Sunday, October 21, 2012

Illustrating a Kid's Book

I finished my read-through of my Seefer Elliot novel. Before I engage myself into the re-edit, I thought it would be a good idea to distance myself from the project a little. This way I can go back to it with a fresher mind.

I was approached to illustrate a children's book about the joys of being a one-year-old. The book isn't titled yet, but it will contain many pictures drawn to four line paragraphs of rhyme. It's geared toward toddlers.

My experience drawing cartoons will come in handy. The book needs to be colorful and fetching. I'm looking for a palette rich with a few primary colors.

This is going to be the perfect project to take on because it will be using an entirely different part of my brain. After months of laboring over word selection and usage, it will be a relief to draw worthwhile pictures. I'll be sure to update on how the book is panning out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wrapping Up The First Draft

I started outlining "Seefer Elliot" in February/March by compiling a bunch of random ideas I had written on post-it notes. My goal at that time was to create a story about a child who had some type of superhuman ability. The story would be geared toward younger readers and would take place in a world they could relate to. Throughout the following months, my discombobulated notes formed into a pretty tight outline that I was able to use as a road map to write to. In June, I got started.

It has been three and a half long months, but I finally put the last period on the last page. It feels great. I hope my next effort doesn't take this long, but I guess I will now know how to budget my time better. There were days (weeks even) where I didn't write a thing. That's not good. But then there were days when I would spew out 2000 words in four hours (pretty good for me). When I wrote consistently, that's when I felt the story was at its best. It may have been a reverse cause and effect though, because the best part of the story was what got me so excited to write each day.


So what do I do now? I must go back and re-read this project and see where I fell off track with my writing and see where I did well. I'll need to be critical of my work and not be lazy about correcting it. It will be too easy to say, "I can live with that." But I need to be prepared to edit the weaknesses in the story. It sounds easy in practice, but I too many times I lived with "good enough." I don't want this book to be "good enough," I want it to be great.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Night Was Moist...

I decided to start this blog as a way to follow share/vent/chronicle my delve into writing. As an infant writer, I thought that my mistakes and (hopeful) achievements could provide people with useful information and inspiration on what to do and not to do.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Patrick Mallon (as you may have guessed from my blog’s name and url). I am a part-time artist and humorist who ran a mildly successful webcomic called Milk for Dead Hamsters between 2011 and 2012. It was a very fun time in my life making jokes and comic strips on a semi-weekly basis, but I got burned out when children came into the picture. I couldn’t keep up. Since there were only 24 hours in a day, I had to decide how to best use my time between the job that paid well, family, and the cartoons that consumed a lot of time gave back little in return. It was an incredibly hard decision, but eventually I decided that the cartoons couldn’t make the cut.

Soon after that decision came, I still had an itch to create. All of a sudden, I had too much time. When the kiddies went to bed, I had nothing to do. Yeah, TV’s nice, but you don’t come away from it with anything. I needed something to work toward.  I had always wanted to pursue a grand topic that spanned longer than just 4 comic panels. I thought about spinning off m4dh with a comic completely dedicated to Killbasa, a 6-ft tall Polish sausage who has super-powers. But then I would have just painted myself into another rut that I didn’t want to be in.

After putting some more thought into it, I came up with a story for a book that I felt I could handle slowly on my own time. The idea of not having a twice-a-week deadline was very appealing. When I had ideas, I jotted them into an outline. I used scrap paper, my laptop or cell phone. Whenever inspiration hit, I inputted the words. By June of 2012, I had a full working outline of the novel that I saw in my head. I was very proud that I developed funny, engaging and admirable characters that I could invest some time writing about going forward. I put the pen to the paper (but really, my fingers to the keys) and started writing away.

By October, the first draft was done. 60,000 words spilled out onto a Word document. That might not seem like much for the time I invested to some of the pros out there. But I used most every chance I had to complete this draft. (I’ll talk more about this book later).

After the rough draft was complete, I needed to free myself from it so I could re-read with a fresh mind. I picked up my art kit again and worked with Cecilia Potts on some stories she was working on. My experience in illustrating her books has given me some insight to the self-publishing world that will hopefully help me when it comes time to publish my book.

So that’s what I’ve done and that’s where I’m at. I made comics, I currently write and draw books. I also sunlight as an engineer, father to three and husband to one. My dream is to write and draw for a living and maybe someday this blog will be a fun read on how that came to fruition.

Now I’m going to shut up and write.