There’s lots of writing lists I see (on tumblr, wordpress, lots of places) and I’ve divided them into two categories.
- Really useful
- Really degrading
Really useful: These lists are the really good lists. The lists that describe how to go about creating a world and the things you need in the story and the things you don’t need in the story (like background information that might be needed at some point, but it’s not important to know right away). How to write people, which is the best group of lists. Even descriptions of people’s race, like avoiding describing someone using food. Like chocolate. Chocolate reminds me of food, not a person. Writing accents is also really useful to know, or if someone has a speech impediment (pro tip: don’t write out a full lisp, it’s a pain in the ass to the reader, it’s a mistake I made, and I try not to do that now, just write “so and so has a lisp” readers are smart enough to fill in the blanks).
Really degrading: Degrading is a misleading term. I think a better one might be that these kinds of lists treat people like a four year old. Writers aren’t stupid either, and telling them something that involves common sense, such as checking spelling and then have someone else check it over. I read one list that said “you have to pay to get things spell checked”. No you don’t. First, you use your spell checker, scrutinizing each word. There may be words that are a city or a town, but make sure they are all spelled the same. And yeah, you could pay someone who’s professional to do the spell checking and editing, but ya know what? The people who are going to read books are the ones who don’t work as editors. If you’re a first time author, you probably have a friend or two that can read over your stuff (get two, because one person will pick up on something the other didn’t). Readers know what they like and they know what makes sense. As I said before, readers are not stupid.
It’s also very insulting to tell a writer “delete your first three chapters, always, because that’s just filler crap anyway”. Really? It is. That depends on who’s doing the reading. Some people enjoy that “background filler crap”. What a first time writer needs to do is prepare to delete a lot, but also write more. There will be certain areas of a book where the less is more concept, so pairing down your description is a good idea. You may reread a scene later and find it just a bit clunky. Don’t stress over the fact that it may need a rewrite. There may also be scenes that you need to expand upon, to convey emotion, to explain a feeling, or describe a room that’s important.
This concept of always making your characters charming also rubs me the wrong way. What I see as charming and someone else sees as charming are two completely different things. Someone may find a character charming while I find them to be a complete douchebag.
First person: I though you said this book was good.
Second person: It is. The main character is so charming.
First person: Really? I found him to be an overbearing, useless douchecanoe.
In the end, the only one who’s going to tell your story is you. You have to write it, so go write it. And when you’re done, read it. And read it again. And edit stuff you feel doesn’t make sense or feels clunky. Because here’s the really neat thing. You’re writing, but you also happen to be a reader. And readers are smart. Get a close friend to read it, because there are people out there that you know that are willing to read it (just make sure that if and when you finish the edits and publish the book you get that friend a copy of your book, preferably signed ’cause people tend to like that).
Ah, I just thought of a better term. Instead of degrading, it would probably be better to say condescending. But in the long run the only one who is going to be able to get your story written and into the hands of readers is you. The way you write is completely different from the way I write, which is completely different from the way a best selling author writes. Push aside all of this stuff that holds dreams of being a best selling author and just write. Write something new and different, because people always want something new and different. No matter what bullshit market research tries to spin.
When I originally wrote Black Mask & Pale Rider, I just wrote and based a lot of the story on aspects of spaghetti westerns with a little fantasy tossed in (a lot actually, considering the main characters are elves and possess magic). I didn’t do proper research at the time.
I made a lot of mistakes as well. I’m still proud of the end result of this first book, but there’s a lot that should and could be changed. Prime examples are falling into a role play trap of writing out the accents fully. That’s one thing I’ll change, especially with Pania’s. All I really need to do is describe her accent as a lilting Irish accent and people should understand. Shani has ended up with an Arkansas drawl, and while I’ll tone down the accent, there’s still things I call Shani-isms I’ll still keep. “Crap on a stick”, “Hotter ‘n a June bug on a smooth rock”, “I’m so parched, I swear there’s more water in a desert”, and so forth. I actually learned that before while writing Rocket Fox and realizing that I didn’t need to write out Senia’s lisp. It would actually be better and easier not to, and instead just describe that yes, Senia speaks with a lisp. Trust the reader to add that in.
