I am kaitco

a writer's log

Ellipses’ wonder… Friday, August 24, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 10:44 pm
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I mentioned yesterday that I’d begun re-reading Flight this week. I mostly enjoy reading it with this air of superiority as I think, “Ha! What a foolish twenty-two-year old I was! Look at that…I can’t even use ‘however’ properly.”

It was as I was thinking this that it occurred to me…I use ellipses…a lot.

I remember a creative writing professor mentioning to me that one of the banes to her writing was her use of italics because she just wanted to get her points across and I’d decided at the moment to never let that be a problem of mine. I’ve been so careful with my italics (in the novel; on here it’s a free-for-all) that I never even saw my problem with ellipses until just this week.

My first novel, full of missing or inappropriate words and comma abuse, is just riddled with ellipses…and so is Damen

My ellipsis problem just popped in the midst of reading…and in horror I saw them all over the place in Damen. Every other sentence seems to include them, in both the dialogue and the prose. It’s just baffling to me that I’ve missed something that seemed like such an easy mistake to catch. In just one page, I removed at least six of them, shaking my head with each deletion…

Perhaps, I’ve just grown so accustomed to using them as a way of setting a tone that I never noticed it was getting out of hand…

Even now…I’m well into a secondary edit of Damen and I’m only now able to see how often I use an ellipsis when a comma would do or let a sentence trail for no reason at all…

I think this is really when I enjoy re-reading old things I’ve written. I get to haughtily look back on old works as I think of the progress I’ve made only to be humbled when I realize how far I have to go before I’m anything like the authors I admire.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Twenty-Three Saturday, June 23, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:53 pm
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Well, this month is winding down like this book.

I finished editing one chapter tonight and did my initial skim of a second chapter, that actually leaves me with a little hope as far as word count goes.

Despite being rather far in this book, probably too far to be making major character or plot changes, I think I’ve got no choice but to do so. At some point, there are just too many outlandish events happening to one or two characters and what is supposed to be literary fiction starts to look like some lame attempt at science fiction.

So, this means that I’ll likely spend all of tomorrow rewriting Chapter 32 from scratch rather than blow through 2 or even 3 more chapters, but that hope I mentioned lies in that there’s a chance I might be able to bring this book which still stands at 182K down to about 175K, my goal for this edit.

I think all writers go through this dilemma of having so much to tell, but so few pages to introduce the world to our imaginations. There’s little new under the sun, so I suppose I’ll have to battle through these issues like all the world’s storytellers before me.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Nineteen Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:53 pm
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I may have written the finest 400 words of my life (to date) this evening. I love when I have that sensation while writing; the thought that not only am I in “the zone,” but that what I’m writing has some meaning, some depth.

Still though…it’s taken me far over word count. Ugh…word count…

This evening, the delights of strong prose aside, it occurred to me that, while I’m down to 183K words, I’ve less than 100 pages left for me to edit in this file. Estimating about 5-600 words a page and I’ve got more words to edit from the book, than I have words remaining. It’s a very discouraging thought and this means, for certain, that I’ll have to do a whole new edit before I can have a file that I can proudly call a first draft.

I know I wasn’t as fierce with my Delete key in the first 10 or so chapters, so that leaves me with a bit of peace on this endeavour and, if I really focus, I’m sure I can knock down at least another 10K from now until I reach the end of the book, but still…a whole new wave of edits is very daunting.

The good news is that I’m already resigned to the fact that I’ll not be able to start sending this until September, which should give me some wiggle room and a chance to even tell myself I’m “ahead” of schedule if I’m ready some time in August.

Still though…a whole new wave of edits…

Oh well…I wrote 6932 words this evening (All I can remember is before and after) and tomorrow I’ll start Chapter 30. I suppose I can hang my hopes on the fact that I’ve never been this close to creating a publishable work in my life and I’m only weeks (albeit, many of them) away from completely my goal.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Eighteen Monday, June 18, 2012

Filed under: Gaming,Writing — kaitco @ 11:40 pm
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Every once in a while, I experience one of these great moments in time where everything seems to sync together. Tonight, this came in the form of music.

While working on a chapter I’ve titled “Foolish Games”, the song of the same name by Jewel began playing from my writing playlist. I’ll not deny that the song is likely where I pulled the chapter title, but I find it so fun when these sorts of things happen.

I’ve decided that I won’t be keeping the chapter titles when I finally start sending this thing, but I like keeping them at this point to keep me focused in each chapter and ensure that everything flows.

