Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday 20

Running late today -- sorry, folks -- and I'm not in love with the final draft of the post I had planned, so I'm scrapping that.

Last week I made a trip to Pearl, the only decent art supply house within fifty miles of my home, and picked up some Japanese watercolors and my new playtoys, Prismacolor art pencils. I bought a small set, a tin of 48 with two bonus packs thrown in, but they had some monster 100+ sets, too. I can't sketch very well anymore, but these pencils have such a nice, smooth laydown of color that they don't require a lot of pressure. The pencils blend well, are not particularly brittle, and come in just about every color you could possible want. I'm going to use them to clean up some lines on my watercolors.

As obsessed as most of us are with writing and publishing, having hobbies outside the realm of the industry is a good thing. Outside interests keep the well filled and us from getting burned out. Every time I paint or sew or garden, I can think about work, or I can forget about it for a while.

Not that I can always escape work even on a trip to the art store. While I was at Pearl's I got into a conversation with another watercolorist, who steered me toward the book section and showed me The Tao of Watercolor by Jeanne Carbonetti. There seems to be a Tao of . . . book for everything these days, but this one contained both beautiful artwork and some useful techniques. I like to read art books, not only for the content but to see how they're put together by the artist/author. You never know, someday a publisher will need a How to Paint Swallows That Look Like Big Fat Flying Turkeys art book and ask me to write it.

That's all from my corner of sometimes-painting, sometimes-writing world. You all have any questions this week?

25 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fun hobby! Though I could never get dimensions right, and so any swallows I attempted would also end up looking rather more like turkeys.

    Do you find that your painting ends up relaxing you and being something totally separate from your writing, or can they inspire each other? I sometimes wonder if it's a bad thing for my hobby (knitting) to be something that is - for me - completely unrelated to my writing.

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  2. Hi Lynn, I discovered your blog recently, and now I eagerly await every post:) I hope when you ask for questions this is what you mean.
    I'm stuck on plotting. I have both Holly's and Lazette's e-books, and I'm trying their ideas, but I only have about 25 ideas for scenes, some of which don't seem to have anything to do with the plot, and some are just not very good. I have been doing this for weeks and weeks, and frankly I'm bored with it. Should I persevere, or should I start writing out the scenes and hope more things occur to me?

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  3. I must be on your wavelength, because I broke out the watercolors today. Then I played with washes OVER what I painted because I seemed to have lost my knack, and am looking all over for it.

    Anyway, it was nice to be in suck a zen like space. Writing takes up a whole nuther energy and switching gears was so good for both aspects.

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  4. lol! "big fat flying turkeys". If only mine would turn out as well. ;)

    I do have a question for you that I've been wondering about ever since reading Stardoc and Biorescue. Do you by any chance know about the so called "furry fandom"? (yes, I'm a fur...let the reamings and the public stonings commence *winks*). I ask because (and it could certainly be just a coincidence) there's a lot of what I think of as furry concepts to be found in thoe books. Like the intelligent pet Alunthri. Intelligent pets is an idea that I've seen only within the fandom and nowhere else, even in scifi. I've always thought that the fandom could be a rich subculture from which to draw inspiration, especially for science fiction and fantasy writers. Certainly there's no shortage of diversity or "weirdness" there. Anyway, if I'm wrong and we can't take some small amount of credit for inspiring you, then I apologise for associatng you with us, even by accident. :D

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  5. No questions, PBW.

    I just wanted to share that I've found reader copies of The Kissing Blades and The Steel Caress. Just like you probably had too much fun writing TSC, I probably have too much fun rereading it, which is why I need a copy to take with me to the UK.

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  6. I love photography, because I know what makes a good picture--well, one that satisfies my artistic sense, anyway--and I don't have to worry about satisfying some imaginary reader who's all poised to run first to the dictionary, then away over the hills into the far far distance...although personally I have had an interesting time recently pursuing the meaning of "salitter".

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  7. I was wondering how your "romance" novel notebook differed from your sci-fi one? No need to go into super-elaborate detail, though.

