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Plans for the week...

Plans never survive contact with reality unchanged. But sometimes they can come close. I sometimes get more done if I do plan my time loosely.

This week is the end of August. Next Friday at midnight the end of Friday is the start of the Three Day Novel that is one of two great novelwriting highlights of my year. If I don't make time to write a novel any other season, I will slam one out on Labor Day Weekend and I will log in at Nanowrimo and do at least one more during November. This year's plan is probably just one good one, because I'll be busy with other things. But who knows? I might finish early and do a second just for the heck of it in Novelwriting Month.

More under the cut...


I've organized all of my existing commitments. Most of them are for art. The more I get done this week, the easier it'll be to focus on building my SBI site next month and get started on the Newsletter. The list isn't that long.

I've got a commission in progress for a pastel painting of two cheetahs circling a fire that I have spent... months and months visualizing. This painting is going to rock when it's done. I see it more clearly each time and when I get the sketch down, the hardest part will be finished. The sketch is going on my Sketch Wall, it'll be charcoal or Ebony pencil or something like that, just the final layout of it the way I did the final layout of my book cover the other day. I've got one perfect reference and one cheetah that I have to do mostly from imagination. This could get interesting. But my references are all up on my desktop now open in Gimp and that's sitting on top of my priorities as Waited Longest.

I've got two Endangered Species ATCs to create and mail. Really no biggie, medium and speed of creation are open, they just need to be ACEOs of endangered species. I could even do the same species on both of them and do cheetahs to warm up to the Cheetahs Fire Dancing painting, which is one step beyond all my nature stuff because it is also pagan and spiritual, these are totemic animals and in nature they don't build fires and dance around them. They're dreamtime cheetahs. One is wearing jewelry. That may be what's slowing it, a hesitation about sticking my neck out into real pagan art, dreamscape art, rather than just "here it is, this is the world, you see it as you do."

Most of my art has been journalism, not fiction.

I've got pink lilacs on an ACEO in progress, for another commission. This is actually half done and all the hard part is finished. What's left is coloring it, layer after patient layer. If I spent all day of a long day on it, Pink Lilacs will be done. I'd like to finish that this week. If I don't, then I'll probably pick away at it an hour or two at a time while working on the website because it won't take as much focus to do the layering -- more just patience, time, care with craftsmanship. The hardest part is done.

If I can get Cheetahs Fire Dancing to that level then it'll be very very good, because that painting is going to need a lot of layering too. So the thing to do with these commissions is to try this week to get all of them past the really hard part of layout and initial sketch and blocking in all the darks so that the light is consistent and the notan is decent. (I love that new word. Read the series of articles on Notan on EmptyEasel.com if you're interested -- it's a Japanese way of looking at planning composition by yin-yang between value groups, and it is something I've been doing for a long time without having a word for it.

Then there is the centerpiece pair of my package of art for Lauren: Cat in Garden facing Wombat in Garden. They're in the same garden, both are converging toward the center and they need to hang together at whatever comfortable distance their layout creates. The one sketch I did for Cat in Garden is not actually what I'll be doing for it because that one hangs alone, and is facing the wrong direction. As soon as I finished the sketch I knew I wanted the cat facing to the right and the wombat facing to the left. Go fig. You have to try things to realize they're not exactly the correct idea, but I'm sending Lauren that kitty sketch anyway 'cause she likes it.

I will be putting in one or two more small pieces into Lauren's package too along with the centerpiece pair, because I can't resist doing butterflies for her. She loves them so much. Butterflies can be done to relax between working on website writing, something that takes a bit of art to recharge myself while I'm doing it.

I had the ambitious notion of trying to complete all these things before September 1st... but realistically I can't actually do the website until September 7th or 8th or whenever I get the eHow coming in to put into it. So... I am not trying to finish out all of the art I have lined up to do by September 1st.

I'm doing as much as possible and going to try to get the final sketch done for Cheetahs Firedancing and Lauren's two centerpiece pastels (much looser than Cheetahs Firedancing, so they might get finished as they get started), get those all to the point where working on them does not take their being the central focus of the day.