Something else interesting I came upon in my writing tonight was some prose and dialogue surrounding March Madness 2008. While I did play basketball for about 7 years and even took a basketball refereeing course to boost my GPA in school, I rarely watch the sport anymore. I suppose this has to do with knowing far too much about the mechanics of the game, so that I spend more time critiquing the follow-through on a player’s shot, rather than enjoy the game. The fact that I’ve not had cable or access to any live television should also be noted, but that’s all for another post.

I’ve got my characters discussing March Madness with a fervour I can barely remember sharing, but I do remember spending hours researching brackets and teams from that year through Wikipedia. What’s sad is that, not only have I got to cut the majority of this from the book now, I can’t even remember half of what I researched. Oh well…I suppose it’s better for my mind to push out the useless information to leave room for all these characters and stories.

I wrote 6005 words tonight (and offered to keep score) despite putting several hours towards Minecraft, Super Mario World and Chrono Trigger on SNES and then Grand Theft Auto IV today and I’m just happy to still have the inspiration keep writing in a world of so man, many distractions.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Nine Saturday, June 9, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:43 pm
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Last night, I decided that the best way to tackle this chapter and still keep it under a decent word count was rewrite the entire thing. Instead of just plowing ahead and rephrasing dialogue or lengthy prose, I recreated my notes for this chapter and then broke each “scene” of notes into an appropriate word count. Basically, I planned to write each scene within a specific word count limit that would total 5000 words for the chapter.

As I started to create this guide, I shook my head at the laptop, wondering I would ever fit one of Jessie Clarke’s rants and then a side conversation with Corey Campbell within in 500 words, but as I began to write with this magic number in mind, somehow I was able to do this with ease. The process was so simple, I wonder why it’s never occurred to me in the past create.

I wrote and edited 6341 words today (said goodbye shortly afterward) and only went over my word count budget for one of the three parts I rewrote. Thankfully, I was so nicely under-budget for the two other parts that I had a little wiggle room. I just find it fascinating that writing has now become a lesson in fiscal smarts. I’ve got a fortress balance sheet of dozens of book ideas, but a debt load of 80K words to complete in this fiscal novel.

Day 9 was a good day and I really needed it to be. The novel is down to 193K words, which means I’m only 5K words away from having edited 100K words out of this book. Who knew I prattle on this long about people who exist only in my imagination?

 

Almost… Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 12:10 am
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So tonight, I’d aimed on writing about how I only had a few minor parts left of the novel, but after a quick review of all the notes that were left, I saw that I’m only close to almost, almost done, which comes out to be a little more than a quarter of the novel left to go. Something like 3/8. Considering where I was a year ago, I’m astounded that I’ve come this far.

I see no reason why I can’t make my goal of April 1st (I’m finally brave enough to put that in writing), but again and again and again, if I don’t make it, I’ll be all right.

I’m getting into a rhythm again and I’m finding that it helps if I do two things: 1) Just force myself to write a couple of paragraphs and 2) Just find a place a start writing from wherever I am. I wrote 1515 words tonight (he had finished Angel’s lasagna), but I wrote another 1383 in something that exists between notes and full prose for the next part I intend to write. All that’s left for me to do is just add the proper punctuation and tidy it up before I can call it real writing and I’m good to go.

What’s even better is that I’m less exhausted writing those close to 3000 words than I am when I try to complete that same word count on any other day since the latter part doesn’t feel like “work-writing,” but more like play…the way writing had been for me up until I was about 25.

Another revelation came to me this evening on my way home from first-job and it was that fan-fiction and stories such as Reruns are going to be the “play-writing” that all of my writing once comprised.

As I move closer and closer to making my second-job my only job, the more I realize that writing is, indeed, work and I’ve always been rather excellent at procrastinating at work. If I keep my procrastination focused on the same craft, however, maybe it won’t be as bad as it was when I was in college…learning whole programming languages just to avoid having to study for Biochemistry…

 

Into the West Thursday, August 18, 2011

by Annie Lennox ~ Lord of the Rings: Return of the King soundtrack

So much and so little has happened today that I’m not entirely sure what I should and shouldn’t say. In reading a few articles, I think I understand myself a little better than I did even yesterday and I feel some of my friendships moving into new directions, some good, others not so much. I’ve done so much thinking and so much reacting today, that my mind’s been left bereft of any journaling thoughts for the moment, hence the song titled post instead of something original; I suppose it’s better than the word count title I originally planned, but still…a lack of creativity is just that.

