Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Value of NaNoWriMo

Character Artwork: Version Two - for NaNoWriMo 2012, Karen Gadient

I didn’t win the Powerball. Pretty sure you didn’t either. Bummer, right?

However… last night, I “won” NaNoWriMo for the second time. This novel(la) was more of a struggle than the one I did last year—due to less laughs and more doom—but I reached 51,071 words and crafted a decent ending.

My main character (yep, that’s him in this post’s image) went through a lot of changes as he fought his way through the story. He began as a teenager and ended up a grown man, much faster than he’d expected. And, although he may live for another hundred years, he still still has a lot of galaxy to save. I’ll return to him for a rewrite/edit and maybe a sequel.

Still, I’m glad to finally put NaNoWriMo aside and begin editing the novel I finished just before NaNoWriMo began. Those characters never got out of my head throughout all of November, and it was like having two people in the room with you, talking while you were trying to work!

“You really writing that? It’s creepy. Come back to us. We’ve got flying cars!”

NaNoWriMo Banner

This year, I saw a lot more banter online regarding the value of NaNoWriMo. Plenty of hate along with the love. Valid points on both sides.

I agree that not everyone “has a story in them” or is meant to be “a writer”. I agree that too many people submit/self-publish their “masterpiece” without proper revision, editing, and general professionalism.

Doe NaNoWriMo encourage this?

No. There will always be people who are naive, disillusioned, misinformed, or think that rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve been one of those writers. It was only through years of reading and failing and getting smacked on the head by professionals that I realized I wasn’t pouring magic from my fingers. Same goes with my art and design work.

As Alanis Morissette once said: you live, you learn. I’ll never stop learning. Or failing, I’m sure! I’m human. But I’ll keep doing what I do because I love doing it.

Sure, the online bookstores are full of junk. But there are gems too. Some of those gems even began in NaNoWriMo. Only those writers re-wrote, edited, got beta readers, and enlisted the help of professionals for the final product.

My favorite example, of course, is my best friend Natania Barron and her fantastic book Pilgrim of the Sky, which began in NaNoWriMo (although it went through plenty of changes before publication). I’m proud to get the blame for planting a wine-soaked seed for another book in those worlds, featuring one of my favorite characters, Joss Raddick. Mmm-hm.

Natania speaks of writing and NaNoWriMo, and shares some of her story.

Participate in NaNoWriMo. Have crazy fun with it. Get the short draft done. Then prepare to spend a lot of time fixing that draft before forcing it on others, if that’s your plan. Be proud you got the thing out of your head and onto the paper.

As my friend Katie cheered to me all this month: YAY YOU!

NaNoWriMo encourages people to give something a try—and to give themselves a chance to create something awesome. In a frenzy, without censorship. It’s so freeing. It’s a wonderful mess. It’s dreaming awake. For me, it’s embracing my inner child and remembering what it was like to hop in a sack race. It’s pure fun, even if no one ever reads it, and even if you don’t “win”.

That’s why I’ll keep doing it, year after year.

My favorite pep talk from NaNoWriMo this year, by Nick Hornby.

Congrats to all of you who did NaNoWriMo this year. And congrats to all of you who dare to create, no matter what you bring to life or what month it is.

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Filed under Creativity, Friendship, Imagination, Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Urban Myths and Memories

I grew up in Irvington, New Jersey, which I’d best describe as a suburb of Newark, despite the area not being suburban in a soccer-mom sense. Irvington has been given a rough reputation, but I’m loyal to it. It’s my hometown.

As a kid, I knew every house on my street. I knew all the blocks around me. I knew downtown and I knew the parks. I felt sad every time another neighbor moved. People tried to stay in touch, but a lot of friendships faded.

I was a kid and I did not see color. I saw people.

I still see people as people. Not their color, faith, sexuality, or politics.

But this wasn’t supposed to be a post about that. I wanted to share something weird from my childhood. I couldn’t find anything written about it, although I’d bet other people in Irvington were probably told a similar story as a kid.

Ornate Line

Irvington has these canals. Some people call them brooks. Made of stone and pretty tall in some areas, finished with fencing and probably pretty damn old.

Anyway, when it rains, they fill up. We have them here too, but in the Southwest, they’re flatter and wider. The ones in Irvington—if you got in one, climbing out was difficult. Kids drown in things like that. Hell, kids drown in the ones here too.

My father knew how much I explored. Really, I got into everything. I had friends that had gone into the canals. Well, my father showed me this stone face in the wall near the high school. He told me several versions of how that face got there:

It was haunted. It was the guardian of the waterways. It was one of the people who built it and they got stuck and were left there! It was even someone he knew. Half the time, I suspected he’d put the face there himself.

Other kids got similar stories. One of our neighbors even told this gruesome tale of the face being the mother of some kids who drowned down there! Told all us kids that one. “If you go down there, she’ll keep you instead!” Real La Llorona.

If you’d heard that woman talk, you’d believe her too.

Kept us from going down there. Still, wonder what the true story is?

CLICK HERE for a photograph of the “face in the wall”.
I couldn’t reach the photographer for permission and didn’t feel comfortable using the image without his okay. It’s the only photo I could find of the “face”.

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Filed under Childhood, Journal, Life, The Unknown

Logos, Patches, and Inspiration

Before you guys shoot me for all the Debris Dreams posts, I promise I’ll keep those on the light side soon. However, since I’m doing my posts alphabetically and happen to be on the letter ‘L’… I figured I’d show you what inspired the CAA and Luna logos/patches I designed for the book.

Around the time I was assigned the project, we had visited the Pima Air & Space Museum to have a look at the planes and the space-related stuff they have. I’m a geek and love planes—and cars, and especially boats, but I digress…

Lucky for me, they also had plenty of patches to gawk at. Here are a few of the photos I took (with my ancient cell phone, hence the amazing quality), along with the CAA and Luna logos below them. In case you’re curious, the crane’s banner on the CAA logo says “Semper Fidelis” in Chinese.

Debris Dreams - Logo Inspirations

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Filed under Arizona, Art, Books, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Publishing

Debris Dreams: Print Cover

Finally sharing the full cover for Debris Dreams, which will be out this month. Written by David Colby and published by Candlemark & Gleam. Book cover design and illustration by yours truly. The print cover shows you the wraparound design that was not shown in the front cover reveal on SF Signal.

Please consider supporting the Kickstarter and you can get lots of goodies!

And yes, this the same author with the awesome book trailer!

Click the image to see a larger version.

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Filed under Book Cover Design, Books, Graphic Design, Publishing, Science Fiction

Debris Dreams: Kickstarter Book Trailer

Debris Dreams Cover Art Cropped by Karen Gadient, Dru in Space, David Colby

I write, but for a living I’m a graphic designer and illustrator. Recently, I finished the book cover for this amazing sci-fi tale called Debris Dreams, which will be released this month from Candlemark & Gleam. This morning, I discovered that the author, David Colby, had created a book trailer.

The trailer started out with what I’d expect: space and Earth. But soon, it went right to David’s house and things got crazy. Like PONIES crazy. Made me laugh. I friggin’ loved it. I toasted my coffee mug to it. The guy has some guts to shoot his trailer in his own house, with his own mother, and perhaps even his own tortured neighbors. Take a few moments and check it out!

Debris Dreams Kickstarter Video
(NOW WITH MORE LASERS… and maybe even a PONY)!

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Filed under Book Cover Design, Books, Publishing, Science Fiction, Space