Scent of Spring News

First Week on the New Schedule

So I’ve tried it for a week.
In order to make the switch from work to music, I set my husband’s alarm-clock to turn on the radio. This worked fine for stopping me from editing, but on Friday when I was coding, I just ignored it. ::rueful::

Still I not only got a better balance of stuff accomplished, I also got more total accomplished. Stopping working before I hit brain-dead apparently has fringe benefits.

(I used to know that. Once upon a time my wordcount goals were actually there to tell me “Time to stop,” not to push me to write more. But I guess I sort of forgot that in all the excitement of doing the publication thing?)

Anyway, here’s what I got done last week…

  • Writing: I fixed many errors in Eyes of Infistar, installed a copy on our tablet for my husband to read, got back several chapters worth of notes, made more fixes, and put a new copy on the tablet.

    I also ebook-ified a book written by my daughter, put it on the tablet, and did a read-through.

  • Art: Compiled 19 pages of ink scans for Scent of Spring.
  • Music: Practiced 5 times (inc. 3 “vocal workout” sessions). Worked on scoring Scent of Spring. (Yes, the song has the same title as the graphic novel… There’s a reason for that.)
  • Coding: Started work on an image carousel for inserting on the bottom of certain webpages. In the process, discovered that the ‘$’ jquery shortcut doesn’t work consistently when used on a page that is integrating wordpress content. The discovery process involved a certain amount of hair-pulling. ::rueful::
  • Tatting: Worked on a design that still isn’t right. (I do a lot of that.)

Plus, I did 11 holes of disc golf, played the Eldritch Horror Boardgame with my family 3 times (we just got a new expansion, so we were eager to try out all the new stuff), helped one daughter build a website and helped another make bead lizards* to give away to friends. All in all, a good week.

*My design from over 15 years ago. They were actually the body of a dragon, but the wings were futzy and delicate and the older kids and I ended up making a bunch of dragons without the wings, back when. Examples were still inhabiting my bedroom, and she wanted to make a couple. Her first one is pictured below.

One of my Clever Ideas actually Works!

One of the things that slowed my progress on Scent of Spring was that I’d moved on to editing, and suddenly needed to do a lot of tracing. I have mostly been working on this project while chauffeuring my kids about, and I needed a tracing technique that was simple, inexpensive and highly portable.

So, I have created for myself a portable light table.

I have a clear plastic clipboard, which fits into the large clipboard/carry-case that holds the pages I am working on and my pencils, pens, etc. And I also have a clip-on reading light, which can be coiled up and tucked away in one of the carry-case compartments when I’m not using it. When I want to do some tracing, I clip the light on upside-down, and adjust it so that it shines up from underneath the clipboard, through whatever part of the drawing I’m trying to trace. Tah-dah!

Scent of Spring Rev 2.0

I finished getting the draft of Scent of Spring put together on Tuesday, not Monday. Close enough? My husband then read it through for me, and although most of my fixes appear to be working, the climax apparently still needs tweaking. So that’s what’s on the to-do list next.

My computer will be going into the shop Friday morning, so I will be mostly off-line for an indefinite period of time, starting then.

One chapter left…

… to put together for the Scent of Spring story revisions. Then there will only be the bit that needs new art, which I have already started working on the sketches for. (Yay!) The art changes will probably involve three pages: two that are already there that will need to be redone, and one new page. I’m hoping to be done with this draft on Monday.

I’ve been working on a comic script.

It’s the story I was calling “Mark of the Beast” but my husband said that was a terrible title because it would make people think “apocalypse” and “satanism”, and my story isn’t about either of those things. It’s an alternate history fantasy with action and romance and magic and musketeers and an uber-powerful main character who looks like Annubis.

(And my husband said, “So why does he like this girl, anyway?” and I explain that he doesn’t get along with people because almost everyone is afraid of him, and he can smell that, and has really bad associations with the smell of fear. But she isn’t afraid of him, and that is what first intrigues him– and my husband interupts to say “So he likes her because she smells nice?” AAAUUGGGH! I’m writing a story with a super-powered guy who likes a girl because she smells nice. Someone shoot me now!)

Anyway, I’ve sort of switched the working title to “Compelled”, but I didn’t tell my database that, so it isn’t showing up in my wordcounts. (I haven’t been recording the wordcounts for it regularly anyway.) But I’ve been writing it very quickly (for me, anyway) and I’ve done nearly 20K words in about two weeks. Just at the moment, however, I’m stuck trying to figure out the next scene, (my internal pace-setter is insisting that it needs another action scene NOW!) so today I set it aside to work on Scent of Spring.

I thought I was done with story revisions for Scent of Spring, and I was just putting a current draft version together before starting in or art tweaks, but it seems that some of my revisions are… well, lets just say that their seams are showing. I didn’t notice while working on it in pieces, but now that I’m trying to put everything together I can tell that some of the joins don’t fit together quite right. One of those I just can’t smooth over without new art, but I’ve got this second one that I think I might be able to get away with the existing art, if I can just come up with the right words to go with it. Only I haven’t yet.

