time to publish

3

ADVENTURE TIME COMICS #16

Publisher: KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Retail Price: $3.99
Writers: Bethany Sellers, Leah Williams, Ian Herring, Kinoko Evans
Artists: Bethany Sellers, Ryan Jampole, Ian Herring, Kinoko Evans
Main Cover: Jon Lam
Subscription Cover: Richard Chang
Variant Cover: Walter Pax
Simon and young Marcie have to repair Hambo’s arm, and we hear the tale of how a goose became a Choose Goose.

I decided against publishing your ask because I found it so offensive. You know who you are. Your opinion will not be considered. I honestly thought I already made it clear that I will do whatever I want. If your advice was wanted, I will seek it. So don’t ever ask me not to defend my friends.

Wartime Communications PSA

Hey if you’re Anitami listen up, this is important:

So the Wartime Communications Act predates widespread internet access, and it probably seemed quite reasonable at the time, it prohibits publishing in an electronic format accessible to a wartime enemyany photographs of areas under mobilization or under enemy attack (enemy can get information about how accurate their bombings are from pictures) and any information about troop movements, supply shortages, and transit delays (because the latter two imply things about troop movements), and it prohibits circumventing restrictions placed by the government on electronic information-sharing with a wartime enemy, and it prohibits using electronic means to privately communicate with parties with whom we are at war.

Sentences range from fines to death. All reasonable enough when the internet was mostly used by eccentrics at universities and the government. But now this criminalizes tons of routine online activity, and you will be prosecuted for it.

do not post or publish online any information about 1) troop deployments 2) supplies/logistics 3) government operations 4) rationing/shortages. This includes ‘ugh, the nine line is closed today and that means my commute is twice as long’ and ‘my cousin had to cancel dinner because she’s shipping out, hope she’s safe’. It does not include ‘my commute is twice as long’ or ‘I’m thinking about enlisting’, but the standard advice is to just. not. discuss current events online.

do not post or publish online any pictures which have not been approved+stripped of metadata at publicservices.anitam/onlinesafety. Pictures which will not be approved: anything taken outside, anything taken in a secure area, anything depicting soldiers in uniform, anything depicting places where combat has taken place. If your picture is allowable the site gives you back a watermarked approved picture. If you see other Anitami residents posting pictures without the wartime safety watermark, tell them to take the pictures down. Do not reblog, download, or re-host pictures that haven’t been approved, even if the original poster was not Anitami.

(relatedly: stop your queue. Unless you’ve screened it very carefully it probably contains content in violation of the Comm Act and explaining to a judge how tumblr queues work wouldn’t be much fun.)

do not use anonymous browsers, proxies, or any other means of circumventing surveillance of online communications. Incognito mode is fine, it’s not relevantly anonymous. Don’t torrent stuff.

do not communicate privately with any citizen or current resident of a nation with which we are at war (soooo, Voa). This includes tumblr messages, since those can be answered privately. They reviewed your fanfic and you want to reply privately? No. You’re just chatting with a random person, you have no idea if they’re Voan? No. Do not communicate privately with anyone who you do not know to be not Voan, no matter how trivial the topic.

if you get a takedown notice, comply. They’ll be from a .anitam email, they’ll have a physical address and an email to contact with questions, they start with ‘for national security reasons we require the removal of’ [link]. Don’t freak out, they send out hundreds of thousands of those and they’re not going to hang hundreds of thousands of people. Don’t reply defending or explaining yourself. Just remove whatever they asked you to remove, and take a deep breath, you’re okay, mistakes happen. Future employers won’t see it, the police won’t see it, as long as you comply you’re fine.

If you see content posted online by Anitami residents which violates these rules, report it here. They won’t get into trouble if it’s inadvertent, they’ll just get a takedown notice. As always, you can be held liable for any crime you fail to report. 

Prompt # 142

“Well that was overkill.”

“No. That was style. Something you clearly lack.”

8
3

I have recently become utterly smitten with the Society of Gentlemen book series by KJ Charles. The book covers are so disappointing and bland and do not do these characters justice AT ALL so I needed to draw the boys myself.


