I am kaitco

a writer's log

Ellipses’ wonder… Friday, August 24, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 10:44 pm
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I mentioned yesterday that I’d begun re-reading Flight this week. I mostly enjoy reading it with this air of superiority as I think, “Ha! What a foolish twenty-two-year old I was! Look at that…I can’t even use ‘however’ properly.”

It was as I was thinking this that it occurred to me…I use ellipses…a lot.

I remember a creative writing professor mentioning to me that one of the banes to her writing was her use of italics because she just wanted to get her points across and I’d decided at the moment to never let that be a problem of mine. I’ve been so careful with my italics (in the novel; on here it’s a free-for-all) that I never even saw my problem with ellipses until just this week.

My first novel, full of missing or inappropriate words and comma abuse, is just riddled with ellipses…and so is Damen

My ellipsis problem just popped in the midst of reading…and in horror I saw them all over the place in Damen. Every other sentence seems to include them, in both the dialogue and the prose. It’s just baffling to me that I’ve missed something that seemed like such an easy mistake to catch. In just one page, I removed at least six of them, shaking my head with each deletion…

Perhaps, I’ve just grown so accustomed to using them as a way of setting a tone that I never noticed it was getting out of hand…

Even now…I’m well into a secondary edit of Damen and I’m only now able to see how often I use an ellipsis when a comma would do or let a sentence trail for no reason at all…

I think this is really when I enjoy re-reading old things I’ve written. I get to haughtily look back on old works as I think of the progress I’ve made only to be humbled when I realize how far I have to go before I’m anything like the authors I admire.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Eighteen Monday, June 18, 2012

Filed under: Gaming,Writing — kaitco @ 11:40 pm
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Every once in a while, I experience one of these great moments in time where everything seems to sync together. Tonight, this came in the form of music.

While working on a chapter I’ve titled “Foolish Games”, the song of the same name by Jewel began playing from my writing playlist. I’ll not deny that the song is likely where I pulled the chapter title, but I find it so fun when these sorts of things happen.

I’ve decided that I won’t be keeping the chapter titles when I finally start sending this thing, but I like keeping them at this point to keep me focused in each chapter and ensure that everything flows.

Something else interesting I came upon in my writing tonight was some prose and dialogue surrounding March Madness 2008. While I did play basketball for about 7 years and even took a basketball refereeing course to boost my GPA in school, I rarely watch the sport anymore. I suppose this has to do with knowing far too much about the mechanics of the game, so that I spend more time critiquing the follow-through on a player’s shot, rather than enjoy the game. The fact that I’ve not had cable or access to any live television should also be noted, but that’s all for another post.

I’ve got my characters discussing March Madness with a fervour I can barely remember sharing, but I do remember spending hours researching brackets and teams from that year through Wikipedia. What’s sad is that, not only have I got to cut the majority of this from the book now, I can’t even remember half of what I researched. Oh well…I suppose it’s better for my mind to push out the useless information to leave room for all these characters and stories.

I wrote 6005 words tonight (and offered to keep score) despite putting several hours towards Minecraft, Super Mario World and Chrono Trigger on SNES and then Grand Theft Auto IV today and I’m just happy to still have the inspiration keep writing in a world of so man, many distractions.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Thirteen Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 10:59 pm
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Well, I started to give up on writing anything today, but given my acknowledged failure from yesterday, I knew I had to give it at least a try. I got through 2746 words this evening (campus towards her brother’s dorm) and am slowing reach that 100K words cut point.

I’ve not got much to say this evening since I’m so wretchedly irritated over this issue with my laptop (rant to follow), but I’ll say that I’m glad I pushed just a little tonight.

I probably had a few hundred more words overall, but I had to stop and completely rewrite a whole page of dialogue because I just hated where it was going. Nothing, but he said, Anessa said, Bryce said, Adrien said, Trey said, Brit said…all the way down the page. Someday, somehow, I’ll need to figure out how to write dialogue where there are more than three characters speaking in the scene.

[rant]
So, I mentioned the other day that the laptop I use for streaming to my TV was on the fritz. I spent days looking for a solution to fix it and even just let it sit for a couple weeks hoping the problem would just go away in the same manner it started. A few days ago, I coughed up the cash for MicroCenter to pull it apart and at least determine where the problem lay.

