I am kaitco

a writer's log

I HAVE been writing Friday, March 9, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:07 pm
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I know it does not look like it from the lack of posts, but really a lack of posting at this stage in the book simply means that I’ve spent more of my time focused on writing.

I’ve got maybe ten chapters left of this thing. I had only nine, but then I split one chapter into two and I’m certain I’m bound to do the same before the end, but I’m just so close.

The notes for the doc damen29-end (as in Damen chapter 29 through the end) was less than 14K words when I first started it. That 14K worth of notes is littered with mostly complete dialogue and prose so I know I’m close…so very close.

I’ve got Jill and Reruns popping up in my dreams now and my thoughts come back to them and even Luka or Evan or even Annie more often than focusing on Damen. Just yesterday, I “saw” Jill and how she interacted with her friends and realized that I would be making her far more like myself than I had done with Brit…but this is just the flow of my mind; a mind so anxious to move onto other projects that it makes me want to cry that I’m just so close to finishing Damen.

When I was young, I used to get mad when a TV show I liked ended or changed drastically because one of the actors got bored and left the show. I never used to understand it. How could they do that? Didn’t they care about the overall story? What about the people who’ve watched this since Day 1? Lately, however, I get it. There comes a point in a project, any project, where you’re just so…over it.

I love Damen. I’ve loved creating these characters and imagining this world where they interact together, but I’m soooo ready to move on because I’m just so close to the end. So close…

 

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…

 

Lord, Lord…my day Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:58 pm
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Phew! The day I’ve had…

My “assistant” is leaving which means I’ll have to find someone else to help with all my dozens of projects and I’ll have to re-train someone else on how I do things. I’ve already got someone in mind, but I doubt I’ll get a say in it this time like I did with him.

I’ve thought a ton about my first-job and my future, not to mention putting in the long hours today which what I’ll blame tonight on why I’ve got nothing written.

A while ago, I found myself presented with a choice between what was right, that is a new challenge with new faces in a new environment, and what was easy, that is the same old thing, just with a new title; I chose what was easy. Now, it’s easy for me to look back and think that my own frustrations about first-job come from making that decision, but I’ve found more opportunities in this last year than I’ve ever had. That said, when I look at my long term goals, I can’t help but see that one of the main reasons the novel isn’t done is because of the intrusions of first-job.

Second-job, writing, is what I want to do, but there’s a real possibility that the second-job will never become my first and only job. Damen could easily be a disaster that no one will ever publish, Jill could be even worse, Luka may never get off the ground, Evan will never see its second-coming and I’ll never be published.

It’s hard to dwell on all that though. I think I’ve had so many signs telling me that this (second-job) is what I’m meant to do, that it’s difficult to remember a time when I wanted to do otherwise. The reason I have the first-job that I do is because I sat in my car one day and asked myself, “Dorienne…what do you really want to do?” The answer was write and the solution was to just support myself with first-job until first and second jobs became one.

Years later, I’ve come to reason my ambitions can hardly be masked. Everything I do, I do it fully and I can’t help but strive to be the absolute best in what I do. This is why I hit walls where it takes a day to write a paragraph, but also why I’ve been able to make my leaps in the first-job. So, now I’m faced with making a decision I really don’t want to make: Giving up the second-job and focus solely on the first, or continue as I’ve always been. Again…a decision between what is right and what is easy.

It’s easy to move on the same path I’ve always walked and a strong part of me, no matter what everyone else tells me, believes that first-job and second-job are doomed to exist together. Neither dream will thrive while the other lives.

Melodrama aside, I’m just not sure I’m ready to give up either dream at this point in my life. I’m 26, though I say I am and feel 27, and hopefully, have a lot of life left to live. I don’t want to look back on my life and wonder what life would have been like had I stayed the course and continued with the decision I’d made when I asked my 22-year-old self what I wanted to do. At 22, I also said that I’d rather have a dead-end job while reaching for my dream than have a upper-middle management job having never sought the dream. The more I think of it, however, I also don’t think I’d like the idea of my previous mantra, “If I can’t have what I want, I want nothing.”

Decisions, decisions…

I can only pray about it. Even after a quick prayer today to calm my spirit in the midst of such rapid turmoil, He answered me and calmed me with better news. So, all I can do is pray that He’ll let me know when I’m on the right track.

