These Laurels Are Soft And All But…


Crown and laurel

So, apparently I ~won~ NaNo a few days ago.

Awesome.

These laurels are soft and all, but there are still many words yet to be written.

Thus, I forge onward towards a new goal: a complete first draft by Thanksgiving.

My touchpoints & story pacing are on-track to land right around the 80k mark (give or take). I’ve slowed down the drafting a bit, taken pause to go back and weave in threads that are essential as the climax nears. Yes, it’s a first draft, but for me, it’s crucial to have the key elements woven in so they can all converge in one beautifully embroidered moment on the first go ’round.

There’ll be snipping and trimming, undoing seams and sewing them back together later. But I want this tapestry—at least from afar—to be thick, and warm, and loverly at the end of this initial stage. More than a wordcount goal, this is how I will measure my own ~win~.

And I hope you have your own, private measuring stick, too. Maybe it’s to write every day, or average 500 words per day over the course of the month, or to revise the sheol out of an existing novel. Whatever it is, strive for it as hard as you possibly can.

Your laurels will feel just as soft for you as mine do for me.

SIDENOTE: The first ink of my Phreak Show sleeve gets hammered in today. I’m more than just a little thrilled about that.

Phreak Show Ink – A Sleeve of Characters


Placement of Tera (misspelled by my assistant), Romeo, Niko & Phineas

Placement of Tera (misspelled by my assistant), Romeo dropping down from her banner, Niko – Prince of Torture perfectly place by the elbow (gonna suck!) & Phineas w/ his top hat

A funny cylops-blob for Jamie (on the fishbelly, of course) and Jules on the sensitive underside

Doug Doug the Dimwit high on my shoulder, Jules on the sensitive underside (ouch!) & a funny cylops-blob for Jamie (on the fishbelly, of course)

Mantis blob with Lil Diva propped on her hip (top),

Mantis blob with Lil Diva propped on her hip (top), Jules wrapping him/herself around, Mama Snow by my wrist

Twiggy on the outside forearm,

Twiggy on the outside forearm, a glimpse of Mana Snow beneath her

I had to take a pause in my NaNoWriMo drafting for Epistle of Doff this morning. Reason: to consult with my tattooist on the sleeve images for my completed novel, Phreak Show.

Joe has purchased skulls and such from my business & does amazing ink work. When the idea to immortalize my phreaky characters hit me, I decided to return Joe’s patronage. His earliest appointment was 7 months in the future. That future arrives next Saturday.

Since NaNo means slacking on the blog, I figured the email I sent to Joe this morning was a way to show it some love. So here it is, chock full of links and words. I’ll be chronicling the sleeve as it progresses, so y’all might as well get in at the planning stage.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joe~
 
Lots of multimedia/data resources for this sleeve. Take a breath, give your creativity a good whack to get it cranked up, and dive in.
 
Here’s a copy of the original facebook msg I sent you back in May, with my thoughts on the style.
 
I want to do a sleeve of tats over the next couple months consisting of the characters from my latest novel, Phreak Show. It’s a Young Adult Fantasy, set in a modern-day sideshow with some steampunk/Victorian & magical tendencies.So, the characters are basically sideshow performers/freaks. I’m envisioning a bit of New School flare in coloring and style, with some high-contrast black, fused with some elements of old sideshow banner art.I can, of course, totally dredge up base images and we can work on the designs from there. But, I’m thinking how cool it’d be for the artist to get a vibe for the characters through reading the book. So, yeah, let me know if you’re game.
 
Here’s a link to my Pinterest. There are a few boards with labels starting with “Phreak Show” which have my inspiration images for the characters, clothing, jewelry, etc for the book. http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/boards/
 
This one specifically has the cabinet cards I made up for each character http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/phreak-show-cast-steampunk/  It shows them in their “everyday” forms, but I want the tattoos to add the element of their transformations into their sideshow personas like: Twiggy the Blubber Girl, The Prince of Torture (a tatooist!), etc. The original, color images I used are here: http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/phreak-show-castoff-images/ and these may be more helpful for reference purposes.
 
I’m thinking just head & shoulders for each one, with a ribbon/sideshow banner beneath with their sideshow names.
We have 8 appointments scheduled, right? There are a total of 8 (or 10–depending on how they’re counted) separate character images. Plus the smoky, colorful ribbons of “aether” to fill the spaces in between. So, I guess we’ll have to see how to work those all in? Or schedule some future dates to finish? (If I don’t go broke first!)
 