Today, I got a call from one of their technicians telling me that some “main board” has gone faulty and this was the reason why nothing else was wrong with the laptop, just the HDMI port, which, of course, is the one thing I needed most on this laptop.

The technician rattled off a time frame for getting a part and a time frame to fix the issue, but I had to replay his voicemail when it came to the price because it just…could…not…be! A total of $375; $275 for the part and an additional $100 to install the darn thing! I hadn’t even spent that much to buy the laptop a year ago! What was ultimately infuriating, (a fact that I relayed onto this gentleman) was that there was nothing else wrong with the laptop. It was fast and ran like a dream…except for that single HDMI port.

Well, faced with either dropping the cash to fix the old laptop or just going out and purchasing a new one, I opted for the new laptop and plan to sell the other one. I just wonder…how can anyone justify pricing a part at almost as much of the machine into which it goes?!? I suppose it’s all apart of some conspiracy between all PC makers, but I just can’t stand it…

[/rant]

 

30-Day 5K – Day Nine Saturday, June 9, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:43 pm
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Last night, I decided that the best way to tackle this chapter and still keep it under a decent word count was rewrite the entire thing. Instead of just plowing ahead and rephrasing dialogue or lengthy prose, I recreated my notes for this chapter and then broke each “scene” of notes into an appropriate word count. Basically, I planned to write each scene within a specific word count limit that would total 5000 words for the chapter.

As I started to create this guide, I shook my head at the laptop, wondering I would ever fit one of Jessie Clarke’s rants and then a side conversation with Corey Campbell within in 500 words, but as I began to write with this magic number in mind, somehow I was able to do this with ease. The process was so simple, I wonder why it’s never occurred to me in the past create.

I wrote and edited 6341 words today (said goodbye shortly afterward) and only went over my word count budget for one of the three parts I rewrote. Thankfully, I was so nicely under-budget for the two other parts that I had a little wiggle room. I just find it fascinating that writing has now become a lesson in fiscal smarts. I’ve got a fortress balance sheet of dozens of book ideas, but a debt load of 80K words to complete in this fiscal novel.

Day 9 was a good day and I really needed it to be. The novel is down to 193K words, which means I’m only 5K words away from having edited 100K words out of this book. Who knew I prattle on this long about people who exist only in my imagination?

 

30-Day 5K – Day Eight Friday, June 8, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:37 pm
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Unless you were in a hole this week, you’ll know that LinkedIn got hacked and about 6 million passwords were compromised. My frustration with this is not lax security or devious hackers, but the fact that out of so many million LinkedIn users, why was I chosen to have my password stolen? Why can’t I be chosen for something cool, like the lottery or something? Anyway…

I edited 5348 words (from her again that night.) today and it took a while before I finally resigned to just cut away entire conversations to get to the point. It hurt at first to remove these discussions that I’d taken quite a while to craft months earlier, but my satisfaction comes from knowing that the edited product is much better than its predecessor.

I’m not terribly inspired this evening, so I think I’ll end on that note.

Seriously though…how many million LinkedIn users are there…?

 

Contrast Wednesday, September 7, 2011

For the past few days, I’ve been working diligently to study the bible prior to writing. In my mind, if I can manage to post something every single day, and write more than 500 words every single, then I’m more than capable of studying the bible…every single day. I’m not quite to a place where I look forward to my study every night, but I’m getting there and I’ve even started to note some of the more memorable verses, like Matthew 6:33 to which my pastor often refers (“‘Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven!'”).

Studying the bible each night has started to calm my mind a bit so that I spend less time painfully staring at the laptop screen in search for inspiration. On the other hand, I’m starting to have some…issues, for lack of a better word, when writing some of these characters, namely Corey.

I’ve said before that Corey’s nature makes him sometimes difficult to write and it’s never so difficult to write Corey than it is after I’m fresh from studying the Word.

There is a fascinating contrast that almost limits my ability to “channel” him properly after I’ve studied. Case in point, tonight I tried to write Corey using the Lord’s name in vain as I have many, many times in the past, but tonight’s pause last long enough for me to debate with myself whether or not this was really what I wanted Corey to say. I settled with allowing him to curse, but only to do so by making him appear unnecessarily foolish, which I’m not sure I like doing because, despite the often horrible things he says and does, I like him to some degree. I’m just intrigued by the contrast between Corey’s dialogue and the words in red in my bible.

