I am kaitco

a writer's log

Chapter 6, finished Friday, December 10, 2010

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 2:29 am
Tags: , , , , ,

When I think about nights like tonight, I think back on when I was rounding the final corners to the end of Flight. I would be in the midst of what I considered perfectly crafted prose and then just shred it to pieces (no pun intended) as I came up with something better. I completely recreated the scenes where Damen throws The Fountainhead and ripped it to pieces (hence the need for the unintended pun).

The original writing was pretty solid and I actually liked it as-is, but much like I did when writing Flight, when I got down to it, the prose just sounded better the “new” way.

I’m proud of the fact that I can still do this; make the necessary edits, that is. It’s quite easy to get so wrapped up in your own brilliant writing that you fail to create something that’s worthwhile because you can’t bear to let go of a phrase or a particular way a sentence is worded. Even now, I know that hundreds more edits are awaiting me, but this is all part of the creation process, which just makes me even happier about my decision made almost five years ago to create my practice novel.

Five years ago, I decided to figure out how I write a novel. I had seen the blogs and read the guides, but the actual writing of anything significant escaped me and seemed like it would never take hold. I had written a lot and had actually finished two “novels,” but I still had no plan, no guidelines, nothing to show me how I create a novel. I wrote Flight to teach myself how I go about doing what no one could take the time to show me and the decision keeps coming back to help me.

Flight is the reason I know how close I am to having something meaningful and Flight is the reason I recognize how beautiful it is to say to myself, “On to the next chapter.”

I almost didn’t make it tonight and came very close to falling asleep in my chair again, with the chapter stagnating in its unfinishedness, but I pulled myself from the edges of sleep and plowed forward.

I completed 1015 words tonight bringing my grand total since 12/1/10 to 6777 words in about 10 days. It’s nothing super fantastic, but just being able to say, “I’ve completed another chapter.” is all I need to be able to sleep well tonight.


“Woman” made a woman out of me Sunday, December 5, 2010

Before I talk about writing, I have to talk about my latest swing of Guitar Hero.

Last night, I defeated “Woman” by Wolfmother on Hard mode. This was no ordinary feat as many songs on Hard are ridiculously hard. Just look!

I first attempt this song about a month ago. I had completed all the songs on Medium and, once I had figured out how to complete Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” I had zoomed the rest of the songs on the first tier. I was flying high and imagined I would fly through all the songs on Hard as did on medium. Then came “Woman.”

I attempted it several times and then quit the game, realizing that I had hit a wall so tall I had no hope in ever climbing it and it was quite possible that I would never be able to play any other song on Guitar Hero.

A few weeks went by and I attempted the song again, only to fail even harder than I had on the first attempt. What made it so difficult to stomach, aside from my hatred of failure, was the fact that I couldn’t stand the song. The hard songs are fun to master when I actually like the song, like “Message in a Bottle” or “Jessica” or even “Free Bird,” but a song, I can’t imagine I’ll ever listen to outside of Guitar Hero is just painful to keep playing over and over and over again, with no hope of ever playing another song on the Hard tour.

To satiate my Guitar Hero desires, I started to go through the Medium tour again to play as many songs as possible to five stars and even got through the first tier, but at the back of my mind “Woman” still lurked, waiting for me like a behemoth that knew it could never be defeated.

Last week, I decided that I was going to beat “Woman.” If I did nothing else in life, I could at least revel in the fact that I had beaten my Everest of Guitar Hero songs. I tried just playing and playing the song in hopes that I could just “get” it randomly, but I continuously failed at 48%. The hammer ons and pull offs were what perplexed me. I took the tutorials twice more in hopes of understanding the concept, but nothing came. I pulled YouTube videos of greasy 13 year olds explaining how to accomplish the hammer ons and pull off, but I could only take so much of those cracking voices and quickly grew frustrated.

I tried practicing the song on every speed, but even there I was making less than a third of the notes. Finally, I literally said “F**k it.” and just decided that I was just going to keep playing the song until I died. For the past four nights, I’ve been doing just this. I go to work, I go home, I eat a bit, I play Guitar Hero and I write. Every night I would play, but I would get no further.

