Notes from the Field: September 18 2017

More of the goings-on desde mi casa:

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Following up on my most recent post, in which I vented a bit about the literary query waiting game (truth be told, it was massively edited down before posting, but still), some things have come to my attention.

  • A friend of mine sent me a private message containing a link to a blog by a MG/YA author in which he describes the daily struggle of juggling multiple projects. My take-away was, There Will Be Juggling, at all times, meaning it won’t magically end because I got an agent and/or published. If anything, there will be more sources providing things to juggle.

  • Bryn Donovan says venting is a terrible idea.

    If we choose to post a rant on social media or an online forum, we may bring down a lot of people who are connected to us on the internet. Psychology professor Jeffrey Lohr memorably compares this to farting in an elevator. “I just want to vent.” Well, thanks a lot.

    Yeah, well, the elevator started it, man.

    More seriously, she gets some pushback in the comments about when venting is appropriate and even helpful, but point taken. I’m generally very cagey about what I say online about my experience with trying to get a book published because I am striking a balance between transparency (here’s what the process entails and how I am muddling through it) versus censorship (saying nothing at all, which is very much the opposite of how I am wired).

    While I am not willing or able to engage in full-on transparency for a litany of reasons, up to and including good taste and manners, I do think there needs to be some leeway for actual human emotion here. This is a personal blog, and if I want to say the literary query process sucks, then I’ll do that. Opinions about that will vary. And I suppose if I really do get blackballed for venting on my personal blog, then rest assured I will be quite transparent (and vocal) about that.

  • /Puts on Pixar themed shirt, wears it untucked

    In other news, I nearly have four SOLID chapters done on my first draft of (Redacted), and I COULDN’T BE MORE EXCITED, YOU GUYS.

    SRSLY, I am looking forward to not only completing the first draft, but grooming it for the arduous query process. ETA for that phase of the operation is January 2 2018.

    Transparency: There is a waiting time that varies by agency/agent between queries. If I queried for (Redacted Other Book), I can’t send another query for (This book) for a minimum of 30 days, usually longer. Which is fine, as I don’t expect to be query-ready for at least 3 months after the start of the initial draft, and that’s assuming awesome writing and minimal editing. (Holds sides laughing)

  • Happy holiday weekend!

RFA Lesson 4 is Up: Proportions

I see how it is: I get wrapped up in writing a book, and Rapid Fire Art does 2 tutorials inside of a week. Today’s lesson: Proportions!

Before I get into that, I want it to be known that I finally made time to derp around with my sketchbook, and as per Lesson 3, I was in fact trying to do 3D.

/tosses that lesson over my shoulder

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Sketchbook: RFA Lesson 3 is Up!

Hooray, the latest beginner tutorial is up at Rapid Fire Art! This time around, Darlene is explaining how to make the jump from 2D to 3D. Check it out!

While I was waiting (cue ominous foreshadowing music) I Googled around randomly one evening and found a site called Envato Tuts+. And it was there that I found a key piece of advice for the aspiring, or established artist:

Think with forms, not lines.


Once I read that, and the associated tutorial, I couldn’t switch it off for days. Everything I saw around me could be rotated around in my head, like Tony Stark in Iron Man designing his next suit. Thanks to the sheer volume of book writing I have been doing lately, I have managed to get out of that mode, and Darlene’s latest lesson switched it back on again.

So this entry is going to be a mash-up of RFA and Tuts+. Hopefully it all meshes together nicely.

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Original Artwork: Agnes

Well! After horsing around with various sorts of training wheels artistically, I finally did something of mine own. And before I get rolling with the pics and “making of” stories, I want to give big ups and much love to Darlene Nguyen and her fantastic site, Rapid Fire Art. I went from zero to artistic hero in the space of, mmm, 2 hours. Remember, I am fitting this in as able during my work day.

Yes, I was on the “art track” years ago (1987) and yes, I have drawn free-form portraits before. And as such, I have certain signature moves that I fall back on, whether I want to or not. So yes, they’re apparent in this sketch if you’re familiar with my prior works from back then. (Checking: So, maybe one of you? None? Fine, this is all new stuff!)

Anyway, I Googled how to draw hair using colored pencil, and found Rapid Fire Art. The tutorial made it look so easy that I whipped out my dusty and neglected sketch pad and tried it for myself. Sketch sketch sketch, add in some colored pencil action, and as they say in Texas, wa-la:

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