Sunday, February 28, 2010
God Bless You, Canada.
One of the easiest things to do with your camera is take a portrait, and the majority of photos we take are images of ourselves, our loved ones, or complete strangers who have an uniqueness about them that we want to capture, save and show other people. The spontaneous or posed portrait is a mainstay of the photographic canon. However, that means 90% of them of boring stilted and uninspired. So how do you increase the punch of your portraits? That’s what we’re going to talk about today, and hopefully you’ll improve your simple snap shots after reading this.
Photo by rolands.lakis
Photo by Laenulfean
A few other suggestions are: use a prop – people love to play with things and it brings out their personality, focus on a body part that’s not the subject’s face (and therefore exclude the face), use the “burst” mode on your digital camera (something that I learned when I first got a point-n-shoot) and you can emulate the photo booth effect. Experiment, experiment, experiment… otherwise, you’re not pushing yourself or the art.
These just are few tips and techniques and things to think about when designing your next portrait. Portraits should have a personality to themselves that reveals the photographer and the subject. That’s how people will remember your work as your work…
Top image by Eddy Van 3000
Chris Derrick is a writer, photographer, screenwriter and director living and working in Los Angeles. He studied film production and screenwriting at the University of Southern California, and continued to expand his photographic knowledge through classes at the Art Center College of Design.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Vancouver 2010: Flash Dance February 25, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
If you should be forbiding access, (it does that sometimes) try http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrA4V6YF6SA
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Dead Witness is the best kind of rollercoaster ride in the park! A slow ominous beginning rolls forward, building tension as the bumps ahead come into view. By the time our heroine Valerie McCormick is on her vigilante mission to take down a cartel boss where the FBI had failed, sub-plots keep us rocketing along. From her husband's potential betrayal and her brother's brave search for her – to the continuing mystery around her parents' death – Valerie's life is spiraling towards a dark conclusion.
Author Joylene Butler has crafted a skillfully woven narrative around a simple question: How far would a mother go to protect her children? Valerie's actions answer resoundingly in her heroic journey into the dangerous world of psychotic career criminals, armed only with passion and tenacity. In the face of certain death, she discovers the full extent of her physical and emotional capabilities.
Dead Witness is highly recommended for mystery lovers and anyone from BC who would enjoy reading their own small towns threaded into an international thriller.
by Christine Hart
For your interest, Christine, the author of Best Laid Plans, also creates the most stunning jewelry. You can check them out at her site - http://sleeplessstoryteller.blogspot.com
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Could You Be a Full-time Writer?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
1. Write down your antagonist's name? __________________________________
In Dead Witness, I have two antagonists: brothers Miguel and Vicente DeOlmos.
2. What is the most important thing to your antagonist? __________________________________________
Miguel DeOlmos honours family above all things. Vicente worships his brother and would do anything to gain his respect.
3. What does your antagonist want? ________________________________________________________
Miguel DeOlmos wants Valerie McCormick dead so that his dynasty remains intact. He believes Valerie's death protects his family and those most loyal to him. Vicente wants anyone who threats his brother's safety destroyed. He also desires that others fear him.
4. What five important moments or actions are crucial to your antagonist and must be part of your story?
First - Miguel appoints his brother in charge of eliminating Valerie so that Vincente feels a part of the family struggle to overcome this adversity. Second - He sends a man to Prince George, Canada to kill Valerie. Third - after Valerie is supposedly dead, as a precaution, Miguel sends someone to watch her family. I won't list the rest so as to not spoil the story for you if you happen to buy a copy.
But go ahead and list the five most important happenings that must stay in your story because they move your antagonist closer to obtaining his goal. If your antagonist isn't a character, there should still be 5 events that move the story forward and get in the way of your protagonist obtaining his goal. Remember: These five or more events, actions, steps must happen to move the story toward its conclusion and, in doing so, create suspense, conflict and thrills for your reader.
Donald Maass ends the chapter by suggesting that your antagonist be on an inner journey just as your protagonist is. The most successful antagonist are a mirror image of your hero. They want, they need, and they desire. They also must appear larger than life, human beings with emotions. Donald also suggests you go one step further and give them a moment of kindness, joy, happiness, or compassion. But don't forget: your antagonist should be truly frightening and don't forget evil. That might be a difficult combination to come up with, but if you do, be assured that your manuscript will be noticed.
In reference to Donald Maass' comment about needing to believe you understand the antagonist. I agree with him, though I'm not sure I want to. To admit I understand Hannibal Lecter is a disturbing thing. What does that say about me? Perhaps it's part of the requirements of being a writer: I need to see, understand and appreciate even the most evil character ever created. Can I write a convincing antagonist otherwise?
