I am kaitco

a writer's log

Good God! This query process. Friday, July 19, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 5:32 pm
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I thought it fitting to post on the day I’ve sent my query letters to agents for the first time in my life. Needless to say, that despite it being only about 5pm, I could really use a drink.

It took two drafts for me to have a reasonable query letter and thankfully I had my mother read them to help. She doesn’t read with a readers voice and instead, with the voice of an HR manager reading a letter to a number of employees who are about to be laid-off. It’s this tone that I needed to prevent me from writing something far too artistic and ending up in someone’s delete box before I’ve had a chance to show off my novel.

Once the query was prepared, I had to check and re-check and re-re-re-re-re-check the submission guidelines for each of these agents and, of course, they’re all more or less different. I’ve got through it though. I winced and nearly cried each time I clicked the Send or Submit button, and my heart still races ten minutes later.

I prayed about this all morning and asked God for something really blaring if this wasn’t the path He wanted for me. I could not help noticing the raging thunderstorm that erupted during this time, but I sent my queries regardless. I suppose the real answer will come if I don’t get a response from these first four.

Over the weekend, I plan to send what will likely be the only post mail submission I’ll have and send it on Monday when my nerves have collected.

I’m not sure why I’m so terribly stressed and nervous over this process. It should be the calmest or happiest part of the entire writing process, but the thought that I could possibly be taking the first steps to getting published drills any excitement into pure nervousness. It’s nervousness to the point that if I don’t rise from my desk soon, it’s likely I’ll faint right here.

So, I’ll continue re-watching and re-reading Gaskell’s North & South (you’ll notice I’ve at least added it to my Goodreads to help since I’m so behind on my reading) and focus on writing Reruns (which I hope to post by August 2nd) as well as Round 2 of agent queries (also to be sent August 2nd).

Lord, Lord…onward and upward.

 

And, the search begins… Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 5:01 am
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Despite my best efforts at procrastination this month, I finished review my novel as a Kindle book. I definitely added a step onto my writing process as I found soooo many missing commas, random words, and grammar errors that should have been caught in reading through this thing eight times, that I can’t not read projects as Kindle books going forward. There’s something special about reading my work like a normal book that helps me notice everything that’s wrong with it.

So, now, after so many, many days of procrastination and actual work, I’ve actually come to this point. I’m a little shocked. So, much, so that I’m not really sure what else to write at this point, but I suppose that’s to be expected after reading almost nonstop for 36 hours.

I promised myself that if I got the book entirely, ENTIRELY done today, I could spend the rest of the day playing video games or just lazying on the couch, so that’s the plan. 🙂

And so, Thursday, I will begin the search for an agent to get this four-year effort published. Unlike the preceding parts of this process, I’ve never even attempted this in the past, so this will definitely be an adventure!

 

Reruns, part 1 Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 2:33 pm
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About two years or so ago, I began copious notes on what would become my Reruns project. Before I was able to get totally obsessed with the project, I recognized that I was in the middle of Damen and if I got sidetracked, I’d never finish either of them, so I set aside my notes for another day. I later promised myself that I would begin my Reruns weekly postings the same day I sent out Damen for the first time.

Yesterday, I finally got Ubuntu up and running properly on my laptop, and after using Playonlinux and Wine, I got Office 2007 running on Ubuntu. I opened a brand new page, let my fingers tap against my laptop’s home row, and yet had nothing to write. Years of focus on Damen left me with nothing to write at that moment, which confused me a little.

At this stage in Damen, I’m not entirely finished with it, but it’s no longer something I can pull up in a Word doc and just start writing/editing as I’ve been doing for the past year. This tells me that, though I’m not yet ready to send out Damen, I am ready to make good on my Reruns promise to myself.

In order to have my first Reruns story ready by the time, I’m ready to send Damen, I need to begin really writing it now. Seeing as how Reruns encompasses multi-“chapter” short stories, I shouldn’t require 3 years a piece to write these, but with that said, I need to ensure I’m prepared for my Send Day.

So, tonight, I’ll begin putting real effort into Reruns…It’s a little strange, though, to see all these things I’ve fantasized about doing slowly coming into fruition. It’s almost as if I’m outside of myself and watching this happen. Very odd, indeed.

 

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!

 

 
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