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  8. Anonymous5:28 PM

    Who would win, a Shaolin Monk or a Ninja?

    Have a great weekend. Hope you get some time to play w. your colors

    JulieB

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  9. Nicole wrote: Do you find that your painting ends up relaxing you and being something totally separate from your writing, or can they inspire each other?

    At times, it's both -- I paint flowers, landscapes and portraits that have nothing to do with the writing, which is pure relaxation. Other times I paint characters and scenes from stories to get them straight in my head, or to get a better "feel" for how to write them, if that makes any sense.

    I sometimes wonder if it's a bad thing for my hobby (knitting) to be something that is - for me - completely unrelated to my writing.

    If you have fun with it, and/or it gives you time to think or relaxes you, then I think the writing directly benefits from it, because it improves your mood, boosts your spirits and allows you to express your creativity in another way. One thing I've noticed over the years about most writers is that we're attracted to some other form of art, like knitting, needlework, sculpting, crafts, music, dance, woodworking and so on, Self-expression doesn't stop when we shut down the computer; creation seems to be an integral part of our character.

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  10. Liz wrote: Hi Lynn, I discovered your blog recently, and now I eagerly await every post

    Welcome, Liz, it's nice to meet you -- and I hope I don't disappoint you. :)

    I hope when you ask for questions this is what you mean.
    I'm stuck on plotting. I have both Holly's and Lazette's e-books, and I'm trying their ideas, but I only have about 25 ideas for scenes, some of which don't seem to have anything to do with the plot, and some are just not very good. I have been doing this for weeks and weeks, and frankly I'm bored with it. Should I persevere, or should I start writing out the scenes and hope more things occur to me?


    I would set aside the plotting cards and books for now, mainly because you're getting bored with it and that's not going to help you get your story rolling. Instead, you might try writing a simple timeline for the first part of your novel (say the first five chapters.)

    When you make a timeline, you just list the key events that have to happen with the story in the order they happen; don't worry about putting in a lot of details. If you feel comfortable with the timeline you make for the first part of the novel, move on and create a timeline for the next part, and repeat until you've timelined the entire story.

    Once you've got the novel timelined from start to finish, you can begin plotting out your scenes and chapters (and you can timeline those, too, I have a post about it here), or you can use your timeline as a plot guide and start writing. I'd try both, to see which works better for you.

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  11. Pearl looks like a wonderful place. Funny you should mention Prismacolor. I checked my drawer, and sure enough, I have a set of 24 Berol Prismacolors. It's nice to know where I can get single replacements for the set -- maybe now I won't worry about "using" them up and will actually use them.

    And the "for Dummies" kits! I'm thinking about getting one or two.

    My artistic ability is best left in the realm of the impressionists or maybe even Jackson Pollock. I'm rarely able to produce something if I set out to do it, but if I disconnect my brain from my hand, I'm generally pleased with the images that appear.

    Which, I guess, is advice I should follow for my Unfinished Business push this weekend to get Threads & Ties first draft finally done so it will quit holding me back.

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  12. Those are the best color pencils, aren't they? I can't bear any others, not after using them!

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  13. Eva wrote: I must be on your wavelength, because I broke out the watercolors today. Then I played with washes OVER what I painted because I seemed to have lost my knack, and am looking all over for it.

    Oh, I get that way all the time, especially if I've been away from the easel for more than a week. Or if I'm tired or off-kilter -- watercolor is one medium I can never control, and I don't think it's interested in my emotional baggage. :)

    When I can't get my brushes to cooperate with my imagination, I'll just saturate the paper and play with washes or drizzles, see what happens. I've found some amazing color blends that way that I've used later in more formal pieces.

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  14. Keita wrote: I do have a question for you that I've been wondering about ever since reading Stardoc and Biorescue. Do you by any chance know about the so called "furry fandom"? (yes, I'm a fur...let the reamings and the public stonings commence *winks*).

