Archive for October, 2006

Website Meeting #4 (plus misc)

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

This meeting was really just to keep the ball rolling, since we didn’t actually have that much new information to discuss. My homework since our last meeting was to scour the internet for any features I would like to have on the site that we hadn’t already considered. The only additional options I could think of were emailing readers of new chapter releases (if they don’t want to subscribe to the RSS feed) and perhaps a “Tag This Chapter” option. Josh said the tagging would probably involve them logging in or some such thing, and I’m not really into that, but we might do an “Email Me Updates!” feature.

We’re down to the 2-month mark, though, so it’s time to start forging ahead beyond the sketch stage. That’ll start next week.

I’m still plugging away at chapter icons. I only have ten left, but they are getting hard. At least I’m not in a time crunch… yet. Outside of the icons, I’ve also been hardcore at work on “Marley”. I’ve yet to color him, but the line work is primarily finished. He was tough. If you can’t tell from the pic, he’s made of… well, just about EVERYTHING.

Drafts keep changing hands, which is good. I get another one this week. The plan is to hand off the next one (David 2.5, ha) by Nov 10 to be returned by Dec 10. That’s pretty tight, but here’s hoping it’s possible — I’m sure I’m going to need all two weeks in December to shine and polish it.

And amid it all, we’re planning Thanksgiving at our house this year. I am very excited, since I love to have a meal with friends, but that’s yet another thing on my plate (har, har) to juggle and try to keep organized. My solution for all? More pie!

A Request from a… Fan?

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

We went to see J’s dad and sister this weekend, and it turned out that his grandparents were also in from AZ so we got to visit with them also. Josh’s grandfather is one of only a few people that I’ve given my previous three stories to, and I haven’t talked to him since he read them. He’s very complimentary and supportive, and had some good advice for pursuing a publisher from a friend he used to have in the business.

The funny part was when he asked me if I was working on my ‘next book’ yet? I told him that I was, but that it was going to be completely different than the last three. That was followed by a very deep frown.

“Different? Like different how?” he asked.

“Well it’s not James and Mac anymore, for one thing. This one’s –”


“This one’s about a boy named David.”

“I don’t care about David! I care about James and Mac! They have to grow up! How are they going get back home? What about…”

This happened at dinner, if you can imagine, and Donn was feeling very strongly about certain points and I sounded like a complete idiot when the answers I gave to his very vocal questions involved responses like “The Mother Tree DID send them home, remember? They made plans to return for the wedding”, “No, but he’s not dead”, and “I promise James will get back to his bonded dragon.” He didn’t like the fact that I had intended the third one to be the final installment, oh no, he told me that he wanted more about James and Mac.

Donn likes dragons, and after Josh and I assured him that SoD also has a dragon in it (albeit very near the end), he seemed somewhat satisfied. He’s in his seventies, completely adorable, and one of the few people that has read and enjoyed my work, so you can imagine that I don’t want to disappoint him.

Hopefully SoD will satiate his need for another dragon tale… or maybe I’ll have to fish around my subconscious for another J&M story. That would be tough, since the last one took everything I had; but I guess you can’t improve without continuing to push yourself.

Regardless… one book at a time, eh?

Chapter Icons

Friday, October 20th, 2006

I had gotten about halfway through the icons when I pushed the deadline back three months, so I took a long break from them. I started on them again yesterday, and hope to push out three or four each week over the rest of October and November. Here’s a sample of my first one back: Chapter 23, which happens to be the introduction of Bear and Thor.

The Task of Naming Chapters

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

SoD has 52 chapters. Each chapter will include an illustration. It will also have an accompanying title.

I have always felt there was an art to naming chapters. Some people don’t name them at all and instead stick to numbers. Numbering is appealing in many ways — especially when I’m up to trying to name chapter 19 or 20 — but I just can’t do it. Naming a chapter gives that little portion of a book its own identity, and I like the idea of that. So I insist on naming each one, even if I do so BADLY. Historically, I have always saved that part until the very last moment.