If you like Regency-era stories about gentlemen who like other gentlemen then you should check this series out; it’s got some lovely romance and friendships and supporting-each-other-through-hardship and era politics and scandal and drama and pining.  Not to mention bi and demi and trans characters, and none of the conflicts revolve around anyone being ashamed of their sexuality. Oh, and they all have HAPPY ENDINGS! Also people actually communicate and it avoids so many stupid misunderstandings that are so common in love stories. 

(Basically everything I’ve ever wanted in historical romance and more) 

5

In honour of the 155th year since the last portion of Les Miserables was released on June 30th 1862, Google has dedicated a doodle to Victor Hugo.

Google says the following:

Today we celebrate world-renowned poet, statesman, and human rights activist Victor Hugo. The final chapter of his epic novel Les Misérables was published on this date in 1862. 

Before he turned 30, Hugo was already an established poet, dramatist, artist, and novelist. Today’s Doodle depicts some of his best-known works, includingNotre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) (1831) and the poetry collection Les Contemplations (1856). Between those milestones, Hugo began his legendary novel Les Misérables, about social injustice, redemption, and revolution.

By the time Les Misérables was published in 1862, Hugo had been exiled almost 10 years for his political views. During that time, he produced three poetry collections, plus numerous books about social and economic disparity, including Les Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea) and L’Homme Qui Rit (The Man Who Laughs). Hugo later founded the Association Litteraire et Artistique Internationale to support artists’ rights.

Hugo appeared on a French banknote and is honored with streets, parks, hiking trails, and statues in most large French cities, as well as in Guernsey, where he lived in exile. Today’s Doodle is a fitting addition to the long list of tributes to the venerable Victor Hugo.

You’ve been listening to me complain about it all week, now at long last, here it is for your hopeful enjoyment!

IN CELEBRATION OF 5K+ NOTES ON MY GHOST!LAURENS POST AND TO SAY THANKS FOR ALL THE SUPPORT AND AMAZING FEEDBACK <3
I give you, music time with the Freckled Pair. Feat. Anthony Ramos as Philip, Ghost!Laurens, and…himself.

(Audio is from this little gem right here. Go watch it, it’ll brighten up your day.)

Something I’ve run into quite a lot while doing the whole “project manager” thing is artist who are openly hostile to the idea of engaging with the “business side” of what they do. There’s this broad perception that that business side of art means advertising and merchandising and selling out, and while it certainly can mean that, a lot of it is much more basic - and it’s stuff that’s absolutely not optional if art is anything beyond a personal fun-time hobby for you.

Stuff like:

1. Having reality-based metrics for time and resource commitment - or, in plain English, making sure that what you’re charging for your commissions is actually based on how hard they are to do.

It’s downright shocking how rare this is. I’ve encountered digital artists who routinely charge less for a spec that takes them much longer to do based on purely abstract notions of how “complex” the piece is, without reference to their actual, demonstrable time commitment. Heck, I’ve run into a traditional artist who ended up making nickles per hour for a major commission because she hadn’t correctly tallied up the cost of the art supplies expended in producing it!

The only way to arrive at appropriate metrics is based on evidence; your off-the-cuff estimates will always, always be wrong. Literally time yourself as you work on pieces of various types, and write down how long it took you. And never assume that it will be quicker next time; that’s called the planning fallacy, and it will eat you alive if you let it.

2. Having a lifecycle management plan for the tools you need to work.

Tablets don’t last forever. Neither do computers. Even software can become so outdated and incompatible as to lose utility over time. Basically, your tools have a finite lifespan, and you need to have a plan for replacing them as needed.

I understand that many independent artists don’t have the means to save up for new and replacement tools, and rely on second-hand hardware, gifts from friends and family, or donation drives on their blogs to fill the gap. That’s fine - artists relying on patronage has a long and distinguished history. The important thing is that these avenues be part of a plan, not a desperate scramble after some 100% foreseeable circumstance has rendered you unable to work.

