All right! This thing shall be conquered and full of updates on my artistic/literary life! 🙂
First off, this is what I’m currently jamming to.
I heard it off an underground Christian radio station, Effect Radio. I’ve been finding so many good bands through them, and for the first time in a while I’m probably actually going to purchase an album (The Workday Release’s). 😀
Anyway – let’s see. I’m going to go check where everything was at the last time I blogged. Oh – that’s right. I’d just started Sun-Walking. Well, last night I just hit 100 pages of that beast. I like it so much. It’s one of those stories like Farewell, Fairytale where I’m trying to tell myself something. So far, it’s working really well. And I’m working with an all new female, Lucienne (which I thought was a name I made up because I was first going to call her Lucerinne…which sounded too much like Listerine, and then I found out it’s a real one haha). Lucienne is the most successful I think I’ve been with integrating femininity with strength. This is an early sketch I did of her when I first started getting drawn into the story:
Kyra convinced me to make her blond, which actually helped push the story in the direction it went. Helios is more homogeneous, and I had sort of a Swedish/Scandinavian/German/Western European look in mind for the archetypical Helios citizen. That worked really well with the Sun-Walker being a foreigner, because he creates a visual foil for what’s expected of someone from Helios.
It was difficult in the beginning to develop the Sun-Walker because I knew he’d be central to the story. Over the years I’ve tried out a lot of different kinds of guys in my stories. I’ve had the gruff emotionally constipated kinds like Eripmav; the emotionally tortured/deeply commited kind like Julian; the hotshot romantic like Andrew; the goof/deeply injured like Micah…so every time I thought “Hey, the Sun-Walker should be _____!”, my next thought would go, “…Yeah, that’s just like _____.” Haha. But I am unexpectedly thrilled with him. It really helped that I was being influenced by a totally new culture myself. My shenanigans at Augsburg brought me a lot of unexpected blessings this semester. One of those included the chance to live away from home for a month and a half with a new God-ordained friend from Augsburg. She was renting the third bedroom in an old-fashioned apartment complex just northwest of downtown (we’re talking like, skyline out the porch windows) from 2 guys whose third roommate was traveling for the semester. The guys happened to be from India working in the States on their Ph.D.’s in, for example, electrical engineering – all the super-over-my-head sciency stuff. They were really easy to be around and one of the two was very sociable, open, and friendly. In several big ways, he sort of became the Sun-Walker. I have…okay that would have sounded awkward. Uh. His appearance is somewhat Parthiv’s. Also I learned enough from him and Bodhi to incorporate their culture when necessary for Levi. (I just realized that, as a Hebrew name, Levi doesn’t really fit this plan. But he’s too much Levi now to change it, and that sounds better than Atma.)
In all, Sun-Walking’s been really gratifying to work on. Its message is something I really want to tell (it’s about a girl who finds her something, instead of her someone.
Sun-Walking is also a highly illustrative concept since the whole world is only illuminated by organic, localized light called Sun-Nectar.
(lol –> “You’ll notice a trend as the terminology of Sun-Walking develops. It involves the word ‘Sun,’ and a dash, and then some word vaguely relating to its actual purpose. I hold no responsibility.”)
Since that’s the case though, I started mulling over the possibility of making a Sun-Walking layout. That launched this picture.
A lot of the details are lost in the smaller version, but it’s probably going to be about this size for the layout, too. So. Isn’t Levi beautiful? ;_; My mom said that Lucienne looks like Kyra (and she was convinced of this, whereas usually she just says one of my characters looks like so-and-so just to piss me off). Either way, I totally like her look. Helios is sort of a pre-Industrial Revolution society. Which will definitely become obvious for my plans later in the story. >D I figured it out last night. It’s going to be epic.
Anyway, I had one other REALLY EPIC PIECE OF NEWS that I don’t think has entirely sunk in yet!
Remember when I sent off Redefining Evil to an October Fantasy Novel Month publishing company contest thing? Well, I heard back from them! Their response was not “thrilling,” per se, but very encouraging. In the email was words from one of the two head honchos of the company as well as two reader-judges who must have read my chapters. The reader-judges both said they were hooked right away by the story but that there were some stylistic things that threw them off. One person pointed out that switching from Micah’s 1st person POV to more distant 3rd person POVs was uncomfortable. They also said that “I was very hooked by this story – which is saying a lot, because I’m usually turned off the moment anyone says “vampire!’ these days.” WHICH WAS BAM. SUCCESS FOR ME. 🙂 That’s exactly the response I wanted. The second reviewer pointed out it was tough jumping into the middle of the Evereaux/Ingrid&Danny conflict, which I can see, but that might not be fixable unless I decided to give away Mihai’s story earlier in the story. As for the POV comments, I’m at least going to switch Micah’s voice to third person but keep it close in comparison to Lacy especially. I might try to pull Ingrid and Julian in closer because their emotions are really important.
Regardless of how I decide to approach this, the editor wouldn’t like more chapters until April or May, so I have plenty of time. It’s very difficult getting this back now. I’m pretty much in the middle of Sun-Walking. I’ve written two full stories since I wrote the bulk of RE (Farewell, Fairytale and The Catcher). I’ve abandoned pretty much all of the problems that the readers pointed out, and that makes me annoyed to have to deal with my older awkward writing. Basically I feel like I had finally moved on from my dedicated work to RE, and now I have a true, professional reading to go back to it. It’s not going to be a little pet project anymore, it’s going to be treated like an assignment, something that could truly get me somewhere but without a lot of work. I wonder if I should try to print a copy of RE and work with it on paper, and really tear it apart and put it back together. I’m glad I have the time to, so I’m just going to start praying very hard for it.
The possibility of RE getting out there for people to read and enjoy and think about is…well, it’s a bit beyond my mind’s capacities. I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that an editor from a publishing firm (…Okay, screw discretion – it’s called Port Yonder Press) would possibly like to see more of something I wrote. It’s…whoa. It’s not unexpected, but hard to believe that my feelings about RE weren’t just overblown ego. Haha. Not that I thought they were. From my more objective standpoint, I’d say Sotoka-Khepri is probably the strongest character in the story, and maybe Julian. Micah, Lacy and Ingrid are a little harder for me to relate to or feel right now. How odd.
Anyway, just thought I’d share the good news and where my writing’s at now. It’s weird, because I sort of feel like keeping this stuff with RE quiet. I told my editors Margaret and Kyra, and of course my parents know, but I’m not sure I want a ton of people knowing. My dad, from his experienced perspective, said that the news from Port Yonder is very, very encouraging. He ticked off a list of reasons why the way that they responded was good. Later he walked past and mumbled, “You’re going to get a book published before I do.” and I’m not sure I believe him, haha.