113 of 365 – Cosmic Ram

~From the desk of the semi-animate Master Archivist~

Good day friends! I’ve been under the weather, resting, but am slowly getting back into the archives to extract some gems for you.

This sketch is a bit obscure, but it seems to be a depiction of a person imbued with the power of an astral beast. Our best guess is that this comes from the legend of the lightning fleece.

One member of our crew is currently working on a tale called Woolmancy, which delves more into the details of that particular patch of mythology, and it’s made us all realize that we should cover more mythos here! Look for it in the future.

Woolmancy Update: Serialization

7 pages of Woolmancy were crafted. It was pitched. And in the time it’s been sitting about, waiting for a reply… It has evolved. It has become so much more and so much fun! The image above is a silly sketch, but things have drastically changed inside the story too.

As things progress, Woolmancy will be produced as a book. As much as we enjoy running short stories here, there’s no way we could serialize something so long here on the Blue Cat Co blog. The current thought is that Woolmancy could be serialized on Patreon! More news on that as it comes.

If you want any of the other stories in one collection, see our Gumroad for PDF downloads of the stories we’ve presented here in the past.

In other news, Bellmage will be cleaned up, with an expanded ending, and released as a book as well as The Gates later this year. The Tricon Rugara is a bit short, but may be offered as well.

We will return to worldbuilding posts soon! Our Master Archivist is recovering nicely and should be back in commission any day now.

Woolmancy Update – The Importance of Finishing

woolmancy-square

A font test for the Woolmancy title. If this were an actual book cover, the font would need to be beefed up.

How’s everything going? Have you been enjoying the story of The Phoenix Tree, fresh from the Blue Cat Co archival room?

Project Woolmancy has been underway for a few months now and the first comic pages have been crafted. I wanted to take a moment to talk about the importance of finishing and skill building.

The script for Woolmancy has been edited, rewritten, reviewed, edited, rewritten and now I’m thinking of a new way to write comics scripts using audio recording. The thumbnails have gone through a similar process, changing right up until the final page and sometimes afterward.

So you would think that it would be good to go right? Not necessarily. Skills grow and taste grows along with them. As your skills grow, you become aware of things that you could do differently.

The key here is finishing. You can’t effectively enact changes until you’ve finished something. You have to be able to hold it up and say “this is done. Now how can I do better next time?” Throughout the process I thought I could make changes as I figured things out. Each page could be a little better. And they were just a little better.

In order to make your work a lot better, however, you have to finish.

So the introduction is done. And it may be redone with my new found level of skill and discernment after I take a break.

After a week you may look back at your work and decide that your skills haven’t advanced to the point that they would be improved by a rework. In that case, you move on. Endless iterations are just as pointless as leaving what could be better.

However, I must say that I worked harder than I ever have on this project so far and I’m proud of the result, no matter how imperfect. It was a different kind of hard work. I altered my process so that I could use my mind the whole time, rather than just grunt work churning out pages. But that’s a topic for another update.

Talk to you again soon!

 

-Abrian-

What’s the Point?

Sweaty Mirin WebEveryone loves a good sweat.

Still running the #shareyourworld game on Twitter. You get to tell me, in a tweet (if possible), what your world is about. I’m noticing two trends:

  1. We confuse story with world.
  2. We don’t know why we’re building.

Sometimes I’ll get replies that tell me plot. “Scott the magical dog goes on an adventure to Doom Mountain” is a plot (can someone write that please?). “Set in the modern day where magic infuses the land and gives animals powers,” is a world description. If you’re in the Oatley Academy, you probably know this as the One Big Lie. The one over-arching point of your world.

I think we find it hard to summarize our worlds because we haven’t spent time building them, just time on making the narrative. Your world is a living organism. Your world is telling its own story. That’s where the story you’re telling came from. Every time you write an establishing shot, your world is telling a story.

So take some time to listen to your world and give it some life. Then comment on this post or on social media with #shareyourworld and tell me what it’s all about.

