Posts Tagged ‘updates’

Characters, Characters, and Not a Drop to Drink

We continue working through the dreaded middle of the changeling story. And it goes okay! Not amazingly, not like the words are pouring out of my fingers, but not where I’m staring at the screen wondering what I’m doing with my life and where I’ve gone wrong.

I spent some time yesterday drawing the main characters for the book, Ivy and Birch. (Everyone gets nature-related names, cuz Faeries.) Ivy’s on her third name and Birch is on his second, but I think this batch will stick. Anyway, I drew them because I feel like they’re kind of weirdly nebulous, personality wise.

Which is annoying and frustrating. Character is normally my strong point. The other characters in the book are fine! There’s Iris, Ivy’s twin, who is foul-mouthed and slightly selfish and vain and an absolute joy to write. Even minor characters are good. It’s just my two mains which feel…off.

I don’t know that drawing them has helped anything. (The drawing, like how the writing goes, is okay! Not bad–except for Birch’s arm, which I tried three times to fix and then gave up on–but not amazing.)

I did more character work up front than normal for this story too, which makes it even more frustrating. If you recall, I’m using a story-writing course I bought forever ago, How to Think Sideways by Holly Lisle, as I work on this novel. (Or, well, I’m working on this novel because I’m taking this course. Something.) So there was one class that was about character motivations and whatnot, so I can tell you all the tragic backstory that has led the characters to being the people they are today, as well as their values, but that’s not helping anything.

And maybe they’re not even bad! Maybe they’re fine and I’m just stuck in the doldrums of Act 2, and once everything is on fire everything will be fine.

I guess I add it to my list of things to fix in revision (if it turns out to be an actual problem and not just me second-guessing everything).

I also find myself wanting to get on to the revision, which I can’t do because I need the draft to be done first, and also is just kind of weird. I burned out on revision–that’s why I switched over to writing new work, cuz I spent like, five years straight revising things.

Maybe revision sounds comforting though. Writing itself is sometimes like stumbling through the woods at night without a flashlight, but revision has a path and a light and normally gets to someplace safe and warm at the end.

Eh, who knows? Not me! You’d think by now I’d have some semblence of an idea–this is my 10th first draft (only counting stories that were finished in the end)–but apparently each time you still have to stumble through the woods.

Is it fall yet? I would very much like it to be fall. How are you doing, squiders? Been up to anything fun? Any cool projects you’ve been working on?

Still Scatterbrained

So, I see that I forgot to blog the second time last week. Good job, me. Very adult, much responsibility, or something.

I finished my systems test class, which was very interesting, and somewhat encouraging, since a lot of the test I was doing before is essentially the same, though less software focused (though there was still a lot of software). I think I’ll look more into the idea, perhaps after Christmas.

Also, my SkillShare membership ran out, so I’m out of illustration classes there. I did manage to squeeze in a short drawing one the first week of the month, so hooray. I have some art books that my mother gave me, so I think I’ll work through those before I worry about more online courses.

I also started a new class, called Story and Narrative Development for Video Games. It’s part of a video game development specialty offered through CalArts on Coursera. The first class, Intro to Game Development, I took a few years ago. Eventually I’d like to get through the whole specialty. I don’t really foresee myself making video games, but I’ve always thought it could be fun to write one. Plus there are some definite parallels between video games and novels and, as we are all sick of me saying, my goal for the year is education.

Other than that, I’ve been working on my next SkillShare class, which will be about genre–what it is, how it’s determined, stuff along those lines. I originally thought it’d be a quick class, but it’s turned out to be fairly massive. I’m almost done making the slides, though, so hopefully next week I will be able to start recording the lessons.

And then the changeling story carries on. I’m at about 45K, and hope to be about 55K by the end of the month. I’m still a little behind where I wanted to be, but I don’t really have the means or opportunity to do anything about that at the moment.

And I’m caught up on my prompt exercises, and I’m mostly done with a short story for Turtleduck Press that will go up next month. So writing’s happening, hooray!

I’m sorry again for being inconsistent here at the blog. I’m going to try to get back to twice a week, Tues/Thurs (obviously will be Wed/Fri this week, whoops), in the near future. If you guys have any feedback about what you’d like to see–craft posts, project updates, art projects, etc.–please let me know!

See you–and I mean it this time–on Friday!