Thanks to research, I’ve been able to change certain things about the characters, all the while adding in two new ones, and including three familiars (or companions). Shani along with her sister Wren will have some customs that are much more akin to Metis in Canada. There’s Abisayo who will have a lot of memories living with elves (and, of course, being an elf) that associated with Yoruba people in West Africa. The reason for that is because different cultures have similar folklore. Elves are an incredibly broad ranging race that many different cultures had stories about. From the Celts to the Norse to the different people of Africa, toward Asia as well, and onto North America. It can be argued that even pre and post Islamic cultures had folklore about elves. There are many stories about djinn and those creatures being called spirits. Many of those descriptions aren’t that far off from the descriptions of elves, pixies and fae folk from European cultures.
While I’m doing this, adding in the extra information and cultural references as back story for Black Mask & Pale Rider, I still need to ensure that I’m being as respectful as I can to the original cultures. And the people of colour in the book. No describing skin as “chocolate” or “creamy”, which reminds me more of a fetish than the actual description of a person.
I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, and it’ll be a while before the first book is released. I just need to push aside my current addiction and I’ll be fine.
Damn you, Skyrim!
Technically, all of these appeared last night on Tumblr, so this could be Wednesday late night random times. But that’s just semantics.
So Chicago won game one of the Stanley Cup final in triple OT.
Does that mean that they played game 2 as well already?
Rough Riders – Redblacks
Ottawa has a team in the CFL again. Yay! Ottawa fans hate the Saskatchewan Roughriders for boycotting the use of the name Rough Rider for the new Ottawa team. Okay, I know that there’s tradition with there being two teams named the Riders. But seriously… suck it! We’re the Riders.
You can be the Redblacks.
Also, friday the Riders (that’s Saskatchewan… see how much easier it is with only one team named the Riders) are in Edmonton for the first preseason game for both teams. Saskatchewan’s first game of the season is June 29.
The XBox One
With all of the talk about the Xbox One and the very negative news coming out about the console, it’s really getting me to think that the next computer I buy is a Mac, not a PC.
There’s only one problem, and that’s running my PC games. I’ll have to look and see if Star Trek Online, Champions Online and Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 work under a Mac OS.
Grabbin’ the merch
Something amazing about football in this province is this. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are one of only two publicly owned franchises in professional sports, and play in the second smallest market in North America. The other publicly owned team and the smallest market in North America happens to be the Green Bay Packers.
The Riders also have the largest merchandise sales in the CFL, with figures that are comparable to the best selling NFL team merchandise. Saskatchewan’s merchandise sales are the third highest in Canada, trailing only slightly behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.
And yes, I’m excited for the 2013 CFL season to start, seeing how the Grey Cup will be in Regina, Saskatchewan this year.
“All good stories deserve embellishment.” ~Gandalf, from The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
“Cherish your wilderness.” ~Maxine Kumin! The poet, novelist, and essayist is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a former Poet Laureate.
“Fiction is dangerous, of course, because it lets you go inside someone else’s head.” ~Neil Gaiman, “Why Fiction is Dangerous” Book Expo America 2013
“A book is really like a lover. It arranges itself in your life in a way that is beautiful.” ~Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of Where The Wild Things Are
“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.” ~Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish writer was born in Istanbul, June 7, 1952.
“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” ~Chuck Klosterman! The journalist and essayist was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota.
“Forty-seven percent of all players are women, and women over 18 years of age are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics. … Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (31 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (19 percent).” ~The Entertainment Software Association – Game Player Data
“It’s fascinating how many people think “free speech” means women are required to listen to their abuse.” ~Amanda Marcotte
I had a very quiet day yesterday, which is really a nice change of pace. I watched some television, did some laundry, went out and had brunch, got some groceries, and played some games.
The morning was really great because it was sunny and warm, so I took a walk and enjoyed the day.
These acts may seem normal (and believe me, they are), but when things are put into context the usual response I get is “Why did you do that on your birthday” (oh yeah, yesterday was also my birthday).
Putting things into perspective, I’m 43 now (darn it! I can no longer say my age is the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything… though, it’s the question that’s more important, not the answer). Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy references aside, birthdays should always be what the person celebrating it to be. In other words, if it’s your birthday and you just wanna sit around in your underwear, go for it!
I honestly don’t like the attention surrounding birthdays, and I don’t make a big deal out of it (unless someone wants me to do something on my birthday that isn’t already scheduled). And I got a lot of really awesome birthday salutations yesterday on my Facebook wall (good thing I hooked up my Blackberry to Facebook otherwise I never would have known). That was awesome and thanks to everyone who sent out well wishes. That, more than anything, is the best gift a person can get.
As well as the phone call from my folks. I expected that, and it’s always nice to talk to them, whether on the phone or in person.
