Zettelkasten

So, right now, I’m taking notes on blank playing cards.

There was some German sociologist who got the bright idea of keeping his notes in a box and numbering them 1, 2, 3, 2a, 2a1… etc… and allowing clusters to develop naturally. When a cluster got large enough, he could turn the cluster into a book. In this manner, he published some 80 books in his adult lifetime.

I’m neither a sociologist nor a great respecter of sociology. But I hypothesize this method can result in superior books on my part if I just do card notes for whatever I feel like tinkering with, and then ‘harvest’ clusters of cards to convert to my current bookmaking workflow. An Awesome Moments cluster has already started to develop.

Which brings me to my current labors on Hat Trick.

Hat Trick 2: Night Mare Nightmare, AKA Hat Trick 1: Night Mare Nightmare, consists of two parts. Part one is a story about Arthur Rabbit as a child, and is almost mapped out. Part two is the proper sequel of Hat Trick 1: The Death of Arthur, AKA Hat Trick 0: The Death of Arthur, and wraps up Arthur’s struggle with the Night Mare. The idea is to make the second book a worthy sequel to the first book, while at the same time making it able to stand alone as a comic book and to serve as a new, better foundation for the series.

Part 2 of Book 2 is not well conceived and planned. Up til now, my method of storymaking has been to plow ahead and see what I come up with, albeit I do start with the climax in mind, so I have some assurance that the story will work, and I do typically lay out an act-based plot structure before writing.

I have been considering planting HT2 it in my card case and harvesting it when it grows ripe, just converting my entire workflow to this new zettelkasten system. However, now I have a better idea. I will finish the mockup for part 1, plant the second story in the card case, and start seeding the card case for whatever I feel like. When Part 2 is ready to harvest, I’ll mock up the rest of the comic.

The result is Hat Trick 2 has been changed from definitely my next book to probably my next book.

My next book is whichever ripens first.

I will keep this blog updated with the statuses of the seeds in my card box. By way of example, the Awesome Moments cluster is currently about 15 cards, including 6 concept pages. The Hat Trick cluster has nothing, but over the next couple of days, it should grow quite a bit.

The Week of DOOOOOOOM!

So, last week was rather pathetic. Monday, nothing. Tuesday, nothing. Wednesday through Friday, the bare minimum amount of work.

This week, on Monday, I got three pages storyboarded. I was pumped. We were finally picking up speed.

Tuesday I had to help my brother make hay all day. No problem. I’ll just spend all of Wednesday working on the comic.

Wednesday, the tent housing all my belongings blew away in a strong wind, leaving my stuff out in the elements. I spent the whole day trying to recover everything, all of Thursday making more hay, and Friday recovering.

So we went from six pages in a week to three. Not good.

I need to re-evaluate my workflow and goals and bring them in line with reality. I have a couple of thoughts on this, but they are going to wait while I develop them.

How to make a living as a kids’ book author?

My custom, every year, is to take the week of my birthday, the first of February, off, and to spend that vacation, after a couple of days sleeping and playing vidya, analyzing how the previous year went and deciding what I want to try with the next year.

My version of New Years resolutions, as it were.

I can’t actually do that this time round. See, I’ve worked at the same retail establishment for 15 years, so for the last several years, I acquired Paid Time Off at a frightening rate. But last year, I quit, and was unemployed for several months. Then I applied for my old job back and got it — but not with my 15 years of accumulated raises and benefits.

I did get three days off in a row this week, which was intended to be spent recording audio for a digital pop-up book. But life circumstances in the month between when I requested the time off, and when the time off occurred meant I was not ready to record. Indeed, I did not accomplish anything on the pop-up book really at all. So I’ve rested and prayed and pondered, and I’ve decided I’ve given up on paper kids’ books too soon. This year, minus January, but plus January of next year (as though the year started February), I’m going to produce a new kids’ book each month. And while I do that, the question I’ll explore is: is there a way for me to make a living producing illustrated children’s books?

Continue reading “How to make a living as a kids’ book author?”

Building Castles out of Soap Bubbles

I recently ran across a take by C.S. Lewis on eschatology. His concept of the end times is that the point of end times passages is not so that we can play Pin the Tail on the Antichrist, but to put our actions in perspective. Christ might return in a thousand years. We’d better make long-term plans and brace ourselves for the long haul. Christ might return tomorrow. We’d better not neglect our neighbor today.

His point was that it is good to plant oaks in whose shade you will never rest. But if you prioritize the long game to the point of actively harming those around you, and Christ decides to end the show tomorrow, that would be pretty embarrassing, wouldn’t it?

Lewis was writing before Eugenics was a dirty word. When everyone thought “if we only let science do whatever it wishes, we shall cure death and suffering in a few years,” instead of having the general distrust for boffins in white coats which the technocrats have earned for themselves in the intervening years. At the time, the idea of breaking a few eggs to make a civilizational omelette was in vogue in a way it isn’t now (though sadly, as a culture, we’ve rejected it not because it is wrong, but because of the teh feelz).

His take, however, ties in quite well to thoughts I’ve been entertaining of late.

Continue reading “Building Castles out of Soap Bubbles”

Nanokidmo is cancelled.

My golden rule: from the moment a project is started, it’s locked in, Hell or high water.

My silver rule: until that moment, it’s not.

I’m going to be making a videogame prototype in November. An ugly prototype, though I am capable of non-ugly art. It’s gonna be awesome. I am hereby committing to that project. It is officially as good as done.

And then in December I will probably make Jump the Shark 2. But do remember my silver rule…

Objectives

Making kids’ books, I have these objectives:

  1. I want to feed my family and garner for myself some freedom to make more stories.
  2. I want to make cool things and get them in the hands of people who would enjoy them.
  3. I want to love my neighbor by building and uplifting Christendom, as Christendom has good things like flush toilets, whereas post-Christendom has bad things like typhus.

These objectives are independent of each other. I would prefer if I could accomplish all three at once: Make a cool thing that uplifts Christendom and those who would like it then proceed to buy it thereby allowing me to feed my family. But as long as I am on point for these three objectives, I can be content. I can gladly work a day job, make kids’ books, and promote Christendom independently of each other.

For instance, I want Jon Del Arroz, Adam Lane Smith, Alexander Hellene, and many others to succeed in their artistic endeavors, and will not hesitate to push their books. Likewise, Vox Day is trying to preserve shards of the west by republishing out-of-print classics, and I exhort you to support his endeavor, even though it is already wildly successful:

This why the Licensed RPG idea in my concept list has such a strong attraction to me. It doesn’t matter too much to me if I’m building someone else’s brand instead of my own. In fact, it’s better. It’s better to build someone else up than to build myself up.

Start an Indie Game Studio in 12 Months (Seriously!)

I hate video as a format. I like text because I can read much faster than people can talk (and even speeding up a video, as I often do, I read much faster than I can listen). I like text because I can skip forward and back with ease. And so on and so forth.

Here’s a video I find inspiring and useful.

And now I’m going to textify it for my convenience, then follow it up with some thoughts.

Textify me, cap’n!