mtakara: inking The artistic process is beautiful in itself.



The artistic process is beautiful in itself.

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genevieve-ft: Hey all!  So I wanted to draw those bad ass…


Hey all! 

So I wanted to draw those bad ass ladies for a while now! So here it is; a little Josie and the Pussycats drawing I did for fun (this is not official work ;))  I also made a process gif so you can see a litte bit more how I work!

Enjoy :D

Josie and the Pussycats
Long tails, and ears for hats

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drdavidmrmack: treblekicker: Every Bowie hairstyle from 1964…



Every Bowie hairstyle from 1964 to 2014. Via @jkottke


I like to think of this as one ever changing style. Like, this is what I’d see if I met Bowie in person.

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brianmichaelbendis: Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1 by Brian…


Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1 by Brian Michael Bendis & Frank Cho


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tophatandgoggles: Work in progress of another new piece for my…


Work in progress of another new piece for my upcoming group art show. Sale info will be available soon. #pirate #dragon #curlyhair #lineweight3

Pirate with a dragon. I actually did start writing a story with such a character. She had strait black hair though.

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comicbookwomen: Wonder Girl-Ivan Reis Green Wonder. We are all…


Wonder Girl-Ivan Reis

Green Wonder. We are all doomed.

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misskitquinn: #throwbackthursday to the first time the #GBJLA…


#throwbackthursday to the first time the #GBJLA got together at #WonderCon me and Plastic-Lass

Superwoman and Plastic-Lass!

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glassgears: superheroesincolor: Ultimate Wasp cosplay by Anime…



Ultimate Wasp cosplay by Anime Indian

Cosplayer: Sara Moni Cosplay

Superb cosplay!

Great Wasp!

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sketchlab: Assassin. First drawing of 2015. Based off a request…


Assassin. First drawing of 2015. Based off a request in the /r/characterdrawing subreddit

Writing prompt! What’s she up to and why?

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honorable-martin: Rescue – Iron Man• Cosplay by Angela…


Rescue – Iron Man

• Cosplay by Angela Bermúdez

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Read More of the Fan Fiction Outline Tumblr

The Practice of Writing Practice

I remember Brandon Sanderson once getting pretty passionate when he talked about the practice involved in writing. He said something like, you would never expect to be a concert pianist if you’d never practiced piano, but somehow there are so many people who think they can write a book without ever practicing writing.

I’ve thought about that a lot the last couple of years, and I think what he’s saying is that it’s more than just learning about craft or knowing the mechanics of grammar and usage—it’s about PRACTICING the practice.

qft-pianistFor a concert pianist, there is music theory and the knowledge of keys and how to read music. For writers, I think most of us are willing to admit that we need a basic knowledge of writing as well, but so many of us get caught up in writing our amazing novel or polishing a perfect query letter or whatever else takes us to the next step toward our goal, that we’re unwilling to practice writing as a skill or even take a few minutes to meander and think and simply write for the joy of writing.

Sanderson wrote a ridiculous number of books before getting one published and is a great example of working on writing as a skill until he got it right.

Recently, I’ve been re-reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. In college I was a T.A. for a writing instructor who required it as part of the class, so I read/skimmed through it. I remembered it as one of those foofy books that’s more centered on Zen and your “true voice” than it is on practical application, but this time as I read through it—perhaps because I’m at a different place in my writing journey—I’m finding a lot of useful information.

Perhaps the biggest revelation to me, which shouldn’t be a revelation at all, is that we often run to teachers and classes and books to learn about writing, but “We learn writing by doing it. That simple” (37). She compares it to going on a diet. You don’t lose weight by reading books about diet and exercise. You lose weight by doing the diet and exercise.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the learning part. I go to conferences, I read a lot of books on craft, I read author blogs, and I work with brilliant critique partners. I do my best to learn as much as I can about writing from the experiences of others. But ultimately, none of those things will get me published. Only writing will get me published. Writing a lot of crap along the way, until someday, I’ll have learned enough from what I’ve written to write something better.

