Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
4RV Publishing Catalog
Wednesday's post will be about promotion again: media kits, why and how.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Here's a little of what I've discovered writing for children. I hope you enjoy.
Children love books. Whether it’s sitting down in mommy’s lap or curling up in a quiet corner to read, a good book gives them a grand adventure. However, writing for children is a lot more challenging than you think.
Typically, children’s stories are shorter and use simple language, but a short story may not be a good story. Here are some elements to keep in mind when writing for children.
One of the elements needed for a good children’s story is plot. It should be fun and engaging. Remember, today’s children’s books compete with TV, video games, Wii, and movies. Take children on an adventure in your book. Don’t be over simplistic. The story should follow a logical sequence of events that children should understand.
Keep in mind your plot should have some conflict as well. The conflict should be aimed at the age level you’re writing for. Conflict in children’s writing doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be an escaped cat, a move to a new town, or the first day of school. Just remember to bring the conflict down to a level that children can understand.
Also remember there are different age ranges and audiences in children’s literature. You want to gear your plot and conflict to suit those ages. You have board books, picture books, early readers, beginning chapter books, and young adult books. If you’re not familiar with these formats, you might want to do a little research. Read books in the targeted age range you want to write in. Talk to kids about what they like to read or don’t like to read.
Another element in crafting a good’s children’s story is characterization. Children have to be able to relate to the characters in the story. What helps is to keep the dialogue as natural as you can. (If you use any)
Another thing to remember is that a children’s story doesn’t have to tell a moral. It should first be fun and engaging to read. Also, a children’s book doesn’t have to rythme. Some writers haven’t mastered rythming and they may come up with a poor rythme scheme. Don’t force it. Remember a good book doesn’t have to fit into a series. Let a series be an outgrowth of a good character.
Overall, writing for children can be very rewarding, especially if you craft a story with a dash of adventure, a pinch of fun, and a tablespoon of character.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The book is available through the 4RV Publishing Catalog.
Friday, June 17, 2011
I only should showcase my best work (we all have those old works where we go, 'Boy, I've improved' ... lol) and the styles I want my potential clients to see, not everything I've done. If you notice, the left column was kid's books and illos, the second column was originals and promo pieces, the third column was novels, and the right column was logos and banners. All on one page. What you don't see is how long this stretched on ... lol. I just kept adding to the top of the pile. Here's the link so you can get the real idea of just how congested this got (I kept the link active just for ya'll to see): http://willowravenback-up.weebly.com/gallery.html
My old main page was full of quotes, links, a video folio, and widgets (http://willowravenback-up.weebly.com/). I moved my 'follow me' widgets and other non-art stuff to the bottom and kept the page minimal and neat. It's not what I want people to see first. The art had to come first. You see above that there are five clear categories, or portfolios, to choose from. That's it. I deliberately made myself stick to as few a number as possible. I had to really evaluate 'what I do.'
I made each image that represents a portfolio a link to the pages that hold that genre. I also included the links in the drop down menu for those pages. As one follows to the genre of choice, he will find either small to medium sized examples of the work, with links to full sized examples, or find a subcategory page (let's look at the Children's - YA Illustration page, where you'd find such a page):
As you can see, I sub-divided this category into three parts. That way, if the client or publisher is looking for a picture book artist, they know where to look and are not distracted by my middle grade line art. This also allows me to show 24-24 images of just that type of art, rather than trying to show 12-24 images of all three types together.
Say we choose to go to the Tween - Young Adult page and we see:
Right now, I only have eight images, but they are solid works, and the viewer isn't distracted by everything else I've done. I still end up showing off a lot of my work this way. But now it's much more targeted to the audience.
The sub pages and enlarged example pages are not listed in the navigation bar. Again, I don't want to overwhelm the viewer with choices. I want to herd them, gently, to the areas I want them to travel. As I've often seen editors tell authors, less is more.
Lastly, I wanted to create a sense of my work, as a whole, and wanted something to introduce people to my art, a welcome page of sorts. So, I linked my URL, to a 'portal' page, which I have opening up with my latest piece.
So in conclusion ...
Your online portfolio needs to be treated like your physical portfolio. You don't want too little, too much, or work that just isn't up to your current standard. You don't want to muddy the waters with too many quotes, link, or bells and whistles. Make sure your audience know how and where to reach you, and can be able to communicate their wants by your showing them what you have to offer in the best possible way.
For those that wish to check out the new site in action, follow my link: http://willowraven.weebly.com/.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Editors Want To Know Your Story's Premise by Joan Y. Edwards
Editors ask: What is your story's emotional premise? What is your story about in three to six words?
Before you write your story, while you are writing your story, or after your story is finished you must know what your premise or theme is. You must know what your story is about. What are you proving about life with the characters and the situations in your story. Are you proving that poverty plus distrust leads to crime? Are you proving that faith versus fear leads to success? Are you proving that ambition plus jealousy leads to failure?
