So, apparently I’m in a sharing mood lately…? (sorry all). I guess I feel like showing someone my art (even just my half-finished sketches and doodles) once in awhile makes it feel like spending so much time drawing is actually worth the time and effort. I hate that I ever even momentarily feel like art might be a waste of time, but I guess that kind of feeling is impossible to avoid now and again.

So! Character design! Yay!

Character design is a tricky, self-perpetuating problem for me: I’m not very good at it. At all. So when I have a character whose look I’m actually pleased with (and can draw over and over recognizably), I get lazy and just draw those characters over and over rather than pushing myself to work on trickier characters… thus failing to ever get in any real practice. I’m pretty bad at the whole ‘artist’ thing when you get right down to it ^^;; Hah, oh well.

This is Charlotte from Ryan’s books, and since she happens to be one of those very few characters whose look I’m happy with, I’ll wind up doodling her now and again when I’m bored (especially when I’m in the mood for drawing oodles of curly hair). Ryan, I have no idea if this is how you picture her or what, but for some reason Charlotte’s the only one I’ve ever managed to have a really clear mental image of, and this is pretty much it *shrug*

The incredibly talented Tobie of 10,000 Talents drew this on commission for me. Aside from being all sorts of crazy talented, she’s also got a Tumblr that is well worth checking out.

So. This is my antagonist, Captain Orlando Valentine. For twenty-odd years he has served as the head of a shadowy piratical mafia, murdering and bribing his way to absolute influence and power. He is ruthless and cunning, and murders his underlings just to add an exclamation point to his arguments.

His actions and plans are the driving force of all three of my novels. My merry band of anti-pirates have spent nearly 1,000 pages trying to stop him, and as I plod along in the third book, the question remains, will they finally triumph, or will Captain Valentine snatch victory away from them yet again?

I think I might completely redraft Seafear for a third time.

I’m on the last chapter of my second major redraft (third major revision), and so far I’m satisfied with it. But I’ve been looking at the response a literary agent sent me after she read the second major revision, and I’m wondering if the story addresses the issues she laid out, and I’m beginning to think no, it doesn’t.

So I’m considering writing an entirely new adventure for my misfit pirates, scrapping the meandering questions of loyalty and who’s good and who’s not and having it be a little more straightforward: throwing in a race to find a map, sea monsters (probably a hydra, although I like the Biblical associations of a leviathan, considering how heavily I draw from scripture), and mermaids.

I thought of this all last night as I couldn’t sleep. It was nearing 4:00 AM, and I rolled over, opened my laptop, and hacked out the barest kind of outline I could. Then I went to bed and promptly forgot about it all until I was on the highway this afternoon, and I hashed out some more of the details in my head.

Now I’m putting together a more thorough outline… The only thing that scares me is this will push everything back another eight to ten months while I write an entirely new book. (Some of the elements from the original story will remain, I think, but not much.)

I have spent five years on this damn story. I think the two best things I’ve written are the second and third books. I really think the final book is good, and I don’t say that about my own writing often. I want to be just as satisfied with Seafear as I am with Stormsong and Shadowland, and I think this is the only way to do it.

Am I completely crazy?

aastronaut  asked:

What if you pirate trilogy about?

I’m actually really bad at describing it, which is funny because I know it better than anyone else, but if I could have told it in a shorter fashion the books wouldn’t be over 1,500 pages long when all is said and done.

Anyway. The short answer is: “Pirates! Magic! Adventure! Kidnappings! Grave robbery! Sacrifice and loyalty and love!”

The slightly longer answer is cribbed from my query letter: Before he was kidnapped on a dark night in the middle of the ocean, 17-year-old Matthias Quick did not know he was a marked man. All he knew was a quiet life immersed in books with his father, far away from the political strife of the Orident Federation. But on his first voyage away from home he finds himself caught in the decades-long struggle between a ruthless brotherhood of pirates and the only man brave enough to stand up to them, Captain Jericho Monday.

These two, plus a prattling and impossibly talented magician named Charlotte North, and a motley crew of sailors, sorcerers, politicians, and a two feisty women in their 90s, do battle with a vengeful fraternity of pirates, sailing from island to island, getting themselves arrested, getting themselves shot at, blundering into enchantments that are centuries old, all revolving around the central mystery of why Matthias Quick is hunted.

All right, book, it’s time we had a talk.

You and I have been getting on all right. You’re not a first draft, but you’re not a carbon copy of the original. You’re new enough that you get your own file and I’m treating you as my fifth novel, although that comes with a heavy asterisk before it.

You’ve been fairly breezy to write. We’re already at page 300, a nice, solid accomplishment, even more so when you consider I’ve only been working on you for three months. I’ve had more productive three months, but I’m usually slower. So thanks for that.

But here’s the thing. Every book I’ve written since your first draft – your two sequels – were big, fat volumes that boggle my mind when I think about it. Your first sequel is 103,000 words and 460 pages long. Your conclusion is 158,000 words and 690 pages long. I’ll defend their lengths as relevant to the story (especially the third – three narratives told in one volume, needs more words, although a better writer could do it with fewer), but you, my slippery friend, have no business being longer than 400 pages.

Your first draft is 379 pages long and 84,000 words. You are already 300 pages long and 67,000 words. You are also about 13 pages longer than the first draft – the same point in your story in the first draft is page 287. The ending is going to be changed up a bit, so you might be 14 pages longer, or maybe 10 pages longer, or maybe even shorter.

But listen to me right now, you punk: If you dare cross over the 400 page mark I will take a red pen to you so fast you won’t have any adverbs left. Are we clear?

Good. Now let’s keep working.

Matthias, the main character of my friend Ryan’s trilogy-in-progress.

I’m pretty excited that this drawing exists, because it’s the closest I’ve ever been to being happy with a drawing of this guy T__T For some reason, I just… can’t nail down a face for him that I can be satisfied with, but with this one, I do feel like I might be… well, getting there, if nothing else. Closing in on it, as it were. As it stands, this is the only drawing I’ve only a little bit hated actually liked enough to allow to see the light of day, for whatever that’s worth.

Speaking to the drawing itself, look at those hands! They sure are dandy. As to the bits I hate, I’m pleading the fifth. Check out those hands instead. Also, he looks taller than he ought to because that’s one of those weird, really long 18th century vests that goes down to the tops of the thighs, because I hate drawing the stupid pants they wore back then I really like those vests.