Monday, April 30, 2018

Today's writing notes:

Working on: Skydwellers third revision

I'm so pumped to finally be doing this! I'm glad I got my previous projects out of the way so I can totally devote my time and my mind to this. I want to make this book into something that I can feel good about having on Amazon/Lulu next to my newer stuff.

One major addition to this edition will be a pronunciation guide! Maybe it was kind of amateurish of me to create a high fantasy world with so many weird names, but rather than change the names I've grown so familiar with, hopefully a pronunciation guide will help readers. Although, maybe weird names help it feel more high-fantasy-ish? I tried to give each of the cultures their own unique sound through their names. Aehirim names tend to be breathy and nasal, Graling names are guttural, and Passerim names tend to be a bit more solid-sounding and no-nonsense.

Also, I'm going to have fun playing "watch the word count" like always. I'm predicting that this revision will end up being less words, because I notice in my older prose I tend to be overly wordy, so I think most of my prose edits will be taking out unnecessary verbiage.

One of my favorite things about the friendship between Rohui and Wilder is that Rohui acts like he's so much older than Wilder, but he's only four years older. They have a pretty standard brotherly relationship going on, where Rohui is the arrogant older brother and Wilder has to cut him down to size. Although, to be fair, when I was 15 I probably thought 19 was pretty grown-up, and when I was 19 I probably thought of 15-year-olds as kids. So I can understand Rohui's attitude.

Also my other favorite thing is that they don't actually like each other all that much, but over the course of the story come to mutually realize how much they help each other, and they do care about each other's well-being because they're decent people. Of course, they still fight like brothers all the time. It's like a buddy comedy without the buddy part.
Some art finally! :) I have not been art-ing a lot lately. (At least not in my spare time.)

Pharazon looking... considerably more hardcore than usual. Well, it must be remembered that he is a wizard, albeit a very shy and retiring one. Who knows what sort of adventures he's going to get into with his unsettling new Haunted Woods implement. But my next story will probably not be about that because it's much more fun to try to track down a crime lord without the aid of the family magician. :) (Pharazon is always unavailable at the worst times, I swear.)

Also, thinking about revising Skydwellers got me wanting to draw some of the characters again! Specifically Fraa, because I never really pinned down a good design for her, but I like this one.

Fraa is fantastic, definitely one of my favorite characters to write in that book. Gotta love slightly eccentric middle-aged goblin warrior ladies. :) I think it's really sweet how she becomes sort of a surrogate aunt to Kieri and Miette, and even Mathchis. Kind of the whole undertone of the book is that Rohui is an idiot and the girls are stuck cleaning up after his messes. :)

I had fun with the idea of Rohui as the "unreliable protagonist"--he's one of the main characters by virtue of being in the middle of everything going on, and a large amount of the story is told through his point of view, but he's not only really useless most of the time, but a lot of what happens is his fault to begin with. Hopefully that tongue-in-cheek theme came across okay in the actual book--if not, I'm certainly going to try to make it clearer in my revision.

Kieri's pet Thiswhit is basically what you'd get if you combined a Maltese with a stoat, with about the personality to match.

Finally a happy napping cynodont, just because. I bet they were really fuzzy and adorable.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The petpage version of "Worth Searching For" is complete!

I... think I need to go sit down now. I mean, sit down and do nothing instead of sit down and write/code.

I also took the opportunity to spruce it up a bit with some illustrations, because that's the kind of person I am. :) Check it out if you get the chance! (Also, if you want to read the revision past the first ten chapters that I've put on FFN so far, this page has the story in its entirety, so read away!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Today's writing notes

Working on: Last touch-ups on "Worth Searching For"

One subtle, yet important change in this revision is to make Hyren kinder and more compassionate toward his family, and less prone to mouthing off. I seem to have not been very good at writing nice people four years ago, but now that I have the opportunity to fix what went wrong, I'm definitely doing so. In this revision, we can see that Hyren is prone to becoming brusque and irritable when under stress, but he tries hard to rein it in and would never be callous toward his family, nor brutish to other Neopets. Twelve years with Terra's family has taught him a lot about being polite and considerate.

Rice porridge with peanuts and scallions sounds weird, but it's actually super tasty, and a real Asian dish called congee. I used to snarf it down for breakfast when I was in college in Hawaii.

I forgot to mention a few real-world references: the village of Caxton Bank is named after William Caxton, the first English retailer of printed books back in the 15th century, and the guy who first translated the French Reynard legends into English. (Because the name "Isengrim" comes from a character in the Reynard cycle.) Nan is named after a character in J. R. R. Tolkien's novella Smith of Wootton Major, which similarly takes place in medieval England and thus the characters in the story have properly medieval English names (which I try to reflect in Meridellian culture). "Thomas" and "Mary" are just super-common old English names that I figure many Meridellian peasants name their children.

Mary Jo's Bow

The picture book I illustrated is available for digital download through Amazon Kindle!

It's a super cute story and I had a lot of fun working on it.

As far as updates on other things go: The Voyage of the Kaus Media is still at the editor's, but my proofreader for the "Worth Fighting For" revision got back to me, so my current project will be to give that one last look-over and then put it on FFN and a petpage.

Also, I've been seriously tossing around the idea of making another revision to Skydwellers. A couple of years back, I had a very helpful friend give me some extremely useful story notes that made the overall plot much better, but I recently gave it a re-read and couldn't stop wincing at the prose and some minutiae. One of the awesome things about e-publishing is that you can publish new editions whenever you want, so I'd like to take advantage of that perk and make Skydwellers into something that I can be satisfied with now, and not have to add the caveat "but it's really old and lame" when people ask me about my books. :)

Also, totally unrelated, but Detective Pikachu is an absolutely adorable game and I love it to pieces. I highly recommend it if you can get past the idea of a Pikachu who sounds like a gruff old guy. Or if - like yours truly - you think that idea is totally hilarious and it's part of why you bought the game in the first place.