September Progress Report
Story Writing Status
There’s been a small setback in regards to the second draft of the story. That setback being when I finished Chapter 5 I found that there was no first draft of Chapter 6 or any later chapters. So I now have the second draft on hold while I go back and finish writing the first draft. I can’t believe I didn’t finish the first draft!! This is what I get for letting a year pass between drafts. Well, I’m now towards the end of Chapter 7 of the first draft and I believe there will be about two or three more chapters plus an extended epilogue. Once I finish this first draft I will go pick up where I left off on the second draft which ended with Chapter 5. I feel like hitting my head against the wall right now.
What’s really crazy is that I’m already writing notes for the third draft. I’ve already noticed a few things I need to fix in the earliest chapters. I hope this means that the writing of drafts will go quicker and more smoothly from here on out.
That said, the story is looking quite good (if I do say so myself). It makes my first attempt at this novel back in 2012 look like total crap. It’s just the story though. How well will it translate to graphic novel format? That’s a ways off yet but I do have frames and page layouts in mind as I write each and every scene.
Research and Reference
I’m still trying to balance real-world locations and concepts with fictional locations and concepts. The real-world stuff adds a relatable sense of realism to the story. Fictional locations are safer to write (less chance of pissing anyone off in any way and not as many requirements for accuracy) but too much fiction and people will not know what is going on or where anything is happening.
For the real-world locations that I’ll be using, I am paying a lot more attention to maps and travel times between locales. No more will Shelby ride a motorbike from Paris to “Western Germany” in a single afternoon. Now she will start out from Strasbourg, France and go to the forests surrounding Ulm, Germany. Not only is there historical significance to Ulm that relates to the story but the distance between those places is about two hours so it actually makes sense in a variety of ways as compared to the previous novel. Speaking of the German geography, I want to thank my friend Anglu for helping me out with that. I would have made some clueless mistakes (like I did the first time out) without her help.
I still have much more research to do and I think some of my preliminary research may have been in error. When I wrote the first draft last year, I thought the Aztecs ruled the Yucatan but as I was writing the second draft I started thinking that no, the Maya were in the Yucatan. I screwed up somewhere at some point. I’ll get it all straightened out and the work will be well worth it in the end.
Concept Art Creation
First off, I have created four brand new character concepts which can be found on the Concept Art page. They are Dr. Robert Bly, Devin Isoba, Bianca Gravois, and Nick Piper. I also updated the character concept for Maia Avanti. I’ll be updating a couple more in the next update including a new holster setup for Joel. A preview of what I have in mind is shown to the left. I still need to do some more work to that concept before it’s ready to be posted on the main site.
Speaking of the next site update, I’ll be adding other types of concept art besides characters (at least that is the plan). I am working on modeling the props that will serve as the story’s “mcguffin”. My modeling skills are still a bit lacking but the prop’s structure is rather simple according to the schematics I drew (good thing I remember those drafting classes I took in college) and most of the detail work will be done with textures which I’ve had a lot of practice with. I will also add some location concepts from Chapter 1. All the location concepts will be of the non-spoiler variety.
Once I finish the main character concepts, I’ll work on the “alternate version” concepts such as the younger versions of Marissa and Robert needed for the prologue. There’s also different outfits needed for certain characters, especially Shelby who will dress appropriately for each location’s climate and action needs.
Here is an alternate view of the main Shelby outfit so you can finally see her backpack and a few other new details that you couldn’t see in the concepts I already posted.
Promotional Art Debut
I finally finished the first piece of promotional art for the Shelby Bly Project! Granted, I had created a few pieces for the old novel but now everything is new again. 😉
The new artwork is called Piedra del Sol (a.k.a. The Sun Stone) and can be found on the Promotional Art page which is where all future promotional artworks will be. This artwork does not contain any spoilers for the story. I will be marking each artwork as to whether it contains spoilers or not for those who don’t want the upcoming novel to be spoiled in any major way.
I have more promotional artwork ideas sketched out. I just have a lot of work to do on a great many projects in addition to the Shelby Bly Project. I hope to create another promo artwork before the month is over with though.