I was also still holding onto some hope that somehow, through one of my projects I could crawl my way out of poverty. But though people like my stuff, I just can't work enough each day to succeed. Maybe someday my novels will become popular, but the first of them is still a ways away - which that was another component of my emotional breakdown because I've hit that awful place in writing novels where it gets incredibly hard. Every time I think I've worked out the logic of it all, like the magic system and the character arcs, I keep on finding more logical errors I hadn't noticed that break large chunks of the whole effing book, and after a while of that it's felt incredibly discouraging, like I've just been spinning my wheels making no progress at all despite the fact that I know my book keeps making more sense with every problem I fix. Holy *crap* does it amaze me that there are so many novels out there, because writing one can be flipping difficult! Plot holes are a major pet peeve of mine, but I understand why so many stories have them now.
Yet another part of what contributed to the emotional breakdown was recognizing that I've plateaued with my drawing skill with my left hand, which is infuriating. Drawing to me is like dancing, but I can't dance when I can't even draw a straight line at most angles. I'm fighting with my own clumsiness the whole way and it's just difficult. A battle. Which is exhausting.
So yeah... all of this stuff collapsed on me at once and I've been struggling to pick myself back up from it for a couple months.
I'm just tired, and my mental health needs tending to because it's gotten to the point where I can barely even get started working anymore each time I try to. I've been using distraction as a coping mechanism almost every waking minute for years, so it's not surprising that I have some work to do on the mental health front.
There is some good news, though. I've become able to do a very small amount of drawing with my right hand again, but it's so little all I can safely manage is to whip out quick sketches that I clean up with my left hand. There've been a few panels I sketched with my right hand here and there mixed in the previous few updates, but I didn't want to say anything about it until I'd managed it for a while.
Regardless, it's an improvement... but still marginal.
I need to rethink my process, stop using the hope of financial success as motivation and just enjoy the process, enjoy creating. And take care of the other things that need doing too.
As such, I'm taking some time off working on art for a while. I don't know how long it'll be. But I'll keep trying. Because my creative projects are some of the only things I have left that have any meaning or bring me happiness anymore, so I'll fight to regain my ability to work on them.
Thanks and I'll get back to it as soon as I can manage.
It's been an infuriating process trying to heal. I read an article about healing tendons from a doctor and he said that the 'coating' on a healing tendon is about as strong as jello, and honestly, from my personal experience that doesn't sound far off. I keep making tiny little mistakes and I can literally feel the coating tearing, and since tendons take most of a year to heal I keep on having start over again and again and build up a database in my mind of what I can and can't do.
On top of that, I've also read that it's bad to completely immobilize it for so long, because it heals weaker and is more likely to be injured again.
So, returning to comics is still way off.
This is what I've been focusing on most lately. Shards has crossed the 50,000 word mark, and I'm aiming for the first book to be somewhere between 75,000-125,000 words. I know that's a pretty wide range but I'm terrible at estimates.
I've also been poking at a few other possible stories a little, but Shards is definitely my main focus.
There's been a bunch of progress on Loot Pursuit as well, if I had to guess I'd say the proof of concept demo is about half done, but as I mentioned I'm terrible at estimates.
It's quite playable at the moment but is missing content and most importantly, a tutorial. It's not a traditional battle system so I think it needs a little explanation for a few things, but it's not all that complex either so it shouldn't require too much, and I can blend it in with the gameplay.
Here are some gifs:
Working on a novel results in me not having much to show while I'm working on it because I'm not the type of writer who writes in a straight line, but I'm continuing to work and I'll update again when I have news on my progress.
It's a little difficult to explain, so I've got some gifs! The game is still very early in development so I haven't nailed down all the mechanics yet, but this is some of what I've got so far:
The design philosophy is this: I love turn-based battle systems, but think there's a lot of untapped potential. Strategy RPGs add unit location and attack range to the mix, but I don't think they go far enough. It seems like all the innovations developers make aren't what I want in such a system... so I'm making it myself.
I'm trying to make the abilities have multiple uses and strategic benefits in different situations. Using a spin attack next to a wall is just the beginning.
It's designed to be a small game so I don't get in over my head with more than I can manage. It's got plenty of potential for sequels or using the battle engine in another game with different characters if I want to do more with it.
I actually got a previous version of this game about 90% complete a while ago, but it was very different and was the first game I ever tried to make, so I made two main mistakes with it - the first is it was too complex for a first game and my code became utterly unmanageable so eventually everything I fixed broke something else. The second was that there wasn't enough variety to the gameplay. When I attempted to make Shards as a video game I tried to fix both those problems, but I went too far in the other direction while designing it, and the gameplay turned out to be too technical to be fun.
With Loot Pursuit version 2, I'm solving that problem by this time not trying to make such an accurate simulation of battle, and instead am building upon tried and true game mechanics.