Goldberg suggests free-writing for ten minutes a day. Or filling a spiral notebook a month. Or whatever works for you. But write about random things—write down your dreams, do writing prompts, keep a journal, write through thoughts of a podcast you listened to earlier. Whatever. It’s hard to do, I think, because most of us who are trying to “succeed” as writers have limited time and feel like we should be banging out something productive and useful and sellable. But, so many times, at least for me, I think laser-focusing on that one big thing is where burnout and writer’s block come from.

qft-stretchGoldberg says: It’s good to go off and write a novel, but don’t stop doing writing practice. It is what keeps you in tune, like a dancer who does warm-ups before dancing or a runner who does stretches before running.

It reminds me that with each novel or short story or poem, we’re exercising different muscles. Warming-up and practicing are what keep us well-rounded and in shape. At least it’s something I’m going to try to be better at.

One of my critique partners mentioned recently that he wanted to work on a novel—“you know, the one that could be great but you don’t feel like you’re good enough to write it yet.” I think we all have one of those. I think as we practice different types of writing in little bursts, we’re fine-tuning those muscles that will help us when we take on that project we’re dying to be good enough to write.

So, as you think about writing each day, remember to take time to explore different types of writing. Take time to remember what it is you love about writing.

I’ll leave you with one more awesome quote from Natalie Goldberg, and if you remember nothing else, remember to continue practicing, “so that our writing muscles are in good shape to ride the universe when it moves through us” (20).

Practice so that you’re good enough to do justice to that story you love. The story that’s just out of reach.

What about you? Do you practice writing on a regular basis? What are some of your favorite methods?

Because it came up….

Quantum Fairy Tales…

  1. … has four or more issues (we have 9),
  2. at least one of which released in 1014 (there were 4),
  3. and is published on a volunteer basis (none of the staff are paid, we do it because we love it, and access is free)

That means we do qualify for a Hugo Award in the Fanzine category.

I only bring it up because I was asked.

I would say that more importantly, if you are eligible to nominate for the Hugo awards, you should pay attention to our content. Most all of the textual works qualify in the category of Best Fan Writer (a fan writer is basically someone published in mailing lists, fanzines, semipro publications, or similar — unless that work was also published professionally). The artists certainly qualify for Best Fan Artist.

A few of the works we published were also published elsewhere, such as Tina Hacker’s Golem poems (published October 2014 in Listening to Night Whistles) — these poems or stories do not make the writer eligible for Best Fan Writer.

On the other hand, much of what we’ve published counts in some category, generally speaking Best Short Story (anything up to 7500 words).

You can learn more about what’s eligible for what category on the Hugo Award web site. I urge you, if you have a WorldCon membership, to participate and nominate the works and creators you think are best — if they were published by us, that’s great, but don’t nominate because they were published by us. If you think we deserve it, nominate us. If you don’t think we deserve it, nominate someone else.

Bad Science

I recently went to see the movie Interstellar. General relativity is a heavily used theory for the plot of the film and I think they did a really good job. Kip Thorne, a renowned theoretical physicist, was the inspiration for the epic space saga and consulted the filmmakers on the physics of the film.

I saw the film with one of my lab partners. We are both PhD candidates in physics and could easily pick out some flaws in the plot of the film (more…)

Thursday Prompt: The Mysteries of Seaside Sprite

Recently I wrote a blog post on Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and how his art paired with a single sentence works as a writing prompt. As a follow up, and another prompt for you, I decided to share a few of my own “mysteries”, the art that I use as my personal imagination and story starters. Even if they don’t make it to a page, these pieces and other pieces by these artists provide me with characters and stories I could dream about again and again. I hope they also inspire you and if they do, please share your stories with us!

  1. The women in Maxfield Parrish’s art are beautiful, graceful, strong. They jump, climb, swing along playfully but when they pause their thoughts are reflective, dreamy, vibrant with life and enthusiasm, or somber, weighted, wise. His women inspire me with their internal stories and dialogue. They are thinkers and I so often am interested in less of what they do but rather what is going on in their heads. For years I have loved them.


  1. New loves are the characters of Soju Shots, I first heard of Soju Shots when he allowed us to publish his work for our second issue of Quantum Fairy Tales, Issue 2, 2013 Clockwork Gnome introduced him to us as “OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD”, followed by Booyas and other joyful noise. It wasn’t until recently however, on Instagram, that I found myself continually moved with that “get in you the gut” type feeling as often brightly colored images of monsters and people, often children, sometimes portrayed these beautiful creatures’ tragedies and often perilous and melancholy lives. And not that his subjects are always miserable, in that Charlie Brown way of theirs, by any means. They are often sweet and humorous and celebrating something wonderful. It’s just that when they are miserable it is often so subtly stated, and contrary to the beautiful surroundings they are placed in, that it takes me off guard and leaves me with a lump in my throat. This, of course, is compounded by his short descriptions that tell a larger tell, ones that he is so good at I have told him I would love to see his version of a Mysteries of Harris Burdick type book.