So, once again, to everyone who sent me well wishes, thanks. You really made my day.
So I got a pleasant surprise over the weekend while playing Star Trek Online (no really, I’m not obsessed with the game, I just like to play it). This is one of those things where a person could say “hey, that’s really cool” or “wow, now people can obsess about an MMO without actually logging into game”. I honestly don’t know if this is the first MMO that’s done this or if it’s been done before, but the easiest way to explain it is through pictures.
So this is kind of neat, but just so long as Cryptic decides to keep it as something you can look at and inspect and that’s it. Don’t make a mini game of STO with a flash based engine because that will just end up giving people the excuse to play at work (if they don’t already). There’s other things I could be doing at work.
Researching for a rewrite of a book can be time consuming and exhausting, however, it can also be rewarding.
When I began Black Mask & Pale Rider, it was just a simple story. Now I realize it can be a lot more than just a simple story. It can be something that can educate as well. The elves of this story had to be different, as did the characters. The first step was breaking from tradition and making the main characters female. The second step was giving Shani and Pania backgrounds in folklore and myth. Which I did find. The third step came (happily) when I began to learn a little bit about other folklore from different cultures, and I decided that this story doesn’t need just two elves, but three. And then four.
And so, Shani and Pania are joined by Wren, Shani’s sister. On their world Wren in a Consoler, sort of like an undertaker with full armour, a sword and an ability to perform medical needs. Wren is sort of like the classic Dungeons and Dragons cleric, dressed in full plate armour and carrying a sword and a shield. Wren most likely won’t be wearing full plate, or carrying a shield, but she’s still very much like a classic cleric.
And then, I came up with the idea for the fourth character. Abisayo Temilolu, a Yoruba elf, who comes from Nigeria and captured and sold into the slave trade. Shani, Pania and Wren find her and free her and Abisayo joins the four (safety in numbers, expecially with your own people). Abisayo’s name means (based on my research) born into joy; while her last name means Surrounded by God. With that meaning I decided quite quickly that Abisayo would in fact be a paladin. She is a holy warrior from her people. To that end, the other three elves would feel much safer having her with them.
So these elves aren’t your basic Tolkien style elves, nor are they the basic Dungeons and Dragon elves. They come from actual myth. And yes, Yoruba and Iroquois had folklore about elves. Abisayo is the only character that I did research for a name and a meaning that fit. The other three characters all have their names written long ago.
Abisayo Temilolu, Yoruba elf.
Born into joy; Surrounded by God.
From African Archives
(iii) The Spirits
Spirits are believed to be apparitional entities which form a separate category of beings from divinities and ancestors. The Yoruba regard them as powers which are almost abstract entities that take on human shape. They are usually associated with natural phenomena like trees, rocks, rivers, lagoons, forests, bushes, hills, earth, mountains, winds, dark groves and unusual places, and these become their abode. These spirits may even inhabit animals or birds or snakes. Such objects as they inhabit are regarded as having certain mysterious powers and they may become the emblems of the spirits. The objects may be used in the preparation of magic and medicine in the belief that they possess magical significance because of the spirits residing in them.47
The spirits come under various names such as Ajija or Aja (spirit of whilrlwind with knowledge of the use of herbs), Aroni (a spirit with one leg that teaches the use of herbs), Egbere (a smallish elf that carries a small mat and weeps all the time), oro (spirits of trees), ebora, iwin (a fairy believed to live in the ground, rock, forest or hill). The actual position of these spirits in Santería and Candomblé‚ requires further investigation. But among the Yoruba, they have real existence and they can be good or bad, beneficent or malevolent. Consequently, they are propitiated out of fear. They neither have priests nor festivals like the divinities and they assume no universal worship. That may explain why they do not command much attention in the diaspora.
Shani and Wren Wennemein; half European French, half Iroquois.
The little Elves of Darkness, so says the old Iroquois Grandmother, were wise and mysterious. They dwelt under the Earth, where were deep forests and broad plains. There they kept captive all the evil things that wished to injure human beings,—the venomous snakes, the wicked spiders, and the fearful monsters. Sometimes one of these evil creatures escaped and rushed upward to the bright, pure air, and spread its poisonous breath over the Upper World. But such happenings were rare, for the Elves of Darkness were faithful and strong, and did not willingly allow the wicked beasts and reptiles to harm human beings and the growing things.
