Saturday, September 17, 2011

Week In Review-Preview - Potlucks and Job Actions

I really like the progress I've made, but I'm not going to be done on Monday.

Then I took a look at my calendar, and I realized I'm really not going to be done by Monday. At all. Geh!

This is an "Event Cluster" weekend. I've got at least three birthdays, a retirement and two promotions to celebrate, not to mention preparing to go on strike -- or perhaps one should say making efforts to prevent the need to go on strike. Pot lucks and job actions are time consuming, especially if the car is sick, so opportunities to shop your way out of trouble are limited.

I've got until the end of today (Saturday), and then my time is utterly and completely sunk until Thursday. No wait, I don't have most of today, either.

I intended to finish the book, take a few days' rest, and then do that last run for continuity to make it presentable to beta readers, then have another short rest before joining the fall Round of Words in 80 Days. Now I find I don't even have time for the back up plan.

What do to?

The obvious strategy: give up, give oneself wholly over to the kerfuffle of life until Thursday. Maybe even give up until ROW80 starts around Oct 3.

But there is another strategy:

Abort the "finish the book" effort, and start the continuity and proofing pass now. The second half of the book may not be ready for that final continuity check, but the beginning is just waiting for it. Housekeeping tasks are easy to do even in stress-filled busy times. Ten minutes of proofreading, or on tasks like recording names of places and people and their spellings, are easy to manage whenever the time breaks free.

So... given the time I think I have, I am hereby ending the 800 minute dare at the end of the day tonight,and starting a new 600 minute dare for the next 9 days -- ending Monday the 26th. Then that's it. I stop where I am there for a week of rest before ROW80.

I'll post on Tuesday about the ROW80 challenge. It's a flexible, ongoing effort, and a great way for those who like the idea of NaNoWriMo, but have a hard time with the timing and restrictions.

Preview of the Coming Week

  • Monday Covers - Thumbnails of three covers for Starling and Marquette series. Squee!
  • Tuesday - A Round of Words in Eighty Days Challenge
  • Wednesday - Clues, and Keeping Ahead of the Reader...Or Not
  • Thursday and Friday - Uh, whatever I come up with on Tuesday night. Maybe some writing prompts.

From here on in, I will only post once over each weekend -- just the Saturday update post.

Drawing Exercise - What I'm Working On

First of all, I'm not this good.

Aside from it being far from done, this particular exercise makes you look much more skilled than you are, because you're replicating an existing photo or drawing. (If you look down at the lower section -- that much of the image is traced.)

I learned this exercise long long ago in beginning design classes: it's supposed to help you look closely at a subject -- and I don't mean see, but to observe, like Sherlock Holmes. I may do a whole post on this at some time, because I think writers could benefit from thinking about this.

But I wanted to share some of what I've been working on, so here it is.

And here is a short explanation of the exercise:

This is a scratch board drawing. Scratch board is a white illustration board covered with a glossy, hard-baked layer of black ink. Instead of drawing in the lines and shadows, you take a sharp tool -- like an exacto-knife -- and scratch off the black to expose the light parts of the picture.

You can't sketch on a scratch board. It's very unforgiving. So for this exercise the teacher would have us lightly trace on some outlines from an existing picture with chalk. And then you start looking at the original, and scratch away at the details.

It always looks awful at first, and so they have you start it during class, so the teacher can keep telling you to look at the picture you're replicating and keep scratching. Look, scratch, look, scratch. Then suddenly it starts to look like something. It looks like something way better than you ever drew before.

The result is that you really LOOK at the work, and notice where the highlights and shadows are, and then as you get more detail in, you start noticing the details within the highlights and shadows. And then suddenly you see the world differently, and you are a better artist for it.

I like to do this as an exercise in looking more closely at the details of a particular artist or mode or style -- to get really intimately familiar with it. That's why the image I was doing here is from an ad from one of those old magazines. You really notice things about the style of the times -- how the lips are shaped, and the eyes. How the artist makes that had NOT look like a wild head of hair.

There is another important result of this exercise, but I'll save that for a full post. (Hmmm, maybe that's what I'll do on Thursday or Friday.) I'll call that the Pavlov's Dog effect.

See you in the funny papers.

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