I am kaitco

a writer's log

Lessons Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:29 am
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I’m getting a raise at first-job; a pretty sizable one, but I knew this on Thursday and it hasn’t given me a lot of thought until now.

I got promoted at first-job in April, but even though I got the title and an overall increase in pay, everything totaled to be far less than what I was making prior to the promotion. I tried to negotiate, but worried that the offer might get rescinded and accepted based on the fact that I knew the pay was still liveable and that God would take care of me in the meanwhile. And, God has taken care of me. No bills have gone unpaid and I got to buy my car, which I love dearly as it is a symbol of patience, faith and love…and is also a very pretty, sparkling grey!

It wasn’t until I learned about this new raise today, however, that it occurred to me that everything occurs on His time for His greater purpose.

I went the entire month of July without going to church once and, when I did return at the beginning of this month, I started to tithe again as if I had been tithing the entire time; sort of starting over fresh. I knew I should have given God and His church what was really due, but I didn’t, citing poverty to myself at that time.

Last week, even before the pastor said a single word about tithing, I wrote my check and realized that I wouldn’t have enough money at the end of the month to cover what I wrote unless I moved around some things. It was in this moment that I made up my mind to be more mindful about how I spend money since, if I couldn’t find a way to carve out the 10% I used to give without fail a year earlier, then I clearly needed to re-evaluate some things.

As I discussed my raise with my mother today, it occurred to me that in just a few weeks, I’d learned a lesson about money and my spending habits, mainly that they had grown out of control months earlier and that I needed to ensure that I was living within my means…and now, once the lesson has been learned, I’m getting what I’d wanted back April.

I wrote 536 words today (so get over it and do your thing) and though I’m about to celebrate my 27th year on this Earth, I’m still surprised by my surprise about how God takes care of me.

 

More work ahead than behind Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The part of creating a draft is seeing how my views about characters can change before I’ve even got to the end. Original purposes can easily be drowned out by subtle detail changes and before I know it, characters who were just marginal and only there to help create a scene take on lives and full personalities of their own and then I’ve got to go and make changes to the rest of the story

Case in point when I consider Tabitha, Semaj (now Carver), Desirae (who’ll need to be renamed) and Damen’s art teacher Mr. Brannon. In the original heavy notes, only Tabitha existed and now I’m considering dropping her altogether as these others come further into the light. Semaj is named after a Sim-baby and I had no specific purpose in mind for him other than creating some doubt for Damen, but I’m wondering if it’s worth it develop him further now that I’ve included him in another class with Damen. Desirae was only given a name at all because I wanted to demonstrate that there were black kids in Damen’s class and that the kids were lined in alphabetical order, but now she’s appeared in so many other places and goes to show much of Brit’s angst with being a black in a suburban community that I can’t imagine ever trying to extricate her from the project. Mr. Brannon, in just the last few days, has taken on an amazing personality that I wish develop to the point that I’m willing to drop some of the drama that lies ahead in the story just to fit in everything about him.

I know I’ve heard somewhere that it’s the characters that chose the writer and, if I’ve seen anything in writing Damen, I know for certain that’s true. It makes me sad, however, when I consider all the brain cells I killed in drinking in college and all the characters that went with them. All the voices that won’t be heard because of my decisions in my early twenties…

I wrote 605 words today (grinned wider as he left the room) and I know I’m going to struggle to get there, but I’m really going to push to make the jump to a thousand words a day for the month of September. If I don’t hit my birthday goal, I can always bring the goal back down to a healthy 3-500, but at least I can look back on this year and know I did everything I could to get this novel done.

 

Changes Monday, August 29, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Today marks Day 2 of studying my bible prior to writing…I’m not noticing anything particularly different about how I’m approaching my writing, though I’m rather disappointed in myself for feeling like this was an extra chore in my day. It’s not that I’m not fond of reading and studying my bible, but the obligation of writing just seemed far more difficult when I’ve piled a brand new piece to the exercise.

I’m honestly bereft of anything meaningful to say for and since I’ve just spent 60 full seconds staring at my screen wondering is worth sharing in the blog tonight, I think I’ll just call it quits while I’m still relatively coherent. I wrote 585 words tonight (work either of these in the coming weeks) and I can sense some major changes coming in my life. Some welcomed; others, not so much.

 

Before I Sit to Write… Sunday, August 28, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Not much happened today. I went to church, planned this Cape Cod trip with my mother, played The Sims and watched an entire season of Scrubs. That first thing I did, however; that was very enlightening.

I’ve heard my pastor preach about putting God first a million times in the past five years I’ve been attending church and usually I nod and tell myself that I would do better, but sometime between the moment I get back in my car and the next week Sunday, the message disappears. This time, it struck a little deeper.

In order for me to put God first, I must actually do this as a part of my daily routine. Right now, I put my writing ahead of everything else in my life, which is why I believe I suffer so unnecessarily at times. To write right, I’ve got to put Him first in my life, so I’ve decided to start actually studying my bible before I sit to write.

I’d asked Pastor last week or the week prior about the best way to actually get through all the books of the bible since I usually get lost somewhere in Exodus and even when I make it past there Kings rids me of a lot of my interest. He advised to start with the New Testament and then work my way to the old, which makes a ton of sense given that the New Testament holds the truths of the Christian faith and reading through it in its entirety will get me accustomed to studying before I write so that when the usual walls come in Exodus or Kings, I’ll already be in a rhythm.

