1 AM is Always the Best Time to Learn How to Draw

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Hello everyone! I hope you all had wonderful and filling Thanksgiving. I didn’t end up posting last week because of the holiday, but I had a great vacation in Long Island filled with down time, food, good books, and walks to the beach. I also have a few book reviews lined up for the future and a much longer to read list than I did before, so there’s that to look forward to.

Last night I had trouble falling asleep. This isn’t that rare – I’m naturally a night person. I go to bed on the later side, and I have often found that it is easier for me to do work, especially writing, late at night. Also, yesterday I was thinking about finding a good avatar for my tumblr site and for Steam (which I also got back into over the holiday thanks to a friend of mine.) I wanted one that was special for me rather than something I randomly found off the internet, and I kind of wanted it to be a drawing, but I didn’t have any drawings of me that my friends made or anything. So I decided to make one myself.

This also happens somewhat regularly, although not as regularly as my random insomnia. I have dabbled with drawing for a long time. I had a serious anime phase in ninth grade which included a drawing interest as well, but I found that I got caught up on the eyes or the symmetry of a face. I would draw one eye and then try and recreate it and all hell would break loose. I also think I started with the eyes, which made the proportions a little weird from the start. Eventually I got frustrated and decided that I couldn’t draw and moved on with my life.

Then a few years ago, in another bout of insomnia I randomly copied a sketch I found off the internet. I’m not sure whose picture it was, and I don’t have the copy or the photo I took of it anymore, but I was surprised at how well the picture turned out. It was just of a girl with long hair resting her head on her hand, but I was very proud of myself. Maybe I could draw after all.

I feel like a lot of authors can also draw, and its always been something I’ve wanted to do. It would be so handy to be able to sketch characters and have them come out (at least somewhat) the way you pictured in your head. I feel like that would make the whole character/world creation process much more complete for me. So after my success with the internet sketch, I decided to draw a character of mine. And it didn’t work. I drew a girl with wavy hair but that was it and I didn’t really connect her with the character she was supposed to be. So I wrote off drawing again.

But then last night I decided to give it another go. I’ve also been casually talking with a friend of mine about what if we took drawing classes (again these conversations are late at night and nothing really comes from them other than hype), but I tried the copying method of drawing again. Because I wanted that avatar.

So I went through my facebook profile pictures and found one that I thought was pretty simple. It was from when I went to visit my godmother down in Florida the year before last, and I am sitting by the pool with shades and an iced tea. I chose it because my hair was in a ponytail, which isn’t too hard to recreate on paper, and the fact that I am wearing large sunglasses solves the eye problem I had back in my anime days. And I was pretty pleased with the results, as far as avatars go.

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So in my sleepless excitement I decided that I would have to go out and get a sketchbook, because I always like keeping things like drawing in one place if I do decide to continue down this path. So I went to Sam Flax this afternoon as a break and got a pretty nice sketchbook on sale – the Sam Flax near me is going out of sale and while I don’t go there too often I’m pretty sad about it.

The sketchbook is pretty nice I think. I’m not a sketchbook expert or anything, but I always enjoy a new notebook. It has very smooth pages – I really don’t like the rough page sketchbooks for drawing, and it’s not too thick, which is good in case this drawing thing is short lived, which it very well might be. I liked the cover of a different one more but it was thicker and a little more expensive. What can you do. They were both black, but the other one was smoother. Oh well.

I traced the drawing into the book, which also didn’t take too long because the pages are pretty thin, but I did notice that when I went over it in ink, it bled through to the back of the page. Not on to the next page though, so I just won’t use both sides of the page if I trace things over with pen. That still means I have 79 unused pages to go though, so I should be good.

I also have a “Drawing” folder on my computer with some of my friends’ profile pictures I can use to practice – I’m not a creeper I swear. I found a few that were just one person and looked like they could potentially be simple. I could also move on to actors or something like that if I’m feeling really ambitious. Or maybe animals? Still life? Just as long as I stay on the “copying” side of thing for now. Who knows?

Also not only are film scores good to write to, they are also good to draw to as well.

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When Stories Have a Mind of Their Own

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Lately I have been pretty busy, which means I haven’t had as much time to work on my story. It has been in the back of my mind, and I have been thinking about it here and there, I did some basic research and character outlining, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down and make any plot progress.

Luckily I have had more free time this week than I have in the past, so I decided to revisit some of the scenes I had already written. I do this a lot. I write a scene and then I rewrite it until I am sick of it instead of moving forward with the story. But, this time I feel like my rewrites actually had some merit in them. I have three scenes that I feel comfortable with for now. They look different from what I first posted on here around New Year’s. The next job is figuring out what happens next.

I always find this part of writing a story to be interesting, because sometimes you know what you want to happen. You know what the character will do, or what they will think. But sometimes that changes on you. I have had that happen a few times in this story, and its always an interesting process. For example, I knew that Allie (used to be named Iris) would travel back in time. But I didn’t know that she would faint once she got there (The Aurora can have an interesting effect on people). Once she did though it made perfect sense though. I have never fainted but if I was uprooted from a classroom and dropped into a wheat field in the middle of no where after floating in an abyss with colors out of this world, I would probably faint too.

