Sunday, September 26, 2010

Update on schedule

So, I promised myself that I would start revising on Saturday. Here's how my week went:

Tuesday/Wednesday: Received and appreciated congrats from a lot of friends who knew I was trying to get this done around this time of year.

Wednesday night: Burned said novel onto a CD, put it in a CD sleeve, marked it "To: Megan, Love: Kaki, Copy #1" and autographed the back. So when my brother showed up to visit from California, I had a present for his absent wife.

Thursday: I decided to take this day to catch up on some reading. While reading some actually not-spectacular fanfic on, I heard a crack and the monitor started falling sideways. I caught it, figuring my table leg had given out and then noticed that the tower was on the floor. 1/4 of the glass had cracked off. I set the computer very carefully on the ground and reached around the table to unplug the tower, get it out of the way, etc. I then stood up and noticed that my arm was hurting. Upon further inspection, I discovered that my noble act of saving my beloved monitor had resulted in a gash in my arm. I knocked on my roommate's door since I lacked bandaids and alarmed her a bit with the gruesome scene. She kept pointing out that blood was running down my arm. But between her and the apartment's first aid kit, I got patched up. Very lightheaded, nauseated, etc. afterwards. While I was out getting hamburger for the purposes of not fainting, I called my brother and verified that he had, in fact, delivered my CD to his wife.

Friday: I slept a lot, still felt nauseated and lightheaded and had a really bad headache. Kept up the efforts of making myself feel better, then went for a hair trim where my friend cut herself with her shears and needed to go to the ER. Went home once she was safely with her parents and found that I couldn't use my computer because my roommate had people over. Went to bed at 11.

Saturday: Too tired and cranky from two days of pain and insomnia to do anything. Nearly finished the rest of Lost, Season 5 and posted a lot on Facebook.

Now it's Sunday and I'm going to write on the fanfictions that I've been neglecting. So it'll be Monday before I get to revision.

Did I mention that Monday I'm seeing a new therapist? "So, Kathryn, what brings you in here today?" "Well, um, clinical depression and problems with revising my novel."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My first...somethingorother

Well, I have a tally to the left saying how many queries I've submitted, how many rejections, how many acceptances. Today, one day after I sent a query to a nice person at Kaas, I got a nice email saying that they hadn't updated their information recently and no longer accept my genre. So it's not a rejection so much as a "Oh, sorry, you need to be in THAT line." H. suggests that I categorize it as "the lights are on but no one's home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

At laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast

So, this afternoon, I finished tying up loose ends and making sure I didn't have any unfinished scenes and saved the completed manuscript. It tallies in at 130,111 words, 325 single-spaced pages and I wish it were longer so I could put more personality into certain minor characters, but ding-dong, the witch is dead and all that!

Now comes the official nightmare of looking for an agent/publisher/someone to not laugh their guts out at my expense. I'm told I'll probably have to cut 1/4 of it, but that's for later. For now, I'm leaving it alone for 3 days. On the fourth day, I will open that file again and read it all the way through to see if I still like it.

In the meantime, first draft of acknowledgments. For the sake of privacy, I'll go by initials, but you should be able to figure out who you are if you're in here:

The dedication goes to my first acknowledgee, H. who is not only the aunt of the "original" Ella Mack, but who is the gorgeous blonde in those pictures from Philadelphia. She let me haul her around a perfectly good tourist city in hunt of things like a course selection guide and pictures of random street corners on 16th Street. She also was the first person who gushed about my story to someone else, which was a huge thing for me.

She goes hand-in-hand with K. K. is the first one I told about my pneumonia-induced nightmare about the Crossmen. She kept track of what I'd mentioned in passing, corrected my continuity and fed me too often to be ignored, whether it was discussing our plot bunnies over spaghetti with peanut sauce or inviting me out to Demae. She even let me borrow her second laptop for a night when I desperately needed to escape my apartment. And she introduced me to the addictive parkour videos.

L-A., A.F. and D. are the unholy trinity of muses. D. was the person I based Julie off of originally when I wrote my very first draft of the opening scene that is now three chapters into the book. By the time I got through chapter 13, I figured out that she more resembled L-A. But Julie still has D.'s taste in music, crafty abilities and natural sense of friendship. A.F. was unexpected, since I started writing his namesake well before I met him and was contemplating changing that character's name when I decided to base him off of A.F.

R.H. gets a nod for coming up with a really cool name for a character--Kendra Tenbura--and harassing me a lot to keep me on my toes about other character names.

R.R. gets the cheerleader award for introducing me to everyone as "Ish--do you know she's written ___________ words on a fantastically interesting novel?"

I can't forget M., my sister-in-law, of course. She was always the one who called me for word wars and only occasionally complained that I was writing too fast. She is getting to read it before everyone else, if her husband successfully delivers the file to her when he gets back from a business trip.

Thanks go to the unnamed helpful people at Central High School and Our Mother of Consolation who put up with more than the usual amount of questions and gave darn good answers.

And finally, thanks go to Google, Wikipedia and for their often-instructive search results. Thanks go to a former customer who cemented my choice in names for the main character.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Closer

So, last night, I wrote what is chronologically the last scene of the book. That means that I have a few touch-ups and scene-inserts to do, but just over 123,000 words, I wrote the sentence that will be the last thing (editor-willing) that people read before they start pestering me for a sequel.

It felt very satisfying. Not just because of the whole last-sentence thing, but because I have had doubts about the title pretty much since I figured out the title. There are only three titles of mine that I've really liked--"To Cast Away Stones," "Time of Confessions and Concessions" and "Lest Ye Be Judged." To be fair, "FANFICTION! the Musical" comes close. But there's an ambiguity for the entire book about whom the title refers to. I didn't really believe my own argument until that last sentence, when it actually made perfect sense to me.