I managed a bit of before writing in that I studied the first chapter of Matthew, but this was hours before I actually sat down to write. Monday will go much better, or at least that’s the plan. I wrote 523 words today (years in England before returning home) and a part of me can’t wait to sit down to study and then write on Monday.

 

1098 Saturday, August 27, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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I’ve not got much to say about today.

I went to a bachelorette party yesterday, which was wild fun and I got a lot of accomplished at first-job, much more than I thought I was going to get done, but I’m still having trouble focusing for long enough to separate these chapters again.

I wonder if I’ll just let the rest of these chapters remain in a single document and let the separations flow naturally. Then again, that much freedom and lack of structure has never aided me in the past, so I’m not sure why it would now.

I wrote 1098 words today (impending divorce of a Hollywood couple.) breaking 1K for the first time in a bit. If I can keep my word counts over a thousand for the next three days, the September daily goal will be 1K instead of just 500, but still…I find it worth mentioning that I’ve not used the “None” tag since the 31st of January which, considering that I’d once gone entire months without writing anything in Damen at all, is something rather spectacular.

 

500 words a day is !@#$%& hard Friday, August 26, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Something I’ve realized recently is that there is a reason I’ve not made the jump to 500 words a day earlier. This crap is hard!

It’s not just the act of getting a post up on time or getting in the words within a specific interval of time. “Days” have a very different meaning when you go to sleep and wake up in the same “day” all the time, but it’s the act of finding what I want to say, pushing myself even further to get to the chosen word count and then finding a way to shut off the faucet once I’ve got all these words flowing.

Somewhere between 350 and 600 words, I fall into the zone and then I just can’t stop writing. Thoughts of “just a little bit more…just a little bit more…” flourish and before I know, the morning is lost and I’m running late or I’ve written well into the early morning and won’t get any sleep for the day.

I suppose there are worse things from which I could suffer, but there’s a certain level of frustration that comes battling my way up a hill, only to crash into something at the bottom once I go careening down it on the other side.

I wrote 990 words today (a dozen others at other tables) and I’m wondering if I’ll find that “off” switch today or if I should just give up for the time being and just let it flow until it’s time to call the plumber…

 

Poorly adapted Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yesterday, I watched the absolute worst adaptation of a Jane Austen I’ve ever seen. I’ve not seen all that many of them, but I have seen my fair share of 19th century England period pieces and this was, by far, the worst. Mansfield Park from 1999…bleh.

I hadn’t read Mansfield Park at the time of watching, but I could tell within twenty minutes that something was amiss. The characters were not speaking in the 19th century mannerisms and, at several moments in the film, I wondered if these were indeed British actors as the acting was so bland and uninspired and I’d grown accustomed to expecting much, much more from British actors.

Also unlike other adaptations I’ve seen, I did not care about the characters at all. In watching Mansfield Park, I didn’t necessarily care for Fanny, the heroine, or care if she ever married or found happiness. I also didn’t care about her beau-to-be Edmund, whom I found duller than even Fanny. I didn’t care whether Edmund married another girl and, the way the story was set, I wasn’t even sure until the very end of the movie if Fanny and Edmund loved each other and would end up together.

There was also a lot of discussion about slavery throughout the film which, while interesting in concept, never went anywhere. It was as if everyone on the screen was talking about physics and all of a sudden Fanny mentioned something about slavery…and then it was never discussed again. It was like some kind of forced theme to make someone who did not care for Jane Austen’s story find something interesting about the plot.

I compare this adaptation to the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. I hadn’t read Sense and Sensibility prior to watching, but within the first ten minutes of the film, I loved the Dashwood sisters and was interested to see if they would find a suitable place to live on their pittance or if they would be forced to stay with their half-brother and his horrible wife. Later, I was just as heartbroken as Elinor when Edward did not arrive at the cottage and when she learned about Lucy’s involvement and then was just as stressed out when Edward did arrive in London when Lucy was visiting. Equally, I was just as excited to see Willoughby at the ball in London as Marianne and cried with her when she had her heart broken as well. There was none of this in Mansfield Park in which the writer and director had the audacity to dress up Jane Austen by dumbing down the language and pulling at strings to make it appeal to an audience that’s obviously incapable of understand why I a story about a lady seeking a suitable husband is interesting.

I think what hurts the most is that Netflix rated this as a possible 4 stars for me and I only gave it 2 stars and that was only because it was a period piece.

I do all of this ranting because I love Jane Austen’s work and I really can’t stand to see such wonderful literature destroyed in an adaptation. Why bother calling it an adaptation? Why not call it something different and add “based on the novel Mansfield Park” somewhere in the credits? I’ve seen other great books destroyed like this. Directors constantly did this to Michael Crichton novels; Congo, Sphere, The Lost World! It just makes me so angry!

Despite this movie that kept me up half the night because I was so mad about it, I wrote 617 words today (else to Brit for the rest of the period) and I’m bringing all the remaining chapters together in a single file to divide a bit later into “c” files once I’ve re-arranged the story a bit.

All the elements are still there, but I’ve removed some of the slow-moving ones and made the rest of the story flow properly, rather than seem like just a series of events seen through Damen’s eyes.

Tired now…and still a bit angry about that movie. I think what also irks me about this is that I worry that if Damen were ever published that some crazed director might hack it to pieces and call it an adaptation. A part of me wonders if I’d rather just not be published at all than risk that happening…but I try to quiet that part and just focus on my writing.

 

 
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