20130816 — All Things In Moderation

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2013 by thepencilneck


I’ve got to write a short story about that picture.  I just wanted to test some new stuff I bought and quickly slapped this all together in Daz Studio and… I kinda love this character.


Anyway, through some strange series of events, I’ve found myself back on Holly Lisle’s forum as a moderator.  It’s actually good to dive back into her way of doing things after taking some time to experiment with other people’s terminology and concepts.

A lot has changed, though.

I’m trying to read through the How To Think Sideways — Ultra and I’m going through the Flash Fiction course (which has some epically great writing techniques that apply to more than just Flash.)  But… my main focus is getting through my revision of Lord Gartan’s Book.  I’ve got the scenes all re-shuffled to their correct locations and placeholders put in for the missing scenes but I’m finding that I have a tendency to just re-write scenes from scratch; most of the scenes just have too many tweaks to re-use the old material.

After I’ve got all the scenes written, I’m planning on taking it through HTRYN-Ultra.  And one of the other moderators has volunteered as a beta-reader.

I am right at the first plot point in my revision.



20130731 — What? Where?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2013 by thepencilneck


I am not dead.

I am here and I’m writing and I’m creating art and doing all that fun stuff.  I just haven’t been posting.

And I haven’t been posting on any writing sites.  Not Holly’s site or Savvy Authors or anything.

I took The Queen of Balthazar and I set it aside.  I wasn’t happy with where it was and how things were working.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the story and I love the characters but things just were not right.

I started using Dramatica and it’s cool.  Gives you great ideas.  I tinkered around with a new story for a bit but I decided that my main focus should be on finishing a book.  But which book?

How about the first one:  Lord Gartan’s Book.

I put that through Dramatica.  I worked up a new outline, fixed some plot-holes, got some things working better, and I’ve started my scene-by-scene revisions now.

Last night, I wrote just over 1000 new words of a re-worked scene.  I’m introducing the Thief’s mother and his relationship to her earlier in the book and allowing him to have several interactions with her instead of a single scene like in the first few drafts of the book.  But the dialogue didn’t flow right and I wasn’t getting enough tension and drama in the scene.  So I’ll re-work it some tonight.

But I can’t leave you without SOME sort of artwork.  I’ve done a lot since the last time I posted.  I call this one “Stillness.”  I’m thinking about writing a story around it and possibly animating it.


20130415 — What? Where?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15, 2013 by thepencilneck

I’ve been working really hard but I was feeling like I was just spinning my wheels with The Queen of Balthazar revision.

I decided to start working on a new story.  Something totally fresh by going through the new Ultra HTTS that Holly’s putting out.

And… I did something… I… well.  I read this article: http://storymind.com/articles/page11.htm

I’ve looked at Dramatica before and even looking at a couple of the videos on that site, I got the feeling I get from looking at a crazy person’s manifesto.  They’re trying to explain something and creating terminology and concepts and equations and whatnot and it’s all just made up and the longer they talk, the more divorced from reality they become.

But then I downloaded the Dramatica Graphic Novel.  And they had like a checklist of things to go through when you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong with your novel or how to fix it.  And.  I asked those questions of The Queen of Balthazar.  And had a massive epiphany.

So I bought Dramatica.  I’ve been working with it the past couple of days.  It’s been AWESOME working on both books… and looking at revising Lord Gartan’s Book, too.  I’ve still got a long way to go but I feel energized and ready to go.

Oh, and I’ve done a few pictures while trying to come up with story ideas…





But the winner is this guy:




20130317 — A Crisis of Resolve

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2013 by thepencilneck

I got depressed.  I was ready to throw the whole Queen of Balthazar novel out.  Or at least, let it sit on a shelf for a few years.

I had taken a workshop with Cathy Yardley on Revisions.  One of the class assignments was to create a scene “chart”.  Basically, it’s a spreadsheet that has a scene by scene breakdown of:

1)  Who the POV character is

2)  What their GMCD is.

Because of the current state of my novel — and I warned her about this — I gave her the scene breakdown of the last “complete” version of the book.  This is the version I turned in to Devon in her Savvy Author class.  I’ve worked on the revision A LOT since then including 3 other scene breakdowns (in various states of repair) but none of them I’ve felt totally confident in.

As I was creating that scene breakdown, I was just shaking my head.  It was so bad.  It was a complete mess.  But I turned it in.

On Thursday, I got the spreadsheet with her notes back from her.  There were several things in there that really were no longer applicable because she’d noticed things that I hated myself and had already set about changing.  But she said a couple of things that really got me and got me hard.

First:  Alicia’s supposed to be all about planning but I don’t really ever show her planning.  I don’t show her coming up with her schemes, and so it looks like she’s just lucky (at least from the viewpoint of an outline.)  

Second:  Why on earth would a bunch of salty sea-dogs follow the commands of a 19 year old girl?  I mean.  Really?

Great damned points.  The Wench.  So I sat down and got depressed about writing in general.

And.  I.  Think.  I’ve. Got it figured out.

So THERE, Cathy Yardley, so THERE.


20130312 — 25 Years

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2013 by thepencilneck

25 years ago today, I was busy getting married to a beautiful red-haired princess in a little stone chapel in Houston.  Still married, same girl.

I’ve been busy, busy, busy.  I’m in a “humor” workshop this month.  I’ve revised a couple of scenes with her techniques and… they RAWK.  Very funny stuff.  I had taken a workshop with this one teacher and she REALLY wanted me to take a specific workshop of hers… so much so that she’s let me in the class for free.  Very cool.  So I’m in TWO classes this month even though I’ve got 0 time for it.

Work.  So insane I can’t even say.

But I’m slogging along in my revision, working out the scenes.  Cheryl, whose storyline I’ve struggled with mightily, is apparently working very well as a non-POV character.  It’s allowing me to keep the focus while still keep her elements of the story.

In those free moments when I’m not writing, or I need to do something else while I’m working something out in my head, I’ve been creating pixors.  And for some weird reason, I got into a Dune mind-frame.

The Arrakeen Girl:



And the Sandworm Rider:


20130228 — Will I Ever Write Again?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2013 by thepencilneck



Work has been crazy and I’ve been working every night.

I did take the time to sit down over the course of a couple of days and really THINK about my ending.  I asked myself “Self.  What would be The Most Awesome Ending EVAR for this book?”  And I created a big mind-map covering what I’d like to have happen both in the ending and in the Black Moment.  And I’m feeling a lot better about this.

But, the thing about being tired, I don’t trust myself to write anything or make any decisions when I’m tired but… I like to create pixors!



Basically, here, I re-did the Assassination picture I’d done in Carrara but I did this one in Daz.  I changed up the composition.

And although she dies in the first scene, I love this version of Lady Marcia.  I was taking test renders and had to save this one:


20130225 — Work, work, work

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2013 by thepencilneck

I meant to take some time off to work on some graphics for building a website for Queen of Balthazar using some jQuery techniques I’ve been trying to put together.  I ended up creating 1 basic picture for the QOB website, but I’m thinking about re-doing it in Daz instead of in Carrara.  Here’s that rough picture:



My idea is to darken the edges and put a crosshair on Alicia (the middle girl.)

I also created some random test shots…




On the story side, I’ve considered dropping Momo outright from the story.  But I came to a conclusion:  I need to stop futzing around and I need to finish this.  To do that, I’m going to try to figure out what the Most Awesome Ending in the world would be, and then work backward from that.

I’ll be working on that tonight.  Hopefully.