Friday, November 14, 2014

Review: You Don't Need to be an Artist to Make Comics Like the Pros

When I wrote Circles, my deepest wish was that it would be turned into a graphic novel. But since I can't draw to save my life, I knew that dream wouldn't happen any time soon. I have a rather sizable collection of "How to Draw" books on my bookshelf, but they are mostly for moments of inspiration or boredom than for any real artistic endeavor.

But that never stops me from buying more books on drawing and illustration, especially if it relates at all to a current writing project. So when I saw Make Comics Like the Pros, by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, on Blogging for Books, I decided to give it a look. Because you never know, I might get struck by lightning and unlock mad illustrator skills.

There are two things that make this book different from all the other "How to Draw" books I've encountered. First it is the wonderful attention to the process of creating a comic, and second it is the wonderful attention to what happens AFTER the comic is complete.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Communication and the joys of teaching

image via
A little while back, after posting about a conversation I had with a friend about writing, someone asked, "Have you ever considered teaching?" And yes, actually I have. In fact, my college courses were taken with an emphasis on education and teaching. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, it's up for debate) I chose a school that did not have a B.A. in Education and after two unsuccessful attempts to get into the Masters program, I gave up.

But I never lost my passion for teaching, and for years did tutoring, mentoring, and classroom volunteering. I would joke around with my friends that I would start my own school, but for a few years I stayed a little bitter that I was not able to get a teaching certificate. I have family that have been life-long educators, and some of my friends are teachers. When I first decided I wanted to go for my teaching certificate, almost every single one of them immediately asked "Why?!"

Friday, November 7, 2014

Episode 2 of the Write Life!

Yesterday did not go as I had expected, and I had to start my hangout fifteen minutes later than originally announced. So I apologize for that last minute change. But here at the end of this post is the second episode to Write Life! and additional links for your viewing enjoyment.

I started off with a discussion that sprouted from the first episode about how long a novella is. A viewer and fellow writer watched this episode later and came up with a question about why I chose to make A Demon Born a novella and not a novel. So look forward to my answer in a future blog post and the next Write Life! episode. (I love questions, so please keep them coming!)

I then went on to talk about an answer to another question I was asked about how long it usually takes to write a novel. I have a corresponding blog post that also responds to this question, and it has links to the websites of the helpful time-management apps/programs that I mention.

The third segment was about research and how it is important to my new novel and what I've learned. Even though I grew up on Maui, there were quite a few things I didn't know about it's history. The whole airport thing threw me off, since I figured Maui would be right behind Oahu in having a commercial airport. Inter-island flights flew in and out of small grass airstrips like Hana airport throughout the '20's, but while the rest of the islands were developing paved runways between 1925 and 1927, the Maui airport wasn't built until 1938.

But the real historical journey for me has become Mango Tree Camp. I will be traveling to Maui soon and plan to do some research at a couple of archives and the library while I'm there. I hope to discover more about this forgotten camp, and I can bring it back to life. In the meantime, enjoy this second episode of Write Life!

Here are a few other links for your reading pleasure:

     I mentioned an anime that I saw many years ago and need to watch again: Steamboy
     Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company is the last commercial sugar plantation left in the islands: HC&S
     Here is the pdf version of the report that has the map showing Mango Tree Camp (Appendix A, first map): General Plan 2030

Balancing home life with the writing life

It starts with a blank page
How to find time to stay organized

During the conversation I had with my friend, where he asked about the writing process, he followed up with the question, "How long does it usually (my emphasis) take you to write a novel?" My short answer was this: It took me seven years to put my original story, Circles, onto paper. Then another year of edits and revisions before it was finally ready to publish. My novella, A Demon Born, took seven months to complete. My newest work, Under a Mango Moon won't be ready until later next year, but that has more to do with the amount of research I am doing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Understanding the writing process: How do you write?

Free-write, outline, or mind map?

Recently, a friend of mine asked me, "Do you just sit down and start writing, or do you actually, like, outline the basic plot points and such?" This was a similar question about writing that another friend had asked, but in the context of finding the time to write. Here, I was being asked what my process was.

How do you write?
How you write is tailored to your style. I can sit in front of my computer first thing in the morning and type 16,000 words to form a rudimentary story that has a beginning, a muddled middle, and maybe an end - and stop for lunch. Then I move on to unmuddling the middle or finishing my end before the family comes home. But not everyone can free-write like that.