bouragner felpz

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Lately I’ve been having thoughts on the process of my writing, and jotted down these notes as a reminder for myself of what it is I am doing. I look forward to coming back to them in a few years, to see if they still hold true. In the mean time, perhaps they can provide you with some amusement—and a peak into the churning muddle that is this author’s mind.

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Writing fiction is different from any other form of art I’ve encountered in that so much of it happens internally, where no one—not even the author, sometimes—can tell what’s going on. With drawing, there is the physical act of creating the image, which people can watch. It can be fascinating to watch an artist draw, or paint, and see the picture appear, as if by magic, on the page. And at the end, you have a finished picture that is immediately obvious to everyone around you. “Here I am,” the picture says. “This person can draw.

I’ve noticed that it is easier it is to talk about my painting than it is to talk about my writing. It’s easier to show someone a picture and say “I did that” than it is to convince them to read a story. A picture doesn’t take much time to look at, but a story takes time to read. Furthermore, most people can tell at a glance whether or not they like the picture, and then decide how long they want to look at it. With a story, sometimes you can’t tell until the very end, and it can be a bitter disappointment when it lets you down.

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Writing is an invisible sort of art that happens inside the author’s head, but also somewhere on the page, between the words and sentences and paragraphs. You’re not just painting a picture when you write a story, you’re crafting a whole landscape, with a road winding around in it, and readers walk down this road and experience your story.

I’ve been writing a lot of short stories and novellas lately and watching how my language changes from one story to the next. It helps that I have three distinct series running at the same time. The Bouragner Felpz stories are a bit of an early 20th Century pastiche with British mannerisms and spelling and a first person narrator with a storytelling style all her own.

The Professor Odd series is more American in tone, even though the principal characters are European. Professor Odd is more informal than Bouragner Felpz and has the (suitably) odd quirk that, though I have several point-of-view characters to serve as hosts for my third-person eye, I never use Professor Odd herself. The closest we get to the inside of her head is when she tells one of the POV characters something.

Finally, Driving Arcana, which is more like Professor Odd than not, still has a distinct style. While Professor Odd takes place in far-off universes, aboard spaceships, and on alien planets, Driving Arcana is set in a near-future version of the United States. The subject matter is therefore different, as are the types of stories I can tell. This in turn affects the language I use.

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Stories are communication, and like communication between two people, there is more to it than just words and their definitions. In person we communicate with our tone, our hand gestures, and our expressions. In writing, word choice can add subtle information to a sentence and fill out the landscape with hues and texture, subtly telling the reader about the nature of the landscape they’re in, and what’s in store.

Sometimes I read stories and I just know nothing too bad is going to happen. I can tell from the style of the writing. These always frighten me, because there is nothing quite as bad as rolling happily along until the writer pulls the rug out from under you and has something horrible happen at the end. It’s a betrayal, I think. If you’re not going to put up huge warning signs saying “cliff ahead,” at least have the decency to warn about the cliff in other ways. Maybe have some other cliffs looming about, or places where the road has been washed away. Things like that.

On the other hand, most writers like to keep their readers on edge, and so they write in a way that says “Could be cliffs here. Could be lots of cliffs. You don’t know.” I find these stories particularly satisfying, especially when at the end, everyone gets over the ravine unharmed.

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Stories are like puzzles to me. I turn the pieces this way and that, trying to see how they fit. I’ve become wary of pushing them in too hard, since sometimes, with enough shoving, I can get a piece to fit, but that doesn’t make it the right one. The right piece slips in easily, and it can take a while to find it.

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Stories are like four-dimensional paintings. They stretch out through time and space, into the limitless expanse of the human imagination. They are not like a performance: all the work happens behind the curtain, and when it lifts there is a book. But though the story exists then, it does not truly come alive until someone picks it up and reads it.

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The final piece to any story is the reader. It is the reader that gives it life, it is the reader that imbues it with its ultimate reality. Furthermore, each reader makes a slightly different reality, because everyone has differing experiences and opinions that color their perception of the world. And what are stories but little worlds, waiting to be activated?

