Writing Marathon Day 2, and Our Next Contest Winner

Calendar Day 2Second day of the marathon! Here we go:

The Writing Day

Today I got through the majority of Chapter 10: Swamp Times. I have about a third left (and I may have to delete half of that, I’m not sure yet). There was a tricky scene in the beginning that took several hours to sort through and re-write, but I admit the rest of it was already fairly polished, so the cleanup was pretty smooth-sailing—in hindsight, anyway. It still took a while. These things do. I also spent some time working out a timing issue with how the whole end of the novel goes down, and adjusted a few bits in earlier chapters accordingly.

I had a headache again this afternoon, and so I present to you:

Tips for Writing with a Persistent Headache of the Dull, Achey Variety:

1.) Make a blog event and contest out of your writing struggle. Writers need accountability. If people are expecting a progress report from you by the end of the day, you’re gonna make some progress. (Seriously, you guys are helping so much.)

2.) Write in Bed. This is a terrible idea on a good day. Usually, you’ll do your best work sitting upright at your desk. But on a bad day? When you’d really rather be sleeping? Working in bed can be just the compromise you need to trick yourself into being productive.

And I guess that’s all I have on the subject. Do any of you have any tips to share?

Don’t forget to read yesterday’s post for yesterday’s winning blog topic, in which I elaborate on the inner thoughts, feelings, and frustrations of a Boston street lamp. Also, you can still get in on this contest thing; I’ve made a temporary link under the website banner with the explanation and the rules, with the form at the bottom. There will be six more winners after tonight.

Okay. Drawing tonight’s winner.

And the winner is...

Grace, of Homeschool Hijinks! Congratulations, Grace!

Grace’s Entry: What does your planning process look like before you begin writing? Do you have huge detailed outlines or do you just jump into the fray or something in between? Do you chew on a story for hours or months before deciding to do something with it on paper?

What a good a good question! And the answer is that my planning process looks like everything, at some point or another. Usually, though, there is a single idea or an image that captures me, and I “jump into the fray” with it. A lot of these don’t go anywhere. I have tons of notes on scraps of paper (and, more recently, in computer files) of fragments and beginnings of stories. Sometimes I get an image first; Vanya, the main character of Wanderlust, came to me after a period of artists’ block (which is exactly the same thing as writers’ block, if you’re wondering). Suddenly (in the middle of math class, my junior year of high school) I drew this sad little boy, and it was one of the best things I’d ever drawn. I knew exactly who he was, too: the wandering harper. I drew him alone for a little while before I realized his best friend Taniel, and at the time they both existed in a medieval fantasy world. I tried to use them in a few comics/graphic novels that didn’t go anywhere, but it wasn’t until a whole year later that I thought, “Wait, wouldn’t it be cool if they lived in the modern world?” This was good for a few Vanya-in-fishnets illustrations for me and my friends to swoon over (we were into emo boys at the time) but it wasn’t until I decided to write a book for my senior project that I realized Vanya and Taniel were the perfect subjects. And so, Wanderlust was born! I don’t remember how I planned out the plot for that first book, but then that book sat around for five years, while the idea continued banging around in my subconscious and I got better and better at writing and arting. Five years later I’m working on the book I’m working on now. It has a plot very similar to the original, but it’s overall way more awesome.

That was a little round-about, but it demonstrates a pattern I’ve followed over and over again. I get really excited about something and just start doing it, and then later, often MUCH later, I pick it up and bring all sorts of new ideas and experience to it and turn it into something so much better than the original thing. And since I’m mostly working on Wanderlust right now, all those other things I’m not working on are undergoing subconscious development right now. A 70 page hand-written story about a dryad I wrote while homeschooling in seventh grade re-surfaced as a series of art projects in college, along with a partial rewrite that has so much more going for it than the story did before. Didn’t have enough time to actually finish it or really work on it at the time, but someday it’s going to come up again, and it’s going to be awesome. As for huge detailed outlines, for me those come later. I make an outline when I’m a third of the way into a book and realize I have no idea where it’s going. I make outlines to figure out what I’ve already written, and to help me get it straight in my head. Today, I outlined the entire plot of my novel by days of the week (it starts on a Friday and ends on the Saturday a week later). So I use outlines as a tool, when “pantsing” it (writing by the seat of my pants) starts to break down.