On Friday, I will so nap. I will definitely try to either sleep in and get up later in the day, or nap in the middle of the day, so I am awake and rested and energetic enthusiastic at midnight to get my Midnight Start. If my sleep rhythms don't allow that, I will at least try to slam out an opener at midnight and then sleep. That worked last year -- and that was when I wrote the rough draft of The Emerald Sword, now The Steel Guardian. I might pick different music though, throw the Lord of the Rings soundtrack on for the sequel or prequel or whatever I write.

I know exactly one thing about my Three Day Novel. I am setting it in Arkatyr. It could be about the founding of Arkatyr. It could be about something in between the founding and The Steel Guardian. It could happen right after The Steel Guardian as a direct sequel with the same characters or jump centuries into its future where those characters are legend except for the elves, wizards and Swordfolk. Reincarnation may be important for that.

If half the characters are natural longlifes or unnatural longlifes (Wizards have to work at it but generally succeed in keeping up with elves, especially when elves teach them), then I have cast members continuous over a lot of history. If I have cast members consistent over a lot of history, I can't know which great character is my readers' favorite (different per reader) and leave behind half of them completely, so I can shuffle them around and reincarnate the ones that don't live through directly and play with that a bit.

For one thing, that fills a gap in fantasy fiction. Immortal elves and so on are a staple, they're like putting hyperspace in science fiction. You can write it without them but you can get the reader explication over with in one word as long as your version of it isn't too far off standard. All that needs to be shown for sure is how your hyperspace mcguffin is unique to your plot so the readers know the rules. My elves are close enough to the general archetype that they could walk around in background of most stories with elves in, unnoticed. When they're in a bad nasty mean mood they could walk around in the background of Terry Pratchett novels too. Especially the assholes among them. Being Elven does not equate to being Good, any more than being born a monster equates to being Evil, that is a continual theme in all of my novels. I'm constantly subtly fighting stereotyping and bigotry in how I handle the standard fantasy races and that makes them essential in my fiction.

But for all that every RPG and fantasy novel out there brings Immortal or at least Really Long Lived Elves into the stories, I haven't seen very many novels where that cannon actually gets fired and said interesting elven character shows up in another book centuries later being essentially the same person (having been already old and fairly stable in personality in Books Previous) or maybe even (gasp) showing signs of deep character growth on account of what he or she went through in Books Previous, where the longterm results of character growth settle in and become part of who the character thinks they are and takes for granted as normal. It's larger than life but also a reflection on adulthood and life changing events.

Human beings are very longlived animals. We and elephants and parrots and a few creatures live so long that if most of the other animals on the planet were as sentient as the talking animals of myth, we'd BE those elves there for twenty generations of mice, apparently unaging. Redwall comes to mind. I really liked Redwall, oh boy did dinner taste better when I read it and Kitten knew it and started cooking fancy!

So I'll be doing another Arkatyr book and then during Nanowrimo a third Arkatyr book or maybe another, and whether they come out as a neat little trilogy of connected events close together or not, I know that now or eventually, I need to do Arkatyr at its founding and Arkatyr in between and Arkatyr centuries later. The potential is there and the characters are that interesting, the setting that rich, the whole thing that cool. It does change over time. So do the longlifers. I have to find out what a Muted Renewal means for Arkatyr's resources when the next periodic cataclysm comes its way on the Great Migration, and sometime I have to write the rip-roaring fun of its Primal King, Talen. When nobody was born to being royal and they were just making it up on the spot surviving as they could. And somebody, one of my favorite characters, had to think rings around his programming to form a meaningful relationship.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
notalwaysweak
Aug. 25th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
I do love butterflies!

And Marty loved the snow leopard when I gave it to him. He was very impressed.
robertsloan2
Aug. 25th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
Purrrr thanks for letting me know! I am so glad he loves it and that you're not tired of butterflies yet.

It was such a relief to realize that if I want to clear my desk before working on the site and the book, I've got both this week and next to do it. That means I do have time to relax with your butterflies in between while I'm planning out the two big ones. Still not sure of medium, but leaning toward watercolor or Inktense. I'm getting such incredible results now with watercolor compared to what I used to, and wanted a reason to put my Winsor & Newton ones into palettes.

I can't help thinking of you every time I see butterfly references, so you'll get lots more butterflies than flowers. Or flowers incidental to being something for butterflies to sit on, I haven't really done that for you yet the way I intend to... have a cool idea. It'll get posted here when it's done. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance
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