Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Visits from the Unknown

As amazed as I am by the humongous, giant, massive,  mammoth-like, colossal, not to mention,  gargantuan,  pharaonic, stupenduous numbers of replies and marks of interests from people to read my children e-book called "4 Gotthem Place" which no doubt, all children will come to love one day, *coughs*, I must end the incredible one of chance life time opportunity offer to read it for free and move on to another topic on the subject of having been visited by unknown forces.

Still I can hear people crying and having a fit for missing on that great chance, so here just for you, at a bargain price of 0.99cts, the link again to the children e-book which would revolutionize the planet if there was no other children book available. lol.


So where was I?
Ah yes, I was visited quite a number of times last week.
Well I don't mean "me" exactly, and I don't want to alarm anyone, i haven't been visited by Alien, E.T, predators or any forms of paranormal activities, I mean people visiting my almighty all fantastic-o-quaintilly whimsical blog
Well I don't mean "me" exactly, and I don't want to alarm anyone, i haven't been visited by Alien, E.T or predators either or any paranormal activities, I mean i got visits on my almighty all fantastic-o-quaintilly whimsical blog.

Yet I must say the visits have been weird.
Last week I got visited by laughters, lots of it, or should I say, a website called "justforlaughsgags.tv"
150 laughter's apparently.
I know I can be funny at times but not that funny.

Then I got visited by "googlecorrection". 134 times.
I know my blog is not perfect but hey come on, give me a break!

And last but not least, I was landed with 120 visits from "777seo".
7 is supposed to be my lucky number. So maybe I got lucky...

I have another theory.
7 being a heaven number and seo, meaning " Search engine optimization", the only thing that makes sense is that I got searched optimized by GOD!
God came to visit me. 
How cool. 
Well not that cool, cuz he didn't even leave me a comment.
I think I will write a complaint to God for intentionally ignoring me.

Anyway, enough randomness for one post, do you get a high amount of viewpages out of random sites?
Usually I get what 60 page views a day and in one day I got 415!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm looking for reviewers on my children ebook

Hi Everyone,
I'm looking for reviewers on my children' story called "4 Gotthem Place".
Itbe for 8-9 years, girls most likely.
But everyone, big or small is welcome to read it.
The story is quite short. 40 pages. (about 9400 words)

The first TEN persons who come forth on my blog and offer to review it, will be able to read it for FREE!
So anybody OUT THERE, I'd really appreciate if you could read it and give me your opinion on it. 

This Cover illustration is temporary as I've been told by Smashwords that it doesn't fit their requirements for their premium catalog.
So I need to find another one soon. Hopefully something or someone will turn up with a great cover for this book. As Some say : "The Universe will provide!"

This offer is valid until Sunday the 22nd of January 2012 midnight UK TIME!!
I look forward to your feedback and in the meantime happy reading and writing everyone! Whatever you read. Whoever you read.
L.A Speedwing

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Part One - The Art of Building Character

Based on a two-day "writing for kids" workshop I did with writer Oisin McGann, I thought I should share what I learned with you.
 I must apologize if this post sounds a bit messy or broken up but since we receive no handouts, i had to write everything down and my pen had difficulties following up with his speed of speech.

Because it was a quite dense two day course, filled with information, I decided to divide it into three posts.
The first part can be summed up to the Art of Building Character.  The next part I will write in the next 2 weeks or so, so Keep Tuned!

Oisin started his course by mentioning to us the rule of the 3 P’s : 
Place and people are always intertwined and those 2 often lead to the problem in the story.

A Person outside his or her element would act and have to think differently.
Ex: an English speaker in the middle of China.
Ex:: an alcoholic in the desert.

How would your character deal with this situation?
That’s how a story becomes interesting.

When it comes to write for children, it’s the same idea. 
A problem (much simpler) arises and the character needs to solve it.
Ex:  the Owl babies by Martin Waddell
Mummy Owl goes away.
Any child can relate to their mother having to go away. The key is to keep in mind the needs of your audience: what you are trying to achieve and the questions you want them to answer.
For example children or babies do not have the notion of the passage of time and this is something you need to be aware of, in order to make your story relevant to them.
Where is Mummy? When will she be back?

Empathy is very important.
You need to make your audience care for your character.

The question you must ask yourself as a writer is:
What happens next?
To make a story work, you must make the reader want to keep on reading so he or she wants to answer this question.

A)How to find a character? 
Often writers have difficulties to find a character and to come up with one can be a daunting task.
So the best way to do this is to demonstrate who they are and how they think.
Exercise1 : describe the character out of a film without telling the name of the hero/film/actor’s name.
Ex: He has a hat that he never parts with. A whip he carries around. He’s brave but not recklessly brave. He teaches archaeology part time and he often seems absent minded because he often thinks of an artefact.
Try this yourself.

