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.

 

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.

 

“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…

 

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

The most heartbreaking process of all Monday, March 26, 2012

Filed under: Reading,Writing — kaitco @ 2:13 am
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I can’t help comparing Damen and Flight, especially when the drafting process is so very different.

With Flight, the goal was to provide as much detail as possible and allow my readers to stay in the Dorienne-version of SVU as long as I could. There were no word count limits; I just needed to tell my story.

Damen has been so tryingly different. Here, I must take word count into consideration with every paragraph, to the point that I must almost re-write chapters to remove some of the detail that, while very pretty and beneficial to painting the scene, does nothing but push my total word count above 120K before I want to be.

A few years ago, I remember writing Chapter 3 of Damen and even then, I thought it was a little too long, but in re-reading it, the detail is so splendid. I see these characters and the setting as vividly as I did when first writing it…but, I have to lose all of it. It all has to go if I’m going to push this thing under 120K. And, 120K is the highest end for first-time authors! I may even have to cut it even further. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I took out some detail this evening that was just plain heartbreaking. When I think of all the time I put into choosing the right words, it all comes down to summarizing the text with “English class, taught by Mrs. Kayler, bored him within ten minutes of the roll call.”

The only good thing I can think about this process is that it’s teaching me to be concise and the true lessons of show versus tell. What good are all these details about what the cafeteria looks like and the nuances of some of Damen’s teachers if we won’t visit any of these teachers later in the novel and it won’t make a difference whether my audience sees my version of the lunchroom versus their own idea of it?

These are some hard lessons to learn.

I’d taken a week off writing notes for Reruns, playing Rock Band and the Sims and even reading other folks’ work for a change as a mini-vacation to make me as fresh as possible for this process, but I’m not sure that was even enough. The only reason I push as hard as I do is that now that I’ve got the novel actually complete, the only thing holding me back from sending this to agents and achieving my dream is how hard I work to pull the book into it’s proper shape.

As dreadful as this process is – tearing apart my baby of carefully chosen words – I know this is necessary and, overall, it’s making me a better writer. All this notwithstanding, I can’t WAIT until I’ve got time to write fanfiction again, where I can be as verbose and detailed as I want to be.

Perhaps fanfiction will be my detailing outlet. Where my creativity is stifled by word counts and the shorter attention spans of the majority of the reading populace, I will find solace in writing what and how I want in fanfiction.

‘Til then…I’m cutting so much my hands are bleeding…

 

C-C-C-Changes! Saturday, February 18, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 2:30 pm
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My life is experiencing an abundance of change all at once. Fortunately, much of it is good change.

Things at first-job are the biggest change since I’m on a temporary assignment. How this will affect my writing is beyond me for the moment, but the change will be nice.

With regard to my writing, I’ll admit that I’ve not been doing as much of it as I should, but I think this has more to do with the sudden changes I’m experiencing and a lack of inspiration for Damen. A long-standing problem I’ve seen while writing is when I get bored with a project. It’s not to say that the story is boring, but that my attention span is so short that once I’ve other ideas running through my mind, it gets harder and harder to focus on my current project.

The other day, I spent some time backing up a bunch of files to Dropbox and found my original one-page note file for Damen. I was in the middle of writing Flight and was determined to see it through to completion, but even then, I was starting to focus on other things. That is where I am now; Reruns is almost daily at the forefront of my mind, but then there are the other little stories that keep me distracted.

I tell myself that God has led me to this passion and has made me focus on it, hence the reason I see these providentially coincidental happenings in my life. Earlier this week, I was in the middle of playing Guitar Hero (and finished the Hard Tour for GH2, btw ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and all of a sudden, I had this incredibly urge to watch The X-Files. Not just X-Files, but a very specific episode, EBE. I’ve seen this episode probably 100 times since I was 9, but in doing something completely unrelated (though this random spaceship does appear on the screen while playing Freebird), I had the desire to watch this episode. So, I queued Netflix on Xbox and watched the episode I’d watched so often I can practically quote it. The difference, however, is that Mulder and his Deep Throat were arguing about conspiracy and I looked up one of the conspiracies he mentioned, The Tuskegee Experiment. After a simple, but troubled read on Wikipedia, a new story and then a whole series developed within the hour after I’d completed the episode.

I call this experience providential because…well, honestly, how can I be prompted to watch a random episode of a beloved show that I’d seen dozens upon dozens of times and only then have my interest piqued in something that led me to a brand new project? To quote X-Files, If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?

I suppose all this is just an elaborate excuse for why I’ve not come any closer to completing the novel this week, but I thought it worth mentioning just in case I ever desired to recollect how my Lucy Chambers stories became more than just one novel.

I’ve got a lot of changes upcoming at this venture in my life, but with all of this, I realize that I need to change God from something I want to make a priority and instead to something that is the priority in my life. If one whisper in my ear can lead me to a whole series of stories when I’ve not been to church for 2 weeks, what would happen if I did what’s said in the old song: I woke up this morning with my mind…set on Jesus…

 

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 Angelโ€™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…

 

 
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