I am kaitco

a writer's log

Projectile Projects Friday, February 11, 2022

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:19 pm
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One of my main goals for 2022 has been to write daily. It was, however, not until about February 9th or 10th that I actually started on this goal. Better a bit late than never, I suppose.

My aunt told me about this idea of making what’s called a “spirit board” to lay out goals to physically see the path towards them. My mother tells me this was all the rage in 1970s and 80s. I’ve never been terribly good at crafts and the like, so my spirit board is more a small bulletin board with some colored index cards written upon with the two non-black sharpies I happened to have in the house, but the making of it was certainly spirited and it’s a board, so I’ve got my spirit board!

About two thirds of the goals on my spirit board regard various writing projects. I’ve got dozens of course, but there are two big projects at the forefront of my mind, and a third that might just get added to the spirit board if I find myself getting too bogged down with the other two. One involves some fanfiction, in re-writing the last two Harry Potter books, and the other involves a multi-book and multi-arc fantasy series. The Harry Potter re-write comes as the natural progression of the last two years.

The pandemic has changed many aspects of my life. One of the leading issues has been the loss of my father. I’d always meant to write a full blog post about his passing, but that kind of grief hit me in a very different way than past incidences. There was a period where I was rather lost. I wasn’t actually living, but just existing in life and I needed something, anything, to just help me focus and find some ground. I thought about the last time in my life that I’d felt thoroughly happy and carefree and that was in college. Much of my college fun surrounded the Harry Potter books; reading them, waiting for them to be released, planning to attend midnight showings of the films, Barnes & Noble midnight release parties, and arguing about the books online. Friends I’d made along the way are hardly more than Facebook or LinkedIn contacts these days and, after the magic had broken after the release of the sixth book, I’d not picked up the books since Deathly Hallows was released. That said, I needed my focal point of something trivial that I could enjoy and pull me out of the fog of grief, and I set my sights back on Potter.

Not keen on just jumping back into reading the books, I instead found a little online community of people who enjoyed the books the way that I had and I slowly started to consider a project that I’d first started days after reading Half-Blood Prince. It’s been so long since I’d finished a project to completion that I kind of forgot bits of the process even though I’ve never stopped writing, but this Discord community for Harry Potter was the perfect catalyst needed to help steady me following such catastrophic grief and get me writing again.

For the first time ever, I engaged in Harry Potter fanfiction and wrote The Promise, my first fanfiction in probably ten years, and my first completed story since even longer than that. The Promise reminded me of all the steps I take in really creating and getting the words on the page to the point that I was ready for others to read. It brought a whole new level of anxiety that I don’t recall having the last time I’d tried to share my writings, but I finished the story nonetheless, and I’ve been propelled to actually write an intended fanfiction whose notes began over a decade ago. “Platinum Neco Nostrum” will be quite the undertaking, but I’ve been picking up and completing the old notes for about a year now. Currently, I’ve hit a wall in the story given that it’s supposed to be a re-telling of the sixth book and I haven’t read the books in ages, so my new endeavor involves actually re-reading all seven books again. I’m up to Order of the Phoenix and I can’t help eyeing the book with a bit more of an editorial glare. I definitely see things that are moving too slow or should have been cut or edited differently, but that’s to be expected since all I’ve been doing for the last ten years or so is noting or editing or worrying about word count. Once I’ve finished the books, I’ll be in a good position to finalize the notes for Nostrum and then begin on its intended sequel. But, first the reading!

The other major project on my spirit board is a story that I’m unsure I’ll ever really manage to complete. There’s so many moving parts and I find myself often drowning in world-building quick sand, but Sovereigns of Teyrrah, as the first “arc” will be, should be an interesting story. I’ve admittedly not read a lot of fantasy, so reading several is also part of this process, but not knowing anything about a genre hasn’t stopped me in the past. At one point, Teyrrah did start out as Game of Thrones fanfiction, but I got about 100 words into my notes and thought, “Heck with this! I’ll make my OWN version!” Now, I’ve got intertwined worlds, and dragons, and people living underground in one area, and people having wars in another area, and some sort of Jedi magic I’ve not exactly fleshed out in another.

The notes for Teyrrah got started about three years ago, but I put some of the world-building on pause as I fought through Evernote vs OneNote and trying to visualize all the immense structure needed to bring this world of my imagination to the page. This isn’t like Flight or Damen where I’m already working with knowns like a specific city or state. Everything is fresh and new and must be detailed, but I’m still ever-conscious of show vs. tell and avoiding the info-dumps associated with introducing others to the new world I’ve created. Interestingly, another pothole in the road of Teyrrah‘s notes has been Neco Nostrum.

About the time I was starting to get back into Potter, I got to a point in Teyrrah where all I could think about was vampires. I probably spent a month teetering on whether I should even include the concept in Teyrrah. Do I need vampires? Should they work like “normal” vampires? Where would they come into play? Don’t I already have enough monsters as it is? How many monsters are too many for a fantasy world? Should I just include some vampires just because they’re on my mind?? Vampires! Anyway, before I started to shove the things into Teyrrah unnecessarily, I had an epiphany on how I could exercise my vampiric demons without tearing down Teyrrah: Neco Nostrum!