I wrote just 527 words tonight (smiled from the doorway) and I’m lucky to get that considering all that’s going on with my grandmother right now. I suppose I just get sad on days when all I’ve really got left is prayer.

 

Giving up for the day Friday, August 12, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:34 am
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What I’ve found in writing nearly every day for the past 200-some days is that there are things worse than a block. A block is breakable, always. It may take an entire day, but just having a head full of characters and “voices” that follow you everywhere you go is enough to eventually stir inspiration and take a sledge hammer the block of creativity. The inability to write what I want to say, however, is far worse and, unfortunately, becomes far more prevalent as I continue in this endeavour.

Even with notes to guide me, I will sometimes “lose” the scene in my head. It’s not blocked; it’s present and changing quickly as I figure out different ways to attack it and force it to the laptop screen. The problem is finding the straight path from A to B through the heinous zig-zags of dialogue and prose.

At this point in the novel, I just want Brit and Damen to come to a sort of understanding about their friendship, but I can’t keep the scene straight. First I want to go into some points about Brit’s long-standing friendship with Jessie and then I want to Brit to mention that she’s good for even attempting friendship with Damen because she has a group of her own and then I want Damen to interject throughout her little speeches, but then I want him to stay quiet because he’d been so quiet across the past two thousand or so words, so it would seem odd for him to be so talkative now and then I want the scene to just end without saying any of it, but then I know if I don’t include this little interlude, their reconciliation will seem forced and…well, this continues for a few hours before I just plain give up for the day.

So, for now, I’ve done just that. This stagnation in the actual writing will pass as all things do and this scene will make sense to me on another morning with fresher eyes, but for now, I call “uncle.”

I wrote 1229 words today (and it’s not my fault that I can’t) and hopeful tomorrow or even this afternoon will bring some light on that straight road between A and B.

 

A test Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today was my first real test in this new endeavour of mine. I did, indeed, get up nice and early to workout and even added some free weights to the “program,” but it all went to hell once I got to first-job. I hadn’t made a plan for the day and everything was all over the place. That said, I did a lot of what I set out to do, once I’d made my plan, that is.

Tomorrow will be the biggest test of all, however. I’m in a ridiculous amount of pain right now from the workouts and I’m feeling my desire to keep this going fade a bit. I know I need to push and keep going simply because I know I’ve got the ability to do so, but while tonight’s spirit is earnest and willing, tomorrow morning’s spirit may not be.

I wrote 608 words tonight (screwing up their math by the end of the day) and I interestingly stopped myself in the midst of a long dialogue between Damen and Brit. Normally, I see these things through to the end of the conversation and hope for inspiration the next night when I realize I’ve lost that spark that started the previous bout of inspired text. Tonight, however, I decided to just stop and then pick up tomorrow. The goal here to see that same rush of inspiration continue into tomorrow’s writing and hopefully allow this string of inspiration to flow throughout the rest of the week. Who knows if it will actually work, but I figure anything is better than writing for an hour straight only to be certain that looming in the future is a night of blankly staring at my laptop screen as a block takes hold.

And so…onward I press…

 

Netflix…I had a rough day, too Tuesday, July 12, 2011

There’s a lot of hullabaloo going on about Netflix right now. I adore the service and have for several years. I also upped my service to 5 discs at a time so I’ve been paying 34.99 a month for the last 18 mos, down one disc from when they changed 6 discs from 35-something to 39-something.

As I’ve been paying this rate for Netflix, which is still more than $40 a month less than what I’d be paying for cable, when said service decided to up their prices again, I barely felt the pinch; only the people who had been paying next to nothing while getting an amazing amount of something, got hit hard.

This is really Round 2 of this rant; Round 1 is at my Dorienne’s Log. I’m about done ranting against the rant against Netflix, but I thought it necessary to say it again. This isn’t like taxes where the funds can easily trickle to the masses when a small percentage of people pay the least amount of them. This is a large group of people paying 7.99 for streaming service and then just 9.00 to have out 3 discs at a time. Anyone who claimed they did not see this coming was either ignorant of business economics or just plain…no, they were ignorant of business economics.

With all this said, I wrote a total of 530 words tonight (when are we gonna read it again?), not counting the extra words that helped shape the series of “instant messages” between Damen and Brit that start the beginning of Chapter 19.

