These past two weeks were crazy busy with the pageant, making costumes and working on the painting that I have to do onstage, and with writing. It takes a lot of prep work to pull off something that is A) big and B) painted live. Not something I really want to repeat in the near future.
We had a dress rehearsal yesterday, and all went well. This week, i have to adjust some costumes and tweak a few things for the painting. One more dress rehearsal on Saturday, followed by two shows, and then this will be finished.
And what comes next? Christmas. :P
NaNo will end in a couple of days, and I can ease up on the word goal. I don't, however, want to stop writing, unless of course I finish the story. I am writing towards the climax now.
I've never tried to put a cut under a cut, so be warned that when I say something vile happened, there should be an additional cut there to keep it out of public view unless you want to read it. If there is not a cut, don't read on, there's nothing more to see. :)
( In which you can read about the State of Things )( Vile Thing )
Anyhow. Did not mean to end on a tirade.SaveSaveSaveSave
I wanted to do a book dummy to wrap my mind around the 3-d aspect of images on page flaps when all I had to do was cup out scraps of paper and tape them down on my thumbnail sketches. Problems of recto-verso solved! The whole book at a glance! I feel like such an idjit that it took me so long to find this simple and obvious solution. Live and learn. :)
So a little snapshot of what the thumbnails look like:
Two of the pages won't have flaps. The sketches are all rough and need revising, but at least I can now get a sense of the over all flow.
It was a rough week. I hope the next one is better and allows me to get a bit more done. I would like to have some solid sketches to play around with when I get my new art supplies.
Anyone else want to share their week's creative endeavors or plans for the coming week?
I instead spent an inordinate amount of time researching paints and placing orders to be delivered while we are in France next month. Not a waste of time--it needed to be done--but it ate my brain.
And now I don't feel well--pregnancy-related heartburn and vomiting--so I am heading to bed even though it is not yet 7:30.
I dusted off my manuscript, though, trying to tighten up the text and make sure I have good flow. My next step this week is to go ahead and design a book dummy to help me establish (I hope once and for all) if a lift-the-flap format is the best for this project.
I also worked on renovating the side table for my chair in the living room. It is coming along. Maybe I'll have pictures next week.
Behold watercolor blob fish:
The bodies of the fish are from a sample chart of watercolors I made for Sprout many years ago. The recipe used cornflour, if memory serves, and so the paint goes on thick and chalky and chips pretty easily. I would have liked to put in my details with pens but didn't want to gunk up the nibs, so graphite it is, even though the lines don't pop as much.
So I definitely need to work faster, or rather do fewer sketches. I think, though, with time, I'll naturally get quicker as I improve my drawing skills.
Here is a compilation from my sketchbook since Jan 1:
I doubt you can read the headings, which are: "reference photos," "ref and drawing from memory," and "illustration references and tutorials."
What is still missing is the page(s) where I work on my own illustrative style. I already moved on to the next critter and will come back to drafting my own roosters once my brain has cleared a bit from other people's styles.
The ten actual words I did manage are contained herein:
She held out her hand and opened it. An egg-shaped stone lay upon her palm, watery blue with a faceted red sphere near its larger end. A glimmer. All the girls shifted forward for a better view. They knew what mineralized sresree eggs were supposed to look like, but Lelo supposed none of them had never seen a real one either.
Um, yay me?
Sadly I do not foresee more productivity in my near future.
I have also been pondering whether or not to give more info on how the magic in this world works. One of my POV characters is actually attending a class, but I had previously written it in a way where she got in trouble and kicked out of class before any real information was exchanged. I then got to thinking that a) this messes up my timing [something else is happening simultaneously, and if she gets kicked out too early, it can't plausibly effect the other event]; b) I was not taking advantage of an opportunity to bring the world more fully to life.
What are your thoughts? Do you like to see/learn how magic works in fantasy stories?
