First of all, I have to say kudos to Mr. Sanderson. Finishing this series must have been a bear of a task, and he did a fantastic job with it.
Secondly, this has been a horribly unproductive week for me, and I’m placing the blame squarely on that book. Good books are awful like that: even when you aren’t reading them, they’re still in your head, interfering with real life. A Memory of Light kept me up until 3AM Wednesday, because I got to a point where I just couldn’t put it down and go to bed. Then when I did get to bed, my dreams were of course all Wheel of Time rehashing. So I was a little zombie-ish yesterday.
Anyway, my thoughts. And these are very much “I just reached the end of a very long and complex series, and have not really had much time to really think it over” thoughts. (Warning, spoilers ahead) Read more…
As a writer, I find myself saying this a lot.
I’ve heard of writers who have a difficult time coming up with ideas…and I confess, I have no idea what that feels like. As of right now, if I never had another story idea again, I have enough material sitting on my computer to keep me occupied for the next decade, at least.
Ideas can come from anywhere and anything. For example, this Tumblr.
I found it via one of the many blogs I frequent. At first it was merely amusing and interesting. Street art is always something I’ve thought about doing (except in real life I’d probably be too afraid of getting arrested), but as I kept clicking through it I had that realization: there’s a story here.
What struck me about this kind of street art was that element of the sublime breaking through the mundane in small ways, of people leaving little pieces of themselves out there for other people to find and appreciate. There’s a lot you could do with that, especially in a story setting. Like…
What if it wasn’t NYC, which still contains bits of the natural world, but a futuristic metropolis whose people no longer even remember what a tree is?
What if such “vandalism” wasn’t just slap-on-the-wrist illegal, but actively, dangerously forbidden?
What if the people leaving the messages were trying to warn everyone else about something?
I could take this conceit a number of different directions:
Urban fantasy: Have the street artists be fairies, or some other fantastic race dropping clues about themselves for humans to find. Conversely, have the street artists be human, leaving messages to the Fae (or not, but the Fae take interest anyway).
Futuristic sci-fi 1984-ish dystopia: Some sort of totalitarian government doesn’t want people to remember their past. Government is hiding something from the people. There is a resistance. Etc.
Straight up mystery: A body and a literal trail of clues. Serial killer as a street artist. However, as that’s not my usual genre, I’d need a really good in-story reason to take it that direction.
Literary: Connect the street art mystery to a character’s inner journey, maybe make them sojourn across America, something lovely and cheesy like that. Also not my usual genre…maybe I’d fantasy it up a bit, include some supernatural element.
However, any and all of these require a cast and a setting. Right now my two most likely settings are good ole Earth…or if I go the dystopia route, Dell from the Mask of Eldermarch would make an ideal metropolis. I’d have to decide where on the timeline such a story would fall: before or after the events in Mask? I could put it on a new world entirely, of course, but that takes work
More important are the characters, especially if this turns into any sort of literary story. I may go poking around through my character folder and see if anyone might fit…but right now, I don’t have a clue who this story would be about. And one thing I’ve learned is not to force it. The right character will manifest eventually.
In other writing news, I’m making progress on the first Grimm short story (which is probably going to end up being more of a novelette). But as I have three drawings I need to finish before mid-March and two other bigger ones on the back burner, I haven’t been putting a whole lot of time into Grimms.
I’m perhaps about halfway done with Turn Loose the Mermaids, and have been wrestling with the question of which epic to do first. I was going to tackle The Poet and the Pendulum, but…if there’s one NW song I absolutely do not want to “practice” on or rush or screw up, that’s it. Thus, I’ve decided to do that one last. The first epic I’m going to do, then, is FantasMic. I have a pretty good idea of where I’d go with it, and it’s Disney…there won’t exactly be a shortage of source images to work from.
Well, I sort of changed my mind about having a separate page for the project…I can just post updates in the regular blog and tag them. Also, FYI, this is a longish post.
I finished Storytime at last, and have been working on Turn Loose the Mermaids. Storytime turned out really, really good…I’m quite proud of it:
(If you want a close-up look, I also have it over on deviantART.)
I’ve started an audacious, slightly insane project. Actually technically I started it back in September, in that first NW drawing I did. You know, this one:
The Space Coast Writers’ Guild puts on a writing conference every year, around the end of January…and it always manages to sneak up on me 😛 It’s a small, comfortable conference, and we do manage to get some very good people to come and speak. This year we have something like five agents and two or three editors, so I’m hoping that will draw more people in.
Info about it, including speakers, events, and registration, can be found here: http://www.scwg.org/conference.asp
It sneaks up on me despite the fact that I’ve been in charge of designing the program for the past…I think this will be my fifth conference, and the fourth that I’ve done the program for. But inevitably there’ll be that moment in mid-January where my brain goes, “Hmm, the conference is in 10 days…WAIT WHAT?? *panic*”
Now this year I almost have something like an excuse. I’ve been getting stuff ready to enter Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel contest, AND working on a drawing for the Beautiful Creatures contest over at deviantART. I have, thankfully, gotten both of those done, so I can concentrate on the conference program these next few days.
This is how the Lena pic came out. Pen and ink, like I’ve been doing, but then I took it into Photoshop, cleaned it up a bit, and added a little bit of coloration. We’ll see how it does; last night I did some poking around on deviantART, looking at the other entries, and the competition looks to be pretty stiff.
As far as the conference program goes, in the past I’ve found that making the program is always quicker than making the initial registration booklet. All the graphics and photos and stuff are essentially made; all I have to do is reorganize them.
