Location,Location,Location

09/17/2012 at 6:01 pm (arts, writing) (, , )

I think I’ve touched on this before, but not in the context of where my book is going to be. Or rather, the latter part of my book. The first  three quarters or so will be on an alien planet, but once they get to Earth I need to pick a home for my characters. It’s something I’ve been mulling over, wondering, and doing a bit of eenie-meenie-miney-moe for. After my vacation last week, I think I’ve pretty much got it nailed.
I want a place near mountains, and fairly remote. At first I thought I wanted it near a city, or a bigger town, but now I don’t think so. Remoteness can be good. Collateral damage can be kept to the minimum (anyone ever wonder about all the buildings torn down in superhero stories?) There’s more space for fights or hiding. And lets face it, big cities have been done to death. It’s one of the things I love about the Moon Called series so much. It’s not huge and pretentious. The setting is comfortable. Familiar to the author. It’s a shame Mercy Thompson doesn’t have the rabid fanbase Bella does. The Tri-Cities area could be seeing a bump in tourism from it. In fact, I’m zeroing in on the location of Aspen Creek. Just need to figure milages…. ;P In fact. Here’s Baree Lake. I do remember something about Wanless Lake, just to the northwest. I think my dad used to tell stories about it. I could be imagining things. He tells lots of stories about mountain places. I lose track of place names.

But that’s the other thing. Those stories. I grew up on cowboy stories, hunting trips (he was a guide at one point), log building, all sorts of stuff. Not currently living in a place having those things, the next best thing would be setting a story in a place like that.

Hello Cody, WY! Laying aside the fact I was born there (I remember nothing of it), it has a number of things I like for the story. As a tourist spot, and being near Yellowstone, it gets a fair number of people through it from all over the country. This is good for the Chaos Demons. And it means that once they latch on to a person, the team will have to travel to go get them unlatched. So we still get a little world travel. But it’s not highly populated in and of itself. The people live not in one clump, but in a huge sprawl over the whole area, and there are some awesome houses there. It’s still close enough to Billings and a mall for the team to get major shopping done and people who need to visit can fly in there.  I’d considered Billings for a while, but it’s a little too big for what I want. I want the team to be known in the town, and familiar.

It’s going to mean research though. And crawling all over the town and it’s surroundings as much as I can when I go to visit.

Hey, more reasons to go right? XD

 

 

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Soapboxes

09/05/2012 at 10:19 am (arts, writing) ()

So I’ve been doing more drawing this week than writing. I’m stuck on a scene and the discovery that once I finish my first draft I’m going to have to go back and change my POV so it’s not third person (second maybe?) limited to what just one person sees. If I keep it the way it is I’m going to get screwed over later on. Heck, I’m in trouble now. I’ll just have to do a wider field of view, but still keep one person the focus of each scene. The problem will come when I try to foreshadow without giving things away. Bleh.

But that’s not what I’m really mulling over now.  One thing I’ve heard and seen is that most books have message or a theme. Be it preachy or be it subtle, a reader can usually see where a book is going with an idea if they look hard enough. Myself, I’m a fan of subtle. Books that try to hit me over the head with an idea tend to not get read again, or sometimes not even finished.

So what’s my message/theme going to be. What am I aiming for with my tale? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself. I know how the first book will end, but that’s not the end of the story as a whole. I need to figure out what lines my characters will and will not cross with this whole saving the world bit, and are they really even saving the world?  After all, these people haven’t heard of the Prime Directive.  The world they leave behind is in no way going to resemble the one they arrived on.

I have some ideas, but it pretty much boils down  the classic “If your mind is free it doesn’t matter what physical chains you’ve got holding you down” or something like it.  But I’m still ironing it out.

I’m not happy with some of the shading, and I completely forgot about the buckles on the jacket. Need to fix that. Hope to give this one colors eventually.

 

And to make up for the wait…

One side is too big. I know. But I think it’s the way it’s shaded. They made sense before I added lights and darks….

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Is there a medical term for this?

08/24/2012 at 7:32 pm (writing) (, )

Gaaaaaah! They’re after me!