Cosplay Update

Ahahaha, so I realized I briefly mentioned working on a cosplay a few weeks ago without actually talking about the costume at all. Good job, me.

Anyway, I’m doing Crowley from Good Omens, and have even roped a friend into being Aziraphale for me. (I didn’t have to rope very hard.) Hopefully it goes better than the last time I cosplayed with a friend.

(I’m not making any more costumes last minute, I tell you what. Sewing the trim on in between people when working registration at the con. Bah!)

(Also not doing much sewing at all on this one, honestly, so.)

(Also also if you have not seen the miniseries and have access to it, I recommend it. Otherwise, there is also the book, which I am re-reading, which is very similar except they’ve expanded some of the character/emotional arcs for the miniseries.)

(I am also reading Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett. It is a lot of Pratchett all at once.)

I am doing a female version of Crowley for a number of reasons, which include:

  • Aziraphale and Crowley are canonically genderless beings
  • Crowley at least twice in the miniseries presents as female
  • I haven’t cosplayed a male character (or “crossplayed” as it’s called when you cosplay a character of the opposite gender) in a decade and who even knows where all the supplies for that went
  • Also I have procreated since then so they probably don’t fit anyway (and they are uncomfortable)
  • Trying to stuff long hair into a short wig sucks
  • I want to

I made myself a plan. (I sketched this in about five minutes, so, you know.)

(And it scanned crooked. Sorry.)

All in all, it goes well! Except for the boots. We’ll get there. I’ve ordered the contacts (there’s literally one place on the entire Internet where you can buy prescription FX contacts that look at all right, so we’ll see how that goes). I have the glasses, but I need to modify them. My mom found me some snake earrings (though I also have star earrings and I realized those would work too) though I haven’t gotten them from her yet.

I’ve been looking at tutorials for tattoos, so this morning I went to get supplies at my local drug store. (I’m not a big make-up person–I’m just not good at it. There are cosplayers out there who can do amazing things to their faces with make-up, but I am not one of them. And even in every day life, I rarely go beyond mascara and lip gloss, so… Anyway I don’t own any make-up brushes or sealing powder or whatever else was on the list of supplies.) I found a tattoo marker while there, and the reviews on the Internet for it were promising (a couple even compared it to the methods I’d been looking at), so now I have just that. Have to test it out too.

(Not on my face, though.)

The boots continue to be problematic. In the miniseries, David Tennant wears black ankle boots with a snakeskin pattern on them. Now, I am taking some liberties with the general costume, so I don’t feel like I need to get anything exact. That being said, black boots in snakeskin prints are a bit rare, and I don’t necessarily want to spend a ton of money on costume shoes.

An alternate is to just get black ankle boots. I need a pair anyway. Decisions, decisions. Too many shoes in the world.

Anyway! Costume goes. I’ve got about a month and a half to get it ready, so I’m not too concerned. Slow and steady and what have you.

What are you up to, squiders?

Pondering Pen Names and Horror

Hi squiders! It’s stupid hot here and I am getting nothing done except watching ghost stories on YouTube.

(I love ghost stories. As long as it is day time.)

If you guys have been around for a while, you know that I am…confused about the idea of pen names. I mean, not what they are or anything, but whether they’re worth using, and when you might use one if they are.

I think I might have finally figured out a decent use for one.

(Though I am still waffly on the subject.)

I write a wide spectrum of stuff, from science fiction to fantasy satire to romance (of a speculative bent, of course) to children’s, and I’ve never quite seen a good place to break things up. Is fantasy mystery far enough away from urban fantasy to deliver a break? Children’s stuff vs. adult stuff? (And where does the YA stuff then go in that break?)

(I’m still pondering about the children’s/adult split. Oh well.)

But I’ve been working on a lot of horror lately, specifically science fiction horror, and it came to me the other day that maybe THAT should be the split. Horror vs. everything else.

People either like horror or they don’t, and it might make sense to have a pen name where horror people know they’re getting horror and not anything else I come up with. I mean, there’s some leeway between fantasy and urban fantasy and science fiction, especially if you tend toward a common core, and readers are probably fairly happy to ride along that spectrum. But a horror reader may not like to read urban fantasy (or vice versa, honestly).

