Thursday, December 30, 2010

Revising ProjU, part IV + ProjU Art, part I

Art feature! Today I've only worked on scenes set in the country Massif Central (located in the Massif Central of France), so I'll feature art of characters from that country (and my lone sketch of a kid from the Alpine Kingdom).

These first pictures were drawn I think in November-December of 2009. The left side shows the character in the world of ProjU, and the right in a more advanced setting, the setting that I first had them in when I was a fourth grader trying to draw a manga series.
Bone Maron started out as the main character of that manga series and is based off the personality one of my friends gave to his toy cubone. Bone is hard-working, strong, and a natural leader, but this leads him to take a lot of responsibility for himself and blame himself when he can't protect his friends.
Her last name is actually just "Zucca" now. It's a joke because she's based off the a toy that my friend (same friend as above) had, which was a cat standing on a pumpkin. If you can see, in the picture on the right she has three ponytails. She's pretty and popular, but inside she's really quite weak.
To break for a moment from the series, this is her again. Yes, her original first name was Gattina, but I realized how silly that was and changed it. Now, back to the series.
I have a lot of art of this young lady pssh lady? HahahaNO, even though she's not really that important. Her name is now Ranna Sade, but she gets to keep the nickname of Rat because my friend from above had a toy rat. Really, she's an unpleasant person, but she has a lot of family/personality issues that she needs to work through.
This piece is from a long time ago. She's not actually this cute-looking...and as I said, she's not Japanese anymore. Or, well, she does have some Japanese blood, but why would she still have a Japanese name after 1,500 years of her family living in France?
This is what she actually looks like. But she wouldn't let a rat sit on her shoulders, she'd probably flip out and burn the poor thing. Hm, looking at this makes me want to draw more stuff with the 2B pencil I used to do this.Last but...all right, least. Wilson Smith is a nice guy, he likes plants, and there's not too much else to him. Really, there isn't. I guess his normalness could make him a foil for, say, Rat and Bone. Maybe even for Gina.
Nevermind, Wilson's not last. I almost forgot about Otis - "Oats," he prefers to be called. He's from the Alpine Kingdom, and a throat infection when he was very young has made him mute. He communicates with hand gestures. Also, he's very smart, but also naive - which makes sense, as he is only twenty-five seasons old (they measure their age in seasons).

Okay, back to writing now. I combined ch. 4 with part of ch. 5 so the new ch. 5 is more cohesive.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Revising ProjU, part III

All I got done today was reading over what I have so far. Probably not the best of ideas, but it's the next-best after actually working on revisions.

And the art feature is coming, but since it'll take a while (I have a lot of ProjU art) I'll wait until I can sink that kind of time without feeling guilty. It's not like anyone's actually waiting for it, anyways.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Revising ProjU, part II

I am making some headway. "Some" meaning I'm on page 20 of a 366 page novel. You know, I'm starting to think that my estimates for how long this would take were way off.

I'm taking a little time off because the scene I'm working on is...well, it's a bother. Two scenes full of plot-irrelevant fighting/training which together almost make 5000 words. Most of those, however, are trash and so I'll be happy to settle for 2000 good words that introduce three characters that will be important later and an event that will have significance for another character way down the line.  Quality over quantity and gratuitous fight scenes suck, that's my lesson for the day.

A lot of characters have changed a lot since their first appearance, so I'm working to keep things consistent - but not too consistent, because characters need room to grow.

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?  No, because names matter. After renaming, I can take the characters more seriously.  A sampling of the improvements:

Formerly-France (really early on) -> Forfra (for the majority of the story) -> Massif (Massif Central)

Louis Lobolinsky + Lois Blitzkrag (so cheesy)-> Lazar Lobolinsky + Annika Blitz

Kuroko Takeda (why is there a Japanese name in France after 1,500 years?) -> Ranna Sade

Jack Pell -> Janek Pell (I have another character [storyless] who has a stronger claim to the name "Jack")

Vegas Agua -> Valerie Abascal

Much better!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Revising Project Utopia

What is the problem with improving a lot?

Writing from three years ago looks really, really bad.  "Open fist"? Really?