In my rewriting process, other characters became more clear as well. Professor Morris, the physics teacher, became clearer in my mind by the way he talked. He is kind of a hopeless romantic professor who is amazed by the inner workings of our world and our lives. I had a third scene that I added in which Allie took a placement test for her classes, but that turned into an advisor meeting with one of her professors. I liked this more because Allie hadn’t really spoken much in the first few scenes, and this gave me a chance to see more of her character and what she is like. It also established another relationship between her and a professor, who will play an important role when they travel back in time – she’s a history teacher, after all.

Writing can surprise you sometimes. At times you feel like you know what will happen, you are the writer and creator of the story after all, but then the story turns in another direction and you are just trying to put the pieces together.

I would say that in my story Allie definitely needs a lot more work/backstory. She doesn’t really have a reason to stand out as a protagonist other than the fact that she is the only freshman in many of her advanced classes. I have some ideas brewing though, and I’m excited to see where they take me.

Also, yesterday I went to see the Impressionism: Art and Modernity exhibit at the Met where they displayed fabulous dresses from the late 1800’s. These dresses aren’t the fashions that were in style during World War I, but they are somewhat similar and it made me really excited to delve into that era!

But Actually…This Is My Life…

Hello all! I have been pretty busy lately which has been great, but it has also meant that I have not been able to post recently. I do have a fun little post today. What Happens When You Like Books More Than Anything Else in the Whole World via Bookriot.

from Book Riot

from Book Riot

Some might scoff at this article, but to others it is completely true. Those of us who curl up in bed and read at night instead of going to sleep (that’s how I finished the 7th Harry Potter). Or, those of us who find no use for a bag unless it can hold a book. I think I have one bag that cannot successfully hold a book and I only used it for prom. Some of us are introverts. Some are extroverts. Some might have joined a fandom long before the movie and others might have hopped on so they could see the movie without ruining the book. We all know that the book is better anyway. And we also know that commuting is far less exciting when we don’t have a good book to delve into to get ourselves away from the crowds on the subway.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a dinner to go to. I am going to take the subway and bring my book. And when I finish that book (which is amazing) I will undoubtedly review it on here, and then proceed to make everyone I know read it. (See Chatting Normally). So be prepared. And keep on reading!

On Self Doubt

This past Sunday I curled up on my couch to watch The Golden Globes. I always seemed to miss The Golden Globes in the past, and just read about them online or in the paper after the fact. So I was pretty excited that I knew when they were this year. I also seemed to be more invested in them than in years past, because of the current Les Mis obsession I am going through (mentioned here). I was also hit pretty badly with the flu this weekend which left me asleep in bed for about two days straight, so watching The Golden Globes gave me something to do. I am feeling much better now, thanks, and I am happy to say that Les Mis came out on top with both Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman winning awards for their perspective roles, as well as a win for best musical/comedy. I wasn’t too worried.

There were a lot of good quotes from the night, mostly from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s banter, but my favorite quote, or at least the one that I remember the most comes from Anne Hathaway’s acceptance speech when she said,

Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self doubt.

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The quote made me think of Anne Hathaway using her Catwoman skills and new Golden Globes award to fight intruders, murderers, thieves, and general evil doers in the world. It was nice to know too that the princess of Genovia, Catwoman, and Fontaine have self doubt as well.

This made me think of my story. A few weeks ago everything was going swimmingly. The antagonist, Augustus Moragin, practically created himself with motivations and all. The whole “the key to beating writers block is to keep writing” was working like a charm. For a while. But then I didn’t do anything with it for a few days and working on it became very hard.

In my list of questions and notes, I started jumping ahead and worrying about things that will come together as the story continues to develop – things that I really didn’t need to focus on right now. Like what is the genre of the story. It seems to fit in well to the YA genre. If it is YA does that mean that there has to be a love triangle? I don’t really want there to be a love triangle. Romance maybe, but I feel like love triangles are overdone now a days in YA fiction, and I would rather work on some other aspect of the story. These are not important questions for where I am in the story. If I don’t want a love triangle – there will not be a love triangle. It’s my story  that I am in control of.

That is one of the reasons I like writing – its like a puzzle. You make a character do something and then you have to go back and fill in things like motive or what happens next. Everything fits together somehow the way you want it to, things happen that you didn’t plan on, and then it becomes a story. That you yourself create. It is yours and yours alone.

Another hurdle I had to deal with was the fact that my story takes place at a school. Probably a college, although possibly a grad school. It is still in the works (and this would affect the genre mentioned before). My first thought on writing a “school story” was that it shouldn’t look like Hogwarts. What? This isn’t even a magical story. There is time travel and fantasy, but not magic. No wizards. No wands. It’s not even in England. Scenes might take place in England as they time travel back to World War I, but the school itself is in America. None of the schools that I went to looked like Hogwarts, so what am I so worried about? I am writing this for me, not for anyone else. I can make it what I want it to be – that whole complete control idea again. It’s a nice feeling. And its much easier to create a world when you are not worried about it looking like anything else. Just make it your own. I don’t know what their school is going to look like, but I can make it whatever I want it to be.

To counteract my bouts of self doubt that are not conducive to story writing, I started making a list of good quotes to go back to when I am stuck. Things like Hemmingway’s ever famous “Write drunk, edit sober.” I keep them in my notebook along with the few scenes and lots of notes that I have. I don’t see myself winning a Golden Globe that I can use against self doubt, so in the mean time I will use the quotes of others to get me through and to keep me original. I’m pretty excited to see how everything turns out!