I’m waiting on a couple of my editors, so I figured I’d force myself to get that part done and out of the way. In my attempt to make it more fun, I decided to coincide the titles to metal songs to reflect a character that is ever-present (and at the same time never there. ooh.).

Once upon a time, they were going to be Metallica titles. They have a huge catalog and some very appropriate song names. But since I am not in the mood for being horribly, tragically sued, I need to make them up. I’ve already gone through half the thing and assigned names like “The White Nothing” and “The Reaper Rides at Midnight”.

Today, however, I looked up the discographies of some metal bands and discovered I can really just name each chapter whatever I want to. I was trying to make them dark and spooky when I don’t really have to. Aside from some titles focusing on the two things metal is apparently very interested in — depression and women — they don’t necessarily conform to any mold. So:

Dear Metal, my apologies in trying to pigeon-hole you. Sincerely, me.

So the next task will be going through SoD (again) and looking to see what chapter titles stay and go. I’m still going to keep some of the titles, but I’ll make others correspond more with the events of each chapter. And if I say they’re song titles from a fictional metal band’s discography…? Well, I’m the author. I can pretty much do whatever I want.


Friday, October 13th, 2006

Last night I had to opportunity to sit down with Ann, one of my new editors. It was a new experience for the both of us, in that she’s never done any of my earlier stories and from what I understand has previously edited screenplays. It was different for me because since she has never done any of my other stories I didn’t know what to expect in the way of critique.

And that’s kind of scary.

Thankfully, my worries were unfounded: the whole critique was refreshing, encouraging, and very motivational. It was nice to discuss the plot with somebody that was reading it primarily for that purpose… instead of the customary grammar stuff. It was fun to talk about different parts and a nice warm and fuzzy feeling when she expressed feeling certain emotions at certain points. Plus it’s nice for someone else to get just as excited about the characters you created as you do…

She confirmed things I suspected that I really just needed someone to call me on, and asked some questions about things I hadn’t even considered. I made notes, and she’s reading through it again (!) to give me additional comments before Nov 1st. She gave me some really great things to think about.

All in all, I’d have to say this meeting alone was worth post-poning its release until Christmas.

Website Meeting #4

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

We drew out a map for the site. It’s going to be larger than I anticipated, but Josh said that’s pretty typical. My homework until our next meeting is to go online and see if there are any other aspects I’d like to include that we didn’t discuss/think about… I don’t want to stumble onto a bell or whistle that is a pain in the arse to add later. I’ll be surfing around online today for “inspiration”.

Which’ll be real tough — I’m only online looking for “inspiration” for at least an hour every day…

Oh, Deadlines…

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

After some intense deliberation on the subject, it turns out the deadline for this project is going to be pushed back to Christmas.

It wasn’t an easy decision, since an October 19th deadline is what I’ve been pushing toward for over a year. But these things happen, and stuff pops up that I have no control over, so you’ve gotta make due.

The obvious negative is that I will be missing a deadline, which is more than a little disappointing. However, seeing as I’m the one that SET the deadline, I can get over it if the finished product will be better off.

There are some great positives that go with the delay, however. For one thing, the extra time gives me the opportunity to track down more volunteers for editing — and the bonus option of asking people to read with specific aspects in mind. Kelly is my grammar girl right now, and Josh is checking the plot… it would be great to have more people doing the same, and watching for flow and description and plot holes, etc.

The other cool part is the artwork to be included; namely, there being MORE OF IT. By October 19th, I was really only going to be able to do a cover, a random illustration, and the chapter icons. With three additional months, I can do more specific illustrations and possibly sprinkle them before/among their relevant chapters. The extra time also means the accompanying website can be constructed with a little more effort and care.

I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but hopefully the extended deadline will give this project the chance to fully bloom into something I can be proud of.