Friday, February 27, 2015

Good Fridays: The Student Has Become the Teacher

Good Fridays is a weekly feature where I post about something good I learned, did, or discovered during the past week. Thanks to a friend, I've been inspired to revive it. This week is about a lesson finally learned, and passed on to others.

I freaked out my little art class by telling them I stay young by taking their energy during class. When I'm leaning over them, helping them out, I'm really stealing their energy. This is particularly creepy because I'm 34 and look like I'm 25, so it's potentially believable.

All joking aside, I do get energy from my class. I get to talk about a subject I love to ears eager to hear it, and I get to draw things for an hour while getting paid. The boost I get from the class carries me through the rest of the workday. Then I get to be proud of myself all the way home.

This week we drew anime faces, and I discovered one excellent book for shiny eyes and face shapes. Girl to Grrrl Manga: How to Draw the Hottest Shoujo Manga.This also happened to be a book I easily pulled from the shelf at my local library.

One student observed that since she's been drawing in manga style for awhile she's gotten worse at drawing realistic faces and figures. I suggested she practice one while still doing the other. She doesn't have to give it up, but only drawing in a highly stylized manner can be detrimental if you still haven't mastered realism. And no one at 14 has mastered realism.

Basically, I finally internalized what my undergrad drawing professor had been trying to tell me. Draw anime after you can draw real people well, otherwise, all your people end up looking like they belong in an anime. It's almost like those parental curses, "One day when YOU have a daughter...". We've come full circle, Mr. Reynolds. Points to you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Romance of Novel Writing

I am a single writer in a relationship with one needy, lovely, atmospheric YA Victorian fantasy novel. Lately I've realized how much like romance writing a novel is.

I devote a lot of personal time to my book. When I'm not writing/revising it, I think about it. Movies I watch or songs I hear remind me of it. Daydreaming inspires new ideas I can bring to it. I write little notes for it and draw the characters from it. I've already written a blog post entitled Love Song To My Manuscript. I'm this close to writing our names in the sand,
but I'd rather see them on a book cover.

Anyone who's ever written a novel (or, in my case, began a novel series) knows what I mean when I say it feels like a romance. Right now I'm in the honeymoon phase again. You wouldn't think I'd be honeymooning during revisions, but reading it over only reminds me how much I love it. To me the relationship stages of a novel are as follows:

Dating - brainstorming and writing the first draft.
Engaged - commited enough to revise and begin querying.
Married - commited enough to keep revising after rejections, and query again until you get accepted.
Married with children - when you've found an agent, sold the book, and are looking forward to your first 'book birthday'.
You've created a Legacy when your first love gives birth to a series.

As long as I've been working on it, I consider myself married to this book. Revisions get difficult, ideas don't always flow as easily as they should, I have to step away and get advice and encouragement from other writers (couples counseling), but I still love my novel. I'm still passionate and determined to see this through to my book birthday.

What made you fall in love with your novel? Have you written any books you consider yourself married to? I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Frozen - And I Don't Mean the Disney Movie

I've had an awful time trying to think of blog topics lately. What once was a fun, light-hearted experience turned into a chore that I didn't look forward to. I felt stuck, and frustrated, and frozen. I couldn't move forward, and felt badly about my blog as a whole. Maybe it had the wrong look or the wrong tone. Maybe I needed to focus more on one thing over another. I lost confidence in all of it.

Talking to a fellow writer who also struggled with blogger's block, I discovered it's more common than I thought. And it really is a confidence thing. This block has to do with fear and confusion, and I'm tired of it. I want to be excited over my blog again. I want it to be like a sit-down with friends, sharing common interests and passions. I don't like to constantly doubt myself and wonder if I'm reaching the right audience, posting about the right topics. This is MY blog, isn't it? I need to get back to leaving the dirty clothes on the floor, the desk cluttered, and the door open.

This blog is not like other blogs. It's not a writer blog exactly, and it's not an art blog. It's more personal than anything else, and because of that it's all over the place. Like me, it wants to do everything. It's multi-talented, many-layered, and distracted by shiny things. And that's okay. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to harness it toward some very specific goal, but that day is not today.

If you're still interested in reading what comes out of my head, then please tag along for the ride.

And if you've ever had a block of any kind, I'd love to hear about it. How'd you get over it?

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