 

Mmm…writing… Thursday, January 6, 2011

Filed under: Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:56 pm
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I wrote and edited 783 words tonight, which is really incredible considering that I wrote close to a hundred words while half asleep and didn’t think I’d get passed fifty words tonight.

It’s hard to really grasp why I wouldn’t want to write anything when I devote so much of time thinking about the craft and my plans with it. Not a week goes by where I don’t add another entry to my “Book ideas” note on my iPhone and daydream about my own characters on my way to and from my first job.

I often think about whether Damen would have embraced a Kindle or if he would have remained true to paper books. It is very rare that I don’t try to picture Luka as best I can and identify things that make him too similar to Damen and ways I can change that. Today, my aunt even told me how much she likes reading Flight now that she’s started it while at my own Nana’s. The craft is a part of my very being…so how can I reach a point in the day where I grumble, “I just don’t want to…”?

It defies any logic and while I’d like to just blame the first job, I can’t help thinking that I never had these problems while trying to write Flight. I finished the 450K-word novel in less than two years, but here I am rounding the corner on Year 4 of Damen and I’m still in “I just don’t want to” phase. Back then, I even had to teach myself to give up drinking so that I had the capacity to write in the evenings instead of fall asleep after a light buzz, but all I really wanted to do tonight was cuddle in my blanket and watch “Seinfeld.”

Once I got the juices flowing (and hit a more planned part of the novel), I got a partial second wind, but I don’t I’ll write another word tonight; perhaps it’s real fatigue since I’m getting that pang in my stomach that starts when my body is too tired to stay upright, or maybe it’s just plain laziness.

Either way, at least I got in some writing tonight. Tomorrow’s another day.

 

Progress in some areas Monday, January 3, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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I didn’t do too much other than watch “Seinfeld” all day today. I got my Kinect from the post office and got it set up, but I still don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything relevant today. Perhaps it’s just better to have had a day of rest before going back to reality and my first job tomorrow.

I wrote a total of 1720 words today, spanning from around midnight last night to just ten minutes ago. I definitely had the opportunity to do more, but…procrastination being what it is…

I’m beginning to “see” Corey a little better now and, as I continue with this chapter, it is easier to write his dialogue. I can even hear his voice clearly in my head now. I’m still dancing the fine line between hiding Corey’s major quirks and remaining true to the character, but I’m proud of what I’ve done with him today.

My favorite part of today, aside from setting up the Kinect, was having Brian and Damen talk about Star Wars EU books. Only a true Star Wars geek would be able to fully grasp the reference and I think it makes Damen seem more well-rounded and simultaneously more and less like me. Like me, Damen reads Star Wars lit, but Damen reads everything, so even sci-fi isn’t too far off for him. Star Wars EU is the only sci-fi I’ve read and, while I’d like to finish the books on my big list, I doubt I’ll venture too far into sci-fi…that is, until I get really started on Luka, but that could be years from now, and Luka‘s really more fantasy than sci-fi. Anyway…Having Damen read sci-fi books makes him truly seem like he reads everything that’s available, instead of just the same kinds of books that I would read, which makes him a little clearer to me.

I’m not sure if I’ll write too much more tonight (I’ve got at least 15 more Seinfelds waiting for me), but I think this sudden push on characterization will serve me well throughout the week.

Edit: I’ve got to start these posts earlier. I barely made it tonight!

 

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.

 

The same characters Friday, June 5, 2009

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:38 am
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I’ve been thinking a lot about Evan and that entire series.

Even though the fact that I’ve been writing for such a long time slips from my mind quite often, I seem to always remember that Michael Connor is my first character. When I was eight, our teacher forced us to write stories using our spelling words for the week. As a “cute” Christmas gift that year, my mother put a lot of my stories together in a little booklet and passed them out to relatives and such. I remember I was always being “praised” for these stories and couple poems, but what still sticks out to me is coming up Michael Connor. Out of all the “characters” I created for these stories, he was the only one I used in more than one story and he was the only who I could actually visualize. At eight years old, I knew what he looked like, what he sounded like, and a bit about why he behaved the way he did. I continued to write stories involving him into the fourth and fifth grades and have been writing him as a more or less subsidiary character since then.