The question then becomes…is this worth a pen name? And if it is, what do I do with the other horror things that have been published under my normal name? (My very first sale was a ghost story, and there was that Lovecraftian anthology from last year, and…) Can I republish them under my new name? Is that a logistical nightmare?

Once again, everything is clear as mud. Any thoughts, squiders?

If you have any final thoughts on the nonfiction covers, please let me know! My hope is to have the first nonfiction book released by the 20th. It’s mostly done, so I just need to finalize everything and get it up.

And the Landsquid book is also going well–I should be ready to start querying by the end of next week at the very latest.

See you next week!

Nonfiction Books and a Green Mars Update

Hi, squiders! How are you doing? My washing machine is leaking out the bottom and I’m trying to figure out if I need a new one, but it’s kind of a two-person job (one to tilt the washing machine, one to look under it) so I will have to wait until I have another adult to solve that one.

I know we’ve had a lot of media updates lately, but I wanted to let you know that I am working on the nonfiction books. I’ve re-ordered them for release based on the steps of the writing process, so they’re looking like this now:

  1. Finding Writing Ideas
  2. Common Writing Problems and Fixes
  3. Outlining
  4. Writing Consistently
  5. Writing Around Life
  6. Working on Multiple Projects at Once
  7. Submission and Publication

I wrote 6 first, as part of a training course I was taking at the time (kind of wondering if I should go back through the training course real quick), so I’m using that as the format for the other books. Plus, you know, the rest of the books are mostly a collection of blog posts at the moment.

So I’ve started working on the Writing Ideas book, adding in new material and streamlining the posts so they’re not repetitive, make sense, etc. I planned a workbook to go with that one (and also the multiple projects book) so I need to work on that as well.

Any thoughts on the publication order, squiders? I can’t decide whether Outlining should go before Common Writing Problems. Also, if you’d like to beta any of the books, let me know.

Also, I know we were supposed to discuss Green Mars as part of our Mars Trilogy readalong, like two weeks ago–or was it longer?–and I haven’t mentioned it recently, but I am working on it. It’s just slow going. The viewpoints are a little denser than the first book, which makes sense in context, but requires me to pay closer attention when reading.

Also I got eaten by Gemina. (If you’re not reading the Illuminae series and like science fiction + weird typography, you’re missing out.)

So, anyway! Green Mars is still coming, the nonfiction books are making good progress, and I’m feeling pretty good about how February is going in general, even with the sinus surgery.

I hope you guys are feeling pretty good too.

A Landsquid-y September

There’s been a distinct lack of landsquid on the blog lately, so here’s a landsquid on a laptop.

 

 

I am very pleased to see the end of September here. It’s been a pretty draining month, aside from Iceland at the very beginning. But it’s almost over! Hooray!

Here’s what’s ahead for October:

  • I’m doing a Christmas concert/play thing. It’s called “Christmas on Broadway” and is a collection of Christmas-related songs from Broadway musicals. I botched my audition again so I don’t need to do anything hard.
  • I’m also taking a drawing class! I’m super excited even though it is not cheap. Hopefully it is fun and I learn neat things.
  • I took a writing break for September to re-evaluate my goals and what I want to be working on, which I think has been beneficial. I’m going to go back to my rewrite, but I’m going to intersperse it with other things so I don’t feel like I’m trapped by it. Plus taking a break on it has made me excited to get back to work on it.
  • Here on the blog, we’ll start sticking in some nonfiction posts, topic to be determined.

That’s the general plan. As always, if you’d like more of a certain blog feature (library book reviews, landsquid stories or drawings, nonfiction post, genre musings) let me know!

Also I watched the first episode of the new Star Trek series, and I have Feelings, so maybe we’ll talk about that as well.

See you in October, squiders!

PitchWars, Tours, and Miscellany

Oh, Squiders, what a week I’ve had. Did I tell you that my stove caught fire? I think I did. It looks like we might actually get some money from the repair company, though! (We had someone out to check a burner on it–then the next time the burner was turned on, the entire electric system went up in flames.) But I also had to get the brakes replaced on my car, get a radon mitigation system installed, interview painters because we had a whole bunch of hail damage, etc. But in somewhat positive news, I’ve finally had the trim taken off the car so at least I never have to deal with that madness again.

Anyway, it’s been rough. I mostly want to burrow under my desk and read trashy romances and old Star Trek novels but, alas, I am an adult and have adulting to do. I mean, not that it’s getting done in a timely fashion, but I’m at least pretending.