I wrote 1229 words tonight (“You ever go fishing?” he asked) and I think some of this blankness may come from letting my mind come back from “Corey” and back to Dorienne. When I write Corey, I feel as if I have to become a different person because he swears so much and speaks in a manner that I, as myself, could never do and I guess it takes a little time to get out of the Corey mindset and back to myself.

Writing is a fairly odd craft…

 

The end is near Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:27 pm
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While I’m technically on Chapter 21 of Damen, I’m through what was once Chapter 18 in the original heavy notes which means I’m most likely looking at close to 29 or 30 chapters before I’ve finally said my fill.

Though I’ve said it earlier, I think I’m getting further into the meat and potatoes of the novel. Hints I’ve made at characterization are finally starting to see light and, as I knew would happen, I’m starting to fully understand Damen’s relationship with Corey as I’ve allowed it to develop. Originally, I just wanted to force them into something, but I knew it would sound too preachy to be readable and so, I pitched that idea early, hoping for character inspiration later in the project.

I can tell that I’m definitely on the final lap of the novel, though. New ideas are popping to mind so frequently that it’s difficult to get them all in my AwesomeNote app fast enough. They’re strong complete ideas as well, not just “a guy name Derek decides to rob his mother to feed his daughter” ideas; these are well thought out project ideas that often times come with their own plot, even in the preliminary note phase. This only happens when I’m nearing the end of my current project, not simply tiring of it.

To tire of what I’m writing means that I’m just sick of looking at it for a bit, but even if I tried, I couldn’t attempt to write anything else. It happened with Flight hence the number of various SVU stories I’ve still got sitting around my “stories” folder. The plethora of stories didn’t come until I was reaching graduation and was about to finish editing and publishing the final chapters of that massive book. That these ideas are rushing towards me again can only mean the end is near and what a relief that is! 🙂

I wrote 761 words tonight (every few minutes for the rest of the drive), despite yesterday’s perceived “cheating,” and I think tonight, after I’ve played some Rock Band, I’m going to sit and watch Persuasion again and perhaps read a bit of it in the morning. I’m so in love with this movie, it’s pretty ridiculous and since this version is such a faithful representation of my favorite of Jane Austen’s, I love it even more, crying at all the appropriate moments right along with Anne Elliot and feeling much like I’m approaching the August of my youth as I too reach my 27th birthday.

 

Giving up for the day Friday, August 12, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:34 am
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What I’ve found in writing nearly every day for the past 200-some days is that there are things worse than a block. A block is breakable, always. It may take an entire day, but just having a head full of characters and “voices” that follow you everywhere you go is enough to eventually stir inspiration and take a sledge hammer the block of creativity. The inability to write what I want to say, however, is far worse and, unfortunately, becomes far more prevalent as I continue in this endeavour.

Even with notes to guide me, I will sometimes “lose” the scene in my head. It’s not blocked; it’s present and changing quickly as I figure out different ways to attack it and force it to the laptop screen. The problem is finding the straight path from A to B through the heinous zig-zags of dialogue and prose.

At this point in the novel, I just want Brit and Damen to come to a sort of understanding about their friendship, but I can’t keep the scene straight. First I want to go into some points about Brit’s long-standing friendship with Jessie and then I want to Brit to mention that she’s good for even attempting friendship with Damen because she has a group of her own and then I want Damen to interject throughout her little speeches, but then I want him to stay quiet because he’d been so quiet across the past two thousand or so words, so it would seem odd for him to be so talkative now and then I want the scene to just end without saying any of it, but then I know if I don’t include this little interlude, their reconciliation will seem forced and…well, this continues for a few hours before I just plain give up for the day.

So, for now, I’ve done just that. This stagnation in the actual writing will pass as all things do and this scene will make sense to me on another morning with fresher eyes, but for now, I call “uncle.”

I wrote 1229 words today (and it’s not my fault that I can’t) and hopeful tomorrow or even this afternoon will bring some light on that straight road between A and B.

 

A test Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today was my first real test in this new endeavour of mine. I did, indeed, get up nice and early to workout and even added some free weights to the “program,” but it all went to hell once I got to first-job. I hadn’t made a plan for the day and everything was all over the place. That said, I did a lot of what I set out to do, once I’d made my plan, that is.

Tomorrow will be the biggest test of all, however. I’m in a ridiculous amount of pain right now from the workouts and I’m feeling my desire to keep this going fade a bit. I know I need to push and keep going simply because I know I’ve got the ability to do so, but while tonight’s spirit is earnest and willing, tomorrow morning’s spirit may not be.