My plan with Evan was to make Michael my protagonist in the last book, but as time passes and my writing improves, I’m thinking that I’ll never be able to really write the Evan series and my first character will never see the light of day. The idea of it really, really disappoints me because I feel like I’ve grown up with him and I’ve evolved his character over time. At one point, he was just a little boy who acted out in class, but by the end, he’s a full girl-hitting, druggie. It’s like I can see how things started for him and then I allowed him to progress. I just love this character because I’ve “known” him for so long.

What really feels devastating is that I don’t think I’ll be able to write Evan, not because I haven’t the time, the will or the energy, but because of all the other projects that will come before it. There’s no way Evan will ever be as good as Damen or even Flight for that matter. It’s just not good enough. And, to almost add insult to injury, if I ever got to writing Evan, I’d be too wrapped up in what other people would possible be thinking about it to do any real editing to make the book as good if not better than its predecessors.

I know there’s something to be said in the fact that I have the same chemistry surrounding similar-looking characters in a lot of my projects. For example, in Damen, Damen and Brit are two characters who have that “Will they/Won’t they” thing going on that’s amplified by the fact that he’s white and she’s black. Again in Luka, granted there’s so much going on that I think people would be hard-pressed to fully follow these thoughts, but Luka and Elia have that same “Will they/Won’t they” thing and, again, he’s white and she’s black.

I suppose I could get away with it in two different books because Luka and Damen are so incredibly different people as are Elia and Brit, but it’s something that could definitely raise an eyebrow or two.

I think I could probably allow the same thing in Evan if I didn’t have Alex as my protagonist in the third book. Even though Alex is bi-racial and the “Will they/Won’t they” between her and David is more of a when rather than an if, it would be the third set of characters that fall into this kind of line. It is almost like I’m doing this subconsciously, writing a black female and a white male over and over and over again, but then again, if I know what’s happening going into the story, I can’t really blame this on my subconscious.

I’ve always said that I write the stories that come to me. I try to spring in Jesus wherever I can, like Jonathan’s dependence on his faith in Flight or even Brit’s faith in Damen, but for the most part, I write the characters who pop in my mind. Most of the time…

You know, it’s just now occurred to me what’s happening with this white boy/black girl thing…

When I develop a story, it normally starts with a single character and from him or her, I create a cast and from there a plot. Most of the time (though, I’m still not sure why), that first character who comes to mind just happens to be a white male and, since I cannot/will not write something without a strong black female somewhere near the forefront, this white boy/black girl thing always finds its way into the story. Evan, Luka and Damen are all white males and whether it was subconscious or purposeful, I’d found a strong female lead to accompany them; it’s probably my own way of projecting myself into my stories and, quite honestly, that disgusts me.

Now, that I’ve had this little revelation, however, I doubt I’ll be taking steps to change anything in the future. Again, I write the stories that come to me. I’ve imagined that I’ll get a lot of push back and criticism for not writing stories that centre around black people, but I write the stories that come to me. I’ve come up with stories surrounding white females also and there are few if any blacks in those stories; I write the stories that come to me.

I can imagine the insults now: You don’t care about the black community! You’ve lost touch with your own culture! It’s not like I don’t care about other blacks or something; I just write the stories and characters that come to me…

Miles will probably be the biggest chore of all the major projects I’ll be writing in the upcoming years as it does centre around a black male, but does not paint the rosiest picture of the “black community” throughout the plot.

I think one of the hardest things about desiring to be a good writer and not just a good female writer and certainly not just a good black writer, is staying true to myself. I suppose if anyone accuses me in the future of not writing anything that “uplifts” the black community, I can just show them how to read between the lines.

Outside of Miles, almost every black character that appears in my stories remains outside of the bounds of liberal stereotypes. They don’t speak like “blacks” are supposed to speak and they don’t do the things that “blacks” are supposed to do. I suppose I put a little of myself in every black character that I write, which makes Damen all the more special to me. Alex’s story in Evan hints on these same things in a different way, but Brit practically screams it in Damen.

I write the characters that come to me. I think I’ll just have to keep repeating this to myself as I continue; it’ll probably be the only thing that’ll keep me from changing what and how I write to suit the wishes of others.

 

 
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