Expanded creativity

May 15, 2018

I haven’t shown any of my paintings for a while. Mostly because I haven’t painted in a couple months.

However, recently I had a friend purchase some of my artwork and I’m fortunate enough to see how she used her own creativity to expand upon what I had done.

Sally had this extra frame she’d purchase, but she hadn’t known just quite what to do with it until she saw one of my blogs on my artwork. She asked me to show her what paintings I had for sale. Happily, I brought in my box for her to dig through.

She picked two which really spoke to her (as is a great way to pick art — gee, imagine that: you buy art that you want to look at. Simple. *grin*).

Here’s how she put it all together:

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“I like hidden things,” Sally told me. “I like things that make you think.” She said that my paintings reminded her of The Secret Garden and that she wanted to know what was behind the doorway. In her mind, it goes to a place hidden away where the swing is.

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Listening to her talk about it reminds me why I like to paint: I get to create my secret place, my hide-away. Writing gives me a place where I can have people dealing with strife. But painting is where I am completely alone in my own little mental exploration. I’m never alone on my writing adventures, but I am when I’m painting.

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It’s great to see something that I created be part of a larger piece of someone else’s creativity like this.

Thank you, Sally, for letting me share!

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My little cat helper

May 10, 2018

Bella is in her usual spot this morning. I like to work on audio first thing in the morning. She sits as close to where I set my mouse so that as I move it, she gets *unintentionally* petted.

Today we are waiting for updates to finish. Here’s how she really feels about this: Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – April 16, 2018

April 16, 2018

I have been designing covers like a mad woman this week.

It all started out when I decided to do a “quick” mock-up of the cover for The Missing Thread (the 5th book in the Sacred Knight series). Yeah, it was neither quick nor what I should have been doing. Writing the book would have been a much better idea! (Ya think!)

That cover is still a work in process — I’m still tinkering. But, other than me chiding myself about not writing, I also got irritated with myself for not working on the cover for Mystery of the Stardust Monk. Yes, it’s part of the Stardust series. It’s actually a prequel (shock! Not!) and is a tie-in for Dragons of Wellsdeep. I had started a mock-up for this cover, but hadn’t finished. Well, now it’s finished.

In looking at images for The Missing Thread, I came across an image which was perfect for a story about an ice nymph I wrote many years ago. I came across it last summer and scanned it into my computer. I had been working on editing it up for publication before my father passed away. It’s been on the back burner since then. But it has a cover now! I couldn’t believe that I had to do the cover. Seriously? But it does make me excited to get back to the story. Read the rest of this entry »


Progress – April 9, 2018

April 9, 2018

First I lost my daily word count streak, and now my weekly word count streak tumbles.

There’s just been too much going on. So I must learn from this experience and move on. It’s all I can do.

What did I learn? Mostly that when I plan a publication date, I really have to look at other factors in my life that can put me behind. Even though I’d set the publication date for Prince far enough in the future, I didn’t think about having extra work hours, taxes for three people, and having to put my book back together because I couldn’t trust my instincts about the story to begin with and what a landmine that would be. Okay, that last one I couldn’t have foreseen, but it should have been a “what if” factor. Read the rest of this entry »


Talking Heads

April 6, 2018

As I’m finishing up with Prince of the Ruined Land, I’ve only had a couple moments to work on my comics. When I went to open up the next page I’d sketched out some time ago, I got the very laughable reminder that sometimes things just don’t work out.

I opened up this page and said, “WTF! Talking heads!”

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Even with the placement of the dialogue, I couldn’t justify any of this to myself. There in the 3rd panel, she’s supposed to be doing this little head turn to glance away. Really? Didn’t I just do that on the last page? Maybe it was two pages ago.

Anyway, I got a laugh at myself, then I made the page invisible and tried again.

Failure is not fatal.


Progress – April 2, 2018

April 2, 2018

Feeling a little bushwhacked.

No lie.

I have spent all weekend working on Prince of the Ruined Land. Will it be ready by the  release date of April 17th? The ebook version will be. Still not sure about the print, but it’s getting there. I mean, hopefully formatting won’t take too long. If I have one done, the other shouldn’t be too hard, right?

So, I’ve been revising this latest draft by using the strikeout feature in Word. That allowed me to kill passages without actually taking them out. Now, before I broke Prince, the manuscript was about 96,000 words as I recall. As of Friday when I finished threading it back together, it was over 102,000 words. After I lopped off all the scrap sections and the chapters I was pulling out, the manuscript was 70,000 words. Now it’s approximately 72,000. I hope that helps put a little perspective on why this has been a major project.