When the night was lighted by the Moon’s soft rays, and the woods of the Upper World were sweet with the odour of the Spring flowers, then the Elves of Darkness left the Under World, and creeping from their holes, held a festival in the woods. And under many a tree where the blades of grass had refused to grow, the Little People danced until rings of green sprang up under their feet. And to the festival came the Elves of Light,—among them the Tree-Elves, Flower-Elves, and Fruit-Elves. They too danced and made merry.
But when the moonlight faded away, and day began to break, then the Elves of Darkness scampered back to their holes, and returned once more to the Under World, while the Elves of Light began their daily tasks.
For in the Springtime these Little People of Light hid in sheltered places. They listened to the complaints of the seeds that lay covered in the ground, and they whispered to the Earth until the seeds burst their pods and sent their shoots up to the light. Then the little Elves wandered through the woods bidding all growing things look up to the Sun.
The Tree-Elves tended the trees, unfolding their leaves, and feeding their roots with sap from the Earth. The Flower-Elves unwrapped the baby buds, and tinted the petals of the opening flowers, and played with the Butterflies and Bees.
But the busiest of all were the Fruit-Elves. Their greatest care in the Spring was the Strawberry Plant. When the ground softened from the frost, the Fruit-Elves loosened the soil around each Strawberry root, that its shoots might push through to the light. They shaped the plant’s leaves, and turned its blossoms toward the warm rays of the Sun. They trained its runners, and helped the timid fruit to form. They painted the luscious berry, and bade it ripen. And when the first Strawberries blushed on the vines, these guardian Elves protected them from the evil insects that had escaped from the world of darkness underground.
The old Iroquois Grandmother tells how once, when the fruit first came to earth, the Evil One, Hahgwehdaetgah, stole the Strawberry Plant, and carried it to his gloomy cave, where he hid it away. And there it lay until a tiny sunbeam pierced the damp mould, and finding the little vine, carried it back to its sunny fields. And ever since then the Strawberry Plant has lived and thrived in the fields and woods. But the Fruit-Elves, fearing lest the Evil One should one day steal the vine again, watch day and night over their favourite. And when the Strawberries ripen, the Elves give the juicy, fragrant fruit to the Iroquois children as they gather the Spring flowers in the woods.
Pania Alow, Celtic elves.
To understand what they are, we should look at some of those found in Celtic mythology and other Celtic traditions. But, then you would discover that fairies are not just confined in Celtic traditions. Many cultures and civilizations have their own versions of fairies.
There are enough kinds of fairies to confuse anyone, because sometimes writers have associated one fairy with a different kind.
In Celtic religion, there was Celtic deities in Gaul (France and Belgium), Hispania (Spain) and Britannia (Britain) during the Roman occupation of these regions or provinces. But the situation changed when Christianity spread to the west and north. These deities that were worshipped before the conversion to Christianity were reduced to the status of fairies in Celtic mythology and folklore.
So in Ireland the gods in the Tuatha De Danann were degenerated to the roles of fairies (eg. Dagda and Lugh), people living under the dune mound or fabled islands, or even within underwater domains. Similar degeneration occurred with old deities in Wales, Scotland and other surviving pockets of Celtic kingdoms (such as Cornwall, Brittany and island of Man).
These earlier Celtic traditions of fairies, the former Irish or Welsh deities were also not fairies in the usual sense. They looked very much like human, in size and shape, except that they have special magical powers and they seemed eternally young, but they don’t have wings. The Dananns or their Welsh counterparts were usually seen as race of fair people. They can die just as mortals can, but their lives could last hundreds or even thousands of years.
The problem is that sometimes, the Christian authors have also turned them into beings serving the Devil, and that the fairies were actually demons. However this view is no longer shared, today.
Okay, not exactly summer, but this time of year is what I live for.
The past couple of nights I have had to be out of the house for a couple of reasons. Yesterday was an Ice Hawks meeting (I’m on the board of executives, and for those who don’t know, that’s the local hockey team), and the previous night I had to prepare the paper for delivery yesterday. The paper has to get to the post office by about eight in the morning, so I do all of the things needed to get all the labels on each paper and make sure flyers are inserted into all the papers that the customer requests.
During the winter, this is what it might look like when I get done around 7:30 to 9:00 pm (and sometimes even later depending on the work load).
Dark, drab, depressing. Let’s just say, I’m not fond of that which is a winter wonderland.
Summertime is much better for me, which is why I dream of it during those long, cold winter nights. Because last night, and Wednesday night, this is what I got to see at 9:30 in the evening.
