03 January 2012

2012: The Year of My Novel

Big goals for 2012! This'll be a super year because...

2012 is the Year of the Con! 2012 is the Year of Good Health! 2012 is the Year I Learn to Draw!

And as for the best thing I've got to look forward to, the goal I'm most excited about meeting (drumroll and trumpets, please)...

2012 is the Year of My Novel!

Yes. This year the novel will be completed (with a new title: The Name and the Key); it'll be revised, triple-checked, submitted, and approved as my thesis manuscript for my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.

This year I'll cry tears of joy over my hard work and seeing the novel through to the end. And then I'll thank the multitudes of people who helped me along the way.

Then I'll query and pitch the novel to agents, and then hopefully it'll be on its way to being published. This part will potentially take a very long time, and if I'm burnt out on rejections, then I'll self-publish.

I don't mind getting rejected; as I understand it's part of the territory and will very likely happen more than just several times. But, if I get as many rejections as Joe Konrath did for his novel The List, I will follow his route and self-publish (and hopefully meet with even a fraction of his success). By the way, shout-out to Anita Laydon Miller for sharing his success story with me and The Troublemakers!

As it stands, I still have a lot of writing to do (like 50,000 words needed, MINIMUM!!). I am still waaaay behind on my page counts and am really under the gun to complete the draft with enough time to do major revisions. The level on which I'm behind is high, and it's my fault, but I'm not worried because I know it'll be completed and I know it'll be of quality...because failure is not an option and I won't settle for anything less than my best.

As of right now, the novel is 100% plotted in terms of major events, themes, symbols, and mythology...a huge step above what it was before, where the story was written based on whatever mood I was in at the time, and with almost zero planning.

There's still room for me to be a pantser, but I've got more of a guide of what to do so I don't get too far off-topic. The only thing that's difficult for me is getting little scenes together to form a plump and compelling chapter that propels the story (and the reader) forward.  I know everything that needs to happen, it's just the stuff in between the major events that needs work. In other words, it's all killing time between plot points.

But oh, I'm excited for this book. It's the best thing I've written so far in my life (yes, I actually think it knocks the socks off of my theater work) and I can't wait to share it with the world and to make my family and friends proud.

2012: The Year I Learn to Draw

Hi all! So glad it's a new year. And that means new goals! I've got some big ones, and they're so big they've been spread among a few posts.

Did you know...

2012 is the Year of the Con!  Conventions are a big deal for writers, and I've neglected them for too long. I'm making it up by going to four conventions this year.

2012 is the Year of Good Health! 2005-2010 were rough years for me health-wise. 2011 kinda sucked all around. But 2012 is the year I make changes.

And now for the next theme for this year..

2012 is the Year I Learn to Draw!

My brain went into overdrive around August 2011. It hasn't stopped humming since then. I want to continue to develop in other areas in addition to writing, 'cause I kind of want to be like Neil Gaiman and stick my hand in everything...fiction, film, music, theater, graphic novels, manga...

So, the graphic novels part.... if I want to hop into that I have to learn to draw.

I've always scribbled stuff out for fun over the years in a fit of goofiness (ask my friends--they've been turned into fun characters over the years with my weird Disney/Barbie/Cartoon aesthetic) but I wanted to kick things up a few notches. This is going to be very, very hard work because most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing. But I've got the tools to start my journey (hooray for Christmas presents):

1) I got a drawing tablet!  Wacom Bamboo Create.

I've never used one of these before and it's been fun training myself to. I picked this particular brand based on reviews I've read all over the internet, including customer reviews on sites like Amazon. And I did a ton of research on pricing and got a really good deal on it. It's been exciting (and a bit tricky) to learn but once I've figured this out I'll be ready to start pumping out some images for you.

2) I got software! Manga Studio Debut.

Again, I've never done anything like this before--no graphics design, no art programs, no Photoshop, nothing. I picked this software based on reviews and research, and I again took advantage of crazy last-minute Christmas deals for a great price. And I picked the Debut software precisely because it's for beginners (Manga Studio EX is the professional version and apparently the holy grail for comic and manga artists).  So far my learning is time-consuming...like a few hours a day trying to figure out how to use the program through experimentation.

Working with layers has been interesting (totally new to the concept) and I don't even understand the terms that pop up (like vector, for example, or raster layer) while I'm using the program. Working with tones has also been a bit difficult for me, and when I do an ink layer, I'm not quite sure how to get my lines as clean as some of the artwork posted in the tutorials and on the Smith Macro gallery site.

My goal is to have original artwork (featuring characters from my novel!!!) up soon on this website. In the future, if my book doesn't make good with an agent or publisher, I may self-publish with artwork included as ebook bonus content.

And at the very least I'd like to be able to do a webseries at some point. Gotta keep practicing...but I'm going to have to back down on how much time I devote to this because this week, I'm back to school. And that means back to the novel, full-throttle!