I laid out the rough outlines/placement I have in mind. Pics of my (roughed in) sharpied left arm are attached.
Roughly, here’s the order of inking I’m thinking. Totally open to your input. Maybe we can squeeze multiple characters with close proximity in during a single session:
– Phineas – top of forearm http://www.pinterest.com/pin/354377064398218339/ (This image is pretty spot-on. Love the dark shadows, but would like deep colors mixed in so it’s not solid black. Def want his signature eyes to stand out–they’re milky-blue, covered in cataracts)
– Tera – outside of bicep http://www.pinterest.com/pin/354377064398272931/ In the story, she transforms to look like other people’s worst fears. So, not *exactly sure how to represent that…Also, she wears a heavy hood to conceal her face until the transfomrations are complete, so that might be an element to incorporate as long as her fiery red hair is still partially visible. (Romeo, a copper monkey may hang from her banner into the crook of my arm)
– Niko – perfectly placed for the Prince of Torture…near the elbow. A combo of this image http://www.pinterest.com/pin/354377064398218239/ along with shirtless Adam Levine http://www.pinterest.com/pin/354377064398218378/ (For the ink, half of his face ‘normal’, the other half tattooed and pierced
– Jamie – top half underside of my forearm (no image of him on any of the boards – he’s the Tera gets of her baby brother – only effed up into a cyclops baby)
Those are the first 4. I’m thinking we can decide the order of the rest and space them out as we go, using the sharpie template along with sizing as a guide for their placement.
 
I’ve also attached the manuscript. If you want to check it out, the main character, Tera, gets an effed up tat in chapter one, then enters the Phreak Show at the end of chapter 2. After that, the sideshow personas of the characters unfold over the following chapters. 
LAST LINK! lol – http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/tattoos-steampunk-otherwise/ This board will give you an idea of the types of tattoo styles/coloring/imagery I’m drawn to. I don’t want to dictate the style so much as I want you to interpret my ideas into your own Joe Crossman style. As long as the ink is helz-yeah-phenomenal, and consistent throughout the whole sleeve, I’m pretty open.
Thanks, man. Look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Lucas

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joe doesn’t know it yet, but I plan on typing with my right hand in his shop next Saturday. NaNo is live & Doff wants out of me. There’s no reason [other than the pain of metallic, pissed-off wasps hammering into my flesh] I shouldn’t keep hacking away at the next novel while getting inked with characters from the previous one.

Whether Phreak Show ever gets traditionally published or not, I absolutely love the characters and their story. Will I regret immortalizing them in my skin forever? Absolutely not. As long as Joe doesn’t eff things up for me like Niko did for Tera. Or did Niko really mess up her tattoo of Jamie…?

Epistle of Doff – Main Characters


NaNo 2013 kicks off at midnight—a few short hours from now. Figured I ought to post a final entry before the wordcount on that little widget starts climbing. >>>>>

I’m a visual dude. I write pretty visually. Thus, I’m popping my central Epistle of Doff characters right here. For easy reference. Image collection can be fun, but also frustrating. A lot of times, you have to get as close as you can and still twist the image a bit in your mind.

Doff’s story is set in an alternate present. All the world religions are woven into a syncretist faith known as Kamiism, which thrums with ritual and magic. The world is split in two—those who practice Kamiism, and those who do not. But even within those two halves, there are factions, individuals belief systems, those who embrace the magic in the world, and those who do not. Zealots & Squelchers. The faithful & the rebellious. Those who follow the established rules & those who blow them to bits.

Another aspect of this alternate present is that individual races no longer exist. Because of the longstanding interweaving of belief systems, there is little distinction in the color of the world’s inhabitants’ skin. They are all within a small range of nearly indistinguishable, lovely warm mid-tone. Race is not an issue in this world, but the characters have found plenty of other means to distinguish, judge, and rank one another.

Thus, I have to correct these source images in my mind, and paint them all in that beautiful tone.

Best - DoffBest - Athan

 

Best - Isca Best - Lazni Best - Matine Best - Ramsey Best - Tio

There they are: the central cast members. I have Pinterest boards for the other players, as well as the Iconography, Mythology, Settings, etc. The pitch for Epistle of Doff is here: https://johnlucashargis.wordpress.com/epistle-of-doff-the-most-blasphemous-monker/ [Subject to change, but I doubt by much. Because: far-thinking plotter.]

It’s almost go time! Breathe, my lovelies, breathe.

Epistle of Doff – Hands On Research #LucasArmKnitExperience


Athan - Knitting - Illustration

So an odd/fun/random/spur-of-the-moment thing happened.

