Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Sketch + Stuff

A drawing! A real live drawing! I'm so sorry it's been a while. I've been so busy, and drawing takes, like, time. But I finally got this done for Dara, who was a winner in my May contest. (Yes, I know July is approaching and I'm freaking slow, shhh.)

This is Naomi, from her Japanese historical WIP. I'm sure you all can guess I'm a Big Fan of this idea. Naomi is about to partake of the last sake in a marriage rite—a marriage rite that's all for show. So thank you, Dara, for giving me something so wonderful to draw. I hope you like it!

In other news, Cindy Pon is having a contest for two books that I WANT. And so here I am announcing it on my blog so I can enter! I mean TWO BOOKS—Bleeding Violet and Brightly Woven. Hi, I want want want them.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed your comments on The Most Boring YA Story Ever. I purposely left no explanation as to why I wrote the story; I really wanted to see the reactions.

I find it interesting that half of you said something to the effect of "wow, that was so like my teen years." I couldn't tell if you were kidding or not, but the idea of the "normal" fascinated me. My life was kinda like that—minus the boyfriend and everyone liking me at school...okay, and the RISK thing...also the immaculate self-esteem and no one ever dying...

Never mind. Maybe not so much.

But that was one major flaw of the boring story. Stories aren't meant to be exactly like real life. Because, well, real life is boring most of the time. Days and days go by with nothing interesting happening at all. Just small moments of joy, little moments that make up life.

These aren't story moments (unless they're resolutions). Stories happen when the mundane is interrupted, when opposition occurs, which leads right to the other most frequent comment:

"And then insert-catastrophic-thing-here happens!"

I could see the storyteller in you all! You were all DYING for something BAD to happen. Admit it, you wanted to destroy Sarah's perfect little bubble. You wanted something horrible to happen to her. You wanted her whole world to come crashing down.

You meddlers. You evil, evil meddlers. It's're writers or something.

This is the essence of storytelling: conflict. And this is also why there will always be "bad things" in books, why censoring is ultimately flawed. Storytelling is the exploration of bad things happening and how someone overcomes them (or doesn't, if we're going tragedy). The entire medium is built on conflict.

This is why I wrote The Most Boring YA Story Ever, to show that a story isn't a story until conflict is introduced. Bad stuff. Who's to say what "bad stuff" is acceptable and what "bad stuff" isn't? It's ALL BAD STUFF. It's up to the reader (and the writer) to figure out what bad stuff they feel like exploring.

Either that, or we should just ban all books for daring to explore conflict. I'm thinking that sounds stupid, though.


  1. ANIME! Apparently I'm an expert now.

  2. LOL yep, I totally wanted something bad to happen. Not because I'm mean, but because it needed it.

    But I knew that was the point. :P

    LOOOOOOVE this drawing! So gorgeous. And it's nice to mix up the fully fleshed out, colored, Photoshopped "sketches" with actual pencil-and-paper ones. :)

    Seriously, LOVE.

  3. That Japanese historical WIP sounds awesome...and this drawing is lovely! I love how expressive her eyes are :D

    Sarah's life was so NOT perfect because of its perfection. That was genius. o.o

  4. So true! Isn't interesting how writers just itch to make things go wrong, though? Love it.

  5. That's a lovely drawing. You captured the look of liquid perfectly, and her lips are very expressive.

  6. Oh, oh, oh!!! I love the sketch, Natalie! Beautiful. :D And that story sounds interesting, too.

    By the way, like, every time I see one of your sketches I really start trying to picture what you would do with some of my stories. You should definitely keep those as prizes if you do more contests. :)

    Confession: I couldn't read your Boring YA yesterday. I tried! I really tried but a few paragraphs in and I KNEW what you were doing and I just couldn't keep going knowing that you weren't going to DO anything. I kept cringing at all the perfection haha.

    I didn't even stick around long enough to get to the comments; I had to get away.

    LOL. But it's so true that we need conflict. I feel the need to make something horrible happen to my characters now. *sigh* Thanks.:P

  7. Love the picture. And amen about the conflict. So true. Also.....I get to see you next week!!!!! Yay!!!!!

  8. Oh my goodness...I LOVE THE SKETCH!! You captured Naomi perfectly! And I'm glad you found my story interesting. Sometimes I wonder if people would like it, but from your comment and a few others it looks like I was just being self-conscious, as usual.

    Thank you so much for this. May I post it on my blog and link it back?

  9. Go for it, Dara! It IS your sketch! You won it:)

  10. Ok. :) I just wanted to double check!

  11. While my teen years were boring they were by no means perfect (like Sarah's) as perfect doesn't exist in real life either. I do think you could make a story from perfection but it has to be caused by something controversial or something that can be fought so their lives can go back to normal - wait, that's conflict, lol.

    Have to say, even though I knew what you were doing with the story I was compelled to read it all simply to see your idea of perfection - now that's the writer in me, wanting to know the writer behind the story.

  12. Numba 1: Awesome Sketch!
    Numba 2: I really did want to be an evil mastermind and destroy her world. I'm sorry?

  13. Referencing the Evil Overlord Instruction Manual comes in nifty for adding 'conflict' to tired, dull, normal. Seriously, it reminded me of Stranger Than Fiction with that engaging voice on something otherwise pretty boring without conflict.

    Will there be more?

  14. What an awesome picture. And, for a writer, it has to be an awesome feeling to see one's characters depicted by someone else. It makes them seem more real.

  15. what an amazing picture i love itx

  16. Look at you, sneaking a writing lesson into a seemingly innocent blog story. Sneaky sneaky, woman.

    Beautiful picture, as always :)

  17. Uh, I was just kidding when I said that story was like my adolescence. Add in some black nail polish, angsty poetry, a terrible boyfriend, and a determination to get into all possible trouble. Then you'd have me.

  18. i'm so jealous of dara! but so excited to see her heroine come to life. yippee! i've been poking in and looking for Natalie Originals! so happy to see one!

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. Oh, Natalie! Your drawing is fantastic!!!

    I hope you win the books over at
    Cindy's blog...