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I won't be posting my Inktober dinosaurs on DA until the end of the month, but if you are interested in seeing them, you can head on over to my Patreon!

I also have a hint there for a brand-new dinosaur themed project. Check out my rewards and support my art!
  • Mood: Relief
  • Watching: Tiny Toon Adventures
So, I kinda guess I'd like to do this Inktober thing, since it's been forever since I worked in ink. My theme will be dinosaurs.

So the first 31 comments I get, I will draw that dinosaur for the day. I'm kind of hoping to find some new species that are new and funky and cool. Dinosaurs have gotten so much more diverse and awe-inspiring since I fell in love with them way back in the 80s, and the science is so amazing that awesome stuff is being discovered every day.

That's not to say I'd say no to a T. rex or anything, but I am hoping to get some comments outside the dino box. Links to articles and pictures welcome, of course.

EDIT: All right, looks like I got my dinos. And after a good scolding from a friend, I will be doing mosasaurs and pliosaurs and such! Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!
  • Mood: Relief
  • Watching: Tiny Toon Adventures
I promised I would post some good pitches from #PitchMad. Seeing what gets grabbed by agents is a good way to know what makes for a decent pitch. (Bad ones are just funnier in the absolute opposite way.)
These pitches were either starred (requested by agents), or retweeted by myself and my friend because we liked them.
And I will say, with the utmost smugness, that out of 45,000 tweets tagged #PitchMad, I got 7 agent requests and 1 publisher request, while my friend got 7 agent requests. Not bad out of 45,000 tweets!

1. Years ago, they called this beach town Murderville. 5th-yr senior Jackson, looking into a friend's death, is about to learn why. This one was the one all the agents were clamoring for. While I personally could take it or leave it, it has all the elements of a good pitch: stakes, protagonist, and plot. There's no accounting for taste, and agents have their preferences. While I would not be particularly interested in this book, I can objectively state that it's still got a great pitch.

2. The Sky King uses his brother's circus to maintain power over the flying cities, but one girl in the menagerie could ruin it all. This is more my style. This one doesn't have to spell out for you that it's fantasy. The unique elements of the story set up stakes and protagonist. I would personally like to read this book, and that colors whatever flaws it might have to be certain, but it still has objectively good elements.

3. After a backwoods car accident, 17yo Tate wakes up to find his sister has vanished...and it's nightfall. DELIVERANCE w/ ghosts. X meets Y is a very popular shorthand for pitches. (Incidentally, yes, this was a YA pitch, references to Deliverance and all.) Don't feel like you're cheating or anything using this technique; comparison to already published books helps agents figure out where your book fits in the market.

4. A thief, 3 leg dog, neurotic robot, cynical robot & a girl (16) without a past: They're keys to save steampunk Ambrosia. While this one is a little vague, and the argument can certainly be made that it's a bad pitch because of it, I feel like there are enough specifics listed to give you the jist. Most plots in genre books are the same; you can pretty much figure out where this one is going. Sometimes plot can be left to the genre to do the heaving lifting.

5. In PUCK'S CHOICE, 16yo Puck, a fox-shifter, must learn to be human in HS again even as she defies the Council. I like shapeshifters, but again, objectively this pitch lets you know everything this story will be about. In a sea of vagueness, even the basics of specifics are all you need.

6. Haunted by her best friend's ghost, Marisol joins a cult to learn to speak to the dead. This one's just a straight shooter. Plain language is not as simple as it sounds (ask Hemingway.) It's easy to get bogged down when pitching fantasy especially, so sometimes it's just about the bare bones. This one doesn't even take up the full 140 characters and STILL manages to hit hard.

7. In BLADE OF THE OUTLAW, a half-breed outcast teams up w/ a hawk-toting cowgirl to tame the Wild West. Robin Hood retelling. I would probably BUY this book based on this pitch, not just grab it at a library. Wild West Robin Hood that you KNOW has horses ALSO has a hawk? I am so there. Aside from my own personal preferences, this is clear enough that the stakes and story are able to be grasped. I will say that I don't feel like including your title is a good idea; it just eats up Twitter characters. But some people feel their title is a pitch in itself, I guess.

9. Football capt Bray Carson stops a rape at a party forcing him to face truth about his teammates and his own family secrets. People pitching fantasy can learn a lesson from this one: sometimes all you need are emotional stakes. I personally am a sucker for straight-up, coming of age YA stories because they teach you so much about making emotional stakes the only stakes in the story. Something to think about for an angle, anyway.

