Aesthetics – Academy Project

I hope you liked my second aesthetics post, because I wanted to share another one.

This is the one I made for the Academy project:

A collage with 9 different squares over a green background.

First row, left to right:
Blurry snowdrops among the green grass bathed by the light of dawn or dusk.
A small cemetery, with a few tombstones and a mausoleum in the background. 
A striking purple gladiolus flower.


Second row, left to right:
A basket full of yarn.
The central square has "ACADEMY. Sol Vera" written in an art noveau font on top of a square that's a darker shade of green than that of the background.
A close-up of a violin.

Third row, left to right:
A neat stack of old books on a wooden table.
A green lane in front of an old university building.
A whirlwind of books and notebooks, all open on some surface, like someone is in the middle of studying.

After the last Word Count Update, this became the project with the second lowest word count among those in the list, so I’m trying to find some inspiration via this aesthetics post. I’m surprised it did so good on my earlier word count posts, because it used to be a knock-off of my Alcalá project at the very beginning (over two years ago). I had an idea for a story and I’d been wondering whether it would be better to tend towards fantasy or historical romance. In the end, I said “Why not both?”.

So yes, the Academy project started as the High Fantasy Romance version, but now it has very little to do with the other project. This one has magic in it! Yes, there’s a university of magic.

I wanted to finish one of my stories for The Pact, so I started this one thinking it would be easier. It’s all fantasy, right? So it doesn’t need the enormous amount of research a Historical Romance does, I thought.

And maybe I’m right, but then things got complicated and the story ended up needing a lot of research I haven’t finished yet. Well, I guess you never really finish doing research for your book. Not even once the book is published and suddenly you find something you could have used in your book. Ah, how I long to be able to feel those regrets…

Anyway, this one is an enemies-to-lovers set in a fantasy world where there’s a university, there’s magic, and there’s they-were-roommates. I’m still struggling with some of the plot points, like deciding how evil the villain is (I think I mentioned that in one of my posts and, well, it was about this story), but making this collage I realized the villain was not that important. I had started to think like the main character, while I should have a broader perspective.

I know better now, thanks to these aesthetics posts!

Disclaimers:

I’ve made all of these collages using free stock photos (and a couple of personal photos) on Canva, so to my knowledge all of them were free to use. Please let me know if that’s not the case for any of the photos.

All of these WIPs are still in progress, so everything is tentative. Things may change as the stories and the characters develop. Also, the images I’ve chosen might not be 100% accurate, but they have some elements that might be important within the story.

Word Count – August 2021

I know it’s almost October, but I couldn’t add the word count on my last update, so I decided to make a separate post and it became one of my goals for this month.

And here we are! I’ve made some graphs to help me keep track of my word count!

Line graph on a purple background that looks like someone used a paint roller on a lilac wall. On the x-axis, 5 different dates appear: November 2020, January 2021, March 2021, June 2021 and August 2021. The number of words appears on the y-axis, which ranges from 0 to 150,000. There are 8 lines with different colors and all of them but one overlap.
Blue: It's the highest by far, since it starts from the 100,000 line and rises a little more before stabilizing.
Gray: Starts as the second highest, around 25,000 and goes up quite a bit from January to March, then stagnates, then goes up again.
Turquoise: Starts as the third line, but immediately stagnates and is overtaken by all of the rest except one.
Orange: Very stagnant. It overlaps with the turquoise at the beginning and with the green before the end, then becomes the last project according to the number of words.
Green: It overlaps with several at the beginning and with the orange one before the end, then has a steep increase and goes from the last position to the fifth position, overlapping with the yellow one once more. Yellow: It overlaps with several at the beginning, then it stagnates, but it rises a lot later on and ends up together with the yellow one.
Brown: Overlapped at the beginning. It is not known where it comes from, but it ends up in fourth position. Violet: Goes from the last position to the second position.
Made with Canva

As I mentioned on my post about Burnout, last year I decided to change my goals from writing as much as I could to writing 100 words per day to avoid feeling overwhelmed and getting stuck. And it’s been working pretty well, I think! I used to hate word counting, but being able to check how I’m doing every 2-3 months has helped me realize I’m writing more than I think.

Oracle already had a very high word count because it’s my oldest project and I’ve been adding words for over 10 years, but take a look at the others! Remember that I count all the words because research and outlines are part of writing, so the number of words is not the same as in the manuscripts, but they all count towards my goal.

Sanctuary is my newest project and it’s already ahead of the rest. Brothers is probably the second project I started, over 6 years ago, so it’s normal to see it in third place. Alcalá has seen an increase this year because I’ve done a lot of research for that project. Feathers and Fireflies keep intertwining in a beautiful pattern, with Fireflies’ word count greatly increasing in recent months thanks to a related short story I was writing. Academy has seen a slow increase, but it’s not doing that badly. And the last one, Heroes, still has way more words than I expected before I started counting.

You can see more about my projects here.

