Pretentious Title: Editing for People Who Hate Editing

Author Rachel Aaron has recently posted a great piece about how she came to love the editing process over on her blog. It comes at just the right time for me, as I’m finally about to start editing book one of Twin Stars. Good advice any writer should check out, especially a novelist.

When you write a first draft, you are writing a story. You’re telling your character’s tale, spinning your adventure, whatever. When you start to edit a novel, you’re no longer just telling a story, you’re getting ready to put on a production, to invite a reader into your world. Think of your book as a fun house ride. You might have built this funhouse based on your fantasies, but once you invite people in, it’s no long your world alone. The world has to make sense to others, it has to delight and surprise and, most importantly, capture them. The readers might be drawn in by the glitz at the front door, but from the moment they set foot inside your domain, it’s your job to keep them there.


This, for me, is what editing is about. You are no longer just getting words down, you’re no longer asking “what happens next?” You’re asking “how can I prepare the reader for what happens next?” and “how can I make them LOVE IT?” You’re not just crafting a story, you’re crafting an experience that you are going to share with each person who picks up your book. It is your job to make sure your plot and world make sense not just within the book, but in the mind of the reader. Your job to make sure your characters are engrossing, not just effective for your plot. Your job to give these people a reason to stay.

via Pretentious Title: Editing for People Who Hate Editing.

One Piece for real: Usopp’s “Kabuto” Zombie Killing Slingshot Spear – YouTube

One Piece for real: Usopp’s “Kabuto” Zombie Killing Slingshot Spear – YouTube.

CG Art- The Fox Cycle

My journey with DAZ Studio Continues. I spent the week working on images to go along with my currently running Flash Fiction series- The Fox Cycle over on my KFAT page. The stories themselves cover a large span of time, but focus on the former King’s Musketeer Gerard la Russo and his Indian adopted daughter Renard. Using my meagre talent with DAZ Studio, I decided to render a few images to go along with some of the stories.

Gerard la Russo at Callais in 1698.

Renard la Russo and Claudette Dupris 1710

Ren and Gerard 1717


And a bonus picture, since I had some people suggest Tysen didn’t look brooding enough in the one posted last week.

Troubled Tysen

Nerd Rage Scale

My friend Don C. recently posted this, and I thought I’d share it for consideration:

Given how often I’ve seen debate and discussion of redos in established comics and how little cohesion said debates often have, I think it’s time for some sort of standardized scale. This one refers SPECIFICALLY to the indignation that arises from changes to a book and seeks to rate them in terms of overall impact.

To that end, there’s gonna be some debate as to where a specific event registers on the scale. That’s fine and normal; the classifications are meant to facilitate exchange by providing a common measurement and language for the debate.

With that in mind, here we go:

1: Meh.: Any small change that doesn’t affect the character or story in any real way. Hardly noticeable unless pointed out. Only bothers the most stalwart purists.

EX: Spidey with gold eyes. Most characters after an artist change.

2: Why?!?: Noticeable change that doesn’t affect the character, story or themes in any real way. Will probably irk long term fans.

EX: Superman with no red panties. SpiderMan is a black dude.

3: Oh, Please No….!: Noticeable changes that affect the character and/or story, but not necessarily the underlying themes of the comic. Will bother long term fans, but will likely be accepted by newer ones.

EX: The Vision is really the original Human Torch. Wolverine is a ninja. Green Arrow is a ninja.

4: What Are They Thinking?!?!?: A severe retcon of a character that changes the character, story and/or underlying themes of the book in a way that’s almost irreconcilable to the older story. Will likely offend long term fans, and may also confuse new ones: especially those with a passing knowledge of the character.

EX: Identity Crisis. One More Day. Supergirl isn’t Superman’s cousin/isn’t Kryptonian/is a clone. Son of Satan isn’t. Patsy Walker is a spy. Patsy Walker is a superhero. Was Patsy Walker ever a ninja….?

5: YOU’RE RAPING MY CHILDHOOD!!!: Major change that directly contradicts the established underlying themes and ideas of a character, story or book. Offends most fans, confuses or puts off casual fans, makes haters giggle.

EX: Batman wets himself. Superman: porn star. The Watchmen, if Moore had been allowed to use the Charlton characters.

Please note: It’s tempting for a lot of folks to make EVERY change a #5, but I’d say despite the indignation fans might feel a lot of the most egregious events are still a #4.

Don C.

Fun with CG II- The Twin Stars

So, I spent a week (and a few dollars) working away on Daz Studio to see if I could put together some decent looking characters for the covers of my upcoming Twin Stars novels. So far, I’m pretty impressed by how well it’s gone. Yes, there was a bit of a learning curve, but once I overcame that and learned a few tricks, it all came together pretty quickly. At it turned out, doing Tysen and Ping An was pretty easy, Esther has turned out to be the hardest one so far. (Which is why there’s still no picture of her I’m ready to share.) These aren’t intended to be cover images, just test portraits of the characters.

Let me know what you think! 🙂

Zhang, Ping An

Albert Tysen

Clive Owen – Arthur and The Anglo Saxon Wars

Clive Owen – Arthur and The Anglo Saxon Wars is an interesting page on “Authurian” England with some nice pictures of soldiers from that period.

Fun with CG

Once upon a time, I was an enthusiast of a program called Bryce 3D, which was a computer graphics program for generating landscapes. I actually used it for a number of other things, since it was primitive (shape) based instead of spline (wire frame) based and much easier to use than the other CG programs on the market at the time. I spent countless hours pushing the program to its limits and making things like buildings, cities, starships and even characters in Bryce.

As you can see by the above, I wasn’t very good, but a) I’m no artist, and b) I was also working with a program designed to produce mountains and landscapes. You can also see my early attempts at compositing live models into shots (they’re not photoshopped in, they were cutouts rendered in-scene), which was necessary because the companion character generation software to Bryce, Poser, was still quite poor in quality at the time.

How times have changed.

Recently, after about a decade, I started to play with Daz Studio 4 (Poser’s descendant) as I’m looking at options for doing my future book covers. Why pay someone if you can do it yourself, right? I knew it had improved, but I didn’t realize it improved this much.

And the best part is that a) these three above were done in a single evening, and b) right now Daz is offering the professional versions of this software for free.

American Fencing in the 18th Century

When we think of fencing during the Renaissance we tend to think of France or Italy, which were indeed the centres of the sword arts.

But did you know there was another major center of fencing?

Between 1754 and 1787, New York City was a veritable hub for American fencers, with at least fourteen fencing schools total, eleven of which operated in a concentrated area of lower Manhattan that could be spanned during a twenty-minute walk. By way of comparison, Paris, traditionally thought of as the Mecca for European fencing, contained about eighteen fencing schools during the same period. (30) The oldest New York fencing school of which we have record opened sometime prior to July 12, 1731[.] (Miller, 2009)

In fact, according to Miller, guns were still fairly uncommon in America in the 17th and 18th centuries, and most militia didn’t have enough guns for more than a third of their number. Even when they did fight, he says, they tended to fire the guns once, throw them down, and then leap into close combat with the enemy. (Which makes sense when you consider how long the things took to load.) So being skilled with weapons was a major part of defending your home and loved ones in the colonial period.

Fencing in America: 1620 – 1800 from the Association for Historical Fencing’s Library


Fencing with five different medieval weapons – YouTube

Wow, some of those moves are very systemized and logical. Quite cool, actually.

Fencing with five different medieval weapons – YouTube.