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The April 2015 Crowdfunding Creative Jam is open on Dreamwidth and LiveJournal.  Our theme this month is "Impossible."  Come give us prompts, or claim prompts for your own creative pleasure!

What I Have Written

From My Prompts
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I found this awesome series of paintings by a blind painter.

One of my Torn World characters, Rai, is legally blind.  He can see colors, and vague shapes at point-blank range.  That's about it.  But he paints as a hobby, rather charming work.  Most of it is not this detailed.  A couple of the sample paintings are more his style, though -- the one of the person with umbrella under trees, and the last one of the sailboat.  Very stylized, almost abstract stuff but it still forms images.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Oh yeah.  That's a thing that happened.  New headcanon accepted.  :D 
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 [personal profile] cmcmck is a true historian, noting the value of ephemera in history.  See some beautiful photos of graffiti about Charlie Hebdo.  This is raw cultural material.  It's not elite.  It's not meant to last.  It's a snapshot of the human soul in one moment of emotion.  Like a breath of mist on a cold winter day, it is there and gone in an instant.

Unless someone catches it.  This is what historians are for.  We are timebinders.  We see, so that humanity may know.  We witness, so that humanity may remember.

Every tidbit of information is important, although some are more famous or influential than others.  Watch.  Listen.  Record.  For what is considered important today is not always the same as what will be valued or studied tomorrow.  It is ours to keep, so that others who come after us may explore more of our time than we have left of those before us.  Because we know these things matters.

This is what we're here for.

And Je suis Charlie?  It doesn't mean we're all at equal  risk of being murdered for our beliefs right now.  It acknowledges that today they're coming for someone else, but tomorrow they could come for us, if we don't stand up and stop them.  Je suis Charlie,  unless we make a world in which it's not okay to murder people for annoying you.
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One of the best presentations I have ever seen

I will add one caveat: becoming (or making someone) pregnant CAN have permanent, life-changing, psychological effects for some people along all possible paths.  You can be happy, sad, or have mixed feelings about abortion, adoption, or parenting.  It just hits people differently.  Even a pregnancy scare  that doesn't turn out to be true can have a big impact.  It's a life event.  As the post suggests, a supportive environment helps make this a learning experience and not a trauma.

Also, want to be a hero?  Support a friend anywhere along any of these life paths.  Sometimes you might be the only help they have.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a great comic about coming out of closets

Thing is, some of us never came out, because we were never in a closet.  I knew about my weirdnesses many years before I developed any kind of verbal or social brakes.  Also some of the things that complicated my life were conspicuous and not concealable.  Number one on that list was ... my parents being schoolteachers.  This guaranteed that other children would hate me, and I didn't care, because my parents are awesome.  Since I had exactly zero chance of being popular no matter what I did, there was no reward for conforming and therefore not much pressure.  Not that it would've worked anyhow, but it was kind of nice to have such an obvious reason for the prejudice and for my indifference.  I did eventually learn that there were things that would make people extra berserk, and I figured out which ones I was willing and able to modulate to some degree.  There are things I'm more open about, and things I'm less open about.  But for the most part, I can fake being normal for a maximum of about three hours and then I am exhausted.  No closet could possibly contain that.  You might as well try to contain a bonfire in a paper lantern.  (We did that once.  It was spectacular for the 30 seconds or so that it lasted.)  And that makes a difference in how people experience the world.  How early they knew themselves, and whether the less-common traits were ever hidden.
ysabetwordsmith: (Karavai)
The March Muse Fusion is open Friday 20-Sunday 22.  Come give us prompts or claim things for your own inspiration.  You don't necessarily have to be a Torn World member to play, although it does help.

From My Prompts

"Ring Leech" sketch by [personal profile] ellenmillion, who hopes to ink it in time for Sea Monster Month in May.

Portrait of Tosh by [personal profile] ellenmillion 

What I Have Written

"Beach Pies" -- today's freebie

"Unsolid Ground"
An earthquake prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Unsolid Ground." Dorom and several children witness an earthquake while fishing from the beach.
82 lines, Buy It Now = $41
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Here is an illustrated discussion about racism in comics. First, it's an example of the peskiness that people of color deal with all the time. Second, it's a sharp reminder to build clear character sheets if you are working on a team, and what can go wrong if you're careless about that or change things over time. Whitewashing tends to annoy people a lot.

Read more... )
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Here's an interesting article about face shapes in Disney.  Of those samples, it's clear that males have more diversity than females, but females have more diversity than is being recognized.