This exercise should also be applied in writing.
A character should be like an actor, well defined and easy to describe.

When or if you do this exercise with kids, kids usually are much better at it because their description are simpler and to the point.

Ex: He’s yellow, has a belly and drinks beer.
Homer Simpsons.

Ex: He’s yellow, square and lives under the sea.
SpongeBob SquarePants.
Often the purpose of the character will dictate what they are.
Like a detective:  A detective will usually be clever, educated, inquisitive, not very well dressed, ect…

B)How to make a character interesting?
1)Give him or her an edge.
Ex: a policeman who has a drinking problem
Ex: a pianist with a broken finger.
Ex: a dog with no sense of smell.

2) choose negative qualities for your character that turns out to have a positive effect on others.
Stephen King did this a lot.
He would make his audience care for a murderer and you would feel sympathetic because he cared for his wife and child.

3) Or pick a positive quality which is in fact annoying.
Like a humorous man who always say sexist jokes, or an honest person who’s a goody two -shoes.

C)How to give depth to your character?
To give a character real depth, the quality of a writer is to let the reader see how good or bad he is by showing how he acts rather than how he thinks.

When writing about a hero, don't tell us that John don’t know whether he should save Sally or Marie from the fire ; show us that he runs to Marie and drags her out with him then goes to Sally to wake her up .

Anyone who’s ever written a short story or taken a writing course has heard the words “show, don’t tell.”
While “telling” can be useful, even necessary, most people don’t realize how effective the “showing” part is. It allows the reader to really put himself or herself in the shoes of the hero/heroine. Basically it makes your character believable and sympathetic to your audience.
How to do so:
1)Use dialogue rather than plain description
2)Use sensory language
3)Use verbs instead of adverbs.
4)Describe their interests, hobbies,ect…
5)Be specific instead of vague:

Details of people’s lives make a story real.
Ex: Instead of saying: “he dislikes when his mash potato is mixed with peas on his plate”
Say:  he started to pick the peas individually out of his mash potato.

As usual I don't bite so feel free to leave a comment....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Where's Your sense of prettiness?

I was having a discussion with a friend and in our conversation came the question of the meaning of prettiness.
What does make us feel pretty? Clothes? Accessories? Shoes? Or the way we see ourselves in them or therefore how others see us?
In these types of subjects, I am a bit of a pickle because I see myself as “a third gender”, the “writer gender” and so I am obviously out of my comfort zone. Some even made a movie out of us I believe it was named "close encounter with the third kind" ;-)

However I do try to study both gender as neutrally as I can. But in the case of women for example, do women wear skirts or dresses because they feel pretty in them or because they feel men's attention on them?
And of course, the same question goes for me. Would men still wear low cut trousers if they knew women were not eyeing them? Would they shave so closely and chose to wear expensive after-shave?
They say "love is in the eye of the beholder" but when it comes to feel pretty, what does make you feel pretty and why?
If they were no men to appreciate skirts, would you ladies still wear skirts? And if there were no gals, would you guys bother with tight jeans or nicely cut suits or fashionable shoes or whatever rocks your boat?
Now be honest in replying to this question. And try to really think if you ever tried to look nice for yourself or for others? Would you dress the same if it wasn't for fashion, peer pressure and society ethics? ( I am excluding dress codes in workplaces which are "kind of" the rules although this could be the theme of my next post)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

There it is.
It's been a year since I have created this blog.
I wrote 213 posts.
I didn't write 365 posts, one a day as I said I would.
But that was a bit of a crazy challenge to do anyway.
So overall I am not displeased with myself.

What do I retain from this first year experience?

  • At first, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to commit to one post a day or provide quality. 
             But as time passed, I grew relaxed and less judgemental of my work/blog.

  • I "kind of" surprised myself by:
  1. being able to produce something every two days or so.
  2. following through with this commitment.
  3. discovering I loved researching and writing about artworks, movies and history of a book/writer/artist in general.

Retrospectively, I think I lacked direction and focus but this is something you learn with time.

I also didn't realise it would take me so much time to research on how to improve your blog settings, and add widgets, read other blogs and write comments.

When I started this blog, my sole intent was to be consistent with my writing.
It was a personal challenge:
prove to myself that I was serious with writing by writing daily.
I knew nothing of blogging, didn't even visit other blogs, didn't even know blogging was so huge and widely spread.
I was oblivious to that world, living in a non-free blogosphere environment. ;-)
So I thought by creating just one post, it would be easy and fast, done and dusted in no time.