Ideally, I’d be further along with Teyrrah‘s storylines by now, but the nagging concern about vampires led me to start noting on Neco Nostrum again which is what really brought me into the Potter Discord which is what led to me writing again which is what helped me get through the initial grief of Dad’s passing. So, I’ve got vampires to thank for being here today. Perhaps, Nostrum or PoL or one of the Teyrrah books will be dedicated to Dad. I already know that father-daughter relationships in my writing will be changed forever, so I suppose it’s to be expected.

Anyhoo. One fanfiction and one “real” fiction are on the agenda for this year. There’s a lot of reading involved in getting ahead on either, so I’ve got that to look forward to as well, but it does feel really good to be focused on my writing again. I made some notes on Nostrum today; nothing much but a simple conversation. It’ll be interesting to delicately balance the characterizations of my own characters while trying my best to properly emulate that of another writer’s characters in the meanwhile. Hopefully, I’ll catch myself before the folks on Teyrrah find themselves riding broomsticks, or Harry and Co. find themselves with greater powers linked to Teyrrah’s The Aslanti.

 

Relief Saturday, July 30, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 12:02 pm
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I’m starting to feel a bit better and I owe a lot of that to Aleve which is brought me out of a lot of pain since I was just a schoolgirl. πŸ™‚

I haven’t much to say this morning, but I’m happy for once that I’ve slept without any dreams. Perhaps, it’s timing my meals in relation to when I decide it’s time for sleep, but I’m thanking God daily that they’ve stopped for now. Today may hold a whole new handful of troubles, however, so I won’t get up my hopes just yet.

I wrote 489 words this morning (She’s just gonna leave it like that?”) and I find myself with this sudden of rush of adrenaline when it comes to Damen. I thought after watching HP7 that I’d have to physically tear myself away from Nostrum, but all my thoughts have surrounded Damen lately. I think I may have been right the other day when I said I needed “closure” on my Harry Potter experience. Not that I won’t give Nostrum my full attention one day, but that it could slip so easily from the forefront of my mind…I guess I really am an adult now.

 

Potterly, Part 2 and in 3D Monday, July 25, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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I concluded my recent Harry binge this evening by watching Deathly Hallows, Part 2 and enjoyed just about every aspect of it. I know that my thoughts of the movie are clouded since I haven’t read the book since the day it was sold, but I enjoyed what I saw and I thought I understood.

I cried when Fred died, hard. In fact, I had to stifle a sob because there were ten other people in the theatre with me and I didn’t want to ruin it for them. I knew it was coming too, because I remember crying my eyes out in the book when this happened which made the scene even more difficult. The best parts of the 7th book, however, were captured in this second part and was an amazing ride; by far the best of all eight movies.

My Potter-joy crashed rather quickly, though, when I saw that someone had scratched and dented my car door. I was so angry, but even if I stand there and wait for the other people to come out of the theatre, I knew it would be fruitless and most likely several hoodrats (by the look of their car) against just me. Nevertheless, I’m annoyed; back to Potter though.

I chose to watch the film in 3D, but was a little disappointed by that aspect of it. I think if we’re going to make “3D” movies, we need to go full spectrum and add that fourth layer to them. When the dragon composed of fire lunges out to the crowd, I should feel it’s heat blow across my face. When the gang splashes into water, I should feel little water droplets all over me. If it can be done on that Spiderman ride I’ve ridden multiple times, back-to-back at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, it can be done in a normal movie too. Another problem I found was that it got difficult in the end to see that third “D” when my glasses were fogged up from the tears…poor Fred!

All this said, I’m glad that I did actually go see the movie and have that sense of closure I think I’d desired since I first opted not to watch the sixth movie. Now, it’s done and now I can focus on other things…hopefully.

I wrote just 263 words (borrow four different versions of Hamlet) for the night, breaking my streak of 300+ words, but not my spirit which pines to up my daily word count to 300 by July 31 (coincidentally Harry Potter’s birthday!!! πŸ™‚ ). Perhaps tomorrow, I won’t be too tired to get to 300 “real” words because I’d spent the past two hours writing notes for a Harry fic (which, from here on out, will be given the project name “Nostrum”), but time will only tell.

 

Life’s decisions Sunday, July 24, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:11 pm
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I’m not sure if I’ve said it earlier, but I’ve decided to grow out my natural hair, meaning no more relaxers for a while. I haven’t been able to stand them for the past couple years and seeing as how my hair is nearly always in braids, I don’t see much point to them anymore.

I’m going to take down my hair tonight and for the first time in forever, I’m going to get my braids done again tomorrow, without a relaxer break this time. I’m a bit nervous about this because I vaguely fear my hair is just going to randomly start falling out big clumps if I don’t get a relaxer precisely six weeks after the previous, but I know it’s just nerves about change in general.

I watched the sixth Harry Potter movie today and, whether it was because I hadn’t read that book in over six or possibly seven years or whether it was because of better acting and storytelling overall, I liked Movie 6 far better than I liked Movies 4 and 5. This will most likely change come the time I decide to re-read Book 6, but for now, I can honestly say I like the adaptation of Book 6 more than I actually liked the book, which is really a first for me.

Again, I’ve not read the book in ages, though there were a few parts I remember being notably missing, and I was rather confused at some parts and a bit bored at others, but I haven’t been his entertained by a Potter film since some time in 2004.

