I am kaitco

a writer's log

The Final Step Saturday, July 6, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 7:56 am
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I’m on my final step. Woot…

It’s taken me about a month to get here from my previous point and after 32 days of editing (including 20 days of outright procrastination), I finally made a Kindle book from my book. This would sound like the final step were I going the new-aged route of self-publishing, but since I’d really like to at least attempt this through the traditional route, I’m left with a final step prior to finding an agent.

So, this morning, I created my Kindle book and read the first paragraph of my book, on my iPhone because I was too lazy to cross the room for my Kindle Touch or go downstairs for my iPad to read like normal. I have to say, however, in reading just that first paragraph, I got a chill of excitement I’ve not experienced in close to a year.

I’m really here! I can’t believe it. Barring any unfortunate issues while I read this like a normal book, I’ve got in my hands (literally and figuratively) what may be my first fully published novel. I imagine I’ll be in shock throughout the rest of this weekend and likely throughout this entire read, but if I’m going to be shocked about something, I love that it’s my book!

Oh! I think it’s worth mentioning that “final” word count for this project is 120,878 words. Considering that 16 months ago, I was staring down the barrel of a shotgun monster standing at 287,969 words, if I do nothing else with this book, I’ve still accomplished something special. 🙂

 

Hope and Pragmatism Saturday, June 29, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:26 pm
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I’ve read this book so many times.
I’m sick of it.
I read a line,
Stop a min.
Read a line
Stop a min.
No wonder its been years.
Sometimes
I stop a min
And I watch them
Box in front of me;
Hope and Pragmatism
Hope looks stronger, but
Pragmatism has
One heckuva right hook.
Hope sees the end is near.
Jab, jab, swing.
Pragmatism uses odds;
Round 1 ends against me.
Hope sees a literary life ahead.
Jab, dodge, left, step.
Pragmatism knows reality;
Right hook, one punch,
Done

 

32 Chapters to Go Thursday, June 6, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:53 am
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Yesterday, I managed to get through the first 4 chapters of the book. I think I’m going at a decent enough rate, though my dutiful sense of procrastination is beginning to lurk its ugly head.

The closer I come to the end of this journey, the more I seem to find more pertinent things to do with my time. Even this morning after first-job, I had several hours to myself, as I do every morning, and I cleaned my bedroom and then cleaned my bathtub, acts which I generally procrastinate doing until it becomes dire. I would feel ecstatic that I cleaned unprovoked by a looming visit of a relative, but because I used cleaning and later exercise as a manner of procrastination, I’m slightly glum.

All this procrastination notwithstanding, at least I’m getting something done this week. Onward and upward…

 

Onto Stage…Whatever Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 3:51 am
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Finally, I’m onto file damen1-13k. Technically, it should be 13h, but I don’t really care for the letters F and J, so they were skipped. This is the 8th edit of Damen and in this version, I’ll be doing a spell check/grammar check that’s not truly possible in the full document. Because Microsoft sucks (though their products are sadly the best currently available), their spell check function stops working somewhere around the 100th page and my only way to catch typos, etc. is to find them on my own or add each of my 36 chapters to their own document and individually review the book again, chapter by chapter, document by document, just to catch if I’ve spelled “thought” as “tohguth.” Mac Office is even worse and stops counting words after 100 pages in addition to jacking up the spell check. Total crap, but my Microsoft rant is best left for another post.

I was a little dazed when I finished the seventh edit yesterday, so I’m not entirely sure if I’m on Chapter 2 or 3 at this point. I’ll pick Chapter 2 because you can’t read through the book enough times.

Current word count is 121,542 which I think is slightly higher than my previous update. Though I told myself that I was through with rewriting anything else in this edit, I ran into the same problems with the middle part of the book that I’ve re-re-re-written more than any other part of the book. What I find is that with each edit, I lose my emotional attachments to specific scenes.