Thanks for the blog topic, Grace! If there’s a moral here, it’s that I am so grateful for all the writing I did in elementary school, middle school, and high school. It made me the writer and storyteller I am today. You’re already doing awesome work (hey everyone! You can read some of Grace’s stories at her blog!) so keep it up, and you might be surprised where it takes you. 🙂  Also, you will be receiving your name-doodle prize in a week or so, and definitely by the end of February.

And hey writers: How would you answer Grace’s question? Do any of you work in a totally different way than I do? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

-G

Writing Marathon Day 1, and First Contest Winner

Race to the 8th Day 1It has begun! Now, the savvy among you may be looking at that cool calendar graphic and wondering if I spent the whole day creating it, rather than writing. To you, I can proudly say that I stayed up late to finish it last night so I’d have the whole day free today. More of you might be wondering what is up with the unicorn and the sparkles. Well, did I mention we’re doing this whole thing because the 8th is my birthday? My birthday has always been about unicorns and sparkles. That’s just how it is.

The Writing Day

Well, today was not perfect. I was tired, headachey, and dealing with all sorts of cravings for all the foods I’m not eating. I was not in any way immune to the distractions of the internet, or to the temptation to check and see if I had any new contest entries every five minutes (I didn’t). Still, I did okay. I made a good start. I’m proud of myself. Today, I completed my revision of Chapter Nine: To the Wolves. Admittedly I’ve been working on this chapter since, god, since Christmas, but I’ve been working on it so long because it’s tricky. There’s this one part I finally polished off today where I’m writing about one thing and trying to reference this other thing, but it has to be done without looking like I’m referencing the other thing, and without being too obvious. This is what I meant when I said my progress reports wouldn’t make much sense to you. But hey, Chapter Nine down. Tomorrow I can move on to Chapter 10. In total, there are 12 chapters and an epilogue. Seven more days. This might be doable. There are, of course, still a few clean-up matters to attend to in the earlier chapters, and I’m just now considering ANOTHER re-write of my opening pages, but still. We’re moving along. Tackling Swamp Times (Chapter 10) tomorrow!

One More Thing

before we announce the winner, because it is too good not to share. I had a series of interesting dreams this morning. In one of them, I found my soul mate at a very dodgy, second rate carnival in Michigan. I know it was second rate because they wouldn’t stop the ferris wheel even though I was CLEARLY only holding on by one hand and about to fall to my death. I found him (my soul mate, who was someone I had never seen before in my life) just outside the paintball room/funhouse. We were both so surprised :). In my next dream, however, I was back in Maine and in the same house as a serial killer. You will be happy to know that I did the right thing, and set Beyoncé free. My own fate was still up in the air, however, so it’s good I woke up when I did!

And now, the part you’ve all been waiting for. I realized pretty quickly that I wanted EVERYONE to win, so we’re doing this by a totally random draw. I’ve got names in a container beside me at my desk. I like the noise they make when I shake them. I NEED MORE NAMES, PEOPLE! Entries are still open.

Okay. Drawing a name now.

And the winner is…

Elise! Congratulations!

Elise, by the way, is a friend of mine from school, and she is also the lady who is marrying Leftenant Weatherby (Tom Rich). I am so excited for both of them. 🙂

Elise’s entry: Rewrite one of your favorite (or most hated) scenes from the perspective of another character or onlooker.

Oh geez, Elise. This could be a five-day prompt! It’s a really intriguing proposition, and I recently saw something similar on another website as an exercise for fleshing out secondary characters. There are also some really cool ways I could respond to this that I wouldn’t actually be able to share, because of spoilers for Wanderlust book 2, if you’d believe it. But here goes:

Conveniently, I have this scene illustrated, although there is not actually a streetlamp in evidence in this picture.

Conveniently, I have this scene illustrated, although there is not actually a streetlamp in evidence in this picture.

