Beating the Beatsheet

It’s another insomniac night for Yours Truly. Sometimes on nights like this I get a lot done. Other nights not so much because it really takes a lot of energy to draw stuff. I’ll look at what I gotta do. I’ll scroll the images up. I’ll scroll them down. I’ll wish I was sleeping.

Tonight is one of those anti-art nights. But the juices want to flow even though after a nice hot bath I’m ready to try sleeping again. I already wrote a filk to the tune of The Sounds of Silence in under an hour. (I’ll perform it someday, too.) I scrolled up, I scrolled down. Oh hell. I’ll do some character development for my novel, still as of yet unnamed.

So I opened up the beatsheet. And then I opened the character chart. A character chart is basically a questionnaire you fill out about your characters. It helps you to get to know them better, which is pretty important. Even minor characters deserve at least a little thought.

For example, there’s a scene where my main protagonist walks into an apothecary. The owner of the shop, whom the readers never meet, is a plump middle-aged woman with hair that doesn’t like to stay put. She was wearing yellow that day. She loves flowers and cats. And has a temper. Oh, boy does she have a temper. Watch out. She can also poison you to death and you won’t know it until a year after you’re dead.

What’s the point to all that? Oh, well, you never know. I may need to mention her in conversation or something. Or a more major character may have an event happen to them and I’ll need her. And it just helps make events more rounded. Maybe a ring this woman made comes to light after it kills the king or something. Who knows.

To my surprise the beatsheet for my main characters is done. The minor characters in my story I don’t feel I need to worry about them. My minor characters tend to float through and rarely leave an impression, even though I try really hard to write differently.

And I thought it would be a nice preview if I shared some of it here… it doesn’t contain spoilers. Just a list of folks that are involved. Kind of like a movie preview. This book has been in progress for a while now, but you know how it is. Survival is a meanie. We’re about to go through a lifestyle change. We’re hoping it will allow me to write closer to full time. And some swearing. I’m rarely serious when writing stuff like this.

  Alethea Asher Gavin Reginald Bookie Helena and Robert Hellsworth
role Protagonist/ Heroine Protagonist/Hero Protagonist/ Hero Supporting character/duped dummy Antagonist/ villain Supporting characters
sex Female Male Male Male Male Male and Female
Age 17 18 20 40 ageless 40-ish
place of birth Dark Amber Hellsworth Hellsworth Rome Hellsworth
place of residence Hellsworth Helmsworth Helmsworth The manor Seattle, Washington Hellsworth
height 5’4″ Who The Fuck cares
body type Bulky Muscular for a kid Lithe
hair Dark brown, curly Strawberry blonde Brown Black Brown
eyes Black Hazel Brown Nondescript Brown
skin Pale Ruddy Pale to olive Olive Olive
facial features freckles Bumply nose Look sculpted Shaven Purty
style Prefers boys clothing but will wear a dress if necessary Dirty Always looks like he just stepped out of a steampress He’s a butler. I mean, duh. They are a lord and lady and shall look as such all of the time even when having nightmares or walking the plank
education Homeschooled in the dark arts of transmitigation, lycanthropy, demonology and pizza pies. No, not really. He hates to read. Has the equivalent of a complete Jr. High education with particular interest in hawkery The Authentic English Butler Academy, graduate College level junk
peers When people figure out she’s her father’s daughter, they tend to avoid her and be extremely polite. Frequently shunned Loved by all, gets praised a lot. Has no peers. He’s a butler. Duh. But he was top of his class and well liked. They think he’s a stinky weak poo head for getting trapped in a book without even giving so much as a papercut. They are liked by their peers. The petty ones envy them.
family Mother died in childbirth. Father died while battling a runaway spell. Which goes to show you should never fall asleep with the cauldron running. Father is a chimney sweep. Mother is laundry maid. Two brothers, one sister. Mother and father are lords of Helmsworth. Younger sister that likes dolls. n/a Two children, Gaven and Sophia. Alathea is the only child to Helena’s close cousin who was raised as a sister.
occupation Witch All purpose chore boy The lord and heir to Helmsworth Butler Book Whatever lords and ladies do
Good witch or bad witch? Hasn’t decided yet Basically good but will break the law if it interests him Real good. And by the book. Asshole. Bad witch. They’re family
personal identity Her father’s daughter He is comfortable with his lot in life. Knows he’s the heir and takes it for granted. Feels he is the family’s only true protector He’s a demon. I mean, duh. They’re still into each other after all these years
personality traits Timid but will fake being brave. Can be slightly indecisive but pretty much knows what she wants. Not good at keeping secrets. Keeps secrets because he forgets them within four minutes. Easy going, but will draw a line if the situation is going against his personal morality. Romantic, polite, knows how to turn a girl’s head, good with business, loves to hunt Acts snotty, hard to change his mind Bloodthirsty, Gives papercuts frequently, deceptive, but loyal once bound Both are quiet natured and love to sit outside and drink tea. The mother is often sad about her cousin and wishes to be closer to Alathea.
quirks Hates to lie. Will tell a sob story, though. But they’re not lies. They’re all true. Picks at his fingernails Loves gaming and hawkery Neat freak They keep their secrets
flaw Not a good liar. Forgetful Tends to put gaming first Judgmental Easily tricked by use of promises of new gilding (vain) The need to know bullshit
soft spot The book. Sappy, falls for sob stories Hawks The family. Libraries. Children
skill Magic Grunt work Business Buttling Magic Whatever lords and ladies do

Lights Are Back On – so that I can make a children’s book

We made arrangements with the landlord to skip part of the rent so we could get the lights turned back on. Shew. And then loyal readers and friends alike swooped in and saved the day with donations and support. We’re not 100% back on track. We’ll be skipping the car payment this month to get more on track… sort of… but I’m back online and kicking along.

