Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Jason sent me a colored version last week and I asked for two changes - he's been so patient with me, hehe - but then he was offline due to computer issues until recently. He made the changes I asked for and I got the "final-final" version yesterday, to my great excitement!
What? You want to see them? *g* Oh, okay, well since you asked nicely...
He was also good enough to send me versions I can set as my desktop (which I did!) and a smaller version to post online (which you see here).
Keep in mind that these images are scaled way down from the full size. Remember the teaser pics I posted of their eyes? That's full size. My image viewer software shows the dimensions as 32x40 cm, but Jason says it will print very nicely on A2 sized paper (twice that). Guess who's making a stop at her local print shop on the way home? *g*
Final thoughts: this process is addicting. Now I can see my characters whenever I want! It's so awesome, in fact, that I cannot imagine writing another book without saving my pennies for a portrait of those characters. In fact, once I finish saving for the "Next Level" workshop it's on to a portrait of Nate and Mairi, possibly - nae, probably - before I even finish that MS.
At some point I hope Jason will blog his side of this process, and have no fears I'll link y'all over there when it goes up.
So...a few of you have been good enough to comment throughout but I'd love to hear from everyone: what do you think?
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
After the "final" lineart, I did ask for a few corrections (as mentioned in my last post) and to save time Jason made them and then went ahead and sent the corrected version with the tones already on. I'd been pulling up the lineart file for days, just to stare at them. After this point, my obsession with staring got even worse! But it was finally in a form I could set as the background on my computer desktop, which I did pretty much immediately. Then at least all I had to do to see them was minimize everything.
But enough about me *w*...here they are in grayscale:
(Image copyright 2008 Jason Badower.)
I got to enjoy this version for quite some time while I waited on the final colors. But the good news is, you won't have to wait: I got the final-final version today and I LOVE it!!! Watch for that tomorrow...
Monday, April 28, 2008
It's hard to describe how excited I was once we agreed on a pose and I was waiting for the lineart. Even knowing all the upcoming stages and how much more detail they would add, the lineart was still my first chance to really see my characters for the first time. I left my e-mail open all day at work, and I would compulsively check the bottom of my screen to see if any new messages had arrived.
That was one entire day and the better part of a second. At last, there they were! Some of you may remember the "SQUEEEEEEE" from Facebook, hehe. Here's the first thing I got from him, a "preview" if you will:
It was close. It was very, very close. I couldn't put my finger on what was "off" about Alec until I realized he looked older than his 28 years. His nose was a little big and the lines on his forehead aged him. After some consultation with Jason (and more computer futzing by Jenny) we came to this version of their faces:
It's a funny thing about Elspeth. Alec...when I saw him, it was like "OMG, there he is. That's him exactly." I had a very definite mental image of him, even if I couldn't pin it down (see below). But Elspeth...for all that I could give you a full physical description, down to bra cup size, her image was much more nebulous in my head, and open to suggestion.
I mean, I'll admit, when I started writing I did want to give the heroine some of my physical characteristics, because there's something validating in reading a novel - especially a romance - in which you share traits with the MC. So I gave her brown hair and brown eyes and made her "real" - smaller breasts, larger bum - but other than that I never intended for her to be my twin. Once she laid claim to her name and became her own person, the distinction between her and me grew. Yet I still had a hard time differentiating the image of her in my head from my own personal image. Part of that was never finding a real-life counterpart (a la Martin Henderson for Alec) to stand in for her. So to a degree, I let Jason create her for me, and I'm pleased with the results.
I could never have drawn them or told someone else how to draw them (beyond what I put in the brief). But when Jason put it on (virtual) "paper" for me to see, it was like the fog rolled away and the image in my head crystallized to the point I could pick out "yes, yes, yes that's right...that bit seems a little off" and by process of elimination I could find what didn't click. Then I would ask for the little changes and when I got the revisions it was the AHA! moment and there were my characters looking out of the screen at me, and it's really them - not just some "close second" that has been as good as I could get.
Here is the completed lineart (from whence the face shot is cropped):
Next step: tones (in which they become 3-dimensional)...
Sunday, April 27, 2008
My answer (not in so many words): HELL YEAH!!! *g*
He said he'd get sketches to me a few days later. Sure enough, I got home from church that Sunday and rushed to check my e-mail and there they were! He sent me five:
(All images copyright 2008 Jason Badower.)