Friday night, I discovered to my amazement that I had actually mastered the verses, but could not go any further. Then, I realized the usefulness of the star power and got a little further and even into 71%, but continued to hit that wall. Last night, however, I discovered how Dorienne! does hammer ons and pull offs. On a whim, I just slid my fingers across the fret buttons and Lo and Behold! I had made the pull off!

It was like a stroke of genius, like getting hit on the head with an apple and I grinned wildly as I continued to play and play and play using my newfound skill and going further and further into the song. Then…I did it.

My mouth hung as I realized I had surpassed all my other hiccups in the song and was winding the turn into the end of the final verse and then, I did it! My neighbors probably thought I was being attacked by the amount of screaming and jumping that was going on when I saw “You Rock!” at the end of the song, but I didn’t care. I did it. I beat “Woman” on Hard tour. After I beat that song (and after a short rest), every song that came after it was a cakewalk. I had arrived!

I have no delusions of grandeur about completely beating the game and getting through Expert mode, but the moment I beat “Woman” was just so sweet.

On to more important things…

So, all this week, I’ve been falling asleep in my chair, waking at 4am and then dragging myself to the bed. Last night, I took things to another level and just slept in the chair.

Out of the pure stubbornness of not wanting to go to sleep until I finished the chapter, I refused to go to sleep. I’d lean back in my chair and then push myself forward to type just one more word…I was so close to the end. But, then, I awoke and found myself in my chair, my space heater whirring gently beside me. I expected to find that it was 5 or even 6, but it was 8:30.

I knew I was going to church this morning, but was just annoyed that I hadn’t even got to my bed. The same stubbornness that kept me in the chair until 8:30 in the morning, pushed me back into my bed just to gain the feeling of getting out of bed in the morning.

Despite all my best efforts and the rampant stubbornness, I only managed to squeak out 611 words last night. I’ve decided that both the Brit/Britiana and the Facebook friending/unfriending will be an allusion to the turbulent state of Damen and Brit’s friendship. I also realized, however, that I have yet to really answer why Brit doesn’t have any black friends. I know I’ll have to make whatever the story is start sometime back when she and Jessie were in first or second grade…maybe one of the black girls in their class said something mean to Brit and Jessie just slaps the girl across the face and instant best friends…I don’t know…

I don’t think I’ll get much writing done later tonight. I’m a bit tired after spending 5 hours at work after church (an exhausting day at church at that) and I think I’d really rather just play the sims, not to mention that I’ve got the rest of the Guitar Hero II Hard tour to attempt. That said, I’ve not gone this long writing consistently since I was in the depths of Flight, so perhaps taking the night off may not be the best thing to do just yet.



Fell asleep on the job Thursday, December 2, 2010

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 9:56 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I fell asleep in my chair before I could post anything, but I’m counting this for last night anyway. I was so tired that all I could do was just drag myself to my bed and fall.

Yesterday was just a long and miserable day, the type that have been far more frequent since I all but stopped going to church. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence…

I read/edited 1946 words last night before I hit a wall; a rather large one at that. I wrote:

He grabbed The Odyssey from the top shelf of the bookcase in his room, quickly found Book 6 and lay across his bed where Jessie Clarke had lain in an attempt to seduce him.

If it weren’t for this line, I would have been able to finish the whole part or got at least 2105 words finished, but the part about Book 6 of The Odyssey sucker punched me.

The problem with taking two years to write a novel is that, sometimes notes get lost and prose that made loads of sense a year earlier is practically gibberish much later. Like anyone who’s graduated high school, I’ve read some bits and pieces of The Odyssey, but I’ve not, as of yet, perused the whole story, so the part about Book 6 stood out like a sore thumb to me. There was no way to ignore it either because I wrote about a better analogy involving Beowulf, Grendel’s mother and “sword of Eotens” and after re-reading that, I knew that part had to go.

I stared at the line for close to twenty minutes trying to remember what part of Book 6 could Damen be relating to his recent experience with Jessie Clarke, but nothing came to me. I then started with Wikipedia and then moved onto just finding a copy of the text online to just read Book 6 and see where I was heading with this. The problem was that it was 2 am and my capacity to read eons-old literature had diminished, so I went to SparkNotes for a quicker understanding (Cliff’s Notes was totally useless).

