back on my feet

Hello Internet! … Yep. It’s been a while. What have I been up to?

Well, I fell behind NaNoWriMo, crashed and burned for the first time. It seems that writing a seven main character novel, starting at the twisted middle without a firm outline, and pressing yourself to a sprint and a marathon at the same time is stupid. Limits, I have found them.

Ever since then, I’ve not been able to write on my novel. Not one pained word, no matter how I talked myself up.

So in the three months I’ve been gone, here’s what’s happened instead:

  • My contract job didn’t call me back, and I’ve been living on carefully counted pennies and applying to work since. The silence I’ve been getting in response is really depressing.
  • I’ve been working on my chat/roleplay epic saga daily with a good writing buddy of mine. As if it were a full time job. It’s not real writing in that the prose is horrible, the viewpoint unsteady, the plot without classic novel structure, but my partner has a very different style than mine, and he’s naturally very good at action, moving plot forward, hurting the characters, and introducing new elements to a story. The story itself will never see the light of day, really, but I like to think it is teaching me something.
  • I’ve begun modeling in 3d again, earnestly working on a character from said roleplay saga. (Facial analysis, body reference sheet, modeling turn-around). I mean to complete him– texture maps of all kinds, and then rigged for animation.
  • I watched a few movies. I re-read Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night. I noticed that Shakespeare always has at least two witty ‘banter’ characters as crowd-pleasers in each play, or at least, he does in his comedies.

And then today I was reading a book called ‘The Writer’s Journey: mythic structure for storytellers & screenwriters’, and something clicked on in my head. A flip of a switch, the music in the background, the rhythm of a galloping horse whilst I drove home through the rain. The whole of my steampunk novel, as a series of structured elements. The ‘journey formula’ this book describes appears, naturally, unintentionally, in my novel. And I can identify where I’m stuck, and what it must lead to to get to the next step.

I’m about ready to start writing again. I think that I know what needs to be done.

my first 3d skit

I just found my very first 3d video, made back in ’06. I’d forgotten about this.

There are a ton of things I’d do differently now, some errors here and there, but the idea is cute. Maybe I’ll make another just like it to see how my skills have improved.

art, writing, and a 3d update

I had, when I started this journal, decided to share this space with some of my interests other than writing– namely my interests in various forms of art, music, out-of-date weaponry, and the other hundred hobbies I turn to periodically. One of Orson Scott Card’s books on writing contained a passage that said that it is the duty of a writer to know everything about everything, which could justify this deviance of topic… but I think it goes beyond that.

Studying music gives a sense of rhythm and pacing, tension and mood. Learning to draw teaches a person to really look at people and places, to understand color, proportion, and shadow. Animation, martial arts, dance all focus what the body can and can’t do, the physical limits of a person and how far they can realistically be pushed. 3d and the study of film that accompanies it enforces what my media teachers called ‘the fine art of faking it’, to focus on what’s in the camera view and use scenery for maximum effect.

Expect me to start branching out and writing articles on random topics on occasion. Perhaps I’ll also share a few short non-fiction stories. This weekend I took a break from Blue Crystal altogether.

I did this instead (Click here for a large view). It’s not quite finished yet, and I want to draw two more versions of her on the sheet with different outfits and finish the head side view.

For those of you not familiar with 3d modeling, this is a character reference sheet. After I’m finished with this, I’m going to crop out pieces of the character and import them into a 3d program, paste them onto flat planes, and so when I model the girl I’ll have a visual guide to go by. They’ll line up in the front and side viewports. This is standard practice in modeling; any complicated figure that needs some amount of accuracy will get a reference sheet, including people, cars, planes, and sometimes even buildings. The more accurate the reference, the better equipped the 3d artist is to add realistic detail.

Once the reference is finished, I’ll model the girl, skin her (adding materials). I’ll then be ready to insert a biped skeleton into her and bind her to it, allowing her to be posed and animated.