The street lamp at the corner of Baker and Fifth* was uncomfortable. It was uncomfortable because there was a person standing underneath it. Not that the streetlamp was unaccustomed to humanity passing by on the sidewalk below; it was just, that, well, they usually passed by, and didn’t camp out holding a sign for several hours. Actually, this little bit of humanity had been there even longer. It had first showed up when the streetlamp was still lit, a good bit past the point when the late hours of the night transitioned into the early hours of the morning. It had stumbled down the street from the direction of the tavern on 7th, and had curled up in the lee of the steps of the print shop. It slept until the streetlight followed its program and shut itself off, and until other passers-by made noise and got on with their business of passing by. Then it—which the streetlamp supposed was a boy, or a young man, even though it had long blonde hair like a girl—had woken up, looked miserable, and sat in the grass for a long while. He was carrying a few heavy bundles, though he didn’t open them. Go on, thought the streetlamp. Go get breakfast. I bet you had a hard night. But you can make today better. Go on, move along. The boy just sat there. It was infuriating. Finally he stood up and picked up his bundles. Alright, thought the street lamp. Now you’re getting it. But instead of walking down the road, the boy went into the print shop. The streetlamp couldn’t hear anything that happened in there, but the boy came out carrying a sheet of paper with something written on it. And then he proceeded to stand underneath the street lamp, just stand there, holding that sign. The streetlamp wasn’t used to this kind of treatment. This wasn’t one of those neighborhoods. They didn’t even get much homeless here, and what they got usually preferred the other side of the street. So what was up with this kid, and why here, of all places? And why did he look so sad? And what did it say on that sign? The streetlamp waited over an hour to find out. The whole time, the kid barely moved. A few cars slowed down as they went past him, presumably to read the sign, but they sped along quickly. Finally, a blue ford pickup truck came down the road. The ’92 model, unless the streetlamp was mistaken. The pickup truck slowed down. The street lamp would have held held its breath, if it could breathe. Then—yes, the pickup truck stopped. The boy let his sign flutter to the ground, and put one of his bundles in the truckbed before climbing into the passenger side and closing the door. The truck drove away. The street lamp looked down, and saw that the kid’s sign had landed face-up. The streetlamp could just make it out: “Broke Rock Star Needs Ride.” Huh, thought the streetlamp. Glad he found what he was looking for. And then the street lamp got on with its daily business, entirely oblivious to the fact that it had just witnessed the beginning of a grand adventure.

That was fun, thank you Elise! You will be receiving your name-doodle prize in a week or so (and definitely by the end of February. That’s a promise.)

I will see you all tomorrow. Happy Writing.

-Grace

*Totally fictional street names because I never bothered to research actual neighborhoods of Boston.

Uh Oh, The Marathon Starts Tomorrow

I’m delighted to say that I have received four entries for the Race to the 8th Contest, and I’m really excited about all of them. Since there The Prizeare eight prizes, however, this means that you still have a really good chance of winning. So enter the contest! All the details are in yesterday’s post, and you can follow this link to the entry form or just scroll down to the bottom of this post. Remember, all you have to do is provide me with a five-minute blog topic (questions are good, or anything else you’d like me to write about) and if I choose your entry during my Writing Marathon in the first eight days of February, you win a link to your website and a personalized name doodle (sample on the right.) Like I said, chances are still really good, so please consider entering, and sharing this with your friends.

Also, I’ve never done this kind of contest before so forgive me if this is a little late, but here’s the fine print regarding your winnings. Let me know if there are any questions.

The name doodles will be digital files. Should you win one, the name doodle will belong to you, and you can use it however you want to, whether in print or on the internet. I will provide you (and only you) with a print quality copy via email, should you want to print it out (and I can tell you what your best printing options are, if you’ve never done that sort of thing before). You can use the doodle freely on the internet (facebook, your blog, etc.) as long as you do not pass it off as your own work or try to profit from it in any way. Where appropriate, a link back to my website is always appreciated. The name doodles will include my signature and blog url in the corner, and I reserve the right to use the doodles in posts on my blog (you can opt out of this if you have a name that should not be public knowledge, although if that is the case I strongly encourage you to use a web-friendly name for the doodle, as I will also need to credit you if I use your blog-topic) and in my digital and print portfolio, which includes but is not limited to the website Deviantart.com. I also reserve the right to decline to link to your website should it be something I consider excessively offensive or vulgar.

