Report: NaNoWriMo 2010

Header Robin

This year, I continued working on the same story I have been writing for the last two Novembers. I had plans – well, vague aspirations – of finishing it this year. At a little over 67,000 words, I am nowhere near that point.

I’m hitting my stride more this year than I was last year. The first year was all very merry, under-the-greenwood-tree, and a lot of fun, but it was also the beginning. Last year was hard – a dry, too-real, unpleasant, storyless artificial wasteland, much like the setting. This year is all stories, tales-within-tales, wolves and mirror-eyed strangers, houses with roofs that ruffle softly in the breeze, gilt-paper stars, borrowed coats, belled riders and red-eared hounds. The next stage – I don’t know yet, but I think it will be sacrifice, and overcompensation, and hard lessons (but I’m not making any promises).

I suspect that, with all I have learned, I could plan a story and write it. Making this up as I go along is going to be harder in the long run, if I decide there is something salvageable in this great mass of words. But it is enormous fun, as well – amusing myself, surprising myself, occasionally startling myself.

Working title: A Golden Arrow

Appropriateness of working title: Minimal.

First line: The night before this story ended, before the world slipped away –

Middle line: “-a fine hunt, had I not seen the forest lord-” (that followed by laughter)

Last line: She wished for the stone she had lost on the road.

Things introduced which will cause me difficulties later: Fitzroi’s Theory of Sparrows; 2 leaves; 2 chickens; the rise and fall of the Roman Empire; bloody dog; wooden child; shot-gun approach to adjectives.

Titles of tales-within-the-tale (i.e. ones the main characters aren’t actively participating in during the main chronology):

  • Silence and Nettles (pretty much a straight retelling)
  • The Sparrow-Wife
  • The House in the Woods
  • The King’s Heart
  • The Swan-White Harp
  • The Nursemaid’s Tale
  • Red-coat and that Wolf, the Wind
  • The Man who would Sleep Alone
  • Fitzroi’s Theory of Sparrows

It’s a stretch to call that last one a story. But I wish it was, just so I could extract it and use that title.

A Very Quick Advent Calendar (or Illustration Friday: Savour)


Highbrow art this week!

This weekend I decided a quick scribble of an advent calendar was better than none at all. While talking to my mother on Sunday night I drew this with a permanent marker on A3 sketch paper. The hardest part was keeping track of how many items I had drawn while talking at the same time.

It is now on the wall above the sideboard and is to be coloured in day by day with coloured pencils and gold pens. I made one for my mother as well, but her fox is more devious and one of the birds is hanging upside-down.

In other news: my sister and I have had our last tennis lesson for the year, I went to a Jane Austen Society of Australia meeting, I spent 23.5 of the 48 hours of the weekend out and about (visiting my dad in respite care, visiting sick friends, running airport duty), there is no food in the house and I am keeping a low profile from now on (hah!) to do Things. Also, NaNoWriMo is almost over and I have 64,000+ words and no end in sight.

Edit: Below is a cleaned-up file of the advent calendar for printing – happy December!

Illustration Friday: Sneaky

Illustration Friday: Sneaky

I am testing out styles and techniques for another project here – as usual! Pen and ink, scanned, vectorised, coloured in Photoshop. I like rough colouring, but not as it appears here. The guinea pigs are two characters from a little gag strip I did in a sketchbook early this year (I think as a break from The Steampunk Comic) – they are a wannabe superhero and her sidekick, and although they are generally on the side of good they are prepared to blur the definition.

In other news, and somewhat related to the topic (I have been dropping hints): On Friday I handed in my resignation. After 6 and a half years in private practice as a property lawyer, I am going into the public service (still as a lawyer). I had the chance to go on a short secondment to a government authority recently (I don’t talk about work here, generally, so I may not have mentioned I have worked for a very good firm) and loved it and am now very excited about changing tracks. But I am not leaving before the Christmas parties.

Illustration Friday: Burning

Illustration Friday: Burning

This is a fairly flat piece – I wanted to try out different ways of treating hand-drawn lines on scanning. Charlotte and Elise kindly posed for a quick reference photo. I drew a pencil sketch and an ink (marker) final. After I scanned it, I imported it into a vector program (Inkscape) and reduced it to a single black line. This gave a much smoother finish than fiddling around with Photoshop (but I only have Elements). Colour and texture added in Photoshop, as usual.

In other news, I reached 50,000 words today for NaNoWriMo (but still haven’t finished the story, although a possible end is in sight). I have been taking tennis lessons with my sister. Some new illustration projects are in the works. After the Pratchett play last night a friend and I drove around Indooroopilly and shouted “Expelliarmus!” at full-costumed Potter fans taking photos of themselves walking over the zebra-crossing. I went to the Southbank Institute graphic design portfolio show tonight, and Shayna (sister of the models above) won the paper portfolio prize, very deservedly. And I received a much-awaited letter today, of which more tomorrow (I hope).

Illustration Friday: Spent

Illustration Friday: Spent

Experimenting with two styles here, trying to find the right feel for a project. The initial sketch was pen and ink, with additional lines, colours, effects and an old photo I took in West End added in Photoshop. It’s based loosely on this photo by Ngaire Naran (and is also the current header):

31st October - bollywood!

Life is… mostly NaNoWriMo at the moment. My characters keep stopping to argue principles of contract law, even in the middle of enchanted forests (or especially then – nemo dat quod non habet appears to be a powerful charm) which will give you a clue as to what is taking up the balance of the days.

November header