Buy it now!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Phase Two: Breakthrough!

GRAPHIC NOVEL: I'd been banging my head against the wall trying to figure out which character story I would decide upon for my graphic novel. When I decided that, I had to decide which part of the story I could start with. (Leave my prepositions alone! :-P) So I dawdled for the greater part of yesterday.

It had to be God, because I wasn't feeling it... But I realized that the part of the story I should tell will be great therapy for me. Hence, a breakthrough! No trudging through story points that are shallow, trying to muddle toward a point. If I pace it well, it'll only take three arcs to tell the whole story of this one character's path.

Then I realized that I could do a fourth arc that would tie in the graphic novels with the written novel. So now I've got notes on all volumes, with a script started for the first one. Progress!


Writin' a book. Makin' progress. Made some decisions that will clarify story elements. My concern is that I type very quickly with few errors. Rambling is easier to cut in editing, but it'll be more work to rush through the draft and have to fabricate content later. That said, I wonder if the story is taking so much time because I'm rambling or because I'm enjoying the process of discovery...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Phase 2: Word Count, etc.

I'm a little slow in writing, but I've made it to 25,339 words. It's been slow going, but big story decisions have been made. Big decisions now make writing big action easier later.

In addition to some writing, I did some sketches today (yesterday?) and made a few decisions regarding the course of the graphic novel, both in process and story. I'm sure of which characters to use and during which part of the lengthy story to begin. (Sort of! To the ones who know my world and characters: thanks for your input!) I'll be reworking and reordering some story elements and drafting a new script tomorrow, I hope. Nothing final, just some brainstorming. Then I'll finalize Chapter One's script, do some thumbnails and get started.

This first chapter will take the longest, since I've never followed through with a full comic book before. I'll be working with manual media in all my planning, just plain pencil and draft paper. Then I get to make the big decision: digital (Manga Studio and GIMP) or traditional (Bristol and Pen/Brush with Ink). I could do a hybrid comic, starting it "the hard way" and finishing it digitally. I'll have to deal with a professional printer when I'm ready for submissions, either way. Opinions, anyone?

UPDATE 4:38 : 26,025 words on the novel! Re-drafting the graphic novel script now. :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Phase Two: Novels and Comics

I got a Twitter response from David Mack the other day. He's a great comics artist and writer who made the Kabuki series. I think he writes for Daredevil now. Since I'm having trouble with the process of turning decent art talent into sequential art format, I asked him what was the hardest part of making his first volume of Kabuki. He told me that it was the discipline of sitting down and working on it every single day, to see it through to the end. And also getting it to print correctly. :)

Since I consider myself first and foremost a storyteller in most of my goals, David Mack reminded me that the work has to go into it or nobody cares. I can't present nothing and get it published! Unless I want to start an avant-garde movement in the comics industry...

With some outside input, I think I can set a goal of one chapter in the comic book-- completely finished-- per month. So by the end of February, I should have something of worth to submit for publication in the comics foray.

With some just plain hard work, I can crank out the rough draft of Volume One if I work on it daily. Daily!! You hear that, lazy-Tamara! Action-oriented-Tamara wants to come out and play! The book won't finish and edit itself! (I do feel a kind of desire to make this an illustrated novel for young adults, or a book with concept artwork in the back. Don't know how illustrated novels are flying in the YA to adult categories, though!)

In other words, I could potentially get published as a comics artist before a novelist because I can start and finish just one chapter/issue at a time. That's the best case scenario. That also would be the pinnacle of irony, considering my goals. Worst case scenario, I will at least get better at drawing. Middle-of-the-road case scenario, I will get awesome feedback from professionals on how to improve the work.

God's got this one, so I'll just put in the work and try not to fret. Make it so, Number One!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What Makes a Good Story (A Preview of Another Phase)

1. Catharsis
2. Strong female characters (the maidens in distress who will kick your butt!)
3. A lead worth cheering on, in the face of the worst adversity
4. The extreme side of this statement: "Without darkness, there can be no light!"
5. The worst in someone brings out the best in another

Well, now I realize that these are generic statements, but the more generalized the story, the more universal it becomes. The more universal the concepts, the more likely a multitude of people will identify with it. That's why most manga and anime is set in high school. It appeals to a particular age group more literally. But the reason that it appeals to different age groups (oldies like lil ole me) is because of the universal truths. Oh, and things like plot, narrative, character design, theme, etc. And the pretties.

I'll even watch a mech show if ya twist my arm. And I may even like it!

