Friday, 28 October 2011

Regular broadcasts on hold

    So, I know it’s supposed to be a Friday Links post today but sadly I can’t do it. For the last week I’ve been super busy trying to get work done for NaNoWriMo, both on the real life stuff that is going to crop up and on the novel outline itself. Ergo – no linkage due to lack of internet stalking (<-- How I normally get my links).

    Throughout November I’m going to be putting the regular posts on hold. I will still be blogging but it’ll mostly be about NaNo and the fact I want to burn my computer. At least if some of the stories I’ve heard are true anyway. As it is right now I have little to tell you about NaNo. Well ok there is a little bit :P ...
    I’ve found an awesome new way of outlining called phase outlines. Essentially you break up a scene into all its little moments in a way and write 30 to 40 words briefly explaining these moments. Once you’re actually writing you can expand these into 100-200 word bursts, maybe more. I’m finding it useful because it’s helping me to see where I’m going with the story, from A to C while including B, if I can’t get from one scene to the next, especially in the brief and vague phases then I won’t be able to write it (which means more planning for me), as a result I know I need to change something further back before it’s too late. I’m only about 1/5 of the way through my outline right now but I’ve yet to have any issues. I also get ideas for short moments in between each scene that I can put in as I write (mostly that’s my characters taking over and demanding moments that I’m not sure work, we’ll see). I found out about the phase outline through a link on NaNo, maybe some point soon I’ll be able to find it and post a link (connection’s too shaky right now).

Anyhoo. Catchya later peeps!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Progress Wednesday: in which everything has gone to pot.

As the title says, all my grand plans for my personal challenge have gone KaPoof.  I’ve not gotten any more of the Sketchbook Project worked on and no more comic pages planned or drawn.
       It is, however, all self-imposed. I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, with only a little over a week to go. This was back on Friday. It starts 1st November and if I’m to have any success or hope of reaching the 50,000 word goal I’m going to need a fair bit of planning sorted. I’m not one of those people who can just write as they go, not even for something that, to them, is a bit of fun. I tried that already with the novel I’m currently working on and I’ve just ended up stuck in two places (not good as I need to join the two together at some point). 
        Anyway, I digress. This week has been solely devoted to outlining and planning and plotting. I’ve filled several pages of a lovely purple notebook with notes on the world of my story and the races in it. I’ve gone for a slightly different genre for NaNo in the hope of challenging myself and also as an experiment to see if I can write better in another genre. I’ve got a complete outline, information on races, information on organisation, a ton of reference pages online and main Character-character profiles. What I don’t have however is, a setting, support characters (no, not even names or appearance) or even a working title. At the moment I’m referring to it by the name of one of the unnamed characters (if that makes no sense, I’m calling the novel the same thing that I call one of the characters).
        Half of the week is gone though and the next few days are looking crazy busy. If I’m to have any hope of finishing I either need Bernard’s Watch (did anyone else ever watch that show?), a Time-Turner, or just to cut myself off completely. Monday and tonight is looking like my best bet to be able to finish the planning stages. Trouble is that there’s just so much to do. It’s my own fault though, I should have signed up sooner and planned a bit more, or you know, used one of my existing plots (what?! No! That’d be too easy, crazy writing girl!).
         For now though, it’s back to the plotting board and the notebook, in the hopes of achieving more material ready to be shoved into a novel’s first draft.

Until next time chums.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Sunday Workspace: Now with more writing

Alright, I admit it; I almost forgot that I’d promised a blog today. I’m a very bad writer/artist/blogger (person). What matters though is that I’ve remembered and have written this lovely, albeit brief, entry so please don’t pelt me with old fruit or run away!
So getting on topic, in my workspace for the next week are;

