Fun with Character Art

My day has…simply slipped away.

Now that I have figured out how to use the Artbreeder website (more or less, LOL), I have spent way too much time trying to design the characters in Wyldling Snare. It can be frustrating and fun, in equal measure. Sometimes you create a masterpiece. Other times, you are rewarded with a hysterical horror-show.

It tends to be more frustrating when you want to breed a character with animalistic features. All I can say is, thank God for the existence of MS Paint. This archaic app is very helpful when you want your white-furred wolf-like male character to have red hair but not look effeminate. Surprise, surprise: the more humanoid “furry” characters on Artbreeder tend to be female. Fortunately, my point-of-view characters are either human or human-looking.

Without further ado, I present here the fruits of my labor.

Meet Enoch Northward, the sixteen-year-old protagonist of Wyldling Snare. He enjoys long hikes through the woods and dining al fresco with friends in forest glades beneath the shadow of the Wall. His hobbies include traveling through magical portals to other planets, hunting down murderous renegades, and mastering his Wyldling abilities so that he can learn to fly. Enoch is not a fan of his new position as the Baron-Knight of the Northern Marches, but he is determined to give it his very best effort.

Here is the apprentice sorcerer, William Dulciber, in all of his sullen glory. Also sixteen years of age, he is happiest when studying physics and advanced mathematics — disciplines of which his master does not approve. Squeamish in the face of suffering and bloodshed, William dreams of the day when he advances to full Arkhabast like his master and is free to practice sorcery in a manner that works best for him. However, his master has given him a very important task: capture the young Baron-Knight for their mysterious employer, the Dreadlord.

Resident of Earth, Annabelle Leigh Wells wants more than anything to escape the dreariness of a Wisconsin winter and experience the types of adventures she’s read about in fantasy novels. When a boy from the planet Tehara contacts her through a wormhole, she believes that her dreams have finally come true. Little does she realize that she is about to get more adventure than she bargained for!

I will save the rest of the images I created for the next time. Stay tuned for my next enthralling blog entry. Feel free to comment.

Have a great day, everyone!

Easter Greetings and Ramblings

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed.

Photo by Evie Shaffer on Pexels.com

Have a happy and blessed Easter, everyone!

As I look back on my blogging journey thus far, the blog entry population along the roadside is pretty sparse. It’s like we’re driving through Wyoming, or the Dakotas, or someplace similar. Few towns, but lots and lots of “empty” wilderness.

On this day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of our LORD, Jesus Christ, I would also like to celebrate writing and publishing another blog entry. Another bright and shiny town alongside the dark and empty highway. Another colorful bead on the string of my aspiring authorhood. Whichever metaphor serves best on this day, in this life. Every day that we rise from the little death that is sleep is a bead on the strand of our lives. Stream of consciousness writing is generally not friendly to the reader’s eyes, so I will quit before yours cross in exasperation.

An update on Wyldling Snare

(Ha. Ha.)

After submitting revision four (R- 4) to ten literary agents, I decided to stop the submission process right there. Thus far, I have been rejected outright by half of them and the others have not responded yet, if they ever do. It was not receiving the rejections that changed my mind; I expected the rejections and the non-responses. Beta reader responses made me realize that I was not done revising. I swapped manuscripts with a friend of mine and she very helpfully pointed out some sticky plot issues (and I did the same for her). Around the same time, I submitted my manuscript to a professional beta reader on Fiverr to get her $100 opinion (most of the others reading in my genre were charging twice as much for a 100K word document). She also, had some very good comments and advice that I took. In fact, both readers agreed on some of the same things.

Hence, revision 5 (R-5) was born, hastily squeezed out in time to submit for another, less expensive critique by a literary agent/author through a writer’s organization that I recently joined. Yes, I am now doing that. Paying a fee to join writer’s groups online. It seems to be the best way to find a variety of beta readers within one’s genre and earn some credibility with publishers – when I get to that point again.

Looking back, R-4 sucked as much as I feared: like my Kirby vacuum in its heyday. Fortunately, it did not suck as much as a black hole. It was still salvageable. You see, Wyldling Snare suffered from convoluted plot syndrome. There were too many things going on in the storyline and my narrative was far too coy, keeping information secret while hinting at things for far too long. Something had to go. Correction: a few somethings had to go and a few things were changed. I ended up chopping out over forty pages (gasp!) but keep in mind the darn behemoth was already over 350 pages and pushing 110K words. R-5 is 290 pages and nearly 88.5K words. And I already know that I left out some information I ought to have included. That’s what happens when you’re in a hurry. So, there will definitely be a revision six (R-6) after the current critique sends her results. R-6 might very well expand to 300 pages, give or take a few.

That is the present state of Wyldling Snare, thus far. Naturally, this means that a few things in the massive tome of Book 2, Wyldling Quest, will have to go or change, as well. But that, as they say, is another story.

Blessings on your week.

Problem

Trudging through the Sloughs of Despond

Phew! I have been waiting for this moment since Monday morning. Honestly, since Sunday evening. This week has been, quite simply, awful. Not for any horribly traumatic reason. No one has COVID, the kids are fine, my husband and I are still employed. God continues to bless us the same as He always has…and yet, my psyche screams: I DROWN IN MISERY.

See, I don’t actually dislike my job. Regardless of all the daily frustrations, I have no desire to seek a new position and start over someplace else. One of my closest friends is a colleague. I have a nice boss who allows me to work from home so that I can supervise my youngest child’s virtual schooling. I’m compensated fairly based on my labor. So many people are unemployed right now and are looking for work; I should be grateful that I even have a job.

So, what is my problem?

My problem: I would rather be writing…which does not help put food on the table or pay the mortgage.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone’s struggling right now. Suck it up, buttercup, this is your life. Deal with it.

I could rant and rave about how the system is broken – that a household needs at least two incomes to stay afloat nowadays – but that doesn’t solve anything. We are accustomed to a lifestyle that includes certain luxuries that Americans are taught they are entitled to, so I cannot, in good conscience, cut our earnings in half. Enough said. I’m not asking for a handout.

Now that I’m beginning to climb out of the abyss I threw myself into earlier this week, I can reflect on things and try to come up with a better game plan. Any plan, really. Being on COVID time has really flushed my planning skills down the toilet. You’d think I’d have more time to write…but I don’t. By the way, it’s a total myth that all these COVID restrictions would open up time for people to “finally finish writing that novel.” Totally bogus idea. I have as much to do as I ever did, before COVID, and people who DO have time on their hands have lost their jobs and are, most likely, spending all that time trying to find another one.

There are plenty of authors who juggle a full-time job, a family, and their writing time without going completely neurotic, aren’t there? I’m sure they have GREAT advice on how to manage time more effectively. Hello? Anybody out there? Chime in any time now, really.

Sigh.

I know what I need to do, but I still feel discouraged.

Time to open up the Jesus Always devotion book my mother sent me a few years back. Guess what I found? No matter where you are and what you’re going through, God’s Word tells you exactly what you need to hear:

Will my novel ever be accepted for publishing? Only God knows. If so, when will I be successful enough as an author that I can quit my day job? Only God knows.

In the meantime, I should stop worrying about if and when I can finally put in my two-weeks’ notice. I should continue to do my best work, both on the job and in my word processor. I should pray for God to bless my efforts, and leave it all in His hands.