Vertical bar graph on a purple background with flowers outlined in a darker shade of purple. On the left, one can see the names of the projects. Below, the number of words. The bars grow towards the right and have stripes with different shades of blue representing the different months.
The bars go from longest to shortest.
Oracle: Either doubles or triples the length of the others, but it is because of the first stripe, the lightest one.
Sanctuary: It has five distinct stripes and has managed to surpass 50,000 words. The first to achieve it after Oracle.
Brothers and Alcalá: usually very evenly matched, but Alcalá has a very wide third stripe, while Brothers has a fifth stripe that helps it go a little further, managing to get third place at the last moment.
Feathers: It does not have a second stripe, but it has a very visible fourth stripe because there was a month in which I only added words to this project. 

Fireflies: Used to be pretty even with the Heroes Project, but has a much wider fifth stripe that makes it more even with the Feathers Project now. 
Academy: Very narrow third and fifth stripes, while the fourth is nonexistent.
Heroes: has a wide first stripe, but not many more shades of blue afterwards.
Made with Canva

And, in this second graph, you can see how words got added to each project. The darker the colour, the closer to the present. But please keep into account that the lightest colour can cover several years in projects like Oracle and Brothers.

So now we all know how my writing is going, and I got to visualise how I’m writing more now that my daily goal is just 100 words. I just hope I can keep it up!

Would you like to see more Word Count updates like this one?

Aesthetics – Heroes Project

I hope you liked my first aesthetics post, because I wanted to share another one.

This is the one I made for the Heroes project:

A collage with 9 different squares.

First row, left to right:
Make-up pallettes with bright colours.
The Tower Bridge in London.
A rainbow flag made of glitter.

Second row, left to right:
A fox stretching with its tongue out.
The central square has "HEROES. Sol Vera" written in blocky letters directly on top of the royal blue background.
A black cat is hissing.

Third row, left to right:
A group of friends walking while hugging each other.
The "oso and madroño" statue in Madrid's Puerta del Sol.
A lonely man sitting down in front of the wavy sea.

I wanted to do this project next because it’s the one with the second lowest word count among those in the list, so I’m trying to think about it and write a bit more. I’m always surprised when I realize this project placed so high in the first of my word count posts, because I always had the feeling I’d barely started and would probably never finish it. The rest of the WIPs have surpassed it in the last year, but I’m still confused when I see it has more than 1000 words.

As you know, it was supposed to be a superhero short story set in Spain, but will probably end up being something longer. It’s contemporary, set mainly in Madrid, and the main characters have superpowers and use alter egos to fight crime and injustice. Depression and anxiety are very relevant to the story, maybe as much as in Fireflies or even more.

I’m very unsure about this project, since it covers very difficult subjects, but it’s supposed to be mainly fun. It’s hard to balance things out while treating the heavy subjects with the depth and seriousness they deserve. I may need more experience to make sure I don’t bungle things up. And a sensitivity reader or two.

At the beginning, this WIP was just a game. I was having fun imagining how Spanish superheroes would look like, how the stereotypes could be used or subverted, and what they would fight against. But would it make sense without a superhero that was more or less the opposite of the main character? That’s when things started to get complicated. I’m still wondering whether I should keep going forward or just revert the project to its early stages: a fun short story with lots of stereotypes that could be read as satirical by those who are familiar with the image of the American superhero.

I’ll have to think about it.

Disclaimers:

I’ve made all of these collages using free stock photos (and a couple of personal photos) on Canva, so to my knowledge all of them were free to use. Please let me know if that’s not the case for any of the photos.

All of these WIPs are still in progress, so everything is tentative. Things may change as the stories and the characters develop. Also, the images I’ve chosen might not be 100% accurate, but they have some elements that might be important within the story.

Aesthetics – Fireflies Project

I wanted to start posting something different, and the only good idea I had was to share aesthetics with some information about my WIPs. I hope you find these posts interesting!

First, a disclaimer: I’ve made all of these collages using free stock photos (and a couple of personal photos) on Canva, so to my knowledge all of them were free to use (or mine). Please let me know if that’s not the case for any of the photos (for instance, if you recognise your photo and it was uploaded illegally to Canva).

A second disclaimer: all of these WIPs are still in progress, so everything, even the titles (especially the titles), is tentative. Things may change as the stories and the characters develop. Also, the images I’ve chosen might not be 100% accurate, but they have some element that will be important within the story (if it remains there in the future).

And now that you know that, here is the aesthetic I made for the Fireflies project:

A collage with 9 different squares.

First row, left to right:
Fog lifting among green mountains in Asturias.
Two men at the beach.
A hill in Galicia, covered in green, with a narrow path.

Second row, left to right:
A ginger cat looking at the camera with golden eyes.
The central square has "Fireflies. Sol Vera" written in fancy letters on top of a dark green square that contrasts with the lighter olive background.
A brown Labrador is laying on its bed and looking to the left.

Third row, left to right:
San Lorenzo beach in Gijón with the church and the green mound in the background.
A small, hidden mountain lake.
The San Pedro church that appeared in the background on the image of the beach.

