I am kaitco

a writer's log

30-Day 5K – Day Ten Sunday, June 10, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:44 pm
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Well, my plan from yesterday worked; Chapter 27 ended with 4647 words, a couple hundred below the limit, which means that I may have a new mechanism in place for getting through the rest of these chapters.

I rewrote and edited 7806 words today (the middle of reading Animal Farm again). This could have been more, but after pushing myself to church today and spending most of the afternoon trying to troubleshoot my “TV” laptop again (Seriously, though…), I only got started a little after 8:30pm today.

Chapter 28, at first glance, looks very promising in that this will be the first chapter where I’ll be happy to make edits. I knew it was far too long when writing it, but this chapter delves into some interesting politics from multiple sides, which allows me to play devil’s advocate with myself, while trying to prevent my own politics from coating the book too much. Not to mention, I know I’ll have a lot to cut, and at 190K words, I might just push myself into the 170s if I focus.

I’m beginning to see light at the end of this dark tunnel of editing and I may even be able to keep all plot points I’d wanted by the end, too.


30-Day 5K – Day Seven Thursday, June 7, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:10 pm
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Goodness, I hate Thursdays. I think it’s because I’m so tired after Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday that I really need Thursday to be Friday, but when I wake up and realize that it’s not actually Friday, I get depressed and the whole day sours before I even get out of the bed.

I wrote 5760 words this evening (but neither Brit nor Damen laughed with her) and I know if I pushed a little, I could have probably wrote a bit more, but today being Thursday and all, I’m tired and ready to just play Rock Band and then veg on the sofa.

Some of this fatigue is coming from just looking at the amount of editing this chapter needs. Once again, my problem comes from the desire to “show” but the need to “tell.” Somehow, I’ve got to make peace between to the two to save the word count, especially since I’ve “shown” so much about something that is really just a peripheral story.

I’ll figure it all out tomorrow, I suppose, when I’m less tired and more willing to take my literary axe to this chapter and make meaningful, but concise. For now, however, I’ll concede to the Rock Banding (yes, that’s a word) session I’ve earned this week.

Edit: I knew I wouldn’t remember this until the WordPress Dashboard mentioned it. I can’t believe I’ve done 400 posts in this thing! Woot!


30-Day 5K – Day Five Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:55 pm
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Well, it’s finally happened.

I knew that I’d reach a point in this novel where the writing was tight enough that there would be very little to cut and I’ve reached it.

I wrote and edited 6939 words tonight (even think to add this to her book) and, even after doing two reads over this chapter and splitting into two, I’ve still had little to edit, which means that after I finish this edit, I’ll have to cut even more from the beginning chapters to keep what really is important.

My success for tonight, however, (since I’d like to think I’ve succeeded in at least one thing) was in re-writing the scene where Anthony quite literally, throws Damen from the house a little more realistic with regard to Anessa’s reaction. Previously, Damen showed up battered at Brit’s house and then the family tries to continue with dinner until it becomes necessary to react, but this time around, I’ve added a “What would I do if this happened to me today” thought process to the scene and now, it no longer feels so forced.

So, cheers to me for making my 5K word count today and here’s praying that I can figure out how to cut another 80K words out of this book before August.


30-Day 5K – Day Two Saturday, June 2, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:42 pm
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For the past couple days, I’ve been musing over Dana Barrington’s character a lot. A quick search on this blog shows I’ve been rather perplexed by her character for a very long time as I’ve gone back and forth, hopelessly trying to come to a decision on her.

Some days I think I’ve got her purpose all figured out and then a few months later, everything is muddy again. I’d figure out a reason to keep her, but then decide to nix that reason and wonder if I should even bother with it.

I suppose the only reason I’ve even given her any thought at all is because I want to keep this whole “Dorienne Universe” going and I’d like it to start with Flight, not with Damen. If I got rid of Dana Barrington, I’d lose my link back to Flight and I really, really wanted all of these stories to link together in some way.

So, this has been my thought process over the week as I pondered on Dana’s purpose in Damen, since, as far as word count goes, she is the most expendable character I’ve got given that her presence has little to do with the overall story…had that is.

I’ve had another conundrum while writing this book which is that it has been missing some of the intrigue that I knew I had with Flight. With Flight, there was all this mystery around my unnamed murderer and also around what had actually happened to Olivia and I know those parts moved along the whole book. Damen had none of that, but I think I’ve finally got it and best of all, it surrounds my character Dana Barrington.

I mention this because I’ve come to this place so often with regard to Dana, where I finally figure out a reason to keep her despite a zillion reasons to nix her, and I think this will just be really funny to me months later when I have to end up cutting her anyway.

I wrote 7592 words today (ten seconds later: no prob damen-mon) and read through what will be the 24th chapter; all 13K words of it. Tomorrow’s endeavour will be to trim all the fluff down to 5K or split the chapter and focus on cutting more in Chapter 25.

All in all, I’ve cut the book down to 199K, leaving me with just another 80-90K to trim, but at least I’m pushing…


And just like that Saturday, September 3, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:23 pm
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I was in the midst of streamlining my notes today in preparation for “full” writing when I had an epiphany on “paper” and didn’t even realize it until much, much later.

You may not like him, but he’s at least principled enough to be who he is. And just like that, a question that has been bugging me since I first conceived of this project is answered. Why does Damen spend time with Corey? What does he see in this character? What drives him to seek out his friendship? What quality could he possibly possess that would overshadow all of the bad ones? Of course, there is far more to the relationship than just that statement, but it goes a long way to, at the very least, help me understand both characters a little better.