I’ve been meaning to talk about a project I’ve toyed with here and there for a year or so now. It’s been on the backburner because of time issues… hand issues.. health. Whatever. It’s a little book I’ve been calling Purple and Green Spots, but I think I’m going to change it to Red Rena as that seems like a more appropriate name.

It’s a children’s book – yes I do sometimes step away from the adult mechanisms that product children to think of things they could read and enjoy. =^-^= I’ll never understand why people seem to think that in order to want to bring joy to children you must first refrain from being an adult in any way shape or form. That’s just a very unhealthy attitude in my mind. But, because people tend to not read book descriptions and get confused easily when buying, I have decided to separate the few times I make children’s material into an umbrella under a pen name.

Choosing the pen name was hard. I wanted to use my earned name – my “Indian name” to some of you – but I wanted it to be in one of the original languages of my people. That was harder than it sounds, because the language isn’t spoken so much anymore. Those who whine about it don’t make any attempts to try and speak it even a little in casual conversation – as would be a big stepping stone in bringing a language back (Elementary, my dear Watson!). And those who knew enough to help me figure out the meaning told me point blank that what I should do was *learn the entire language enough to figure out the meaning all by myself*. Because kicking your cousin to the curb is going to help your case.

When I did figure out what I hoped was the right translation, it was too awkward sounding. But that also was met with a snark by those who could have helped. What kind of monster was I to want my pen name to be something easy to pronounce?! The horror. But I’m not writing these books 100% in Mohegan, sorry. I wanted my pen name to be something that was Mohegan but was also easy for a small child to identify and pronounce… being as there are no small children fluent in Mohegan anymore. What I’ve come up with is Keenum Spear. Mohegan – ‘carries” and Spear. Carries Spear, or.. well, my name. Spearcarrier.

Now before some of you Hollywood types go jumping on me about how my name should be “Spearcarrier Woman” or some other insulting name-changing monicker.. no. I am not a Spearcarrying Woman. I am simple and plain, a spear carrier. Period. Don’t insult me by changing the meaning of my name just to suit yourself and some sexist attitude that doesn’t belong here, and I won’t talk bad about you fifteen years later.

Anyway pen name established I reopened my little book and took a fifteenth look at it. It’s written, it’s been polished, I even kind of know how I want it. I’m at the stage now where I develop characters and plan a storyboard. The problem? The art.

An example of the art style I am considering for Red Rena.
An example of the art style I am considering for Red Rena.

I could hand draw it. Yes. I could. And take even longer to produce this book. Or I could use 3D, being as I’ve been really liking how some of the stuff comes out using the method, and knock the sucker out. I chose 3D. And for the figures I chose RuntimeDNA’s Chip, Cookie and Gumdrops base.

This is where the trouble comes in. There’s all sorts of things for Cookie. She’s cute and sexy. And, well, adorable. Chip has a few things. Not a lot, but a few. He seems to be considered more Cookie’s accessory than someone who also might need pants and a shirt. Gumdrops, however, has next to nothing. I’ve been going crazy looking for something she can wear that’s not going to be a ballgown, fairy dress, or in this case… a parka.


The solution is something called Crossdresser. Apparently if I install this magic wand and pay for Gumdrop’s license, I can dress her (or him) in anything I desire. Woo hoo!

The program keeps stalling at 30%.

But things will be as they are. I could also take my Genesis (v1) figure and spend months morphing it into a Gumdrops like figure that will serve as Rena. I did this for 10 Confessions, so I’m no stranger to this and quite frankly I’m considering doing it just because I think it might be neat to do so. In the meantime, though… I can only spend some time on this here and there while I work to get us out of the hole fate has put us into.

My future plan with Red Rena is that once I have it ready for production, I will hold a Kickstarter campaign. I want to use this book as a starting platform to produce books kids with my ethnic background can relate to. I’m thinking… campaign could produce a certain amount of books that could be donated to our library or something. I just haven’t figured out how to do it so that I’m not, as Terry Pratchett might say, cutting me own throat.

After Red Rena, I plan to launch a series of retold legends from my people. These legends would use occasional Mohegan words so they not only preserve our culture and teach it to the next generation, they teach something more. It’s going to be hard getting these legends, because a lot of our oral culture has been lost. But I intend to dig and try, even if it means selling my house to move back to the rez.

What I intend to NOT have in my books are those annoying “think” questions that have become the trend for children’s books. I’m out for kids to fall in love with reading and enjoy themselves, not to have stuff shoved down their throats that discourages them from it. If you give a kid something and just let them be, they tend to benefit from it. Being as I’m not putting my books out through the public school system, I think I’m okay to follow through on this philosophy.

And that’s what I’m up to. Back to work.