May 25, 2018

Spectra Part 1

"Don't show your magic to anyone.  Don't let anyone know about it."  These were the last words her mom had told Sheyla.  Telmarra had bombed their city and now Sheyla sat in a bunker.  Cold steel and concrete surrounded her.  Her backpack provided the only cushioning against the wall, and a throw blanket was draped across her legs.  In her arms was a stuffed toy whose fur had seen better days, a rabbit she named Tala.

These were her only possessions now, even though her parents had thrown her a big birthday party just a few weeks ago.

Because Telmarra wanted to join the Galactic Union with Kaldoa.

Now her parents were both dead.

Her twelth birthday was not likely to be any fun next year.

Her heart beat faster, Why did they do this?!  How could those stupid jerks--!
In her vision, and only her vision, she saw a faint olive hue slowly rise up, above the steel ceiling were golden lines of electricity flowing between lights and switches, air vent fans and who knows what else.  She was surging.  She could feel her magic inside.  Sheyla shut her eyes and buried her face in Tala.  She could still see in olive vision with her eyes closed, but she could distance herself from reality too.  Anger was an easy way to emp, and she didn't want to do that in the bunker.  Other people were in it.

She was going to stay away from them.


Okay, so I didn't start the story with the TV debate, but oh well, I'm starting to blog my story (kinda the condensed version, it will only have Sheyla and Desmond's point of view) and my plan is to try to post a segment each Friday, however long or short, and just make this story happen at last.  It'll be imperfect and not a final draft, but it'll be something.  I'll edit it into a real book later on.

Might try posting segments on more days, but Friday for sure I want to become consistent with.
Man, this is gonna be such a roughdraft. XD

May 23, 2018

Spectra Has Finally Found Its Beginning

I am very, very excited to say that I finally found a good beginning for Spectra and have written portions of it.  It is presently very messy and roughdrafty but it there and I can feel my story finally taking flight.  There's been some deepened ideas for the ending too, but it's the beginning that will make all the difference.

I am very hyper and all this excitement makes it slightly hard to write coherently.  Bother.  But....EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!  I HAVE A PATH FORWARD NOW!

It all kicks off with a television program with people arguing over politics, setting up the dystopic theme and the reason for a war and how it all affects Sheyla.  It is great!  Partly because it might feel like normal, everyday life, but there it is, the foreshadowing, the precipice of war, and the fact that Spectran society is wildly different from our own in some fundamental ways.

Gah!  I'm so hyper!  Especially because I intend to use Spectra for real world impact as well, but more on that later.  I need to write this thing.  But eeeeek!  Too much anticipation or something!

My plan for now is to novelize the first part of Spectra, just so I can easily get it out there without worrying about art, and afterward I'll figure out the webcomic version.  It's very visual.  Well, I'm very visual so I want to try capturing what I see in my mind and make it feel all cinematic and stuff.  But for now, roughdrafting.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

I don't know why I'm panicking, maybe because part of me wants to share the beginning as soon as I write it, but I better let it sit and edit it like a normal writer and not get in over my head or whatever.  But ack!  Maybe my story will finally enter the real world now!

*Makes more loud, hyper noises of excitement, nervousness, and confusion*

Hopefully I haven't hyped the beginning up so much that I turn into a perfectionist...But agh!  This thing is FINALLY COMING TOGETHER!

May 20, 2018

Spectra is a Mess But is Slightly Awake

It's been a while since I've blogged, partly cuz of tech issues, but mainly because of writer's block and only tiny snippets of progress (Willowbrook maaaaybe has a tiny conflict...?), so things have felt stagnant creatively.  Aside from random sketches.  Those keep coming.  But a hundred eyes don't tell much of a story.