I really don’t think that last thing is going to be a problem, but better safe than sorry, I suppose.

So: my writing marathon begins tomorrow! Am I ready? Well, I couldn’t tell you. I’m going to spend today doing some painting and earning a bit more cash before I dive into writing full-time tomorrow. I have band practice tonight; we’re becoming a Beatles cover band, apparently. I’m going to have to decide whether an eight-day writing marathon means I can’t go to open mics. I don’t want to let my friends down, so I’ll probably still attend one or two—depending on whether I completed enough writing earlier in the day to warrant taking a break. I did a full-body work out yesterday, my second of the week, and I am sore today! I’m having a surprisingly easy time with my diet changes, though. I’m keeping a journal of everything I eat, and ever since I started writing stuff down it hasn’t been too difficult to decrease my portions and just be more mindful about what I’m putting in my mouth. I’m still thinking about that harp video and I hope to post it soon. Part of the reason I haven’t yet is because I’ve spent much of the past few days blogging in my bathrobe, painting in my painting clothes, exercising in my gym clothes—and when I shower in the evening I change straight into pajamas. Basically, every time I’ve played my harp I haven’t felt presentable enough to attempt a video. Maybe this evening!

I am excited to begin the marathon tomorrow. As I said in yesterday’s post, I’m fed up with how long this book is taking and I want to get into it, and see how far I can get towards my goal in the next eight days. And remember, I really need your help, so don’t forget to enter the contest below. 🙂

-G

Writing Marathon and… *Contest*

So you’ve all heard that I’m getting close to finishing my current manuscript revision. I’ve been saying it for weeks. Still, every time I think, “This is the week I finish!” it seems like I barely make any progress at all. I need a push; I need a deadline. And conveniently, it’s almost my birthday.

On February 8th, I turn 24. Beginning on February 1st and going until the 8th, I mean to put everything aside and write—because I want a completed draft of Wanderlust for my birthday this year. And I’m gonna need your help.

Race to the 8th Contest

I will blog about my daily progress, because reporting to you will help keep me motivated. Your support and encouragement will help too. I know my progress reports won’t be as meaningful to you as they are to me, however, and I want to make this worth your while. I won’t have a lot of time to blog around working on Wanderlust non-stop, so I am asking YOU to give me eight five-minute blog topics. These could be questions about me, questions about writing, questions about Wanderlust, or even silly things, like, “Please write a story about penguins.” If I choose to respond to your entry (entries will be chosen by whatever I most feel like writing about, or drawn from a hat if that fails) you get two prizes: 1.) I will link to your website on my blog, and 2.) I will create a personalized name-doodle for you. [Edit 31 January: Fine Print is here.]

There will be a delay of about a week for the doodles, because I won’t be able to do them during the writing marathon. I did this sample one with my name, which went in a sort of ocean-nymph direction. YOURS MIGHT BE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. These won’t be hugely detailed works of art; I plan to spend in the neighborhood of twenty minutes on each one. Still, I promise to make something aesthetically pleasing just for YOU.

Want one? Enter the Contest!

Want one? Enter the Contest!

Now, there are several things that will make this writing marathon hard. I have recently started a very restrictive diet as well as a new exercise routine. As hopeful as I am that these things will make me healthier and more energized, in the beginning stages they are just as likely to make me tired and cranky. What I’m saying is, this whole thing might go up in flames. I’m hoping we can have some fun before it does. I get a chance to make some real progress on my book, and you get to ask me questions and win prizes. Are you with me? Submissions are open.

I Got Published Today!

No, I didn’t sneakily finish my book without telling you. But a month or so ago, I did link to an online journal called The Story Shack, and what I didn’t tell you was that I had already submitted a short story to the journal’s editor. My story was ACCEPTED, and today it was published at thestoryshack.com. The story is called Absolut (spelling intentional) and it’s only 400 words, so you should check it out if you have the time. The coolest thing about this is that I got to collaborate with the excellent Sherri Oliver, who illustrated the story. THAT’S HER ILLUSTRATION at the top of this post!! Make sure you check out her portfolio: http://snozzyo.wordpress.com/. It was a weird feeling, handing the illustration over to someone else, but this particular story is a little different than my usual stuff, and I don’t think my illustration style would have fit the story. I think Sherri did a wonderful job, and the hard lines and gritty realism work so well with the tone of the piece.

Anyway, go read it and tell me what you think: http://thestoryshack.com/2013/01/12/absolut/

Also, consider reading my last post, if you missed it; it’s a blog post that sneakily becomes flash fiction, and I’d love to know what you think of it: Vanya Snapshot: High School Chorus

Vanya Snapshot: High School Chorus

This is a behind-the-scenes post. It gives away more of Vanya’s past than I am usually comfortable sharing—but I really wanted to share it anyway. I will be especially grateful for your thoughts in the comments section today.

I attended a high school music concert a few nights ago that featured middle school and high school chorus and band. There was one very small, skinny kid in the High School Chorus with a mop of dark brown hair that completely obscured his eyes when he looked down, although when he looked up he smiled a bright smile. From far away, he didn’t look like a high school freshman; he could have been eight. And he reminded me of Vanya.

A sketchy-sketch of how Vanya may have looked at 15, all dressed up for his high school concert and staring down at his shoes.

A sketchy-sketch of how Vanya may have looked at 15, all dressed up for his high school concert and staring down at his shoes.

Vanya left home when he was fifteen, just a few months into his freshman year of high school. While listening to this concert, I wondered how Vanya’s experience with the high school music program might have gone during the short time he was there. I like to imagine the school was large enough to have a pedal harp sitting around somewhere that Vanya played in the orchestra, which went fairly well because he sat in the back, and hid behind the giant instrument. But how about that chorus concert?

He probably wouldn’t have auditioned for the big solo. He probably would have known that he couldn’t handle that kind of commitment and pressure. But what if the kid who did get the solo was sick on the day of the show? Or drunk? Maybe Vanya saved the day, and sang that solo so perfectly that the audience cried and cheered. Maybe afterwards, they tried to tell him how beautiful he was, all of them, parents and teachers and classmates, crowding around him and shouting congratulations at him in the hallway after the show, overwhelming him with so much praise and admiration that he couldn’t breathe. Maybe that’s when he ran. Or maybe… maybe he did audition for the big solo. Maybe he sang it so perfectly at the audition that the director awarded it to him with hardly any deliberation at all, and the choice was so obvious that even the slighted upperclassmen couldn’t be angry. And when the big night came, maybe he just couldn’t do it. Maybe Vanya showed up drunk, or ran away right before they drew the curtain, and instead of his angelic voice the audience heard only silence, and the whispered confusion of a high school choir that had depended on that beautiful, blonde-haired boy. Either way it happened, I like to think his mother found him hours later in a McDonald’s parking lot, sitting on the wood chips beneath a strangled-looking tree and kicking his heels against the curb. She convinced him to get in the car, and when she saw the wet tears on his cheek she prayed that the Blessed Virgin Mary would help her console her son, even though she’d never understood him. She’d known she would find him that night because his harp was still at the house. If she knew a single thing about her strange and alien child, it was this: on the day he left her forever, he would have that harp at his side.

Painting

Oof—it’s been a little while since I posted. Happy New Year! I hope you all had a delightful celebration and that you’re looking forward to a happy and productive 2013. I don’t have any New Years resolutions, and I’m okay with that. I do have goals; they’re the same goals I worked on in 2012 and, in 2013, I plan to keep on working.