In a previous edit, I’d gone back and retrieved a scene where Jessie Clarke and Brit have a major fight because I wanted so badly to show Jessie’s compassionate side. In the edit I just finished, I realized that Jessie really didn’t need to show that kind of compassion because Brit has enough compassion for the both of them. If I had 500k words to work with, I’d still probably include the scene, but given that it unnecessarily broke up the flow of the book, it had to get cut.

Of course, that scene was wrapped around a more pivotal scene where we see Damen really struggling with his mother’s addictions. What I ended up with was a completely re-written chapter where we see Angel balancing her problems with the love of her son, we finally see some imperfections in Anessa’s character, and we get to see Damen grow a little as he realizes that he’s not the only one in the world handling emotional problems. For the first time since I’d first finished the novel, I can actually say that I enjoy the events and flow of this chapter.

I’d figured I was done at this point since I’d not added to my word count, but then I came again to the chapter where we come to understand the root of Jessie Clarke’s character. I cried through the scene as I always do, but this time around the end was very flat to me. Jessie reveals a very long, painful story about her childhood and then when Damen refuses to divulge anything about himself, she just lets it go without showing the relative crazies Jessie displayed throughout the previous chapters.

Up until this point, I’d made very few changes to Jessie’s part of the story, but this time around, I added another 4-500 words to the book to make sure Jessie went ape-#$%@ when Damen did not do as she said, just as we’ve seen her do throughout the novel. I hated to add 500 words to the book to show all of this, but scene feels complete and really envelopes you in the pain that’s coursing through Jessie.

Apart from those two re-writes, the book felt really done for the first time since I thought I was done 15 months ago.

Now, my next steps will be to review general spelling and grammar through each chapter file and then make this into a Kindle book that I can read either on iPad or Kindle, like I would a normal book. The goal there will be to ensure that I don’t lose my own interest as I’m reading. Anywhere that I feel like it’s time to put down the book is a weak point of the novel and may need to be revised. Further painful revisions notwithstanding, once I do a Kindle-read through the book and print out and mail the whole thing for my Poor Man’s Copyright, I will finally begin my hunt for an agent.

Phew! It’s been a long ride. Onward and upward!

 

“There’s always money in the banana stand.” Friday, May 17, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 8:36 am
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I’m completely out of post titles, so I’ll be using Arrested Development quotes from now until the show comes back on Netflix, or until the end of the month, or until I run out of those, too.

I read through about 3 chapters today and I actually edited a lot more than I thought I was going to at this stage. All the better, I suppose. Maybe I’ll hit 120k after all.

I’ve not a lot to say today, but I think I’ll make some notes on Reruns this weekend since I’ve not looked at it in a long while and I think I really will like to begin posting those stories the same day I first contact an agent about the book. Given that I’m quickly reaching that point, I figure it’s prudent to have something worthwhile the post.

Tomorrow, I’m going to aim for the lofty goal of about 4-6 chapters to read and then keep that up until I’ve gone through the novel again. At this rate, there’s a chance, however small, that I can get something truly accomplished before the end of the month.

Cheers to me, so and so forth…

 

14 Months and 5 Edits Later Thursday, May 16, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 9:32 am
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So, I attempted to post something yesterday, but I hate just posting for the sake of posting. The good thing is that I’ve actually got something worth capturing today.

I finished a “final edit” of Damen, meaning that outside of anything that irks me as mind-blowingly wrong when I read through this twice more to catch missing words, grammar issues, etc. this book is as done as it can get.

The current word count is just shy of 122k at 121,944. I highly doubt I’ll find 2000 extra words somewhere in the text to excise, so that’s probably the best that I can do. The rest of this month will surround reading the whole book twice, or even thrice more.

I do something a little odd with regard to my paragraph indentations as I write. For some reason, my brain doesn’t switch into “write” mode unless I’ve got the first line of a paragraph flush with the margin and the remaining lines indented as below shown.