I'll post some more of these tomorrow. I want my stories to have all of these things eventually, so it'll help me focus. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Phase Two: About the Novels

A reader on Twitter (Thanks @JohanneLightXD!) just asked me about my graphic novel. It occurs to me that I'm a generalist when it comes to descriptions. I guess it's the "Oh, no! Idea Theft Imminent!" mentality that shrouds all creative personalities. So here's what my graphic novel is about: "It's a story about a woman who comes to terms with her feelings about humanity... one century at a time!"

I'm actually quite pleased with that description. Of course, there's tons more I can say once the thing is more finished. All the characters are in my head and the story is finalizing. My biggest challenge has been converting my art style into the sequential format of comics. So while the other original character/storylines percolate, I'm going to practice and post (somewhere!) artwork from public-domain-stories in comic book form. A bit of a divergence, I know. But stories and artistic talent aren't my problem. It'll be fun and very good for me!

Now, as far as the written novel goes, I gave a similar generic-but-accurate description of Volume One during NaNoWriMo: "The book is a coming of age tale that begins when a young man is deposited in a foreign land. You know... the generic type of plot!"

These descriptions aren't so much of a dodge as a freeing tool that allows the story freedom to evolve. I knew I was having fun the other day when I was engrossed as I was writing the thing, wondering what would happen next! Or maybe the cabin-fever-crazies have crept in! :) Either way, fun is fun!

And, just as a backup from a description I wrote on the NaNoWriMo site, a bit of myself:

"I grew up in small town Kentucky and loved it. I earned a Master's Degree in Art Education this Spring. My Bachelor's is in Art with a minor in Theatre. I love the art of storytelling, no matter the medium, with a preference for sci-fi/fantasy based stories. Why would we want to escape from our boring lives into someone else's boring life?"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Phase Two: Montage!

Every book needs a montage, right? Well, the thing I hoped would be a quick montage, I shall call it a pseudo-montage, is turning into the meat and potatoes of the story. If only novel montages were as simple to make as video-montages are to watch! "Here, observe a mishmash of clips!" But alas, a hodgepodge of written scenes takes time to create! Here I go, a-montaging! And now, the word "montage" looks stupid, as I have overused it. But I digress...

I am at 24,309 words in my book! Yay! I'm in the plot-cranking, word-churning fun stuff right now. Since I don't have a word-count goal in mind, I'm guessing that around 50,000 will be a good rough draft, a la NaNoWriMo. If I finish before that goal, I'll be surprised. Once I reach it, I'll be finished or in the home stretch!

Hmmm... All the people in my head are wondering what will happen next. And since the author doesn't always know either, it's an interesting ride!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Phase Two: Productivity! Phase Three, Here I Come!

I wrote some last night. Will write more today. Feeling inspired and wanting to avoid housework. I feel like I could finish this thing by the end of the month, after all! Phase Three (Evaluation, Notes, Restructure) will be an intense, refreshing departure from laziness. It's only been a few months since my last major Restructure of the now-sequel, which resulted in the need for my current draft. Phase Four (2nd Draft) is just around the corner from that. And Phase Five is basically another round of Evaluation, Notes and Restructure, before polishing the novel in Phase Six. And then on to the submission Phases... :) Only x-thousand words left to go on Phase Two... When will Phase Three get here???

P.S. Wow! I didn't realize I had complicated an already complicated process. I guess it's my compulsive listing that requires me to break it down into logical Phases, but it's not like every other author doesn't do it the same way, right?? ...Right?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Phase Two: I Disappeared...

By "Breather" as posted in my last entry, I didn't mean eight additional days of not working on my book. But here I am, halfway through the month with not a finished rough draft to show for it! I did spend a short while working on it, but time slipped away while other activities stepped in. After a long talk with my mother about my various worries, novel and otherwise, I feel more confident in what I'm doing. Now to race to the finish line...

Now that my pipes aren't frozen anymore, I can clean the house. But I may refrain from that impulse until I write for a while. I feel like writing should be my number one priority. Here I go!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Phase Two: A Breather

Okay, I've had my self-imposed day or so off from the world. I had brownies and turkey noodle soup and chicken noodle soup and brownies again. I watched ThanksKilling and a documentary and some anime. I thank those who tolerated my ranting and raving and griping. I appreciate the hugs, shaking and slapping that I probably deserved. Okay, so there was no slapping, but there shoulda been. In a "snap out of it" kinda way.

I feel much less crazy today, and much more determined to get through this project and many others. I'm going to use today's 24 hours-- those I didn't sleep through or toil in the snow and ice-- to get as far in writing as I can!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Phase Two: No Mind!

