Posts Tagged ‘Kit’s shenanigans’

It’s a Good Thing My Notes are Only for Me (Also Con Thoughts)

Revision planning continues. I admit I get a little stircrazy with it sometimes. Here’s a list of problems and fixes, for example:

Not the most helpful

Other highlights, from my chapter review:

  • Sigh. This chapter sucks but it has good information in it.
  • Prophecy: Suddenly in FULL FORCE
  • Relationship: Weird
  • Notes: This chapter feels really…not good.
  • Prophecy: Hanging out in the back
  • Relationship: Going down like a lead balloon
  • Kira is a butt.
  • Notes: I like this one too. Good job, me. I guess.
  • Relationship: Still a mess
  • Dan and Lana are awkward and useless.
  • Relationship: Basically the worst
  • Relationship: Whoops
  • Notes: God, I love Paran. He’s so fun once he’s in his own element.
  • Relationship: Very confusing

Yes, yes, it’s very good that no one else is relying on my notes.

Going to print out the book tomorrow for the next step, so wish me luck.

In other news, I learned today that our local Star Trek/scifi convention, celebrating 45 years this year (apparently their first year they showed the trailer for Star Wars before anyone knew what that was), is shutting down. I guess it’s still run by the original people, and they’re retiring, but I’m very sad.

Cons seem to be going the way of these giant, commercial things, like San Diego Comic Con. We have our own version of that here, which regularly pulls in over a 100000 people. And they’re interesting! But they’re also overwhelming. The last time I went to SDCC I think I spent more time standing in line to try to get into things than actually doing anything, and half the time you wouldn’t even get in. What’s the point of spending a gazillion dollars to do that? I mean, yeah, you can get access to information and guests that you can’t at a smaller con, but at some point I feel like the trade-off is not worth it.

(I haven’t gone to the local one in several years either. I went the first few years before it got ginormous, and now I just can’t be bothered most of the time.)

I haven’t been to the Star Trek/scifi con in a few years either, but that’s more because the timing hasn’t really worked since I had the small, mobile ones. But it was my first con. I went for the first time when I was 12–don’t even remember how I learned about it, since this was early Internet days–and for a shy geek like me who thought that she was alone, it was eye-opening. I went every year after that, first with my parents, though later they’d just drop me and my friends off. I feel like smaller cons–this one, and MileHiCon, for example–are a good place for teenagers to really be able to grow into themselves. I have a ton of happy memories.

Like the time the Klingons crashed a panel about the Dominion war with a Cardassian skull. Or the time the Klingons stole my candy. (Lots of Klingons.) The time my then-boyfriend and I got professionally done up as Vulcans and then came in as finalists at the dance contest later that night. I first found out about Pokemon there, having wandered into an anime room showing the first episode in Japanese (with no subtitles, so I had no idea what was going on).

My friends and I would go and just hang out, maybe attending panels, maybe not. It was a great way to find out about new shows and movies we didn’t know about and to just be around like-minded people who weren’t going to make fun of us for knowing the difference between a Galaxy-class and an Intrepid-class starship.

The last time I went, I didn’t even go into the con proper. I put on my original series mini-dress (that I made for Halloween one year, off the pattern in the Technical Manual) and hung out in the bar with my mother-in-law and her friends, and we watched the people in costumes go by and chatted about nerdy things.

So, I mean, I understand why they’re shutting down. I didn’t realize it was the same people running it all this time. And it’s all volunteer-run. But it is the end of an era, one that I will remember fondly.

(And, of course, I can’t go this last year, because of small, mobile one activities. I’m tempted to blow them off, but I have committed to stuff, so alas.)

What was your first con, squiders? Do you have fond memories? I’d love to hear one.

I Wonder if I am Still the Scourge of Seventh Grade Science

Story time today, squiders!

When I was in seventh grade, my science teacher gave us a maze to do for extra credit. It had been drawn by a previous student of his, and went along with some system of the body (I don’t recall which).