I wrote 350 words tonight (a short ponytail, if he desired.), not to mention the other hundred or so I managed in the notes of this Potter fic, which I imagine will continue to stay at the forefront of my mind until some time later this week, when I’ve seen all 8 Potter films and fulfill that sense of completion that’s been bugging me since I opted not to see the sixth one in the theatres.

Also, I didn’t go to church again today and since I work next weekend, this means I’ll have gone the entire month of July without going at all. I certainly didn’t mean for this to happen, though I’ve spoken to some family and church family recently. I’m not as hurt by it this week as I was last week. I’m not sure if I’m making peace with not going or just relenting to the fact that I needed some time away from that particular church, but I must say, I’ve not talked to God this much since I first joined the church 5 years ago.

 

Potterly Saturday, July 23, 2011

As I write this post now, I am listening to “Buckbeak’s Flight” from the Prisoner of Azkaban score. I bought the score while the film was still in theatres; sometime after my second viewing, but before my fourth. Months later, I would watch the scene from the film that carried this very song because I just enjoyed it so much and wanted to keep the visual crisp in my mind when I heard the song.

My playlist has now changed to “A Window to the Past,” a song on the same score that I only recently discovered and associate, not with film or HP in general, but with John Williams’ music and its influence on my writing. I think this is how I view the entire Potterverse at this point in my life.

Aside from the obvious reference to a “window to my past,” I see HP as something I did as a kid, full of memories, I’d rather not dampen just because everyone in the world seems to be talking about it. That said, yesterday I finally made up my mind about going to see this last film in the theatres.

I wasn’t going to go, but then someone at first-job mentioned that this is my last time to see an HP film in theatres, in 3D and all that jazz. While I’m not exceptionally wow’d by the concept of a 3D film, as I prefer to be awed by immaculate storytelling and I’m certain that at some point in the next few years, these films will be rehashed and re-released Star Wars style, I accept that my co-worker did have a point.

I rented the fourth through seventh (part 1) films and plan to make this a Potter-filled weekend before going off to see it on Monday. I’m not excited by this though. It’s very reminiscent to the midnight party for Book 7. I hadn’t picked up an HP book since I finished Book 6 and found the magic to be almost literally broken, but I went to buy the book out of an obligation of completion.

I never saw the sixth and seventh films because I disliked the fourth and fifth movies and since I knew I hated the sixth book, I saw no point, but here I am again with this sense of obliging to completion.

I thoroughly believe the films lost their way around the fourth one, where the producers and screenwriters decided that it was no longer important to tell an actual story with the adaptation; only throw some images on the screen and hope that people who read the books has some iota which actor corresponds to which character. This believe returned in full sway after re-watching the fourth one last night. I remember generally liking the fourth one the first time around when I saw it at midnight, but knew I was going to be disappointed to see an adaptation of one of my absolute favorite books. Years later, however, that disdain has grown deeper as I had only the vague memory of the books to guide me, but was irritated that if I hadn’t had that, I would have been really, really lost in the movie.

Why did the fake Moody keep the real Moody in that box? Why not just kill the kid while he no one was around him (though I suppose this is a simply question for the novel itself)? Why was it important that Voldemort could touch Harry? Why the hell was screaming so much when Voldemort touched him? What was going on with the wands at the end? Why did Harry see his parents’ ghosts? Why were Voldemort and Wormtail holding up in that particular house? What was the deal with the skull and the snake sign? What was going on in the scene with the pensieve?

Oi…and now I’ve got three more films to watch of this.

Of course, I know all the answers to these questions because I’ve read the book a minimum of seven times, probably closer to eight, but in trying to views these just like any casual viewer, I’m left with irritation that filmmakers could be so greedy as to cut out all the substance of a book just to splash it on the big screen. Peter Jackson may have left out and changed some aspects of LOTR (hello, Tom Bombadil?), but overarching story was still intact.

I’m not really sure why I’m ranting about Potter tonight. I think it’s just been a long week and I want to rant about something and since I generally disliked that movie last night (no Dobby, no house elves, no SPEW, Krum was too cute, Diggory wasn’t cute enough, Fleur wasn’t a veela, no Bagman and that !@#$%^&* scene with face in the fire!), this will have to do.

I wrote 518 words today (a pair of scissors, two combs and a brush), not counting the ones I added to the Potter-fic ( πŸ˜‰ ) and I think I’m going to use this weekend to be as annoyed as I want to be, while trying to write a little more as well.

 

Can’t Let Go Wednesday, July 13, 2011

by Mariah Carey ~ MTV Unplugged

My mind’s a bit drained currently, so it’s been difficult to come up with a decent title or even post on time. I’m writing nonetheless.

I watched The Dark Knight tonight and since I approached it thinking it was going to be hokey, I rather enjoyed it. I also had a lengthy conversation today about Harry Potter that got me wondering whether I should go see this final film and re-read the books.

I’ve been wanting to re-read the books for the longest time, but since Movie 3 put a bad taste in my mouth, Movie 4 made it much, much worse and Movie 5 made me want to get up and leave the theatre, I’m not too keen on the films anymore. I haven’t watched the sixth one or the first part of the seventh and I highly disapprove of the seventh book being broken into a two movies. If these producers were really smart, they’d have started splitting them at Movie 4 and then let it drag out until all the kids were nearly 30, not that some of them aren’t already.