Anyhow, this is a rough little snippet that assumes Lelo stays in class long enough to learn a little something:
“One piece of feldspar is not necessarily like another. Your eye may not see these differences, but your ear must hear them. With your songsacs will come this ability. When you sing to the land, it is best to have some idea of what will answer you. This shows respect to the earth’s spirit, but it also keeps you safe.”
Here it comes, Lelo thought, another lecture about the dangers of sresoqo. But instead of telling her favorite story of how an iasree had sung a chasm open beneath her own feet and plummeted into the bowels of the earth, never to be found again, Elamie pulled something out of a pouch tied at her waist.
Forcing myself to think this issue through has also had the added benefit of helping explain why my characters have not abandoned ship when their home is under attack. In the past, I always went with the idea (in my own mind) that most people prefer the known to the unknown and are willing to stay in a bad situation out of fear and surety of their status in the world, even if that world is going to hell. That didn't sit well with all readers, however. Now I have a plan to bring up differing points of view and solutions to the problem. I'm sure the story will be stronger for it because it doesn't make this so cut-and-dried, black and white, and the characters won't be passive-without-cause.
These thoughts fostered the following, off-the-cuff, straight-from-the-brain-before-I-forget sentences:
“It was to be a secret, but I see Srila has ways of prying into affairs that don’t--”
“Enough.” Srila slapped the railing and may have, just maybe, sang a bit of power into the word. “I have the right of the stone. I called the council. For my own reasons. If Ario wishes to address us, she can wait. But since it seems her news is about abandoning our home, it is even more vital you hear me out before making a rash decision.”
In other creative news, I did a little sketch this morning, playing with my style idea for the kids' book, that I'm not dissatisfied with. If I can kick this headache that is sinking its claws into my brain, I just might work on it some more this afternoon.
Go to the 7th page of a work in progress, go 7 lines down, post the next 7 lines, then challenge 7 other writers to do the same.
I feel like I've shared this before, way back when, as a snippet. Dunno, but this is what you get when I follow the directions:
What was she going to do now? Paoala was her last hope. No one else was willing to sneak behind the council. All those who had been had given up on her long ago. She lowered her head into her hands.
“I’ll fetch a bedservant,” Rosa said, “and chocolate. Shall I?”
Sex. Chocolate. Two iasree-approved solutions to the pain. Yes, orgasm brought temporary relief, as did chocolate, something in its composition soothing and cheering iasrees more markedly than it did any of the songless; but neither sex nor chocolate cured. Neither gave lasting relief. They were only slightly better than useless.
This read as 7 lines in my MS, but this window shows it as 6. Who knows how many it will be when I hit *post.*
So, frigg, I know you are working on something at the moment...
It was so nice to creep out of bed at dawn, walk through the muggy fog* to a secluded spot and just think words and story. One morning I sat beneath eucalyptus trees, with all sorts of birds disappearing into the thick haze around me. The next day, Junebug woke up early, so I took him with me by the pool and wrote under date palms, heavy with fruit, while he pranced around with his shorts on his head. The last day I retreated to a worker's shelter in an olive grove.
(sorry for the crap photo; took it with my laptop)
Anyhow, a snippet to prove I didn't just go lounge around in the pool and sit under date palms sipping fresh juices:
Elamie nodded once. “Precisely. Iasrees have a gift, but not a gift free of cost. Not a gift that can be used without learning and application. The bite of a sresree may confer upon us the power of extraordinary song, but it does not give the ability to master the elements. Control is not innate. It must be aquired.”
Lelo clenched her fists in her lap. That, that was what Elamie had said? The same thing she said at least ten times per class, every class? “About time you teach us mastery, then,” she muttered under her breath. “Start simple, something like waking earthstars, and work your way to simili creation.”
Looking at this out of context makes it seem very heavy on the invented word side, but this is something like chapter 5 of the book, so the reader should either know or have a good inkling by now of what these words mean.
And I also had a great** idea of giving some parts of a scene to another POV character. This will give me a chance to show things from a fresh perspective, hopefully adding to the reader's understanding of both the characters and the world. My brain is truly and finally tiptoeing into Storyworld.