Now, I love a good maze and also extra credit, so I did it. But it occurred to me, as I did so, that if my science teacher was using a maze someone had drawn for him, that I, too, could draw a maze and perhaps my teacher would use that one too.

So I set to work creating the hardest maze I could. Making mazes is actually very calming–I have a method I use to make sure I have a path from start to finish that is not obvious–and I should probably do it more often. But anyway! This maze. It, too, was of some body system (digestive, maybe? I honestly don’t remember) and I filled up an entire 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with that baby.

It was glorious.

I gave it to my science teacher, who agreed it was glorious and, I think, gave me even more extra credit, though I may be imagining that part.

Fast forward two years. I have moved into high school, and my sister is in my old hall at middle school, so unfortunately has all my teachers.

(I feel a bit of sympathy for her having to be my little sister throughout middle and high school, but not especially. Such is the way of siblings. It’s her own fault for not being born first.)

(That was a joke.)

She comes home, all grumpy, and forces a photocopy of my maze at me. Apparently my old science teacher had given the maze out to everyone (and of course noted that I had made it, to the embarrassment of my sister) and no one could solve the thing.

It is extremely satisfying, being the bane of an entire seventh grade science class.

Every now and then I think about that maze and that teacher. I’m sure he’s retired by now, so current and future science classes are probably safe from my maze. But I wonder how many years he brought it out? Was it just for a few before someone else drew a new maze and he switched it out? Did he terrorize children with it for many years? Was it really that hard, or was it just intimidating?

I also occasionally wonder if I should take up maze making again. Maybe make a maze book with an accompanying story. Could be fun (though definitely something for another time).

What about you, squider? Ever done something for fun that brought unexpected dividends?

Obligatory Nanowrimo Post 2015

Ah, Squiders. It’s October. Best month of the year, of course, for many reasons, but it being October means it’s almost November. And November means Nanowrimo. And so October, these days, also means getting bombarded by Nano everywhere you look if you are a writer.

I do mean everywhere. Oy vey. And I apologize for adding to the madness, but I’ve had a bit of a headache and blog post topics are scarce at the moment.

(I got an email this morning from a woman who runs writing groups out of the local library about Nano prep, and she mentioned she’d done Nano five times, and I was like, “Well, I’ve done it eleven” and then I figured it was time to get off the internet.)

(If you’re interested in previous Nano adventures, feel free to search the “nanowrimo” tab here on the blog.)

(Also, the reason why there’s a year in the title is because I suspect I’ve already named a previous years’ entry this.)

(Help! I’m trapped in parenthetical phrases!)


Anyway. My Nano news this year is that I’m not doing Nano, so if you are sick of Nano stuff, after this entry you’ll be safe until next year.

Unlike 2013, where I waffled back and forth about whether or not I was going to participate since I had a book release on Dec 1 (2013 was the first year I missed since I started in 2003), I’m sure about this point. 2013 taught me that it was okay not to participate if it didn’t align with my current writing goals.

I’ve got a completed draft due to editors on Dec 1, so while I might feed off Nano to make sure things get done (I’ve got ~25K left to do, though I hope to have less by the time November hits), I’m not going to do it in any formal sort of way.

What about you, Squiders? Nano, yes or no? Sick of seeing it everywhere, or does that get you raring to go?

Story Soundtracks

My first ever novel attempt was in middle school.  I started a few more in high school (the longest, I believe, is 18 pages) but I would always get bored and wander off in the middle, or frustrated by something, or what have you.  I took a few years off for my senior year and the beginning of college, and then began what I like to call my Adult Writing Career in 2003.

That being said, I didn’t really become a writer, someone who more or less was working on writing projects year round, until the beginning of 2006.  At that point I was in slogging through the middle of the first draft of a middle book on a trilogy and was in desperate need of inspiration, so I started joining writing communities on the internet.  And I came across the idea of listening to specific music when writing – of having a writing soundtrack.  I picked up songs from different places and tried them out (Paperback Writer by the Beatles continues to be a favorite) but nothing was really working, so I assumed I needed silence to write and moved on.