It sounds like it would be so easy to wrapped up in all that again, but I’m not quite sure I want to do it. All of it, the books, the movies, the forums, just feels like something I did at 18. I’m very different today than I was at 18 and I worry about further tarnishing the series in my mind.

Movie 5 didn’t do the 5 book justice and while I could probably watch Movies 6 and 7 with no problem since I’ve not read those books in about 3 or 4 years, I’m not sure I’m ready to make the leap. A nagging part of me remembers the 18-year-old Dorienne writing an editorial for Mugglenet.com about The Surprise of Harry Potter and how enjoying it this point in history is far better than anyone else would have it and that somehow, I’ll regret not taking part in all of this. The rational side of my mind, however, says I’ve better books to read and write than Harry Potter at the moment and reminds me that I can’t get distracted. For now, I suppose, I’ll get my Harry kicks by playing the games based on Movies 2 and 5 (on the PS1 and Wii, respectively) and leave the movies to unaffected masses.

I wrote 443 words tonight (crossed his legs and went back to his book) and I’m a bit tired right now. I think I’ll retire for the night and pretend that I’m not going to have Potter-infused dreams for half the night.

 

Day Eight Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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

I’d never felt so calm beginning my day as I did this morning. I think I’ll need to start every day like today, which means I’ve now found some inspiration for waking up on time.

I’ve found that I like to wake, take a shower, get dressed and then lean in my desk chair with my socked/stockinged feet propped on the bed and read for twenty to thirty minutes before I head to first-job. Whether it’s the calm music playing softly behind me or the act of reading in itself, I’m not sure, but I am never so relaxed and calm as when I start my days this way.

With eight days of living Xbox and television-free, I’m starting to get into a rhythm that I quite enjoy. I’m not pressed to do or achieve anything other than my 250 written words each day. Everything will be fine. I’ve said this to myself many, many times previously, but it’s only now that it’s taken on real significance. I doubt that I would have handled what happened yesterday as well as I did if I hadn’t already been in this cycle of mental cleansing…and the bad thing is that I don’t think I handled things well at all.

I wrote 436 words tonight (the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth). Not counting the 76 words lifted from Luke 15, I wrote 360 (she kicked him under the chair before he stood). I’d thought of some interesting things that I wanted to blog about earlier in the morning, but as I hadn’t had the chance to commit the idea to paper or iPhone, those words are now long gone. Back to my reading….

Op! Now, I remember. Not so long gone apparently…

I find myself liking Hannibal more and more as I read, but not because it’s written well or because I’m fully engaged with the book, but because I love the idea of Lector and I just want to get to the end of the book when I know he and Starling run off together. I know this because someone ruined the ending for me just as I’ve done now for anyone who happens to be reading these words. I don’t know how or when or why, but I know it’s coming and I just want to “see” the end so I can be done with it.

Reading the book reminds me a lot of when I was reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the weekend the book was released. I’d gone to a midnight party as I had for Books 5 and 6, though I wasn’t dressed in Harry garb this time and looked on the whole thing with a twang of nostalgia for how I’d spent my early college years.

When I got my copy, I turned off the television, avoided the phone and did not turn on my computer for nearly 48 whole hours as I attempted to get through the book without someone ruining the ending for me. I just knew that if I turned on anything or spoke to anyone who was as enamoured with the series as I had once been, that someone would shout out who dies in the end or if Harry made it through unharmed. I more or less enjoyed the ride, but mostly because I just wanted to be done with it, not because I particularly enjoyed the writing.

This is where I’m currently placing Hannibal as I fight every urge to just go to the last location on my Kindle and read backward until I find what I wanted to know. I’m trying to enjoy the ride and enjoy the story as much as I can and I’ll admit that the book has now jumped from two stars to almost three for me, but really, I just want to see the end.

I’m not sure if this has anything to do with my current quest for mental enlightenment, with which this book will certainly not help, but I can feel the end approaching. The point, I suppose, is what I’ll do with myself once I’ve reached the end.

Now, back to reading.

 

The third day Friday, June 24, 2011

I’ve gone three days without television or video games or non-classical music. I think I’m okay.

Whether it was from a dream I’d had during the night or just a bout of inspiration, I woke this morning with the desire to make notes for this Harry story I’ve been wanting to write for the past five or so years. It’s probably the last fanfiction I’ll ever write outside of X-Files and SVU stories the pop to mind, but the more I write the notes for it, the more I start to love it.

I’ve not done more than poke at it for the past two years as I’ve brought my focus completely onto Damen, but this morning, I could think of little else. The characters bounced around in my head throughout the morning and on my way to first-job and when I got bored during a meeting at first-job, I started making some notes for them, specifically another name I could anagram from “Tom Marvolo Riddle.”

