Lippy & Me

Drive Write: Droblar.com Launches

Drive Write podcast

Drive Write: Episode 12 – Droblar.com Launches

This week on Drive Write, I give a mid-month update on my NaNoWriMo progress. I also introduce (formally, and kinda/sorta for the first time) the Droblar webcomic. I talk about why I started drawing, how the story came to be, and some technical and scheduling challenges that I’m learning to navigate as I go.

The artist I mentioned who got my attention focused on #SundaySketch-ing is Jake Powning. Find Jake and examples of his incredible swordsmithing at his website.

Enjoy, please visit the comic site at droblar.com, and feel free to leave questions/concerns/critiques in the comments.

Drive Write: Word Count

Drive Write podcast

Drive Write – Episode 11 – Word Count

Hello and welcome to Drive Write, the podcast about one storyteller’s journey to becoming a published author. Today on Drive Write, I talk about word count. What is it, why is it important, and why is it timely to talk about word count in November?

For those unaware, November is National Novel Writing Month. Or, NaNoWriMo, for short. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. And why, you might ask, does NaNo measure progress by number of words?

Great question!

If you’re interested in writing fiction (or writing anything, for that matter) then word count is a great way to track your progress. Much better, I think, than page count or time spent. Setting and tracking your performance against a word count goal is a fine way to keep you moving on your projects and to keep you honest.

And that’s what I cover in today’s Drive Write podcast.

As a brief aside… I also mention that Droblar.com launched today. Droblar is a weekly web comic that started as a bedtime story for my kids. I’ll update the site each week on Tuesday morning. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Three More Sleeps…

Three more sleeps and then I launch the Droblar web comic. (-_-;)

    That’s me sweating bullets, by the way. ^

Thanks Google for the emoticon.

I have to admit that I’m nervous. I’m not sure how to pace the script. I’m not sure how to pace the artwork. I don’t want to draw every movement – functionally animating the darn thing. I don’t want to be too sparing with the artwork and run the risk of leaning too heavily on narration.

… but wait, there is yet more rending and gnashing.

I’m still learning how to draw. I’m still learning how to illustrate on my Surface Pro 2. I know how I want all the characters to look but there are still several that I’ve yet to draw. Like… even once. I also most certainly do NOT have anything close to 360° references for, well… any of them. Nor do I have a handle on conveying emotional states in the artwork.

Let’s face it. I’m completely winging this.

You know what, though? I’m launching on Tuesday regardless.

I like the story. I want to share it.

I had a chance to talk to Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary and Writing Excuses fame at WorldCon this past September. I attended a small group meet ‘n’ greet called a coffeeklatch. In fact, it was the morning after the Writing Excuses cast won their Hugo. The coffee was attended almost exclusively by fans. That’s cool and all, but I was hoping to talk nuts ‘n’ bolts about graphic novels and web comics.

My disappointment was short lived, however. Howard took an extra 15-20 minutes after the scheduled meeting to talk one-on-one with me. Thank you Howard for being cool like that. Anyway, I think the conversation was instrumental in pushing me from sketching scenes from the story to actually telling the story.

Much of the conversation can be summed up as, “Get over yourself, Andy. Stop inventing artificial hurdles and excuses to not share the story.”

So… I’m not.

I’m diving in with plans for success. If things go pear-shaped, I’ll regroup and adjust accordingly. But for now I am going to give it my best and be content (if not happy) with the results.

Another thing that Howard mentioned really stuck with me. Interestingly, it was nothing more than a passing aside during an unrelated conversation with a fan during the coffee. The comment was that you’re never going to be happy with the artwork. I think that’s true. I’ve spent enough of my life engaged in various artistic endeavors to know that the more you know, the more you realize there is to know – and to learn.

