layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Previous posts covered my major projects, so this is the catch-all for everything that's left.

I write short fiction, but not a lot that's been published anywhere. The Kismet short stories were already mentioned in the Kismet post; there's a couple hundred thousand words of that, a lot of which is outdated now (and most of which was written ten years ago, which I'm sure shows; I haven't been able to bring myself to look at it and find out *g*). I have a short fiction page on my website, linking to the handful of stories that I did manage to sell over the years. At some point I think I'd like to start putting some of the unpublished stories on LJ/DW -- maybe have a regular story-a-week thing, or something like that. (Also, actually selling some more of these stories would be nice, too ...)

My main creative focus the last couple of years has been writing novels. I have about a million of them in progress, but I'm always very reluctant to talk about my projects while they're under development, so most of them are still in that twitchy, "I don't really want to talk about this project for fear of jinxing it" stage. My main project at the moment -- the one that I feel most confident about being able to clean up and submit for publication -- is an urban fantasy series. I have the first book finished (rough draft) and I'm about 2/3 done with the second book. I also have two YA novels currently at the rough draft stage. I started a series of second-world fantasy novels set in an Ice Age world for NaNoWriMo in 2010, but never actually finished any of them (although I've done a ton of world-building and I have about 60,000 words written, so that's a project that I definitely plan to pick up again). I've also got various Alaska-themed novels in the works, including a "what if Russia never sold Alaska to the U.S." alternate-history thing and a post-apocalypse novel or two. Oh, and a partly-finished novel set on a Montana ranch, "Leaving River Country", which is either a poignant tale of a woman coming to terms with her terminally ill husband's death, or a poignant novel about a woman coming to terms with her terminally ill husband's death while fighting dragons. Oddly enough it could go either way.

One project that has vanished from my website, which a couple of you might remember from roughly 2006/2007, is "Midnight Sun", a superhero webcomic set in Alaska. For awhile, I had about 20 pages up, but that's gone away because I don't really have time or inclination to get another comic underway while I'm working on Kismet, and I'm not entirely sure if that's the story I want to tell with those characters anyway. (The characters in "Midnight Sun" -- two feuding half-brothers, their mother, and the elder brother's ex-wife and children -- have been with me for over 20 years, and I've attempted to put them into a wide variety of stories over the years, of various genres: suspense, fantasy, sci-fi, and now superheroes. I really love them and I really want to tell their story eventually, but I just can't seem to get them to stick anywhere.)

That's everything I'm working on right now! Now: the future update schedule. :D Since I have a buffer of pages ready to go, I will definitely start updating Kismet: Sun-Cutter in April! And I may as well start the annotated Raven's Children project in April as well. It's been quite awhile since I had a regularly updating webcomic, but starting out, I'll try doing Kismet on Mondays and RC on Wednesdays. Debut dates:

Monday, April 2: Kismet
Wednesday, April 4: Raven's Children
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Where have I been lately? Writing novels, mostly. (Nothing published. Nothing even close. Don't get excited. *g*) But I plan to get my webcomics off the ground again (yes, I know we've all heard that before, but this time I MEAN IT!) and generally start having more of an original-fiction/webcomic presence on the Internet again.

My website,, has been cleaned up and redesigned (check it out). The Kismet site is still basically the same (aside from adding a few more of the older stories). The rest of the site is fairly minimal at this point, but designed to be easy to expand as I start rebuilding my projects again.

I will also be doing a series of introductory LJ/DW posts talking about my different creative projects. There are a few new people following me these days, and even those of you who've been around since the old days (hi! *waves*) came here through different channels -- some of you knew me from conventions, some from Kismet, some from fandom, etc. So over the next few days, I'll make some little update/overview posts for:

• Kismet
• Raven's Children
• Freebird
• Other projects (novels, etc)

Other stuff that's coming up:

• I'm restarting Sun-Cutter again! Tentatively this is planned to begin in April, if I can get a decent backlog of pages by that time. (In the meantime, see the Sun-Cutter tag for the first 15 pages from 2009.)
• I'm going to do an annotated version of Raven's Children -- basically just the old pages, but with new commentary. And I've never had the whole thing online before. I'll talk about this more when I get to the RC post.

It's almost spring here in the north country (never mind the four feet of snow and the below-zero temperatures outside), and I'm energized and ready to make this my job again!
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
Projects? Projects! I have projects!

• I'm currently working on the second draft of an urban fantasy novel (two more in the series are already plotted out). I really think I might be able to get an agent to take a look at this one. I'll talk more about it soon, but I'm always kind of weird and superstitious when I'm working on a novel, as if saying anything about it will torpedo my ability to finish it. And I'm very much in "cling to the novel tightly" mode rather than "tell the world about it" mode right now. But soon?

• I'm working on Kismet again! The problem is ... er. I'd probably get a lot farther if I could settle down and work on just one Kismet story, but that doesn't seem to be what's happening.

The process went like this: first, I did a few more pages of Sun-Cutter, but I couldn't really get into it. Eventually I came to the conclusion that the reason why my enthusiasm is flagging isn't anything inherent in the story itself (which I quite like) but more that it's not dealing with my favorite set of characters (Fleetwood, et al). So I figured that I'd shelve it for a little while -- not forever -- and switch to a different story to get my Kismet enthusiasm back. So I switched to Kismet: Eidolon, which would have been the next project after Sun-Cutter anyway -- it picks up almost immediately where Hunter's Moon leaves off. I completed a few pages of that, and started to run into a wall caused by having plotted it out back sometime around 2001-2002. Things have changed since then! Most importantly, I've changed, and the plot that I had envisioned in 2002 no longer really works for me. (This doesn't mean the story is dead, by any means, just that some of the gender stuff in the story as originally plotted seems a bit icky to me now, and I'd like to fix it.)