Stories are a bit like a magic trick with a lot of audience participation. When I am writing, I find myself, like a magician, thinking not only about how things appear to the characters in the story, but how they will appear to the people reading it. What words I can use to spark the fires in my readers’ heads, so that their imaginations rise up and meet mine, creating a world even more vivid and realistic than I ever could on my own.

I can write a story much like a composer writes music, but it is the reader who plays it. Every time someone reads a story, a performance happens inside their heads. And they are the ones making that happen.

I think this is why reading is so much more mentally stimulating than, say, watching a movie. Because when you’re reading, you are actively participating in creating the story—even if you don’t come up with a single new idea or thought of your own, even though the writer did all that for you—you are the one who is making it real.

I can sing in the woods with no one but the trees to hear and the sound will still happen. But there will never be that magic of images and feelings exploding out of nowhere that happens when a singing voice meets the ears of a receptive listener. In the same way I can write a story and never publish it, never show it to anyone, and it will still exist, but there will never be the same, sudden magic that happens when a book is picked up and read.

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All art sparks something within us. All art is transportive. But I think stories are unique in that, though they may carry their readers off, at the same time, the readers are carrying them.

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Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. To keep tabs on what she is doing you can follow her on twitter @GrimbyTweets, and on Tumblr. You can also send her an email at goldeenogawa@gmail.com.

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As explained in a previous post, for the month of November 2013 I am undertaking a modified version of the NaNoWriMo challenge. Instead of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month, I am simply aiming to write 50,000 words of fiction (excluding blog posts like this one and other non-story writing, such as introductions and blurbs). I have allotted myself 22 days to write these 50,000 words (allowing for travel and conventions), meaning a daily average of 2,273 words per day. Words can go towards any number of stories I have in the works, in any proportion, but they must all be stories I intend to finish and publish one day. I am therefore recording, every day, the number of words I’ve written for each story, the total number of words that day, and how many words I am over or under my daily minimum average. I am also keeping a running total of how many words I’ve written and how many days it took, how many words I’ve left to write, and how many days to write them in, as well as a tally of how many words I am over or under the minimum average for the total day.

My entries for the past week (November 8th-14th) can be found below. Entries for Week 1 can be found here.

FRIDAY November 8
2,644 for Driving Arcana 1.5
TOTAL: 2,644 of 2,273
371 over minimum average

Current total: 24,631 in (8) days
6,447 over minimum average (total)
Remaining total: 25,369 in (14) days

SATURDAY November 9*
218 for God or Aliens song
Completed Driving Arcana 1.5
TOTAL: 218 of 0
218 over minimum average

Current total: 24,849 in (8) days
6,655 over minimum average (total)
Remaining total: 25,151 in (14) days

SUNDAY November 10*
0
TOTAL: 0 of 0
0 remaining to minimum average

*The 9th and 10th were scheduled Non Active Days and thus do not have a minimum average nor do are they counted among the 22 Active Days.

MONDAY November 11
1,307 for Felpz 2.8: Moofoot Problem
176 for Star Walker
TOTAL: 1,483 of 2,273
790 below minimum average

Current total: 26,332 in (9) days
5,865 over minimum average (total)
Remaining total: 23,668 in (13) days

TUESDAY November 12
1,930 for Star Walker
1,014 for Felpz 2.8
TOTAL: 2,944 of 2,273
671 over minimum average

Current total: 29,276 in (10) days
6,536 over minimum average (total)
Remaining total: 20,724 in (12) days

WEDNESDAY November 13
4,868 for Felpz 2.8
TOTAL: 4,868 of 2,273
2,595 over minimum average

Current total: 34,144 in (11) days
9,131 over minimum average (total)
Remaining total: 15,856 in (11) days

THURSDAY November 14
4,827 + THE END for Felpz 2.8
TOTAL: 4,827 of 2,273
2,554 over minimum average

Total words for Week 2: 16,984

Current total: 38,971 in (12) days
11,685 over minimum average (total)
Remaining total: 11,029 in (10) days

A bit down from Week 1, mostly due to the fact that I wrote practically nothing on Saturday and nothing at all on Sunday. But that’s okay: I planned for those days to be non productive. Also, what is encouraging is that, although I was under my minimum average on Monday, I was able to bounce back over the remaining week, and actually extended my word-lead. At this rate I really only need to write a little over one thousand words a day to come in on schedule, but of course I’m going to reach for the stretch goals (TBA).