But of course, I got sucked in the process of blogging by trying to think of a better way to do things.
Improving is I guess one of our best traits we have as human beings.
One of which all blog-publishing service knew when they created this concept.

Nevertheless, I am glad as I learned a few things along the way.
One of the nice surprises was to discover what a strong and supportive community there is between writers.
I was also amazed at the incredible people/talent/books/sentences/images/words/blog designs that I noticed existed and found in the blogosphere throughout my virtual wanderings.

So overall a positive experience.

I know there're still a lot of things I'm doing wrong or could improve but I am not as much in a rush to get them done or pressured to do them as I used to. I'm not as efficient and organised as I could be but  I'll get there eventually or I hope to be anyway.

What about you? What did you look for when you started blogging?
And what did you learn about blogging or about yourself since you started blogging?
I'd like to know.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Are you wishing your life was an Adventureland?

We are 12 mins from Midnight here in Ireland.

12 mins from the 9th of January 2012.

There's nothing specific about the 9th of January 2012, which is tomorrow except the fact that tomorrow it will be exactly one year from the day I created this blog.

But we are not there yet. And in the meantime, I can get to talk about the movie I just saw.

Adventureland. Made in 2009. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds.

A comedy set in the summer of 1987 and centered around a recent high school grad who takes a nowhere job at his local amusement park.

But that's besides the point.

The point I want to make is how very interesting the Director and writer Greg Mottola made this movie, how this non-life of a kid waiting for his life to begin is actually a real life full of joy and sadness, deceit and hope, treason and passion.


Feeling alive.

Yet in a normal day-to-day job. Well even worse than a day-to-day job. A shitty job.
It nearly made me want to apply for a position into an adventureland park so I could feel alive, make friends, lose friends, smoke pot, fall in love, have your heart broken, get drunk and be okay.

Nearly make you want to live so you can actually have something to write about. Something unusual. Something fun.
It made me wonder one question to the writers/bloggers out there:
As a writer/blogger, what type of job have you ever felt like doing so you would get inspiration?
The jobs that you would really love to try so you would have something to talk/write about?

Friday, January 6, 2012

What made Charlotte's Web a book success?

Two posts ago ( how often can you say that ;-)) I was talking about Xmas movies.
Charlotte's web. To be exact.
I actually never read the book or seen the movie and I was wondering why this movie was such a success when it came out in 2006.

I've watched a bit of the film and I thought: "how was this successful as a movie?!"

Or even as a book.

The story seemed nice but somehow completely outdated with what Kids want to read or watch nowadays.

Storyline: an intelligent spider named Charlotte is trying to prevent a pig named Wilbur from being slaughtered.

It doesn't seem like wild or overly original as a story. Right? Wrong?

In fact "if Anyone wrote something like this now, he or she would be told how cheesy or lovey dovey it is.

Well to answer my question, I went to check Wikipedia.

And the reason (I thought) was because it was written back in 1952! Timing might have been of the essence. WW2 was just over and the  Cold War tension was was escalating rapidly. Maybe this lovely story provided a nice change for parents and kids as things were growing unsteadily!

Acclaimed American author E. B. White ( I thought the author would be a woman but it's actually a man) born in 1899 only turned to writing for children in the late 1930's.

By that time he was already in his late thirties (obviously ;-) he wrote columns in a newspaper before but nothing that set him apart. So by no means, do I understand how Charlotte's Web is now 78th on the all-time bestselling hardback book list selling apparently more than 45 million copies and been translated into 23 languages!

So what happened?

Well I'll tell you what happened.
In 1925, he was in The New Yorker magazine, then joined the staff in 1927 and continued to contribute for around six decades!!

He frequently provided what the magazine calls "Newsbreaks", these being short, witty comments on oddly-worded printed items from many sources.
He also served as a columnist for Harper's Magazine from 1938 to 1943.

So there you have it.

It's not necessarily what you write or how well you write it, it's WHO you know and HOW you get a chance to advertise yourself.

If you write for one of the poshest magazine with a readership that is 53% of its circulation in the top ten U.S. metropolitan areas and the average household income of The New Yorker readers is $109,877 ( in 2009, well at the time, it was probably much lower but I'd say the readership was still high and middle-class) then I think you will be just fine as a writer!!!

Then of course, there's talent.

It does say in Wikipedia that  "the description of the experience of swinging on a rope swing at the farm is an often cited example of rhythm in writing, as the pace of the sentences reflects the motion of the swing."

But in most cases, I don't think it's everything.

So now to you readers and writers, first of all what do you think of this book? Do you think it would work nowadays? Do you think that success as a writer depends on what you do for a living on the side? or do you believe talent is the key?

I'd like to have your opinion.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone! Love this picture so I thought I should share it with you!