The State of the ‘Jake and the Dynamo’ Project

Featured image: “Dazzling Bijou” by puddinprincess.

I have my notes back from L. Jagi Lamplighter, who graciously agreed to provide editing services for Jake and the Dynamo. She tells me that she and John C. Wright both found the book very funny, but she also made some incisive criticisms pointing out how it could be improved.

Writers in my circle had praised Lamplighter for her abilities as an editor, which is one of the reasons I had hoped she’d take me on. The praise was accurate; I had heard with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes have seen. She has an excellent command of story mechanics, and she knows exactly how to pinpoint problems precisely while at the same time framing her criticisms broadly enough to leave the author maximal freedom to work. On top of that, she criticizes in such a gracious style that she short-circuits the “you’re kicking my baby” response, which can be the knee-jerk reaction of some writers, especially newbs. Upon reading her advice, instead of the dismay I might normally feel when having my shortcomings explained to me, I felt an eagerness to get back to work.

Most of the changes she requested are minor, and she said I could probably make them in a single sitting. I think that would be one of her sittings, but it’s likely to take three or four of mine.

I have not had much time to write this summer as I’m currently working while getting a master’s degree in half the usual time. However, my summer term ends in two weeks, and then I’ll have a two-week break from schooling. That’s when I plan to make all the edits, put together a submission package, and get this sent off.

Lamplighter urged me to contact the editor of a particular press I probably shouldn’t name in a post yet. She said she’s already pitched my book there, and that the publisher is interested. That’s no guarantee of anything, of course, but it’s encouraging. I originally started this novel as a lark and expected to self-publish, but if an indie press wants to pick it up, that would be great.

I have my fingers crossed that the as-yet-unnamed publisher might be interested in not only the novel, but also the illustrations by Roffles Lowell—which he is hard at work on and has shown me preliminaries to prove it. I hired Lowell when self-publishing was still the plan, and I’ll be sure that he gets compensated and gets his work displayed one way or the other, but it would be awesome if I could convince a publisher that this is a light novel and thus needs illustrations. Obviously, an indie publisher such as the one to which I’ll be submitting is more likely to be persuaded on this than a big-name publisher, who would laugh contemptuously at any author who submitted illustrations with his written work.

I like working with Lowell, and I like seeing what he produces. We’re both newbs, so if we could break into the market together, that would be cool.

Since I’m now planning to submit to a publisher, I think it best if I put a halt to the web postings of the novel at least until I have publication matters squared away. Thus, the book is now on indefinite hiatus, for real this time.

If I end up self-publishing as originally planned, I’ll go back to posting the chapters here, but if I’m going to be publishing through a publisher, I should stop posting chapters for free consumption until further notice.

I’m not going to take down the already-published chapters (unless instructed to), but I don’t plan to add any more for the time being. Besides, as noted, I have no more to post at the moment, as I simply haven’t had much time to produce them.

On top of that, I’m going to be changing the way I tell this story anyway. My original intention was to write the whole thing and dump it on Amazon Kindle, but having realized that I have multiple novels’ worth of material, I’d like to switch gears. I will be (at Lamplighter’s recommendation) rewriting chapter 19 to make a better conclusion to volume 1, and then I’m going to take stock of chapters 20 and beyond to see how I can better shape them into a self-contained book. Now that I’m doing this as a series instead of one giant novel, I wish to ensure that each volume has its own complete arc, so I’ll probably be rearranging plot elements.

That’s all for now. Jake and the Dynamo is on hiatus, but the reviews and essays will continue until morale improves.

Magical Girl Day is August 5th, 2017

Magical Girl Day, formerly known as International Sailor Moon Day, is a convention coming up on August 5th at the Crowne Plaza Galleria in Houston, Texas.

Tickets are $18 if preordered and $20 at the door. Looks like the event focuses mostly on cosplaying and pop groups. Check out the website for information.

I believe this is the first one. We’ll see if they manage to make it an annual event. It appears to be modest in size and scope, but like all such things, will grow if successful.

#WaifuWednesday

Apparently, this is something some weebs on Twitter do on Wednesdays. It’s Wednesday, so it’s time to display your waifu.

And for that reason, we need a random assortment of Duck from Princess Tutu.

10/10 would dance.

Princess Tutu is often considered the spiritual successor of Revolutionary Girl Utena, from which it borrows heavily, as I’ll explain at length one of these days when I get around to reviewing it. Although I’m eager to discuss it, I can’t until I’m done with Utena, because Tutu appears to be a “Take That!” aimed at Utena’s conclusion.

Continue reading “#WaifuWednesday”

Evolution of the Magical Girl Anime

Featured image: “Magical Girl of Valentine’s Day” by ElynGontier

I’m busy with school, and I’m also digesting the annotations from my editor. But in the meanwhile, I refer you to The Hyped Geek, which offers yet another article overviewing the evolution of magical girl anime from Sally the Witch to the present day.

Being one of those who grew up on anime, one of my biggest and most secret fantasies was to become a magical girl. That’s right; minute long transformations with colourful lights, a cool signature outfit, speeches of love and justice and a cute animal sidekick as a guide.

While that’s how many of us would think of it, it’s a pretty generic view of what constitutes as a magical girl anime. There’s a lot more to the genre than cute young girls with powers, saving their loved ones, or even in most cases, the world, as different anime bring different and new elements that have made the magical girl genre so renowned today. So get your transformation items ready as we go through the most influential magical girl anime from its inception until today. [More …]

One of the reasons I got into this genre in the first place is that it’s narrow enough in its concerns that it plays out over time like an ongoing conversation. One cartoon or comic will come out, and another will build on it or respond to it. So, for example, Revolutionary Girl Utena is an answer to Sailor Moon, and then Princess Tutu is an answer to Revolutionary Girl Utena. More recently, Puella Magi Madoka Magica was a major game-changer, and then Yuki Yuna Is a Hero responded to it. I think this is why magical girl fans so preoccupied with tracing history, because this genre is an ongoing dialogue.

I Am Definitely Getting Back into Ponies after Seeing This!

Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh.

Holy horse, it’s like someone at Hasbro read my mind.

I don’t know what it is about me and movies and TV, but sometimes I think someone in Hollywood is spying me. I’ll be all like, “You know what the world needs? A Battlestar Galactica remake.” And then it happens. Or I’ll be all, “A new King Kong, but still set in the 1930s, would be awesome.” I had cause to regret that one.

A few years ago, I was all, like, “You know what this My Little Pony franchise needs? A movie that has elaborately detailed fantasy environments instead of the minimalist Flash animation of the cartoon show, where maybe Equestria gets invaded by some bad guys with airships, and the ponies have to go to Aquastria to get aid from the seaponies or something.”

I wish I had actually written that online somewhere so I could show you a link to prove it, but I didn’t. But still … holy crap.

I wet my pants when I saw this preview. Only a little bit, though. And it only happened once.

This and my novel is getting published. Best. Week. Ever.