It started with my NaNoWriMo project. The love interest is a trainhopping, attachment-free, badass. So, I decided he needs a hobby—something completely unexpected for that persona. And it needs to be something he can do to pass the time while catching out [i.e. riding the rails; hopping trains.] Something “soft”, traditionally “non-masculine”. I rolled through a few possibilities before settling on knitting.

KNITTING? WTF?

Knitting is reportedly therapeutic. It’s a practical skill; need a blanket while on the road? Gank some yarn and make one. But I ended up with a slight problem there since the process can take a while…

Yesterday, while searching for images to represent this aspect of my character, Athan, I initially had a HARD time finding images of guys knitting. I was getting quite frustrated. Then Twitter folk helped my search. And one link led to another to another until I ended up creating an entire Pinterest board: Men + Yarn
 http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/men-%2B-yarn/

In the process, I discovered Arm Knitting. That’s a thing??? Yes. A cool thing. Knitting using your arms instead of needles. And, using heavyweight yarn, the process goes quickly. Aha! A quick, no-tools-needed way for Athan to pass the time trapped in a rattling freight car. And since the world has an ingrained magic system where the purpose of an object [and thus it’s color, texture, density] can be warped, Athan has access to a limitless supply of “yarn”. He simply needs to transform tiny sections of the metal forming the train car.

As icing on the cake, this idea of weaving two separate skeins together is a perfect symbol of the central conflict my MC is facing. It’s also gloriously symbolic of the romance subplot. Perfection, I say.

Athan is highly gifted at warping & knitting. During long train rides, there is the obvious opportunity for him to teach that skill to my MC, Doff. Oh.the.moments. The symbolism. The ways Athan can playfully take advantage of Doff while his hands are bound in yarn cuffs.

But before I can write that into their story, I need to know how to Arm Knit, what it feels like. So, with the help of a YouTube vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqvC1xlm86U&feature=youtu.be, I learned. Today. For the hell of it, kinda accidentally, I ended up live-Tweeting my learning process & the emotions that went along with it. If you’re so inclined to check it out, I used the hashtag #LucasArmKnitExperience.

Quickly, folks tapped into my virgin arm knitting experience & turned it into a beautiful, fun conversation.

After the highs & lows, the successes & failures, photos became a necessity. So, obviously, an impromptu photo shoot  showing the end results of my first arm knitting attempt was required.

The whole live-action-learn-a-new-thing experiment was fun. Not only did I learn a new skill I can teach my characters, I also experienced the feeling arc of curiosity/frustration/peacefulness/accomplishment/celebration. Doff will feel that same progression. On top of all that, other folks decided to catch out with me. And, perhaps, I can recreate that excitement & willingness with Doff & Athan’s story.

I just need to write it first. NaNo, here I come.

Reference images for these two train kids & the rest of the cast of Epistle of Doff:
 http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/epistle-of-doff-characters/

NaNoWriMo – One Thing I’m NOT Doing


NaNo-2013-Participant-Facebook-Profile

So, for this blog post, this is me using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate without any editing. So far so good. But if this goes like everyone in my other experiments than these words within a completely jumbled and out of whack.

See. Just like that.

I’m considering whether or not I should use Dragon Fernanda Reimann [TRANSLATION: for NaNoWriMo]. So far it’s not looking too promising. I’ll look another complete sentence that was written correctly. And that should be “oh” not I’ll. So frustrating.

Something is coming more of a pain in the bot or a headache that it is going to be helpful. See? That line doesn’t even make any sense. If I enunciate like I’m in speech therapy, then it will type perfectly like this sentence. But oh my gosh I can’t talk like that for an entire novel. [But see their, entitled the previous sentence correctly. But not this one. And it misspelled their. Again.]

So even though I might be fun to try and use Dragon, I believe the editing would be a nightmare. I don’t think it’s really do work Fernanda Reimann.

TROPES – An Exquisite Rabbit Hole


alice falling

Writers: You will deeply love me and curse my name by the Seven Suns after this.

Unless you already know of tvtropes.org… In which case, you are most likely well-versed in tumbling down this exquisite rabbit hole.

I can’t even put words to how amazing, inspiring, AHA!, and helpful this site is.

Looking to flesh out a character, or simply want to label one you already have?
Check out the Archetypes: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArchetypalCharacter

Hunting guidance on a specific genre, or just want to explore what’s out there?
Check out the Genre Tropes: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GenreTropes

Need to amp up your dialogue? Give it some variation and tap into new flavors?
Check out the massive list of types: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Dialogue

Need a…?

Want to…?

Curious about…?

Stuck on a scene…?

 

My apologies in advance.

[But not really.] Happy tumbling.