10. ELEANOR & PARK + HOLD STILL Daphne & Oliver team up to mend their broken families by fulfilling their dead siblings’ To-Do List. This one was everywhere in retweets. No idea how many agents grabbed it, but I'm thinking a lot.

11. If Beatrix Potter wrote Game of Thrones. Shapeshifters, resourceful squirrels, and a battle for the Fisher Cat King's throne. Everyone wants to know how you pitch a book like Game of Thrones. Pretty much by comparing it to Game of Thrones.

12. How can an 18yo girl replace a 400yo old samurai in a war against gods, dragons, and monsters in modern Tokyo? Ghibli/Toho mash. Too much urban fantasy uses European culture; a Japanese take sounds pretty fresh to me. While this one asks a question, a kind of no-no in pitches and queries, there's enough detail here to pull it out of a nosedive.

13. ORPHAN BLACK + DIVERGENT: Lethal cat & mouse game between deserted assassin and the fascist organization that brainwashed him. Another X meets Y, as you can see. The setup between an underdog and a giant is one seriously old story, and it still works.

14. Self Proclaimed black nerd girl builds a robo unicorn that saves her artist friend from a cult that worships Cthulhu. It sounds just crazy enough to work. Two agents asked for this one. There's something to be said for just going all-out on wacky (while making sure you still make some sense.)

15. In SHAMPOO MOHAWK, a queer teen blogs his way through his fight with a bully, mourning a friend, and finding love. A lot of YA agents push "voice", that they want the writing to sound like a teenager. Aside from stakes, this pitch promises good voice, which can be the only selling point you might need.

16. Vengeance Jones has two charts on her door: Reasons to Kill Her Mother and Reasons Not To. Whichever one fills up first wins. The reversal on this is very nice. Pulling off a good reversal depends on good build-up. If you win, you probably got an agent request. If you lose, you're a fool. Reversals are tricky to write, but they have better payoff.
  • Mood: Distressed
  • Watching: Tiny Toon Adventures
I joined a Twitter dealie where you pitch to agents over Twitter, and I swear I learned more in one day about pitching than I have reading any number of how-to-write books.

A logline is a one sentence pitch of your story. It can be used on Twitter, but it's also used in person as an elevator pitch. It's the distilled essence of stakes, story, and character.  Some people find it frustrating and intimidating, but I find it easier to do a logline than a query.

I got a few bites from agents, so I was quite pleased. I gained a lot of sympathy for them around 3 in the afternoon, though. Every pitch starts looking the same, and the really, really stupid ones start standing out. Some suffer from bad metaphors, bland stakes, or simple incomprehensibility. I've got 16 examples right here for you, so if any of your loglines look like these, you may want to consider a rewrite. (Incidentally, don't post your own loglines for my perusal. I'm not going to sit here and tell a bunch of people they suck.)

1. X "craves sanity like other girls crave chocolate." Wow, way to trivialize your stakes and mental illness, there. 'She wants to be sane in a I-have-75 cents-for-the-vending-machine sort of way...' Bad metaphor is no one's friend.

2. The girl he loves has to die or he'll lose everything he's fought for. Hell demands obedience. His heart demands her. Pretty bland. But just the style of this makes me think Gary Stu.

3. What if following your heart means breaking it? Field Guide to a Girl. The power of nature and the nature of the heart. Some people seem to try to sell based on their title alone. Good title. But what's the story?

4. Through the mirror, keep to the light, save the worlds, but above all, never trust a Traveller, especially if you are one. Cryptic and unhelpful.

5. Princess X has to stop an uprising, but first she must control her insatiable urge to kill. Now there's a sympathetic protagonist.

6. A halfbreed vampire, a werewolf, a faery traitor, uncivilized dwarfs and a human witch and druid. What could they be up to? I don't know and I don't care.

7. A chosen destiny. A powerful gift. The only thing Cassie doesn't have is a clue. Maybe there's an app for that. I think I hate Cassie.

8. Ink-hued scales lick across her best friend's skin like spreading flames. Jenny must save her before possession is permanent. Wut?

9. Good witch must put together team of friends to take on dark magic school. Problem: they're all enrolled at the school. Wat?

