August 27, 2014

Moving Forward by Looking Back ...

172 pages now!!! I've been working on making some of the secondary characters more complex. I now have a detailed outline of their pasts which will help me to decide how they react in the present. I've been working to interweave everyone's story line so that the actions, if not the characters themselves, (in each of the three regions) more deeply affect all of the others.
I've also been working on the love triangle
who doesn't love good drama in a book?  

So far, I believe my female protagonist, Clothilde, is the common link between everyone. Which is why I'm leaning towards using a title that shifts the focus away from the realm itself and towards Clothilde. This is of course not to say that there is not a TON of other things going on with each of the characters (their lives do not entirely revolve around her) but they are certainly linked together by their relationships to her (as father, friend, foe, master, lover, etc.)

I want my book to be complex and so I am occasionally drawing inspiration from history though I hope it is more approachable for a modern audience than actual Medieval Literature.

I just wanted to take a moment and update my progress. I wrote almost 3000 words today (well the day is not over so I very well may surpass that) and I was feeling quite content with that. I believe my last update was at the 48000 word point. Currently, I am at 56,037 words (172 PAGES!). Every day my story changes and it has been such a journey even getting to this point. There have been days that I feel like a literary genius (today is one of those days ;D ) and there are others that I look at what I have and feel like I am barely making a dent. But today I have irrefutable proof - I am indeed moving forward and knowing that is a wonderful feeling.    

August 17, 2014

DIY Middle Earth Map Shoes (Lord of the Rings) FOR FREE

One of my sisters showed me some amazing shoes on Etsy with the Middle Earth map painted on them. They were REALLY expensive (over $100) and we're both pretty crafty so we figured we could make them for free with things we already had on hand.

Here's what we used ...

  1. plain canvas shoes (we used Keds)
  2. Art pens or thin markers (we used Manga [sketch] pens from Michael's - sizes .05, .3, & .8)
  3. 3 bags of black tea (I make sure we always have some on hand, you can try coffee if you're not a tea drinker but it will probably dry differently and will give you a different look)
  4. an old wash cloth (to stain the shoes with)
I wanted to make sure I wouldn't run out
of room for the text so I did this first. 
If you begin with beige shoes you're good to go but we started with an old white pair so we needed to adjust the color to make it more "map-like". We filled the kettle and as we waited for it to boil, we dusted off our LoTR books, found the maps and discussed which parts of Middle Earth should be on the shoes [we decided Mordor was a must]. When the tea was done brewing, rather than dipping the whole shoes in, we more or less rubbed the tea on with a cloth [this gave us a bit more control and ensured that they did not get too dark or discolored]. We weren't going for perfect so the slight variations in color actually enhanced the look we were hoping to attain. 

Here it is (finished). I drew the mountains around it.  
I began with the larger print and basically incorporated the rest around it (beginning at the toe and working my way back around the sides & heel). I retraced the larger words to ensure that they were nice and dark. I initially thought it would be easier to draw it all out with pencil first but I quickly discovered that I was able to script smaller with the pens than with a pencil (it was also REALLY hard to erase!)

It was pretty difficult to draw on the shoes as is so I stuffed four or five plastic grocery bags into the toe (you could use newspaper or some socks- as long as it's stuffed in tightly). I made sure to add a bit of detail [trees on one shoe & mountains on the other] to the tongue of each shoe as well so that when they are on there wouldn't be an awkward empty gap. Finally, I laced the shoes (oh! we stained the laces to match) using a bar lace since I figured a standard criss-cross lace would cover up too much detail on the nave [yeah- sorry ... that's a cathedral term- not sure what else to call that portion of the shoe].  

What? You want more pictures? Okay ... here you go :)

These next few are of the Left shoe. They look a tad less impressive since this portion of the map is not quite as intricate as the Southern portion of Middle Earth. Oh! I forgot to take pictures of the heels before I gave them to my sis (whoops!) Sorry.  

Let me know if you decide to make some for yourself! I'd love to know how they come out! 

August 12, 2014

Fantasy Map and a Book Update

I'm now at almost 48,000 words which is about 150 pages. Below is my new map that I've been working on - most of it is  hand drawn but I went back in with Pixlr to fix a few things. With the exception of Katyanka's story line, at the moment, I'm fairly pleased with how everything is progressing (but that tends to happen after a more prolific day).

This past week I've been working on the (Western) political drama portion and the love triangle/sibling rivalry between the three in the East. Most of it has been in the form of structural changes and hardcore tweaking of my outline. No I'll just have to go back and fill it in. I've also been working on developing the characters more deeply (giving quirks and complex motivations).