Now it's your turn, what does your antagonist want?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
It was fun, Kim. Thanks.
1) Why did you choose self-publishing instead of ebooks or traditional publishing?
A writer-friend suggested I print a copy of Dead Witness for Lulu as a keepsake. When my book arrived, my family was so excited that they talked me into printing more. I decided on 100 because I thought that would cover friends and family. When they sold the first week, I ordered 125 more. They sold within the month. One day, a provincial chain-store called, said they loved my book and would I consider stocking their shelves. I said, "Thank you so much, but I haven't anymore, and they're too expensive to print." They suggested I call Sandhill Book Distributors. I did, and the owner said she'd need to read the book before making a decision. A few weeks later, I signed a contract. The owner, Nancy Wise suggested I contact Hignell Book Printers in Manitoba. I did. We made a deal and I had 1000 copies printed and shipped to Sandhill.
2) What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
3) How does one pick a good self-publisher and what makes a good self-publisher?
4) How much should one pay for a self-publisher?
5) How do you market your books?
6) Do you have any secrets to marketing that you’d want to share?
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Terry Rossio co-wrote with Ted Elliot: SHREK, ALADDIN, and THE MASK OF ZORRO, to name a few.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The rules for accepting the Sunshine Award are:
- Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
- Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.
These are 12 blog sites that stand out as the altimate place to go for sunshine and knowledge. Thank you, everyone. I hope you enjoy your award as much as I enjoy your blogs.
Careann's Musings - Carol Garvin
JaxPop - Dave Elbright
Katts Komments - Kathryn Neff Perry
Children's Books at the Cake and Custard - Carole Anne Carr
Bronzeword Latino Authors - JoAnn Yolanda Hernandez
Bertram's Blog - Pat Bertram
Thank you for always inspiring me.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
In Season One, Episode 19, of television series: Veronica Mars, Veronica defends a nerdy girl from being hassled by bullies in a crowded hallway at school. Veronica gets in the bully's face and berates him in front of everyone. Not a surprising reaction, if you understand who Veronica is. But what she does next is totally out-of-character and therefore unpredictable. When Mandy rushes after her to thank Veronica for coming to her defence, (nobody has ever defended her before) Veronica turns on her. She demands to know why Mandy doesn't stick up for herself, why she lets these people treat her so poorly. She then walks away, leaving a shocked and humiliated Mandy in her wake.
In his workbook, Mr. Maass also suggests doing the opposite of making your protagonist's qualities bigger than life. Take 20+ moments in your book and tone down your character's dialogue, action, reaction or internalization. Make it smaller, quieter, understated and unpredictable
In my novel Dead Witness, protagonist Canadian Valerie McCormick witnesses the execution-murder of two FBI agents while on holidays in Seattle. Valerie is married to a high-maintenance Ed. For eighteen years, she's kept the peace in her marriage by ignoring his outbursts. That's why this scene from chapter five comes as a surprise.
In chapter two of my WIP Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries, Serious Crime Investigator Danny Killian enters the kitchen of retired MP Leland Warner and his wife Sally Warner. Leland lays dead in a puddle of blood on the floor. There's blood and brain splatter across the marble island. Investigators are everywhere collecting DNA. Coroner Betsy Spenser, concentrating on the remains, has the victim's mouth open and is examining his throat and tongue. The scene would be dramatic for any layman. It's a serious situation, a tense moment, and all those involved are taking their job seriously.Ed rolled his eyes at her and looked back to the road. "You don't listen. I told you last week they laid off thirty management staff."
"I'm trying to help. Stop acting like I'm your enemy." She took a deep breath, determined not to argue. "I'll ask Aidan to keep his ears open. He knows a lot of people."
"Yeah, right. Ask your brother. The famous private eye will know where there’s a great paying job that'll lift us out of this damn recession. Of course, ask Aidan."
"That's unfair. He always tries to be there for us."
"You mean he's always made sure I look like a failure in front of my family."
She opened her mouth to say something but took another deep breath instead. Arguing would prove nothing; it never did. Besides, they'd be home soon. Arguing in front of the girls was forbidden. It was a promise neither of them had ever broken.
"Aidan's a thorn in my side," Ed added. "And always has been."
But the girls weren't there, and Valerie couldn't let that go. "Shut up about my brother. I owe him, and so do you."
Ed kept his eyes forward and had the good sense not to say anything else.