I wrote 608 words tonight (screwing up their math by the end of the day) and I interestingly stopped myself in the midst of a long dialogue between Damen and Brit. Normally, I see these things through to the end of the conversation and hope for inspiration the next night when I realize I’ve lost that spark that started the previous bout of inspired text. Tonight, however, I decided to just stop and then pick up tomorrow. The goal here to see that same rush of inspiration continue into tomorrow’s writing and hopefully allow this string of inspiration to flow throughout the rest of the week. Who knows if it will actually work, but I figure anything is better than writing for an hour straight only to be certain that looming in the future is a night of blankly staring at my laptop screen as a block takes hold.

And so…onward I press…

 

Interviewing and it feels so… Thursday, June 16, 2011

I interviewed a couple folks today at first-job. Though I put on a good show when interviewing potentials for our department, I can’t help a bit of guilt after the fact.

I have a decent job and present myself as someone in a position of authority, but I still can’t see myself as this person. Just as some time last year, I looked around the floor and shook my head in disbelief that I was one of the most knowledgeable people in the department. When I interview, a part of me wants to give the “real deal” and tell the candidate that unless they just really need a job, perhaps they should keep looking, but even at my lowest, I could never do it. I’m not sure if it’s me getting older or common sense or just the desire of not losing my job when I’ve not get second-job ready to takeover that drives me to smile and be the representative for the company, but I do it. And, I’ll do it again some more tomorrow.

I wrote 279 words today (father’s old bedroom to queue up Facebook) and realized that all my anguish over show versus tell the other day was all for naught since I’ve got no reason to drive so much detail into minor characters that serve a very small function in showing how Damen responds to the family that he seems to like. All 500 words will most likely get summarized by a run-on sentence later this year.

I’ve got nothing else to say except that, again, I’ve not played the piano and now I’m approaching four days after my lesson. Here’s hoping tomorrow is filled with music.

One more thing I’ve learned today, though: No good deed goes unpunished. I’ve got to remember this before I drive myself crazy with frustration…

 

When the “show” needs a “tell” Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:58 pm
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I realized with this latest spurt of writing that I’ve focused so wholly on not over-telling my story that the reason the novel will easily surpass 200K words is because I’ve shown just about every facet of the story instead of relenting to some tell every once in a while.

This realization only came to light when I found myself telling some back story for the first time in my memory of writing Damen and I found it very awkward to create. It was almost as if I was doing something wrong by explaining Damen’s relationship and views of his cousins and it occurred to me while writing tonight that perhaps I’ll need to practice the fine art of light “telling” here or there to make sure I’ve not unnecessarily run some 100K words outside of a first-time publishable budget just because I fear to tell.

I wrote 299 words tonight (part of some teenaged rite of passage instead); I would have kept going, but I’d like to be on time for once this week…

The goal over these next couple days will be to tell when necessary, but also know when to stop. I don’t remember having such an issue with show and tell while writing Flight, but then again, Flight was four years and a degree ago and my writing’s changed drastically since then. On to tomorrow’s writing endeavours…

 

1121 Friday, May 27, 2011

On an extremely personal level, the numbers 11 and 21 hold no specific value for me; 11 and 24 do as that’s Grandma’s birthday, but not so much 11/21. At the back of my mind, however, I see 11:21 in the morning or at night and smile to myself because I remember that that’s the birthday of the wife of the creator of The X-Files and I remember that the numbers 11 and 21 together often appeared throughout the show and, across my later childhood and adolescence, I had always grown excited when I saw 11/21 in some capacity.

I mention this, not to show what a huge nerd I am, but to convey how my mind seems to work. Tonight, I hit “the zone” again where the right side of my brain takes over as if it were another personality out of multiple battling for control of the single host body. The right brain just writes and writes without care of hunger pains, thirst, pain in the wrist, my back, my butt, my chest, my neck, my eyes or even my jaw. The right brain just knows it has prose and dialogue it must release and, once it takes control of the body, no other senses take precedence until the right brain has said its fill.

Once the right brain is done, it almost floats to the subconscious like an evil demon fleeing from a purified body and leaves in its wake a tired, hungry, thirsty, pain-ridden husk of a Dorienne. That said, I did get a lot of writing done tonight and had some great fun researching which “King Charles” of England was the one with all the illegitimate children (it was Charles II) and also reading through about two scenes of Hamlet to find the exact words I wanted to highlight.

