Presents–Home Made vs. Manufactured

I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation–things are a little squished financially. Presents are one of the reasons I start to get uptight about the holidays. I love getting things for people. I also love the lights, and fudge. The music I could do without, but sit me in a window where I could see lots of lights and fudge and I’d be a happy camper (which isn’t really a good term to apply to myself as I don’t like camping). In regards to the religious aspect of the holidays, I’m sort of a scattered agnostic. I was an atheist in high school, so I suppose that means I’ve gotten a little more optimistic. My family has always viewed it as a time to get together and see each other, and presents weren’t always the most important thing.

There’s always that impetus to get something for people, though. My mom and baby sister (I suppose I can’t really call her that any more–despite the fact she was born when I was 23, it’s been awhile. She’ll be able to legally drink next year.) are very craftsy people and make all kinds of things. I started thinking, “What can I do for people that I can do myself?” and came up with the possibly misguided idea of writing stories set in the world of my books. Is this a reasonable idea of a present? I’m only doing it for the people who are familiar with the book, although I will probably have to put brief explanations at the beginning because I’m jumping around in time with them. I had the idea of including the person I was writing it for as a character somehow, even if a minor one. The more I think about it, the stranger it seems.

I have been trying this, and I’m still working on the one for my SO, which has now been in progress for about two weeks, which is quite a while for me. I’m not used to writing short(er) works. It was up to 50 pages, and I finally realized what I was trying to do yesterday–write a chapter instead of a short story. Putting in too much extraneous detail and hints at future things that would take place, or things that took place in the past. Basically, just too much. I suppose this is actually good practice for me to be ruthless. Just stick to what the story needs.

One thing I noticed when posting the first chapter of Aithin, which, granted, is in different format (I’m still working in regular manuscript format on the story), but my chapters have gotten ridiculously longer. That first chapter is 10 pages. Somewhere in the second creature there is a chapter that is 137 pages long. What is the deal with that?

I suppose I should take a brief moment to explain about what happened to the second book. I was going to self-publish that one as well–nearly ready to do it, had the file all ready to go, and suddenly decided I didn’t like the way one of the characters handled a situation in the middle of the book. I thought it was out of character. So I wrote a new middle, and I haven’t been able to finish, over a million (seriously, I’ve been working on this for a year almost full time now) words and thousands of pages later. I’ve thrown out three possible directions it was going, but it took me about ten chapters into them until I decided that.

My conclusion was that there is more than one novel in there, and I just need to find the logical points to split it. Actually finishing it would be a lovely help.

But returning to the topic, I am being selective about who I’m doing this for–hopefully people who will be appreciative of it. I probably shouldn’t even say anything here because they may be some of the few actually reading this.

My question is, is this an adequate gift? I had thought I would be much further along in the process by now, but I’m not used to shorter works, and it’s really throwing me for a loop. Once I made the distinction between story vs. chapter, I think that helped. It just seemed like a neat thing to do at first because it was something I could do myself, but I’m having second thoughts now (possibly because I’ve only managed to edit 50 pages down to 49). I think I’m down to three or four people now to do it for, which means I need to get my act together and get cracking!

Today was one of those weird days where nothing really seems to get done, though. I had Physical Therapy this morning and then went to the library, didn’t get home until a quarter to 1:00, and the next thing I knew, it was almost 3:00, and I hadn’t done anything constructive at all. Hadn’t worked on the story, hadn’t done anything. There were a couple of odd things that happened after I got home, though, one of them being a call from my SO asking me if I could look for his wallet because he couldn’t find it anywhere. So I wandered around the house looking in all the places it might be, outside where his car had been parked, etc. He hadn’t been able to check his car. He works with young adults 18-21 with developmental disabilities, and they are out of the classroom a lot riding the city buses to get around, so he was afraid he’d lost it on one of the buses. He found it in his backpack. I have spelled the plural of bus busses and buses and neither looks right.

This is why when I am working and not pretending to be a writer, I work with elementary age children with disabilities, preferably K-2nd grade. Truthfully, there have been people who, when they find out I write, are very supportive.

I was actually going to attempt a review or two today, but that didn’t work out. I just finished Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, Hourglass (author escaping me at the moment) and the second book in the Poison Diaries series. I am going to start Across the Great Barrier, the second in Patricia C. Wrede’s series (I’m not sure if I should ever say trilogy anymore), which comes after The Thirteenth Child. Maybe I will try to do that tomorrow before things start to leak out and are gone forever into the crevices of the grey matter in my brain.


2 responses to “Presents–Home Made vs. Manufactured

  1. Interesting. How was the clockwork Prince? I was around when Cassandra Clare was getting her start and knew she’d had something published but didn’t hear anything beyond that.


  2. Hi Kaitlin,
    I thought the Clockwork Prince was alright–it’s been so long since I’ve read Clockwork Angel and I’ve read so much in between that I didn’t remember some of the things that were referred back to. The characters have more depth than in CA. It wasn’t a cliff-hanging ending, which I really dislike (I don’t know if you read Kristen Britain, but I could have throttled someone at the end of Blackveil).

    My youngest sister, who is a _lot_ younger than me, writes fan fiction and is around on those sites a lot, and read about Cassandra Clare’s writing in her fan fic really just being a lot of lifting of quotes from other places and stringing them together–she did cite her sources, supposedly most of the time. So she’s extremely prejudiced against her and won’t read anything by her, which is frustrating because I would like her opinion, since they’re more the age the books are aimed at (she’s 19 now, so was, what,15 or 16 when they started coming out?).

    Now that she’s being published, I told her, (my sister, that is) she can’t do that anymore. I think things started to get a little out of control when she started to write two series at once, and the first trilogy turned into two at the beginning of the year. So, she has three more books to write by the end of 2013. I don’t know if she thrives under pressure or if they’re going to be awful because of it. I will say that they’re still thick books, but the font is getting bigger.

    I do like them, I have all of them and I’m planning on keeping them. I tend to be a bad reader in that I read quickly and for the story, so I think that keeps me from missing problems with mechanics unless they’re so obvious they jar even me from the story. That tends to be why I keep books I like, so I will hopefully have the time to go back and read them a little more slowly. I have recommended them to people.

    I’m glad she was published, it just seems like now she has an impossible schedule to keep up. The next book in the Mortal Instruments Series is out in May, I think, and the last in the Internal Devices is out in December? I think it’s possible for an organized person to do. I write pretty prolifically, I’m just not that organized. And she also has a movie deal for the Mortal Instruments–they’ve only cast the two main characters, I think.

    Anyway, that was an extremely long answer to your perfectly innocent question. I am interested in checking out your site as well. 🙂


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