  1. A series of Sketchbook Project Illustrations. Primarily they’ll be those of the world wonders, some will be the bases for a couple of fold out pages. I’m hoping to get some cutting and sticking done as well as a bit more water-colouring (I really do enjoy watercolour), all on those few pages that I have planned.
  2. Further outlining for NaNoWriMo. So far I’ve got the separate scenes (mostly) outlined on individual note-cards. I can expand each scene on the back and move them around (yes I am so much of a geek that organising excites me).  I’ve got to get the order set and ready for expanding.
  3. Lots and lots of research. I’ve got various areas that I want to research based on my novel idea; mostly surrounding the supernatural and the various mythologies surrounding those topics. I’m starting simple, using Wikipedia (I know, I know, it’s not 100% reliable however I’m adapting the info to suit me it’s not that big a deal) but by the end of the week I hope to have made a few visits to the library (that is if I get over my weird fear of going to the library alone out of paranoia that the books’ll eat me... ooh idea!)
     I did want to be a pantser (someone who rights by the seat of their pants) but the organising geek in me just couldn’t avoid the whole basic-outline-outline-by-scene-character-profile-exactly, thing.  That also reminds me, I need to come up with some more names for my characters along with descriptions, personality, backstory etc. I accept and acknowledge that I’m weird about this stuff but I reckon that’s part of the joy of being a writer. I just don’t think that Bethany is the name of my MC (main character for the non-writers on here) and as a result I gotta fiddle with that...AGAIN.
      (Here’s a bit of whining/self-pitying, just to show that I’m not this mad happy gremlin that runs around Nottingham.) I accept that I’ve gone off Witchan for the time being. Maybe I started it too soon, I don’t know, I did put up the first pages before I’d even finished the Introduction when it’s possible that I should have waited until then. As it stands though I’m just going to focus on my writing and see if that gets me any closer to reaching my dream of being published. When the urge to draw a page or two strikes me though I’m not ignoring it and hopefully I can and will get a buffer going. I’m not going to force it though (forced art is bad art!)

So that’s what I’ll be doing this week. How about you? Any trips? Anyone else preparing for NaNoWriMo?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Friday Links; A little more writerly

That’s right it’s that time of the month again. I’ve been linking a lot to crafting websites lately. Well, this week I’ve gone all writerly (it’s a real word I swear *cough*) Not only have I been working hard on my current work-in-progress, a novel that is still nameless, but I’ve also been planning and searching for research (real word again :P) for the other idea I’ve got brewing (more on that later).  Anyway, on to the real purpose of this post.

My first link today is to this blog right here. You don’t have to go all the way through her archives but I strongly recommend it. It’s truly inspiring. Rachel Hawkins is a published writer with a trilogy in the works. She’s got two of the three books published as well as a few more novels in the works. It’s following her journey to this point that is amazing though. She was a teacher at a school that was depressing her horribly. At the urging of her husband she quit her job, as did he, and spent her time writing a novel. She sent it off to an agent and then got the book deal (all with a toddler which I just can’t imagine being able to do). She is a success story, and unlike some other people, she’s willing to share her success and give help and pointers to other wannabe-novelists.  It’s not just an inspiring story (yes I’m saying that a lot but it’s true!!) it’s an interesting one too, simply in that you get insight into the writing process of other writers. I find this ridiculously helpful. I’m one of those people that suffer slightly from anxiety of failure. I’m constantly worrying that I’m doing whatever I’m doing wrong. I seek constant validation that I’m doing it right. Just reading her blog, along with a few others, has shown me that there are so many different types of writers, from planners to ‘pantsers’ (a writer that just writes on the seat of their pants, winging it) and that the way I write is the way I write, there’s nothing wrong. (Back on track,) I’ve spent at least half the week reading through her archives, reading her thoughts as she struggled with the whole thing, even though I know how it ends, I’m just a big geek like that. She also put me on to the next link, having participated multiple times throughout the year.

NaNoWriMo, standing for National Novel Writing Month. I’ve found it before and looked into it but Rachel’s blog brought it back to my attention. Originally started in San Fransisco 1999, by one guy with a small group of friends to get them to at least try to write a novel, it has since expanded to cover so many countries. It’s has now sparked a non-profit organisation with a full time staff, charitable giving and more writing events during the year. It’s weird to think that it has been running for 12 years now. It offers a chance to bring together other writers from the area and gives encouragement and... wait, why am I telling you this?! Go go check it out for yourself, sign up, it’s free!  I signed up today so hopefully I’ll be able to get the vast majority of a novel written before the year is out. Unfortunately you are required to start a novel from scratch, doing only preparation beforehand. That rules the use of my current novel. I figure though that it’s a perfect chance for me to bring in that new idea (See! See!). I’ve got about 10 days to get the research done for the most part. And I’m going to meet a bunch of other Notts based writers. No worries though, I won’t be stopping my other creative endeavours.

This weekend I plan to learn to knit once more, getting inspired to take it up again from Rachel’s blog, so hopefully I’ll have new things to tell you about. Also keep an eye on the site, I plan on fiddling with the design a little.
Well, what are you waiting for?! Go check out those pages!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Progress Wednesday: Personal challenge, general crafting and a bit of baking.