Lots of green, quite warm, colourful sky. The longer days mean my attitude feels a lot better. It’s what comes with having SADs (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I often will go into massive depression during the winter and at times it’s really hard to get motivated. During the summer, it’s a lot easier.
I’ve often been told “You should move to a warmer climate”. Nah, not really. While it’d be nice to move, I really don’t want to move. There are other ways of dealing with depression during winter, and part of that involves some extra vitamins, or even sitting under a UV lamp while I read. It helps.
But the thing that really helps is the longer days of summer, the warm weather and the green everywhere.
I’m fairly certain a lot of people have seen this video.
It is about an app that helps women check themselves for breast cancer. And it just so happens to feature a few shirtless hot guys helping to inform people about the app (ya know, if you can take your eyes off of Anthony’s abs for a second).
This ad does something else very important, and it’s caused quite a stir in the comments on Youtube for this video. Lots of men complaining about it, but totally missing the point.
Each and every day in advertising, women are objectified in order to sell a product. Even when the product has nothing to do with sex. There’s a Hot Pocket ad out there that is really objectifying, and seriously, if I’m eating a Hot Pocket (first, yuck!) I’m not thinking of sex. There’s the subtle Subway print ad with a sub being used as a phallic symbol. At one end of the sub is a women with her mouth open.
But the above ad received a few complaints (many of those from men’s rights activities, so you can guess what kind of complaints they were about). However, the ad itself did something that another very simple ad did quite successfully. And both ads managed to start a conversation.
One of the great things about working where I work is that each week we buckle down and produce a newspaper. We spend an entire week gathering news, making advertisements, taking photographs, scanning photos, taking emails and putting it altogether. The incredible thing is, we get a lot of help from the community. That doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but we do get a lot of help from people in the area, such as our local community correspondents in places like Glenside, Conquest, Macrorie, Dinsmore, Lucky Lake, Elbow, Strongfield, Hawarden, Loreburn, and Milden. We even have people from the local care facilities for the elderly, along with the community hall here in Outlook as well as the local schools (Outlook High School, LCBI, Loreburn School) send their news and happenings to us. This helps bring about an aspect of community to the weekly newspaper.
On top of that, there is the news that’s gathered by our news reporter, who writes not only about news, but also agriculture, sports, and other human interest stories. In the winter, we’re kind of lucky to get the results from two of the area hockey teams with the Outlook Ice Hawks and the Conquest Merchants. Our news reporter lives in Conquest and I volunteer for the Ice Hawks public address during home games, so I also take photos (or sometimes give the camera to someone I trust) and keep track of the game and write it up for later.
One thing our news reporter has also done is read and write book reviews about books and authors who are in the area (this has included both of the books I have written). On top of that, we sell books by local authors at the place where I work, and from time to time, there are a good number of people who stop in and pick up a book or two (today someone came in just before closing and bought three, all new on our shelves).
It’s a rare thing to have authors from an area like this get exposure, and more than likely this is one of the only places that they do get exposure. One of the more prolific writers we have is Larry Warwaruk, who has written a good number of books, the latest being a young adult novel called Brovko’s Journey. There’s even a very prolific NaNoWriMo author in the Beechy area who has many of her books in our shelves. That being T. L. Wiens (I only wish I could hit the 87,000 words in a month as easy as she does). There are other authors who have just written their first novel as well. Some who wrote their novel based on night time stories they’d tell their children about fantastic worlds and a fight of good versus evil. Others wrote their novel because they like maps at the front of books. There are other novels that are much more true to life; life as a fighter pilot during the Second World War, or how life dealing with a loved one who is suffering from schizophrenia.
Each story that’s written by these novelists in this area are very different and each story is very different.
But it’s incredible that we’re able to offer so many local authors the opportunity to get their story out there, even if it’s only to a very small population like ours in the Lake Diefenbaker region.
It’s time for another round of shameless self promotion. There’s nothing wrong with it, after all. I didn’t write a book to be humble about it. I’m humbled by the process, but not be the result.
From time to time I’ll post up information about the first book I’ve written, called the Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider. Here’s a little synopsis about the book, which is a western/fantasy.
Elven magic meets gunslinger grit. What happens when two elven travellers find themselves in the United States in the middle of the Civil War? The Adventures of Black Mask and Pale Rider tells the story of two elven women who’s curiosity gets the better of them.
The wild ride takes them from the Union to the Confederacy and back again. Along the way they make enemies and friends and learn a little bit about this world, and about themselves. An adventure of six guns and sorcery.