I read the summary for Book 5 and 6, but still found nothing, so then I tried to read the text again, but again, came up empty handed. I then started from the beginning of the SparkNotes summaries and spent an hour reading the entirety of story’s summary; still nothing. The closest I could come to The Odyssey becoming some great analogy for Damen and Jessie Clarke was Odysseus being Calypso’s love slave and I can’t imagine that I was groping at that weak a straw for an analogy. That’s when I leaned back in my chair to consider if it was even worth trying to relate Damen to analogous book for his dilemma and, if I did, which book it would need to be. I woke a few hours later with just a enough strength to crawl to the bed.

I’ll have to research this throughout the day today before I start my second job because I knew he needs to read something since he always turns to books in times of stress, but which book and why will be the questions of the day.

The good news, though, is that I am still consistently writing and, if I can keep up this act, I may yet get finished before the new year.


It’s so much easier being lazy Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 2:14 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I made it to 757 words tonight, but considering I can’t recall any time when I successfully wrote anything significant two nights in a row, I’d call 757/2000 a victory!

I realized today though that in order to truly get serious about my writing, it’s time I start considering it my second job. I get home from work, have a little something to eat and then “go” to my second job. The problem with this idea is that I’m incredibly lazy and the idea of taking up a second job (one that offers no money as of yet) is a daunting and unwelcome task. I had a glimpse of my life for the rest of this month and the title of this post was born.

All this abject laziness notwithstanding, I made a great leap today as far as Damen goes: I finished another chapter. Albeit, it is in a manner so artsy and English major-y that it’s difficult to stomach, but for now I like it. I had to start by sleep-writing, but I eventually woke up and got the chapter completed.

The goal with Damen is that whenever I add any tidbits from another novel, in this case Oliver Twist, it should be done in a way that anyone should be able to grasp what I am saying. Tonight’s goal was expressing a grieving boy without having to actually say the words, “Damen was grieving his father.”

Anyway, I’m exhausted and need to be up in a few hours to work my paying job, just so that I can come back home and work my unpaying job for another night and continue the cycle…


Writing myself to sleep Saturday, October 9, 2010

Filed under: Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 2:07 am
Tags: , ,

I can honestly say that my new job has provided me with a new skill in my writing endeavours; multitasking.

I often find between the numerous questions and constant projects that I have to split my attention to make sure I don’t lose my thought in the middle of a new face-to-face question. Many times, I simply keep typing away as someone comes to my desk to ask me a question, but lately I’ve started to turn and face my visitor while I continued typing. Most of my team is accustomed to this by now, but it still manages to freak out other people that I can not only type without staring at the keyboard keys, but continue my thought without even looking at the computer monitor.

Of late, this new skill has allowed me to fall asleep in an entirely new manner. Cozy on my sofa, wrapped in my giant afghan, I sit with my laptop poised upon my thigh and against my knee and just write. The Xbox hums in the background as it struggles to present music through my television and I continue to write as if I were sitting at my desk, but far, far more comfortable. In this comfort, the hour grows later and later and, eventually, my eyes close and my head tilts to the side slightly as I lay in the beginning stages of sleep. All the while, however, my fingers do not stop. The stories continue, even with my eyes closed.

In this state of writing while in a semi-sleep state, the image appears in my mind far clearer than when my eyes are open. This scene, while in great need of clean-up, was written while I lay “asleep” and still typing:

He shuffled towards the low brick wall that ran a few feet away from the building while he let the blinding white fade from his eyes.
A warm wind caressed his cheeks and hair and for a moment he thought he was back in Crestview. The hot sun from what he had heard referred to as Indian Summer spread across his face filling him with a brief and mild swell of happiness he had not experienced since he first caught sight of the grey overcast of Cabot, Ohio.

As I re-read, the image seems even more powerful because I was able to imagine it without the added unpleasantness of my eyes trying to process images in my reality and subconscious at the same time.

For a few moments this evening, I found that I had actually fallen asleep in this half-asleep, half-dreaming, half-writing state…and I loved it. I can’t say it is completely practical or that I will be able to manage it consistently, but I just love the idea of it; writing myself to sleep. 🙂


%d bloggers like this: