I am kaitco

a writer's log

The Last Ten Thousand Thursday, March 21, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 7:55 am
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March 18th marked a whole year since I first had a complete edit of Damen. A year later, I’m still snipping away at it with these flimsy editorial scissors of mine. Unlike past months, however, I’m within 10k words of my word count goal. I’ve cut the equivalent of two complete novels out of this thing and yet, I’ve still got a complete storyline that resembles the original.

True, I’ve had to cut some characters and I’ve rewritten the third and fourth to the last chapters over a dozen times in the past year, but now, I sit with just ten thousand words to excise before I can begin Part 2 of this adventure.

The other day, I did what I normally do when I feel there’s no way I can ever get this book down to an acceptable word count; I searched for “typical” novel sizes. What I found on this trip, however, was that there are lots of people who sit at 30 or 16 or even 9K words and worry about how to make the book stretch. What I wouldn’t give for that! To be able to just shut the heck up to the point where I’ve said too little…my God! What a wonderland!

Anyway…As of this writing, I’ve got 9,589 words left to cut before I can begin the hunt for an agent. I’ve probably made more progress in the last 20 days than have in the time since last March.

I suppose cutting 10K may sound like a ton, but when you’ve already cut 160K, another 10K is like living a million years: when you’ve lived a million years, 1 day is really nothing.

Edit: The Last Ten Thousand sounds like an awesome name for a book, no? 😀

 

Dana and Damen Thursday, March 14, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 6:04 pm
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For the past three years I’ve have struggled with the character of Dana Barrington. From the moment her addition seemed providential inspired, I’ve wanted to keep her in the book. I’ve twisted and turned the story and 9 different directions in order to keep her, only to return to my initial conclusion made several years ago: I’ve got to cut Dana Barrington.

I’m in the midst of my 3rd full edit of Damen and found myself almost screaming in frustration over a slow point in the book. This slow point involves surrounds not only Dana, but also my other beloved character of Amber MacDonaugh. While extricating Amber from the plot is near impossible as she defines the characters of several others so well, removing Dana will not only free up a good 10K or more words from my word count, her removal will also leave me with a little more wiggle room to focus on other characters.

If I wasn’t so very fatigued at the moment, I’d probably cry, but I’m trying to stay positive. Dana is a fully shapened character now who, while not immediately useful in Damen, may possibly find a place in another project; she’s not lost forever, just to this story. While I’m losing my only link from Flight, perhaps in the long-run, this will keep me from getting sued down the line. Who knows, right?

The more I re-re-read and edit this book, the more necessary it is to cut her. In exchange, I will be able to keep nearly all of the drama regarding the college visit, including Xavier’s colourful speech regarding politics and I will be able to streamline the story. By downplaying Amber and removing Dana, the book rests on the shoulders of Damen, Brit, Corey, Jessie, Angel, Anthony, and Anthony’s family. It sounds like a lot because it is and winding Dana’s story within a host of characters who are already related was, while a noble and artistically challenging task, still unnecessary.

Phew…I feel better about this already. I stand at around 131K at the moment and I think I’ll stop with damen10g here in the 20-something’th chapter, begin with damen11h (or 11k, I don’t really like the letters h, i, or j) and get started editing this thing with the focus on removing Dana and reducing Amber.

Onward and upward!

Edit: So, in trying to completely cut Dana today, I came upon her introduction which not only provided an nice interlude that introduces us to one of Brit’s brothers, gives insight on Damen’s history with social workers, helps display more of Jessie Clarke’s character, and shows how Damen interacts with girls who aren’t Brit and Jessie. So, despite all my above clairvoyance, I’ll not be able to remove her as entirely as I’d hoped. I’ve done too good a job at entangling her with the rest of the story, but I’m determined with damen11h to ring in her character. Her scattering throughout the rest of the book just feels overwhelmingly desperate, so while she’ll still appear in her own chapter, her interaction with Damen will be more like that of Tabitha Laird or Tatum Price; mentioned once, serves her purpose and never mentioned again.
…I can’t help a little joy over the best compromise I’ve made with regard to writing in the longest while. 🙂

 

It’s been a while Sunday, March 10, 2013

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 9:21 pm
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Like the title suggests, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the blogging mood. Half the reason is due to re-evaluating what I can do with myself as I work these ten-hour days, but mostly I’ve just got tired writing over and over about how close I am to finishing the novel.

Don’t get me wrong; I am very close. I’ve got it down to 131,991 words. It’s still 12K over what I need and at this point it’s seeming more and more possible like I’ll need to lose a major plot point to bring it down to what I want, but I’m still closer to the goal than where I was a month ago, so on and so forth. Though I tire of repeating myself, I’m about to do it again.

I find myself either going back to old habits in times of stress or obsessing wholly about something. Whether it’s playing Rock Band or Minecraft through all hours of the night or trying to learn a new language or re-re-reading books like my current protagonist, I attach myself to something whenever I feel like Ulysses.

Anyway, I could go on about my recent issues with trauma to my eye or the growing concern that the first-job that I’d specifically asked God for may not be the best option for me or even, in this stressful time of my life, my new-found devotion to X-Files, in its episodes, movies, music and books, but I won’t.

Instead, I think it’s just worthy to note that I’m alive and still writing and since it’s been a while, I thought it was time to say it.

 

 
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