The horrendously tin-eared dialogue is begging me to rescue it.

I've cut or condensed a lot of scenes that ramble on and on and don't DO anything.

An astonishing amount of scenes are told in fly-on-the-wall (there's probably a more literary term), with no commitment to any one POV character, thus rendering them entirely soulless and bland.

I will play hackey-sack with the current timeline so seasons do not last for half a year.

I'm writing a lot of new scenes completely from scratch because there were characters that I created later on that ended up being way more important than ones that I focused on in these earliest chapters.

Difficulties aside, this really is a lot of fun. It's as though I threw down a lot of paints and now I'm painting over what I don't like and bringing out more of what I do.

And a note: There's this one scene very late in the story - the closing scene to chapter twenty-four, actually - that I've reread at least three times by now which makes me think, hey, maybe I'm not a horrible writer after all. It's scenes like that that keep me going through the "open fist"s and terrible, terrible soap-boxing.

Maybe I'll do a feature of ProjU art later on. There certainly is a lot of it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

One-Word Prompt

Revanche: revenge, or political policy to regain lost land/standing.  Hm, I thought.  This looks promising.  But then I started getting off topic and writing about an unnamed member of the Order of the Dark Storm bleeding to death in an alleyway and thinking about his life. Maybe that idea needs a little longer to be explored.

Ahimsa: to do no injury.  Hey, look, five contradicting ideas.

Apopemptic: sung or addressed to one departing.  Ah-ha.

Apopemptic

Just go. Turn around, and run, because that’s all you’re good for. That’s all you’ve ever been good for, and I don’t expect that will change now when I need you.

Never mind that all I’ve done is be here for you. Never mind that you’ve relied on me for everything.

Do you expect me to stand here like a wall? I am not here just for you to lean on. Someday, I’m going to get tired of this and I’m going to turn, and I’m going to walk, and I’m going to be so much happier for it.

Then you’ll be the one watching me leave.

Winter Break + Ode

Finals week is over; I have a few weeks in which I will catch up on sleep, get a head start on an English project, draw, and, most importantly, begin my surface revisions of Project Utopia. It's been a pretty difficult four months being unable to work on it.

I don't think I've uploaded a piece I wrote for a dA group contest, even though I finished it a while ago. I did, I just forgot. Some information below.

Part of the inspiration was from my anger at how I drifted away from a friend; part of it was from the experiences of one of my characters from another story, given the working title "Shadow Fissure." I drew some sketches of the main characters, but I'm using a different computer from normal so I can't upload them here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quietly Going Completely Mad

My mind will not settle.

One of my friends says that she saw something that greatly troubles me, and I haven't been able to get a hold of the person it involves.

I feel too cold, and then I feel too warm.

My back door was open when I got home today, and a badly placed mirror keeps reflecting light from a window.

Everything feels scattered. I close my eyes and I see myself sitting in the middle of a pile of papers flying in all directions, and the sky is overcast and I'm laughing.

What is wrong with me?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chapter Three

I have the feeling that this will be the last finished chapter for "Iris" for a while. For one, next week is dead week and then the week after that is finals, so I'll be studying more than writing. Then, with the start of winter break, I'm going to be working on reading through ProjU and doing my surface revisions so I can email it to my patient friends and get their feedback, hopefully.

Somehow I don't feel that guilty for putting "Iris" on the back burner. I don't know - I've been in a writing slump since...well, if I'm honest, since the end of chapter one. However, this last chapter went by pretty well, so I am once again letting myself hope to finish this story.

Got to do some homework now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Notes on Image Types

I upload a lot of images onto the interwebz, both on this blog and on my deviantART account.  I've found that not all image types are created equal.

To avoid: JPEG and BMP.   I know JPEGs are standard, but they take up too much space and look really fuzzy.  BMPs are worse - they too are overlarge, and furthermore they have limited color quality.

TIF: this has been my default for quite some time, given the clean picture quality, but you can't upload TIFs onto Blogger.

The best image type?  PNG.  These take up less space than TIFs and are more versatile. I can't edit them (i.e. cropping) on my computer in this format, but it's not hard to change it to a TIF and then back when the picture has been finalized.