In writing news, here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • I’ve got a new City of Hope and Ruin related prequel short story up for free over at Turtleduck Press! So if you liked CoHaR and would like more, there you go! And if you haven’t picked up CoHaR and would like a taste, tadah, free story! There’s also a free excerpt available.
  • So, apparently the application window for PitchWars was the 3rd thru the 6th. I like the idea of Twitter pitches and so have had the schedule open since January, yet have somehow managed to miss every event anyhow. PitchWars is a little more complicated–you pick four mentors and send in your first chapter and query letter, and if they pick you, they’ll help you polish your manuscript and query, and then in November they’ve got a panel of agents that look at the submissions, and I guess there’s been great success at people getting traditional publishing deals through it. Since there was a multi-day opening, I actually heard about it in time to get an application in for my YA paranormal novel, which I’m planning on going more traditional with.
  • I did, however, send in my application about 3 hours before the window closed. I guess if mentors are interested, they’re sending partial/full requests, and you’ll know you were selected before the official announcement on the 26th. I’ve heard nothing. It could be that I’m at the bottom of the queue and people haven’t gotten to me, or it could just be that I was so late into the game that people already had their eye on favorites. Or my submission could suck, but I’m trying to be optimistic.
  • I’ve finally got some momentum on editing the first book of my fantasy trilogy. It needs so much work. But I’m starting to see what it could be, and that normally helps on the motivation front.
  • But seriously, it needs so much work.
  • I joined Wattpad! You can find my profile here but I haven’t done much as of yet. A very nice author (whom you can find here) has been a doll about taking me under her wing and telling me how the site works.
  • We’re doing a space princess anthology for Turtleduck Press this year, so I’ve been working on that. I’m rather pleased with my story for it. I had a lot of fun doing science fiction instead of my normal fantasy–and space adventure science fiction at that.
  • Our long-term blog tour’s on right now. We’re giving away a $50 gift card again, so stop by any of the stops to enter. Thus far we have:
  • All stops have excerpts and blurbs and what have you, as well as tons of ways to enter the contest for the gift card.

I think that’s it in a nutshell. How are you, Squiders? Have you gotten up to anything fun or exciting lately?

Progress! Kind of.

Last week we talked about focus, Squiders, and my lack of it lately. I am pleased to say I am getting somewhere now! Well, sort of.

I was somewhat waylaid bad a nasty bout of vertigo over the weekend, which was not fun and seems to be lingering a bit, though it’s mostly gone at this point. I’ve also got a bit of headache, but I’m not sure that’s related.

But other than that, progress! But not necessarily related to writing.

As we talked about last week, I had four goals for June, only one of which got done while the other three had minimal progress. As a recap:

  1. Write and edit a short story for an anthology, due July 15.
  2. Get to the conflict remapping stage of the edit/revision on the first draft of my Trilogy book one.
  3. Finalize the new description for Shards.

You might also remember about three weeks ago when I said the sewing bug had come a-biting. You might also also remember that the larger, mobile one is out of school and we are all going insane.

That’s important.

So, where have I made progress? Well, I have made some writing progress.

  1. I’m at about 7K for my story, which is probably about 60% done. I’ve been writing about 1K a day on it, so I should hit the deadline on Friday.
  2. One of the first steps that I do on the revision stage of a book is to look at all the characters and make notes for tweaks/identify issues that need to be fixed. This is a high fantasy trilogy, so there are a lot of characters. I am finally done with that. I’m now ready to start tackling plot issues (of which there are many).
  3. I sent the hopefully final version out to the two people who have been helping me. Unless they come back with something major, this is probably done. Yay!

On the sewing front, I took the smaller, less mobile one to the fabric store on Friday, where we bought patterns, fabric, and necessary accessories. The larger, mobile one and I have been doing crafts, trying to do it daily for our own sanity. So today we finally put our fairy house out in the garden (we’ve been working on for about a month) since we got the furniture in the mail, and we also made fabric bracelets, which was a bit of a fail, since mine are too big and his is too small. Alas. Here’s pics, though.

Fairy House

Fairy House (hard to see furniture, but it’s there)

bracelets2016

Space and Trees, two of my favorite things

Man, the captions look terrible on this platform. Blegh.

Gotten anything useful done lately, Squiders?