I’m at war you know. It’s terrible. A horrible battle every day. And if I’m not losing, I’m only barely holding my own. Forget winning altogether.

What am I fighting you may ask? My bookshelves and Kindle. My vast collection of cookbooks and food magazines. World of Warcraft (Mists of Pandaria lands in a month-ish and I AM NOT PREPARED!). iTunes.

But most of all, it’s the books. I love them. I start one and I just can’t stop. I tear through them like wet Kleenex and turn around and come back for more.  Right now Harry Dresden has me by the short hairs and Mercedes Thompson isn’t far behind. Kate Daniels and Co. are languishing in a corner, content with the week they tore from my grasp.

And that’s not even counting the books I have but haven’t read yet. Or the ones I want to reread again. I WILL get past the Weather Hills without losing steam this time. Of course, the Mines of Moria tend to trip me up too.

In the midst of this I’m trying to alternate days of getting classwork done, scenes in the book finished, drawing somehow, housework, the blog, and figuring out how I want to publish this baby. Do I bang my head against the agent/publishing house wall and probably have to run my own marketing anyways? Or do I self publish and maybe have book out there that the general public doesn’t see fit to read.

It’s hard. It’s annoying. I wish I could quit my day job and just take care of the house and my work here. But I can’t. So I get up early, try to go to bed late, and neglect the yard (I think it needs a machete, not a mower).

 

How do you deal? Besides the oh so famous “MAKE TIME”

 

I will have new drawings soon. One is staring me in the face as I type, telling me to stop milling herbs and start working on shading.

 

So demanding :P

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It’s a big world out there…

08/20/2012 at 5:52 pm (worldbuildling, writing) (, , , )

So here’s a thing I’ve been thinking about off and on. You know that song It’s a Small World? Pfft. What am I saying. Who doesn’t know that song.?

Well it’s right. It is a small world. I can get to a town several hundred miles away a lot faster now than I could have in the days before air travel, cars, or even trains. Technology has, in so many ways, SHRUNK our world.

That’s why fiction uses the apocalypse so often.  It makes the world big.  All the people who were just a phone call or a drive or even a flight away from each other suddenly aren’t. It’s the dark ages all over again, when traveling through the local forest was viewed as dangerous, much less crossing continents. When kings pillaged and plundered their way across Europe (here’s lookin’ at you Crusades) just to fund the travel.  Watch The Book of Eli. Post apocalyptic America is now a chain of small communities run by whatever local person could gain leadership over the others. Obviously, few people travel and those that do are looked on with awe and suspicion. Can anyone say Old West please?

This whole big world thing, it opens up so many possibilities to the author. You can focus on one main area and learn/research it. Or develop it.  Your hero can just be out to save a city if you want, and the villain doesn’t really go after much more than just the one place.  Think of the Kate Daniels series. It focuses on Atlanta, Georgia. They leave the city occasionally, but for the most part things happen in the city and it’s ‘burbs. And it works so well.  Magic has cut people of from each other and mass transport is out. Planes just don’t stay up, sea monsters rule the waters, and if you don’t have a car that runs on enchanted water you might as well be afoot when the magic rolls around (which it does half the time). Therefore, Atlanta becomes the world and it takes major resources to be effective beyond it.

Of course, you can go the other direction in a big world. Patricia Briggs does a wonderful job with Mercedes Thompson. Air travel and everything exist, and her characters flip flop between states with the greatest of ease. But she has a reason to localize the magic, keeping her key characters and the chaos that follows them pretty much all in the same place.

Ah. Fae Reservations. Got it. Magic central. And the vampire master who stuck a pin in the map and sent Marsilia there. Got it. That gives us vampires. Oh. And the remoteness of a dinky one hotel and gas station/post office town in the Rockies. Great place for troubled werewolves to den up. And there you go. She’s tamped a good number of potential enemies all down in the same region and lit the keg. And it’s a beautiful thing that happens.  She’s made the world smaller, while at the same time keeping it big.

And I think that’s the key. A reason for things to localize. Or a reason for them to spread out.