When I took a lunch today (an oddity in itself), I sat in my car and wrote about four pages of notes for the story, longhand! My handwriting has deteriorated to that of a drunken dolphin, so it will be a bit of a challenge to translate what I wrote into something that can be incorporated into the main notes for the story, but I could not stop thinking about it until I’d committed it to paper, real paper. I just wish that it was a burst of energy for Damen or Jill or Evan or Luka or any of my feasibly publishable projects instead of just fanfiction.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain as writing is writing and I owe a lot to fanfiction as I used it to teach myself how I go about writing a novel, but still…there’s some frustration in spending the bulk of whole day on something that won’t mean much to anyone outside of myself and a few Harry fans.

That said, I think half of what’s started this is that my mind’s a bit clearer than it has been lately. Perhaps today’s ideas have been floating in my head for months, but I’ve only now quieted all the other noise for long enough for these ideas to give me a real picture. The fact that I wrote longhand is an experience all on its own since I don’t think I’ve written anything longhand since Alex and the first phase of notes for Luka more than six years ago.

I’m rather exhausted today; I think it was the exertion of handwriting at the pace my mind’s eye gave me an image. Fatigue aside, I wrote 466 words tonight (Anthony drove them deep into Cabot, Ohio.) and I delved into the beginning of some of Damen’s spiritual issues. My protagonist is an atheist, or at least believes he is, and I’ve laid some foundations as to why he is prior to this point, but I’ve still not quite figured out just how anti-theist he will remain. The fact that I’m coming to this point in the novel at a time when I’ve realized I must get back to my spiritual roots is surely a coincidence, I’m sure…

 

Hazlo tarde Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So, nothing got written during all of yesterday.

The main reason for it is that I was playing IT specialist to my family, traveling and worked close to a 14-hour day at my first job. I’m not using these as excuses, but I just plain ran out of time.

I don’t I’ll get too much written this week since I’m closing in on the new year and am simply determined to get my house cleaned before then. I want the laundry done, trash outside, my bed made, the bathroom cleaned, dishes done, paper shredded and sorted, and floor and stairs vacuumed before I leave for Watch Night service this Friday. It’s a lot to do, but I know if I haven’t got it done by the time I leave, the whole year will be much like it was this year: in a perpetual state of trying to catch up with all the crap.

I was doing some pondering today, while manning some mindless tasks, about my upcoming Harry-fic and how I plan on going about the relationship thingy. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of making something that could truly fit in between Books 5 and 7, which means I may need to play down the whole Harry/Hermione thing a bit, or at least make it very clear how Ron doesn’t want Hermione after all, why Harry does and yet still keep things on a level that could potentially lead into Book 7. I’m not sure I can “re-write” Book 6 as Harry/Hermione and still make it fit nicely into Book 7, but I think it’s worth a shot. At least, with this in the back of my mind, it will help keep me honest to the characters and ensure that I’ve justified the decision I’ve made since I’m certain there are so many people in this world who got through the first 4 Harry books and came to a completely different conclusion about the state of the trio’s love triangle from me. I think I’ll just stick to the old edict of “Two men, one woman…trouble.” and write what suits me.

I often find myself comparing myself to each of the characters I write and as I continue with Damen, it gets harder to make complete distinctions. It’s like I’m their…god and I’ve left a lot of myself in all of them, even Corey. I’ve also made some characters that reflect (at least on a subconscious level, initially) how I think many people see me and how I would like to see myself. I did this with Flight as well. I looked at Alexa and knew that she was how people saw me: short, annoying and unwanted. I wanted to be seen like Andrea: tall, respected, intelligent and dark-skinned and beautiful. It’s almost like I’m writing the same character, though I have yet to see which character fits how folks might see me, other than Britiana, who’s just a little too obvious. Brit’s short, I’m short. Brit’s black, I’m black. Brit had mostly white friends in suburbia and I had the same. Outside of that, however, our likenesses really end. I didn’t sit at the trendy table in high school, but I guess some of the people who I ran with did, so others kind of saw me that way (as I learned in college), but really, I don’t think too many people would look at Brit and think: Dorienne! I definitely want to be seen like Anessa since, like Andrea, she is tall, respected, intelligent, dark-skinned and beautiful. I can see her very clearly in my mind and I can’t help wishing that I was like her, the same way I get jealous of the African women at my first job; I just feel like my blood is so dirty compared to them and some days, my skin looks more yellow-oakish than a rich mahogany. Anyway, I’m just rambling now.

I would like to finish Chapter 7 as well, but I’ll be happy if I can just get things sorted at the first job and just moving in the right direction on the second.

I’d also like to turn on the heat this week, but we’ll see if I can work up the courage to change the air filter…it’s definitely been a while.

 

iStruggle Saturday, December 11, 2010

iStruggle. Really, iDo.

Chapter Seven was in need of work. Deep work. So much work that I’m not sure I really got anything accomplished today.

I could say that I wrote/edited 4411 words today, but considering I still have to actually write the prose and the dialogue, I don’t think I’ve written anything at all.

What I did do was struggle to pull together some incomplete, incoherent thoughts, into a long coherent one. I also managed to flesh out Munnerly into a more “living” character. I decided some time after I finished Chapter Three that I needed to cut nearly half of it and focus on only one or two of Damen’s teacher’s. I originally thought I use the chemistry teacher, but he seems rather boring and, unless I made him like my high school chemistry teacher, there was nothing to help tie me to the character. Munnerly, however, has the added bonus of being English considering I’m on this British TV and Film kick and since I plan on a lot of Damen and Brit’s little conversations to take place during their studies for math. In fact, now that I think of it, I’m not sure why I never considered Munnerly earlier since, close to 90% of the conversations and events I’ve planned surround their math class and I even made Anessa into a math major and an accountant just to be able to add her to the random events properly.