This year is going to be a little different, as we’re making an actual 8.5×11 sized program complete with ads. I’m actually looking forward to having the extra space; inevitably the most difficult part is not so much making the content look good, but fitting it all in. Of course it might end up like a purse: the more space you have, the more stuff you end up putting in. I could be eating these words…we’ll see. I plan to have a rough draft done by Thursday.
The conference means I probably won’t be making much headway into anything else until the beginning of February. I’ve got several drawings planned, and am going to start really working on the Grimm project.
I’m putting Mask of Eldermarch on hold for now, pending the results of the Amazon contest. If Hands, Like Secrets does end up advancing all the way to the end (hey, I can hope), then I will need to get Promises, Like Tears edited and get moving onto the last book. If it doesn’t, then I’ll pick Mask back up again. I do intent to get one novel finished this year…just not sure which one it will be yet.
That’s it for now. See you after the conference!
I don’t know that I’ve ever done one of these before.
I actually don’t normally make New Years resolutions…not the conscious, write-it-down on a notepad list sort. Maybe I’ll have a vague notion of “Hmm, maybe I should try to accomplish such and such this year…”, but I’m not enough of a goal-driven person for that to actually motivate me beyond thinking about what a great idea it is. Read more…
I’m writing this on Christmas Day, while the boys are busy playing video games. Not something I was ever into. Therefore, I’m pretty bad at them, which makes me disinclined to play them, which means I don’t get any better…it’s a self-defeating cycle I have no particular inclination to break.
Things have been busy these past few weeks, as might be expected. Read more…
A writing book I read a while ago compared a writer’s brain to a coffee percolator. Ideas are like coffee grounds…sometimes you have to gather a bunch and let them sit in there and soak for a while, maybe even multiple soakings, before you get something, er, drinkable. And even though I don’t drink coffee, this stuck me as a good metaphor for what I do.
I have ideas that have literally been sitting in my head, evolving and changing and growing for years that still aren’t what I would consider “ready” (Hello, Tindaari, my darling sprawling epic fantasy…I have not forgotten you). “Ready” meaning at a point where I could sit down and start building the basic plot.
I’ll tell you something that, if you are any sort of artist at all, you probably already know. Ideas are cheap. Ideas are everywhere, in everything, all the time. Everyone has them. Most people have more ideas than they could ever realize in a whole lifetime. The human imagination is a busy little shoulder devil, always yapping and pestering and going “omglookatthis! and you could do thisandthisandthis with it!”.
(Especially at night. Or in the shower. Or during long car rides when you have nothing to write on.)
Or in my case, when I’m brushing my teeth. Maybe it’s the mint? Read more…
I know why This Chosen Fate was giving me such a hard time, and now I’m kind of kicking myself.
I thought I just wasn’t in the right mood or mindset to tackle the story right now, or something…eh, I should know better. Being a writer means being able to write oneself into the appropriate mood, if necessary, which was why I was so frustrated. I should have known that meant something was wrong with the story itself. That’s almost always the culprit behind my bouts of writers’ block…an issue with story structure.
I finally broke down and created a DeviantART account. Maybe it will keep me motivated to keep making art after the NW buzz dies down. (It’s starting to, a bit). I’ve put up all the NW stuff, plus some dragon sketches I’ve had sitting around. I’m realizing I have a lot of artwork sitting around the apartment that I’ve just never gotten around to scanning…will have to fix that when I get home.
I’m slowly, slowly making progress with Last Ride of the Day…it has a lot of faces, which are tricky to do with pen. Also, I finally have a composition for The Poet and the Pendulum that I’m more or less happy with, but I’m going to let it sit for a bit before I look at it again.
I’ve put two compositions together this weekend, and I’m really excited to start working on them. One is The Siren, pretty straightforward based on the song. The other started as just a scene in my head of a girl on some cliffs by the sea, releasing a nightingale…and slowly turned into something like The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove. That one is a lot more personally autobiographical than any of the others I’ve done.
I also started a composition for Turn Loose the Mermaids, but it hasn’t really come together the way I want it to yet. Just a matter of getting the elements arranged right. The challenge is that I’m incorporating elements that aren’t directly in the lyrics of the song. (Hey, the lyrics are vague in places. “All the relics of a life long-lived”, ya know?) Plus, I jokingly refer to Mermaids as my “magic song”…in that weird things happen when I listen to it. Paper lanterns and white pelicans. Makes it harder to get right.
In writing, I’m still pushing my way through Mask of Eldermarch. Problem is I’ve mired myself down in the middle and can’t seem to work my way through to the ending I have planned. I think what I’m going to have to do is just jump in, start writing the draft and see if the characters can work out something I haven’t thought of.
I’m also working on a pseudo-autobiographical…mind-trip, I guess. It started because I wanted to update the biography I had on the site, and I didn’t want to write another boring “hi, my name is ____ and this is what I do…” I wanted to do something based on some personal symbolism, my blue path/brown path, earthsoul/oceansoul mess. It’s not anything I’ve ever tried to work with before because it’s kind of complicated and probably won’t mean much to anyone except me.
So I started picking back through my old dream journals, livejournal entries, poetry I wrote some years ago…and wow. I’d forgotten how dark some of that was, and how interesting some of those dreams were. Then I got this idea to make a larger story using these dreams, stitch them together into something that would make sense, sprinkling song lyrics and my own poetry and words throughout. (No, I don’t have Imaginaerum on the brain AT ALL *cough*)
I’ve started the bare bones of the story, which has three main characters who are all kind of aspects of myself:
Merisielu (Oceansoul in Finnish)
Jikokoro (Earthsoul in Japanese)
I don’t expect it to make a whole lot of linear sense when I’m done. What I’m really after is to write something that’s kind of dreamy and pretty and personal to me. We’ll see how that goes.