And that sentence came after 8 single-spaced pages of pretty darn intense stuff. I'm very happy with what came out of my head over the last few days. I'll post again when I'm done with the draft.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I am in the process of writing the (chronologically) last scene in the book. There are a few things that need to be put in throughout, but I decided to take a break.

I am an IMDb (Internet Movie Database) junkie. I love looking up odd ways that movies and shows are connected. I stink at "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," but love trying to figure out why one character reminds me of another.

But the thing that I love best about IMDb listings is the "trivia" section. I was reading the "Trivia" on JAWS today and never knew that Steven Spielberg laughed at John Williams when he first heard the theme or that Spielberg played first clarinet for the music played during the beach scenes. I didn't know that Roy Scheider's appendectomy scar in the USS Indianapolis scene was his own scar, not a makeup trick. I'm amused when I read about things like the boat accidentally sinking during one scene and the Coast Guard going for the actors first, which prompted one tech to stand holding his sound gear over his head and yell "**** the actors, save the sound department!" The "trivia" section is the first section I hit unless I'm trying to figure out whether or not a movie won an Oscar for something.

So, with the ending closing in FAST and my mind being restless, I've decided to make up my own "trivia" section. Some of it you may know, some of it you may not. So here goes.

*Kathryn came up with the idea of this book while watching The Matrix Reloaded. The conversation between The Oracle and Neo about whether or not he can be sure that she's on his side inspired her to think about a situation where the wise old mentor is a sinister figure. Eventually, that adapted itself into the situation of not being able to trust the intentions of the person you love.

*The Crossmen came to Kathryn in a dream while she was on medication for pneumonia.

*Michael and Ella came into being as characters with their first names already decided. Their last names came later.

*Michael's last name is Anthony, after the patron saint of missing persons.

*Ella's last name was borrowed from the maiden name of Kathryn's good friend. A few months after she decided on the last name, that friend was blessed with a niece. That niece shares her name with the main character and the dedication of the book will be to "The aunt of the original."

*A coworker/friend of Kathryn's was the reason for questioning Michael's name and while she did not get to have her way with Michael's name, she was given the choice of the name for a minor character who will be appearing throughout the series.

*There were many factors in the choice to keep Michael's name the same, but the final nail in the coffin came from work as well: Kathryn processed a lot of customer orders at the time she was writing this book and while the poll was being conducted, she ran across a Michael Anthony who lived two blocks from Our Mother of Consolation in Philadelphia. Since OMC is the setting of a number of scenes, she decided it was kismet.

*Many people have asked why Kathryn set the novel in Philadelphia instead of her much-beloved hometown of Boston. The main reason for this was that Philadelphia was synonymous with the quest for freedom, a central theme in the book.

*Kathryn balked at the amount of time the characters spent eating in the book. She had to consciously rewrite some scenes to exclude french fries.

*The first scene written included a dialogue about whether Ella was the Harry or Hermione Granger. The placeholder explanation of the book's plot has always been "What if Harry Potter disappeared and Hermione, the only person who knows where he is, doesn't remember?"

*The book "Half Magic" is important to the plot. This was Kathryn's favorite book as a child and the first one for which she had to pay an overdue fine.

*While most of the characters don't bear resemblance to actual people, some are intentionally real. Ella is based off of a former roommate. Julie started out as based on one friend and ended up with the sense of humor of someone else. She also turned out to look just like Kathryn's former roommate and current best friend, but still has a different sense of humor. Leticia reminds Kathryn very strongly of a girl she worked with as a missionary, which is why she's from El Salvador. Her daughter Carolina is named for the missionary. Andrew Farragut was named independently, but was about to undergo a name change when Kathryn met another Andrew F. who was cool enough to merit being a namesake. Anna is based off of Chantel, a girl from Kathryn's 4th-grade math class. Alex, despite being an evil boyfriend, bears no resemblance to Kathryn's infamous ex (Nicknamed Senor Psychopath for his role in breaking her right wrist and one of her ribs) who ended up in a mental hospital.

*Lynn is bisexual and Kathryn has still not figured out how to "out" her. Her current other half is a character named Alicia, seen twice in the novel.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Final word of the day...

Well, in some time zones. I'm not going to post for a little while, but I wanted to write this down so I remember my goal and have people holding me to it.

So, my younger brother, the one who is married to the sister-in-law who is also writing a novel, just moved to California. He's at his dream job, working for Apple. Well, they're sending him on a recruiting trip as someone who did a summer internship and then got a job offer afterwards. The recruiting trip happens to be back here.

So, that happens September 21-3. In December, his wife gave me a copy of her manuscript to mark up and read to my heart's content and I told her she would have a copy of mine. I just hoped to have it finished before now since they moved a couple of weeks ago. Well, I'm going to make sure that my brother doesn't get on his return flight without a copy of my manuscript.

So that's the drop-dead date. September 23, I have to have this done. I don't think it's impossible. :)

Never-ending story

(Cue the aaaahs. If I had the ability to post the techno remix that I have on a different computer, I would.)

Anyway, so it's now official. My longer than Twilight. I swore to myself that I would stop by now, but it's all about the chowdah that I was talking about before.

Case in point: I was finishing writing up the scene in which Ella and Anna make up. Then I remembered that I'd started writing the argument and never really finished it. So I had to go back and 2,000 words later, the later scene made sense.

In terms of actual book plot, I just finished the scene that's three scenes away from the ending. On the other hand, I have to back through and make sure I didn't leave anything from my synopsis out and make sure that I don't have sudden leaps in logic like "YES! THE KILLER IS THE BUTLER!" "Um, Ish, they don't have a butler." "Yes, they do! It's mentioned in...oh, I cut that scene, didn't I?"