Nebula on a hexagon

My six-sided painting. I was pretty excited to find this canvas. I knew immediately that I wanted to do a space painting on this. Once I felt ready, I painted the canvas black. The picture above shows it all prepared and ready.

My first layer:

It’s hard not to block a painting in like this and not absolutely hate it and fear that it’s been messed up. But, the painting must continue.

Here’s the next layer:

Now we’re getting some of the misty cloudiness into the piece.

In the next layer, the stars start to shine:

More layers come next, more stars, and adding some of the black of space back in. Finally we end up with this:

There was a point at which I really messed everything up. I didn’t grab my phone to take a picture though; I knew my paint was drying quickly. That probably returned the fun to this painting. I’d started to take it too seriously and quit having fun with it. In causing a catastrophe on the canvas and knowing I had little time to fix it, I had to attack it with courage and release everything. Believe me, at the time I really wasn’t sure I’d be saving it. It was extremely hard to release the fear. Words make it sound so easy, but at the time it was horrible. I instantly projected myself into the future where I had to paint the canvas black once more to restart and regretted the past where I wished I hadn’t touched it so much. I was everywhere but the present.

Grounding yourself with courage puts you firmly in the moment. There’s an obstacle that must be overcome and only by stepping forward can this obstacle be hurdled.

This painting could have easily gone the other way where I did have to go through the future of repainting it that I had imagined. However, I’m glad I kept working it and gave myself the chance.

As my friend, J.D. Estrada, said a few days ago on an Instagram post, “Self doubt is an option, but so is believing in yourself.”

This weekend, believe in yourself.

Happy adventuring!

Children’s Book Progress – February 15, 2018

This is actually the end page of the book, though I am not to the end. Please don’t take that as me having finished. (grin) I merely had finished inking it and jumped right into coloring it.

It looks kind of weird in my thumbnail panel because I have all these colored pages, a few inked pages, and then the one final colored page. Makes me laugh to myself. And I think back to when I started this and only had a few pages inked and those last few pages were blank. It felt like forever away. But just working on it steadily, I can’t believe I’m now nearing the end and I’m starting to wonder how the process to getting it published is going to work. Novels, short stories, no problem, but I’ve never done a book with pictures before.

I am looking forward to learning though. It will be a process and I’m sure I’ll get frustrated in it, but I will figure it out. The obstacle before me is not that big; I just have to keep walking through it. Quite frankly, it, like all other “obstacles” people think are huge insurmountable things that one has to climb over, is really a tunnel that just must be tread. You can either go through it and enjoy the journey, or you can stand outside wondering how you will ever get to the other side. Too many people turn back.  (I’m thinking this needs to be a Rockin’ Life post — grin!).

Here’s the final page:

eggs

Dangerous Writing

No one thought writing could be dangerous. They were all wrong.

Well, okay, the actual writing shouldn’t be dangerous for the author, but it should be dangerous for the main character. Very, very dangerous.

When I say this to some writers, I get a look that says, “I don’t write THOSE kinds of stories.” Well you should! Here’s why:

A story is how a character faces danger. Your main character has to have a goal, whether it’s a long-term or a short-term goal. Whatever keeps your character from getting this goal is an obstacle. In trying to get around the obstacle, the character is in danger of being overcome by the obstacle. Therefore, your character faces danger.

Any type of book, from romance, to fantasy, to western needs to have obstacles for the main character to overcome.

For example, you might have a handmaid who wishes to marry the prince, but she knows that if she expresses her love for him, she’ll be kicked out of the castle. Since she has no family to live with, she’d be out on the streets. So, her dreams must remain her own. The handmaid’s goal specifically might be to have a better life than her parents did. Her danger is getting thrown back into the same lifestyle that her parents lived in. She faces danger of discovery every time she sees the prince. And what if someone — a rival — found out about her secret love and intentionally tried to foil our precious little handmaid? What if the prince was a womanizer to begin with and our handmaid found herself betrayed, possibly pregnant? What if the queen found out the handmaid was pregnant and she wanted another child and offered to buy the babe from the handmaid — enough to make sure the handmaid is herself treated like royalty for the rest of her life. Could the handmaid give the queen her baby and let the child be raised as the prince’s sibling instead of his child?

While none of this puts the handmaid in an immediate life or death struggle, the handmaid is facing danger at every turn. You don’t have to write the shoot-’em-up high action stories to have danger. But when you stop asking yourself what pebbles are in the road to keep your characters from getting their goals and start thinking of it more as “what danger are they facing?” your story develops with more tightness. It’s not just a random event any more. It’s a real threat. And it makes the “What if” game more fun to play. I thought of my sample above on the fly, but as I was writing it, I saw the plot start to take shape. It’s fun crafting the story.

If you want to read more about how to create danger for your character and see more examples of how to do this as well as learn how to tighten other elements of your story, please check out my book, The Write Edit. You can order it right from my Morning Sky Studios website for under $10. Don’t forget about your other writing friends too! It would make a great Christmas gift for those authors in your life.