I gave up my ten year struggle of trying to compete with the Abbyland meat factory in web searches. They're not going to give up their business name, or relinquish their web domain, and they got there first. So they can be Abbyland, and I will just be Abby. And AbbyBabble, on my blog and YouTube. And Abbyland on Twitter. Hey, I guess I got to Twitter first. Or (more likely) Abbyland Foods doesn't need or use Twitter.
I may change it to a photo, but I think the drawing is easily recognizable, so it's serving as my online representative. It started life as a doodle in my sketchbook. I added color, and liked the result. Is it me? Not really. I'm less of an artiste and more of a cartoonist. But I do have red hair.
My website grew huge, and I wanted to make it easier to navigate. So I split it into Art and Writing.
I have trouble keeping up with email. It's a chronic, lifelong condition that I've been unable to cure. I'm very sorry.
Rest assured that I have read your email, unless it bounced (check to see if you received an error message). I reply quickly to simple, non-spam questions. If your email merits a thoughtful response, then I am grateful that you took the time, and I will eventually write you a response in kind, if I feel that I can give you a worthwhile answer.
I was thinking of my Torth series, which starts in New Hampshire (but soon moves off our planet). I wanted a pleasant and simple design, with a cool color scheme, so I made snowflakes.
I can make a website similar to this one (or simpler). I can also create graphics and optimized art for websites. If you want something different, I can recommend several talented web developers.
Four of them are a linear epic saga, meaning each book picks up where the last left off.
Three won't sell unless I sell the first one.
The fifth is a trunk novel, awaiting major edits.
I also wrote two full-length novels when I was a pre-teen. Those novels don't count, and they will never see the light of day.
So although I've written a total of seven novels, only one is saleable, and I'm eternally unsatisfied with its beginning, so I keep rewriting it, submitting it to literary agents, rewriting it, submitting it ... it's a cruel, cruel world. However, I am determined to see my epic series published. I didn't write four Torth books (with two more pending) for nothing. One way or another, it will be available to readers someday. Hopefully I can make that happen with a major publisher. If not, then I will self-publish.
Successful creative people need several ingredients: talent, practice, persistence, and self-confidence.
Even Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have outspoken critics.
I've been a writer/artist for more than twelve years, and I've developed a thick skin.
Please send me your criticism. If it rings true to me, or if other readers have given me the same feedback, then I will take it seriously and make edits, or approach future stories differently.
An editor at Random House wrote that "it sounds like a mentally retarded person wrote this," and a slew of other unfortunate comments. It should be noted that I was 12 years old at the time, and the editor read the entire novel (my very first attempt at writing one). She apologized when she met me and saw that I was a child. But I took that first scathing critique very hard, and stopped writing until I entered college.
They average 100,000 words. That's about 400 pages in paperback format with normal-sized print.
My shortest novel is 60,000 words (240 pages). My longest novel is 125,000 words (500 pages).
I've sold a short story (reprint) to Escape Pod,
and an article to Fantasy Magazine.
I'm a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, which is similar to Clarion, where I studied under George R.R. Martin,
Catherine Asaro, Barry B. Longyear, and other genre writers.
I won two Honorable Mentions in the Writers of the Future Contest,
and I'm a member of Codex Writers.
I'm also a co-founder and active participant in a local novel writing group, with published and agented members.
Yeah, it's not a super-impressive credibility list ... yet!
I haven't asked those readers for permission to quote them yet. In some cases, years have passed since we last exchanged emails. I may have trouble getting back in touch with them.
If only there were enough years in a lifetime to accomplish everything I want to accomplish!
But working full-time hours, writing an epic novel series, and trying to have a life outside of those things
is enough to occupy my time. I wish I had a crew of assistants, or a big budget to work with.
Then I'd get a lot more done.
As it happens, I did make four student films, and they're on my YouTube channel. I also shoved a fifth incomplete short film online.
Yes. I have a rough draft of a feature-length scifi thriller, and a few episodes of an animated primetime comedy show, which I submitted to Amazon Studios.
Ah, aren't we always curious about the personal lives of people we find online? It's not a big secret, and if you ask in a non-creepy way, I'll probably tell. But you have to go to the trouble of asking.
It is my belief that many writers shoot themselves in the foot (metaphorically speaking) by treading on other people's
dearly held beliefs. I have no desire to offend fans, or potential fans, or potential publishers.
I do have opinions, but I consider venting them to be less important than my writing career. When I feel the need to rant, I post under psuedonyms that you will never guess, on forums that you'll never find. If you're dying to know, then ask, and I'll probably tell. But you have to go to the trouble of asking.
I don't read evenly. I only read books that sound interesting to me, or that trustworthy friends have recommended. Life is too short to waste on books that I have to struggle through.
I'm a video game animator and artist. Here's my
résumé and my game credits. As of 2012,
I'm a freelance contractor, but I've worked as a full-time game studio employee for more than five years. I've also taught 3D Animation at a community college,
illustrated books, and designed logos and things like that.
As an artist, I consider myself a 'jack of all trades.' I'm very flexible on style, and I know enough software to adapt to any project. My strengths are cartoon illustration, mobile, Flash, & web graphics, and low poly 3D character animation. I'm a traditionally-trained animator from the CalArts Character Animation program.
I got a lot out of the program, and it was one of the most formative experiences of my life.
However, you'll only get out of it what you're willing to put into it.
If you're expecting to smoke weed or goof off, you'll be disappointed by the high-stakes ambition of your peers.
Everyone who lasts for more than a year in the Character Animation program is serious about their future career in the film or game industry.
That means they're very competitive. If you don't like that sort of peer group, or if you'd rather not challenge yourself to grow as an artist,
then you won't like the environment. This advice may sound like common sense, but not everyone is completely honest with themselves.
Be true to yourself. There is no shame in choosing a career that speaks to you personally, rather than
a career that your family or friends expected for you. If you're not 100% sure you want to spend the
rest of your life as an animator or artist, then examine your self-doubts.
As for choosing CalArts over, say, Ringling or Animation Mentor ... things were a bit different back in the last millennium, when I went there! Animation Mentor didn't exist back then, and very few schools taught animation at all, let alone 3D animation. My top choices were CalArts and Ringling. I was accepted by both, and I chose CalArts mostly because it had a stronger reputation, and it was founded by Walt Disney. I've heard from Ringling graduates that their dorms were a bit run-down and unpleasant, but otherwise, it's a very similar experience, albeit with more of a 3D focus.
Yes! This was an awesome experience, and I have only good things to say.
It exceeded my expectations in every way.
However, you will be challenged to grow as a writer, no matter how talented you already are. If you go to Odyssey expecting nothing but praise, accolades, and recommendations to editors at major publishers, then you'll be disappointed. No one escapes Odyssey without some brutally honest feedback.
If you go, be prepared to meet people who are extremely ambitious, talented, and serious about their writing--just like you, I assume. Fortunately, writers seem to be among the most good-natured and supportive creative types. The competitive atmosphere is there, but I found it to be a help rather than a hindrance, pushing me to write better, faster, and to try new methods.
Since there are only 16 students in every annual class, I understand that each year has a different dynamic. Some years seem to be more friendly, others more prolific, others more multi-cultural, or skewed younger/older, or more published, or skewed towards screenwriting, or award-winners, etc. This is just a general factor rather than something for you to worry over. Odyssey also provides an ongoing supportive program for all graduates, bringing them together regularly, and keeping in touch through a mailing list and gatherings at conventions. The roster grows annually by 16 new graduates.