I’m a bit hungry now, so there’s not much else for me to say about today other than I’m not looking forward to spending my Sunday at first-job.

I wrote 1289 words today (Brit did not follow him.) and I’m really hoping that I can keep up my pace of setting up all my notes the previous night so that the writing moves very smooth the next day. I was going to stop whenever I reached a 500-ish word count, but the desire to finish the scene was more powerful and I think that’s how I should look at this going forward. Instead of writing to just word counts, though I’ll still do this to some degree, I’m going to focus on writing complete thoughts and scenes, which should reduce the need for ridiculous editing of what I’d rambled about in 500-word nuggets across a week.


Autosave! Why hast thou forsaken me?!? Friday, September 2, 2011

Last night around midnight, I decided to keep writing and finish Chapter 21. I was in the midst of a zone and in mid-word when the screen suddenly turned blue and said something about an error. Long story short, my laptop crashed in the middle of everything I was writing and I sat worried about the blue screen of death facing me. I hadn’t written a lot after I’d last saved, but I had some notes written in a Notepad doc that I really wanted to keep and I liked the little bit that I had been writing.

While I completed two hard restarts and allowed some random Windows repair screen to do its thing, two thoughts rushed through my mind: Did my novel autosave? and Was my Sims 2 game at risk? Now, the former was more of a wishful thought than anything else because autosave has failed me in the past and I did not expect much from it, but the latter was really a surprise.

I guess knowing that I had saved at least the bit that I’d included at my last word count and also knowing that the novel is not only saved on a separate shared drive between all three PCs in my house, but also backed up to my DorienneSmith.com server eased any real concern about the safety of my work, but my Sims 2 game was not so well-guarded and all I could think of as I waited for the autofails autosave’s inevitable failure was whether I’d lost some eight years worth of gaming with just one crash.

I instantly Googled how to make a laptop hard drive into an external hard drive in case the laptop couldn’t be started again and eventually I considered all the pain of not having this particular laptop when I traveled later in the month and then again about that autosave, but a real fear and this amazing sense of loss started to overcome me when I thought about my little game.

I don’t get to play the game as much as I used to play, but Jill is a story born directly out of my Sims’ game and I consider each sim and each family a potential character or set of characters. If it wasn’t for Beau and Alexander Goth and their adopted sim children, I would have never looked at Jill and said, “Hm…there’s a story in this.”

I’ve spent a long time playing this game and, as odd as it sounds, I’ve been playing some of these characters longer than I’ve known some of my friends…my good friends. So, it’s not so much the loss of the game that troubled me, but the loss of so many characters, all at once, with no hope of recovery that caused an ache in my chest and probably reduced some of my life expectancy.

Even though my amygdala started sending out all sorts of irrational thoughts, I did not completely freak out and I found that my fears were, more or less, groundless. The autosave did, indeed, fail to live up to its name, but my game and all its characters were safe. That said, I immediately created a back of my game just in case another random crash comes in the future.

I wrote 614 words today (before she sat across from him) and after each and every pause in writing, I took a minute to Ctrl+S my work to avoid another incident. I’m also going to attempt to upload the 12+ GB file that is my Sims 2 game folder…I’m sure my webhost will shut me down long before I succeed, but it’s worth try.


More work ahead than behind Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The part of creating a draft is seeing how my views about characters can change before I’ve even got to the end. Original purposes can easily be drowned out by subtle detail changes and before I know it, characters who were just marginal and only there to help create a scene take on lives and full personalities of their own and then I’ve got to go and make changes to the rest of the story

Case in point when I consider Tabitha, Semaj (now Carver), Desirae (who’ll need to be renamed) and Damen’s art teacher Mr. Brannon. In the original heavy notes, only Tabitha existed and now I’m considering dropping her altogether as these others come further into the light. Semaj is named after a Sim-baby and I had no specific purpose in mind for him other than creating some doubt for Damen, but I’m wondering if it’s worth it develop him further now that I’ve included him in another class with Damen. Desirae was only given a name at all because I wanted to demonstrate that there were black kids in Damen’s class and that the kids were lined in alphabetical order, but now she’s appeared in so many other places and goes to show much of Brit’s angst with being a black in a suburban community that I can’t imagine ever trying to extricate her from the project. Mr. Brannon, in just the last few days, has taken on an amazing personality that I wish develop to the point that I’m willing to drop some of the drama that lies ahead in the story just to fit in everything about him.

I know I’ve heard somewhere that it’s the characters that chose the writer and, if I’ve seen anything in writing Damen, I know for certain that’s true. It makes me sad, however, when I consider all the brain cells I killed in drinking in college and all the characters that went with them. All the voices that won’t be heard because of my decisions in my early twenties…

I wrote 605 words today (grinned wider as he left the room) and I know I’m going to struggle to get there, but I’m really going to push to make the jump to a thousand words a day for the month of September. If I don’t hit my birthday goal, I can always bring the goal back down to a healthy 3-500, but at least I can look back on this year and know I did everything I could to get this novel done.


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.


My cheatin’ heart Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Tonight’s the first night I really feel like I’ve cheated in my writing. I know what I’ve written is not really acceptable prose and that I’ll re-write everything tomorrow, but given that I decided to just let Chapter 20 finally end with what I wrote yesterday, I had nothing with which to write this evening and dreaded the act throughout the entire day.

This whole day has felt like I’ve cheated. I’ve done nothing useful with my time; I’ve nothing to show for this entire day.

I wrote 586 words today (simply missed the only company he had) and I, at least got a tiny lead-in for how I’m going to approach some of the next few pieces of the storyline. Perhaps the day wasn’t a total loss…


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