So this week I've been up to a fair bit of fun and creative stuff. A fair bit of it is related to my Personal Challenge and the October targets. Firstly I've managed to finish another chapter-type thing for my novel. It's a bit tricky to tell this sort of thing now because I've removed the chapter seperations from my first draft. Either way, I've managed to write a large amount since I last posted about the novel. It's tricky because I still wanna research and create my world but at the same time I'm writing. The great thing is that I've found a load of history programs on BT Vision that I can watch as part of research regarding the world itself. As I've been writing though my characters' histories have been revealing parts of my world's culture. I guess that's the way sometimes, when the writing itself runs away and takes on a life of its own.
 For the Sketchbook Project I've managed to finish another page. This one will be in the first few pages and is part of a series of 'Wonder Images' a bunch of pictures linked by the theme of the Wonders of the World. I figured I'd start from England and work my way eastward acround the world from there. This was drawn with soluble watercolour and ink. I sketched the design first before I shaded in the sky and ground with the colour crayons before running over with a wet paintbrush. I then outlined the stones with a fineliner and used a brush pen that was running out to lightly scrub in the texture of the stones.
The lines on the other page, around the date-stamp, is the next in the series, the Eiffel Tower in France. Talking about this has made me think that maybe I need to start taking pictures of my progress as I create a piece.

The picture to the right ---> is also another image for the Sketchbook Project. This comes much later in the book.
In other Personal Challenge news, I've managed to finish the colour for the first full page of Witchan. I need to go over the colour with water as I've used water-soluble pencil crayon again. There will be a white border around it all once I've scanned and editted it on the computer. First though, I've got to fiddle with scanning settings so that the pages scan properly. The comic's on hiatus now, as I said before, while I try to sort things out.
 I spent most of today playing with glue, tissue paper, pom-poms, pipe-cleaners, foam, lolly sticks and goggley eyes. I'll probably pop a few pictures up of my creations once I've finished making them. For now, enjoy these images of my mince pies, I spent Monday afternoon making them by hand. They're surprisingly tasty and now all gone. The big one with the shooting star hole is big enough for two!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Sunday Workspace: pretty much the same as last week

So to be honest, my workspace is pretty much the same as last week. I'm working on my novel, the new idea and the Sketchbook project.
Today I went for a walk and came across a bunch of pottery scattered across a field. I grabbed a couple of shards and cleaned them up with my thumb as I carried on with my walk. There's a fabulous pattern on it that I fully intend on copying into the Sketchbook. I like the idea of including images from when I'm actually travelling, even if it's just a walk around the village or the country park and fully intend on wandering around in the next few days with my camera and art journal so I can sketch some scenes to draw in. I did have a bunch of images planned to include but I'm fully happy to replace those with my walk pictures.
In other Sketchbook Project news, I'm also working on the first full signature this week, drawing loose pencil crayon images and water colour paintings of the wonders of the world. I'll explore more about that once I have some actual pictures to show, which will hopefully be on Wednesday. Provided I don't get distracted again by a ridiculous job interview, stage two that is.
In terms of the two novels, I hope to write a few more chapters, or at least further what I've already written. It's a bit tricky, referring to chapters in my writing at the minute as, because it's a first draft, I'm now just writing as I go. I will write certain things seperately if the idea for later parts come before I actually have reached them with my writing. For the other novel I hope to write a clearer story outline and a few character profiles as well. I may, if I manage to develop my notes enough start on the Snowflake method, a method of writing found on the internet that I will explore more fully in Friday's link post. I also plan on doing some research for the idea too. So come Wednesday I may well have a bunch of papers to show you. Here's hoping at any rate.
In terms of Witchan, I hope to have some more page layouts organised, and hopefully, fingers crossed, I'll manage to sketch out the pencil lines for a couple of those pages. I also want to get the colour on at least a couple of pages finished. Considering the amount of detail that I've drawn into each panel though, it's looking slightly harder though but I'll try anyway. Either way, I want to try and create a buffer soon so that I don't have to keep the comic on hiatus for too long.
Whelp, that's it for today's post, I'll blog again soon.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Friday Links; Creative artists. Cats and a Decision

Welcome to another Friday links post. I've got a bit more than just links to share with you todday, being a general blog post as well as a link sharing blog today. I'll get the links out of the way first though before moving onto the other things.

To kick it off, I share with you tortagialla. She's an Italian based American artist and all around crafty person. Her art has this cutesy, childlike vibe with the sophistication of adult art. It's beautiful and inspiring and she's so explanitory of certain crafts. There's a ton of tutorials where she explains, clearly and with pictures, how to make a variety of journals and other bookish items. I fully intend to try my hand at a few of them some point soon, once I've got myself sorted in terms of employment. She's also got a clear grasp of the money-making side of arts and crafts, she seems to have become relatively successful through internet selling. The thing I think I love the most about her blog though is that she's not afraid to share parts of her success with her readers. The blog itself is clear and easy to read and navigate. I've not once gotten lost or confused on it. As a result of all these factors it's a firm bookmark within my internet reading, I check it at least once a day for an update.