Anyway, most of the fun of creating a character that is the antithesis of myself is the research. I spent close to two hours researching the British school system and trying to gain some understanding of what she would already know and how she would have come to be a Briton teaching Americans math. Apart from seeing that I thought the “Tories” were onto something with bringing back the selective grammar schools (seriously, the comprehensive school thing sounds like a pipe dream and I wish we had “select” schools in the States to make people actually value education), I realized that I will have to make a severe change to the Potter story I was planning.

Like any good American, I desire to make the story my own and bring it “home” in the process. A part of this was to make Hermione turn 11 the September after the kids started at Hogwarts, but after reading about the Brits’ school system, it doesn’t seem practical for that to happen since it is very clear that kids start school the first 1 September after they turn five and the same appears to be the same about Hogwarts. The more I read about English schools, the more I saw how closely Ms. Rowling’s imaginary school mirrored the “real” “public” schools in England and Wales (quotes around public because public here and public there are two completely different things). It’s not really that big a thing, but it disappoints me that I can’t make the change and keep the story making some sense. Enough about Potter…

After reading through lists of Brit slang and dozens of Wiki-clicks, I finally thought I had a handle on Munnerly and changed her a little in my mind. When she was just a fringe character, she could afford to be plain and weird, but I imagine that the more Damen sees of her, the prettier she’ll seem to him, perhaps going into his having a jones for older women. Even with Munnerly made a little clearer, the chapter was is a disaster. I don’t know what the heck I was trying to do originally, but it just wasn’t working and was perhaps the worst lead-in to meeting Corey that could ever be possible. Even now, it’s still poo, but I’ll have to live with it until I go back and write the prose.

I guess I’m just surprised and a little disappointed since I was still flying high after last night’s chapter completion. To see so much work needed on an important chapter…it’s just a little daunting.

I think I hit on some important topics to some come later: the love of Chopin, the bits about his father and always being homeschooled and more Brit frustrations and I like the idea of now ending the chapter with meeting Corey. I think I’ll still need to go back and make Munnerly the source of his silence cessation (say that five times fast!), but I like the chapter much more now, than I did when I took a look this morning.

Tomorrow/Today will consist of bringing everything home and actually writing the chapter, so perhaps I really will have 4K words written by the end of the night. I must say, however, this chapter has created more of a struggle and more time spent with my head in my hands staring at white space on the screen and praying for inspiration, than anything else so far. I don’t usually struggle like this, so it’s completely new territory.

I’m not sure I like this part of the journey.

 

Five days of two jobs Saturday, December 4, 2010

I fully intended to spend the majority of last night writing, but…

After two hours of browsing for new Sims 2 downloads (I never did find the mod I wanted) and then another 3 hours of playing Guitar Hero 2, I found myself at 2am with nothing written at all and incredibly tired. I was about to give up on the night, but I kept reading and re-reading in hopes that some inspiration would come.

As with the past two nights, I have been stuck at nearly the same scene: ending the first “part” of Chapter 5. I decided to go with Damen’s ponderings about pinging Brit on Facebook, but still spent another hour trying to determine the best way to end. To just get passed the whole thing, I just wrote something very telling and literally, put him to bed; I just couldn’t see a better way to end the scene. The worst part is that in looking at it again this morning, I already hate it. I’m going to leave it for now in hope that some decent inspiration will strike as I continue writing, but this last part has been a trial to write.

I only got through 507 words which, while not an incredible leap forward, is better than I did the previous night. I stopped right when Damen is noticing the cold reception from his peers because I knew I had to go back and figure out if I had made the previous scene fall on a Friday like I had originally intended or if I had made it some other day. If it’s any other day, I’ll have to go back and re-edit the end of the last scene tonight; there’s just no way I’ll be able to sleep at night with the scene left in such a state.

One positive thing about last night was that I did not fall asleep in my chair. I did lean back to gain some perspective, but then I started to listen to my current music. I made this playlist almost a year ago that includes:

  • Sunset Theme ~ Brendon Small (Home Movies)
  • Brendon’s Camera ~ Brendon Small
  • Heart Smashers Theme ~ Brendon Small
  • Septopus Theme ~ Brendon Small
  • All Apologies ~ Nirvana
  • Something ~ The Beatles
  • One Flight Down ~ Norah Jones
  • Because ~ The Beatles
  • Come Away With Me ~ Norah Jones
  • Imagine ~ John Lennon
  • Buckbeak’s Flight ~ John Williams (Harry 3)
  • A Window to the Past ~ John Williams (Harry 3)
  • Princess Leia’s Theme ~ John Williams (Stars Wars 4)
  • Across the Stars ~ John Williams (Star Wars 2)

I’m not sure what drove me to make this playlist, but it’s become a new “Z-Write” list for me. I created Z-Write (sometimes Too Write, depending on the system) as a collection of songs I loved, but all sounded smooth and mellow and could allow me a background against which I could write. I don’t get bored with Z-Write, but occasionally, I wish for something else. The other playlist (just called “aaaaaaaaaaaa1” for now) functions in a similar manner, but is a lot shorter, so I have a greater concept of time passing as I write. It also contains some John Williams, who I write to quite often in either the “The JW Opus” or the “Star Wars” playlists, but both of those include “Duel of the Fates” and there’s nothing mellow about that song. In fact, I write to it most often when I am writing Luka, since that project is likely to include a lot of warring/fighting scenes.

