Sometimes you want to listen to the ancient snake charmer with twenty cobras and an enigmatic smile…

…and sometimes you want to listen to the beardless assistant with a  single sickly-looking snake and lots of bandages on his arms…

I do have a craft post coming (already written, but I was hoping to do a small graphic which has delayed things), but I had an interesting experience today, which ended up being indirectly motivating to my efforts on this site, even though it was somewhat humbling.

The trigger was a critique on my current WIP (‘work in progress’), that was insightful, helpful, and impeccably courteous, but (inevitably for a useful critique) humbling too. It made me realize that my work wasn’t perfect (I know, shocking huh?) and there are areas of technique where I still haven’t reached my full potential.

This had two immediate impacts. First, I revised the timeline on my WIP, adding another six months to its finish date. Oddly, this was depressing, but slightly liberating, as I’d been pushing for a year-end submission, which was looking more and more unlikely, even before this critique. At least now, I know there’s no hope of meeting that deadline So there’s less pressure to grind it out over the holidays. I can enjoy my family time a bit more.

The second impact was that I immediately started researching resources in the area of craft that I wanted to improve on (POV and internalization, as it happens) and I came to an interesting realization. Some of the best material on the topic, giving insight and direction, came not from pros, who were likely too busy writing or publishing themselves, but advanced beginners like me, often a little before their first published book, or just after, running a blog and hitting the same roadblocks and revelations. I found one post that I could have written myself, today, from another author on the same topic.

Which isn’t to say that I didn’t buy a couple of published books on the topic as well. I did, just to keep my facts straight. But I still realized that I could gain a lot from following people like me. Not rank beginners, but not rarified atmosphere pros either. So I deleted one of my publishing blogs on my Feedly (a blog aggregator, for those not familiar) and signed up instead to a couple of blogs written by advanced beginners instead. I’m not following only beginners. And I’m not following only pros. I’m finding some balance in between.

So why is that motivating for this site? Because my first reaction, on realizing I had shortfalls (again, shocking, I know), was to question what value there was to me sharing my knowledge through a blog. Who would come to this site rather than read top-rated publishing how-to books?

And then I realized it was me. People like me. Learning and growing. Trying to knock the wicker basket off the snakes without their wrists getting turned into mincemeat.

People who might be smart enough to listen to the guy with no beard and bandages before stretching out their hand…


(PS, the featured image is new art done for today’s post. At roughly an hour’s work, it’s not that polished by my standards. But it might be useful to have this kind of rough image available for impromptu posts. We’ll see how I like it after some due consideration!)

The Reasons are Legion…

While this isn’t a book review site, I couldn’t help but shout out how much I enjoyed Brandon Sanderson’s Legion, a 19,000 word superhero (ish) story. While my youth was spent reading more fantasy than comics, I still enjoy when they’re well done, as well as a cool idea in any genre, and this qualifies on both. Highly recommended.

The featured image is also from that teenage era, a one-off urge to give homage to that powerful style. I should warn you that my old art stack isn’t infinite, so the site won’t have new art all the time, but there’s still a few pieces left to dust off, so enjoy it while it lasts. 🙂

I’m grinding into the home stretch on my own edit, a 65,000 word fantasy YA, complete but undergoing some tedious but necessary polishing. Hopefully done soon!

Holidays are coming, have a safe and happy break, and may we all have a rewarding 2014!