I decided to start with this project because it’s the one with the lowest word count on the list, and I wanted to give it some love. I was surprised when I realized this project came last if we just focus on the word count, because it used to be among the first ones in that regard. It’s not that I haven’t written much about it, because I’ve already started the first draft, but that the rest of the WIPs have grown so much in the last two years that they left Fireflies behind.

As you know, it was supposed to be a low fantasy short story, but will probably end up being something longer. It’s contemporary, set in northern Spain, and has both animals and fantasy elements. The fantasy part is related to Spanish myths and legends, which have strong ties with Celtic mythology in the north.

There’s also an illustration made by Helen T Kord that you can see here. So now you know a lot about the main characters and their pets! At the moment, the one holding the cat is the narrator of the WIP. He has anxiety issues and is trying to recover.

At the beginning, this WIP was two separate projects: the one about anxiety and the one about mythology. But they were lacking something, and soon I realized they had to become one and the same. It just makes more sense this way!

Art – More chibi characters by Helen T Kord

Remember I shared some chibi characters made by Helen T Kord a while ago? Well, I’m bringing you two more chibis to add to my commissioned art collection. This time, the characters belong to a different WIP: the Brothers project.

Two men stand below a tree in a field. On the left there's a man with long brown hair, brown eyes and a beard. He's wearing a long cape, a white shirt, a mustard yellow and dark breeches. A glimpse of a short sword can be seen against his hip. He's smiling mischievously and letting his elbow rest on the other man's shoulder.
The man on the right is shorter, younger, blond and blue-eyed. He's looking away from the other man and has a dignified look while his arms are crossed. He's wearing a short cape, a white ruff, a sword, a black doublet, mustard yellow breeches and tight stockings.

Brothers is a Historical Romance set in Madrid (Spain) during the second half of the 16th Century. This project is still in its research phase, so it could change a lot, but these are the main characters for now. One of them is Spanish, the other one is a foreigner. They are not the brothers the placeholder WIP title mentions or, to be more accurate, only one of them is, so I hope I can finish this project one day and commission a mirror image with the other brother.

You already know Helen T Kord is the person with the most impeccable taste I’ve ever met, but they’re also an amazing artist who can make chibis come to life like this. And they also make portraits and illustrations! Please do check their work and commission information in the following links:

Art – Character design II by RoyalSea Art

As promised last week, I come bearing more art! This time, it’s the other main character from the Sanctuary Project:

A skinny creature with purple skin, big white eyes and elongated limbs is holding a blue bioluminiscent butterfly. The light reflects on his very big eyes. The hair is long, and black and white.

As I said in the previous Sanctuary post, this WIP was going to be a High Fantasy short story full of atmospheric vibes and aesthetics, but it will be a bit longer than I expected. I think I mentioned it is set underground, so there are characters who don’t look like your regular human. Such is the case of this (literal) cave dweller who is trying to follow his dreams… even if his friends and family don’t understand him. There are many places he wants to visit and views he wants to see and, among his people, that might be a bit peculiar.

The artwork was done by RoyalSea Art, who is amazing at character design, as you can see. Please do check their work and commission information in the following links:

By the way, they were kind enough to make a spoilerific version of this character so we could all see how he’ll look like.
You can see it below if you don’t mind spoilers.

The character looks exactly the same as the one above, but the hair is completely white.

Art – Character design by RoyalSea Art

As promised in my previous art-related post, I come bearing more art! This time, it’s one of the main characters from the Sanctuary Project:

A plump water elemental judging you with their arms crossed.

As I said in the previous Sanctuary post, this WIP was going to be a High Fantasy short story full of atmospheric vibes and aesthetics, but it will be a bit longer than I expected. I think I mentioned it is set underground, but there are characters that used to live underwater. Such is the case of this genderfluid water elemental who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time… or maybe it’s the right place and time, but it will take a while for them to realize. If you like this character, soon I will share the other main character of this project, so do come back next week.

The artwork was done by RoyalSea Art, who is amazing at character design, as you can see. Please do check their work and commission information in the following links:

Art – Chibi characters by Helen Kord

As promised in my previous art-related post, I come bearing more art! This time, it’s a pair of chibi characters that belong to the Fireflies Project:

A boy with brown hair (left) and a redheaded boy (right) looking and smiling at each other. The one on the left is wearing a black turtleneck and black trousers while he holds a ginger cat. the one on the right wears a dark t-shirt that once belonged to the other man and a red jacket with rainbow-coloured details. He's petting the head of a brown labrador sitting between them.
The dog and the cat are also looking at each other, and the cat is softly booping the dog with a gentle paw.

Fireflies was supposed to be a Low Fantasy short story set in Madrid, but I don’t know how long it’ll end up being. I think I mentioned it is set in northern Spain and animals are important. As you can see, they’re so central to the story they’re even pictured here. These are the pets that belong to the main characters (also pictured in this image), and I hope you find them as deadly cute as I do!

The artwork was done by Helen Kord, the person with the most impeccable taste I’ve ever met. Please do check their work and commission information in the following links: