Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Book visuals

As promised, a post on book visuals. I talk a little about it in the video here.

When I started working on the character's for The List it quickly became apparent that one of the things I wanted was a clear idea of what my characters looked like. So the search began for the ideal pictures. My theory was that if I could have a physical image in front of me I was less likely to make some stupid mistake like change the main character's hair colour half way through the book and not realising. The same can be said for locations and other random bits and pieces like school uniforms and building layouts.

To me, visuals are important.Visuals help keep the continuity right, they help when writing descriptive passages and they give you something to look for when you need a break from writing but still want to be doing something useful. They can also help with writer's block as they may provide the inspiration you need to continue your scene or start a new one. Staring at a photo and suddenly wondering "What if..." can go along way to helping you with your writing. If it's not something you've considered before I recommend spending a few hours hunting out some visuals for your own work. You never know how helpful you may find it.

So far I found the main visuals for all my main characters, for all the dates and for all the parents. There are still a few things like set outfits (and those pesky school uniforms), a tattoo design and a motor bike that I want to find or draw images for before I consider the character visuals done but I'm definitely getting there.

I used a website called New Faces to find all my character visuals. I love this site because it's a load of almost totally unknown actors and models. You can narrow your search by gender, hair colour, body type, skin tone, location, and age. I usually ended up with only 4 or 5 pages to go through before I found the perfect image. though finding the boys was harder because for some reason I kept getting girls popping up in my male searches.

Because I think you're all amazing for sticking by me through all this boring planning stuff here are a few of my date pictures for your viewing pleasure:

To the left is Aarron. He's my sweet guy. I like him lots. He dates Cynthia for most of the book though he does date Beth for a bit but that's mainly because Beth convinces him to, his heart really belongs to Cynthia. He's much to good for her but what can you do, the heart wants what it wants.

On the right is Derek. He's the bad boy. In fact he is THE stereotypical bad boy, right down to the motorbike and smoking habit. I'm really looking forward to the bit where he crops up because he is such a good character to write.

Finally (well, for now) we have Brian. Brian is the first of Ella's dates and, well, let's just say he lives up to his nickname of 'Brainless Brian'. Don't worry I don't think he'll be around long, though he is shaping up to be an interesting write.

And there you have it. My take on visuals and a few little teases. See, sometimes I am good to you all.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Book review of dead days

Wonderful, loving, caring fiance gave me his cold which my poor stressed out body turned into the flu. Yay for me. I'll maintain I'm over it for now though.

The post you should have got on Friday will be put up this Friday when I have a bit more to say on the subject of how planning is going and what the next steps are. There will hopefully be a video and blog on Wednesday about casting novels and using visuals to inspire. Next Monday, I'm warning you now, there probably wont be a blog. My hen-do is this weekend and after it we're going to be finishing up all the wedding paperwork so I probably wont have time.

Today, however, you get a book review. Just the one in case by some miracle I manage to post on Monday and need another book to review, but you're at least getting something from me.

The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick
This was an interesting little book. It's about a boy called, well.. Boy and his master/owner Valerian. Valerian is a magician who bartered with the devil for his magic skills and now only has until New Years day to live so is spending the days between Christmas and New Year (the 'dead days') trying to find a book he hopes will save his life. It's an odd little story. Boy lived on the streets before Valerian found him and took him in. He feels he owes it to Valerian to keep doing what he's told despite how badly Valerian treats him. Valerian, Boy and another stage hand from the theater, Willow set out to find the book and hopefully prolong Valerian's life.
It was an interesting book, very dark in places and at least 2 people died in it. It was well written if a little too creepy for my tastes (especially the bit about the animal experiments...ugh) so I probably wont be looking for the sequel. But if you're into dark and creepy then it is a good read.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Quick update

So just in case you haven't been following. Lack of sleep and high stress levels mean I haven't been very well lately, hence the lack of anything from me. There is a book review coming on Monday but a the moment it's just the one because I haven't read anything in a week.