20130516-092658.jpg

I’m not entirely sure why I can’t really tell my brain to write, not read without the proper indentations, but it is what it is.

So, I’ll need to read through the book at least once with its current indentation and once with the indented paragraphs of a normal book. If I’m feeling really good about it, perhaps, I’ll Kindle-ize it (yep, that’s a word now) and read it as if it really is a normal book before I begin the agent search.

As strange as it might sound, this point in the process is feeling a little anti-climatic. I don’t know if I was expecting resounding horns and bells or something, but I think all the overabundant joy I had March 18, 2012 melted away once I realized that since no first time author gets published at 290k words, I had a good year’s worth of work ahead of me.

Maybe at this juncture, I’m sensing another year’s worth of agent searching and a lot of disappointment/rejection as I work towards my dream.

I suppose it could be worse. I could have given up on all my writing dreams and settled on “good enough,” but…This is my one and only life (as far as I know) and the last thing I want is to always wonder “What if…” What if I had kept writing? What if I had kept pushing towards my dream?

I don’t want to become the next Rowling or another King at this point. I just want to be a simply published author who can do what she loves.

And so, as I’ve got another two read-throughs of this book to do before I finally start Part 4 of this journey, I suppose I’d better get started. Onward and upward!

 

The Remaining 2K Sunday, May 12, 2013

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 8:11 am
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Before I go onto my writing, I’m going to lament about church.

I work nights and despite quite literally asking God for every facet of this current first-job, I can’t help noticing that it gives me almost everything I want, except the ability to attend church at my leisure.

Because I’m too lazy to look up the exact day in my blog.doriennesmith.com blog, I just use Mother’s Day as a general anniversary to really becoming a Christian and today, more or less, would be seven years in the church. There’s a part of me that wholly desires to go, but there are bigger, more sonorous parts of me that can’t be bothered out of fatigue, general laziness, and a fear of over-emoting myself.

The entire way home from work this morning, I wondered what would I do. I want to go to church because I need to go to church, but I don’t want to sing in the choir today and, as selfish as it may sound, I can’t deal with all the pain that comes with this day. There are so many people, especially in church, who when they hurt, I hurt and with so many people and so many lost mothers, the pain is almost agonizing. Just thinking about it starts to bring tears to my eyes. It’s difficult enough at Christmas or any other holiday, but for some reason, Mother’s Day seems to hurt worst of all.

Maybe it’s because I miss my own mother who’s just a few states away. Maybe it’s because with two grandmothers and a my own mother and a godmother and my godmother’s mother all alive and well, I can’t help morosely preparing for the ultimate pain and sorrow that this day will eventually bring for me. I’m not sure how to describe this. I should be happy and sending cards and making calls to all my loved ones, but instead just thinking about the pain of those who can’t share in my happiness brings tears. All of this from a Hallmark holiday.

I think the bulk of my ultimate rationale for not really wanting to attend church today is that I hate crying in church. It’s a baptist church and people do it all the time, but I still never want to do it. Despite only now just drying my own eyes, I still feel that tears should only occur when someone has died or if a limb has been chopped off and if it must be done, it should be done in private. To put it as succinctly as possible as I can at this point, I hate crying in church and, on a day like today, I don’t trust myself to keep it together.

In other news, I got a good deal of work done today and my current word count is 122,008. I’m going to hold off with editing these final two chapters of the book for a couple reasons. The first is that they are the saddest things I’ve ever written and even though I’ve known how this was going to end from the time I conceived the first two principle characters, I still sob uncontrollably while I re-re-read this. Given the aforementioned tears I’ve already endured this morning, I know re-reading these chapters won’t be good for my health. The second is that I’ve long thought I shouldn’t work on a Sunday if I hadn’t gone to church and, as I live my life as if my second job will eventually become my first and only job, I just can’t purposefully skip church and then turn around and spend the day writing. God gave me these gifts and, if I can’t drag my behind in to go praise Him for who He is, I don’t get to use His most special gifts, either…

 

One hundred twenty-two, nine hundred Saturday, May 11, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 8:40 am
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I’ve got 3 chapters left to review in this edit of Damen and the current word count stands at 122,955. It’s a far cry away from the first draft’s 289,000, no?

