Greetings from the word of full-time drafting. I've been keeping my head down and focusing on writing recently. Today, slightly unplanned, I took some time to rummage around my Notion page for my chapter book and clean it up a bit. I reviewed my wiki for characters and places, edited some wording for mechanics and made a more overarching decision for one of the settings. For those of you who haven't seen the home page, it looks like this:
I'll give a few notes about some of the more general sections.
Writing a first draft has been much more about overarching plot changes than word choice, prose, and finicky details. I don't worry about overusing words or repeating dialogue tags. It's interesting to make changes to an overarching aspect of the world and then figure out how to weave in that change through various details and dialogues over multiple chapters. Did that make any sense?
Anyway, there's a peek into how I'm organizing my project and keeping track of a world's worth of info. Have a great week and keep an eye out for a new post this Saturday!
This coming month, I am starting an exciting chapter in my life. I aim to complete 2 project drafts by the end of this year. One of these drafts is for a YA (young adult) fantasy chapter book that I aim to post online. The other draft is for a short YA graphic novel I started at a comics workshop this summer.
In order to accomplish this, I will be working full time in tandem on these two projects — one drawing, one writing. Since these will be the first drafts of both these stories, I am completing them with the aim for further editorial work and development.
AAVAN: An Illustrated Web Book
AAVAN is a fantasy chapter book with golems, ancient magic, and a music school. I started writing this book last summer and I'm hyped to finish it. It's a combination of many things I love: AI and free will, musical performance, and reclaiming your agency. I'm very much inspired by Phillip Pullman, Terry Pratchett, and Diana Wynne Jones.
I'm excited to eventually post this chapter book online when the full edit is completed. My current plan is to release each finished chapter weekly or bi-monthly, formatted with interactive and moving illustrations inline. Much like a webcomic, the site domain will host a dynamic reading experience. I'm also considering doing one-shot colored comic pages set in the same world. For the illustrations, I'm planning on using two methods. One will be using GIFs (animated pictures) made in photoshop. The other is a site called Sketchfab, which can host 3D models online and allows anyone to turn them around and look at them.
However, before any of this can happen, the draft needs to be FINISHED!
In the Near Future:
DRAFTING! I have scheduled out my time to have a finished draft for this book by the end of the year. I'll also be doing some concept development for the interactive illustrations on the site.
Small Towns: A Comic
Small Towns is a graphic novel I started drawing at a workshop this summer at the Center for Cartoon Studies. It's a YA story about a girl named Jean, who spends a lot of time with Rosie, the elderly caretaker for their town. Making my own comics has been an exciting process so far, and I'm excited to have a finished, multi-page work to share in the future.
I only came into drawing comics more recently, and it was so fulfilling to try different prompts and exercises during the workshop and to collect inspiration from everyone around me. I am sure I wouldn't have found this story without that amazing workshop group.
In the near future: Thumbnailing and writing! I will be creating layouts and dialogue for the story beats I've laid out.
What I'll Be Posting
This IS a tidy blog, after all, so I'm looking forward to documenting what I learn through working solely at home for the first time since college. Working at home can be tricky and requires a lot of structure (at least in my case). I fell into a rhythm when I was working on my short film, and it will be interesting to see how that rhythm has changed post-grad.
More specifically to writing and drawing, I have a feeling I'll learn quite a lot from committing full-time to these projects. I want to learn more about how I create, what kind of stories make me excited, and what potential my finished, polished work may have in the future.
Once again, I look forward to sharing this process with you all! I'm so excited for the future!
Happy summer to you all!
After a really engaging chat in our #tidy_time channel at work, I was inspired for the bajillionth time to sort through my books and discard even further. I'm donating another bag full and giving 2 other bags to friends of mine after messaging them my wares. At one point in our work conversation I raised a concern I've felt for a while: If I'm giving my discarded belongings to someone else, what if I'm just perpetuating the cycle of accumulation for someone else? My coworker responded by saying, basically, nah. "One man's trash" and all that. It was a reassuring thing to hear and actually helped me see clearer that some of the books I own could be better enjoyed by good friends of mine.
At this point in the book discarding process, I notice the tugging guilt in my body is getting especially strong. It was much easier at first, when the books I threw out were no-brainers that I knew I'd never read. NOW, I'm down to the books I had convinced myself were worth keeping somehow, and with the help of appraising their worth and kindle availability on Amazon, I'm down to the lowest number of books I've owned in over 10 years, if not more. I asked myself: Am I going too far? Am I forcing myself to throw out things I treasure? After sitting with these feelings and holding these books in my hand last night, I think the discomfort is coming from somewhere else.
When I hold a book (especially an artbook) in my hands that I have bought, flipped through when it arrived, and promptly never looked at again, I feel annoyed with my past self. I feel like an idiot for chasing the high of the New Thing in the Mail, the New Thing to Post on Instagram. The Newness completely blinded me from its lack of preciousness. A new, more strict check I'll be doing for myself in the future is: Am I excited to own this because it'll be new? Hopefully this kind of check will keep me from buying things for this reason. Another rule I've developed for myself is to avoid buying artbooks if at all possible. No matter their value or beauty, I am terribly bad about reading or studying them and I don't think that will change in the future.