One of the big factors in my decision to redesign Loot Pursuit rather than use a different setting is that I already have most of the character sprites needed for it, which means a lot less hand usage will be required for the graphics (for anyone reading this who doesn't know, my hands are injured, so having most of the character animations already made helps a lot).
Injured hands? Am I seriously programming without using them? Thanks to the game engine construct 2, the answer is yes! Aside from the graphics, about 99.9% of the work has been done with a head tracker. It's too clumsy to draw with, but I can use C2!
The primary target platform is PC and it's intended to be played with a mouse (or head tracker like mine), but I hope to be able to put it on mobile and maybe Xbox one if I can figure out how to get it to play well with a controller instead of a mouse or touchscreen (the interface in the screenshot is an early version of the mobile design, I haven't decided the best way for the PC UI to work yet). I'd like to put it on mac and linux, but they depend on the state of something called nw.js which will hopefully have its kinks ironed out by then.
Why not the PS4? Simply because the game's running in HTML5 and the PS4 doesn't support that. I suppose if the game is enough of a success I might be able to hire someone to port it, but that all relies on the first step: making the prototype and making sure it's fun. I've learned even if something seems like it would be fun to play in your head, it can be different than imagined when made real. Because of that, I am currently committing only to a prototype to find out how it plays. If it's fun, then I'll keep working on it.
I'll be posting gifs of various features I implement here, on twitter and tumblr. If you'd like to help, here's the link to my patreon, which I'm renovating. Even if you can't or don't want to donate, your support is appreciated!
I'm beginning to be very glad that I made Shards a novel instead of a comic.
As I've continued to work on it, I realized it's too much for one novel. Conveniently, there's a perfect place in the middle of the story to split in two.
In addition, some of the sequences I planned have turned out to be far more elaborate than I originally anticipated - so much so, that I'm not sure I could have handled it in comic form even if my hands weren't messed up (why do I keep writing crowd sequences, seriously).
Despite the transition to novel form I'm happy with how it's turning out, but I admit prose as a medium frustrates me. There's a lot of things that I'm having difficulty conveying with words instead of pictures, and some things aren't possible to convey at all.
I'm not trying to say that comics are always the superior art form in every way, but in terms of the breadth of what it can communicate - or at least in regards to what I'm trying to communicate - comics seem to be capable of more and being more specific.
Of course, it's not exactly that simple, as there are some things I'm finding easy to write that would be clumsier via comic panels too, but I can at least think of a way to make those work in comics at all. Things like the incredible variance and subtleties of facial expression, camera angles and composition range from extremely difficult to impossible to convey with words. I'm sure at least some parts of the problem are that I spent most of my life studying how to make comics instead of novels and that this is a story designed for a comic being converted into a novel, but for now it remains a source of frustration.
On the other hand, while a picture may be worth a thousand words, a picture can be a thousand times more work, so I suppose I shouldn't complain.
Regardless of the difficulties I've been encountering, I believe it is turning out well. Book 1 is maybe about 20% complete which is wildly faster than I could have managed as a comic. Though a little of what I wanted to convey is lost in switching from one medium to another, I think the majority of what's most important about it remains.
First, hand update: I'm still a long ways away from being healed enough to work again.
Second, this is a bit of a long read, so there's a summary at the bottom if you want the quick version.
I've been pondering my options. It's been almost a year since I started Shards. During the period where I've been unable to make pages for it I've continued to work on the story itself, and it's becoming clear that it's just too big for me to make as a comic with how screwed up my hands are.
A vague estimate is if I worked on it exclusively, at two pages per mouth it would take at least 20 years to make, and that's not taking into account the Kyoshi comic, which I don't want to cancel. And that's just those stories - I have others I want to tell too.
What can I do then? Petty much the only way I can think of to keep it a comic is to draw everyone as stick figures, but there's no way I would be satisfied with that (and I doubt most readers would want to read it that way as it would not do justice to the story at all), and if I'm honest, I sincerely doubt I could keep myself from trying to make it more detailed again.
As such, I've been forced to conclude that it's just not feasible as it is.
Okay, a comic is out, then. The solution?
I actually wanted to make a novelization of Shards even before I decided to make it a comic (the version before the comic was a role playing game), so I already thought it's suited to the format.
Writing isn't my first choice of mediums, it's true - comics are what I love making most. However, I've been writing a few sections of the story over the past week and have been having fun with it. I think it's working quite well.
I didn't think it was a realistic option originally because of how slow it was to write, but I've been getting a lot better with the alternative input program I've been using and it's increasing the amount I can write per day.
It amazes me just how much faster it is to write a scene than to draw it. Even with my reduced writing speed, what takes months to make as a comic I can write in hours.
Being able to create content so fast (even though it's still a lot slower than normal typing) has also improved my mood dramatically. I'm making genuine progress on stuff instead of just waiting to heal (a couple weeks ago I thought my left wrist had gotten better enough to do some daily drawing with it - that turned out to be wrong). And a huge bonus? My writing solution doesn't use my hands, so I can rest them and still create!