So, now I’m stuck on that too.

Hopefully I’ll be unstuck on one or the other by tomorrow.

Another Yay!

I have finished the storyboards for Black Flag 2: Blood Price.

Blood Price came in at 232 pages, but that’s not counting chapter title pages, which would put it up to about 250. That’s a chunk longer than Black Flag 1, at 222 pages, but I’m expecting Black Flag 1 to grow a bit more, as I finish the last third of the pages (hopefully sometime this year), and then head into revisions.

I still need to finish deciding where the chapter divisions go, name my chapters, and scan everything. I’m very, very tempted to recycle the chapter titles from 1. My husband warned that I might end up finding myself in a bind that way, feeling locked into the same chapter titles for all the Black Flag stories, but I don’t think so. The script to Black Flag 3: Dominion, is twice as long as the one for Blood Price, and the first two books are more strongly tied together than the second and the third.

Anyway, I’m now back to Scent of Spring for my pencil and paper project, and will once again be hauling my pretty art around, instead of a lot of horrible scribbles. That will be nice. I loooooove Blood Price, but confess to feeling a bit abashed when people got curious as to what I was doing. I can draw better than that, really — just when storyboarding something I will be doing in 3D there’s no point. Worrying about getting it to look right just slows me down. It took me a LOT longer than a month and a half to do the Scent of Spring storyboards, and that was for a much shorter story.

Looking for beta-readers

Since nobody actually reads these postings at my home blog, which has progress bars in the sidebar, I assume nobody noticed when, a month ago, the progress bar for Scent of Spring hit 100%. That doesn’t mean I’m done, but it does mean I’ve got a complete set of pencils (I’ve got all the lines drawn) that I would really, really like some feedback on before I start coloring everything.

The reason it took me a month to make this announcement, is that I was doing website alterations that I hoped would make beta-reading Scent of Spring a little easier. So not only does Scent of Spring now have a working website, the site also keeps track of if you are logged in or not, and will only show you the penciled pages if I’ve told it you are one of my beta readers. There is also a page tagging system that will allow you to easily find your place if you have to stop in the middle, and there are comment boxes located directly below each page, so that people can comment as they read.

Keeping in mind that I don’t pretend to be a professional artist, and that I’m very new to this whole Sequential Art storytelling gig, would anyone be willing to look over and comment on a 140 page mannerly romance (sort of Jane Austin-ish, but not set in England) webcomic?

Here’s a bit of sample art:


Not much to say. There’s a flu going round the house. Lissa got it, but her fever never got quite high enough that we had to run her to the emergency room. I got it — but I almost made my wordage for the week anyway. Boyd’s having it over the weekend and probably won’t miss any work. The timing isn’t quite so good for my college student, though, who has it right now, and likely won’t be recovered to make his Monday (heaviest day of his week) classes.

I finished page 120/140 of the Scent of Spring pencils. I’m so close to being done this stage. It’s very exciting, but also a bit frustrating, because the drawing doesn’t get any easier as I near the end, the way the writing always seems to — so this final bit feels like it’s going sooooo sloooooow, when it’s actually progressing at a perfectly normal pace.

And, In My Head Theatre has been running a scene from somewhere near the very end of Song of Asolde, ie, book five or six, when I’ve not even started working on book three yet. :sigh:

A bit relieved…

I showed/read Scent of Spring to my mother last night, and she loved it.  Which was very heartening.  Nobody in my household really cares for it that much — they laugh at the characters’ quips, but the story itself doesn’t interest them.  And it’s not as plotty a sort of story as I usually do, so I have worried, on occasion, if it might be a little broken.  But the story is quite insistent that it already has all the plot its ever  going to have, so it’s very nice to know there is at least one person out there for whom it works exactly as it is.

I know one’s mother isn’t supposed to count as feedback because they alway love everything you do, or at least say as much, but she was crying — both in the sad way, in the middle, and in the “oh that’s so beautiful” way, at the end.   Also, come to think of it, at Harchung’s ‘all this I loved’ speech, which is just lovely — and I say so even though I wrote it myself.   Not very many of my heroes will let me write romantic speeches for them.  (Although Mijahd, in the novella I just wrote, does recite some poetry, which was very fun for me — I haven’t had a chance to do that sort of thing since Cantata.)

Author's Note on Verdaia

I kept dreaming up these stories that seemed like fantasy or historical romances. But if they were fantasies, where was the magic? And if they were historicals, why couldn't I recognize any of the settings? I finally decided that all these story ideas were set on the same non-magical world, and named it Verdaia.

Verdaia has different geography than earth, and a different history, but is otherwise very much like earth. For me the fun of this world is in building cultures remincient of earth cultures, and yet not exactly the same.

Feedback on Eyes of Infistar
'I'm enjoying the read - definitely a fun space opera romp!'
-- A Reader
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Email mbottorff at lshelby period com