Looking Back

I’ve been posting gratuitously about #ThursdayAesthetic on here, but last week’s theme was a really cool learning experience for me. The theme was “past project”, and I decided to go all the way back to the first manuscript I ever completed: OF MONSTERS & WOMEN.

Now, this isn’t the first thing I ever wrote, and it’s best that my early days of Harry Potter fanfiction are lost to antiquated fan forums and dead hard drives, but finishing a full manuscript was a big hurdle for me. I started writing when I was around 13/14, and didn’t finish an entire story until I was 21.

I used to write out of order, simply writing whatever scenes I felt inspired to write. This ended up with a lot of half-finished stories, because once I ‘discovered’ the ending of a story, I didn’t have much motivation to go back and finish the journey. OM&W was the first story were I wrote chronologically, and I think that’s why I actually managed to finish. I’ve continued to write chronologically ever since.

Anyway, as prep for this week’s aesthetic challenge, I went back and revisited this manuscript. I braced myself for the worst, and surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Sure, there were lots of comma splices, run-on sentences, and paragraph-long dialogue tags. The fact that I could identfy these flaws, however, just shows how far I’ve come as writer since writing OM&W. The plot, however, was so much stronger than I remembered. The subplots were all necessary and subtly interwoven. There were far too many secondary characters, but I fell in love with the main characters all over again.

OF MONSTERS & WOMEN is about two girls:
Veronica: The dreamer. She hoped this was going to be a love story. Instead, she discovers she’s the last descendant in a long line of witches. As such, she is the only one who can break the curse placed on the pack of alpha wolves that now stalk her and her roommate.
Blake: The realist. With the werewolves go, hunters follow. Blake begins training with the hunters to protect herself and her roommate. When she stumbles upon lore of warrior women sworn to protect the witches, she realizes that her and Veronica’s fates might have been entwined all along–and it might be the very key to breaking the curse.
It’s a silly, tropey self-insert paranormal romance with more love insterests than you can shake a stick at, but it’s a fun read (if I may say so myself). I’d love to revisit/rewrite it one day and let these girls kick ass, take names, and get the guy in the end, too.

 

[AES] PAST PROJECT

top mid: veronica hale; bottom right: blake bennett

 

 

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HOW TO: Thursday Aesthetic

Since I began participating in #ThursdayAesthetic, the wonderfully fun Twitter hashtag started by @literarilyjess, I’ve seen multiple posts on how to create moodboards via apps, but none for Photoshop (which is what I prefer).  Here’s a brief overview of my process. Feel free to ask questions if you have any!

  1. First, create a new project, 500 x 500 pixels.
  2. Create your squares using the Rectangle Tool on the left sidebar. You’ll need nine squares at 166.67 x 166.67 pixels. (One will be slightly smaller because math.)
  3. Each square will be its own layer. I put my squares in order from top left all the way to bottom right, and I change the layer name from ‘Rectangle #’ to the coordinating position on the board (i.e. Top Left, Top Mid, Top Right, Mid Left, etc…)
  4. By double-clicking on the squares, alternate their colors like this:
    [AES] BLANK 9
    I’ve seen tutorials suggesting three base colors, but I work more easily with two and find that I end up with a cleaner end product.
  5. Search Pinterest, Tumblr, whatever photo source you like for your photos. I prefer Pinterest, and my friend Claire has a great color-coded aesthetic page that I use often.
    * Search tip: Add the word ‘aesthetic’ to your searches. I.E. if you’re making a green-themed Legolas moodboard just search “Legolas aesthetic” and “green aesthetic”
  6. Gather your photos and arrange/crop them into the squares! For easy cropping, I use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select the portion of the photo I want to use, right click on the selection > Layer Via Copy. Click the eye to make the original photo layer invisible. Or delete it. I tend to keep it until the very end so the original image is there if I need it.
  7. Once you have the nine photos you want, sharpen each one individually. I prefer the Smart Sharpen option.
  8. Don’t forget to color! There are lots of tutorials on this and I’m not the person to explain this, but it really helps bring your color scheme together.

Miscellaneous Tips:

  • I suggest gathering more than just nine photos because even though you’re going to find something AWESOME, it may not work with the set.
  • The color-coded blocks should be like-colored aesthetic photos. For me, the grey squares usually end up being photos with white backgrounds and the black squares end up being darker photos. I also try to pick one color that epitomizes the “mood” of the moodboard (get it?) and find photos that have that color. Not every square has to have it, but try to spread the photos with the color theme throughout the board.
  • Also, try to balance your photo choices. Space out your photos that are heavy on texture with minimalist ones. Text squares and pins/patches are great for de-cluttering your moodboard.
  • Have fun with it! When I get frustrated that a board isn’t turning out the way I want, just save it and come back later.

This week’s theme is “Beginnings”, so I’ll be back tomorrow with my board.

Cheers,
Erin Connor

currently writing 05.10.18

!CW

Again, this header is a lie. But I wanted to share this week’s #ThursdayAesthetic. The theme was ‘future project’. I’ve had this idea bouncing around in my head for years, and I’m still not entirely confident that it’s done brewing.

TOUCHED is a wlw romance that’s PLEASANTVILLE x THE GIVER.

The Continent is a hyper-conservative land where physical touch and magic have been banned. Calleigh is a magical land of sexual freedom and expression. The two lands have coexisted for years, but Calleigh fears that The Continent is no longer content to let them be, and will soon attempt to overtake them, squashing out the love and magic that makes Calleigh great. To preserve their way of life, Calleigh spies infiltrate The Continent, but even the best-laid plans can go sideways.

Billie, the daughter of two Calleigh spies, quickly falls in love with Shiloh, the daughter of The Continent’s president. And Shiloh, who has only known the bland, colorless life of The Continent, is completely enamored with Billie and the freedom Calleigh offers. If discovered, their love could spark the tension between their two worlds and be the end of Calleigh. So they must fight, both for themselves and for their countries.

[AES] TA WIP

!CW

DB’s sequel is currently at 20,000 words!! I actually had two full days off in a row and I wrote 12,500 words this past weekend, which is insane. I have a feeling this sequel is going to be a lot longer than anticipated, but it’s still the first draft. Either way, I’m excited! Anyways, #ThursdayAesthetic is now officially a *thing* on Twitter. This week’s theme was ‘Protagonist’, so here’s my Alba aesthetic.

[AES] TA MC CHALLENGE