I expect the weekly total will go down again next week, and the week after, as I will be traveling for Midwest FurFest for part of both of them. But that’s why the Day Counter is set at 22 instead of 30, after all.

But hey, 11,000+ words ahead of schedule. Not bad, I say! The challenge now is seeing if I can finish Professor Odd 8 by the end of the month. (Hint: I’m going to try REALLY HARD.)

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Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. You can follow her daily progress on the 50k word challenge on her twitter, @GrimbyTweets, and you can also email her at goldeenogawa@gmail.com—but understand why if she doesn’t respond right away.

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For some time now I’ve been building up a new business front to handle the publication and production for my art and fiction. Perhaps you’ve heard me mention something to this effect before. Well, now at last I have something concrete to show you!

HPWebBanner

HELIOPAUSE PRODUCTIONS is now live as a business and website, and you can read the welcome post here.

ABOUT THE NAME:

The heliopause is the boundary of the heliosphere; the theoretical boundary where the Sun’s solar wind is stopped by the interstellar medium. I chose to name my company after it because I write predominantly science fiction and fantasy (well, fantasy mostly) and I wanted a name that evoked something out-of-this-world. Also, Pangolin Press was taken.

WHAT IT WILL DO:

Heliopause Productions is essentially a business front for all my writing and artwork. It will handle the release of eBooks, print books, audiobooks, webcomics—basically anything I decide to do. I will still be running GoldeenOgawa.com as my official personal blog, and of course I will note news of releases there as well. But Heliopause is for everything business.

WHAT IS IN THE WORKS:

So many things! I am re-releasing the first two Professor Odd books with new covers, so that there will be continuity with the succeeding episodes. I am also releasing a collection of the Bouragner Felpz stories, The Adventures of Bouragner Felpz, Volume I. Coming in September I’ll be launching my semiannual anthology, Apsis Fiction, which will contain four all-new stories + some bonus short-shorts. These will include an all-new Professor Odd novella, which will also have a solo release later on in October.

There will also be MORE Year of the God-Fox. Be sure to follow the official Tumblr for the latest updates there; I will have news of Book 2 this coming Monday.

And of course I will continue to take personal artwork commissions as time and energy allow.

BUT BEFORE ALL THAT:

I am going to take a little vacation. I’m driving up the west coast to visit some old friends, do some writing, ride my bicycle, and maybe catch a show or two. Should be fun.

Take care all!

~Goldeen

  • This post is mirrored on deviantART. If you wish to comment, you may do so over there.

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My online manga, Year of the God-Fox, is posting weekly over at yearofthegodfox.com. Anyone who hasn’t already should seriously check it out! It also has an official Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook—so you can be kept up-to-date on the social media site of your choice. I post chapter previews, teasers, and also Production Notes (sort of like behind-the-scenes but for a comic) there, along with other neat things. (All content is mirrored across the three platforms, so you only have to follow one!)

Year of the God-Fox is a pay-for webcomic. There will be four books eventually; currently you can buy access to Book 1 for $5.99 or the Complete Series for $19.99. I’ve worked very (very) hard on it. I hope you like it.

Book 1 TeaserSM

I’ve also been busy working on personal commissions and getting ready for a major shift in my publishing business (more on this later). Part of the work involves releasing the various Adventures of Bouragner Felpz as a complete volume. I’ve spent the last week getting the cover ready, and I am very proud of it. So proud I want to show it off to everyone. As I said in my tweet I know it’s bad form to show off your cover before the book has a release date, but what’s the point of being your own publisher if you can’t break the stupid rules?