My instructions were to ignore expressions and lighting, and look mainly at the pose and relation of the characters. This was strictly to get the "shape" or "form" of the drawing.
I, of course, liked them all. But A seemed a little too...I dunno..."chummy". Not that A&E aren't friends and equals, but - especially given his time period/culture - I just envisioned them in a more formal pose. Same thing, to a degree, with B, though it was closer to what I had envisioned. But the completely side-on pose didn't appeal to me so much.
C and D were essentially the same pose, just with Elspeth looking over different shoulders. I kinda liked C. But something seemed off, and after a while I realized that it relegated Elspeth - even if only slightly - to the role of "damsel". NOT that Alec isn't a dashing, heroic sort. *w* But Elspeth's a strong woman, a black belt and a fighter in her own right,and I wanted that to come across.
E now...E was getting somewhere. In my mind's eye I'd imagined a very similar pose, just reversed and with a few minor changes. I couldn't have described it well (much less drawn it!) without seeing his sketches, but once I had a template (E) to work with, I futzed around with it and came up with this version:
Friday, April 25, 2008
For this project, I've had the privilege to work with a very talented comic/graphic novel artist, the inestimable Jason Badower. I found his blog through the 9th Wonders boards and a discussion about his work on some of the Heroes graphic novels for NBC. I stopped by hoping for some behind-the-scenes info and/or spoilers, and stuck around because I liked his art and his funny stories. *g* When I emerged from the self-induced haze that was my last days finishing OHN and started reading my blog subscriptions again, he was posting about commissioned portraits he had done, and I decided I had to have one.
So I zipped off an e-mail and received his reply in short order. Could I prepare a "brief" outlining what I wanted, and then we could work out terms and details. I set to work.
My brief...was anything but. As regular readers may know, it's hard for me to "write short" hehe. What I sent Jason was a 10-page, single-spaced Word document full of descriptions and pictures, explaining my thoughts on pose, emotions, detailed info on each character, ideas for background, etc. Some highlights:
Pose: leaning towards ¾ of both. (Or perhaps ¾ of one and full frontal of the other?) I'd like them standing close to each other, touching in some way, but not in full contact. (Okay, this is for a romance novel, but I'm not looking for bodice-ripping cover art here. *g* However, I do want their pose(s) to indicate their relationship – which includes friendship, trust, and deep love/affection. In other words, a casual pose that still conveys their connection.)I then went on to offer a few other ideas on pose and then went into the characters.
One way would be have Elspeth standing slightly in front of Alec, and both of them angled – like / – again in ¾ profile. Alec's back hand could be on her shoulder or waist. (His free hand could maybe be on his sword-hilt.) ...
Okay, here's the kicker: this is time-travel, so the characters are from two different centuries, about 300 years apart.Alec (Alasdair Colin MacGregor) is a Scottish Highlander from 1691. This means full kilt (the big, cloak-y kind), bloused shirt, bonnet, dirk, sword (basket-hilted broadsword), sporran…the whole shebang.
Elspeth (Elizabeth Renee Martin) is a modern twenty-first century physicist. I see her in jeans and a t-shirt, possibly with her knapsack or a bo staff. Oh! And the crystal. (I'll get to that in a minute.)
So, the specs for each character…
General appearance: He has shoulder-length chestnut (reddish brown) hair, very blue eyes, dimples. He's right at 6 feet tall, muscular but not bulky (think lean and strong – he's a warrior, trained to fight with a sword and walk the Highlands all his life, not a scrap of fat on him, his muscles are well-defined but he's not a bodybuilder…or, for that matter, a typical comic-book hero).
I went on here to give him the chunk of MS where Elspeth meets him for the first time and thus he is described. Also a handful of pictures of Martin Henderson and others that I used for reference, and quite a few screenshots from the movie Rob Roy and pics of men in Great Kilts for clothing reference, along with close-ups of basket-hilted broadswords and Doune pistols, etc...
ELSPETH MARTINGeneral appearance: Mousy brown, slightly-wavy hair, just past shoulders; large, dark brown eyes, oval face. She's 5'6", 140 pounds, size 12, 34B cup size (not huge breasts! on the small/average side). She carries her weight through thighs and butt, so a little bottom heavy but not grossly disproportionate or lumpy – still very attractive. (Alec calls her his "callipygian Venus".)
She's a trained fighter herself, a black-belt in kempo, and she carries herself like it. Aside from a little extra fluff (mainly on her rear, see above), she's pretty fit and athletic.I don't have as many pictures of her, mainly because I haven't found a real-life counterpart.
I gave him what I had for Elspeth - mainly a Yahoo! avatar and a few other odds and ends, suggested some accessories, mentioned the crystal, and then suggested Kilchurn (where else?) as the background image and gave him the Flickr links to the pics you see here on the blog whose photographers generously gave me permission to use them.
He was impressed with my thoroughness, and likened my writing to his art: they both required a lot of research to do well. I could tell already this would turn out to be great, but life intervened for both of us. I got pulled away from the book for a few months, and he took on a few major projects that kept him busy. We left things at the brief stage until about 2 weeks ago...
"Where'd you get that?" His sister's voice was sharp, unreasonably so, but not enough to make him look up from his inspection of the stone.
"Some old woman down by the loch shore—she practically made me take it. It's pretty rough, but I think it might just be diamond. Hard to tell in this light…"
He stood up out of the shadows where they'd pitched the picnic blanket, and wandered along the wall into the sunlit space of the former bailey to get a better look.
"Nate, stop where you are."
Her warning registered, eventually, but not before he'd taken a few more steps. A low chiming sounded from somewhere—it seemed close, but he couldn't locate it—and he was startled to feel the crystal grow warm in his hand.
"Hey, Lisbet, check this ou—" He looked up at his sister, grinning, only to see on her face a look of such terror that he stopped mid-syllable. "What?"
"Nattie! Drop the bloody stone and get the hell away from there as fast as you can!"
He looked down at the crystal in his palm, still warm and now giving off a faint glow, and back again at the others. Alec had already scooped up Colin, he saw, and was sprinting from the spot as fast as he could manage. Which, given his brother-in-law's ground-eating lope, was pretty fast indeed.
Elspeth herself seemed torn, perched on the balls of her feet as if to run after her family, but with one arm outstretched to him to pull him back from whatever abyss she could see yawning behind him.
"Now, Nattie! Drop it now!"
Two times...One destiny.
Or somesuch. I'll be playing with this in my head a bit.
::UPDATE:: How about this? Two times...One destiny...One love.
Too corny? Too cliche? Too vague?
Suggestions? And if you could come up with a tag line for your OWN book, what would it be? (I know, the $64,000 question, right?)
Keep an eye out for upcoming posts on the different stages of the project (see below post for teaser pics), just as soon as I get access to my data stick and some free time to write it up.
Note: The other "missing" posts finally showed up so I tried to send this by e-mail...but no dice. I'm manually reposting it for the moment, and if/when the other appears, I'll come and take it down. But that's why this post might be duplicated, in case you're wondering.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The past 2 days at work have kicked my ass, so I haven't been up for writing a lot when I got home. And I was still waiting on the project.
As of (late) last night, I do have the almost-final product in hand. Before I show it off, I asked for one or two last-minute changes. That is, if he's still speaking to me after all the corrections I've asked for throughout the process. *w,g*
And, I really want to wait for him to blog it, because it will be so much cooler to see him explain his side of the process. But that could take a while, so I'll leave you with this:
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Those of you who have read snips - or more - of OHN, tell me: how would you describe Alec and Elspeth? What do you think they look like?
As the author, of course I have an idea in *my* head, but people interpret so differently. I'm curious to see how others picture my characters.
Leave a comment and tell me how YOU see them.
Monday, April 21, 2008
a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
But Sunday's the new Friday, or so I've been told. Remember, I'm not the only one in on this project. And it's going to be sooo worth the wait. To me at least; I hope everyone ends up as excited as I am.
I'll try to tide you over with a hint: remember I said I needed to "reconnect" with my characters? Well, I'm connecting!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
A friend and fellow medical physicist from my graduate program sent this picture today:
CLICK HERE FOR PICTURE
(I thought better of having that up on all my screenshots of this blog for the next few days...)
It's a cake one of their patients brought in to commemorate his HDR - that's High Dose Rate brachytherapy - prostate treatment.
Yes, the procedure does involve a number of catheters implanted trans-perineally (later removed) but...wow.
I just hope he or his wife is a cake decorator. Can you imagine walking into the Kroger bakery and asking for this? Heehee.
[Sorry if this triple-posts to the RSS feed...Blogger's being funky.]
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Their examples are fricking hilarious. I can't wait till the comment string of entries gets roaring...
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Why? Mainly for completely avoiding the Firsts Workshop and missing the opportunity of a lifetime as far as being at the point where I needed exactly that kind of advice. I dunno, maybe I just wasn't in the right "place" mentally or emotionally with the story to get as involved as I needed to be. But I just can't accept my own excuse. And I feel that terrible triad of shame, anger, and guilt for the shortcoming.
The guilt, I think, is largely responsible for my hesitancy to re-enter the Forum and get back into the writing world. Visiting CompuServe and seeing all the posts from the Firsts Workshop - and all the posts referencing those posts - would be one slap in the face after another. "See! See what you missed out on! See what you SHOULD have been doing?"
And of course those spin off into feeling utterly lost and adrift with regard to rewrites. I'm growing to despise even the memory of my opening, because I know in my gut it's not "right". And I know that in the (sub) genre I'm writing in It. Has. To. Be. Right. or an agent won't spare my story a second glance. And I've already run through 6-7 different versions of just my first 300 words or so and I'm not satisfied with ANY of them.
So who needed an intensive firsts workshop more than anyone? Me! Who's paralyzed because she didn't participate? Me!
I do of course realize that most of the people who were the instigators/major participants in said workshop happen to be my friends and [probably] reading this blog, but I'd feel crappy to ask you do to it all over again with me when I had the golden opportunity and dropped it.
There's always the sister workshop, but not everyone whose opinion I value and would have wanted participates over there. Still, some help is better than none, I suppose. And I'm considering doing an intensive revising workshop, but it co$ts and for all that I make decent money, we're still a single-income family on a fixed budget. I can't justify dropping $400 here for a commissioned portrait (hence my determination to raise the money on the side) and $700 there for a writing workshop. Especially since I work 50-55 hours a week as it is, so the "free" (ha) time available to try to earn extra cash is practically nonexistent. My big moneymaker research study fell through, and spending 4 precious hours a week donating plasma for a spare $45 or so will take for-ev-er. I'm running out of options.
But I do feel better at least publicly owning up to my mistake of not participating and acknowledging the trickle-down effect it's having on my writing.
And I actually did venture on to the Forum this evening. I skimmed some threads and looked for something to catch my interest but I think I need to reconnect with my characters before I can get back to actively writing. I let them go off on a honeymoon of sorts, after finally getting their HEA, and I need them back fresh and vibrant in my head. If Jas ever has enough time to get back to his commissions, I think the portrait will go a long way in that regard. Until then, I've got my "soundtrack" playing - I swear, this music is inextricably linked with the book now, since it was on a continuous loop my last few intense days of writing - and I'm visualizing the characters and just trying to get back into the "zone".
The silver lining in all of this is that I finally feel motivated to do something, anything, to move forward on this book again. My other "distractions" are much less of a temptation to me even tonight than they were this afternoon at work. Just don't anyone send me Flair on Facebook; that stuff is addictive and time-consuming. *w*
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I should be well into rewrites. In actuality, I'm only halfway through the lists I made a few posts down. I partly blame the return of Dancing With the Stars, my only reality TV guilty obsession. I largely blame sheer exhaustion. Every night after Little Boy goes down, I feel like collapsing, myself. Quite a few times this past week, I've passed out cold on the couch and slept HARD from about 8:30-9 pm until DH finishes his schoolwork and wakes me for bed. At first I thought it was just the past 18 months (creeping up on 2 years!) of sleep deprivation - from the book, not my son! - catching up to me, but then I realized I haven't been taking my vitamins/iron supplements for a little over a month. I'm borderline anemic and I start to notice when my iron levels drop, so maybe that's it. I made sure to pick some up at Wally World tonight and took them already. Hopefully they'll kick in soon.
For now I'm off to work...yes, you read that right. We've got a patient starting tomorrow that requires QA (quality assurance) tests on his treatment plan beforehand. But I couldn't get on the accelerator this afternoon because our service engineer had to replace some parts that should have come in Monday. He said it would be a 5 hour job. So, witness me, heading back to work at 10 pm to do 2 hours worth of tests and hopefully be home and in bed not much after 1 am. I love my career, I really do, but sometimes...