* Anafora is on the desert road to Alexandria and not that close to the river or the greenness of the delta, but misty mornings are not rare.
** This was also sort of a "d'oh!" thought, something that could have occurred to me a loooooong time ago. That just doesn't seem to be the way my brain works, though. It's very hard for me to move beyond an initial way of seeing things. And I don't like that. It is a very rigid and frustration-making way to be. I wonder if I could do some kind of exercises to loosen up the mind and teach it to shuffle things and try out possibilities before latching so strongly on to one. Anyone have any ideas?
Then Junebug woke up at 2:15, then 3:30, maybe because of the vaccination he got yesterday. At 5:15, I could have sworn I heard someone ringing our doorbell. I checked, but no one was there. I fed the cats and stumbled back to bed.
5:45 and my eyes popped open, my brain saying, Hey, aren't you supposed to be writing?
I told the brain to shut up and go back to sleep because Junebug didn't need me yet. The brain started thinking story, though, so I got of bed and had my best writing morning yet.
Everyone slept in, and I was able to finish up the chapter. Well, finished all of it but one page before the peace was no more (completed it a little bit later). I don't know that rising early has become routine for me, but my body seems to be helping the brain in making it happen.
I spent yesterday with friends that Sprout and I made during her dance classes last year. I taught the moms to make sourdough bread while the girls played, then we all supped on Egyptian moussaka and Indian curry potatoes and Indian bread.* Between all the baking and tidying and visiting, I didn't have the oomph to post last night.
So! This was a good week, overall. I got my Baron Frankenstein** groove on and hacked and stitched until I have a chapter three that pretty much does what I want it to.
( Snippet this way )
*One mom is Egyptian and the other Indian, and they brought the food so I wouldn't have to cook.
**"Frankenstein" is the name of the game for this chapter. Depressingly, I found an entry about it, dating back to April 14...2013!
Four days ago, I started on my quest to write early mornings. Since then, I've succeeded exactly 1.5 times. The first day I already wrote about. The second morning was a wash because Junebug had a fever* that kept both of us up late, so I was too tired to get out of bed early. The third morning was better, the most successful of them all, and a good indication of how things might go if I can ever get on a roll with this plan.
This morning was a no-go, again due to interrupted sleep: Sprout waking me because she was thirsty and then repeatedly dealing with Junebug's fever.
I have managed to finish chapters one and two and quite like the flow between them. Now I'm starting on chapter three, which is the block I just couldn't get past last time I was writing. This time around, I'm just going to keep writing until I hit upon something I like. If I write thousands of throw-away words in the meantime, so be it.
* It doesn't seem to be anything serious, just teething
This morning, I woke up by myself at exactly 5:30, expecting to hear Junebug. Nothing. So, silly me, instead of just getting up, I dozed until he cried at 6:20. I nursed him and put him back to bed around 6:40, but Sprout got up. :-< She was pretty good about leaving me alone but didn't give me the 100% solitude and calm I craved. Then of course Junebug got up at 7:30.
My first try wasn't a success, but I'm aiming for an early night and a second go in the morning.
I finally found an opening idea that appealed to me and summoned my courage to commit words to paper, convincing the silly Perfectionist Brain that there is little likelihood of perfection right now and "serviceable" will suffice.
So, I give you words, far from perfect, but perfectly serviceable:
Srila had duty on the Songwall just before sunrise, so the melodies she hummed to her plants did not involve her songsacs, just simple power-less tunes she sometimes crooned to her daughter. Moving through the jungle on her terrace, she startled a pair of night monkeys who were gorging themselves at the fruit platter Lelo had left out for them. The monkeys hooted in displeasure and scampered up the trunk of her coconut palm. From there, they flung themselves into a mango tree growing next to the iemodi, their bodies black comets that blotted out the stars.
* I have no monkey icons, so have a lemur instead.