My new stationary has helped me be a bit more organised and so far I have managed to finish all the boy character sheets and I'm about 3 quarters of the way through the girls. I've also looked out suitable visuals for them all, or at least the main visual I'll use for them on. I'll do a post on that next week and maybe even show you some.

Sorry this is so short, if you want to hear me talk some more nonsense, today's video is here.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Boring drivel

What, you guys are as excited about that as me? Your loss.

This will be short blog post, partly because I don't really have much to say and partly because I laughed tea all over my keyboard yesterday and half my keys are sticking.

First off, I should mention: There is no video this week.
I tried to film it and ended up only taking a picture of myself instead and now it's too dark to fill in decent lighting and I'm just giving up. I still haven't had a proper nights sleep so it's probably for the best.

Now, today I bough myself a document wallet, a new pencil case, some coloured sticky dots, some coloured index cards and a note pad. Then I took myself to the library where I proceeded to ORGANIZE! I now have lists of characters with coloured dots next to them indication how far I've planned them. A similar list of events started and the makings of a similar list of locations. I also have a purposed timetable of what I should be doing each day in order to a) not over lode myself and b) get everything done on time. We shall see how that turns out.
I'll post tomorrow to let you know how far things have got and what my plan for next week is.

Just really wanted to say that I was still alive and had bought new stationary. That is all.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Book review!

I know this is late, and I know there was no Friday post. I'm sorry. I haven't been sleeping well* and it's making focusing on the computer screen difficult. I have managed to finish 1 book though so here is that review:

Pretty Bad Things (get over it, nobody dies) by C. J. Skuse

This was an interesting book, and not always for good reasons. The idea is a good one; 16-year old twins Paisley and Beau set off to Las Vegas to find the father they haven't seen since they were 6, the day their mother died. In their attempt to find him they start a crime-spree in the hope of getting on the news so their dad will see and know they are looking for him. Throw in an evil, money grabbing grandmother and you have the premise of a pretty interesting story. Unfortunately, I found the execution didn't seem to do it justice.
The book is told from two points of view Paisley's and Beau's, alternating with each chapter. At the start it's difficult to get your head around because the characters are soo different from each other. Paisley is wild and outspoken while Beau is timid and introverted. As this book has an obvious character development theme, the roles of Paisley and Beau change over the course, Paisley becomes a little less wild and Beau becomes a little more brave, which would be fine normally, but it leaves the middle of the book feeling a bit odd in my opinion. The voices become too same-y and it becomes hard to identify who's head you're really in. It doesn't really clear up at the end either as by then the characters are a bit too different from the start for me to feel that it works.
The plot in itself is really good and there are some hilarious and well written scenes throughout and the climax is kind of edge-of-the-seat gripping. I just found the execution lacked slightly. Maybe that's just me. Maybe you should go read the book and come back and argue about it with me?

*Understatement, I slept from 11pm-2am last night and then from 9am-1pm this morning/afternoon. That's getting to be almost normal. Which is getting to be annoying.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The 3 Month Plan.

There are 59 days until I get married, 61 until the start of NaNoWriMo so I have a lot of planning and organising and stuff to do.

Book wise (cause I wont bore you with wedding plans) I hope to get the following done:

Boy character plans
Girl character plans
Supporting character plans
Location descriptions (and possibly maps)
Town description (and map, maybe)
Visuals for characters and possibly locations
Scene plans
Character interaction time-line

Yup, I'm not making it easy on myself. The idea for the next two months is to work on getting all that done, while continuing to blog and vlog as normal, and then use NaNo to write as much of the first draft as I can. I'm not making promises about how much I get done, we'll just have to wait and see.

As for this blog we're going to stick to the current structure of Mondays being book reviews, Wednesdays being related to the videos and possibly add in some Friday videos though I'm not sure what they'll be about yet. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

What I'll do this Friday is go over how far I've got with planning and where I'll be going from there. Until then, if you watch the video (here) you learn my plans for the Wednesday posts and videos.