Thursday, October 29, 2009

WaWe: Favorite Halloween Character (Mummy)

The prompt this week for Watercolor Wednesdays is your favorite Halloween character. I decided to do a favorite character that I like to draw. I love drawing simple ghosts like those from last week, but for this prompt I decided to do a mummy, which is also fun. This is a more traditional mummy than the ones I usually do, so I played with texture in the background and added the little dog.

Oh No!

Oh No!

IF: Fast (bees) and my NaNo character

Originally I was going to do another ghost for the Illustration Friday prompt, but then I was drawing these two pictures of my NaNoWriMo character and realized that bees are fast too. (These are the black and white images I’ve been talking about all week on Twitter.) This style is a bit of a departure for me. What do you think?

The first image was done with ink on bristol.

Forest of Bees

Forest of Bees

The second image started out as a sketch of a different scene for a watercolor painting, but as I doodled, it became this image. I thought about transferring the image to bristol, but decided to just ink on the watercolor paper. My pens weren’t happy about that and rebelled a few times, but overall I’m happy with the image and I really love the texture of the tree.

Tree of Bees

Tree of Bees

prepping for the 4 week novel

Here are some tips and ideas to help you write a novel in 4 weeks (this is for NaNoWriMo, but could be used any time of the year). This first post is up a few days before the fun starts if you need help planning. The first week post will go up November 1 and then every Sunday until it’s over. Hope it’s helpful!

Prepping for the 4 week novel can be done in one hour, one day, one month, or while you’re writing your novel – it’s up to you

All you need to do is come up with a plot idea for a novel or an interesting character (preferably both).

Having trouble coming up with a plot? Think about your characters and play “what if:”

*What if this happened? *What happens next? *What would be the best place to start the novel?

*What does my character want, need, fear? *What happens if they get what they want? *What happens if they don’t? etc.

Still need help? Here are a few more questions to think about while plotting and planning:

*Who is your main character (MC)?
*What does your MC want, need, desire?
*What do they try to help them achieve that?
*Who or what thwarts their attempt?
*What do they try next?
*What stops them this time?
*Will they get what they want in the end, or will they grow/change to not want it?
*Does your character want more than one thing?
*Do the things that the MC wants conflict with each other?
*Is your MC struggling against another person, nature, or herself?
*What is the MC’s secret? Does it cause inner or outer conflict?
*Is the MC on the journey by themselves, or do they have a friend, boyfriend, group?
*What role (if any) does the MC’s family play in your story?
*Why does the MC need to tell this particular story about their life?
*What is the emotional journey or tone of the story?

Keep asking yourself questions until you know where you need to start your story and have a general idea of where you are going to go. Or just open a blank document on November 1st and wing it! Whatever you do, have fun :)

Note: The 4 week novel tips are designed for NaNoWriMo, but could be used any time of the year if you are trying to fast draft a story. This is the second post. The first one was on NaNoWriMo Thoughts and Tips

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A few NaNoWriMo thoughts and tips

This year will be my fourth NaNoWriMo! Here are some tips to get you through the month and hopefully get to 50k in 30 days.

If you’re an over writer, great! Indulge in every bit of extra description and unnecessary dialog you can think of.

If you’re an underwriter (like me), don’t forget to include description, including what the MC hears, sees, tastes and feels, but don’t add so much that you lose the story. After you’re done with your story, you will probably be short of words. That’s ok. At the end of the story, write all the lavish setting descriptions, backstory, character profiles or quirks, and possible subplot ideas. You can decide later if you want to add this to your story when you revise.

Start on November 1st no matter what. Even if you just put down a couple of words or a sentence. Then add to it every day that you can – try for every day, even if it’s only a couple of words. It’s a lot harder to finish if you only write half the time, although it can be done.

Stay off discussion boards and social marketing sites if it’s keeping you from your work. Actually a good tip even if you’re not doing NaNo, although it’s really hard to do. If it’s helping you, then stay on the discussion boards, etc.

Use NaNoWriMo to your benefit. The traditional NaNo rules or word count might not fit your style or project. Use the dedicated time to finish a project, start something new that’s longer than 50k, or revise/rewrite a manuscript. Whatever you need/want to do, you should do that. NaNo is great fun, although a bit crazy, but if it derails your writing, it’s not worth it. Do what works for you and have a good time. Find a friend or two or three hundred to do it with you. You can each set your own goals and cheer each other on.

Have a plan. A plan doesn’t have to be a detailed outline or even a plot, but if you have an idea for a story or even a character’s name, it will help you to get going right away.

My plan this year – to fix problems in past years. Use my plan if you want. If you do, you’ll need 4 things.

1. Novel info (yours might be slightly different than mine): main character, secondary characters and a basic plot idea. (I also have ideas about the world it’s going to be set in, but no outline or romantic interest … yet.)

2. Daily print outs of what you’ve written, so if you have the urge to edit or make notes, it’s on the paper copy and not taking away from your word count.