I’ve done an initial continuity read-through. I still have a little work to do to slow down or revise one scene that goes a bit too fast — end-of-book-itis? Possibly. It might need a complete tear down and revamp, but since I’ve done that to all the rest of the book, what’s one more scene?

I would still love to read through it one more time since I was still revising as I went. If I can have one draft where I don’t correct major issues, then I’ll feel a lot more confident in releasing it.

I still have a map and a character list to build. The cover needs some tinkering. Blurb for the back needs to be written. Just a few things. No worries!

Last week I also decided to start to get up earlier in the mornings. I’ve been getting up at 5:00 a.m. to work for about half an hour on audio, twenty minutes on Weblinks or Rockin’ Life, and about an hour editing. So far, this has been a workable schedule. We’ll see what happens as the weeks progress onward. I do like the idea of having scheduled time for editing. Right now it has obviously been time I’ve used on Prince, but next up is Loki. I really hope that someday I get well versed enough at my craft that I can cycle back better than I do now. It would save me a lot of time. But writing like I am now doesn’t afford me this looping. Someday.

Well, I’ve been looking at words all weekend, so I don’t even want to write at the moment. Let’s just get to the numbers, shall we?

Fiction words written last week: 4,958 words

Blogs/Newsletter articles/non-fiction written:  2,160 words

Writing month to date total:  29,009 words for March. April has a whopping total of 630 words mostly because I was reading today and deleting nearly as many words as I was putting in. No joke. At one point my word count was actually negative. My writing streak for hitting the weekly goal is now at 13 weeks.

Writing year to date total: 96,407 words

Drawing/painting last week: I spent about 2 hours working on Rockin’ Life and Weblinks.

Audio: I spent almost 5 hours editing audio.


Drowning in the quicksand

March 27, 2018

Today I talk about how writing is like drowning in quicksand.

Yes, you heard me right. Drowning in quicksand.

And yet you have to trust the process. It is the only way you might survive.

I’ve heard it said, though never *thankfully* experienced, that if you fall into quicksand, you are not supposed to struggle for that makes you sink faster. If you can remain calm, you will actually float. That’s certainly not something I want to test out. Ever! However, I also know that things found in the physical world often replicate things in the world of the interior self. Nature is often a mirror which reflects.

So when I reflected on my writing process this weekend, I realized that it really was a lot like falling into quicksand.

For two days, I fretted and worried over what I was going to do. This scene was important. One character had just expanded up on it, blowing my plans out of the water. Oh, this was good and needed to be done. I’d been seeing visions of it in my head for a couple weeks, I just didn’t know where it would happen and I certainly didn’t expect it to be during this one scene. I have barely three weeks to get this story together! I can’t have a section where I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have to get it all together, like now!

I talked with both my boys about it. Neither had an answer for me. I thought about it. I tried to program myself to dream about it; instead I had a dream about Robert Downey Jr. coming into my day job office. (Yeah, mark that down as an epic fail, even with Robert Downey Jr. doing a cameo in my dreams. That was unexpected and I certainly didn’t get my answer. The boys and I had been planning on going to see Black Panther then next day, so I’m sure Marvel movies were somewhere in my thoughts. Hence, Iron Man.)

So, finally, I was down to my last option: I had to just work on the damn story.

It’s hard when you don’t know where to begin or where you’re going. I don’t have to (or want to) know the whole path, but I honestly had written myself into a corner. I had the one thing that had been suggested in book 1 and I had the unexpected, both in the same scene. But how was I going to fix it?

I edited the story, the part that I had dictated out. It needed transitions and adjustments. It started to pull me into the story like quicksand. I was going under. Worse, I was thrashing about trying to free myself because I didn’t know how I would succeed. Remember, my time for drafts and failures is over for this book. I don’t have time for that.

Then I slipped beneath the surface. That’s when the answer was delivered. Like a shiny gem, unexpected and beautiful. It was something that in two days of wrangling I had not thought about at all. I swear I could have slapped my head at that moment too. So bleeding obvious! Especially since in fixing another transition, I had mentioned something that will end up being some foreshadowing for this scene. I will admit that I’m only realizing how I need to go back and tweak that scene as I’m reflecting on it, but it will work out nicely.

Yes, trust the process.

In fact, this scene is telling me larger sections of the story as a whole. It really is amazing me. I wish that this part of the process wasn’t such a struggle sometimes, that is wasn’t like labor: pain, suffering, over, miracle in your arms.

Yet maybe that is what helps to humble artists. If everything came too easily, we wouldn’t appreciate it when we step back to realize that we’ve created something from nothing. We might not appreciate the stories we’ve been given to tell.

When you step into the quicksand, you must remember to be still and let yourself float. The story will save you.