Feelin' drained. Losing focus... What really mattered about writing this book, again? Maybe it's just a bad day, psychologically speaking. I have been informed that I've acted "off" for a few days. I guess I've spent more time worrying, thinking and intending than actually doing anything! In my novel, my Health Overhaul, my business, and my life... What a lousy, lazy, hypocritical crying shame!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Phase Two: Too Many Mind, One Mind

In the interest of time constraints and today's energy level, I present my copy-paste Health Overhaul notes today:

I honestly haven't asked much of myself lately. Just planning a business, doing product development, writing another novel and participating in my own personal Health Overhaul. But silly life does get in the way...

I spent the productive part of yesterday in the unemployment office, which is both a humbling and frustrating experience. Having decided that my nerves and day were shot, I spent the evening making a logo for a friend while watching Family Guy's It's a Trap! Then I sanded doll parts while staring in an otherwise unproductive stupor while watching Dragonball Z Kai. (The other unproductive part of my day involved ignoring my well-intentioned alarms, allowing me to oversleep by way too long and start my UI paperwork very late in the morning, setting me back a few hours for making it to the OET office, which is a nightmare anytime after 8:30am.)

On many of my good, unobstructed days, I have wasted so much time that I'm embarrassed to add it up. On a yesterday-type day, I decided that tomorrow (today) and thereafter would find me extremely stingy with my time. I don't think I'm asking too much just to do the things I mentioned in the first paragraph. As in many pursuits, just hauling my butt to the desk, or sewing table, or weights is all I need.

So, I'm just gonna save time by posting this to the Novelist blog, and get crackin'!

GOAL: Day 1 Weights, Plus Abs

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Phase Two: Progress!!

Well, I'm little-girl giddy! Or middle-of-the-night giddy... Don't know which. I just know that I'm in a mood to overuse ellipses... and in such a state that grammar and other sentence-structure things have gone downhill. However, I have a breakthrough in my novel!


I have finally made it past PART ONE!!! Unfortunately, I have no energy to delve into Part Two right now, so I'll just type up some notes and go to bed. But goodness! The Part One Milestone was a long time a'comin'! It took me 67 pages double-spaced to get there, which means it may be mostly junk. But I have plenty to work with, at least!  ... ... ... (overuse of ellipses, and not even in the right places!)

I did a brain-dump of ideas in sentence form that somehow make a sorta coherent story. See? You, too, can be a novelist! But remember: Brain-Dump doesn't always equal Published Novelist! But I'm sure there are some examples of just that out there, too... ... ...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

28th Post Party!

Yay! I've made it to 28 posts... and haven't accomplished my writing goals yet. I will celebrate my few successes for the rest of the night, enjoying fine chocolates, hot chocolate and something starchy that's not chocolate. Then I'll wake up early tomorrow, start my diet and exercise regimen, work on my business and work on a chunk of writing. Then I'll proudly display my successes here on my blog. Tamara Henson, Novelist, watching the party come to a close. Now the fun begins!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Phase Two: On Self Publication vs. Agent

In our worst panicky moments, we all consider the easy way out. :) Authors are no exception. Right now, to consider self-publication would be equivalent to erasing the exciting challenge of the hunt for an agent and publisher. I want to live in the glamour of future success, a nice fad that I can retire on, and someone else to handle some of the marketing.

I think it would feel good to have a mock-up novel in my hand, but I'd prefer the professionally selected and published one. After all, if your story is good enough, and well written, then it'll be something the publishers will take a chance producing. I wouldn't want to self-publish until it was a last resort-- but what would that say about the quality of my story???

It reminds me of American Idol-- "I can sing, judge! My momma and friends tell me I sound good!"

In writing as in singing, Momma and your friends may really like your work, or they just want you to shut up about it. My mother and friends mostly like the now-sequel novel I wrote. They gave me some good feedback that led to a great deal of editing. And once I finished editing, I realized that I needed a new Volume One to make the story better. With each step I take toward my goal, I realize that it takes more than a few professional opinions to market my work and myself, and a whole lot more work than everyone thinks!

I have been rejected by so many agents! I actually got to the next step-- "Send us x number of pages so we'll know if we want to represent you." And when that one didn't pan out, I realized that the ideas and concepts were good, but writing or story structure was not up to snuff. Hence, the aforementioned gutting and re-editing, and new volume one.

It's fuel to the fire and an experiment in figuring out the right combination of things that make the package perfect. So, as long as I think my work is worthy for mass distribution in a hard/soft cover deal, I'll find an agent or publisher. If my resolve comes crashing down, I'll resort to self publication.

I may still get the mock up from to bolster my self-esteem. Just a thought!