Tomorrow will be a long, sad day because the day after such a rush is always a long, mournful one and leaves me wishing that the right brain would take control once again to pull me out of the doldrums of ordinary life.

I wrote 1121 words tonight (“A little,” she spoke to the floor.) and my back hurts so much and I’m so hungry and thirsty and exhausted that I’d like to just crash to the floor out of fatigue, but dare not for fear that I’ll starve to death in my sleep. Perhaps some food and a little bit of Roseanne or a movie followed by wistfully sleeping with Frasier playing in the background…

 

Slow Sunday, April 17, 2011

I was a bit slow tonight getting to my writing, but what I’ve decided about blog is not so much getting an exact word count done by a specific point in time, but to write consistently each and every night. So, while it took me some time to get there tonight, I wrote 517 words (Corey to turn and find his bus along the line.) and that’s what’s most important.

I surprised myself this evening as I wrote Damen’s reaction to Corey and the n-word. I didn’t have any new “heavy” notes outlining the prose and dialogue for this part, so apart of from breezing over some old notes in what was once going to be Chapter 15, I pulled tonight’s writing straight from the heart.

His reaction was a little stronger than I had always thought it would be prior to today and I wonder if perhaps it was a little too strong. Damen will go through a myriad of thoughts and emotions before the end of Chapter 14, but I know I must be very careful at this point in the novel. As with any character, the urge to make them a little too autobiographical can sometimes appear when characters come to very poignant points in the storyline, but to write a good character is to remain true to what I’ve previously written about them.

In the case of Damen, he’s already said a handful of semi-bigoted words when he was yelling about this or frustrated about that, so it would be wrong to have him look at and judge Corey without also taking a look inward.

What surprised me in the long run though, was how far I deviated from the original notes. Originally, Damen and Corey had their exchange, and Damen walked home analyzing every interaction with Corey in detail, from his first day at the school to right up to that moment. Now, I’ve got some “telling” that Damen replayed previous events, but “show” far more about his reaction to what had happened instead. And, now that I’m planning to bring in his own previous words and actions as well as that of Mrs. Munnerly – his favorite teacher – this scene is taking on new life of its own, to the point that I don’t think it’s right to include all of this in a single chapter. Well…maybe what I’m writing now is fine, but some slimming of the whole Damen-Brit -I’m mad at you, now you’re mad at me, so now I’m mad at you- piece instead…that will probably be it in the end.

Anyway…I know I only wrote 500 words tonight, but those 500 hundred were a long time coming and must really be the most finely-crafted prose and dialogue I can muster since so much of the novel rests upon this point. I suppose all I can really do is just pray about it and know that it will work out in the end.

 

Purple Rain Tuesday, April 12, 2011

by Prince ~ The Very Best of Prince

The first day back to first-job after a three-day weekend is usually the longest in the month. Today went unusually smooth and I realized something interesting about myself during a meeting. I constantly seek approval.

I don’t know if this is something stemming from my relationship with my mother as a child, but I always look for even the slightest bit of approval and the smallest sense that I’ve done something wrong or not performed at the level expected is enough to make me simply glum, if not downright depressed about my job. Alternatively, when in one of these moods, the tiniest nod, smile or any reaction that sends the impression that I’ve done well is enough to perk me back up to my normal self.

I don’t know what I’ll do with this new-found knowledge or if it is even useful since I’ll never realize this until after the fact, but still…I figure it’s good to know.

I wrote 563 words tonight (in hopes of seeing her outside the lunchroom.), again bumping myself up just a little bit more to get over the 500-word mark. There was this bit of dialogue between Damen and Corey that I started to erase entirely, but instead, let it continue to see where it went.

Just as I was about to give up on the interlude, I pulled in some prose that alluded to Corey’s past relationship with Brit and that made it all worth it. In fact, the previous dialogue was a perfect tie-in with Corey’s reaction as it shows him being his normal ornery self, but suffer a complete demeanor change, regardless of its brevity.

My hope is that it keeps the reader wondering about Corey as it foreshadows what’s to come, but will complete the total sucker punch I’m desiring when Corey’s true nature is described. What I’d like is for my reader to think “Oh, I know what’s coming. Those two had a thing.” and then later, BLAM! Corey’s real side. I figure a more savvy reader should immediately think that perhaps half the reason Corey is the way he is is due to foreshadowed moment, but I like to write to a reader like myself, who would be so shocked given my previous assumption that I would have to keep reading just to see how everything plays out in the end.

 

 
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