Anyway, I sat musing over how I had recently taken such a liking to “A Window to the Past” (I think it’s the clarinet; you don’t get to hear the woodwinds accentuated that much in Williams’ music) which led to my thinking about how much I despise the current state of Harry Potter. Where there was once an enduring, dutiful love, now rests regret and annoyance. The movies have been garbage since Harry 4 and, even though I’d like to write the Harry story I’ve had at the back of my mind since that enduring love still endured, I doubt I’ll be re-reading those books anytime soon.

All these Harry ponderings almost gave me a second wind, but I had to put an end to it and decided to go to bed. The second wind would have entailed a ten-page rant on how Ms. Rowling punked out pairing Harry & Ginny and Ron & Hermione together and no good could have really come from it. I did, however, go to sleep thinking about this Harry story I’ve had brewing for years and I’ve decided that it will be my next project once I finish Damen.

I’ve read that it’s normally a good idea to lay aside your current novel and immediately set into something else while you prepare for the editing phase. If you are too wrapped up in your “baby,” it’ll make it that much harder to cut what needs to be cut and change what truly needs to be changed.

If I’ve learned anything this week, it’s that what sounds brilliant one week, may sound like trash two months later. (On a side note, I’m currently listening to the above described playlist and I just love how there’s this part in the middle of “Window to the Past” that is pulled straight from songs on the Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith scores.)

I think I’m going to take today and really focus on my writing. My pastor sent me a text message this morning I haven’t answered since I haven’t been to church in five or six weeks and I don’t have an excuse other than, I just didn’t want to go, so tomorrow, I’ll probably be at church. Tonight, however, should be a focus on writing.

…if I can just get passed “Woman” on Hard mode.

 

Twenty-six pages later… Friday, June 4, 2010

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 4:08 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve been writing almost consistently for the past week. While I wanted to have Chapter 3 complete before the end of May, I’m glad I’m not rushing it.

This draft has been shaping quite differently from the last. It is almost as if I’m using the original draft as a guide to write the novel. Pieces that I had spent a lot of time shaping the first draft, are being either lightly touched upon or glossed over altogether in the second. It it is almost like I’m working off what I call “heavy notes” for this draft, but I refuse to call it that, because that means I didn’t have anything worthwhile complete in 2009. That’s not quite true though; as I learned with Flight, the “heavy notes” are a big part of the process and once I’ve got those together, the novel sort of shapes itself.

I’ve almost been jotting little notes on the iPhone here and there for the makings of some Star Wars stories. I remember saying to myself, not too long ago while making some edits on Wookiepedia, “I really don’t have a story to tell when it comes to Star Wars.” Lo and behold, as I was taking down my braids the other night, a story came to mind and just developed over the next day. I can’t wait to get really started on it. In fact, I can’t wait to just have a fully complete draft of the novel so that I can justify writing anything else at the moment. I’ve got an SVU story and now a Star Wars story just waiting to be written and I’d like to write them before I get too bogged down with other stories and forget. There’s also a Harry Potter story I’d like to write before things get too hectic as well.

Man, I’ve got a lot of writing to do. I’ll have carpal tunnel before too long for sure!

 

iPhone – exclamation point! Sunday, November 22, 2009

Filed under: Reading — kaitco @ 11:33 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Ah, my beloved iPhone! I’m writing this very post on a WordPress app on my iPhone. I cannot say enough that I simply adore this phone. From having everything together like my phone, iPod and tiny netbook in one place just makes me feel happier than I’ve been in a while.

Needless to say, I had to break my desires to be computer-free this Sunday as I attempt to get my phone perfectly customized. That said I find it best to at least recognize that I must include my iPhone in whole in my zeal to abstain from my computer entertainment and chores or this goal of mine is practically useless.

All iPhone-related joys notwithstanding, I am dreadfully behind in Damen and also my Harry fic. With Tuesday, Thursday and also Saturday virtually free this week, I think I’ve got a good chance at getting pretty far into at least Damen; I’m not sure how much I care about the Harry fic at this point. People are starting to talk and get excited about the book because I’ve been gabbing quite a bit about it. For the first time in a long while I feel like my work has some meaning for someone other than me. I won’t say that I’m getting a little worried that I’ll disappoint others, but I definitely feel the need to get on with this project.

Well, as much as I adore my iPhone, I can’t keep typing like this for the rest of the night. The only sentiment I’ve got at the moment is iPHONE FTW!!!

 

Coming together Monday, November 9, 2009

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 1:21 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I haven’t had the drive to write much until the beginning of November and then, I suffered a death in the family which killed -er- hurt my drive, but today is the first fully motivated day I have had and had been able to use to the best of my abilities. I got a good deal of my laundry and general house cleaning done and I have come to terms with a so far unacknowledged obsession of mine.