Here is one example, captioned, “and just like that…. You were gone.”


And another . . .

“Drifting Moon”


And lastly . . .


His little match girl.

Finding Inspiration in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

I discovered award winning children’s author and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg when I was in college earning my degree in Early Childhood Education. He is beloved among educators, children, parents, critics and the publishing industry for his picture books and their combination of mysticism, whimsy, originality, suspense and tenderness. You may be familiar with two of his most notable works, for which he received Caldecott awards and which were then made into feature films, Jumanji and Polar Express.

My favorite of all Chris Van Allsburg books is The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a collection of surreal images, each paired with a single sentence or two. Here is an example:

vanallsburgWith this picture book Mr. Van Allsburg spun the start to fantastic tales for his readers, ones that their own imaginations would create, and thus teachers have been using this book as a writing prompt since it’s publication in 1984, just over 30 years ago. So popular was the creative storytelling this book inspired, in fact, that a spin-off was launched. The 192 page The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales / With an Introduction by Lemony Snicket, is a collection of short stories written by established and famous writer’s of both children’s and adult literature including Stephen King and Lois Lowry. The possibilities of this book are endless.

And did I mention, that in case even this glance at Mr. Van Allsburg’s work doesn’t convince you of the value he saw in Speculative Fiction, he even spoke out in its favor? He said, “The inclination to believe in the fantastic may strike some as a failure in logic, or gullibility, but it’s really a gift. A world that might have Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster is clearly superior to one that definitely does not.”

If you ever get the chance, I encourage you to head to your library or bookstore, pick up The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, find the illustration that most moves you, daydream a little and write away. Or, if you are taking a break from writing for awhile, grab a notepad and create your own set of inspiring illustrations, gathering photographs, print-outs, drawings—whatever makes you want to tell a story or sets your thoughts spinning, whether you choose to do so or not. I hope you will find the power of this book and your imagination won’t fail you in time of need.

Guest Post: How I Won at Losing NaNoWriMo

By Sarah Hunter Hyatt

I had all the right intentions – all my ducks in a row – as I anxiously counted down to November first. In past years, I wasn’t nearly as prepared for the National Novel Writing Month as I was this year. I had learned a better way to organize and prepare my outline (yes, I’m one of those writers) and felt ready to tackle the challenge of writing every single day to complete the 50,000 word goal.

So how did I fail? I completed around 25,000 words; only half way to my goal. But I still consider this a huge win! Why, you may ask? Well let me break down the month and the things I learned: good and bad.

I had recruited an accountable buddy; a good friend of mine who lives nearby. We saw each other often and would check in once a week (or more), to track our progress. I also increased my “buddy list” on the NaNoWriMo website. I even had designed my own book cover. Because I was working on a Historical Fiction novel, I had pictures from the 1900’s plastered on my office wall and created an outline board, complete with all chapters broken down with corresponding notes and pictures.

The biggest win for me is obviously the 25,000 words that I didn’t have when I started. I began the month writing every single day with the support of my husband and kids. They knew that mommy had writing time and couldn’t be disturbed. On one particular day I didn’t get nearly enough writing done. When Jennifer (my accountable buddy) checked in that night, I confessed my lack of writing time. She immediately responded, “No writing is a failure!”

Even on the days when I was only able to sit down for a few minutes before bed and write a paragraph or two, the entire day prior, the story was alive in my head. My characters were busy building life to my novel and I was always thinking about how Grace (my main character) would get out of this or that situation. I didn’t have the time to get it all out onto paper, but I was always thinking about it.

As the month wore on, I found myself getting bogged down with the day-to-day issues of life and found I had less and less writing time. However, I tried to make sure that I would write every single day and that is habit-forming. Setting the goal to write every day helped me to keep my writing craft as a priority. It is something that all writers should do. Writing is important. It’s a form of expression and needs to be exercised each day.