So.  Spectra is still writeable.  Except it is a mess and the beginning is so long I want to skip it, but I want a few scenes and really, I have no idea what I'm doing with it.  Which maybe isn't interesting bloggy news given that I've ranted about it previously.  :P

Thing is, I gotta find a way to tell the story, and I've been thinking I should try pencil drafting just a few scenes and sharing them to see the effect.  But I can't decide on what scenes to work on.  It's just a mess.  Or maybe I would make a hybrid story, some comic, but also novelization when that works better.  Mainly I hope writing here will get my brainstorming ideas popping out.  I don't know why I really want to make Spectra but also feel like I draw a complete blank when I think of trying to put writing implement to paper.  Partly it's the backlog of ideas, I'm sure, but another struggle is that it's a pretty nasty dystopia.  And it can be gory and that sort of thing.  That's not easy to draw.

Sheyla: I want some cake.
Des: Just eat some pompoms.
Sheyla: ....

That was this weeks random inside joke brought to you by a tired Jethan who decided to ramble about doomed stories instead of going to bed.

Des: Come on, you need to come up with some solution!
Sheyla: Sodium chloride and formaldehyde.
Des: What.
Sheyla: It's chemicals that sound like a sciency solution.
Des: poisonng our story won't help anything.
Sheyla: It'd give me a permanent vacation.
Des: ...
Des: Where do we get that sludge?

This will only get more random from here on out. :P
Better just say goodnight and hope my sleepy mind dreams up some good ideas.

May 9, 2018

My Stories Are Napping

Camp NaNoWriMo ended a little anti-climatically for me.  I don't know where Spectra is going and I'm experiencing those expected times of writerly self-doubt.  I tried reading old notebooks full of story stuff and personal musings to see if anything would click.  A quiet time of reflection seems to be in order.  But perhaps it's too much in the back of my mind that I want to share Spectra that I can't draft it in the properly rough way, and so it has secluded itself into a cave and taken a nap.

Probably a well-deserved nap, but it's left me just a bit (exceedingly) aimless in my creative endeavors.  That's pretty much where I'm at right now.

I did sketch a few things for it, but nothing is drawing out clarity or energy.  The one new development is that Rob has a sister now.  She might even be a twin.

Maybe I'll manage to write something today.  There is still some potential, but I think my story making progress will be MUCH slower than I previously thought.

May 1, 2018

April Camp NaNo 2018 ~ Finale Doom

I lowered my goal to 130 pages a few days ago.

And I just managed to meet that goal between the time spent editing and arranging my draft of Spectra, and then promptly ranting about Spectra because it is too long and convoluted a story to succeed and I know not what to do with it.
This doesn’t feel very victorious. :P

But perhaps this is where the true editing comes in?  To want to rip the story apart at the seams and start all over again and try to figure out which elements of it belong and which do not?
It’s a mess. That is all I can say this May 1st.

So, I’m just going to share a snippet I ended up writing after a discussion with my cabin mates that turned out hilariously wrong:
Des: My home city I’ve always lived in has been obliterated…My whole family is dead. My buddies in the army are dead. You’re my only friend now, Quentin, I can’t believe we survived those xytari.

Quentin: Yeah, about that…*Stabs Des in the guts* I brought them here… >:[ And now I shall EAT YOU! AND WE SHALL TAKE THE SURVIVORS YOU SAVED MWAHAHAHAHA!

Not what happens.

Quentin: You’re* friends are evil.

Des: I guess it gave you some personality at least?

Quentin: Probably.
*My friends.
I was aghast my friends would suggest Quentin become a cannibal and betray Desmond, but they found it hilarious.  Well, it is funny.  I can just imagine him suddenly having fangs and glowing red eyes and a large, bloody knife in his hands.


I think that’s about how I look right now, holding a knife over my manuscript of Spectra because it is a horrific mess of too much stuff happening, but I want all the stuff, but I want the original, tighter premise of just he sci-fi dystopia without all the other Chaos coming in, so there is too much conflict and turmoil and incoherent sentences.

May need to give it some time to see what I really want to do with it. ):P

Thus, my Camp NaNo has ended rather anticlimactically.

Also, there is no Finale for the story in sight.  Not a single one. Unless everyone does just die with all the potential chaos I have thought of.
But there isn’t a real finale as of yet.  That's a big part of my problem with this fiendish story.

My poor story is doomed, what am I to do with it?

April 27, 2018

Camp NaNo Update ~ The Last Minute Switch

So, for a long while, I had 160 pages as my goal.