The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider isn’t the only book I’ve written, Canyons of Steel is also available. Here’s a quick synopsis.
What happens when an old gun hand makes a decision to turn his life around and set a new course? In Canyons of Steel, Johnathon Tiberius Walker makes the choice of turning his back on the underground military of the Red Hand and try to make right his own sins. All because he wants his daughter to live in a better world than he does.
Both my first book, Black Mask & Pale Rider, and my second book, Canyons of Steel, are available for purchase online through many different online book sellers.
Lulu.com (where both books were published)
- Tim Holtorf Author Spotlight the front page store for my books on lulu.com.
Amazon.com (both in paperback and in kindle versions)
Amazon.co.uk (both in paperback and in kindle versions)
Amazon.ca (price not listed and currently out of stock)
Barnes & Noble (for the Nook)
iTunes iBook store
While scrolling through tumblr’s dashboard, in the writing tag (this is a thing I do early in the morning with a cup of coffee) I discovered this interesting set of rules when writing.
Writers rarely like to revise, but revision is a reality of the writing process—and more important than the initial draft. Without revision, you can’t realize the true potential of the story you envisioned, and it will likely never be published. Here are seven self-editing questions to ask as you begin revising your short story or novel:
1. Where does the story really begin? Reread the first two to three pages of your story carefully. Where does the action start? A major fault with many first drafts (mine included!) is too much background material at the beginning, before the conflict is introduced and the characters finally take over the story.
In my case, I can almost bet that my story doesn’t really begin until about halfway down page 3, so out go the first two pages. If the material I have cut is essential for the reader to know, I find ways, through dialogue or my characters’ thoughts, to get the information to the reader later. The late additions are never as long as the original two and a half pages, and the story gains needed speed.
2. Is this adverb necessary? Chances are, if you are using a lot of adverbs, you are telling and not showing. Think about the character that has just won the lottery. Rather than have her yell “joyfully,” why not have her jump up and down screaming so loudly that her cat runs under the bed in terror, and it takes her 20 minutes to get it out? Maybe she runs to her closet and throws all of her old clothes in the garbage while blasting “If I Had a Million Dollars” on her CD player. Both of those pictures show how the character reacts instead of telling, and they are certainly livelier than the word “joyfully.”
3. Is this adjective doing its job? Look for empty adjectives and replace them. Instead of relying on “amazing,” “interesting,” “exciting,” “awful,” “ugly,” “beautiful,” “nice,” “scary” and other similar adjectives, use sensory details that bring to life what you are describing. Find places to get the readers’ senses working; it means you are making the story real for them.
4. Whose problem is it? Your main character has the primary problem at the center of your story, and your main character needs to solve it. Make sure that your protagonist remains the chief actor in the story and doesn’t become solely the reactor to another character’s influence. Sometimes, in longer pieces, characters other than your lead can nab your attention and your imagination; this can be especially true of villains and comic sidekicks. Be careful that these characters don’t become so charming that they threaten to steal the book from your hero or heroine.
5. Are the grammar and spelling perfect? Yes, I mean perfect. Your story will compete with a host of other stories, so don’t blow your chance with poor spelling and grammar. Of course, publishers have editors who will help polish your copy, but you need to show your best work up front.
6. Have I read my story aloud? One of your best proofreading tools is the sound of your own voice. Reading your story aloud is a great way to find awkward or incomplete sentences, clumsy phrasing, and inconsistencies in verb tenses and pronoun agreement. If you hesitate when you are reading, or if you have to reread a sentence or phrase, then you may need to rewrite that part of your story.
7. Have I applied the Stephen King rule? In Stephen King’s On Writing, he shows a before-and-after example of how editing can improve a story. His revision rule is:
2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%
We have a tendency, as writers, to believe that every word we write is precious, and we are reluctant to cut our material—after all, we remember how hard it was to get it down on paper. However, editing is about making our prose lean and exciting, and compelling the reader to turn the page. See what you can do with 10 percent fewer words.
Finally, consider revision a reward. Remember that if you are revising, you have finished a project—how neat is that? Try these seven questions to kick-start your editing and begin your pursuit of a great final product.
I’m most likely going to add a bunch in the second draft, and then subtract even more in the third draft, mostly because after rereading what I’ve done there’s some elements and characters that need a bit of explaining. So in second draft, I’ll put that in, rearrange the chapters a bit, flesh out some characters a bit more, and fix a few things (such as Felanus has changed to Felanar and the RVAF Tritan has changed to the RVAF Osprey). Once third draft hits, I’ll be subtracting a lot of stuff, useless words, long convoluted sentences, cleaning up grammar. I already think it was a better idea to just write “Senia speaks with a lisp” instead of displaying that lisp every time she talks.