Here’s the cover for the first volume of The Adventures of Bouragner Felpz, which will contain all eleven stories so far published, plus a special introduction:

There will be a blog post about the making of it, I assure you.

There will be a blog post about the making of this cover, I assure you.

Volume 1 will be available as an eBook sometime in August or September and as a print book hopefully not too long afterwards. And in case you’re wondering, yes, there will be a Volume 2. I’ve already written the first four stories for it, and am in the process of writing the fifth. There will be twelve eventually (for a total of twenty-three short stories), plus three novellas—which will comprise Volume 3.

Now I must fly and enter edits for the first Driving Arcana story. The work of the self-published author is never done!

Goldeen Ogawa is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. You can email her at goldeenogawa@gmail.com or peck at her on Twitter @GrimbyTweets

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After a catastrophic storm leaves the city of Redling half-filled with mud and the magician Bouragner Felpz ill with exhaustion, his faithful ward Corianne determines to take him on a relaxing country vacation. This however is soon upset by the sudden appearance of a ghostly witch, who holds the key to preventing an even greater catastrophe. After the Storm concludes the first volume of The Adventures of Bouragner Felpz.

 

 

 

 

 

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Episode 2.11: After the Storm

 

The Author Says:

It’s important as an author, I think, not to underestimate your audience. As I had planned from the very beginning that The Adventures of Bouragner Felpz would be split into two distinct volumes, I felt it would be unfair to pretend to the reader that the stories would stop after the first one. Felpz gets about so much that any attempt I made to retire him would be seen as very feeble, so I did not even try. All that remains to be said at this point is that he will return. In fact, if you look closely, you may find him cropping up unexpectedly in completely different stories. He is just that kind of character.

 

 

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A simple murder soon takes a turn for the mysterious, as things often do when the magician Bouragner Felpz is involved. Now he and his ward, Corianne, find themselves drawn into the harsh world of vagabond thief-masters and young pick-pockets, trying to uncover the truth behind an enchanted ring and the shadowy organization known as the Alchemists’ Circle. This is the tenth and penultimate story in the first volume of The Adventures of Bouragner Felpz.

 

 

 

 

 

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Episode 2.10: The Alchemists’ Circle

 

The Author Says:

Though each Bouragner Felpz story is self-contained, and can be read alone, when put together the stories that comprise the first volume do contain an overarching meta-story. Hints of it can be found, sprinkled throughout the volume, but they only become really obvious here, now that we are coming close to the end. Alchemists’ Circle is also notable in that it is the longest of all the stories—very nearly long enough to be a novella—and when taken within the context of the volume, can be seen as something like the climax.

 

 

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Unusual visitors are par for the course in the life of Bouragner Felpz, consulting magician, but few materialize out of flames from the fireplace. Enter Lilith Maugs, an enigmatic woman with a tumultuous past who has come to Felpz for aid, yet in doing so puts him, and his ward Corianne, in mortal peril.

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Episode 2.9: The Labors of Lilith Maugs

 

 

The Author Says:

One of my favorite of the Greek legends is the Labors of Heracles. I was always impressed by Heracles’s diligence, even if things did not end particularly well—but that is only what you expect from a Greek myth. I have also long harbored interest in demons, particularly how they are portrayed in fantasy. Because “demon” has become so widely used to describe a wide range of monsters, I felt it was time to give the term some definition in my own stories. And although I have tried to keep these stories fairly self-contained, the careful reader will probably want to have read The Amazing Mages before beginning on this one, though it is not strictly necessary.

 

 

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Bouragner Felpz, the renowned Magician’s Consultant, has never been known to sing. Yet sing he does, as do any who touch the unusual fire stones that have been unearthed around the Willowbee mansion. What put the song in the fire stones? What does it mean? Who is it for? The answer lies in an ancient legend, and in the mysterious ghostly riders that have begun to appear, galloping around Willowbee Hall.