Artwork is like that. I’m absolutely certain that when I post the 200th panel for the Droblar story, I’ll look back and wish like hell that I could take a mulligan on panels 1-199. But I won’t. I’m going to do my best and I’m going to tell this story. I need to get it out of my head and onto the page. By the time I finish it, there’ll be a dozen more clamoring to get out. I’ll take what the Droblar teach me and those future stories will be the beneficiaries of the lumps, bruises, and learning experiences that I’m sure to encounter over the next several years.

This is a big commitment, but I’m excited to see where it goes. My goal is still to publish only once a week. We’ll see how things go. As I get better with the characters and with my tools, perhaps I’ll be able to up that to twice per week. If I do, fans of the Droblar and regular visitors to the site will be the first to know.

Dani Miller and the Droblar are coming. Drop by droblar.com on Tuesday to say hi, and please accept my thanks for all the support!

Drive Write: Writing on the Road

Drive Write podcast

Drive Write: Episode 9 – Writing on the Road

The past six weeks have had me at three conferences in as many states. I’ve traveled from Alaska to Texas, back to Alaska, down and over to South Carolina, back again to Anchorage, up north to Fairbanks, and finally back home to stay.

Whew…

Somewhere between coming home from Charleston and leaving again for Fairbanks, I recorded this. It’s a collection of my thoughts on writing while on the road and how to keep productive. I don’t know about you, but planes, late nights and strange hotel rooms don’t necessarily inspire me to great volumes of writing. However, I’ve found a couple defensive measures that keep me in the game. I hope you find them valuable on your travels.

If you have any travel tips for writers, please share them in the comments. Safe travels and get your words in! =)

Drive Write: Character Descriptions

Drive Write podcast

Drive Write: Episode 8 – Character Descriptions

This week on Drive Write, I talk about describing characters for your readers. One of the critiques that I’ve received in the past is that I fail to give enough physical description of my characters. I still think that there are plenty of situations when it’s more appropriate to leave a lot to the reader’s imagination. However, I will concede that a reader should at least have enough descriptive context to form their own mental image of characters and the settings that they’re in.

Like most things, this can be done well or poorly. In today’s cast, I give an example of a classic descriptive-blunder that I made in an early draft of Cravings. Let me know in the comments if you have description tips or pitfalls to share of your own.

The Droblar Are Coming

Unless you’re very, very new to the site, you probably know that I’m working on a graphic novel for my kids. I’ve decided to publish it as a free webcomic online at Droblar.com. The plan is to launch Droblar on Tuesday, November 5th. From that point on, I’ll update weekly on Tuesdays.

Where I’m at right now

The Droblar are coming!I’m still playing with the process of digitizing the artwork. Currently, I draw the comic in pencil on paper and then ink it by hand. From there, I scan the inked artwork into a cheap Photoshop knockoff for coloring and type setting.

Needless to say, it’s not the best system and I’m certainly not taking advantage of the best tools.

So!

Later this month I will receive a shiny, new MS Surface Pro 2. I will name her Igor and she will assist me in bringing my abby-normal creations to life. She’ll have a swanky, touch-sensitive stylus, a fresh install of Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro, and a steep learning curve.

My goal?

Master the derned thing as quickly as possible so I can settle on a coloring/typesetting process. If I can avoid shelling out the $50/mo for Adobe’s CS suite, then… uh. Good!

I can see now why artists need kickstarters for their projects. If you want to do something well and on a schedule, it takes planning and a budget. Go figure… o.O

So that’s where we’re at. Igor should show up toward the end of the month. Until then, I’m drawing deeper into the story. I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to get faster. And I’m trying to tell a better and better story.

Cheers and stay tuned!

-Andy

Drive Write: Writing Tools

Drive Write: Episode 6 – Writing Tools

Today on Drive Write, I talk about some of the writing tools that work well for me. I was worried that I might not have enough to say about the tools of my writing craft. It turns out, that’s not the case. I may need to do a ‘part two’ of this podcast sometime in the near future.

Some things I go over in this cast are:

… and that’s this week’s Drive Write podcast. Hope you enjoy and let me know about your favorite writing tools in the comments.