Saturday, December 30, 2017

Getting In For the Long Game

It took me three years to get off my butt and finish converting all the images from "The Bard In Stick Figures" into true graphics. The downside, the print on some of the images became too small to read as a result for digital publication. But the good side of all of this, it means that the graphics are ready to go for the new publication. Other issues we ran into include that the publication works best in horizontal and not so awesome for black and white only tablets which still represents about 60% of the market base (including me!). But it's still better than "nothing".

In my personal writing endeavors, however, I'm stumped. My characters have one sided relationships, they do not share what they like about each other, I suspect that one of my characters, no matter who she would end up with, it would not be easy for anyone.

Despite setbacks, one of the things I really like about writing is the process. Just getting the words on the page and not worrying about the artful imagery, though at times, that proves to be useful. Knowing what I see in my characters and needing to bring that out and share with others is very important to my work.

And I did not win any lottery. So back to the salt mines to do taxes.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017

If it is not obvious, managing nearly eight different blogs and working three full time jobs has eaten away at my blogging abilities. But that wasn't the reason my NaNo got derailed at all this year. As of today, I did cross into 50,000 territory. I had initially started out aiming for 61,000 words. On Thursday last week, my anxiety crossed new boundaries. There was no reasonable way for me to make a personal best this year. 
I don't talk a lot about anxiety. I've had it for years. But on Thursday, after one of my regular jobs, I was informed I would not go in on Friday. The entire employee base was denied entry to work for safety and the seriousness of the situation. Police barricaded all entry points. For the first time in my life, my worse fears were at my feet. Where could I go? This still has not resolved and the police action is valid. I'm personally prepared to return to work, I know on Monday I will have specific information that I will not be able share on social media but marching orders are what they will be. But on Friday, while I was managing family and work from the car, I broke. The idea of looking at a personal best was impossible. I have never written a sentence of NaNo from my car on the side of a road, but this year I did. And while I did so, I couldn't look at my characters. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be anywhere but useless. And in my car, with my laptop open, I was officially useless. I decided 
I could not make 61,000. I would have to make 50,000 and just write a few extra days. And like that, my anxiety leveled off.

What did I learn?
  • I have gotten better at describing a single situation. I still need to work on my chapter transitions. I really have good scenes built up when I think about the things I want to hit. 
  • My main character is very much an introvert. They relish in their solitude, but do not resent the people that pull them out for snippets of time. My introverts value the world they have to navigate but in their solitude, they shine. But the world is unkind at times to introverts and it seems so much bigger than they are.
  • If i keep working at my major plot holes, I eventually do find a great way to fix them. 
  • Using real life events are a bad idea. This year because of some situations beyond my control, I went with a "solution" that then became front page news. I cannot publish this story. Fictional pain that then becomes real pain, even by coincidence is not a real plot point. See my entire paragraph of anxiety above.
NaNo goodies are now mine for the taking. I will write all thirty days, get my first thirty day badge. Then back to work.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Stalled out but not down

So I've been puttering around with no less than twelve pretty serious works in progress.
I had settled that my last year's NaNo would be cut down into a short story, but then I stalled out into making some serious decisions for my characters and I just did not feel like that was organic enough to address.
Then I have this huge math book project and I couldn't decide whether or not to put work samples in or not. But that was actually a 'little' problem compared to getting information in there correctly. That project is slowly coming together.
I have six geography projects in progress. The problem there is trying to gather enough research to be credible. Plus all the map illustrations are currently still in progress.
Then there's my newest Stick Figure book. Yes! I have another Stick Figure book in progress. Today's breakthrough there was actually really profound. I'm partnered into an art class this last part of the term and today we introduced proportional facial feature drawing. And all the information I learned nearly twenty-five years ago came back. Unlike my last Stick Figure book, which was based on Shakespeare, it's a lot harder when the same character is at the center of the story and his outward appearance changes because it's literally years of abuse his body takes in the story. So how do you know it's this guy and not another guy? It's the face. It will always be the face. I finally had a breakthrough about facial shapes looking at the options given. I reviewed classical proportions, appropriate due to the content of the book, and was reminded the stress of facial expressions had in classical sculptures. On the plus side, it's also encouraging me to draw larger, which is all right, I can have a few views of much more detailed faces.
There are assorted works of fiction and non-fiction all demanding different attentions from me and I still have yet to address them all. But I will. And I need to publish this summer because I don't know when I'll have a chance ever again.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Those mid-NaNoWriMo reminders

I am 34,000+ words into this year's NaNoWriMo. Again, I aim for 60,000 words. Other than being seriously sick last week, 60,000 looks like it may just be in the cards again. Except for a few things.
One of the pieces of advice I recently took to heart was looking at making sure the characters did not always get what they wanted. And I realized, part of my current NaNoWriMo is boring because I am literally letting my characters get what they want. On the plus side, however, I have been re-working scenes (read I re-wrote them) and getting to those roadblocks.
Other things of note: I did not realize unto recently how lonely all of my characters are without associates in their lives to help guide them through life's journey. I get my characters happy with being in the lives of someone else but no one else is in their life at all. No sage, no friend, no comic relief. This is why my stories stop-start so abruptly. I need to work on that.

And I need to get back to work. I am too old to be doing this on a Friday night.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

When the Push Isn't the Story

There is no secret, I'm constantly churning out at least a short story or two. But lately, my work hasn't been as fruitful. And it's definitely slowed. Certainly my life situations do really limit my productivity. Between the fact that I'm trying to find a grad school that will take me and testing for other issues related to getting into the grad programs I wish to get into.

So this is the first year in a long time I have access to the required reading block in my academic schedule where it's required that all students come in and read at the beginning of class. And to my unexpected pleasure, the teacher with whom I am partnered with this year, has a wonderful book collection. I am in book heaven. I spent the first three weeks of the school year devouring a new book and then I realized there was a book I "should" read. I picked up that book, it is a biography.

The medium of biography is not a focus of the type of writing I do: general descriptive non-fiction and fiction. But as I read this story and look at the life of another person who just had an opportunity like no one else could have ever believed. I haven't even gotten to the primary focus of the biography yet.

But this reminds me of two things: writers need to read everything and then reading helps writers get clarity in directions of the ways their fiction or non-fiction need to be able to appeal to a variety of readers.

Yes I am still writing. I am still reading as well. I hope to become more open to reading more genres.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Editing is the bane of my existence. Fortunately, for me, I make either subtle mistakes that I can ponder over, delete, and re-word into a simpler manner, or I make huge errors and freak out that they are giant glaring mistakes.

Today, looking at the manuscript heading to the publisher, I removed three pages and then had to sort through some tricky issues with the index. I have to admit, I do the index in a most strenuous manner, but there's got to be a better way sometimes. But on the upside, this upcoming publication has nearly five pages just of sources.

Almost ready to send to final publish. On a second 24 hour hold. We will see.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

So many things

Hi Again!

The irregular posts are returned!

I am actually looking at three short stories that I'm trying to build into a book. I have four books I'm in progress, the hardest with over 500 hand drawn illustrations. And I'm still a little confused why I choose to tackle these artistic challenges.

So I'm about 15 images into 500 illustrations. This may take longer than I anticipated.

I'll be back to blog soon. Lots of work needs to be done.