My life has temporarily veered rather sharply off its usual course, which both refreshing and fun. I am house-sitting for some family friends while they are out of town, and also hanging out with their fifteen-year old son and making sure he gets to and from all his sporting events and other commitments. My duties include feeding the chickens, collecting the eggs, feeding the dog, and keeping the wood stove running. Most importantly, for another whole week I get to hang out in this house on a mountain and write. By next Saturday, I plan to have made significant progress on this draft of my novel. I’ll keep you updated.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s a fun thing I meant to share about a week ago. Last Saturday, Brackett (whom you may recall from the Sandy Hook NJ adventure), Brother, and I had a game day at our house. We also did a gift exchange, and Brackett got me a set of Acrylic paint and some canvases. They are so much fun to play with after working on the computer for so long! After spending an entire afternoon playing Middle Earth Quest (Sauron won, alas) we all took a paint break. Here are the results!

First, mine:

Acrylic on canvas, 4x6"

Acrylic on canvas, 4×6″

The boys decided it should be hung on a restroom door instead of a gender sign, just to see what people would do.

Next, Brackett’s:

BrackettPaint

Acrylic on canvas, 4×6″

All abstract-expressionist, with a Jupiter sort of vibe.

And finally Brother’s:

BrotherPaint

Acrylic on canvas, 4×6″

He was channeling Bob Ross. And you thought I was the artist in the family!

I did my smaller canvas in about 30 seconds, so I got out a larger one and spent the rest of the time on this painting of Vanya, which is still unfinished:

UnfinishedVanya

Acrylic on canvas, 8.5×11

Originally I was going to put Taniel in the other half of the painting, but then his proportions were all wonky so I painted him out. I’m getting into the dark forest as a secondary focal point now (I can put more detail in it and make it all creepy and stuff), but what do you think? Any suggestions for how I should finish this painting?

I Can’t Get Away From The Wolves

That’s what it feels like, anyway. I’m slogging through Wanderlust Chapter Nine. My heroes are exhausted; tired and aching and scared, already nearing the limit of their endurance, and that’s when the wolves attack. My boys have to find a way to save themselves so they can travel on and complete their quest. My task is much easier. I just have to fix all the sentences, tune up the dramatic pacing, and use the perfect words to describe how it all goes down. I’ve been thinking about it all day, I’ve been working on it on and off, and somehow I’ve barely made any progress at all. My characters feel tired and stupid in this scene (I’m at the part right before the “oh-god-I’m-being-chased-by-WOLVES” adrenaline kicks in) and I feel tired and stupid as I’m writing it. The only good part about this scenario is that, at least, we’re in it together.

When I sat down to my manuscript after a week or so off and looked at my characters’ names, I got a momentary case of the giddies. Like when you’re walking down the street and you unexpectedly see that guy you have a crush on, or when you’re watching that television show and that one character you just can’t get enough of walks on the screen. Vanya and Taniel, I read. Ooh, squealed something inside of me. Really? I get to write about these guys?!

So the wolves are attacking. I’m tired and grumpy, and I want to know when we’re getting out of this stupid chapter. Are we there yet? But I’m on the journey. I’m in the book. I’m working on it—and that’s so much better than the alternative.

-Grace Out

P.S. I’d love to hear about your own projects in the comments section. How often do you remember your excitement for your characters? Would you rather be involved with a project, and frustrated, than not working on it at all? How did you get away from the wolves?

DarkWolfMakley

The Dark Wolf © Grace Makley. Watercolors, some editing in Photoshop.

Tolkien Week Post 3: Unsung Illustrators

TolkienWeek

Sorry for the delay, folks. We’ll get back to Animated Tolkien tomorrow (there are still the virtues of the Bakshi LOTR to extoll, after all) but tonight will be a short post. To those of you on your way out to see The Hobbit midnight premiere, I wish you luck and godspeed. Also, don’t discuss any of the details with it within my hearing, if you can help it. I’m going to see it by the end of the weekend, but it’s a busy weekend in the Makley household and we’re still figuring out our plans.