My second link is another artist's blog, Voyages of the Creative Variety ran by a Kiwi by the name of Tori. I first found her through the CraftGawker website and I just love her blog. Aside from being gorgeous herself and married to a gorgeous man she's an amazing artist. Her art is more illustration based, with a lot of line based drawing and her blog is sprinkled with photographs of her art and her escapades around New Zealand. She's so artistic that she arranged the majority of her wedding decorations, which she includes photographs of near the beginning of her blog. It is worth reading through her blog's back-posts simply to see her art work and the photographs of her wedding. She's a truly artistic soul that hasn't yet acheived the following that she deserves, at least in my opinion anyway.

 And now onto other things, I introduce to you Strange Cat. This isn't my cat, it's just a cat that comes into our house and eats my cat's dinner. It's a bit tough and scary looking but as I found out today, he's really just a big sweet softy. I walked into my room today to find him lying, quite happily on my bed, making himself at home. He soon ran away though when my mum chased him out.

Finally, I have made a big decision. I'm going to put my webcomic on hold until I've sorted my life out, in terms of employment. Although I'm not going stop drawing the pages, I am going to halt the updates for a while so as to relieve that pressure until I manage to find some form of work. All the worry about my employment, or lack of it, is sapping my creative energy and the idea of forcing myself to put up new pages, when I know they're going to be sub-standard is just making the situation even worse. I am going to try to draw the pages however and once I've built up a sufficient buffer I may resume updates once more. This is all bringing me some relief from the pressure and also gives me the push to work harder at the pages I do draw.

So, that's all for tonight, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Progress Wednesday: A fair bit done.

So it's Wednesday again. I've gotten a fair bit of progress made once more. Sadly, due to being in an interview all day means that I've not got any pictures. For the Sketchbook Project I've finished another picture and planned two more. That's further success for my personal challenge. I've also planned three more pages of Witchan and plan to sketch them up tomorrow, as well as finishing the colour for the pages I have. Hopefully I'll be able to finish altering the two pages I've scanned too. For my novels, I finished the first draft for one chapter and I've also started another. Research into the world itself and my creation of it is also going well, as is the research for the new idea I came up with.

Well, that's it for today, I may blog again tomorrow and expand on this but right now I'm just exhausted.
So, good night.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Sunday Workspace: A bit of everything.

So it's the first Sunday Workspace post. I've got a lot of projects going on at the minute so there's a good chance that this is going to be a ridiculously long post... you know, just for a change. Sadly, the photos aren't exactly the best quality, given that I spent most of the day hungover, unable and unwilling to do much more then shuffle between the kitchen and the living room. Enough of that though, I'm fully recovered now and intending to start and finish this blog.

First up, this is my big pile of crap. It's basically a shelf where I place everything that I'm working on, whether writing or drawing or a book I'm reading. It could probably do with a bit of tidying and I fully intend to get on that... tomorrow. On my pile of crap shelf right now are my journals, several books that I'm reading and the little pile of Works in Progress. At the bottom of that pile is also the stuff that needs to be put away or is waiting to be stuck into the Sketchbook Project book.

Speaking of, this is my Sketchbook Project stuff. Those scraps are hopefully going to go towards creating an image for one of the pages. The covers need a bit more work but I'm going to do those at a later date, once I've gotten the pages a bit fuller. I just love that filling of a book slowly filling up and looking through to see more and more pages being filled. I really need to get some PVA glue and more paper scraps though so that I can start sticking stuff together.

 These are my story notes, right now there's two different sets; one for the novel, in the green portfolio and the other for a new idea that's gradually taking shape in the notebook and sheet of paper. As I'm slowly getting back into the swing of writing for my own amusement there's only 2 but at some point I know there'll be as many as 5 or 6 sets of notes there. It's the way my brain works.  I prefer to write the basic info by hand, as well as usually the first draft. It takes a long time and my hand ends up sore but that's just the way I like to work. It does lead to me having a lot of notebooks and pads of paper lying around. It gets worse once there's loads of written loose sheets everywhere. We'll find out how I solve that problem at a later date though.

These are two of the pages for my webcomic. I'm slowly getting the hang of a new technique I'm trying for my pages so these are really quite experimental. I'm attempting to blend both traditional and digital media for this next chapter as it seems to be easier for me to draw most of the page on paper. I find it comes out how I want much, much better. This pictures a bit unclear but you can also see the handmade notebook I have where I sketch out individual page layouts before I put them down onto paper. That too is something I'll come back to another day.

As it is, this is what's in my workspace right now, I'm going to be working on several of these things in the next week and who knows, I may have new images for you to have a nosey at.