I want the work of Rocket Fox to come about better than Black Mask & Pale Rider (even though I still love that book). So the amount of work I have ahead of me is a lot, but it’s something that has to be done.
This has been going around Tumblr recently. Not the whole image, but each part of the image as different representations of each fandom. There’s a lot more, and if you’d like to check it out, click here. It’s okay, I can wait while you look it all over.
This is something that makes me smile from time to time. Fandoms. People who really like stuff and rally around liking that stuff. And while doing fan art or writing fan fiction or cosplaying or going to conventions may be the dream of most fans, it’s not what all fans do. You can be a fan of something, and just watch the TV show, movies, or read the book (or in the case of music, listen to the music). There’s no difference between just liking something or surrounding your spare time in your life with something. There’s no difference in the level of appreciation a person has for something whether they collect it obsessively or if they just enjoy it from time to time.
As an example, I really love the Firefly series. I’ve got it on DVD and I watch it from time to time. I will chuckle at quotes from the show and there are characters I really like. But that’s it. Is my love of Firefly any different than someone who dresses like Mal Reynolds (aside from having more creative time than I do)? Or someone who draws fan art of the ship and crew (aside from having better art talent than I do)? Or someone who writes fan fiction (I’m still working on Rocket Fox, I have an excuse!)? I’d say not.
You can crank that up a notch with Tomb Raider. I’ve played most of the games, I’ve watched and own DVDs of all the movies. I used to collect the monthly comic, and now have the complete Tomb Raider omnibus sitting on my book shelf. I have action figures, I have posters. Okay, I don’t cosplay Laura Croft, I’m not sure I could pull it off (though, I think my hair is long enough).
I’m also a big fan of Star Trek. I have each series (except for the original series) on DVD, and yes that includes the animated series. All the movies. Several books, most written by Peter David, including the New Frontier series. I’ve played Star Trey Voyager: Elite Force and Star Trek Elite Force II. I’ve played Deep Space Nine The Fallen. And I currently play Star Trek Online. Yet, there’s still people out there who write fan fiction (okay, I did, I just have to find it, it’s a Star Trek/Hawkworld crossover), do fan art, cosplay and even those who do fan films (check Youtube someday).
The point I’m making can lead back to another point I made about fandoms, but this one surrounding the mythical “fake geek girl”. That girl or woman who reads or is into a comic of series to the point of dressing up as their favourite character. Yet, those examples are often called out as being fake by fanboys who bemoan the fact there’s hardly any women in comics (I wonder why!). The main point is that no matter how much of a fan you are of something, whether you just read the books, watch the movies, whatever, or if you go all out and research the backstories and the merchandise and all of the things you can find, you’re still a fan. One person’s love of a thing is no better or bigger than another person’s love of a thing.
For writers, artists and creators it must be pretty flattering to have that kind of attention. On the one hand, I’d love it, but on the other I’d be slightly embarrassed and rather shocked. Still, it’d be cool if some day, I could see this…
At one time, not long ago, a company would bend over backwards in order to make sure the customer was happy. Because if the customer was happy, it was a guarantee for the company that customer would repeat business with that company. That ideology has changed a lot in recent years.
This is especially prevalent in the video game industry. The video game industry already has a huge number of problems, the first and foremost being a long list of -isms that it doesn’t really seem to be able to figure out how to solve, or simply doesn’t realize it’s a problem. That aside (and it’s difficult to set that aside, because that’s a huge elephant in the room), the video game industry has another problem.
I know I’ve gone over time and time again about my enjoyment of one particular video game, and I honestly don’t wish to name drop and point fingers, but there are times when a company has to be held accountable. That company in this case is Cryptic Studios. They aren’t alone in this, as people have had massive issues with EA in the past and many other game publishers and studios. Granted, Cryptic is merely the game developer owned by Perfect World Entertainment. I can tell you, it’s not such a perfect world.
