Archive for December, 2006

Phase II: 1 Day to Go

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Josh and I spent two days in West Virginia visiting some family. It meant we weren’t working on the SoD site, but since we’d both put in serious hours Tues, Wed and Thurs, we’re cool. So far we’ve worked out that we’ll have four out of eight links live and working for tomorrow’s launch, which is fine with me. We’re on track, and that’s perfectly fine.

Tonight, Dec 31st, will find us having some drinks and general revelry with some friends… we’ll be up early tomorrow to get this baby into the public’s eye. I know there will be a very limited number of people that see it in the first few weeks — and possibly the entire year it’s released — but it’s important we have it up and out there. More tomorrow when we’re rockin’ and rollin’.

Phase II: 5 Days to Go

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Josh and I started hardcore on the site today. It is interesting working with someone you are A) close to and B) in the same realm with career-wise. I do graphic design and he, among MANY other things, does web. I’ve spent much of today refining the look of what will eventually be the home page, along with the pages that branch off of that. Plus icons (yay, more icons) and the like. I also got a nice, shiny new external hard drive for my art and videos: 250G, yum!

Today was the only day ever that I’ve wished I had a bigger screen on my laptop. My-12 inch just doesn’t compare to the monstrosity I have at work, and I was all over photoshop today… *sigh*. or dual monitors would have also been cool.

More stuff later. I’ve been inside all day on the computer, and I’ve got a ballet class tonight. It’s like the last little sliver of Christmas! I’m getting a coffee on my way home — I’ll be burning the midnight oil tonight!

And Lo, It Arrives

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

The story is done for the moment, and the package arrived at my parent’s house yesterday. I haven’t talked to them yet, but I’m assuming they won’t open all until Christmas Day anyhow.

It feels good to be done with the story. I think there is one more plot point that I should probably make clearer, but for all intensive purposes — minus perhaps that three lines of dialogue — the thing is COMPLETE. I can’t tell you how good it feels. This is the fourth story/novel/manuscript-thing I’ve created, more than two years in the making, and the first that I will probably try to get published.

I’m just generally happy. I’m happy with the timing, with the stress level regarding the home stretch (it could have been worse, so much worse), I’m very happy with the artwork so far. The cover art in the previous post is even better than what I had in mind originally, so happiness there. I didn’t get to color Marley yet, but that will come.

PHASE II: Next steps involve the website. Planned launch for the site is Jan 1st, so that’ll take up a good portion of next week. Josh is building the back-end and I’m providing the copy, art and graphics. I’m off work all next week. So I get to spend the better part of a week doing artwork? …sounds like a vacation to me!

And the sequel? Oh, it’s coming. Every time I do one of these it takes me less and less time to jump into writing another… We’ll see if I can hold off until May this year to start up again. More later!

Zero Days to Go

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Today’s the day. Wow, when it rains… it POURS. Aside from phase completion, I am 80% sure I have the plague. Also, misery is now spelled r-a-c-h-e-l.

I got home from work last night too late to take NyQuil (I never would have woken up for the alarm) and too late to take DayQuil (I never would have slept). The compromise I found was taking nothing and laying in bed until roughly midnight because I couldn’t breathe, then waking up in hourly increments thereafter. I woke up at 6 am, called it close enough to morning, and got out of bed. I’m like the dead walking today, but regardless:

I had 35 pages still up for editing when I got to work this morning, but had a full 1 1/2 hours before work and my lunch to finish that up. This round has actually gone super fast, with very minimal changes. Not bad. I printed, bound and slapped a cover on it at about 1:30 this afternoon… then piled it and several other presents into a box (my kingdom for a box!).

It’s all being FedEx’d as I type. I had planned for today because I figured the post office could do it, but I got scared they might not deliver it in time. It’ll cost me triple, but I feel 99% sure that it’ll be there by Saturday. I haven’t been working my tail off for two years for it to be late. I already moved the deadline once.

I can talk more about how I feel about this phase when my head is not a ballon and I don’t have a fever — they’ll be less mentions of purple elephants and general crazy that way.

1 Day to Go!

Monday, December 18th, 2006

I would love to use this space to declare how awesome I am and how accomplished I feel, and wow is it great to have all the David stuff done and ready to mail… but I’m 40 pages shy of the end and sick as a DOG right now. We’re still on schedule for mail-out tomorrow, I still don’t think it’ll be a problem. But I think I’m dying; I’m going to bed.

3 Days and Counting

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

The good news is I’ve got the cover art done and ready to be photgraphed for Photoshopping/layout tomorrow before work. The bad news is that I still have a good 140 pages left in the manuscript to go over. I’m feeling okay with that, however, since I haven’t been making hardly any changes as I read along. It’s two different approaches to read for grammar/plot/character/flow vs. general enjoyment, and I’m finding myself slipping into the latter. There’s definitely a feeling of ‘geez, I feel like I’ve read this a million times’ (because I HAVE), but I think it’s a good sign to lapse into the entertainment aspect.