I’ve decided that I’m going to fancy myself a Mark Twain type of author and capture the language of the pubescent set at the turn of the 21st century. Ages from now, in the same light that critics sit in awe of how well Twain captured the linguistics of 19th century Missourah, Damen will be enamoured for it’s detailed descriptions of how teenagers spoke to one another at this point in time.

…at least this is what I’ll be repeating to myself when these parts of the novel get slammed by some agent or editor some months or years from now.

 

Yeah, that’ll be fine. Saturday, June 18, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:54 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

So, I was thinking tonight about the line on which I decided to stop writing and about what, if anything, it says about the character who spoke it.

I’ve often found that the longer I write a character, the more they appear to take shape, not from my own previous notes about them, but from the way their dialogue flows and how they react to every other person around them. Rolling this line over and over in my head, I like to think that it portrays Grandpa Jack as accommodating and good-natured, but even as I read his whole line of thought to myself, I realize it says far more about him.

Grandpa Jack pursed his lips, but nodded. “Well, I guess it’s only fair. I know Jackie’s probably out there with new flowers at least once a month and I don’t know if you’ve ever even been since…Well, yeah. I’ll just have to run it by your grandma. Make sure we stop over at the flower shop before…Yeah, that’ll be fine.”

If there’s one thing I’ve realized while writing about Damen’s family, it’s that the death of his father has not only had a jarring effect on the family, but continues to be the source for simply heart-wrenching agony in a group of people who have some trouble releasing emotions without the boost of some device whether it is alcohol, anger or art. Grandpa Jack is in a lot of pain and while I think that he thinks he’s just being a loving and helpful grandfather, all that pain scratches through the surface when one least expects it.

I wrote 348 words tonight (Yeah, that’ll be fine.”) and wrote early since I could sense a case of the “I don’t wannas” coming. What’s interesting though, is that I can still be surprised by my own characters as I’m writing them. Somehow, that just seems backwards.

 

Now, that’s a problem Friday, June 3, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Even though I’ve long since known that “the reader” would eventually meet Damen’s grandparents, I don’t think I’ve once written notes for how the dialogue would flow. This became a severe problem as I stared at the screen tonight and wondered what Damen would call his parents in the “he said-she said” of the dialogue.

Do I “his grandmother said” this entire chapter to death or do I give them names? And, if I give them names, do I call them Grandpa and Grandma or do I gives them real names (e.g., Jack and Lucy) and if I give them real names, will these names ever appear anywhere other than directly in the dialogue? Will it be just “Grandma said” or “Grandma Lucy” said?

Even trying to apply it to my own life presents a problem as Grandma is specifically my mother’s mother and Nana is specifically my father’s mother, so it’s never been a problem for me. The names themselves carried their own meaning…even now I’m wondering if they should be MeeMaw and PopPop…

Oy! What problems I’ve made for myself!

I suppose for this draft’s purpose their names will just be Grandma and Grandpa and hopefully some kind editor may come along and help me since I clearly have no idea how to go about this at the moment.

I wrote 327 words tonight (there’s no one fun to come visit it.) and I’m feeling oddly blank again; like I’ve recently woke from a long sleep and I’m not sure what to do with myself.

I think tomorrow I’ll plan out precisely what I’d like to do next week since I’ve got an entire week to myself to clean, to write, to play Rock Band and to gather my thoughts as I make the downward trek towards my 27th birthday.

 

1121 Friday, May 27, 2011

On an extremely personal level, the numbers 11 and 21 hold no specific value for me; 11 and 24 do as that’s Grandma’s birthday, but not so much 11/21. At the back of my mind, however, I see 11:21 in the morning or at night and smile to myself because I remember that that’s the birthday of the wife of the creator of The X-Files and I remember that the numbers 11 and 21 together often appeared throughout the show and, across my later childhood and adolescence, I had always grown excited when I saw 11/21 in some capacity.

I mention this, not to show what a huge nerd I am, but to convey how my mind seems to work. Tonight, I hit “the zone” again where the right side of my brain takes over as if it were another personality out of multiple battling for control of the single host body. The right brain just writes and writes without care of hunger pains, thirst, pain in the wrist, my back, my butt, my chest, my neck, my eyes or even my jaw. The right brain just knows it has prose and dialogue it must release and, once it takes control of the body, no other senses take precedence until the right brain has said its fill.