 

Sorry. No sketchies today. Husband had the whole weekend off. So distracting ;P

Upcoming: How the heck all this rambling applies to MY book XD

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Doo-dee-dooo

08/17/2012 at 5:08 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Nothing really productive this morning. Husband person got off of nights and onto days, a thing that’s guaranteed to screw up my little mini-routine for a while. Not that I mind. Movies are more fun to watch with him, etc. He seems to be trying to get his paladin up past my warrior in WoW. Not that I care.

And I’ve been trying to get more posts together so I’m not just doing this off the cuff. Hopefully I can make a dent in some of them tonight and get some drawing done.

 

Whaddya say?

(Here, have a quick sketch)

 

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Men ><

08/11/2012 at 11:58 am (arts) (, )

I can’t draw them. Their necks are thick, their jawlines are different and their hair is usually short. Secret: I use long hair to hide the fact that I hate dealing with heads. I always end up drawing alien heads on people. Bleh. So what do I do? I get references! Like the DeLaney brothers here. Points to whoever guess which stars I used to help me draw them.

Arms. Arms hate me too. The muscles and how they fit into shoulders and chests… just blah. Me no likey.

These probably aren’t the final designs. Their eyes are too big, Adrien looks stunned, I always make lady lips on everyone, and I don’t know about those uniforms.

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A breather, a break

08/07/2012 at 5:08 am (writing)

Not from the blog. No, from assigning myself homework to get done every night and putting myself under pressure to get it done. I have, for the past two or three months, either worked on the book when I got home or worked on my classwork. And my brain’s fried. My house is a wreck.  I need a machete to get through my lawn (the 100 degree heat has not been encouraging in the area of traipsing around outside pushing  a lawn mower all over it either). So last night I said enough. I’d finished a unit of studies, a scene was done, and I had a zuchinni as long as my forearm that I’d yanked out of my garden.  So I decided to cut it up and make zuchinni bread. Mmmmmm. yum! And then I vacuumed, got the dishes taken care of and generally did housework. It was glorious.

Except it was 81 degrees inside and I think my AC is dying for some reason. Sitting in this room right now with my monster tower makes it hot hot hot.

 

The new, the old. You guess which is which :)

 

 

And as I do all these domestic things I know I’m going to have to kick myself back into gear shortly. I’ve always got a lull between scenes/units of my classes. I have a scene to start, which bring back the whole terror of blank spaces thing. I’ve got a new unit to start. And I’m trying to level two toons as high as I can get them before MoP hits WoW. Guh. Please, shoot me.

 

So, what have you taken a break from, or need to take a breather before you get back to?

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And it just keeps on coming

08/04/2012 at 6:46 pm (writing)

No not that. Mind out of the gutter. Or maybe that’s my mind. Blah. Brain’s all gone to mush. My momentum’s gone too. I should stay away from books. In the past week and a half I’ve gone through Ender’s Game, the Ender’s Shadow Quartet, Gunmetal Magic, it’s companion novella, and now I’m rereading the Kate Daniels series for probably the fourth time. I’m on book two. Go me.

I need to stop. I’m getting nothing done. This day had gone by in a blur of being busy but getting nothing done to show for it.

IT ENDS NOW!

I’m going to tell you about this wonderful book I’m writing. There’s a market for it. I know it. How can there not be? At the same time I think of trying to get a publisher for this thing and I seriously quake in fear. It’s my bane, my bugbear. The thing I’ve been working on forever and never finished. Not this time. Come hell or high water dang it!

But what is it? I’ve mentioned bits and pieces, but never laid it out. It’s partly because I blab and don’t want to give away too much. It’s also partly because I keep finding that it gives me new kinks and twists. Soar just gained a personality, and from now on I’ll have to remember that. Showing the canines is apparently the height of rudeness and Echo does that a lot. Little things.