3. A master document that you paste your daily writing into. Use a blank document each day to keep you from editing what’s already written. Note: I got the idea for # 2 and 3 from the end of this article.

4. Hand-written notes each night on what’s next in the story or what scenes you want to tackle next. This should help jumpstart the writing each day. They’re hand-written so you don’t have to have them in your document or keep switching between documents.

That’s it, that’s my plan, although I might add a 5th thing – Scrivner. They have a NaNo deal for Mac users and I’ve wanted to try it for a while. More info here -

Here are my previous NaNo stats in case you are interested:

2004 – I went in with a story idea I loved, but no outline or real plot. The novel took a sharp turn into crazy land, but I got to 50k (despite starting late because I was getting ready for a portfolio review – I think I did the whole thing in 2.5 weeks). I’ve tried to rewrite this novel several times since then, but it’s so convoluted it might not be salvageable … unless I can figure out a plot for it.

2005 – I have no idea what happened that year, but I didn’t finish. No doubt I still didn’t have a plot and didn’t start on time due to the portfolio review preparations. (My illustrator’s group has a review every November – usually the second weekend. Getting ready can really take away from writing time.) Then I skipped a few years.

2008 – I had an idea, I had a plan, and I started right away (despite my portfolio review prep). However, then I had my review, and an editor loved some illustrations and was interested in seeing the graphic novel when I was done. So I switched novels for NaNo, and didn’t finish. However, after months of trying to figure out what to do with the graphic novel, I’m finally on track with it and the MC from last year’s original NaNo novel is in my novel this year with a shiny new plot (the one last year stunk).

So, you see, it’s not all bad. What started last year wasn’t ready to be written and could have a happy ending this year.

Here are some other resources and thoughts on NaNoWriMo that I’ve found:
There’s a NaNoWriMo YA contest. The first 250 words of your YA novel could win!
Writer Chuck Wendig’s take on the good and bad of NaNoWriMo.
Elissa Cruz has some brilliant (non-cheating) tricks for NaNoWriMo.
Write your novel on FastPencil.com & get a free copy of your book when you finish!

Happy NaNo noveling everyone!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

IF: Frozen (Treats)

The prompt for Illustration Friday this week was “frozen” and I’ve been trying to create a ghost picture for all the prompts this month. So, what better way to combine the two than to show how much ghosts like frozen treats. When the Mr. Ghostie Cloud-Truck flies by playing music, all the ghosts gather around for treats.

Ghosts love frozen treats, especially ghostsickles.

Ghosts love frozen treats, especially ghostsickles.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WaWe: Class Halloween Party (a sponge painting)

The Watercolor Wednesdays prompt this week was a Halloween class party. I painted this one with cut up sponges (except the vampire). I painted the vampire with brushes to set him apart from the rest of the class. I thought the texture would be fun, and it is, except that the painting was too small (8.5 x 11) or the sponges were too big to make it look the way I wanted it to. Still, it’s something I might play around with again in the future, or use brushes to try to re-create the texture.

Eddie was out sick the day Ms. MacDonald’s class decided to dress up as farm animals for the class party. Everyone forgot to tell Eddie when he came back.

Ms. MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O

Ms. MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O

CBIG: Autumn Puppy

I decided that a black dog for Halloween might be an interesting change from the usual black cat. I might have to tell a story about this puppy. It also fits the “autumn” prompt for the CBIG blog this month.

Autumn leaves and Halloween pumpkins

Autumn leaves and Halloween pumpkins

Thursday, October 15, 2009

IF: Flying

Here’s my quick pencil and watercolor pencil painting for Illustration Friday this week.
Flying is the best thing about being a ghost.

Haunted Flight

Haunted Flight

WaWe: The Colors of Fall

The prompt for Watercolor Wednesdays this week is: The Colors of Fall (an outdoor scene with children).

Fall Kids / Fall Colors

Fall Kids / Fall Colors

This is another attempt at layering. I like how it turned out, but I think I’ll do a bit more planning next time. Want to see how I got to the finished painting? Scroll down to see the other stages.

Yellow layer

Yellow layer

browns and skin tones added

browns and skin tones added

Orange!

Orange!

blues and reds

blues and reds

The final step was to layer in all the greens, then add details with markers, to get the painting at the beginning of the post.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

IF: Germs

This was the first thing I thought of for this week’s Illustration Friday topic, so I decided to go with it as a b/w cartoon:

Ewwww, germs!

Ewwww, germs!

If you can’t read it, the germ is saying, “Eek! Ghosts!”

WaWe: Young Frankenstein and his first monster

The Watercolor Wednesdays prompt for this week is to imagine Frankenstein as a child, so I painted Young Frankenstein with his first monster, FrankenTeddy, and his little dog Frankie. I think Young Frankenstein would have worn PJs with his lab coat over them.

Young Frankenstein and FrankenTeddy

Young Frankenstein and FrankenTeddy