10. Never-been-kissed Marion falls for the aquatic enemy. She'll have to ditch him in order to cure her BF... except he IS the cure. WAT!?

11. OUT AND IN - Amateur cellist framed for murdering opera maestro fights for freedom and hunts down $$$ her late QB husband stole. WAAAAAT!?

12. Just another telekinetic investigator kidnaps a new found psychic... for her own good... after a warlock attacks... story. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT I DON'T EVEN

13. Murder, betrayal, imprisonment, and a prince who won't leave her alone. Who knew a name change could be so difficult? Whatever the first has to do with the second ... your guess is as good as mine.

14. X has a dream to be a witch. When her dream comes true, its more of a nightmare than a dream. Gee, could you vague that up for me a little more? I need more white noise words like "orphan", "magic", "queen", "boyfriend", "revenge", and "lose everything."

15. X will learn that Purgatory is not a punishment, that he can make things out of thin air and that he'll soon be able to leave. Oh, well, problem solved, then.

16. If you're not turned on by shape-shifting dolphins, then you have no business in paradise. Yeah, I don't think I want to go to that paradise. It sounds pretty gross.
  • Mood: Optimism
  • Watching: Tiny Toon Adventures
1. Take action that someone can react to. I'm really amazed at how prevalent this is, and all I can think of is that people are afraid to be bold, especially if they are new to RP and don't want to step on people's toes. Back in the day, I used to roleplay on a Lion King forum (ahem), and the few close friends I gathered called this kind of crap "butterfly roleplay", as in: a lion comes into the thread and chases butterflies. Another lion comes in and chases it, too. They get to be friends by bonding over a butterfly. Everyone is happy forever and ever. Look, text roleplay is a training ground for learning how to write and write well. Conflict is your friend, not peace, love, and butterflies. I would not watch a television show about lions chasing butterflies. (I will watch the hell out of a lion framed for murdering his own father!) And I sure as hell wouldn't read a book about lions chasing butterflies. But so often, what I see is people just posting these extremely static reactions. In conversation, they nod their head. They agree. They stand there and do nothing, or offer inane and stupid opinions that have no relevance to what's happening. In combat, they stand there or attack everyone on both sides. If someone else enters the thread and does something, most of the time the new person will be totally ignored. In the thread as a whole, they risk becoming The Load (See Rule #5). In general, these kind of players are are just a drag to have in the roleplay. In real life these people would be considered brain-damaged. If they were a gesture, they'd be a noncommittal shrug. But in RP, they're someone's "character" and that's supposed to make it okay. In RP, I swear I will take a racist, a sexist, and a bigot over the most agreeable person in the world. Because I know who is going to be more interesting to react to. I can have pleasant and normal conversations in real life. I don't want to roleplay something I could be doing in real life, when the point of RP is to ride dragons and shit. In writing, the saying is "Character is action." A character is the action they take. Not what they TALK about taking, or THINK about taking, but what they DO. In roleplay, if your character is REACTIVE, they are not TAKING ACTION. If all your character is doing is reacting to everyone in the thread, and never doing anything themselves, get the hell out of my roleplay that that weak-ass bullshit, because you are not someone I want to play with. Every post you make, you should be providing fodder for your fellow players to react to, in addition to having your character react to theirs.

2. Say yes. This was something Stephen Colbert said about the first rule of improv comedy: say yes, no matter how absurd the suggestions. From an individual point of view, it results in a great skit. In the sense of Colbert's career, it allowed him to do amazing things, just because he never said "No, having a machine on NASA named after me is just ridiculous! Sponsoring a speed skating team is too odd!" Roleplay is a type of improv. And if you think you have to say "no", because it's humiliating, humbling, or not "in character", yes, you've achieved the impossible: you're roleplaying wrong. Way back in the day, I played with a Dungeons and Dragons group, and inevitably someone would play the lone wolf ninja badass, who played by his own rules and was gritty and anti-social. (Barf.) What ended up happening was that the rest of us, as a group, would wait around for hours while the DM ended up running an entirely separate game for Mister Ninja. Eventually, as group, we got tired of that crap. And Mister Ninja waited around for hours while we played our game. And when he complained, the DM said, "Don't like it? Then don't play that kind of character." This gets back to being The Load: it is NOT EVERYONE ELSE'S JOB TO CARRY YOUR CHARACTER THROUGH THE ROLEPLAY. Nope. I don't care. I don't care if your character hates everyone, is blind and mute, and would never, ever in a million years go to a bar to get a drink with folks. Because maybe this time he would, and he needs to, because saying yes is how you will get an interaction. Saying no will get you nothing. "It's my character!" is the rallying cry of the asshole who doesn't want to be considerate of other players. If you don't want to play with other characters, don't roleplay. Go play a video game. The computer won't mind, I promise. Say yes. Does it humiliate your beloved character? Say yes. Does it make the character do something strange or a little odd? Say yes. This rule doesn't mean you have to say yes to extreme things like dying, or something your character rejects with all of his heart and soul, but a drink? Conversation? Something within the realm of a reasonable, sane person? Say yes.