Joy and Elsa have a heart-shaped face: wider at the top, with a pointed chin, and a point of hair that sticks down in the center of the forehead.  Disgust and Merida have round faces.  Sadness has a pear shape, wider at the bottom than at the top, pretty rare.  Vanellope has a square face, look how flat it is on the bottom.

If you are an artist or a writer, you can avoid the cookie cutter effect by thinking about infrastructure.  One way to do this is to use reference photos.  I've been working my way through a splendid lineup of Olympic athletes.  When writing outside your own race/culture, using a sample photo -- especially of someone who seems "like" your character in some ways -- can help create a look that is well put-together and makes sense.  Another option is to make model sheets, like these from classic Elfquest.  This is ideal if you're creating a batch of characters all together, like the members of a team: you want them to contrast so they're easy to tell apart.  When designing a character, you may consult charts of body shape (male and female), face shape, eyes, earsnoses and lips.  Understand that certain features appear more or less often based on ethnic group, but populations have mingled a lot, so don't be afraid to mix and match.  Also for nonbinary sex/gender identity, either minimize strong sexual clues (very long or very short hair, pronounced angular or curved lines) or combine ones from both polarities.
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The March 2015 Crowdfunding Creative Jam is now open, with a theme of "portents of the past and future."  Visit us on Dreamwidth and LiveJournal to leave prompts, or claim something for your own inspiration.

From My Prompts:

[personal profile] thebonesofferalletters has written the ficlet "See the World" based on my prompt.  This is superhero fantasy with genderqueer and otherwise diverse characters.  Lightworks and Soundbytes is intended as a new serial.  *happydance*

[personal profile] alexconall has done the poem "Write It Down" based on my prompt.  This is a splendid piece of feminist literature.

[personal profile] dialecticdreamer has written the ficlet "Past Ports" about Piotr and Hannah.

What I Have Written:

"Sequential Science" is today's freebie, a Torn World poem about earthquakes.

"Why the Wind Sings"
A Heliodrax prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Why the Wind Sings." Merle studies weather on the island of Nauru.
42 lines, Buy It Now = $20

"The Tenth Dimension"
A prompt about [community profile] nineforthenebulasheart  led to the free-verse poem "The Tenth Dimension." The Nebula's Heart declares that none of the current questers are suitable and sends them out to find another.
50 lines, Buy It Now = $20

"Would-Be Sacraments"
A past and future prompt inspired the poem "Would-Be Sacraments." Terramagne has better protections for reproductive health care. This is why.
96 lines, Buy It Now = $48

" 'Til Legends Live"
This inspired the free-verse poem " 'Til Legends Live." Granny Whammy and Dr. Infanta are both living legends in their own way, bridging the past and the future. Their lives are entwined even though they're on opposite sides of the cape, and sometimes that gets interesting.
80 lines, Buy It Now = $40
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article about women in comics and art. Cool redesigns.

My experience? Women want AGENCY. (If that's you and you haven't seen the move "Lucy" yet, go do that.) They want female characters to have a goal of their own and some ability to influence what happens as they pursue it.

What do my readers ask for in female characters?

Women on the autistic spectrum.

An asexual, aromantic character with some good friends. "I am imagining a very affectionate biromantic asexual genderqueer character who has a passion for gardening, especially growing edible herbs and plants, and loves getting the children involved in the garden too."

Someone using origami to work magic.

A battered, world-weary paladin instead of a shiny, perfect one.

P.I.E. was my own wish: one night after wanting to throw an entire bookstore against a wall, I sat down and wrote a smart, strong urban fantasy hera who is courted by assholes and does NOT fall in love with them, but instead shows interest in a nice guy. Who does not turn out to be a demon, evil spy, villain, or corpse. He's just a little accident-prone.

Someone who could actually unite the squabbling municipalities of southern Louisiana. A gendershifting transwoman. A scientist addressing mental illness. What can happen when women with superpowers have to deal with sexism, glass ceilings, and other bullshit. And most of my female characters on either side of the cape wear practical clothes. Until I got to Dvorak, who uses a boob window for its original purpose: to make men stupid.

A black, British, female steampunk engineer.

This series began with a request for a lesbian couple, one of whom is Deaf and the other walks with a cane, fighting crime together.  Walking the Beat has turned into my only popular series that is ordinary instead of speculative fiction.

Folks, listen to your audience.  Fan ideas can be way better than another McFloozie in a poorly designed swimsuit.
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Here is my lovely banner from the Valentine's Fest, courtesy of [personal profile] vexed_wench.

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