I doubt I can excise another 3k words out of this book on my own, so after this edit is finished, I’ll review the book twice more for missing words, grammar issues, etc. and then away it goes.

I thought that I would begin my Reruns project the day I sent off the book, but honestly, I think I need to take a writing sabbatical. As writing is something I am rather than something I do, I doubt the sabbatical will last more than a week or two, but I want to take a breath and give my brain and my hands a long needed rest before I jump onto another project or six. I took about 2-3 months following Flight, but that was both the end of a 455k-word novel and graduating from my university, so that was more of a rest and get my life back together hiatus than a true writing rest.

Damen has been at the forefront of my mind for more than 4 years and I’m lost past ready to focus on other characters and other plot lines before I get too old to create them.

If I can just maintain focus instead of jumping from activity to activity like I’ve got ADHD, I may even finish this edit by Monday. How about that! 🙂

 

Sooooo…tired Friday, May 10, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 8:59 am
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Well, as I’m entirely off schedule this month, I think it’s relevant to post the tiny bit of progress I’ve made with the novel this week. When I mean tiny, I absolutely mean tiny.

I’m still on the last little part that remains before I have my 12 edit of a Damen file and all I can say is that the ugly teeth of porcrastination have not just bitten me, but dragged me all the way to bottom of the Lake of Failure.

There’s hope, however, as I play to get a full “night’s” sleep so that I can get some decent writing done later, but as I’m typing this mostly with my eyes closed as the effects of the Zquil I’ve taken are forcing me to close my eyes.

So…onward and upwardzzzz….

 

Quite literally, almost there Monday, May 6, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:53 pm
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No pun intended on the “literally” either…

So, I’d forgot to post yesterday. Meh, Sundays are hard on night shift-working church goers. I’m just happy I went after a two-week absence. I always feel better when I go to church, so I’m not sure why I sometimes let my desire to sleep overcome the need for church, but that’s for another post.

About a week or so ago, I’d sat down and tried to understand all the remaining parts I left to cut/rewrite and came up with just 3 “parts.” Over the weekend, however, I finished the last of these parts, but in re-reading the 4th and 3rd to the last chapters of the book, I saw that a mass re-write and some unfortunately painful cuts are in need. Not so much for word count as I’m down to around 123K, but just because I no longer see it as necessary. It’ll be painful to make these cuts, but as I’ve compromised on several others throughout this problem (e.g., Dana Barrington), this round of cuts and edits doesn’t feel quite as agonizing as others.

After, I’ve done these 4th and 3rd to the last chapters, I’ll finally be able to tackle the 2nd to the last and the last chapters, which because they make even me cry hard, I’ve left virtually untouched since they were in note form. These should be done in another day or two and once that’s done, I move onto the edit file I’ll call dameni (or perhaps I’ll skip to damenk) which will be my last read-through before I fix all the margins, read it again, turn it into a Kindle book and read again as a Kindle book, before I begin the quest of finding an agent.

It sounds like a lot of “3rd to the lasts” and the file before the last file before the last file, but this is, indeed, the process. It’s long and arduous and generally unpleasant when compared with the fun of using my imagination and crafting a plot, but if this is what I plan to do with my life, it’s got to be done. It’s a lot like first-job. No one wants to spend a year or talk on the phone talking to customers and no one wants to work 60-hour weeks as a manager to work a dozen projects, but these horrible tasks are necessary in order to the get the long-term perks.

I suppose I’m finally growing up to the point where instant gratification, no longer gratifies me and, hence, I’m able to remain patient throughout all of this.

 

 
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