And I was perpetually behind.

Today I started with 108 pages and was supposed to be at 144 pages.  I lowered my goal to 130 pages for these last few days of Camp. Otherwise it would just be too stressful since I’ve been floundering in my writing and drawing activity, ideas, and inspiration.

But that isn’t really the last minute switch I want to talk about.  No, it’s just that after a month of trying to come up with new material, whether for Spectra or for some short stories, nothing was consistent.  I didn’t feel like I was making any real progress on stories.

But then I had to edit a scene I wanted to share with a friend, a scene from The Desolation of Kaldoa back in November.  My 75-76 thousand word Nano.

Yeah, I haven’t edited much of it.

I got stuck on feeling like I need to create even MORE new scenes before I would be able to tackle editing.  You know, you write a complete first draft and then edit?  Well, that’s all well and good with a proper book, but with something like Spectra that I want to be a webcomic and include novelizations to deepen the storyline even more, well, that last Nano may have covered material for 2-3 entire books!  (To say nothing of the side book ideas that ballooned after Nano! I’m looking at you Des, stop trying to steal the story from Sheyla.)

So maybe it is time to edit.

Especially since it would be waaaaaaaaay cooler to have sizeable chunks I can share at last instead of hoarding everything indefinitely because I’m trying to gather ALL of my raw material instead of organizing and polishing what I already have.

I was much less lost in the doldrums of story malaise editing that one scene than I have been in maybe this whole last week? More than a week?  My last really good day was the 16th, and then I had an improved day on the 20th, but most of this latter half has been pretty much scraping up one or two pages and not caring much.

But editing.  I edited the scene where Sheyla meets Cool Villainess who originally smashed up my outline and caused me to complain so much.  I guess it’s sort of poetic that I start this with her?  Anyway, it was nice to edit because I started off just copying chunks of text, fixing some typos as Sheyla went about her afternoon, and then, the Villainess entered.  I had to be more careful then, and not simply copy text, but change some wording from my spoilery author titles for characters, to more neutral language, and then there was a portion which was written two different ways and I rewrote a cohesive version, rearranged some things, and still included the wording I really liked.
Perhaps I have found my way to boost my excitement in Spectra.  It’s felt like I’ve been keeping it to myself too long, and now I really need to start drafting a cohesive second draft and work through the beginning.

Except the beginning kinda has the biggest gaps going for it, so there’s still a lot to write there.  Especially now that Des has become such an important character.  He has his own side to the story.
Still, I think I’m going to work through editing a copy of Nano draft, picking it apart, rearranging things so they’re in chronological order, and cutting was is obsolete or doesn’t work, and rewriting new stuff.  It’s gonna be interesting.

I have my raw Nano draft which is ordered by when I wrote the scenes, not the story timeline, so it’s a mess, and then I have a document taking all those bits and putting them in chronologically.  The last third of the draft isn’t in there though, and partway through I stopped using my outline so it’s quite a mess, but with my new copy, I intend to fix things up quite a bit.
Wow, I have nearly a dozen documents for this story and they’re all quite disordered. (That’s not counting my art drafts for it)

I haven’t posted in 10 days.  Well, it’s time to get back making Spectra and getting it out into the world!

Here’s the main rewritten snippet:

Enraged, the woman lifted her hand against the robot, smashing it down so hard that it grazed the tile floor for several meters and the blue magic was gone. Only a withering collection of electric sparks remained of the robot’s power. She opened Sheyla’s coat and extracted an envelope from an inner pocket, disdainful of the panicked faces of onlookers seeing her destroy an official Union robot.

April 16, 2018

Spectra Concept Art: Redhead Overlooking the City

I drew a sketch and then I colored it and realized it was pretty much three different characters trying to be figured out at once. Sigh. They aren’t figured out at all. It’s rather ridiculous the more I think about it. Oh…actually, it could be inspiration for four different characters.

Why do I have so many that look similar? Why does music give me visions of redheads with actions that match a character I don’t want to be a redhead?

This delayed me in catching up to Nano with simpler comic sketches, but I consider it well worth it.