Aramis Gothboi – Progress Journal: Share and share alike

Progress Journal for Aramis Gothboi: Book One

Mog’s ongoing account of completing the first draft.

Total word count: 14,073

~

Eighth Post:

It has begun. Humans are reading my manuscript with the aim of sharing their critical thoughts with me. It took some time to adjust to this unfamiliar level of vulnerability, but I think I’ve come to terms with this necessary step in the process.

Last week began with a little freak out about handing pages over, and I found myself hating every word I’d written. As I developed the feedback questions, I felt the urge to rewrite the whole book before handing it over because, in my eyes, it was all garbage and every sentence was wrong. Needless to say, anxiety had kicked right in and I found myself needing stop for a moment and breathe. Instead of agonising over it all, I put a pin in the task and stopped thinking about it until the following day.

The next morning I went over my notes and the chapter I was to give to my test readers. Yes, it was badly written and yes I did end up re-writing half of it before handing it over, but after a good night’s sleep I was able to see that it wasn’t the end of the world and I didn’t need to stress as much as I did.

So far it’s been a positive experience and already I’ve had some simple suggestions and questions about the story that I couldn’t see for being too close to the work. I’m now very much looking forward to continuing with the feedback process and finding out what else I can do to improve the manuscript.

Progress on the word count has been minimal. I re-wrote one chapter this week and split another into two, and I’ll continue along at a similar pace in this familiar territory for the next five-or-so chapters. After that, there are more chapters that will need to be written fresh before I reach the climax. As these unwritten moments simmer away in my subconscious, I’ll continue to focus on the work at hand. Again, progress will feel a little slower because the word count won’t grow substantially as I continue to re-write and add to the existing text.

To summarise, I’m feeling confident and on track.

This week’s bonus content is a little bit special and relates back to the topic of sharing work with others.

Back in the days when this story was going to be a graphic novel, I shared my art and story notes with fellow artist Helena Norback in the hope that she might help me to improve on the designs I’d already made. As you may have noticed by the amazing character art on this page here, it all went very well. One flaw in the plan, however, was that Helena is such a better artist than me that when I got her roughs back I couldn’t help but think she’s so good at this – what the heck am I even doing?

Hurt pride aside, here are the results:

 

aramis
Aramis character development sketches by Helena Norback (2012)

 

aramis_stroke_texture-fo
Aramis – final design (2012)

Those goggles! I loved them so much that I knew Aramis would now have to where them in at least one scene just because they were so cool. Helena also experimented with hair colour and clothing, and it was brilliant to get that fresh perspective.

 

porcelina
Porcelina character sketch by Helena Norback (2012)

 

Porcelina will not appear in the current book, but you can see how different Helena’s interpretation of the character was from my own sketches. Her version is definitely more childlike, and all the better for it. The costume variations I was playing with were slightly more mature – and even though Porcelina is a living doll, I think I was pushing those designs in the wrong direction.

 

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That’s all for now. Guess it’s time to get back to the manuscript.

Till next week. Stay safe!

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