Unface, Writing Journey

the thing about breathing life into stories

I am loving putting so much of my own experiences into “Unface.” It just makes those rough moments flow right over, and the details are just coming pouring out of my memory and down into the words. I’m talking about every aspect. I say, “Oh, high school art teacher here…that friend’s house there…the neighborhood…the bridge…that dream I had…the smells…the friendship I had with that person…what I know about cats…” and all of a sudden this story’s got its own life.
And just wait. I haven’t even gotten to writing the lesson this whole story is supposed to teach me yet.
And boy am I scared of it.

Also, I find I write most of it at night. The bulk of these almost 15,000 words has been written between 11:30pm-12:30am.
Given this is a story about dreams, I guess that’s incredibly appropriate.

Okay, also, I want to say after pushing out ~5 pages in the last 30 minutes that this story is writing itself. I had to do some planning in the first day or two of coming up with this idea, but since then, the most I’ve had to do is sketch out what Ashlyn looks like for fun.
I always say that my favorite works wrote themselves (I am NOT looking at you, Sun-Walking) and that when a project works, it just WORKS (knock on wood). Well, this is exactly what I mean when I say that. There is something truly effortless about working like this and I LOVE it. I will struggle through all the tough days if this is my pay-off. The same principle goes for my art, but I would say it’s not often as intense of a process as storytelling.

Art!, Nikkei, Other Peoples' Work!, Unface, Writing!

bunches and bunches!

Okay, since I’m angry at myself for interrupting my writing flow to write in here, I’m going to be succinct.

My new project’s going GREAT — I just hit 30 pages (ds). Because of all the parts of my own life I’m putting into it, it’s essentially writing itself. At the rate I’m going, it’s going to start off very short like Catcher did, around 100 pages. But that means I’m keeping the story simple, and that usually means I’m telling it better.

Also, I’ve been more creative in the last week or so than in the last few months combined. I bought myself a bunch of fancy watercolor-related items with my gift card from the art show, but I haven’t dove into those yet because I haven’t had the time.

I’ve been busy mostly producing digital stuff. I am continuing to experiment with satisfying digital styles, and my latest revelation is that I can sketch digitally too. I have never ever liked clean lines — I’ve admired them, but they’ve never resonated with me in my own work. Letting that rule go working digitally has helped a lot. I sketched Ashlyn from “Unface” and then recently did Micah and Ingrid, my power couple, when I was busy trying not to do any work for finals. Then with an urge to re-create the My Mental Breakdown part of my website, I did a pretty lovely little piece with Nikkei and Shani. I might still intend to do 9 of them for all my stories, but this was pretty laborious but it did itself. So we’ll see where my whims take me.
I’ve also been experimenting with limited color palettes — sticking with a tone and making the characters adapt to it, instead of going with what they would wear. It’s just a way to see how cohesive I can make my work, and maybe I’m trying to avoid my tendency to use the primary colors starkly and that’s it.

In addition to being very creative, I’ve also gotten the time FINALLY to get back into reading. I was planning on purchasing a simple, powerful little e-reader with e-ink technology because that’s the only way I would seriously enjoy reading a book on a screen, and I wanted something simple to bring with me to NZ. So I got one this weekend and have since gotten 100 pages into George R. R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones,” 40 pages into Katherine Howe’s “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” (a title I got from searching “related to” Susanne Clark’s “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell”), and 85 pages into Charles de Lint’s “The Painted Boy.” The lattermost is really exciting for me because Charles de Lint is probably the single most nostalgic fantasy writer I know. I’ve been reading him almost since I first got into fantasy and his books continue to pull me in with a violent passion. It’s reassuring to read his work because I remember how much I like reading: sometimes, school makes it feel like a chore and I forget that I love escaping into fiction.

Anyway, picture dump!




Unface, Writing!

In the Land of the Unfaces


With a week and a half of the school year left, it’s only natural that I come up with a very compelling story idea which soaks up all my interest. To be honest I’ve only written 13 pages and it hasn’t been really detrimental to my paper writing/presentation making/test studying behaviors. It has, however, gotten me really invigorated.


I’m finally giving up my pursuit of lofty settings and cultures I don’t understand — for now. I want to see what kind of difference it makes when I set my scenes in streets I’ve walked and put my heroine in a life I understand. So far the only story I’ve purposely put my life into is “Farewell, Fairytale,” which is still a really satisfying story with really brilliant characters and a likable (I always want to put an E in that) world. (Funny aside — we were talking about the mere exposure theory in my psych class today, and my prof had us write down our favorite letters. Mine were E, S, T, R, and W. He then proceeded to inform us that generally people choose 5 letters from their name. S,T,E,W,R,T. It was honestly the first time I fell for one of his tricks!)

So this story, potentially, as noted, either called “In the Land of the Unfaces” (clunky) or “Unface” (more dystopian than I want to imply), takes place in the Cedar-Riverside community and is narrated by a 22-year-old psychology student doing an internship at a community mental health center. Ashlyn (last name to be decided) has always dreamed of people without faces and they haven’t ever scared her. But when her estranged best friend steps into her dreams and laughs at her, Ashlyn finds herself straddling her dream world and the real world. The longer she’s wandering through her mind’s terrain, the more like the unfaces of her dreams she becomes. In order to escape she must confront the shattered friendship of her past and learn to see the world through new eyes.

Okay, so I didn’t really mean to give an actual synopsis, but that sums it up nicely. So far I’m really driven by this. Then something made me think of Edvard Munch’s painting “Evening on Johan Street” and I realized this EUREKA! way to handle the technicalities of Ashlyn’s dream/wake worlds by making Munch someone that saw the unfaces, too. The idea of incorporating a fine artist into my story-line is AWESOME. That in conjunction with so many parts of my real life getting into this story gives it a LOT of potential. Plus, Ashlyn’s cat Pippin (PIPPIN!) is a main character because he’s a medium, able to be in Ashlyn’s world and the waking world and that’s SUPER COOL RIGHT?

Okay I’m done. I just needed to write this down so that I didn’t keep gushing about it to people that only listen to humor me, haha.