I am kaitco

a writer's log

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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