OFFER OF REP! (and why, this time, I said yes)


The Phortune Cookie

The Phortune Cookie’s Phortune

UPDATE 4/6/15 – The story below is an amazing one! For an update on my current agent status, this post will help clarify: https://lucashargis.com/2015/04/03/querying-in-a-surreal-sort-of-way/ And please feel free to contact me if further clarification is needed.

Do you have beliefs you don’t really commit to, yet can’t really rule out as false? As in: I don’t know…aliens & ghosts & magic & sasquatches & such might be real…I’m not totally convinced, but I’m fine to not pass judgment either way. Well, I feel that way about a lot of things. [Post-modern? Trait of Gen X? Whatever.]  One such ?belief? is the concept of phate. And separate from that ideaI definitely believe in synchronicity—a kind of interconnectedness that can’t be explained by empirical or scientific means. This story is filled with [eph it! I’ll say it!] hints of magic & phate synchronicity. Like, I Skype-interviewed one of my agent’s clients about fire-breathing for some scenes in Phreak Show. And, FTR, that was before @ChristinaFerko was her client. And there was this day where this agent rejected offering me rep, only to have a phortune cookie reignite her love for the phreaks, ping her with regret, and cause this cool phoenix-from-the-ashes thing to happen. Then there was a bottle of nail polish. One of the agent’s assistants ordered a blind grab-bag of nail polishes from her favorite website. When it arrived, she eagerly unwrapped the polishes to check out her goodies. One of the polishes is pictured below. She emailed her agent-boss immediately and said: “I don’t know if you made your decision already, but if you didn’t, I think the universe is trying to tell us something… ”

Nail polish

“Freak Show” nail polish
[Obviously, they spelled it wrong]

FLASHBACK: I drafted PHREAK SHOW,  my third novel, during last year’s NaNoWriMo. Before the manuscript was fully edited & ready for querying, I created a page for it on this blog. Well, on January 9th of this year, an agent stopped by and left this comment:

This sounds great. One of my interns sent me this link. Please keep me in mind when your manuscript is polished and you are ready to submit to agents. ~Louise Fury

You can imagine the ridiculousness that popped and sparked inside me. (Yes?) AN AGENT COMMENTED ON MY BLOG! SHE approached ME about my premise! AND SHE’S ON MY SHORTLIST, BUT CLOSED TO SUBMISSIONS. HOLY $^*$%@<%^%?%$@#&&^*#+=?^&&!!! CRAP. NOW I NEED TO FINISH THESE EDITS. I’m an organized dude with color-coded spreadsheets, timelines of queries and all agent contact, feedback, and whatnot. I could lay out a twisting roadmap of every single email, phone conversation, DM, revision step, length of waiting between interactions, etc. But I’ll spare you, and condense it all down to a few, key elements. And what I hope you’ll take away from this is the diligence, persistence, and patience involved. – 1/9/13 – Blog comment expressing interest – 3/17/13 – Query – 3/18/13 – 5 chapter request – 3/22/13 – Full request – 4/6/13 – Phone call [But not THE call. Damn it.] – 4/11/13 – Submitted R&R #1 – 4/12/13 through 9/9/13 – Sporadic conversation, chat via email. ~~~w.a.i.t.i.n.g.~~~ – 9/19/13 – Sent email alerting to an Offer of Rep [Note: 6 months after Full sent] – 9/28/13 – MORNING: Declined to offer [And I wish I could post this whole email for you. Because awesome.] – 9/28/13 – EVENING: The Great Twitter Phortune Cookie Phreak Out Phenomenon of 2013. Followed by a series of DMs. – 10/12/13 – DM “The cookie has spoken. Let’s talk.” – 10/13/13 – Phone call. [REALLY! AGAIN!? NO OFFER!? ANOTHER MINOR R&R!? Fine, but this is my last one. I’m done after  this if there’s no offer. PUT A RING ON IT!] – 10/13/13 – 10/16/13 – Worked my ass off on rewrites of Chapter 1: CP’s, betas, the whole deal. [Thank you, people!] – 10/16/13 – Submitted R&R #2. This one was all or nothing. Phingers crossed. – 11/2/13 – A nudge… – 12/3/13 – Another nudge… And a response! “I am glad you emailed. Let’s talk today and wrap this up?” Now, I had no idea which way this “wrap up” would twist around me. But, honestly, I was straight chuffed to finally have some sort of closure either way. This process turned into a long, emotional one, and there were moments where the pendulum swung from  I HATE FURY! to OMG, I LOVE HER! with a lot of WHY THE HELL IS IT TAKING SO LONG? in between. There were multiple times when friends and loved ones talked me down from the cliff, kept me sane, prevented me from: nudging too soon (or too often), venting online, or sending some sort of ultimatum email I’d regret. Patience (damn the blasted thing) was key. Hard, but essential. Obviously, you know how it wrapped up. This past Monday, 12/3/13, Louise Fury, Phreak Show’s agent, phinally put a ring on it. But I still need to answer the why part of why I chose to accept. Because Louise loves the phreaks, their story, my words. She gets it. (And, I believe, she gets me.) She also has a vision for the phreaks—one that’s gonna suck like mad to bring about, but is going to end with Phreak Show being the best it can possibly be. I love her today. I might hate her in a month. And she might hate me back. But then we’ll circle back around, and look at our rings, and be all like: Awww! We made it! Look at our Phreaky baby on a shelf, in the hearts and hands of readers, which is the whole point. I said “yes”, because I believe Phury, her amazing team, and I share a common love for the phreaks and can work together to share their story with the world. And, come on! Synchronicity involving phire-breathing clients, a phortune cookie, and nail polish!?!? I’m pretty sure that’s, like, magic or some shit.

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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…