Friday, May 29, 2020

I felt like I needed a new profile picture for my Goodreads author page... and what fun is a mere photograph when I can make stuff up?!

Always be yourself. Unless you can be a hardcore unicorn warrior. Then be that.
I just finished setting up my profile on Goodreads! I feel all official and fancy now.

If you use Goodreads, feel free to follow me! I will still update my Facebook page and blog more frequently, but if you're a big Goodreads user and want to support me and share my books there, now you can!

Nothing much else to report; I'm still plugging along on those revisions of On Borrowed Wings. I'm about 2/3 through the manuscript, and I've already made a few plot tweaks that I like a lot better. I love being so fully in control of my stories that I can fine-tune them to my very picky specifications. #ControlFreak #OCD #Perfectionism

I'm also really looking forward to starting to put Worth Searching For up on the blog! I kinda miss my Neopets cast. I did write an abnormally large amount of words about them, after all. I'm sort of tossing around an idea for a short story involving the Caxton Bank villagers (they get introduced in Worth Searching For) because I just can't stop researching and I was reading some interesting things about medieval surveying techniques???? This is how new story ideas happen for me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Do you ever have a piece of writing where, when you first finish it, you think it's great, and then three years later you look at it again and just think it's super cringey? 

Yeah, that's me with On Borrowed Wings right now. Those "minor" edits have turned out to not be so minor. I keep finding places where the prose really needs fixing, and somehow there are still loads of typos even though I combed through the manuscript meticulously (and got it proofread)???

Also, and more importantly in my eyes, I have been doing a pretty extensive rehaul of the storyline to make it less dark and intense. Because I, for one, hate that kind of thing as a reader, and I don't write things I don't like reading, simple as that. But I also think there are plenty of other people like me out there, and I want to make sure there is fiction on the market that caters to them.

I'm about 2/3 through the manuscript right now and I've already shaved about a thousand words off of it, although this is mostly due to removing some unnecessary words, sentences, and sometimes even paragraphs. (One of the most valuable things I've learned as a writer is that less is more. It's okay to be poetic and prosaic, but it's also important to make sure that you're not repeating yourself or using unnecessary words.)

Still, I think the book as a whole holds up pretty well for something that I first started coming up with in high school. I'm pretty proud of it. I just have to give it a little more polish to make it something that I'm happy with and feel good about people reading.

Friday, May 22, 2020

I finished the first draft of Pixeldust and sent it to my editor! I hope she enjoys it! I hope readers enjoy it! I am very tired! It came out to around 68,000 words. What a marathon!

I think I will go ahead and give myself as long of a break as I need until I get my editor's notes. I pushed myself really hard to finish, and now I'm feeling it. But it was worth it. 

Partly this is because my sister and 2-year-old niece are coming to stay with us while my brother-in-law goes on military deployment! I love my niece to bits (she's the one I drew that picture of Chewie for), and I want to make hanging out with my family my first priority, so if I could get Pixeldust published before they get here, that would be awesome. (Also me and my sister can be Nintendo Switch buddies! Gaming is much more affordable when there are two of you to split costs and share games.)

As for the other minor projects I talked about in my last post, I'm not quite sure when I'll be getting around to those, because I feel I should take some time to recuperate. I do still want to work on them, but right now I do need to turn my attention to taking care of myself.

I'm looking forward to hearing back from my editor and sharing Pixeldust with everybody!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Just wanted to drop a quick update! Work is progressing on Pixeldust. It's at about 54,000 words now, and I'm just coming up on the climax. I hope Balt's comic relief doesn't come across as too out-of-place. I actually based his manner of speech on my sister; she's in college and I figure she knows what all the cool kids are saying these days. (I feel so old and out-of-touch.) But Balt's also been coming up with his own Balt-isms because, I don't really control my characters. Like, going into this manuscript I didn't have much in the way of concrete character development for Maria Elena, just that she was super nice, very smart, and a little bit of a nerd. So I let her do her own thing, and I think she turned into a really likable character--she's kindhearted but also has an analytical side, and although she's usually soft-spoken and introverted, if something raises her ire she can get pretty assertive.

I'm really excited to give Pixeldust to my editor, and then I have some side projects to work on while she looks at the manuscript! First off, I'd like to go back over On Borrowed Wings and smooth out some rough bits. I'm not super satisfied with that book, probably partly because it is like four years old (it came out in 2017, but I'd written it the year before and had trouble finding an editor... I'm so glad I have an editor who's been available for multiple projects now). So I'm hoping doing some minor editing tweaks will help me like it better!