    I'm not familiar with the furry fandom, but no worries, we don't do stonings here.

    I ask because (and it could certainly be just a coincidence) there's a lot of what I think of as furry concepts to be found in thoe books. Like the intelligent pet Alunthri. Intelligent pets is an idea that I've seen only within the fandom and nowhere else, even in scifi.

    Off the top of my head, Holly Lisle, Beth Hilgartner and Jayne Castle all have had intelligent pets in some of their novels (I wrote the intro for Beth's Cats in Cyberspace, which you'd probably love.)

    Aside from experiences with my own furry feline family members, who we rescued from the street and the Humane Society's death row, I think my concepts for intelligent pets were sparked by A.M. Lightner's and H. Beam Piper's books, which I read when I was a girl. Alice wrote a wonderful novel called The Thursday Toads which inspired me to change how I used animals in my work, and Piper's Little Fuzzy changed my entire attitude toward pets as characters.

    Some of my fictional intelligent pets are immortal versions of the friends I've loved and lost. Jenner is the StarDoc books, for example, is named and based on my Jenner, a rescued cat who became my roommate and best friend for many years, and who passed away back in the 80's.

    Dair and Onkar from Bio Rescue are based on two real killer whales from this world and time -- one albino female who was caught and later died in captivity, and a rogue male who caused a lot of trouble up for some fishermen in Canada.

    I've always thought that the fandom could be a rich subculture from which to draw inspiration, especially for science fiction and fantasy writers. Certainly there's no shortage of diversity or "weirdness" there. Anyway, if I'm wrong and we can't take some small amount of credit for inspiring you, then I apologise for associatng you with us, even by accident.

    No need to apologize at all, I'm flattered. I'd love to know where you all congregate, too, because you sound like a fun group.

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  15. May wrote: I just wanted to share that I've found reader copies of The Kissing Blades and The Steel Caress. Just like you probably had too much fun writing TSC, I probably have too much fun rereading it, which is why I need a copy to take with me to the UK.

    I'm glad you found them -- it's not easy to track down copies of either book now that they're OOP. What are you doing in the UK? Can we come with you? :)

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  16. Buffysquirrel wrote: I love photography, because I know what makes a good picture--well, one that satisfies my artistic sense, anyway--and I don't have to worry about satisfying some imaginary reader who's all poised to run first to the dictionary, then away over the hills into the far far distance...

    Those imaginary readers are like boogeymen in the closet, aren't they? :)

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  17. revalkorn wrote: I was wondering how your "romance" novel notebook differed from your sci-fi one? No need to go into super-elaborate detail, though.

    I don't have to invent the future with romance as I do with SF, so the romance notebook is stocked with research on real places and things. I have to world build almost everything from scratch with SF. Also, the relationship arc between the hero and heroine of a romance has to be plotted out as it's the main conflict or tightly related to it; in my SF it's usually a subplot that I weave in along with the other elements of the plot.

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  18. JulieB wrote: Who would win, a Shaolin Monk or a Ninja?

    My son says a Shaolin Monk. :)

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  19. Jean wrote: Pearl looks like a wonderful place. Funny you should mention Prismacolor. I checked my drawer, and sure enough, I have a set of 24 Berol Prismacolors. It's nice to know where I can get single replacements for the set -- maybe now I won't worry about "using" them up and will actually use them.

    I love these pencils. They're like controllable pastels, if you know what I mean. I like knowing where I can get replacements, too, because I hate to fall in love with stuff like this only to discover I can't get any more of one color.

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  20. spyscribbler wrote: Those are the best color pencils, aren't they? I can't bear any others, not after using them!

    I've only been playing with them for a couple of days and I'm already spoiled for life. I'd like to try some of their other varieties now, like the watercolor pencils -- I bet they're neat.

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  21. Hi PBW!

    I'll have to see if I can get my paws on some of those books you mentioned. I've yet to see them in bookstores here...but that's not really surprising. My country of origin can be a bit...backward sometimes. :p Will try to find them online at some point. Thanks for the detailed explanation!