How Many Iterations? + A Video

Mirin Over Time

Sadly we’re missing the transition between the first and second image. The ram horns phase…

I came upon a note in my list of project questions for Woolmancy: “Character design, how many iterations?”

I laugh at this, and kind of laughed when I wrote it. No matter how many times I refine my design, it’s going to change once I start placing the actors on their stage (drawing the real deal comic pencils). That’s when I see them delivering their lines and playing their parts and that’s when they come to life!

Also, I just made a Patreon-exclusive video available to the public to celebrate the opening of this website. Have a look!

 

-Abrian-

Weavery Hierarchy

Before I start throwing out titles like you know what I’m talking about, I thought I’d make a flow chart of the titles and responsibilities of the weavery featured in Woolmancy. Of course when I started this chart, I brought up a hyper detailed Excel spreadsheet with links and bios and…

Dye Worker

Don’t start with me Dye Master. You know I attempt to over-complicate everything. You can tell this frustrated guy is a dye master because of his hands! It’s a traditional thing. Each guild has a different marking, but dye masters are the only ones with their arms ceremonially dyed up to their elbows.

Yes, it fades, as do all guild marks. Guild status has to be renewed every few years, and there is the opportunity to switch!

All fabrics of this particular weavery are dyed with the utmost attention payed to quality and consistency. Dye masters are chemists in the most varied sense, as many of them dabble in ancient methodologies as well.

 

On to that hierarchy chart. I took a chill pill and made a simple one in Illustrator instead:

Weavery Hierarchy

There are more positions, sure, but these are the ones that could be referred to in Woolmancy, and in which you can achieve master status. Mirin falls under weaver > patterns. She is an apprentice and answers directly to the Master Weaver, but she will become a Pattern Master. If she can get out of her own way anyway.

Mirin’s fellow suspects–I mean weaving apprentices fall into one of the two camps, her rival Genovise being tapestry focused. The other player in this game is Satski. She is the same age as Mirin, but was able to keep laser-sharp focus and already has been appointed as a Dye Master. She is therefore a rank above Mirin.

Have you told me about your world yet? If so, have you made any developments since we last talked? Let me know in the comments or on social media #shareyourworld.

 

-Abrian-

Post Statement: You can totally email me too, if you’re not yet confident about posting to the world.

 

Your World is a Good Idea

I will be posting some more visual development stuff soon, but another thought came to mind as I was editing my script for Woolmancy. 

The idea you have isn’t silly. Even if it’s been done or doesn’t seem like it’s wrestling with world-changing concepts! I always feel somewhat ashamed of my ideas or names or plots because they’re usually very light-hearted. But let’s take a look at what happened to Woolmancy over time.

Mirin Railing Web

Honestly Mirin, if that was your only problem I wouldn’t have a story.

The initial idea for Woolmancy was a girl who was too focused on logic, to the point that she set off to prove a mythical creature existed just because it statistically could.

So I asked why (at some point my editor asked why. Get an editor people. They are beautifully helpful). Why is Mirin so logical? Then why would anyone be overly logical? Then why would that be a bad thing? What are the possible consequences outside of thinking?

And finally I asked: what’s the worst that could happen? Ah there’s the magic.

After this series of questions, my story purpose shifted from an empty cautionary tale about balancing logic and creativity, to a story about trust, fear, and bonds. But the plot idea is still the same! Mythical lightning sheep and even a few more jokes have crept in.

Does that still sound like a silly story? Not really. In fact, it was so startling and so fitting to my own life that I had to pause and wonder if I could pull off creating it!

By the way, if you’re afraid to produce your story, chances are that it’s the one you should be writing. Not only that, but if you’re afraid that it’s silly, I’d be willing to bet that there’s a greater purpose lurking beneath the surface.

Till next time.

-Abrian-

Post Statement: Have you told me about your world yet? Comment and tell me what world you’re building, want to build or have dismissed because you thought it was silly. Or on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram using the hashtag #shareyourworld

Post Post Statement: Also, if you followed the old blog, I will be hiding that eventually. So if there are any old post topics that you’d like to see brought back to life on this site, just let me know.