If you want to participate in Tolkien Week (it’s on through Sunday, as far as I’m concerned) here’s how: 1.) Take the Tolkien Week banner and place it at the beginning of a blog post. 2.) Link to gracemakley.com (because I made the banner and that’s good manners). 3.) Write a post about anything related to Tolkien (how did you first discover the books? What is your favorite movie interpretation? Any scenes or lines from the book that you find especially meaningful? Do you have a rad Tolkien collection you’d like to show off? Who’s your favorite Tolkien illustrator?). 4.) Let me know about your post by commenting here, and I will happily link to you as part of the Tolkien Week festivities.

Unsung Illustrators

We all know about Alan Lee and John Howe. We’ve seen their artwork on the DVD cases and in the movies themselves. We’ve bought the LOTR sketchbook, and the How to Paint Like John Howe book (not its real title). We’ve watched all the DVD extended features, and we’re intimately familiar with Alan Lee’s crooked teeth and John Howe’s magnificent beard. We’ve watched them sketching in Hobbiton, seen John Howe trying on armor, sighed over their artwork, and wondered what it takes to bring that amount of vision and artistry to life. We love them to pieces. But they aren’t the only ones.

Jenny Dolfen

YOU CAN FOLLOW HER ON WORDPRESS!! http://goldseven.wordpress.com/

Love, love, love her elves and all her work from the Silmarillion. You can find a lot of it by clicking on the Tolkien button under galleries. My favorite doesn’t seem to be there, I found it at The Tolkien Gateway and am posting it below (source: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/File:Jenny_Dolfen_-_Nirnaeth_Arnoediad_-_Unnumbered_Tears.jpg)

Jenny_Dolfen_-_Nirnaeth_Arnoediad_-_Unnumbered_Tears

Jenny Dolfen

Nirnaeth Arnoediad – Unnumbered Tears

I love sad and beautiful things, and she handles watercolors so well.

Donato

I only discovered this artist the other day because another artist I follow on Facebook posted this link to a really cool and detailed portrait he did of Tolkien, the man himself:  http://www.donatoart.com/gallery/jrrtolkien.html

Here’s the link to his full Tolkien gallery: http://www.donatoart.com/middleearth.html

His hobbits don’t quite look like hobbits to me, but he’s got some really cool interpretations of key scenes, and I like his portraits of the human characters. I especially love the colors, composition, and staging of “Eowyn and the Lord of the Nazgul”

39″ x 34″ oil on panel
© 2010 Donato Giancola
collection of Greg Obaugh

eowynandnazgulb

Source: http://www.donatoart.com/middleearth/eowynandnazgul.html

 

And that’s all I’ve got tonight—time to finish this margarita and go to bed. Who’s your favorite Tolkien illustrator? And do you have any elaborate plans for seeing The Hobbit this weekend?

-Grace out

Links and Things

There isn’t much to report today, although stay tuned: this blog will be having an event next week. I’ve never had an event before. I think it will be fun!

To tide you over, here are some things I found on the internet that I thought were cool. Maybe you will think they are cool too!

beastlyworlds

New favorite WordPress blog! This artist has a really charming style, and she makes comics that are funny and adorable. Especially check out her illustrations of the kids from Game of Thrones.

Writing Excuses

A really cool podcast that I found from a link in this post at This Page Intentionally Left Blank. I listened to the most recent episode of the podcast (by clicking the link at the right of the Writing Excuses page you can get it to download directly to itunes. It’s free) and I found it helpful and intelligent. Also, each episode is under 20 minutes.

The Story Shack

This is a really cool online journal, most notable in that it publishes an illustration with every single story. A lot of the stories are fun, and there’s some really great art.

 

I had a brief band practice this morning followed by a dentist appointment. This afternoon I am going to spend some hard time writing, and also doing the laundry and perhaps excavating the floor of my bedroom (it’s pretty bad, but every time I think about cleaning I slink off to my study to write instead. So am I procrastinating on the cleaning, or HIGHLY MOTIVATED on the writing?) Tomorrow I finally have my second harp lesson(!), followed by more band practice and then Tucker’s Pub open mic. I will be debuting the harp at Tucker’s to play chords on “Downeaster Alexa,” so wish me luck! We’re also doing Mumford and Sons “The Cave,” so I think it will be a fun set.

-Grace out