So then I went, hmm. Perhaps I need to just shelve the long stories completely for a while, and do some of the shorter Kismet stories which have been rattling around in my brain for years. That way, I can get a good grasp on the characters and character dynamics, since I haven't worked with them in any great depth since I finished HM back in 2006. I started working on Memories of Snow, a story I've had in mind for ages that takes place some 13 years before the present day, with young Frank, Fleetwood and Colette. Now I have a few pages of that finished and ... here we are. *g* I was hoping to get this one done and ready to post in time for Christmas, since it takes place around Christmastime, but I have a lot of things to do between now and then, so I can't promise anything. Early 2012 is probably more realistic.

Kismet is a priority right now, though, so between the three projects currently underway, I'm bound and determined to get at least ONE Kismet series up and running in 2012.

(I know, we've all heard that before.)

• I've been involved with Torn World for a few months now - a shared-world fiction & art project spearheaded by [ profile] ellenmillion. I've contributed some art (not a whole lot) and have been serving on the canon board (copy-editing, canon-editing and approving new stories/art) ... though admittedly I have been slacking somewhat kind of a lot lately, and need to get myself back in gear. Still, there is something really heady about being involved with a group of people all pulling together on a creative project, the same sort of free-floating creative energy that I get from being involved in fandom. And I'm having fun.

Mmmm ... and that's pretty much it, I think! How are all of you?
layla: grass at sunset (Default)
I'm uploading Freebird comics today! \o/ The strip will begin updating twice weekly (Sundays and Thursdays) on Nov. 16 and will run through Christmas, wrapping up the major storylines and bringing it to a tidy stopping place rather than the mid-story-arc cliffhanger where I broke off when "square" stopped publishing and I lost my dead-tree venue for it.

The strips are all drawn and scanned; I just have to finish toning them. (The only reason why I'm not starting 'til November is so that it will end on Christmas; the last strip takes place on Christmas, in their universe, so it's nicely synchronous to have it fall on Christmas in our 'verse too.) And then I'll be able to check a major item off my creative to-do list. I hate wandering away and leaving a creative project unfinished -- I may waffle between them frequently, but it's nice to leave each one in a good stopping place before I waffle off to something else.

It feels so good to be making comics again! *eyes Kismet to-do pile*

layla: grass at sunset (Default)
How goes life on the creative front? Um, it goes, it goes. Actually, it goes pretty well. My big goal this year was to get some rough novel drafts done, so that I'll have something to work with -- something to polish up and sell. So far, in 2008, I've finished a 50,000 word YA novel and a 25,000 word novella (both science fiction), and I'm currently 10,000 words into a novel that probably kinda straddles the border between YA and regular fantasy -- that is, I originally conceived it as adult fantasy, but since there's no real adult content (in the sense of sex or excessive gore) and most of the viewpoint characters are in their teens, I expect it would be marketed as YA. Anyway, I've set a target of 100,000 words, so if I stick to my writing goals, I'll be done with the rough draft by the end of summer. I'm awfully enthusiastic about this one, because it's one that I've wanted to write since I was 16, and the original idea goes back even farther, to a game I used to play with my sister when we were little kids. Right now it's so much fun to write that I keep wondering if what I end up with is going to be publishable at all, because it just feels like I'm delving down into my childhood daydreams and flinging it out on the page. *shrugs* I guess if it doesn't turn out to be something an editor will buy, I can publish it on my website; I can't imagine anyone will object to that.

I've let the Kismet Scrapbook lapse, for the time being. I guess that if it's a question of hunting up new material for the Scrapbook or penciling new pages for the comic, I'd rather get the penciling done. I'm kinda dividing my time between "Midnight Sun" and the new Kismet book, "Sun-Cutter"; I want to do both of them, don't really have a preference between them, and I guess the first one to start updating as a webcomic will be whichever one gets the most pages done soonest. Original plan was to pencil all of "Sun-Cutter" before I start inking it, so that I wouldn't end up in the same boat that I was in with "Hunter's Moon", trying to make story edits to actual finished pages, but ... we'll see.

Switching back and forth between webcomics and novels is really interesting. Tim Broderick of Odd Jobs once compared doing a webcomic to performing street theatre. I've always found that comparison wonderfully apt, especially for me, since I don't script them. I've tried, and I really did try my best with "Sun-Cutter" -- and basically ended up sitting on the idea for a year because I just couldn't get the words out. When it comes to making comics, the pictures and words are so bound up with each other that I can't write the words without having the pictures. I just can't. So with webcomics, I don't get the "do-over" of a rough draft and a final draft like I do with a novel. The rough draft is the final draft. I can go back and clean up stuff later, but it's limited to minor edits like I did on "Hunter's Moon" -- fixing typos, cleaning up the more clumsy and poorly-worded dialogue, making minor adjustments to the art. I can't really just go through with a scythe and delete or rewrite whole scenes, and I try to resist the urge to redraw pages, though I did redraw a couple in "Hunter's Moon" that really needed it.

But that street theatre aspect to webcomics is part of what makes it a unique art form. I like the way that the creator's learning process is right out there on the page; you can watch as they improve their art, as their character concepts change and evolve. It feels a little dishonest to me to go back and redraw pages that I drew and published to the Internet four or five years ago; it feels like I'm trying to spackle over my mistakes.


layla: grass at sunset (Default)

December 2016

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