Data on average time-to-failure for your hardware is readily accessible online; if, for example, that particular brand of tablet tends to last about three years, then you need to start organising your donation drive or dropping hints for your birthday at two years and six months, even if your equipment seems perfectly fine. The same goes for software; the vendor’s support window (i.e., the time after which they’ll stop publishing bugfixes and security updates) for your version of the software is a known factor.

3.  Having a formal requirements-gathering and signoff procedure.

I know that sounds like a lot of boring paperwork, and to be honest it kind of is, but it’s also critical for anything you’re not drawing for yourself. Language is an imprecise medium; based on a few minutes of casual conversation, you can easily end up in situations where you and your commissioner have totally different understandings of what the job entails, yet you’re both convinced you’ve understood the other perfectly.

You should have a detailed written description of what’s involved, and your client’s explicit, documented confirmation that they’ve read, understood and agreed to it, before you draw a single stroke. This includes timelines and deliverables as well as content; I’ve run into numerous cases of clients who’ve alleged non-delivery of services based on their understanding that they’d be receiving a traditional, ink-and-paper piece where the artist understood the commission to involve only digital work, and more than one case where a client started hollering about breach of contract less than 24 hours after signing off because they honestly thought it would be done already.

You have to nip that in the bud; this level of documentation is a bare minimum for anyone who takes money to do art, not a nice-to-have.

theguardian.com
Ten things I learned about writing from Stephen King
The novelist James Smythe, who has been analysing the work of Stephen King for the Guardian since 2012, on the lessons he has drawn from the master of horror fiction
By James Smythe

Stephen King is an All-Time Great, arguably one of the most popular novelists the world has ever seen. And there’s a good chance that he’s inspired more people to start writing than any other living writer. So, as the Guardian and King’s UK publisher Hodder launch a short story competition – to be judged by the master himself – here are the ten most important lessons to learn from his work.

1. Write whatever the hell you like

King might be best known – or, rather, best regarded – as a writer of horror novels, but really, his back catalogue is crammed with every genre you can think of. There are thrillers (Misery, Gerald’s Game), literary novels (Bag Of Bones, Different Seasons), crime procedurals (Mr Mercedes), apocalypse narratives (The Stand), fantasy (Eyes Of The Dragon, The Dark Tower series) … He’s even written what I think of as being one of the greatest Young Adult novels of all time: The Long Walk. Perhaps the only genre or audience he hasn’t really touched so far is comedy, but most of his work features moments that show his deft touch with humour. It’s clear that King does what he wants, when he wants, and his constant readers – the term he calls his, well, constant readers – will follow him wherever he goes.

2. The scariest thing isn’t necessarily what’s underneath the bed

Horror is a curious thing. What scares one person won’t necessarily scare another. And while there might be moments in his horror novels that tread towards the more conventional ideas of what some find terrifying, for the most part, the truly scary aspects are those that deal with humanity itself. Ghosts drive people to madness, telekinetic girls destroy whole towns with their powers, clowns … well, clowns are just bloody terrifying full stop. But the true crux of King’s ability to scare is finding the thing that his readers are actually worried about, and bringing that to the fore. If you’re writing horror, don’t just think about what goes bump in the night; think about what that bump might drive people to do afterwards.

3. Don’t be scared of transparency

One of my favourite things about King’s short story collections are the little notes about each tale that he puts into the text. The history of them, the context for the idea, how the writing process actually worked. They’re not only invaluable material for aspiring writers – because exactly how many drafts does it take to reach a decent story? King knows! – but they’re also brilliant nuggets of insight into King himself. Some people might think that it’s better off knowing nothing about authors when they read their work, but for King, his heart is on his sleeve. In his latest collection, The Bazaar of Broken Dreams, King gets more in-depth than ever, talking about what inspired the stories in such an honest way that it couldn’t have come from another writer’s pen. Which brings us to …

4. Write what you know. Sort of. Sometimes

Write what you know is the most common writing tip you’ll find anywhere. It’s nonsense, really, because if we all did that we’d end up with terribly boring novels about writers staring out of windows waiting for inspiration to hit. (If you like those, incidentally, head straight for the literary fiction section of your nearest bookshop.) But King understands that experience is something which can be channelled into your work, and should be at every opportunity. Aspects of his life – addiction, teaching, his near-fatal car accident, rock and roll, ageing – have cropped up in his work over and over, in ways that aren’t always obvious, but often help to drive the story. That’s something every writer can use, because it’s through these truths that real emotions can be writ large on the page.

