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
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

 
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