 

Navigation pointers: The site’s main navigation is awkwardly positioned at the bottom of the far left column. Once you open a specific page, dozens of hyperlinks will be nestled within the text. PRO-TIP: Depending on your browser setting, clicking these may automatically open a new tab. If not, hold down [CTRL] as you click, to generate a new tab. Or a hundred…

Making Flash Fiction Your Bitch


Get it? "Flash" punching a dude into submission? :: ahem :: Anyway...

Get it? “Flash” punching a dude into submission? :: ahem :: Anyway…

Ever on the lookout for blogging inspiration–no matter what bush it peeks out of–this Facebook exchange with my writerly friend, Brittany Larson, has a good feel to it. Blog-worthy, I believe. From a random interaction amongst the social media bushes: Making Flash Fiction Your Bitch.

Brittany: HEY! I need some advice on some writing!

Lucas: Ok. I’ve got a few minutes. What’s up?

Brittany: Well I have this story idea swirling around my head about the 3 Archangels Micheal (The Angel Of Mercy) Gabriel (The Messenger Angel) And Azrael (The Angel of Death) And they are all fallen. And Iwas thinking Gabriel and Micheal stay faithful to God while Azreal goes rogue. He makes a deal with the devil that’s simple Bring me Rachel (My girl protagonist) and I will make you more powerful than God. God appears to Micheal and Gabriel and says stop him and you’re back in heaven. And I am thinking that Micheal will be my main male protagonist (Gabriel more as support) so what happens when Micheal falls in love with Rachel and doesn’t wanna go back to Heaven. Something along those lines. So the first question is: sound good? And also I don’t know if I wanna just start writing now or save it for NaNo.

Lucas: Is this a story you will try to market to agents/publishers? I only ask because a few months back many were groaning about the massive amount of “Angel” stories: fallen ones falling in love with a human. There are a lot of those on the market already. So, it’s a trope the pros don’t much care for anymore.

Brittany: Yeah…see I am not too sure. I am thinking. Truly I have never made it even far enough to think about sending it to publishers.

Lucas: A twist would be good. Can they be fallen gods instead of angels? And love triangles are always sellable. Maybe one naughty god in love with your mortal, Rachel, but a second god in love with the first & fighting the matchup? Or, make them aliens, or zombies, or any other creature. Then you could go with the same basic plot without stepping into the Angels theme. If you’re not going to shop it, then just go with whatever the heck makes you happy as a writer!

Brittany: True…true. That would be interesting. And yeah…see I am still debating whether to just write it or save it for NaNo…because I mean I have it written down so I don’t forget it.

Lucas: You’ll have more ideas before Nano! It’s always good to keep writing. Like flexing your muscles to make you stronger.

Brittany: True true. And I sure hope so. This is the Biggest Aha! Moment I have had in a while. My Nano idea wasn’t this solid.

Lucas: Here’s a cool trick for discovering ideas that are novel worthy: just start with a flash fiction of your story. Write out a key scene in 1000 words or less. Focus on using as little words as possible to convey setting, character, conflict.

Brittany: Thanks That really helps

Lucas: Still have the story arc of intro, conflict, climax, closure. This helps me weed out ideas as either long-running or short lived. If the idea feels “done” or exorcised, then cool. You have a flash fiction story. But, if you find the character’s voice and keep thinking about his/her life, then it’s time to plot for a longer work: short story, novella, novel.

Brittany: Yeah. Thanks for the advice

Lucas: You’re welcome, yo. Mind if I post this interaction on my blog in a few days? “I’d rather not” is an acceptable response. 😉

Brittany: Oh that’s fine. I really don’t care…I mean it wasn’t personal or anything:)

Lucas: I can keep you anonymous or remove/summarize your novel idea if you’d like.

Brittany: No it’s fine…put in as much detail as you’d like. I’m not shy.

Lucas: Done! Do you have a blog or Twitter account I can link to? Such things often bring you new followers.

Brittany: https://twitter.com/thegirlonfire16

So, let’s get Brittany some new followers.

And, let’s get to using Flash Fiction as a test-run for those awesome ideas we keep coming up with. It tests their mettle, and keeps us flexing those writing muscles. Better to weed out the losers before we invest a half a novel’s worth of time before discovering they suck. Also, our writerly friends are awesome sounding boards for our new concepts. They can often spot holes, provide useful feedback, and tune us in to stuff they’ve stumbled upon in the publishing world but we have not.

Now, you know one of the secret tools I use to tame my overzealous ideas. What do you think? Is it worth slipping into your own bag of tricks?

Reporting from the bushes, this is Lucas, signing off.