Still working on the prequel, so we get more philosophical jams this week. In practice, I’ve alternated between Metric’s Fantasies and The Go! Team’s The Scene Between all week, but we did some Go! Team a few weeks ago, and I want to avoid repeating too much. We’ll get something from TSB on the Playlist rotation sooner or later, trust me.
The word count has been on pause since last weekend for a few reasons, none of which are permanent. In the wake of the craft sale / convention, I’m overhauling and updating our crafting page — which means uploading and tagging 855 photos from the last 10 years. That is a literal count, by the way, not mashing a fist on the keyboard. (Some projects have alternate angle photos, but by no means all.)
After that project and one at-con commission I picked up, it’s full steam ahead once again.
At Tekko, Pittsburgh’s Japanese pop-culture and music fan convention, i.e. our local anime con. This has nothing to do with fantasy books, directly; we’ve had a craft booth at Tekko since 2006.
However, for the first time, I will also have paperbacks. Either way, if you are there, stop by. We’re in Artists’ Alley. Look for bears. Lots and lots of bears.
Timely. Counting down to a 3-day weekend neck deep in J-pop, glitter, and Homestuck cosplayers smearing gray paint on everything. To get us there, here’s Kotaku’s list of anime and manga for beginners. They include two that are firmly in my top ten, too: Haibane-Renmei and Princess Jellyfish. Give me anything that will leave half the audience saying “but nothing happened.” Give me that thing. Book, TV show, movie, video game, I am there.
(The rest of the top ten right now: Revolutionary Girl Utena, Princess Tutu, yes, that’s two princess-titled shows that are not actually about princesses, Spice and Wolf, Kino’s Journey, Trigun, Fruits Basket, Read or Die the TV, and Azumanga Daioh. Nothing happens in six and a half out of these ten shows. Awesome.)
Just before New Year’s, I jumped on board with a forum thread at the KBoards Writers’ Cafe to try writing every day for 100 days – based on the Give It 100 site/campaign. Before this, and throughout the writing of my first book, I worked on a stop-and-start basis at best. I’d sprint through a scene on a weekend, then leave the project entirely for a few months. I had to be inspired, right? The scene had to clobber me over the head, or it would never come. It wasn’t as though I could just make things up.
That’s what I learned over the last 100 days. I can make things up.
I’d love to be better organized — and I have an elaborate outline for a book down the road, so far mostly ignored — but I do not, it turns out, have to be clobbered over the head by inspiration. I can show up, and the scenes will come, even if it’s slow.
The final total for the last 100 days:
- 10,905 words in The Quartet, Rone’s first book.
- 4,235 words over three scenes in The Builders’ Bridge, Rone’s second book, which I’d intended to carry me through the whole 100 days. I swerved after less than a week.
- 11,212 words in Agna’s first book, still untitled.
- 22,694 words in what I keep calling The Healers’ Road 2, Agna’s third book.
- 6,341 words in THR2 scenes that I knew I’d cut, but that I had to get out of my head anyway.
- 8 chapters of editing / second draft for the science fiction romance, which amounts to several thousand new words (I’ll estimate 10,000).
- Some progress on the long-ignored lore and character files.
Total: 55,387 not counting the second drafts (which I didn’t track precisely).
For most writers, this would be an unsustainably slow pace. For me, it’s pretty freaking good. I worked on it every day. Made it part of my routine. Got used to the idea of pushing forward, uncovering new scenes, new characters, new territory. It was well worth the time.
Next: A major crafting obligation at the end of the week, and then doubling down on Agna’s prequel.
For the last ten years, my sister, my husband and I have run a crafting side business, including an Etsy store and an in-person booth. We make nerdy fandom crafts — buttons/pins, teddy bears dressed up in costume, quilts based on The Legend of Zelda, stuff like that. Because we already have a booth reserved at our local anime / video game / nerdy-things-mostly-from-Japan convention, I decided to have some paperbacks ready to go as well.
Outside of translations and manga, book sellers are fairly rare at these events; you’ll see several indie graphic novelists and occasionally a novelist, usually in nerd-friendly genres like epic fantasy. It’s a fun opportunity to translate what I do into fan lingo — the general public won’t know what I’m talking about when I say “Spice and Wolf minus the gods and economics, plus broshipping and linguistics,” but this crew would.
So for this particular instance (and others like it, if all goes well), I commissioned some anime-style artwork from a friend. I said “make it look like an anime eyecatch from a fantasy-adventure show, except that they’re posing with art and music accoutrements instead of swords and staves.” And then we had a discussion about snoods and sleeves and such, and how it’s nearly impossible to suggest “this person is a graphite artist” unless you show what they’re sketching, because pencil = writer in visual shorthand.
And the art:
(Art by Wendy Davis, who does not have a website, unfortunately.)
This will go onto a sign with a short “x meets y” type blurb and a QR code to buy the ebook or download the sample. The convention is next weekend. Should be fun.
This week’s playlist entry is in honor of Esirel, Agna’s best friend at the Academy and (at the time of THR, anyway) future sister-in-law. The story in progress right now catches both of them in the early days of their friendship, when both are trying to figure out where they’re going and who they want to be. Agna’s still unsure about some of this, but Esi knows without a doubt. Esi knows a lot of things without a doubt. She’s going to study swordfighting, she’s going to be good at it, and she’s going to help the helpless, whoever that happens to be.
Even though Agna and Esi don’t compete much, they still have friction in their friendship, especially when you throw together two people who are adamant about a lot of very different things. (We’ve seen Agna in action at the beginning of THR… this is eight years prior. Soaking that in for a second…)
Esirel was the character who kicked off this story-universe some fifteen years ago, and although the story and its characters have evolved over the intervening time, I’m excited to finally pick up her story again.
Edit to add: Got the art I commissioned for the convention sign! Sooooo cuuuuuute. Mocking up the sign tomorrow; will post if all goes well.
A bit early.
As mentioned previously, the project on tap right now is Agna’s prequel, about her time at the Academy. She’s 12 at the beginning of the story, utterly blinkered, frustrated, ambitious and ready to be anybody else. It’s coming along nicely. The progress bar arbitrarily says 50,000 words, but I have a feeling the story will wrap up shorter than that. I hope to have it finished by early summer, if not sooner. I do tend to get bogged down in the sheer nitpicky love of editing.
Edit to add: Aha. I’ve found my prequel writing music, though it’s a bit of an obvious choice: the first Revolutionary Girl Utena soundtrack. It starts out quite bouncy and classical-lite, perfect for boarding school hijinks. And if I haven’t thrown in the towel by the time the apocalyptic rock opera starts, at least the scene will turn epic.