Saturday, 28 September 2013

Well, Now I'm Bored

Since the first draft of Project 10X10 is officially done and I'm just waiting for my critters to go through it and get back to me, and NEXT TO GODLINESS is in submissions limbo I've had time to realize something.

I have nothing to write, and I am so bored!

Okay, that's not true. It's only been two days, it's not like I've languished wordlessly for months or anything. Sure, I could pay more attention to Elven Lacryment or focus on the re-write of Project C, for which I have some new ideas that I'm actually quite excited about, but...for the time being I'm just...bored.

Or maybe bored isn't the right word. Maybe I'm...restless?

Case in point: This is the third time this week I've updated my blog. How often do I even do that when it's not a meme?

The other day I took a break from editing the format errors in Project 10X10 and spent something like five hours making some hypothetical book covers. Because my brain processed the passing thought that "Now would be a perfect time to self-publish Blood in the Water Q!". It felt good to do some art. Really good. I needed that. Badly.

But, now that random Blood in the Water urge has passed and I should really work on something new.

Maybe tomorrow (today, it's 1 a.m. as I type this.) I'll take the Project C protagonist out for a spin.

But he and I both know I probably won't.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Finishing Touches

Yesterday afternoon I completed the first draft of Project 10x10. Five days before my original self-imposed deadline, and 15 days before my bottom line deadline. It clocked in at 9,819 words. Atta girl, Q!

And then I indulged in the I Just Completed Something feeling for about an hour before sending it off to my beta readers. I was all set to send it off, and then I noticed a problem...

I had mentioned in my last post that I typed Project 10x10 in a font other than Courier New, which is what I tend to type all my manuscripts in. I actually typed most of Project 10x10 in Tempus Sans ITC because there's something very...carved-in-the-rocks about that font to me. Earthy.

Unfortunately I didn't realize that Tempus Sans doesn't format well in Open Office. Once I switched the font to Courier New, my manuscript was missing closing quotes, or changed letters into periods and other strange things. So I went about fixing that.

I also went about fiddling with my website. Something was hacked so I had to un-hack it. Then I got distracted by TV. My DVR was bloated with neglected programming. It required a purging.

I'm half-way through fixing the 10k manuscript of all these glitches, and I'll hopefully finish it today. Then I will send it out to be shredded by people I trust.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Tools & Toys of the Trade

About three weeks ago, I got myself a new treat. Behold:
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"]"It's the little things in life."[/caption]

It's been a while since I've written with paper and pen and I've been meaning to get a notebook to dump in my various bags and backpacks but I always wanted one that just screamed me. You know the kind. A nice hard leather cover with a magnet latch and a little ribbon bookmark.

But my frugal nature, combined with never finding one that I adored finally pointed me in the direction of this simple notebook. Everything's cheaper with the school year starts anew.

Here's a closer look, plus a nice eye-full of the chicken-scratch and scribbles I call "my writing."

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"]"Yes I can read that. Can you?"[/caption]

Last night I was up until 1:30am writing in this little book, jotting down notes and a rough outline for a project I've been working on since July or August. 10,000 words, an exercise in world building. Let's call it Project 10x10 because I initially wanted to finish it by October. 10K by the 10th month. And then I bumped my self-imposed deadline to Oct 10th.

Luckily, Of course, the subject matter of Project 10x10 lends itself well to the organic feel of paper and pen, too. So that helps. In fact, until I got this book, I was virtually stalled at 3,000 words for days. I tried listening to music, I tried RP, I tried changing my font to one that was more organic looking, but nothing really worked. But I got the book, and while waiting for the bus, I wrote. Words came. They became scenes. So what I forced myself to do was write a paragraph in the book, then type out said paragraph, then go back to writing in the book.

Project 10x10 has actually been one of the most difficult writing tasks I have ever undertaken. I feel a lot of pressure. I am painfully aware of other people writing for Project 10x10 and I feel sometimes that my plot or characterization is stale. But while it's a subject I know oodles about and feel comfortable with, there's tonnes of research to delve into, and my brain can only hold so much info before I become overwhelmed.

I've said writing Gods is like herding cats, but Project 10x10 is like...being the darkest sloth in the sloth exhibit. You're a sloth, people wait to watch you do something, but there are cuter sloths too.

But last night my brain flooded with ideas that I had to get down lest I forget them, and I've written out a outline for places Project 10x10 can go if they like my 10k sample.

And without my new book, I would have had to get out of bed, hop one legged over to my laptop, been dazzled by the sudden light of the screen, and disgruntled, typed out these half-formed thoughts.
So, thank you book. Another purchase without a hint of buyer's remorse.

Sometimes all we need are the right tools to create perfect art.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Book Review - Arkham Asylum: Madness by Sam Kieth

Arkham Asylum: MadnessArkham Asylum: Madness by Sam Kieth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I bought this way back in March I think, but read it on Sunday during a power outage. How appropriate.

Sabine is a nurse who works at Arkham Asylum and picks up a 24 hour shift. Will the stifling madness get to her? Will the Joker? Or is it just another 24 hours?

It's refreshing to have a Batman book without Batman in it. Seriously, he's mentioned maybe once. By a child. This certainly isn't a Batman story. This is an Arkham Asylum story. It's what it says on the label.

So, you all know I'm a huge Sam Kieth fan, I've read some of his other Batman books, Scratch, Batman: Secrets, Batman/Lobo (Mental note: Read more Lobo, I always enjoy Lobo when I read him.), Batman: Through the Looking Glass, along with myriad of his original works, so I know what to expect when it comes to Kieth.

This was sort of a mixed bag. The story is full of Sam Kieth tropes. Troubled women, troubled lesbians, weak women who aren't really weak, animal death, onomatopoeia that symbolize insanity and so forth.

I found myself comparing AA:M Joker to Batman: Secrets Joker and in all ways, I prefer Secrets when it comes to The Joker. The way Kieth wrote and rendered Mister J in Secrets was off-the-wall, sadistic, freaky, creepy, and wacky. This Joker is just ugly. I mean that in the nicest way possible. But he's too...subtle, too beefy. There were no real interesting puns or turns of phrase, opting instead for an Antiques Roadshow call out. And his big revelation? I've seen it done better in HBO's OZ.

By contrast, Harley was written really, really well. She was dark, strong, snarky, and tough. Also, I liked her design. Kieth did it before the New 52, and Kieth did it better.

Speaking of, the art was also sort of hit-and-miss. You could see the framework of Kieth's figures, errant pencil lines that were meant to be erased but never were. Character design choices were also a little questionable. Scarecrow and Two-Face were just...odd. You're drawing Arkham, go crazy! Literally!

On the other hand, there are some positively amazing painted works, Killer Croc is breath-taking in scope and weight but there's also a sort of grace. And there's a cute panel of Harley cuddling Ivy.

After having time to reflect on the ending, I think I liked it. It has a sort of ominous feeling that leaves me wondering how long Sabine will live with her choices before she regrets it.

Good things, not so good things, but it looks good on my shelf, so that's something.

View all my reviews

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