Once the right brain is done, it almost floats to the subconscious like an evil demon fleeing from a purified body and leaves in its wake a tired, hungry, thirsty, pain-ridden husk of a Dorienne. That said, I did get a lot of writing done tonight and had some great fun researching which “King Charles” of England was the one with all the illegitimate children (it was Charles II) and also reading through about two scenes of Hamlet to find the exact words I wanted to highlight.

Tomorrow will be a long, sad day because the day after such a rush is always a long, mournful one and leaves me wishing that the right brain would take control once again to pull me out of the doldrums of ordinary life.

I wrote 1121 words tonight (“A little,” she spoke to the floor.) and my back hurts so much and I’m so hungry and thirsty and exhausted that I’d like to just crash to the floor out of fatigue, but dare not for fear that I’ll starve to death in my sleep. Perhaps some food and a little bit of Roseanne or a movie followed by wistfully sleeping with Frasier playing in the background…

 

Bumby! Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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I can barely think straight since I all can think about is the fact that Bumby is finally here. He took his time coming and I can’t wait to see him tomorrow.

I did manage to write 764 words tonight (spray-on hair infomercials together) which is outstanding considering that I never worked so hard to A) bring a scene full of dialogue out of absolutely nothing and 2) write a simple discourse between mother and son.

Mother and son…

Ah…Bumby is here at last. 🙂

 

My Life and Times Friday, May 13, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:57 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m not sure whether it was the numerous ads for alcohol while playing Words With Friends (my latest obsession, since my Xbox is broken) or watching Frasier, Niles and co., taking drink after drink after drink in all these episodes, but tonight I really did need a drink…so hello, Bailey’s.

Anyway…

I wrote more banter between Damen and Brit tonight, totalling 371 words (anything until they reached her house) and am nearing the end of this chapter and also the end of this character obsession with Dana for the time being. Now, I’ve got to focus on Damen’s Aunt Jackie to make her all the fun she ought to be.

Also…Bumby should be arriving any time now. I’m so anxious it’s getting hard to think clearly, so perhaps that’s part of the reason behind the Bailey’s. That, and I really just needed a drink this week.

 

Slow Sunday, April 17, 2011

I was a bit slow tonight getting to my writing, but what I’ve decided about blog is not so much getting an exact word count done by a specific point in time, but to write consistently each and every night. So, while it took me some time to get there tonight, I wrote 517 words (Corey to turn and find his bus along the line.) and that’s what’s most important.

I surprised myself this evening as I wrote Damen’s reaction to Corey and the n-word. I didn’t have any new “heavy” notes outlining the prose and dialogue for this part, so apart of from breezing over some old notes in what was once going to be Chapter 15, I pulled tonight’s writing straight from the heart.

His reaction was a little stronger than I had always thought it would be prior to today and I wonder if perhaps it was a little too strong. Damen will go through a myriad of thoughts and emotions before the end of Chapter 14, but I know I must be very careful at this point in the novel. As with any character, the urge to make them a little too autobiographical can sometimes appear when characters come to very poignant points in the storyline, but to write a good character is to remain true to what I’ve previously written about them.

In the case of Damen, he’s already said a handful of semi-bigoted words when he was yelling about this or frustrated about that, so it would be wrong to have him look at and judge Corey without also taking a look inward.

What surprised me in the long run though, was how far I deviated from the original notes. Originally, Damen and Corey had their exchange, and Damen walked home analyzing every interaction with Corey in detail, from his first day at the school to right up to that moment. Now, I’ve got some “telling” that Damen replayed previous events, but “show” far more about his reaction to what had happened instead. And, now that I’m planning to bring in his own previous words and actions as well as that of Mrs. Munnerly – his favorite teacher – this scene is taking on new life of its own, to the point that I don’t think it’s right to include all of this in a single chapter. Well…maybe what I’m writing now is fine, but some slimming of the whole Damen-Brit -I’m mad at you, now you’re mad at me, so now I’m mad at you- piece instead…that will probably be it in the end.

Anyway…I know I only wrote 500 words tonight, but those 500 hundred were a long time coming and must really be the most finely-crafted prose and dialogue I can muster since so much of the novel rests upon this point. I suppose all I can really do is just pray about it and know that it will work out in the end.

 

 
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