Carol Callicotte

Author

Making My Way Back October 9, 2009

Filed under: Completely Off Topic,Crap,Projects,Travel,Writing — A French American Life @ 3:29 pm
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September was a busy month. We took a fabulous trip: Paris for a few days, then Greece, including a week-long sailboat trip through some of the Greek isles (read: not a cruise, but actual sailing. Two very different things!). As always happens when I return from vacation, I came back charged and ready to launch back into my writing projects. My vacation high didn’t last long; I returned to find that things at my PT clinic have been completely turned upside down, with the unfortunate result of my job becoming a hell of a lot harder. Ugh – insta-downer. And insta-buzz kill for my writing, too.

PT has been a struggle for me ever since I started in the field. There are many things about it that I do enjoy, but lots of things I don’t. Off and on over the years I’ve explored other possibilities, always with a bit of desperation to get out of the PT field. The recent changes plunged me right back into that place of questioning what on earth do I want to do with my life? The one thing that I keep coming back to is that PT gives me the opportunity to work part time so that I have time to write. And this is invaluable to me. Because while other passions and interests may ignite and slowly die for me, writing is a constant. No matter what else I may do, writing is essential to my existence.

Since this bombshell dropped at work, I’ve found that the only moments of peace have been when I’m writing; delving into the worlds I create. Well that, and eating chocolate with my amazing husband, who, no matter how freaked out about things I get, is always holding my hand and telling me he’ll support me no matter what I decide to do. And encouraging me to get writing, because he thinks I’m good at it. Which reminds me how lucky I am. So, today, I’m back to throwing myself heart and soul into my latest book. It feels good to be back. And it helps me cope with the struggles at my job, and even has me optimistic enough to admit that sometimes, change can be good. But one thing won’t change: I am, have been, and always will be, a writer.

 

Quiet but Working September 3, 2009

Filed under: Books,Cheater,Projects,Writing — A French American Life @ 11:42 am
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I know I’ve been quiet lately. At least blog quiet. I’ve taken a long break from the submission process for Cheater, but plan to start up again this month. And the most important thing is this: I have been writing. A lot. I’ve found a great rhythm and balance between working part time and writing part time, and have been happily delving into a YA novel I wrote as a 13 year old. It needs a lot of work – but the bones are good. It’s been fun (yet angst inducing) to return to the teenage world. Mostly fun. And I have to say, I love the voice I’ve found, and it is so easy, scarily easy, to slip into my inner teenager. This character is flowing over with potential, and I can see myself writing many, many stories with her. Changing my focus from searching for an agent back to craft has been rejuvenating. Just what I needed to do some revising on Cheater and jump back into the toil of the querying process!

 

New Ideas March 19, 2009

Filed under: Projects,Writing,Writing World — A French American Life @ 4:10 pm
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There is nothing quite like the joy of a new idea. I love it. The way it wakes me up at night and bangs around inside my head without relent. Characters take shape, conversations occur, images form, all quicker than I can write them down. I recently bought a digital voice recorder on the advice of a writer friend and this helps – especially for those moments when I am unable to physically write (somehow it just doesn’t seem safe to grab a pen and paper while driving to and from work over the Coronado bridge). I’m not short on ideas, but often I’m too quick to shoot my ideas full of holes: not creative enough, it’s been done too many times, how would that ever develop into an actual story…. I’m not always kind to my writer self. So when a Shiny New Idea comes along and won’t let up, and even I can’t find a reason why it’s not worthy, it becomes my own version of heaven.

 

Work in Progress: Memoir February 24, 2009

Filed under: France,French Language,Projects,Travel,Writing — A French American Life @ 3:44 pm
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I, like so many before me, am joining the memoir club. I intended to start on my memoir four years ago, but kept getting sidetracked by other projects. But now I am finally working on it. I’ve struggled with how to write it: the crux of the story focuses on the time I spent living in Paris and attending a French language school, but also integral to the story are my adventures with several French friends while they were in San Diego in an English immersion program. I’m not quite sure how to frame the story – chronological seems boring, so I’ve settled, for now, on framing it in Paris, with flashbacks to the experiences in San Diego. At this point, I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just writing; I’ll piece the puzzle together when it’s on paper.

