the facts of wolves roaming out of the designated areas in federal parks and destroying ranch animals they were reintroduced into the wild and remain wild.  What is it about wild horses that makes them less important than these other species?  Why are they not worth saving?  
If it isn't the profitability angle from the extra grazing the cattle ranchers would get, I can't come up with anything except that they represent an idea, a concept that frightens some people- freedom.
I know to many this post may seem pointless, argumentative, maybe even agenda motivated, but I don't have time for  petty arguments or political agendas.  I love horses.  My point is that I think they have value beyond their beauty- they are living creatures that deserve the same respect and concern as any other living creature. Under the laws of our country they are supposed to be being protected.  I believe it is wrong that they are not.  Where do we draw the line?