I'm also considering other options, like making pieces of art to accompany the story, or drawing an occasional page to show bits of the story as I originally imagined it.
This approach also has the benefit of not monopolizing all my available hand endurance to work on two comics. This way I can use that time to work on other stuff.
What about the Kyoshi comic, then?
I'm not sure. I'm debating perhaps writing the less visually important parts of the story and drawing the parts that would benefit most from it. That would get you all the story much faster, and it would make it a lot easier for me as there are some upcoming scenes which would, shall we say, take a lot of work to draw and would probably screw up the two pages per week pace. I would prefer to keep at least some parts of it a comic though. I haven't decided what to do about it yet.
Okay then, writing. Next problem - how to distribute it?
I hadn't plotted out all of Shards when I started it, but because of the pace of new pages, I had quite a while to make the script before the pages caught up. With writing I actually catch up too fast. I don't write the initial ideas in a straight line, so releasing Shards chapter by chapter wouldn't work. It's far better suited to release all at once as a novel.
The Kyoshi story on the other hand might actually work to release chapter by chapter because I've got more of it already figured out. This would also give me a way to produce new content to show people while my hands are healing.
So yeah, tldr: I'm switching to making Shards a novel because it's my only realistic option, and am considering partially or entirely turning the Kyoshi story into a fanfic as well.
Any thoughts? How would you feel about the Kyoshi comic turning partially or entirely into a fanfic? Let me know!
I'm hoping it won't take too long to recover from. I'll update when I've got more of an idea when I can get back to work, but because it's taking longer than I originally anticipated I can't make an estimate, though I'm hoping it won't take longer than a month to heal. In the meantime I'll post some sketches that I already have like character and costume designs.
Sorry for the delay and I'll try to get back to work as quick as I can.
If anyone needs a commission or could make a donation, even a small one, it would help them out a lot!
So there's a 'company' called wallpart dot com. Thanks to wrenwind for letting me know! From reading another journal (cyrustarber.deviantart.com/jou…) if that info is correct then it appears that it's nothing more than a giant phishing scam with malware in the site code. Even reporting a violation supposedly is a form of phishing - through when I clicked the report violation link before discovering what it was I didn't see any form to fill out, so I don't know if they've modified their page since then.
Either way, wallpart appears to be nothing more than an image scraper grabbing tons of random images from the net and allegedly does so for the purpose of stealing your money and info, and they want people to report images to get more info to steal.
Do not use them, or even visit their site at all!
I don't know what can be done about this other than trying to spread awareness and contact their service provider, but they've been around for months and apparently just keep country/host hopping when they get shut down.
At least if there's an upside, I'm pretty sure the reason I developed carpal tunnel syndrome was because I tried working while laying down in bed because I can't sit long, which turned out to be unergonomic, so once it's healed I can probably avoid developing it again.
However, for now I'm going to try for a new Kyoshi page every three weeks instead of two. Hopefully I can manage that.
Second, I've decided to start a patreon! This has been a tricky decision, because of my disability.
First issue - I need original content.
Others have patreons for fan works, but I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea. What I really want to do is have a original second comic running at the same time as the Kyoshi story.
Second issue - what about my hands? Can I handle two comics at once?
I've been practing and improving my effeciency, and I feel very confident that I can make 3 pages per month. If I only do super quick shading, or no shading at all, I might even be able to manage a page per week. Maybe. I'd like to make the second comic entirely in color though, but color takes about twice as long.
So then I have the choice of two pages for each comic per month (maybe), or 2 for Kyoshi/only one for Shards but in color. One page per month is utterly glacial for a comic, though.
So what I'm probably going to do is the same as I'm doing for the Kyoshi comic, using color and shading where it's more important. But then what happens when the Kyoshi story needs color? I guess it'll have to be one update a month also. Hopefully I'll be able to improve my speed and efficiency further.
It's not optimal at all, but it's the best idea I've got. :/ The only other option isn't really an option - putting the Kyoshi comic on hiatus for years. I've built up my fan base with the Kyoshi comic and I don't want to disappoint you all like that.
So two comics it is. I've almost got the website ready and enough pages to start. I'm quite excited, I've been writing this story for ages!
I've been poking at the comic occasionally to check how I'm doing and have the next three pages almost done, but I don't want to post them to suddenly have another long delay between pages again.
To keep myself sane I've been working on one of my other creative loves, game development. It's actually significantly easier on my hands than drawing is by using a program called construct 2 that allows me to avoid typing for the most part, but not easier enough and as such I'm still unable to work quickly on that either.
I could post some updates about that here I guess, but the game I'm trying to make is an RPG, and those take quite a while to make even without hand problems, so there isn't that much to show very often on that front either.
Just thought I'd let you all know what's going on. The Kyoshi comic has not been forgotten and I do want to get back to it.