These memories, and how best to write them in a story, have been swirling around in my head ever since my time in Paris five (!) years ago. I’ve written clips of narratives over the years, but only now am I diving head-first into the pool of memories. Time, many more trips to France, and marriage to a Frenchman have affected the way I interpret my experience there and have tempered my approach to this memoir. Funny how that works. The memoirist writes as two authors: the person they were at the time, and the person they have evolved into. I think it’s good that I’ve waited to write this story, for I feel it will be a much better book now than it would have been had I written it right away. So far, my approach is to write what I remember, then to compare this to the extensive journals I kept. It’s a fun time to revisit. I only hope I can capture the passion I feel for Paris, for the French language, for the people of France, for traveling, and on a more personal level – turning 30 and learning how I wanted to define my life.

 

Update February 4, 2009

Filed under: Goals,Projects,Writing — A French American Life @ 11:16 am
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I’m nearing completion of the rough draft of my YA novel, tentatively titled ANNA AND WILLIAM. It’s Rough with a capital “R.” When I look back over what I’ve written, I realize most of it is not as bad as I think it is, and some of it is much worse. It’s a far cry from what I envision it being one day. That’s why it’s a rough draft, I suppose. (See my previous entry titled “A Writer’s Prayer.” I’m saying it right now.)

I wrote this one, so far, straight through, which is new for me. I tend to write several sequential scenes, then realize something before needs to be fixed or changed, so I go back and do that, then move forward a bit, go back and repave some things, move forward, then eventually I’ll start jumping around when an out of sequence scene pops into my head. I didn’t let myself go back and rewrite this time, nor jump forward. Instead I left myself notes when thoughts or ideas came up.

I don’t know that I’ll use this approach again. It pushed me toward a completed rough draft, but I fear it may have stifled my creativity somewhat when a scene popped into my head and I only outlined it instead of fleshing it out. But, this is a year of experimentation and trying to find what works best for me.

I anticipate being finished with this rough draft by the end of next week or so. I’ll then let it sit and work on a new project. I’ve got a few potentials, and I’m excited about 2 or 3 of them, and ready for something different! Placing myself in the mind of a teenager these last few months has resulted in teenage angst creeping into my dreams and has drawn me back into the world of high school drama. Didn’t anticipate reliving that!

 

Goals 2009 January 16, 2009

Filed under: Goals,Projects,Writing,Writing World — A French American Life @ 12:51 pm
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Tis the season to set goals, and I have several for writing. I’m being general here, but my specific goals are S.M.A.R.T. – as discussed in a previous post – and pinned over my desk!

•My biggest goal is to find an agent for CHEATER. I love this book, and I really believe it has a good shot at finding a place in the market.

•I’m calling this the “year of rough drafts.” I have so many ideas floating around in my head. Some of them I like more than others, but many of them have potential. They are in different genres: Contemporary Fantasy, General Fiction, YA, YA Fantasy, and Travel Writing. Which doesn’t bode well for starting a career, I know. I’ll have to pick something and stick with it for a while if I really want to succeed in the published market. But I’m still, in some ways, finding myself as a writer. Aren’t we all, to some extent? I want to take time to experiment in different genres, different voices, different story lengths. I’ve set some specific goals for which ideas I want to make into rough drafts of both short and novel length stories. I write roughs pretty fast, so I think I can complete several this year.

Enter some contests. There are some great ones out there. I’ve got my eye on the Golden Heart, and I’m researching some others.

Blog 2-3 times a week.

Continue to study the craft through books, classes, conferences, and continuing with my two critique groups.

Now they are out there. There’s no turning back!