Here's an example that may or may not end up in the book:
Betsy looked up at him. "Danny – good morning. Sorry, I didn’t see you.” She flung her wrist high, exposing her watch, and checked the time. “I’m a little surprised I beat you here.” Her eyebrows furrowed. “Is everything okay?"He stuffed the tissue back into his pocket. Had he become such a creature of habit already that even the coroner saw a difference in him? But why shouldn’t he be expected to mourn the death of his wife and keep his private life private? The grief counsellor said he had to allow himself time and permission to grieve. Okay. But he'd already been doing that. Most days he coped just fine. Today was different because it would have been his seventh wedding anniversary. Tomorrow, everything would be back to normal; or at least whatever normal meant these days.The coroner was patiently studying him.
"Morning, Betsy. Yeah, everything’s fine. What can you tell me?"She hesitated, then gestured toward the window and the small hole. "The victim was shot and the bullet's outside.""Ah, good to know."
Now you give it a try. Pick 20+ scenes in your WIP and make your character unpredictable by making his dialogue, action, thoughts smaller or bigger than expected.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Here's a sunset photo I took from our deck October 5, 2009:
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thanks for your questions, everyone. Here's Phyllis' answers:
Do I need a website for my book? And if so, when do I need it?
Recently author Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I had a conversation with a literary agent about our proposed nonfiction book about marketing fiction. The agent seemed to question the need for every book to have its own website, while Carolyn and I were definitely on the side that every book needs its own site.
It was only after the conversation ended that I realized what the agent said that I hadn’t focused on. She was talking about whether every book needed a website individually programmed by a web guy that could end up costing the publisher or the author thousands of dollars. That’s the kind of website she was talking about.
As she asked us to add some additional material for the book proposal, I wrote a chapter about book author websites starting with why this type of expensive book website is not needed. Then I went on to write that a dedicated website for your book – not a page on a publisher’s site – is needed for numerous reasons, including establishing your professionalism.
Is this a contradiction? Not at all. Thanks to the availability of lower-cost solutions such as WordPress websites/blogs, authors can have dedicated book sites without spending wads of money.
This brings us to the timetable of when that site should go live.
It seems to me that, as long as you are going to have a website, why not have it live as soon as possible? This way you can use it as a “home” for building your fan base through blogging, social media, YouTube videos, etc. For an example, see the website for Carolyn’s and my proposed book at www.FictionMarketing.com
Should I tell my literary agent or publisher that I insist on the title that I originally gave my book?
This is a flat no. Agents and publishers have a history of selling different types of books, and a book title can be a very important element of that marketing/sales plan.
On the other hand, if the title is horrendous -- by which I mean so forgettable that even you can’t remember it -- this might be the time to ask your agent to go to bat for you with your publisher.
FYI – Carolyn and I have changed the title of our proposed nonfiction book several times already. And we are prepared to change it again and again.
If I am self-publishing my book, should I pay the added expense of having a professional copyeditor?
This is a flat yes. Nothing screams amateur as quickly and as loudly as typos and spell-check errors on every page.
There’s no law that says a good writer must be a good editor, although it does help. But you can get outside help if you’re not a good editor. And sometimes you’ve just seen the same words one too many times.
FYI – I taught copyediting courses at Temple University in Philadelphia a long time ago. And I copyedited my own novel MRS. LIEUTENANT over and over again. Then after I self-published the book, my mother told me I had used the wrong woman’s name in one scene. Would an outside copyeditor have picked this up? I sure hope so.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the co-founder of Miller Mosaic Power Marketing. You can get her free report “How to Become a Twitter Expert” at http://www.millermosaicllc.com/free-twitter-report
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
- Phyllis Zimbler Miller's ASK PZM column is aired February 5th. If you have a question for Phyllis, send it to me at cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca and I'll make sure she gets it in time to post her answer on the 5th.
- My guest blogger, Katherine Swarts is back on the 20th with a post titled: Someday I'll Write That Bestseller.
While you're here, for your entertainment pleasure: the legendary Bob Dylan and Things Have Changed.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Back in the late 70s, I had the privilege of seeing Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald on stage at the Queen E in Vancouver. It was a magical evening. Music smoother than silk. And we sat three rows from the stage! Immediately behind me was Art Carney and his teenage son and daughter. He was in Vancouver filming Harry and Tonto. I could hear him explaining to his kids what a thrill this was and hopefully they would never forget it. I never did. When Ms. Ella hit that high note, you want to bet everyone in that audience covered their ears.