Friday, October 30, 2015

Taking Stock: October



 Reminds me of Ontario:

The Atlantis Complex (Artemis Fowl, Book 7) by Eoin Colfer,


Reading: Lots of comics: Batman: The Long Halloween (good), Batman: Hush (great), All Star Batman and Robin (so bad it’s good); plus Phoebe and Her Unicorn; Jane, the Fox, and Me; and The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes, which I wanted to like so badly but just couldn’t get into.
Watching: Season 1 of Gotham, season 11 of Supernatural, some of The X-Files.
Drinking: Sparkling apple cider (it’s delicious).
Also Reading: Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex.
Listening: To Nero by Thomas Bergersen.
Journaling: Here and there. One of my goals for next month is to write at least two entries a week.
Planning: Projects for NaNoWriMo. I probably won’t actually be writing a novel in a month, but I’d like to use it as a jumping-off point for being more productive.
Eating: Salt and vinegar potato chips.
Knitting: A red and yellow Gryffindor scarf.
Looking forward to: Halloween! I don’t trick-or-treat anymore, but I love the pumpkins and the costumes and especially the candy.
Publishing: "Morte Mare", a ghost story I wrote a while back. It's quite a bit darker than my usual stuff, but I hope you'll like it! You can read it here.

All pictures via Pinterest 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pen & Paper

you can almost always feel more wonderful when writing if you use a quill pen and ink well:

    A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I do all of my story writing on my laptop. I typed faster than I wrote; it was easier to change things in Word, which helped me loosen up and get into the flow; it was just more convenient…blah, blah, blah. All that is still mostly true. Typing is faster and definitely more environmentally friendly when you have handwriting like a gigantic chicken’s (4 handwritten pages = about 2 typed pages for me). Instead of ripping out entire pages and starting over, you hit the backspace key. In short: I thought I was done with handwritten first drafts.

   I’m not. Here’s what changed my mind.

   A couple weeks ago I started a new project. It was going to be about girl power and superheroes and steampunk, and I was incredibly excited to start writing it. So, I began typing it into Google Docs…and tanked after just one chapter.

   About a week later I started another project that I was also incredibly excited about (my ideas tend to come in batches). This one was about girl power and zombies. I began typing it into Google docs and—same story—burned out near the middle of the second chapter.

   A week after that I was working on developing another idea I had; one I’d had for ages and really, really wanted to do right. And I began to think of all the false starts I’ve had over the past couple of years, and how they all turned out basically the same—after only a few pages I lost confidence in the idea and just couldn’t think of any way to improve it.

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech ...:

   Around the same time I was also rereading Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon (if you haven’t already read this book, you need to) and I got to chapter four. Chapter four is all about using your hands, and in it Austin Kleon recommends doing your first drafts on paper— “The computer brings out the uptight perfectionist in us”.

   I don’t think that my uptight perfectionist really needs any help being brought out, but after reading that chapter I remembered how much fun I used to have handwriting my first drafts. Sure, they were all crap, but everything I wrote back then was crap and at least I had fun. So I decided that for my newest project, I’d try to go back to using a pen and a legal pad, and see what happened.

   I’m not far in enough yet to tell if it will stick—and if I won’t end up abandoning this one, too—but I am having a TON more fun scribbling on wide-ruled paper than I ever did typing into Google Docs, at least recently. My writing is flowing, not dribbling out in bits and pieces like it usually does on the computer. And at the end of a session, when I sit back and look at the hunk of paper sitting on my desk, I feel like I’ve actually created something.

   I’m not saying that all my first drafts will be handwritten from now on (but who knows?) or that the computer is some kind of demon instrument. It’s just that different writers find different methods that work for them, and I’m still very much in the process of finding one that works for me. Something about seeing my terrible handwriting on paper makes it easier for me to accept the imperfections in the first draft, and once I can do that, actually finishing it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. And that’s a wonderful feeling.

