IP Development Mentorship – Week 1

DISCLAIMER: I don’t mind you guys sharing my thoughts about the mentorship with others. However, if you don’t see the art or writing bits up at SongofExile.com, that means I’d prefer you keep it between us!  Enjoy!:)

My mentorship with Dan LuVisi and Anthony Jones has begun!  Already, I’m strapped in for a wild ride of art, writing, and pitching.  For this mentorship I’ve chosen to develop an idea for a novel that has been stewing in my head for years.

"Oathbound" by Angela R. Sasser
I drew this image, “Oathbound”, last year. It was the first time I felt this character come alive through one of my illustrations!

You’ve probably seen the characters in my gallery here and there, but they’ve always been just passing figments, glimpses into a world I’ve been afraid to step into.  I’m taking this mentorship as a way to galvanize myself into action and to break the cycle of excuses that have kept me from doing this in the past.

My Laundry List of Excuses

– I’m not good enough to write/draw this story.

– It won’t make me money immediately so I’ll do it later (later becomes years).

– Because it won’t make me money, I’m a fool for wanting to do something so wasteful with my time.

– There are a ton of fantasy stories out there, so why do it?

This Week’s Revelations

Pitching is HARD! – We pitched our stories first thing and much to my chagrin, I went first! Darn you A-name of mine!  While I’m familiar with my story, pitching it to other people equated to nervous insecure rambling.  Why should they be reading? Why should they care? Why would a publisher want to pick it up?  I came in at 2 minutes under the time limit and realized I needed to start back at square 1 because I was too focused on only a section of my story. Pitch #1: FAIL!

Confidence is Key – Being ‘forced’ to spend time on this story made me realize how excited it makes me as an artist. I’ve made no secret of the fact I’ve been burned out for awhile.  This is a product of changing my brand from Art Nouveau, which isn’t what I wanted to be known for, to working continuous jobs that, while they made me money, I wasn’t really proud of the work.

If I’m honest, working with authors had me thinking to myself “These people are writing their stories, why can’t I?”  I was getting frustrated seeing others succeed at something I’ve been unable to succeed at for so long due to distractions, doubts, etc. and also working jobs that I wasn’t really passionate about just so I could get by.  Now that I’m working on my own ideas, I have never felt more inspired! I wake up wanting to work on this and go to sleep wanting to work on this. A floodgate has definitely been opened!  I just needed the push and the confidence to get started.

What I Can Offer? – I’ve been so incredibly focused on the political drama and personal struggles of my characters that I was unable to answer this question posed to me during the mentorship.  What does my world offer to fantasy genre readers that only my story can offer?  After much thought and sleeplessness, I realize the answer is what I enjoy reading (and writing) the most — folklore.

I enjoy immersive worlds that feel alive with its own stories to tell, regardless of the characters.  That’s why I love the Kushiel’s Legacy books, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Game of Thrones.  Each world has a rich tapestry of mythology.  What does my world have?  It has curses and ancient queens, desert spirits and forgotten temples, aka. all the ingredients are there for a more unique take on fantasy that is a) Not Euro-centric (representation is important) and b) alive with its own brand of mythology.  Of course, it’s easy enough to think of this AFTER I’ve already failed miserably at answering the question.

I have a lot to think about for next week, including character designs and key scenes to discover.  Let the games begin!

VICTORIES THIS WEEK:

Two failed pitch rewrites and three overlong summaries later, I finally arrived at a short and sweet pitch the instructors approved of.

HOORAY!  Now I can sleep, of which there has not been a lot this week.  Meanwhile, enjoy some art from this week!

The Wrap-Up of this Week’s Art:

A peek at my cast of characters for the first story arc! Ramah, the main character, is far left.

 

A full version of one of my initial character sketches from the group above. This one was my fave of the bunch! While everyone else I generally knew what they looked like, this guy has eluded me for years. I finally got him out of my brain and onto paper!
A full version of one of my initial character sketches from the group above. This one was my fave of the bunch! While everyone else I generally knew what they looked like, this guy has eluded me for years. I finally got him out of my brain and onto paper!

 

key-scenes-book-1-preview
A few defining moments from my first arc I’ve been thumbnailing out. I’ve left them without further explanation because I can’t spoil EVERYTHING now, can I? 😉

Read about the rest of my journey with the IP Development Mentorship here:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Final Week
Final Critique