Here are some fun things I’ve seen around the Internet recently.
On the blog Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) author Meghan E. Bryant describes her long process of getting her picture book, Dump Truck Duck, published. That she kept at it for so long is inspiring in itself, but I find it really fantastic that she was able to get publishing deals for several books right afterward, because of the simple fact that she never stopped writing. I think about all the stories sitting in my drawer right now, waiting to be polished, and the ideas swimming in my cluttered brain waiting to be written while I query other things, and I have hope that if I can get one book published, maybe something else will start.
Women Write About Comics published an article, The Feminization of Bucky Barnes, where they parse out why the Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier character is so particularly popular among female fans. I’ve really liked that character for a while, mainly because of the angst (I’m a horrible person that likes to see my favorite characters tortured). But the writers on WWAC bring up other points, like how Bucky replaces the “girl” character, which rang true for me as far as why I feel so attached to that character. (Chicken or egg: which came first, my love of Bucky or my love of Sebastian Stan? Both evolved so closely together…)
Maggie Stiefvater drew a diagram of what her character Gansey from the Raven Boys series looks like when “His fingers lightly touched his temple and his cheekbone, and his eyes looked off at nothing”. I laughed for one full minute.
I didn’t mean to post any of these sketches, but hey, I’m out of ideas for blog posts, and I’m trying desperately hard to keep up with my blogging schedule.
The figure drawing guide started to get way too vague for me, not quite showing me any of the inbetweens, so I had no idea if I was following directions correctly. So I got another guide and started copying pictures of models I found on the internet.
Everything is drawn in pencil, then defined/shaded with charcoal.
The pose came out really awkward in this one, but pretty good considering how disproportionate my bodies have been. I have a hard time with feet and hands. But I liked how the face and hair came out.
This next one I mostly wanted to draw the jacket, since it looks like something I picture on one of my characters. Did not quite work.
As you can see I made no sincere attempt with the hands.
Got a bit of a lazy eye going on in that, too.
So, not great. But still something that’s fun to do while watching baking shows.
The majority ofSteven Universe spends time with only three gems — Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. As Steven’s trio of moms, they’ve taught Steven not just about being a Gem, but also about love, bravery, and loyalty. And Steven, in turn, has helped them understand friendship, persistence, and heartache — basically, helping them to be a little more human.
Because, despite their vibrant emotions (and tendency to break into song) the Crystal Gems are aliens, and they had to learn, and understand, and change things about themselves in order to exist on Earth.
Enter Peridot, the newest “Crystal Gem,” as she says with a kind of manic sarcasm. She’s been stranded on a planet she didn’t even want to come to, amongst people she’s been told are traitors to their kind. She has faith in her superiors and a deep belief in the system she was born and raised in, a system that denounces everything the Crystal Gems have ever done.
So, I’m trying to go back to doing things that once made me really happy. One of these things is drawing. To motivate myself, I’m going to occasionally post what I’m working on here.
Today, we have my lady Darla from one of my works in progress. I used to draw my own characters a lot, but it’s been a while since I’ve tried something like this. Not great, but not bad I think for being completely out of my head after years of not doing this junk. (I’m glad I took this picture before I thought coloring it in would be a good idea because, hoo boy, did I mess that up.)
I almost quit on it, but I made myself keep going and got her wearing layers and everything! My hoodies look weird, though; looks like she’s got a hump on her back.
She’s not quite the combination of bad ass and sleepy that she is deep down, but hey, working on it.
I briefly mentioned in my last post that I have another novel idea I’ve been working out, for a while. The first idea explosion came to me a few years ago, and it’s been building and expanding ever since. I’ve got my three main characters, I feel like I know who they are, what they are, how they’re connected, and what their issues are in this book. But I don’t know what they’re supposed to do.
I’ve got a vague idea of what I want to be building up at the beginning of the novel, but I haven’t any idea what I’m building up to. I don’t know who my bad guy is, I don’t know the threat, I don’t know the ultimate goal. It’s incredibly frustrating.
I often start stories with a shadow of an idea of the end, but at least that’s there, the shadow. If there’s a blankness, it has to do with the conclusion, not the whole real plot leading up to it. If I were to start writing this now, I would only be working towards emptiness, and if I got to that emptiness before another spark filled that gap then I would be completely stuck, and I don’t want that.
What I need to do, I think: immerse myself in kid’s books, the creepy kinds (I want this to be pretty creepy) and research, something I’m really bad at. Crows feature heavily in this idea, and I need to learn more about them, what they actually are, and also, maybe, what they are in myth and fairy tale (incidentally, if anyone knows a good crow myth I will love you forever if you send it my way.) Hopefully something will take shape, big enough to fill that space.
When you have a new idea, do you let it stew? Or do you dive in and worry about filling in the gaps later?
My last MFA submission came back with a comment from my mentor that made my just want to pop. There is apparently a distance between the reader and my main character, which keeps the reader from getting really inside the story. It’s pretty much my biggest problem right now, and I need to work on getting past it.
I have no idea how.
This is a story I’ve been working on for a couple of years. And to be told that even after all that time I don’t let the reader get to know my character…. well, it just makes me want to bash my head into my desk continuously. When this was revealed as my problem, I got this incredibly closed in feeling, like I was being pushed against a wall and was being told “Go forward!” but I can’t, because there’s a fricking wall there. Very frustrating, and claustrophobic.
This isn’t a problem I can solve with mere writing and editing. I have to sit and figure out who my character is – because it’s turning out, I don’t know her as well as I thought. It shows, and it’s the whole root of my problem. So I’ve been talking out loud, and jotting down notes, and writing out bits of story that will never, ever come up in the actual novel. I’m trying to work out bit by bit every aspect of my character, and trying to work out every part where she feels like someone distant that the reader doesn’t know. It’s really hard, and I feel like I’m working at a snail’s pace by doing it. This has become one of those points where I’m worried that I’ve hit the end of my skill set, that there’s nothing that I’m capable of doing that could possibly make this story better.
But really, I feel like that every week, so maybe I can crack through this, too.