I am very addicted to the Internet. I am constantly checking the news via Google at work and at home, the first thing I do is go straight from my PC. Between checking e-mail, Twitter, new forum posts, Facebook and my ever-growing list of webcomics, I have found very little time to do much else with my time, which meant that the house work was shirked day in and day out, which only aided in exasperating my growing depression. Today, I decided that Sundays are going to be not only Internet-free, but computer-free as well. I get to cheat a bit and make a quick playlist to have some music to guide the rest of my day, but I told myself I am unable to do anything on my computer until 12:01 Monday morning. Around 8:00PM, I thought was I going to crack, but I maintained and got so much done that I feel like a new person.

Despite all the goals I had lain out for myself, I did not get the novel completed by my 25th birthday. I got a very rough draft completed on October 2nd, which, while still being some kind of accomplishment, was still not what I wanted. I wanted a full manuscript when I turned 25. I wanted to be able to look at and say, “Wow! Look what you did!” as a birthday present to myself. Instead, when I realized that my goal simply was not feasible, I spent the day playing old video games (Mario N64 is too much fun, BTW) and got the rough draft completed a week later, once the heat was no longer weighing on my shoulders. Unfortunately, the strain of doing so much writing in a short period of time took its toll on me and that, combined with what I deemed as complete failure, kept from even looking at the thing for the majority of October.

In the past week, however, the writing bug as bit once again, inspired in part by NaNoWriMo. My initial goal for NaNoWriMo was to get a more complete draft ready and finish my Harry fic, but honestly, if I can just get through the rest of the draft by November 30th, I’ll be happy. If I can stick to that goal, I should still be in line with having a manuscript ready to start sending to agents by the New Year. If I don’t, however, it will still be okay.

If I’ve learned anything in the past month, it is that I worry myself into a depression over things that are completely beyond my control and all of these personal deadlines are just unnecessarily stressing me out for no real reason. The novel is going to get completed. Someone, somewhere, at some point in time, will want it and it will eventually get published by one means or another. I just need to calm down and regain some of my patience.

Anyway…

I had thought (or agonized over, whichever) that the beginning of the novel was going to need a complete rewrite, to the point that I thought the whole project should be scrapped. The review, however, is proving to be in much better shape that I originally thought and flows quite smoothly with the rest of what I had written.

Right now I am focusing on creating the most enticing first chapter possible; enough information so that the reader has an idea of what is going on, but leaving out enough details to keep the reading wanting to continue. It has been incredibly difficult to write in this vein because there is so much that I want to “tell” to help the reader understand why things are the way they are, but I’ve recently read in an agent’s blog that all these “telling” details are many times meaningless simply because a reader could easily forget everything I’ve “told them” at the times when it would be helpful for them to have this knowledge. Again, it all comes down to show versus tell, but really “a bit of tell interspersed with enough show to let the reader know I’m not simply dictating to them.” All in all, the review has been as fun as it is frustrating.

With the house infinitely cleaner than it was when I woke up today, I think this new burst of energy might be one I can maintain for a bit. I’m not only happier and more enthusiastic about all my projects (I joined a gym today, heaven help me!), but I am also gaining the peace that I had so sorely sought when I was 24.

 

Harry, Dorienne and the 3rd person narrative Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Filed under: Reading,Writing — kaitco @ 2:46 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Good thing I’d already had a draft started or else, I’d have just called it a day and said the heck with this for tonight. I’m rather tired and this is bound to be full of typos and some sentences that only make sense in my fatigued subconscious…

When I’d gone through my childhood novel re-discovering on Saturday, I remembered something that is simultaneously bothersome and fascinating to me. While I had read (and was once obsessed with) the Harry Potter books while I was in college rather than as a child, they still hold this special awe for me, like I’m sure they do for many, many people. Now, as I’ve learned through the years, Ms. Rowling, while a generally good storyteller, is on the good side of mediocre when it comes to her actual prose. I’m not saying she’s a bad writer or that the books are poorly written; just that there are things, many, many things, that could have been done or said…better. All this notwithstanding, I still learned something from her works: How to write a third person narrative.

Nowadays, especially in my post-Flight writing phase, I often take for granted that it was not so long ago that I had no idea what to do when trying to write in 3rd person. Every lengthy piece I had tried to right from my first character “Michael Connor” when I was eight until I was eighteen, had involved 1st person because I simply did not know how to make 3rd person…work.

I’m not even going to suggest that Harry Potter taught me how to write in general. Not even…What I can say, however, is that it was not until I started reading those books that I caught a glimpse of what the 3rd person could really do and how it could expand characterization just as well, if not better than 1st person. Honestly, it comes down to the fact that I started reading more with Harry and got more exposure to fiction than I had previously and thus, learned that I could actually do something with the 3rd person. Ironically, I find myself struggling to drag out my old abilities in the 1st person as I write Damen. It takes some real earnest practice to write what a decade ago would have been a cinch to create. I’m still excited about my progress as far as writing as a craft goes, though.

I know I’ve changed throughout the years and, the fact that I can almost effortlessly write a scene or a whole short story in 3rd person when I had once tanked an entire project because it had started as 3rd person and realized I had no idea what I was doing, makes it that much easier to recognize that change.

 

 
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