 

The Mid-Book Blues

Filed under: For Writers,Projects,Writing,Writing World — A French American Life @ 12:31 pm
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I started out so in love. We clicked. We understood each other. It felt so right. What happened? I just don’t understand! We aren’t communicating anymore. We’re not excited to see each other. There’s no more losing track of the hours as we spend time together, instead, I’m watching the clock.

It’s the mid-book blues.

I’m banging my head on my desk trying to get back to that place where everything felt so good with my book, but I’m just not rediscovering the magic. This has happened before, so I know this feeling will pass. But still, it’s so frustrating. One of the writing instructors at UCSD Extension used to offer a class called “Unmuddling the Middle” which I thought was a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, it got cancelled the two times I’ve tried to sign up for it due to non-enrollment – I suppose people are either so muddled they quit writing, or they’re finding their own way out. It’s a phenomenon many writers experience, and each writer has their own method of dealing with it. As for me, I decided to put it aside and let it breathe a bit. I’m blogging, working on other stories, and reading Anne Lamont’s Bird by Bird, all in hopes of triggering my imagination and drive. Later, I’ll take a look at what I’ve already written and the notes I made on it, and I’m confident sparks will fly once more.

 

Work in Progress August 28, 2008

Filed under: Projects,Writing — A French American Life @ 5:10 pm
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My current work in progress hit 25,000 words today.  Almost 100 pages.  I remember when my first draft of CHEATER hit that landmark; I was in awe that I’d written so much.  That was almost 3 years ago.  I’ve learned a lot since then, and now, it seems like not such a big deal.  I see it as unpolished, just very basic ideas, and I know a lot of it won’t make it to the second or third drafts, let alone the final version.  I know I’ll be picking it all apart and poking and prodding at it before too long.   But I think, tonight, I’m going to take a little time to just kick back and enjoy reaching this point.

 

Productive Days August 19, 2008

Filed under: Projects,Writing — A French American Life @ 4:52 pm
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I am flying along with my current work-in-progress, averaging about six pages a day (around 1500 words).  It’s a “skeleton” – a very rough draft – but I’m thrilled with the progress.  It’s been a while since I’ve felt this inspired.  Though writing YA has a consequence I did not expect – all this thinking about high school has brought on night after night of dreams that I’m back in my teenage years, walking those dimly lit high school halls, suffering through thousands of long forgotten insecurities, and often forgetting to do my homework (the latter was not part of my real high school experience!  I was a good little girl).

Writing regularly again has been like Draino for my creative process.  The pipes are now unclogged, and I’m being bombarded by cool ideas that I want to pursue.  One that I’m particularly excited about is another urban fantasy/paranormal sort of theme.  And lots of others are just fun to think about.

 

Fantasy Writers Research, Too August 13, 2008

Filed under: Cheater,fantasy,Projects,Writing — A French American Life @ 1:09 pm
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Yep – we may create our own worlds and our own rules, but that doesn’t exempt us from research.

Here is a list of some of the things I researched while writing my urban fantasy, CHEATER:

• Traditional and contemporary beliefs about death, the gods and angels of death, and the afterlife, including Celtic, Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Norse, Aztec, and Christian.

• Con artists and their “art”, famous cons and schemes, famous con artists

• The Grim Reaper – folklore, history, and portrayal in literature and film

• Death and mortality rates

• Traditionally held beliefs about Limbo

• All sorts of cool techy stuff like hacking into computers, tiny digital cameras, internet scams…

• Slot machines

• Blackjack

• Las Vegas and Death Valley – that was a fun trip!

• The Lake Havasu region

• Several locales around sweet home San Diego

• Casinos, their rules, their layout

• The Etch A Sketch

• My jobs, that have offered wonderful insight to the inner workings of a bureaucracy (including a nice collection of memos that served as inspiration…)

• Poker

• Charles Babbage, his Difference Engine, and his Analytical Engine

While 95% of what I learned didn’t make it into the book (sometimes 10 hours of research becomes 1 line of text), most of these things play a role. Are you intrigued yet?