A holiday party on both Friday and Saturday night probably set me back page-wise, but what good are the holidays if you don’t spend them with the people you love? The bonus in all of this is that I’m getting sick. Again. As I type this out I’m actually sitting right beside a humidifier and sipping on orange spice tea. I’m sick of being sick — but the show must go on!

5 Days and Counting

Friday, December 15th, 2006

If only I didn’t have a day job… at least right now. I like having it all the rest of the time. Last night I ended up stuck at work until about 9 pm, and ran out of steam quickly once I got home. I really didn’t have that much time to dedicate to heavy stuff like the cover painting, but I did do some more holiday things… some of my online orders came in the mail. It will all work out in the end — I have to send the book at the same time as my parent’s gifts anyhow, so I’d rather wrap them now than on Tuesday’s crunch time. Especially now that I heard we might have a(nother) late night on Tuesday. ug.

Despite how it sounds, things are moving right along. I saved all the icons in their appropriate formats yesterday, and I’ve already inserted them into the latest Word document. That’s a big success because that’s always one of those things that I save ’til last and assume it will only take 1/2 hour, and then it ends up taking 3 and sets me way behind schedule. Word is misbehaving a little — I usually work in layout programs, and Word is SO not a layout program — but I think I’ve worked out most of the kinks. As long as things don’t start jumping around when I print, as has been known to happen, I’ll be okay. And my sanity will remain intact.

This weekend is the last real large span of free time I’ll have to get the whole shebang finished — meaning both manuscript and art. More updates as things progress.

6 Days and Counting

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

I decided I’d probably mail this out on Tuesday now to assure it gets where it’s going by December 25. Mail won’t deliver this year on Christmas Eve (it being Sunday), so I’m shaving a day off. You know, just for fun.

Yesterday was something of a bust where SoD is concerned, but very helpful in terms of my other commitments. I got the homemade gifts a good 80% of the way finished. Once those are out of the way I can fully throw myself into truly polishing SoD. It’s procrastination to some degree, but at least it’s productive procrastination.

Josh informed me of bad news and good news on the manuscript front. My final editor was one of his co-workers, and Josh has been my main contact for him. I had hoped that the guy would have his copy back to me by Dec 1st… then Dec 10th… Now I’m hoping for Dec. 15th. If no, I’ll just proceed without him. I’m not upset about it at all, because I know sifting through 200-odd pages takes time (trust me, I know). Plus, I hear there was a Wii involved…

The good news is that he told Josh he wouldn’t have much creative criticism to give me because he’s enjoying the story too much to look at it objectively. I can live with that.

Onward and upward!

Updates and Procrastination

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

There’s a lot going on right now, and I am rediscovering why this project was originally supposed to be a birthday present and not a Christmas gift. Polishing a novel is hard work at any time of the year, but doing it in the midst of christmas parties and other handmade gifts teeters dangerously on the edge of STUPID.

In lieu of complaining about the time I don’t have, however, I will post some declaration of completion. Behold, 52 chapter icons:

I know they aren’t very big in this shot, but I have to maintain some level of surprise. Some of them are better than others, but some turned out really great. It is the highest quantity I’ve done for a single manuscript yet… and nearly what I did for my three other stories combined. The chapters are also all named, although I need to fancy-up a few album names. So that’s a big step. I’ll just be feeling pleased with myself now, thanks.

I am split between two logos right now, the importance being that the winner will don the cover of the book and the web page so it’s consistent, plus any level of branding I decide I want to pursue. Josh is pulling for one that is more ‘fantasy’ feeling and I’m pulling for another that is, as he put it, more ‘Jericho’… in other words more apocolyptic, which in my opinion is a good thing. If I could figure out ‘apocolyptic fantasy’ I think I’d be good to go.

Regardless, my progress won’t be much to report until I can get my (other) Christmas projects wrapped up and stop watching “Heroes” and the “Star Trek: TNG” Season 7 DVDs that I’ve borrowed.

I just counted it up and it’s T minus 9 days and counting until this baby goes out into the mail. Yeah, that just about did it; my panic button is now somewhat engaged.

Lecture

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

It’s been a while since I made my way into a classroom that my honey didn’t teach in. Josh and I headed eastward to the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg to see Scott McCloud, of Making Comics fame. He was introduced as the leading comic theorist, and I have to agree.

While I have heard on and off about McCloud for a couple years, I never checked out his books (there are three) since A) I am a comic reader, not a creator; and B) I’ve kind of had my own stuff going on: ie, all things David. However, Josh got a hold of McCloud’s first novel, then devoured his second with doubled fervor, and has spent our coffee sessions since September interspersing my workflow with one amazing discover after another from the third book.

If you are unfamiliar, he writes graphic novels that explore the ins and outs of… well, graphic novels. It’s FASCINATING. Some of his insights are common sense things that I had just never thought about, others are crazy mind blowers that just rock my world. He outlines the common denominators between all comics, regardless of intent or origin. He also makes a play for comics being a legitimate artform — not hard in other places, but a little tougher in the US.

His insights are applicable to anything that could possibly be related to communication in any visual medium, and would be invaluable to anyone who has something they want to say.

Check it out his three works on the theory of comics:
Understanding Comics
Reinventing Comics
Making Comics