Flash forward to the beginning of 2007 when I discovered a new genre of music – symphonic metal.  I fell in love and started listening to it exclusively, and I discovered that, if I was listening to it while I was writing fantasy, it was a huge source of inspiration.  As time has gone on, I’ve discovered different genres work better for different projects.  Hard rock works better than symphonic metal if I’m writing grittier stories.  Eurodance is fantastic for editing. 

But then, when I was working on a project late in 2008, I discovered that not just the genre, but songs themselves occasionally jump out and match a story.  I found a few songs for that novel (most notably Velvet’s Mi Amore) that seemed to fit things perfectly, and sometimes playing them when I was stuck would help.

Now I’m working on a trilogy (and have been for awhile – on and off since 1998 – which was high school for those keeping track – and more seriously since 2004) and somehow I’ve ended up with an entire soundtrack.  Not just a few songs here or there, but ones specific to characters, ones specific to relationships, some specific to certain books.  I can’t really explain it – I don’t know if I listen closer to songs now when I hear them, or if it’s just an intuition thing – because often times a song I’ve heard a dozen times will suddenly click into place.  Whatever the reason though, it is fantastic.  By taking the songs in the soundtrack and playing them together or in different combinations, I actually get flashes of scenes.  I get dialogue and action and even the odd plot point.

I don’t know if it’s just this story because I’ve been working on it so long, or if it’s a skill I’ve been developing, but it’s definitely been a huge help.  Plotting out one book is hard enough – a trilogy with multiple arcs needs all the help it can get.

(For the curious – here’s a handful of songs from the soundtrack:
Within Temptation – What Have You Done Now
Dreamtale – Between Love and Hate
Skillet – Awake and Alive
Cascada – Can’t Stop the Rain
Linkin Park – What I’ve Done)

Editing Process

Each author’s editing process is as individual as their writing process is.  Here’s mine.

Step 1.  Write a book.  (This takes anywhere from two to ten months depending on genre, how much I actually know about what I’m making up, and whether or not my day job is trying to kill me.)

Step 2.  Secure readers.  (I know some people don’t like people to read their first drafts, but I don’t like to edit without knowing if I’m missing major plot issues that I am blind to.)

Step 3.  Create Master Copy. (see picture)  I hate editing on the computer.  I hate reading on the computer, for that matter.  So I always print out the draft and bind it.  This costs somewhere between $15 to $30 depending on length of book, what you’re using for the cover (I prefer vinyl over card paper), and what kind of binding you get.  (For the love of all that is Holy, do the coil.  It’s more expensive but it’s so worth it.)

And you may call me Mistress Kit.

Step 4.  Put all reader comments INTO the Master Copy.  Hence the name Master Copy.  I try to color code my readers.  If they’re responding to specific lines, I’ll put their comment right next to it.  Plot comments get put where I’ll remember to do something about it.

Step 5.  Read and free-edit on Master Copy.  Basically this entails me reading the story and leaving comments as they occur to me.  It’s more of a readthrough than a true edit.

Step 6.  If any major rewrites are needed, I’ll do them at this point.

Step 7.  Print out another copy of the story.  (The poor trees.)

Step 8.  I go through, chapter by chapter, and edit.  Editing at this point includes a readthrough with comments, then the cutting/rearranging/rewriting portion.  Then I reference the Master Copy to make sure I haven’t missed anything major that myself or one of my readers has noted.  I then do a polish on the chapter, make any notes of things that affect other chapters (usually in the chapters in question in the Master Copy), and move on to the next.

Step 9.  After I finish the entire book, I do another readthrough and fix anything (hopefully minor things) that I missed during my in-depth edit.

Step 10.  Find readers (hopefully a mix of people who read the first draft and people who did not).

Step 11.  Repeat steps 8-10.

At this point I start the submission process, but that’s a topic for later posts.

What’s your process?