Also, I'd really like to put Worth Searching For, my next long-form Neopets fanfic, up here on the blog. It's like 93,000 words long and one of those stories that I got super into and couldn't stop writing, because, Werelupes and sword fights and magic and Pharazon nearly dying (whoops, spoilers), and Isengrim, Suhel, and Celice turned into such fun characters to write in future stories. I feel like Worth Searching For is what really made my Neopets writing explode, because while it was just intended as some follow-up closure to Worth Fighting For, it ended up introducing a bunch of characters and interpersonal dynamics and intriguing hints of information that I found I also wanted to follow up on. It all finally culminated in Worth Returning For (which I finished writing earlier this year and will put up on the blog at some point), which is the ultimate follow-up closure story, and I feel like it's the perfect send-off for Terra and her family.

Anyway I am rambling. Look for Worth Searching For on the blog soon! My edits to On Borrowed Wings may or may not require the label of a new edition, but if they do, I might as well make an announcement here on the blog. (Jacob and Audrey are my favorite parts of the book, no lie. I guess Nimbus is important because her relative normalness kind of balances out Jacob's smart-alecky scrappiness and the way Audrey enjoys being unsettling.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

More Pixeldust concept art for y'all! I decided to take a break from writing to do a little doodling. It of course had nothing to do with the fact that I was listening to K. K. Slider covers on YouTube. #AnimalCrossingNewHorizonsAddiction

Master Magus Noshé Düs is the smartest and most well-educated person in Avonell, and he'll make sure you know that. It's clear that he's spent much more time brushing up on his magic than his people skills, but as the most powerful mage in the kingdom, all of the mage player characters report to him. However, he is obsessed with obtaining knowledge, and when he discovers he's just a character in a video game, Noshé figures out he can use his magic to manipulate the game's programming, with the eventual goal of leaving the game to learn everything about the outside universe. And he doesn't care what kind of chaos he causes in the process.

Noshé's been fun to write. I don't want to give too much away, but he is one of the main antagonists, and he and Orsamus are a dangerous combination, with Orsamus's volatile emotions and easily bruised pride leading him to carelessly enable Noshé's reckless drive for information... especially because that information will help Orsamus get what he wants.
Rin Thunderhoof is a minotaur general in Lord Zaragoz's army, and also one of his close friends. She is a good person, but is very devoted to her job and gets grumpy when things don't go according to plan. Thus, she's very suspicious of Quinny, a random dwarf who somehow found her way into Caed Dhraos and started questioning Zaragoz's operations. Even if Quinny's ideas seem to be working. Eventually, Rin learns that sometimes your best friends can be the most unlikely people, and it's okay to be open to change.

Funnily enough, Rin and Quinny were originally supposed to become friends earlier on in the manuscript, but I found Rin having a very difficult time trusting Quinny, and I felt it made sense given her character, and also helped add a bit of interesting drama to Quinny's life in Caed Dhraos. It also makes it much more satisfying when Quinny ends up saving Rin and her forces and Rin realizes that Quinny's been on her side all along.

I added Quinny for reference because minotaurs are tall--Rin's about seven feet tall and she's a female, so the males are even taller. I also imagine grimalkin are rather tall as a race, averaging maybe 6 and a half feet tall. Sun and moon elves run slightly shorter than that, with females averaging 6 feet. Humans are in the average height range for real average humans - maybe a little on the short side because the game was developed in South Korea - and dwarfs are about four feet tall on average.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Sorry for the lack of updates! I have been very busy, and just trying to get this manuscript done. I've also been trying to figure out what novel I want to work on next. I've got an idea pretty well fleshed out, but it takes place in Scarborough, England, and I've never been there, and I've been trying to figure out if I can get away with writing about someplace I've never been. Barring that, I've got some other ideas for things I can work on in the meantime, like a sci-fi adventure and possibly the sequels to Skydwellers and Thunder Girl.

As for Pixeldust, it's at about 34,000 words right now, and I am working on it whenever I get the time! I think it's looking pretty good so far! I haven't done any new concept doodles, but we'll see how bored I get.

Also, my 2-year-old niece's and my new favorite thing is for me to screenshare my art software while she tells me what to draw. I drew our cat for her, and I thought it turned out so adorable that I wanted to put it up here.

He is big and fluffy and kind of a toe. He got up on my bed three times while I was in the middle of making it and expressly told him I didn't want him on the sheets. He doesn't care, because he is a cat.