I think it hovers between science fiction and fantasy. There’s space flight, flying cars, and alien invaders. There’s also people who can fly, heal with supernatural speed, and a sever fondness for swords. And did I mention the claws? Long. Cut through metal. Yeah. They’re a nasty violent bunch alright. In essence, alot of things you see in comics. There’s alien invasions, teams of heroes (not always super powered) and soap opera level insanity in a bunch of places. I like it. I think it has promise. It won’t be just one book, but I’m starting slow. There’s not a human in sight though for most of the first book. We’ll just see how it goes.

It doesn’t really have a name. I’m calling it the Talento Project. I can’t think of a title for the book itself. Nothing seems to catch my mind. There’s Talento: The Third Invasion, but that makes you ask “What about invasions one and two?” There’s Odalette, for the resistance movement that forms against the invaders, but that doesn’t quite ring with me either. As I get further on, I’m going to ask for advice and ideas. Help is welcome!

 

I don’t have any sketches for you today. But soon!

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A little bit of history

08/01/2012 at 7:52 pm (about) ()

So I’ve got this post I’ve been working on. It’s niggling at my brain kinda like the giant worm thing in the asteroid from Star Wars. And yes I know it had a name. I’m not so much of a geek that I know its name. And since I’m watching an ep of Angel right now, I don’t feel like looking it up. Suffice to say, it’s been bugging me.

But every time I go to write, I keep explaining myself, the point of view I come from, blah blah blah. So figured I could cut the BS and just do a post about myself. After all, everyone does one at some point right?

Here goes:

At the moment, I live in North Dakota. Right in the middle of what we call the oil patch. I work I’m medical records. A glorified librarian really. Ah fun. Before this I lived in Alaska. Land of snow, whales, moose, glaciers and all things touristy. And fun. And full of coffee. Seriously, you think Seattle is known for it’s coffee? It is, but Anchorage has the most coffee shops per capita in the US. I miss it. Turn a corner, find a coffee shop. Turn the next, hey! It’s coffee shack! I think it has something to do with the daylight hours. I think there are…maybe two real coffee shops and three roadside stands here. And they close crazy early.

Which is stupid. I don’t drink coffee much early.

My father is an artist of the oil painting Western/Landscape/Portraiture variety. I grew up on color,composition, and all things arty. At the same time, I read like they were going to burn every book in the world and I needed to have seen them before they were gone. I discovered fantasy in the form of the “Redwall” novels and took off from there into “The Dragonriders of Pern”, the whole “People of the…” books and a number of others. Around the time I was in 8th grade I decided to draw and become an animator. So I drew. And drew. And drew. And drew some more. Once I graduated high school I went to a state college on a Fine Arts decree. Then I switched to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online and worked toward an Animation degree. That had to stop once we moved down here. Lack of money you see.

So there you have it me. I go to work, come home, study, read things online, write, rinse and repeat as needed. Enjoy!

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Children avert your eyes!

07/25/2012 at 5:44 pm (Uncategorized)

This post here. It makes this place NSFW. Not really on a regular basis, but it will definitely happen again. Why?

Because pulling punches and shying away from reality doesn’t make a story better. Safer maybe. Something that fits into someone’s idea of acceptable, but not always better. Not to say that extra violence,language,etc is going to make a story BETTER either. But to me the idea of pulling my punches on purpose, just to make it less offensive to some, isn’t going to serve the story very well.  I’m writing about the end of a world and the invasion of another. There is war, heartache, death, betrayal, the whole nine yards.  And in order to make my point it’s going to take blood, guts, and the other nine yards to pull it off.

Do I want to write something like Game of Thrones (which is well written yes, but I find the subject matter to be abhorrent as a general rule and the casual disregard for any sort of morality means I haven’t even finished the first book. They killed Ned for Pete’s sake, and he wasn’t saint but he wasn’t the demon half the other characters seem to be either). Neither will it fit in the Christian book genre, although that’s something I don’t plan to shy away from either. But there’s a reason that I don’t read Christian books and it’s because I’m never quite convinced there’s ENOUGH conflict.More often than not they  feel dumbed down (Except Voice in the Wind. Not that set!)

So, somewhere in the middle will sit my baby, who has no name. And because of this, I’m going to show you the following character sketch. Enjoy!

Sacrifice for power

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