I am kaitco

a writer's log

The most heartbreaking process of all Monday, March 26, 2012

Filed under: Reading,Writing — kaitco @ 2:13 am
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I can’t help comparing Damen and Flight, especially when the drafting process is so very different.

With Flight, the goal was to provide as much detail as possible and allow my readers to stay in the Dorienne-version of SVU as long as I could. There were no word count limits; I just needed to tell my story.

Damen has been so tryingly different. Here, I must take word count into consideration with every paragraph, to the point that I must almost re-write chapters to remove some of the detail that, while very pretty and beneficial to painting the scene, does nothing but push my total word count above 120K before I want to be.

A few years ago, I remember writing Chapter 3 of Damen and even then, I thought it was a little too long, but in re-reading it, the detail is so splendid. I see these characters and the setting as vividly as I did when first writing it…but, I have to lose all of it. It all has to go if I’m going to push this thing under 120K. And, 120K is the highest end for first-time authors! I may even have to cut it even further. 😦

I took out some detail this evening that was just plain heartbreaking. When I think of all the time I put into choosing the right words, it all comes down to summarizing the text with “English class, taught by Mrs. Kayler, bored him within ten minutes of the roll call.”

The only good thing I can think about this process is that it’s teaching me to be concise and the true lessons of show versus tell. What good are all these details about what the cafeteria looks like and the nuances of some of Damen’s teachers if we won’t visit any of these teachers later in the novel and it won’t make a difference whether my audience sees my version of the lunchroom versus their own idea of it?

These are some hard lessons to learn.

I’d taken a week off writing notes for Reruns, playing Rock Band and the Sims and even reading other folks’ work for a change as a mini-vacation to make me as fresh as possible for this process, but I’m not sure that was even enough. The only reason I push as hard as I do is that now that I’ve got the novel actually complete, the only thing holding me back from sending this to agents and achieving my dream is how hard I work to pull the book into it’s proper shape.

As dreadful as this process is – tearing apart my baby of carefully chosen words – I know this is necessary and, overall, it’s making me a better writer. All this notwithstanding, I can’t WAIT until I’ve got time to write fanfiction again, where I can be as verbose and detailed as I want to be.

Perhaps fanfiction will be my detailing outlet. Where my creativity is stifled by word counts and the shorter attention spans of the majority of the reading populace, I will find solace in writing what and how I want in fanfiction.

‘Til then…I’m cutting so much my hands are bleeding…

 

Woot! Finished!!!! Sunday, March 18, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:55 pm
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It’s rare that I get to have a post that includes FOUR exclamation points, but I thought this post was worthy of it.

I FINISHED!!! The first full draft of Damen is finally done.

I don’t think I can actually count how many years it’s taken me to get to this point…but I’ll try.

The idea came to me with one of my normal “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” thoughts in the middle of my 16th century Brit Lit class and that was towards the end of 2007. Some of the earliest notes I can find for Damen are tagged as last edited in mid-2008 when I decided to pace myself on the novel because I wanted to see whether or not Barack Obama would get elected. If I look back to my first post about writing at this blog in May 2009, I mention trying to understand some nuances between Damen and Jessie, which would have been still very early in the novel (maybe even the third chapter out of 40) and when I was still doing the heavy notes for the novel…So, I suppose that puts me at a little more than 3 YEARS writing this thing.

I’ll note that I’m not as overjoyed as I should be given that, at 287,984 words, I’ve got some definite trimming ahead of me and I’m also rather tired, but I’d like to take a moment and look back to the first time I finished a novel five years ago. I think I’m in that same place.

Today, March 18, 2012 at 11:24PM ET, I finished my first “publishable” novel. I’ll also note that between Flight, Evan and Alex, this is actually my fourth overall novel, but to have some thing in my virtual hands that I could actually send to an agent/publisher is an achievement I knew I would get, but had never considered the moment until now. In fact, it made me tear up, just a little.

And so, on I trek! With almost 200K to cut before I can start sending this to anyone, I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’ll posts will be still be forthcoming since I’ve never had to edit my own work before, so this will be the start of a brand new adventure! 🙂

 

Just another couple days Saturday, March 17, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 8:47 pm
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I had wanted to finish Damen today. I’ve been writing since 11am ET and I’m just exhausted. I’m starting to feel that strange ache in my stomach that at first feels like hunger, but then I realized it’s really just plain exhaustion. The spirit is willing, very willing, but the flesh so weak!

I find myself often asking God why I’ve been cursed with this body that just always need to be fed and if it doesn’t get enough rest, it just doesn’t function. I almost never get the answer I want.

So, either tomorrow or Monday this novel should be done. I have less than 3400 words of notes to fully write and I may even just push through the remainder of this chapter leaving me with two nearly completed chapters left in the whole book!

I’m so excited, but it’s difficult to express it since I’m just so darn tired, but after years and years of writing…it’s just a couple more days.

 

I HAVE been writing Friday, March 9, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:07 pm
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I know it does not look like it from the lack of posts, but really a lack of posting at this stage in the book simply means that I’ve spent more of my time focused on writing.

I’ve got maybe ten chapters left of this thing. I had only nine, but then I split one chapter into two and I’m certain I’m bound to do the same before the end, but I’m just so close.

The notes for the doc damen29-end (as in Damen chapter 29 through the end) was less than 14K words when I first started it. That 14K worth of notes is littered with mostly complete dialogue and prose so I know I’m close…so very close.

I’ve got Jill and Reruns popping up in my dreams now and my thoughts come back to them and even Luka or Evan or even Annie more often than focusing on Damen. Just yesterday, I “saw” Jill and how she interacted with her friends and realized that I would be making her far more like myself than I had done with Brit…but this is just the flow of my mind; a mind so anxious to move onto other projects that it makes me want to cry that I’m just so close to finishing Damen.

When I was young, I used to get mad when a TV show I liked ended or changed drastically because one of the actors got bored and left the show. I never used to understand it. How could they do that? Didn’t they care about the overall story? What about the people who’ve watched this since Day 1? Lately, however, I get it. There comes a point in a project, any project, where you’re just so…over it.

I love Damen. I’ve loved creating these characters and imagining this world where they interact together, but I’m soooo ready to move on because I’m just so close to the end. So close…

 

 
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