Art: Featuring Gosick

Ah, Gosick. This was one of my favorite anime at one point, and I was really sad when Crunchyroll lost the rights and took it down. I’m glad I got to watch the whole series before that happened. I reviewed the show once at my old site.

The premise of Gosick is simple: what if you took Sherlock Holmes and Watson, and replaced them with Taiga and Ryuji from Toradora?

The result is pretty poor as a Gothic mystery series, but not bad as far as anime teen rom-com goes. It’s basically a poor man’s Toradora with the mood of Rozen Maiden. But it came from Studio BONES, so the production values are quite high, and the atmospherics and personable characters make up for the lousy murder mysteries. It flunks in the research department, featuring automatic elevators and phones with “disconnect” signals … in the 1920s (not to mention southern Europeans who think black hair is weird). It also wreaks inexcusable havoc on the history of World War II.

But, hey, I love the protagonists. This and Toradora were the two major inspirations for the relationship between Jake and Dana in Jake and the Dynamo.

Art and Update

Featured image: “Those Mahou Shoujo Messiahs” by Ruri-dere.

To let you know what’s up, chapter 26 of Jake and the Dynamo is (finally) off to my writer’s group, so it will appear on the blog in the near future.

I’m writing a novelette tonight, and then in the near future I need to finalize the extra extra story that’s going in Down and Out in Fifth Grade, the first fully illustrated Jake and the Dynamo novel. The editor I wanted has agreed to take me on, and she can get to it in mid-June. So that gives me enough time to get the extra material put together and get things squared away with Roffles Lowell, the illustrator, as well as get the ball rolling on the cover art.

In other news, I’ve got a lot of schoolwork coming up as we’re rapidly approaching the end of the term. And I have a new job.

So things are moving, if more slowly and haphazardly than I’d like. But it’s coming together.

I hope to have a new, fairly extensive review up in time for Easter. There’s a particular magical girl franchise I’ve been meaning to discuss at length, and Easter is the right time to do it. In fact, one of the magical girls in the above image is from the franchise I have in mind. If you can guess which girl it is based on the hint that it’s related to Easter, you can win the grand prize of ONE INTERNET, which I will award immediately.

Art + Update

Featured image: “Mahou Shoujo Cotton” by Maruuki.

I just finished working through my final pass of my upcoming novel, Jake and the Dynamo: Down and Out in Fifth Grade. I was waffling on the bonus chapter I had previously written for the end, but I think I’m going to expand it slightly and keep it. It’s not long enough to be sufficient bonus material, so among other things, I’m going to spend today working on a short story that will also go in the book, the working title of which is, “Young Rifle Maiden Plays It Safe.” That story, like the bonus chapter, will not be available on the blog.

I think I have things worked out with Roffles Lowell. He’s interested in doing the interior art. Right now, he’s just waiting for me to tell him what size, dimensions, and format he needs to work in, and whether I need black and white as well as color. He also offered to produce pictures for the chapter headings and section breaks, and I think I’ll probably take him up on that to give the book the appropriately gaudy YA novel look.

So things are coming together, albeit slowly. In my most recent pass over the story, I expanded a few sections, revised others, and fixed the inevitable typos that slipped through the earlier editing (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a few on this pass, too). Also, because of the way I’m writing the story, posting as I go, a few inevitable inconsistencies have crept in here and there, so I’ve taken the opportunity to correct those as well. They mostly involve minor issues like the length of T.B.’s hair, Tsubasa’s threat competency rating, or how much access Marionette has to her own computer code. These are the same kinds of things you’ll notice in, for example, long-running web comics, even ones by creators who make more careful notes than I do.

The initial drafts go through my writer’s group and also get about three go-overs from me (once before going to the group, once after, and once in hard copy) before they go online, so what you see when the story updates is what we might call “upper middle draft,” as opposed to rough or final. Now that I’ve given the novel version my own edits, I think I’ve done all I can without someone else’s eyes on it. I haven’t lined up an editor yet, but hope to have that underway in the near future.

Presumably, after the editor has given it a go-over, it will need some rewriting.

A few years ago, it crossed my mind that it would be fun to write a light novel series, so I guess I’m living the dream, though Down and Out in Fifth Grade perhaps does not qualify as a light novel, since it’s about 95,000 words, whereas light novels generally run 40,000 to 50,000. So I guess I’m writing a novel series that’s light-novel-ish.

And if you’re following the series online, we’re already six chapters into volume 2, which presently has the working title of Jake and the Dynamo: Dead to Rights. It will probably contain approximately twenty chapters and around 100,000 words, just like volume 1.

Team Pizza! (and a J&tD update)

Art by Roffles Lowell

My schedule is still fairly harsh through this coming week, but after Saint Paddy’s Day, things will slow down a bit for me. I hope to be posting more regularly.

Things are coming along smoothly so far on the publication process of the first volume of JAKE AND THE DYNAMO, which is currently under the working title of Down and Out in Fifth Grade. There’s no projected publication date yet, but some of the earliest preliminary work is done. I’m working on the bonus content: I had originally produced an extra chapter, but now I’m unhappy with it, and I’m considering instead including a novelette featuring Rifle Maiden’s misadventures while babysitting the Bubble Princesses.

I believe I’ve chosen a studio for cover art, and I don’t think he’ll mind if I say that I’m talking to Roffles Lowell about the possibility of doing interior illustrations. No commitments have been made, so this post isn’t an attempt to pressure him or anything. But I really enjoy the YA look of his style, and I appreciate that it differs from the standard style of Japanese light novels or Japanese-influenced work. This is obviously a weeb novel, so I like the idea of the art being non-weeb.

In the midst of our conversation, Roffles sent me the above picture of Team Pizza to show me what his work looks like in black and white, and he told me to do with the image as I wish. So this is me doing that. Featured up there, of course, are Pizza Margherita, her faithful dog Pepper, and Crazy Annie Shové, all riding comfortably on the Pie in the Sky.