3. Variety is the spice of life. Humans are complex beings, but man, too many of them have a habit of creating one-note character. Like, say, you have an angry character. Kinda fun to interact with, because anger is so volatile. But it doesn't matter what happens, anger is all this guy will ever react with. Insult? Anger. Offer to help? Anger. Adorable puppy? Anger. Who cares after a while? You're writing a one trick pony with one dimension (who probably also lacks in growth, see Rule #4.) Thinking about how your character reacts in different situations is key to making a good character. I recall an old roleplaying buddy of mine who thought that "strong female characters" killed with violent precision on the battlefield and then cried and felt guilty about it later. Which, as a girl myself, made me want to punch him in the face after his umpteenth female character cried about how bad a person she must be for decapitating that ogre. Even just in basic social cues, children bring out different responses than adults. An adult being a jerk is held responsible for their actions; a child being a jerk is either blamed on bad parenting or an off day. Similarly, if you see a kid being called names by a parent bent on shaming and humiliating them, you respond entirely differently than you would to two adults doing the same thing. Maybe you do have an angry character. Are they going to get angry at a disabled person? A mute? A child or someone very old? Different nuances in different situations should bring out nuanced reactions. And sometimes, yes, this means your character steps outside their comfort zone for the sake of interaction. I might play a quiet, thoughtful introvert, but if the rest of the gang is going somewhere, I'm probably going, too. Roleplay lends itself to wonderful variety, because there's such a variety of players, and it's a lot of fun to see your character respond to the unexpected. A recent personal favorite moment in roleplay was when a friend of mine was playing a kind of obnoxious guy on a ferry, while my quiet introvert was a passenger who could see the ferryman and other passengers were really bothered by obnoxious guy. So when the obnoxious guy put his feet up, my introvert tipped him overboard. (My friend had to leave, so it was a perfect way to excuse her from the RP after I asked if I could.) It's become a great moment, because my introvert earned the friendship of the ferryman and the passengers, and that in turn led to further interactions. There's no limit to what can happen if everyone is on board with asking questions and saying yes.

4. Keep growth in mind. I happen to think roleplay, especially text based roleplay, is a wonderful training ground for writers. Mostly because what makes good roleplay makes for good writing. Roleplay with tension and high emotional stakes and a great plot is just as enjoyable as a book with the same elements. But a common problem I see with RP characters is very similar to a lot of protagonists: all their growth happened in their past. Moving forward, they have nothing to gain because they're already who they will be until they die. Which makes for some pretty damn boring interactions. They're never going to change their mind, have sympathy for another point of view, and they are certainly not going to change. The easy answer for this is "trauma." "Yeah, man, my character had really bad, traumatic things happen to her." Well, for the most part, (barring something like wartime PTSD) trauma actually has been proven to lead to self improvement in a vast majority of cases. Seeing or experiencing suffering creates compassion. If you see a bunch of people living without water, you suddenly get a lot more aware that water should maybe be a human right. If you see dogs dying of neglect, you might get more protective of a stray or be motivated to work at an animal shelter. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you have more sympathy for depressed or anxious people. It's actually if you are super protected in a bubble all your life and never had any difficulties at all that you are more likely to be lacking in empathy for others. Even if growth is small, or even if just one character brings out something different in yours, growth is still important and rewarding. And a necessary part of writing a good character arc for a book. Characters need to be changed by events in a book, so you should have them change in reaction to roleplaying events. An introvert becomes a little more sociable. A loudmouth learns to shut up and listen a little more. Big, sweeping changes? Even better! Go for it. But don't stagnate your character just because "It's my character!" Especially when you're using it as an excuse not to interact with other players.