    OMG! :D Yes, we furs can be fun...but there are a couple of reasons for my...shy...entry onto your blog. ;) However, if you want to know more, there's a few places I can recommend. Should I post a longer explanation about us furries and provide the links here? I don't have any problems with doing so, but I'm not sure about your policy regarding such posts on your blog. :)

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  22. Keita wrote: Should I post a longer explanation about us furries and provide the links here? I don't have any problems with doing so, but I'm not sure about your policy regarding such posts on your blog.

    I appreciate you asking. I'd like to hear more about you, and as long as the links are safe for youngsters and folks at work, you can post them here in comments (I don't like to censor my commenters, but I try to keep PBW PG-13 as far as content and comments go. Occasionally we'll slip over into R-rated territory, if it's related to the topic at hand.)

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  23. I'm as eclectic (read: ADHD) in my hobbies as I am in my writing genres. I enjoy everything from cross-stitch and embroidery to throwing pottery and painting.

    However, I'm not great at anything. That's pretty much my leitmotif: Jack of all trades, master of none. Heh, keeps life fun.

    I used to make everyone's birthday and Christmas presents, but after college, The Job pretty much took up all my energy if not my time, so I started buying again. Which is unfortunate, because my mom in particular loved my matched bowl sets and the big coffee cup I made her. *sigh*

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  24. Just a note... I am enjoying your newest group of books "Dark Need," etc.

    And for my second life, I pratice my singing. If I didn't write, I would have probably gone into Opera.

    Cyn

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  25. Hi PBW. Sorry for the late response.

    Regarding furries...The entry on wikipedia doesn't have TOO many inaccuracies. To paraphrase the main points: a furry is a member of the furry fandom...fans of anything featuring anthropomorphic animals: artwork, costumes, stories, movies, tv shows...the works. Here's the link to the Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furry_fandom

    Mostly it is harmless but it has attracted a lot of negative publicity, especially with regards to sexuality and spirituality, as you can see in the article. Some furs believe that they actually are animal souls in human bodies. Others follow animalistic faiths, or are shaman. As a result, the furry fandom has a higher concentration of neo-pagans than any other fandom.

    Most furs choose (for whatever reason, and I use the term 'choose' very loosly)a fursona. That's basically how you see yourself. Many choose anthropomorphic shapes and others choose "feral" fursonas (full animal). For many it is a spiritual thing, although for most furs this is not the case. Many don't try to explain their furryness at all.

    Art is a great part of the fandom and most furs will (and do) pay handsomely to have an artist draw them. Most of us have very active fantasy lives and creativity is key to that, so its rare to find a fur that doesn't have some sort of artistic knack: drawing, writing, even composition (music). Role playing is very popular as well. I've seen novel-quality role plays based in intricately detailed fantasy and sci-fi settings. I see that more as "collaborative storytelling" than role playing though. :p

    The wiki article pretty much covers most of it, and provides some useful links. If you want to see how furs tend to interact with each other...here are links to two of the better communities...as well as an art site specifically for furry art and furry stories:

    http://www.furf-forum.ca/forum/index.php

    FurF is a small community, but it is one of the more...mature ones. It has several older furs (in their 40s) and even the younger members display more maturity than most. Most of them are furry lifestylers.

    http://furry-furry.com/furry/index.php
    WARNING: this site is more mature in focus. It is the biggest fur community I know of and as such, it covers ALL aspects of the fandom, good and bad. Because it is such a large site, don't expect the same level of courtesy you'd find at FurF. However, it is a good place to view what furs get up to, without trying to sugar-coat things.

    http://www.furaffinity.net/
    This is a dedicated art and story site. You can also find some furry music here.

    Between these four links, you should have a fair idea of what a furry is and what we do. As for myself personally...I'm a spiritual fur. Wiccan, to be more exact. Although I don't believe that my soul is that of an animal, I do think that at some point my soul must have LOVED being a wolf. ;) My fursona is an anthropomorphic black wolf.

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