Make a pencil set to give as a gift. Cut paper that is 1" by the length of the pencil. Modgepodge the underside of the paper and wrap. Once it is dry, sharpen.:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pumpkins & Candy Apples: The Sweater Weather Tag

   Autumn is my favorite season and October is my favorite month, so I couldn’t be happier that Kelsey nominated me for the Sweater Weather Tag. Thanks a lot! (And before you read any further, go check out her blog; she’s a lovely person and a talented artist to boot.)

Favorite candle scent:
Green tea nectarine. Also, anything to do with food (pumpkin pie, hazelnut) or flowers (primrose).

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
Depends on my mood. If I want to feel cozy and/or artistic, I’ll go for tea. If I’m barely awake or need something icy and covered in whipped cream, it’s coffee (Frappuccinos are the best). When it’s snowing, my first choice is always hot chocolate.

What’s the best fall memory you have?
One Halloween, my sisters and I decided to make caramel apples together. It was almost a disaster--the white chocolate refused to melt right and ended up mostly on the floor, and the caramel began to melt off the apples—but everything tasted delicious in the end, which was all we were really hoping for.

Best fragrance for fall:
Whatever’s handy; I’m not picky about perfumes. The best fall smell is burning wood and leaves.


Favorite Thanksgiving food:
Stuffing covered in gravy. Mashed potatoes covered in gravy. Gravy covered in more gravy.

What is autumn weather like where you live?
Anything from very mild to extremely cold, depending on the day. We don’t usually get snow before November, though, and the changing leaves are always gorgeous.


Most worn sweater:
A big blue one with sleeves that I can never keep rolled up.

Football games or jumping in leaf piles?
Jumping in leaf piles.

What makes Fall so much FUN = Jumping into a BIG pile of leaves...:

Skinny jeans or leggings?
Skinny jeans, believe it or not. I think they’re pretty comfortable.

Combat boots or Uggs?
Combat boots. Any kind of boots, really.


Is Pumpkin Spice worth the hype?
I’m not too crazy about pumpkin spice, to be honest. I do love pumpkin pie and pumpkin rolls.

Favorite fall TV show:
Supernatural is perfect any time of the year, but it’s super fun to watch during fall, especially the older, scarier episodes. Any Halloween-themed episode from any Disney Channel TV show.

What song really gets you into the fall spirit?
Anything from The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.

What do you want to be for Halloween?
I don’t dress up much anymore, but if I could get all my friends together I’d make sure we all dressed up as either hunters from Supernatural (which is easy—all you really need is a lot of plaid) or characters from Treasure Planet.

can i borrow a shirt?:

Hats or scarves?
Scarves! My hair’s too thick for hats to fit on my head.

What’s your #1 favorite thing about fall?
The chilly, spooky atmosphere. Candy apples. Ghost stories. Pumpkins. I always seem to get a rush of new story ideas in the fall, which is wonderful. My absolute favorite thing, though, would have to be that sweet spot in late September and early October when the weather’s not too hot or too cold. I live for those days.


   If you want to join in, consider yourself tagged! I’ll also nominate Aimee and Jo. Don’t do it if you don’t want to, but I’d love to see your answers!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Artist Spotlight: Mabel Lucie Attwell

In some ways, Mabel Lucie Attwell’s illustrations remind me of Honor C. Appleton’s. Adorable children? Check. Pastel colors? Check. Dripping with nostalgia? Check. Absolutely whimsical and gorgeous? Check!

The Facts:
Born: June 4th, 1879.
Studied: At Heatherley School of Fine Art and Saint Martin’s School of Art, though she left both schools before she completing her courses.
Illustrated: Magazines, postcards, books like Mother Goose and Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, calendars, and even crockery (she created a tea set inspired by her illustrations).
Known for: Cute and whimsical drawings of children and fairies. She was a household name in the 1920s.
Died: November 5th, 1964.

For this post, I want to focus on her illustrations of Peter Pan, which she created for an abridged version of the story published in 1921. There’s a childlike quality to her pictures that works just beautifully. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!