5. Don't be a Drama Queen, The Load, or a Damsel-in-Distress.  Everyone loves drama, especially teens. But if you are any of these things, you are, essentially, placing the burden of action on others while expecting the plot to remain centric to your character. You tailor your actions to limit the actions of others into doing something you want them to do. Everyone centers around your characters desire's, and if they don't, you're not playing at all, or playing so badly you may as well be punishing the other players. For the last time, roleplay teaches you how to structure story and character, and this is about as close as you can get to being a Mary Sue. Everyone else is actually doing stuff, but you're reaping the benefits. For example, your character is crazy. Certifiably so nuts that no sane person would ever get near you, as you smash things, attack guards, and do other wacky hijinks that have nothing to do with the plot. You're the Drama Queen, especially if you whine when others don't want to play with your idiot loser of a character. If you never react to anything, never act out your own ideas for the situation, or give anything for the other players to react to, congratulations, you're The Load. The rest of the characters will tolerate you and haul you around, because let's face it, you're dead weight, but the next time they go hunting for someone to play they're not going to extend the invite to you. And if you get to sit and do nothing while your companions fight and struggle, for a cause that means nothing to them but everything to you: you're the Damsel-in-Distress. Emo characters who constantly have to be stopped from self harm or overdosing or killing themselves  are very popular for this. They have to be "rescued" from who they are, and even if a nuclear missile is five seconds from launching, they're about to shoot up that heroin so save them! And don't think these are mutually exclusive terms, either. One of my absolute favorite stories about how NOT TO ROLEPLAY was experienced by a friend of mine on an animal forum years ago. She was a jaguar, and started a thread where she was hit by a tranquilizer dart from a poacher. THREE OTHER PEOPLE came in with their own characters and made the exact same thing happen! The thread died six posts in because all it was was a bunch of unconscious jaguars at the base of a tree, an idea so fabulous in its terribleness I get tears in my eyes laughing about it every time I think about it. How magnificently stupid can you get? It's a brilliant and awful combination of Loads and Damsels-in-Distress ("Hey, sweet! I don't have to contribute my own ideas! I'll just copy the OP and then MY character will get carried around by someone else's plot!") too scared to come up with anything original.
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Watching: Muppets Tonight
I won't be posting my Inktober dinosaurs on DA until the end of the month, but if you are interested in seeing them, you can head on over to my Patreon!

I also have a hint there for a brand-new dinosaur themed project. Check out my rewards and support my art!
  • Mood: Relief
  • Watching: Tiny Toon Adventures


Laura Jennings
United States
Current Residence: Kempner, TX
Favourite genre of music: Pop, dance, techno, alternative
Favourite style of art: Cel shading, comic
Operating System: Windows XP
MP3 player of choice: Winamp
Wallpaper of choice: Zelda: The Twilight Princess
Favourite cartoon character: Scar, from the Lion King
Personal Quote: Compassion for things I'll never know. - David Byrne

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raspil Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2015   Writer
you utterly rule
has anyone told you that today?
if so, i hope that number was at least above 100
rainewhisper Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love your character designs, and found the journal about RPing to be quite helpful. I'll be sure to check out more of your art when I have the time! :D
Art-Zealot Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Okay dang, you know you've got to +Watch someone when you get lost in her Gallery for an hour...

Seriously, you've got some mad flair. My curiosity for the novels you've got in the works is piqued!
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015
You got lost in my gallery for an hour? I'm flattered!
xXAmberTheWolfXx Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
What is LightBox? I think I've heard about it it sounds familiar. I just saw that you use it.
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015
Well, if it's what I'm thinking of, it's something like this:…
I use it to clean up lineart, mostly, or make corrections. Sometimes I work on multiple pieces of tracing paper, and I'll flip the drawing to check my perspective while the pieces are on the lightbox. It's just handy to have around to do some tricks like transferring a rough to the final paper and such.
xXAmberTheWolfXx Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I see. That must very helpful right?
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015
I find it to be, yes. You can usually grab one for $20. Not a bank breaker. :)
(1 Reply)
Dragonfire810 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2015   Filmographer
Would you like to look at my dragon drawings?
weirdsketch Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Out of curiosity i feel the need to ask, Have you heard about the upcoming game Saurian? it seems like something that's right up your alley.
and by chance have you ever read the book Raptor Red?
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