5. Aim big. Or small

King’s written some mammoth books, and they’re often about mammoth things. The Stand takes readers into an apocalypse, with every stage of it laid out on the page until the final fantastical showdown. It deals with a horror that hits a group of characters twice in their lives, showing us how years and years of experience can change people. And The Dark Tower is a seven (or eight, or more, if you count the short stories set in its world) part series that takes in so many different genres of writing it’s dizzying. When he needs to, King aims really big, and sometimes that’s what you have to do to tell a story. At the other end of the spectrum, some of King’s most enduring stories – Rita Hayworth & Shawshank Redemption, The Mist – have come from his shorter works. He traps small groups of characters in single locations and lets the story play out how it will. The length of the story you’re telling should dictate the size of the book. Doesn’t matter if it’s forty thousand words or two hundred, King doesn’t waste a word.

6. Write all the time. And write a lot

King’s published – wait for it – 55 novels, 11 collections of stories, 5 non-fiction works, 7 novellas and 9 assorted other pieces (including illustrated works and comic books). That’s over a period of 41 years. That’s an average of two books a year. Which is, I must admit, a pretty giddying amount. That’s years of reading (or rereading, if you’re as foolishly in awe of him as I am). But he’s barely stopped for breath. This year has seen three books published by him, which makes me feel a little ashamed. Still, at my current rate of writing, I might catch up with him sometime next century. And while not every book has found the same critical and commercial success, they’ve all got their fans.

7. Voice is just as important as content

King’s a writer who understands that a story needs to begin before it’s actually told. It begins in the voice of the novel: is it first person, or third? Is it past or present tense? Is it told through multiple narrators, or just the one? He’s a master at understanding exactly why each story is told the way it’s told. Sure, he might dress it up as something simple – the story finding the voice it needs, or vice versa – but through his books you can see that he’s tried pretty much everything, and can see why each voice worked with the story he was telling.

8. And Form is just as important as voice

King isn’t really thought of as an experimental novelist, which is grossly unfair. Some of King’s more daring novels have taken on really interesting forms. Be it The Green Mile’s fragmented, serialised narrative; or the dual publication of The Regulators and Desperation – novels which featured the same characters in very different situations, with unsettling parallels between the stories that unfolded for them; or even Carrie’s mixed-media narrative, with sections of the story told as interview or newspaper extract. All of these novels have played with the way they’re presented on the page to find the perfect medium for telling those stories. Really, the lesson here from King is to not be afraid to play.

9. You don’t have to be yourself

Some of King’s greatest works in the early years of his career weren’t published by King himself. They were in the name of Richard Bachman, his slightly grislier pseudonym. The Long Walk, Thinner, The Running Man – these are books that dealt with a nastier side of things than King did in his properly attributed work. Because, maybe it’s good to have a voice that allows us to let the real darkness out, with no judgments. (And then maybe, as King eventually did in The Dark Half, it’s good to kill that voice on the page … )

10. Read On Writing. Now

This is the most important tip in the list. In 2000, King published On Writing, a book that sits in the halfway space between autobiography and writing manual. It’s full of details about his process, about how he wrote his books, channelled his demons and overcame his challenges. It’s one of the few books about writing that are actually worth their salt, mainly because it understands that it’s about a personal experience, and readers might find that useful. There’s no universal truths when it comes to writing. One person’s process would be a nightmare for somebody else. Some people spend years labouring on nearly perfect first drafts; some people get a first draft written in six weeks, and then spend the next year destroying it and rebuilding it. On Writing tells you how King does it, to help you to find your own. Even if you’re not a fan of his books, it’s invaluable to the in-development writer. Heck, it’s invaluable to all writers.