Another tug I noticed in the war of evaluating my books is the feeling of defeat I'd get if I decided to keep a book that I considered discarding. Perhaps this goes back to the very simple notion of sparking joy -- I was keeping this book because the utility or rareness of it overruled my gut action. Perhaps I saw a 25th anniversary edition cover, or a book that is hard to get on Amazon, and that was my justification in keeping it. As I set it in the pile, I felt like I failed my own test. And this, in itself, made my notice something more: The price and the rareness and the sentimental value mean nothing if it doesn't spark joy.
I mention sentiment because I found a poem book I bought while I was still with an ex. The book itself is beautiful, but I'd had a connection with the Kindle version long before I met this person. The signed physical book, however, instantly makes me think of the poetry reading where I bought it, which makes me think of that ex. Even though nothing bad happened at the reading or at that point in the relationship, it brought back a memory that didn't bring me joy. The extent of my distress amazed me as I was reluctant even to hold the book for too long. A belonging can bind itself to a memory. If you don't like that memory, you don't have to keep it. Seriously, I mean it. "Ah, this brings back memories" is not always a positive exclamation. I find I even get this discomfort with some of my older clothing. If you don't like that memory, discard that item.
It's easy to look back at my past self and be annoyed that I purchased carelessly. I'm trying not to beat myself up about it. Somewhere in the I really should have read this by now is a deeper voice saying You bought this on a whim, and it hasn't interested you enough to give it any time. And somewhere in there is a voice saying, You're keeping this because you bought it, not because you love it.
I'm going to try to elaborate on this idea of sentiment and usefulness much more in a future post. I think books are especially hard because of how equally each side can pull. Until next time!
Note: I participate pretty equally in all book forms! I'm slowly reading paper books less and less, but I still enjoy them.
We've used them for hundreds of years. Their weight and feel is strong enough --and engaging enough -- to stand competition against the e-book format, simply because the loss of the analog nature would be too much to bear for many . Strangely enough, I find I have a much harder time focusing on a physical book, which is why I've moved more towards e-books over time.
E-books helped me survive concert band. I would open up a book on my music stand just next to my binder, and sit and quietly read while our director yelled at other sections.
I would read on my phone in between class. In college I used my kindle to buy textbooks, and would bookmark and highlight pages to take notes and keep track of difficult passages. I could flip between chapters in class with 2 clicks.
We got my dad a kindle, since he used to have to bring 3 or 4 books with him on a business trip in order to have enough to read. He has never gone back.
Fortunately, the kindle paperwhite has removed my only reservation with reading on a screen with their analog-esque, matte-sheen surface.
Audio books are my secret to falling asleep. For years I had issues with shutting down my brain when it was time to go to bed. I started listening to audio books of books I'd already read as a way to distract myself so my body could settle down. I still use them to this day. I remember loving audio books on roadtrips as a kid, and I remember my parents buying big 12 pack CD's of long books for my dad to take on his mountain commute. Nowadays, I listen to audiobooks for new things as well, since I can sample the narration on Audible to see if I like the performance. PS: I think audio books are absolutely just as meritable as reading in text form, don't @ me.
Buy a sample on Kindle.
Samples are usually free, and even the first chapter will give you a good idea of whether or not the book is for you. Read the sample first. If you read through the whole thing and enjoy it, buy the book on Kindle.
Fun Fact: You don't need a kindle to read electronically! If you're happy with reading on your phone or laptop, you can access kindle books through the app or cloud reader.
Books on the To-Read List
If you don't already own it, keep it in a digital wish list.
DON'T BUY IT unless you're starting it today. If it's been in your wish list for over a year, it's time to move on.
If you own it, how long has it been waiting to be read?
If it's been waiting longer than 6 months, discard it. If you change your mind later on, buy a sample on kindle and you won't lose money.
Books You Read Once
Will you read it again?
If the answer is anything but "hell yes", donate it.
If you change your mind, once again, you can get it on Kindle.
Books You Re-Read
It's possible to consider books you return to as no-brainers to hold onto.
For a minimalist hard mode, try taking it one step further:
Regardless of what you decide, show that book some gratitude as you hold it. These are the most precious books.
Books For Appearance
Something in Goodbye Things stood out to me. Fumio Sasaki talked about how many books he kept to maintain a persona — that persona being someone who is very learned, always seeking new knowledge. You may look at yourself and think "That's not me!" That's what I thought too, at first glance. The more I looked back on the way I accumulated books in high school, the more I realized how much I kept them for my own self-importance, more than as a tool to use to grow more.
Books are incredibly difficult to discard because they are beautiful packets of information. My next challenge is figuring out to reduce further, since I know I want to, and what to do with possible negative space in my bookshelf. Good luck, everyone!