Bill Johnson said a good story revolves around human needs in his article: Premise -- Foundation of Storytelling (2000) http://www.storyispromise.com/wpremise.htm
William Foster-Harris says premise is a solved illustration of a problem of moral arithmetic, such as pride + love = happiness in his book: The Basic Formulas of Fiction (1944).
According to James N. Frey, author of How to Write Damn Good Novel, “to find your premise, you start with a character or a situation, give the protagonist a dilemma, and then say what if such and such happened.” In his book, The Key, Frey adds that premise has to have character, conflict, conclusion, and conviction of the author.
James N. Frey, Emily McKay, and Debra Dixon agree that every character in your story must have a (GMC) goal, motivation, and conflict. However, the goal, motivation, and conflict of your protagonist is the one upon which the proof of your story’s premise should be based.
A premise is what you, the author, set out to prove in your story. With your premise, you are saying to your readers, given these characters and this situation, human nature is such that it will end up this way. It is a very short emotional summary of your story that says this human emotion, quality, or condition struggling against an extremely negative emotion, quality, or human condition leads to a final changed human condition at the end of your story. It doesn’t always have to happen that way in real life. However, it’s that way in your story.
Your premise is a message for your readers that when two particular human emotions, qualities, or conditions are pitted together, you come up with a concluding emotion, quality, or condition.
The same premise can be used for different stories. A premise is universal.
Joan’s Emotional Premises for Movies
Blind Side (2009) Premise: trust plus compassion leads to family.
Saying, proverb, cliche: One person can make a difference.Love Story (1970) Premise: courage versus illness leads to unselfish love
Saying: Perfect love means unselfishness.
Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) Premise: addiction plus respect leads to love.
Saying: Practice What You Preach
Fatal Attraction (1987) Premise: love versus obsessive jealousy leads to death
Saying: What Goes Around, Comes Around
Liar Liar (1997) Premise: lies plus love leads to divorce; truth plus forgiveness leads to reunification
Saying: Lies Catch Up with You in the End
Make your main character with one of these, struggle for or against one of these, and end up with one of these emotions, traits, vices, virtues, qualities, or conditions of his/her body, soul, and mind.
Emotions, Traits, Vices, Virtues, Qualities, and/or Conditions of the Body, Soul, or Mind
abundance, acceptance, accusation, addiction, admiration, affection, alienation, ambition, anger, annihilation, anxiety, apathy, approval, attention, authority, awareness, awe, beauty, belief, belonging, betrayal, blame, brutality, challenge, chaos, cheerfulness, choices, coming of age, competition, compassion, commitment, confidence, contempt, cooperation, corruption, courage, cowardice, creativity, crime, curiosity, death, debt, deception, dedication, desire, despair, destitution, destruction, dignity, disillusionment, disapproval, disaster, disbelief, discomfort, disgust, dishonesty, disrespect, distress, distrust, divorce, doubt, dream, education, enlightenment, enthusiasm, envy, equality, experience, etiquette, evil, excitement, failure, faith, faithfulness, fate, fear, forbidden, forgiveness, freedom, friendship, fun, fury, future, gain, generosity, genius, good, gratitude, greed, grief, guilt, handicap, happiness, hatred, honesty, honor, hope, humility, humor, hunger, identity, independence, indignation, individuality, initiation, injustice, innocence, insanity, intelligence, interest, isolation, jealousy, joy, justice, judgment, kindness, knowledge, lack, legal, lies, life, loneliness, loyalty, marriage, materialism, money, morality, murder, nature, nobility, order, obsession, oppression, pain, panic, passion, past, patience, peace, pity, power, peace, persecution, perseverance, pleasure, possibilities, poverty, principles, prejudice, pride, problems, protection, punishment, rage, rebelling, rebirth, redemption, rejection, relationship, religion, respect, responsibility, revenge, reverence, reward, romance, ruin, rules, sacrifice, sadness, satisfaction, security, selfishness, self-doubt, sex, shame, shelter, sickness, sinfulness, sorrow, spirit, starvation, stinginess, stubborn, success, suffering, suicide, surprise, survival, talent, taxes, tenderness, terror, thankfulness, thirst, time, tragedy, trapped, triumph, trust, truth, understanding, unfairness, ungratefulness, valor, vengeance, violence, vulnerability, war, wisdom, wealth, wonder, work, and wrongdoing.
Use the Practice Chart below and put what you think would happen with the two traits I’ve chosen. Make your own chart listing the premise for each of the stories you have written. Write a premise for ten of your favorite movies. Write a premise for ten of your favorite novels.
Joan’s Practice Chart for Writing a Premise
Your Character with what trait?
+ Dilemma Conflict Struggle
Has to Fight Against What Trait?
Leads to What Result?
Extreme Positive or Negative Emotion, Quality, or Condition
Conflict with, struggle against or fight for powerful, emotion, quality, or condition
Leads to Different Extreme Positive or Negative Emotion, Quality or Condition
1. extreme love
leads to what?
2. extreme respect
leads to what?
3. extreme peace
leads to what?
4. extreme perseverance
leads to what?
5. extreme loyalty
leads to what?
6. extreme curiosity
leads to what?
7. extreme humility
leads to what?
8. extreme courage
leads to what?
9. extreme faith
leads to what?
10. extreme hope
leads to what?
I have heard people call this a theme, rather than a premise. Regardless, you have to have it, you have to know it, you have to believe it 100%. After you have your premise, you can write your pitch and the events of your story from the beginning, middle, and the end. Your premise will be proved by your story. Universal emotions and conditions that are understood by all human beings is transferred to your reader, and you will have a best seller.
Books That Discuss Premise
Art Of Dramatic Writing (1946,1960) by Lajos Egri free download of Chapter 1 http://www.writerswrite.com/fiction/egri.htm
How to Write a D... Good Novel (1987) by James N. Frey http://www.amazon.com/Write-Damn-Novel-Step---Step/dp/0312010443
How to Write a D... Good Novel, II (1994) by James N. Frey http://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Damn-Good-Novel/dp/0312104782
How to Write a D... Good Mystery (2004) by James N. Frey http://www.amazon.com/Key-Write-Fiction-Using-Power/dp/0312300522
Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon http://www.amazon.com/Goal-Motivation-Conflict-Building-Fiction/dp/0965437108
The Key: How to Write a Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth (2000) by James N. Frey http://www.amazon.com/Key-Write-Fiction-Using-Power/dp/0312300522
Online Articles That Discuss Premise
Basics of Screenwriting, Session I, one of the contributors is Amy Dunkleberger
Definition of Premises http://www.dictionary30.com/meaning/Premises
Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Writing by Emily McKay http://emilymckay.com/for-writers/everything-i-ever-needed-to-know/
Premise--Foundation of Storytelling (2000) by Bill Johnson: http://www.storyispromise.com/wpremise.htm
Story Premise (1998) by Kim Kay: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/novel_writing/12453
Start with a Solid Premise, ScribblePlay.com: http://scribbleplay.com/start-with-a-solid-premise/
Theme and Premise by Jeanne Vincent: http://www.jeannevincent.com/theme-and-premise-whats-the-difference/
Theme vs. Premise by Joel Haber http://funjoel.blogspot.com/2005/09/theme-vs-premise.html
Understanding Theme and Premise by Susan J. Letham http://www.anthologiesonline.com/Articles/theme_and_premise.htm
Online Articles That Discuss Emotions and Human Needs
1. Fundamental Human Needs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_human_needs.
2. What Are the Universal Themes http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081022125536AAzRGHD
3. List of feeling words: http://www.eqi.org/fw.htm
4. List of negative feeling words: http://www.eqi.org/cnfs.htm
5. List of general emotions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emotions
6. Basic Emotions by ChangingMinds.org http://changingminds.org/explanations/emotions/basic%20emotions.htm
8. Robert Plutchik’s Eight Primary Emotions and How to Use Them, Part 1 and Part 2 by Daniel Benjamin Smith http://dragonscanbebeaten.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/plutchiks-eight-primary-emotions-and-how-to-use-them-part-1/ and http://dragonscanbebeaten.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/plutchiks-eight-primary-emotions-and-how-to-use-them-part-2-of-2/
9. Nine Emotions from Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Sedona+Method+Emotions+What+Are+the+Sedona+Method+Emotions%3F-a01073854886
10. Nine States of Emotional Empowerment by Swati Chopra
11. Paul Ekman’s Big Six Emotions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ekman
12. Character Helps for Writing from SFF.Net, Julie West http://www.sff.net/people/julia.west/CALLIHOO/dtbb/emotions.htm
13. Character Helps for Writing with Intense Feelings from SFF.Net, Julie West http://www.sff.net/people/julia.west/CALLIHOO/dtbb/feelings.htm
14. Feelings Clip Art: http://www.clipartguide.com/_search_terms/feelings.html
15. Great pictures matched with emotions: http://www.feelingfacescards.com/
16. Good description and pictures of emotions: http://www.face-and-emotion.com/dataface/emotion/expression.jsp
17. Lists of emotions: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emotions
Thank you for reading this article. I am honored. I hope my explanation of premise helps you latch onto it and make your stories stronger, more meaningful, and highly marketable. I appreciate James N. Frey reading over this article to make sure that I didn't lead you astray.
Do something good for you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
"Joan's Elder Care Guide:" Release Date, June 2015 4RV Publishing