The biggest failure on my part was my time management. I had a goal to write 1600 words every day. I hit the ground running, writing 1800 words the first day. It felt amazing to let the story flow. I was immersed in the characters and the setting. The next few days I was still at goal, but after about a week, I had slipped. On the website, it tracks your words and gives you an end date. The date started to slip further away from November 30th. When it reached January first, I felt defeated. But that didn’t mean I had lost. The month of November wasn’t over; I could make up some time by taking a full day and devote it to writing. And that’s exactly what I did. I chose a day to lock myself in my room with my laptop and write away. Unfortunately, that never happened. I had all the right intentions but let the distractions around me side-track my progress. It seemed as if every time I closed the door, a child had something more important for me to take care of. There were orthodontists appointments for my two boys, an essay my daughter needed help with. It felt like every time I was determined to write, something came up and I was forced to set it aside.

In truth, as I look back, I think that I allowed too many of those distractions to derail my writing. An essay can clearly wait until after I’ve had a chance to write for an hour or two. But as a mom, I was feeling the pressure to keep my house clean, make the meals, and keep my kids organized with their own schedules on homework and sports. I ended up putting writing on the bottom of my list. I let distractions and poor time management take me away from what was most important.

November was a busy month for me. I ended up having some of my family visit for Thanksgiving. That meant a house full of guests and little to no time to sneak away and write. I was glad to have my family here and don’t regret the loss of writing.

The last thing that began a huge deterrent to my writing came with the genre that I am writing. Historical Fiction has to be precise – all details correct to the time frame you’re writing about. I found that I would have to stop and research when I was writing about the homes, clothes, or lifestyles in the year 1914. That’s when I found an error. The setting of my novel takes place at a hospital. I had referred to “clipboards” and the end of every patient’s bed. In my research, I learned that clipboards weren’t invented until 1920; six years after the events took place in my tale. The job of finding and replacing all of these mistakes grew heavy on my mind. I wanted to go back and edit! Editing before you’re done can be a death sentence to a story. Many writers get caught up in editing, and re-editing, what they’ve already written – never moving forward.

My NaNoWriMo experience this year was the best yet! I was organized, prepared, and excited to take on the challenge. I want to congratulate all of those authors that won – you deserve a good pat on the back for your accomplishment. For those of us who fell a bit short: you didn’t fail – ANY writing is a win! Keep your energy going! You don’t have to wait for November to write a novel in thirty days. Keep working on what you started. Set your own goals and don’t let anything get in your way.


SarahHyattSarah has published two short stories: STUNNER, which appears in “A Dash of Madness: A Thriller Anthology,” and FAELAD, which appears in “Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions.” She is currently working on her first novel.

Sarah also serves as Xchyler Publishing’s Graphic Arts Coordinator, because even though her first love is writing, she grew up in a “computer nerd” family and enjoys designing everything from cards to book covers. She is still learning and enjoying every step of the way.

Sarah resides in Olympia, Washington with her husband, three children and two adorable birds.

Follow Sarah on Twitter or Facebook.

What I Learned From NaNoWriMo 2014

I’ve never been a winner.

I’ve made multiple attempts, even started over in different months and tried to set personal goals, but I always found myself getting “Too’d”: too distracted, too busy, too little time, too little direction. This year I decided to make National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) different, and it worked.


Pakistan On My Mind

Hello. Clockwork Gnome here. It’s my turn to blog today. I was musing about story lengths and holiday elves, then I read the news.

Seems that in this busy time of year, when we are running around trying to pick the perfect gift, or score the perfect invitation to the perfect party, it’s not really fair to write about anything today other than love.

Love each other. Treat each other with patience and respect. Love those who hate you, pray to the god of your choice for those who are hurt, lost, or troubled. Keep good thoughts in your heart toward your fellow man.


Those of us who can, let’s make this world a better place.

Clockwork Gnome

Thursday Writing Prompt: Musical Inspiration

This week’s writing prompt comes with a writing tip. Yeah, we’re just helpful like that.

Keynote NF in action

Keynote NF in action

I keep an idea file. I use (more…)

The 22 Rules to Perfect Storytelling, According to Pixar

I’m pretty sure that most people saw Emma Coats’ Pixar rules of storytelling a couple of years ago. Well, now they’ve taken those points of great storytelling and created images for printing or simply as reminders of her perfect points. Here are a few of my favorites:

QFT-Pixar4 (more…)