Mmm, and how does that make you feel?

In the writing journey, one thing that resonates with me and I have tried to get better at is conveying emotion from the character to the reader.

Early on, I assumed that the emotion of the main character should be obvious. Their mother is just killed. Assassins are attacking them. Aren’t the emotions obvious? But one thing that I keep reminding myself is that the answer is ‘no’. Not all people think the same way. And even if they did, a reader is in a somewhat lazy mental state when they’re reading. They’re expecting the author to feed them the emotions of the character. It helps build the connection, the empathy, the basis for which the stakes are built. And stakes are critical for a reader to connect with a book. Without connection, the reader cares less. So emotion has to be communicated, one way or another.

Picture a psychiatrist on couch as you read your chapters, leaning forward after each major action, eyes narrowed curiously. He taps a pencil lightly against a lip.

“And how does that make you feel…?”

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I have to admit, the recent weeks of StoneDragon performance has been discouraging.

I haven’t done much marketing, so not saying it’s not my own fault, but despite a couple of five star reviews and no bad comments, the book is starting to fade out of view, with little take up unless I run a free promotion. And even those, from what I can tell, involve people stacking books in their kindle hundreds deep, for some future free read. I didn’t want to admit it, but that is part of the mental drain recently. Oh well. It is what it is. So now, I’m going to finish off my next re-write, and likely place it alongside StoneDragon (it is a different series, YA fantasy rather than adult) and then seriously decide if I want to spend some time doing animation, picture book, or middle grade for a while.

I have to create; it’s in my my personality, but one thing I’ve noticed with other successful writers is that often switching gears–and content–can hit a pocket of interest that doing the same thing may not. I’m starting to feel a bit healthier, and have a bit more mental energy, and this re-write will take at least a few months, but I thought I’d share some of my own ’emotion’. As much as I’d like to be a thick-skinned always-positive soldier of the pen (or keyboard), doing the same thing and expecting something different is also famously described as the keys to the madhouse. :)

A break in our regularly scheduled content (and my ankle bone)

As you can see, life got a bit in the way of my best laid plans. A hockey injury snapped the little bone in my leg and cracked the big one (yes, I went to university for my fancy anatomy language). The toe of the skate jammed in the ice and the body and leg rotated around it. I think I will summarize with: “ouch”.

So my apologies for not meeting my normal frequency of content. I’m also finding it challenging to gather the mental energy to do a lot of writing or art at all. Hopefully that will change as I get healthy again. I’m also in a bit of flux on direction in my writing and art hobbies, flitting back and forth in plans and projects. So a bit of restorative rest and rejuvenation might be in order for more than one reason.

Hope your February went better than mine!

Visual Story Skeleton

I’m a visual person. I have come to realize that writing for me is not pure words, but comes with images as well and sometimes the better tool for planning my writing is a combination of words and images. I’m thinking specifically of the broad story plot, or the skeleton that we hang all the characters (heart and brain), action (muscles), and description (skin, yucky image) on. Mixing words and images on paper lets me better understand what scenes are low key, which are BOOMING, where things are dark, what flows in the main story river, and what are secondary islands (I really use hand-drawn text and pictures on physical paper, but have substituted some random font changes here to help make the point).

In revisiting my stories recently, I’ve created a visual story skeleton for both new ideas and one completed book and it’s giving me some new confidence in both editing and forging ahead with new ideas. I can FEEL the story better when I see it in this fashion and I can see holes in story arc beter.

I’d show you an example, but why don’t we wait until I’ve published one of the books first, so the skeleton doesn’t contain any spoilers. 😀 So, in other words, if I have some publishing success, I promise to show the related skeleton (assuming I have one and can find it).

Happy Writing! And if we have a zombie apocalypse in the meantime, don’t let those skeletons get you. 😉

Best, Adrian.

A Swipe Clean of the Chalkboard and a New Start

I’m going to start a new novel. Maybe some animation too. I’d like to do a bit more of a mix of art and story on this one, if I can find the time (art is much harder for me to squeeze in that writing, simply due to logistics of needing an art table). But I’d like to make an effort on combining them, even if not in the final product, but rather as a creative spur. But in any event, it’s scary and intriguing to start a new story. So maybe it’s worth trotting out a process mountain again. A writing mountain was one of my very first posts. But now that I think about it, maybe a different mountain would be useful. A mountain of effort to progress down, but with the importance of the first steps being the most important. Inverse effort and outcome. Something like the featured image above.

I’m starting it now, the premise. The idea. I have one. Hopefully it is worth the effort that follows!!!

The making of a cover

I’m mucking around with my new animation software and thought I’d stitch together some of the progress paintings for StoneDragon’s cover image into a small movie. Each change of image is a new layer of paint (there are actually more changes, but these are the more significant ones). I originally wanted to put some music with it, but then navigating the intellectual property jungle gave me a headache, so I just plugged in some moody words over top. You can always turn the volume off if you don’t want to hear my mutterings. :)

The link is here:  StoneDragon Cover video

Warning: once again, please mute if you don’t want to hear audio.

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Featured image is an old unused cover sketch, just for some eye candy…