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Episode 2.8: The Song of the Fire Stones

 

The Author Says:

I love music. I love listening to music, I love making music, I love dancing to music. Music is, I think, about as close to real magic as we can get in our universe. It’s always struck me that musician and magician are not so different looking words when you think about it, and that this may not actually be a coincidence. Of course, music-driven magic is not something I alone have come up with: it was also used brilliantly by my idol, Diana Wynne Jones, in her novel The Magicians of Caprona. Although I must say that book did not have so much influence on this story; I’m only mentioning it because it’s really a smashing good book and it would be a shame not to. Song of the Fire Stones owes more, I fancy, to those wonderful tales where relics from a glorious and ancient past turn up in unexpected places—sometimes with dramatic results. It’s also an homage to Sherlock Holmes (as is the whole Bouragner Felpz series, I suppose), in so much as, where Holmes goes around revealing mysterious and terrifying murders has having natural solutions, Felpz goes around providing happy endings to situations that would, in less capable hands, quickly spiral out of control. But mostly, I like music.

 

 

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In a world where magic and supernatural entities are real forces to be reckoned with, sometimes the best person to solve a murder mystery is not a detective, but a magician. Such is the case in this, the seventh adventure of Bouragner Felpz, where he is called in to investigate the impossible murder of a young lord. But what Felpz discovers—and the unorthodox means he employs—is sure to shake even the stoutest of hearts. Narrated as always by his trusty ward, Miss Corianne Birch, The Twisted Unicorn delves into the world of sinister necromancers, unlikely victims, and terrible vengeance.

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Episode 2.7: The Twisted Unicorn

 

Kapi yes?The Author Says:

The story of Twisted Unicorn was brought about by a great many characters that had been bouncing around in my head getting together and saying, look, you really need to put us in a story, and you need to do it now. So I did. I also used it as an opportunity to directly address one of the fundamental differences between Bouragner Felpz, and his literary forerunner Sherlock Holmes. Finally, the story is notable in that it introduces Hydegan. Hydegan is an unusual character (for me) in that he is roughly modeled after a real person. I don’t usually do this, and I say “roughly” because his model is actually rather famous and I don’t know him personally (we have only met once, briefly, in a dark alley); so there is a great deal about Hydegan that I made up. Because of this I doubt many people will recognize him, though if you’re familiar with a certain set of underground celebrities he should strike several bells. So if you find yourself thinking, “wait, is Hydegan based on—?” then the answer is probably: Yes, and sorry.

 

 

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Miss Vitronica Mage is the youngest of four children who have all mysteriously disappeared on the eve of their 21st birthdays. Now about to turn 21 herself, she comes to Bouragner Felpz in a desperate attempt to save herself, but what Felpz discovers when he investigates the case proves to be far more intricate than what first appears. And Corianne, his faithful ward and biographer, is forced to take a much more direct role than she would like, considering there could be a demon involved!

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Episode 2.6: The Amazing Mages

 

The Author Says:

It should be fairly obvious (it certainly isn’t a secret) that these stories owe a lot to the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, namely his Sherlock Holmes series. I wanted to write fantasy, but not the traditional sword-and-sorcery sort. I remembered Holmes saying something to the effect that he had never met a murderer who could fly, and I thought: oh, but if there’s magic involved, there could be! And thus inspired, I ran off to write my own mysteries, but this time with magic involved.

I’m mentioning all this because I don’t think it’s really fair not to. People tend to notice similarities in my work with other, greater writers. Some of these similarities are subconscious (I had read their book many times and certain themes became ingrained in my mind and popped in without my meaning them to), some of them were accidental (I had never even heard of this person or read their books: the similarities were simply coincidental), and some were deliberate. These I feel I should be honest about, since I was consciously helped along by some other person’s work. And I’m mentioning it now because this story was directly inspired by one of my very favorite Sherlock Holmes tales. I won’t tell you which one—I don’t want to spoil the surprise!—but fans of Holmes should easily recognize the… let’s call it the armature of this story. The details, (the flesh, skin and hair,) however, are entirely my own. And the solution, I am happy to say, is actually rather different.

 

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