Cryptic has four games under their belt, all within the MMO market. They developed and launched City of Heroes, then sold off their share to NCSoft and the studio Paragon Studios handled development. Since then, City of Heroes has had life support cut by NCSoft. It was a good game, don’t get me wrong, it had a lot of loyal fans which a small amount of searching will show. But Cryptic struck off to do their own thing which was develop their own game (sort of). With the licensed product of Hero Games’ Champions pen and paper game, Cryptic went ahead and began working on their second super hero MMO. Which went fine. Later, they acquired the rights to produce a Star Trek MMO. Currently, they have launched a Dungeons and Dragons MMO called Neverwinter, which initially gave many players warm feelings about Neverwinter Nights, developed by Bioware.
Before I go on, I need to say this right here and now. I do enjoy Star Trek Online. But you can enjoy something and still be aware of how problematic that thing is, or how problematic the group or company who owns/distributes/creates that thing is. People can enjoy a television show while still recognizing that it’s incredibly misogynistic (Game of Thrones, for example), racist, homophobic and so on. Or even how misogynistic, racist or homophobic the developing team/creative department is. And that’s where I sit; I really enjoy Star Trek, but Cryptic Studios is the worst company.
In defense of Cryptic, I don’t accuse them of being misogynistic, racist or homophobic. I’ve never heard devs or artists or management within Cryptic say anything like that. They are, however, horrible when it comes to customer service. At present, they are running three MMOs; Champions, Star Trek and Neverwinter. Two of those IPs (initial properties) are much bigger and have a bigger fan base than one of the others. No offense to Champions, but it has a long way to go to eclipse either Neverwinter or Star Trek. Because of that, new development in Champions has laxed a lot. The driving force of a game, especially an online game, is more content at a reasonable time frame. Champions (or Cryptic’s) idea of new content is small alerts that take no more than fifteen to twenty minutes and have no repeat value except for grinding to get more loot. There’s been no additional story content since they made major changes to the Westside arc which happens to be low level content. So Champions has basically been kept on the back burner with a large group of players who are feeling rather left out in the cold.
This began when Star Trek launched. Cryptic released content for Champions and then began their focus on Star Trek Online. And it’s been that way even when they launched Neverwinter. When you’ve got two really good stallions in the stable, why do you pay attention to the mule in the corner. I can’t say much about Neverwinter, except what I’ve mentioned in a review before. I played the game for all of two days and then became extremely bored with it. However, this discussion has less to do with the content of a game, and more to do with those who maintain it.
Since beta testing and launch of Neverwinter, the servers for Cryptic have been, at best, mediocre. There have been constant crashes and near daily emergency service patches to each game. Since Legacy of Romulus came down, it hasn’t gotten any better. The three games are set up on their own servers, however, there’s only one gateway to get into those servers. Think of it like a shopping mall with three really big brand name stores, all three are popular, and all three have good layouts, lots of lighting and decent areas to find what you need. The only problem being is that all three stores have only one door to get into all of them. Just one door. No double doors, no bank of doors that might have three pairs of doors. Just one. When people flock to these stores, they run into the problem of getting inside. And once they’re inside, there’s still more problems. The lights flicker in certain areas, there’s no proper labeling on some of the merchandise, there’s no staff to help customers. This is what Star Trek Online is like, and lately it hasn’t been once in a while, it’s been so common you could set your watch to it.
Easy solution, right. Get the problems fixed and move on, right? You’d think that would be the solution, but it’s not. During these outages (some scheduled, many more not) emergency patches are released that are often 130 meg in size. And the things that were broken before the game crashed, well they’re still broken.
The common feeling among the player base is that Cryptic, and Perfect World, just doesn’t care. They’ve got the customer’s money, and that’s all that matters. They don’t care about helping the player base. Especially the player base that are lifetime subscribers or monthly subscribers. They’re more content with just taking the money, and if anyone disagrees with them and the way they operate, then they don’t care. The Better Business Bureau has even given Cryptic Studios an F out of the usual A+ to F system. The BBB does note that Cryptic Studios is not an accredited business and is under no obligation to become an accredited business. Since 2010, however, the BBB has listed 49 complaints that have been filed with them, and of those only 9 resolutions to complaints.
Yet, it seems Cryptic Studios, and to an extent Perfect World, really doesn’t care. As a side note, Perfect World Entertainment, which is the parent of Cryptic Studios, was also given an F by the Better Business Bureau. Perfect World is also not accredited by the BBB, and is under no obligation to do so.
I’ll more than likely still play Star Trek Online and Champions Online. I’ve got memberships with both, and both lifetime, so no more need to pay more money. I just feel like Cryptic took my money and then didn’t care about giving proper customer service.
This is more a rant about comments that people make about one thing regarding a choice I’ve made in my life. That choice is that I’ve let my hair grow long.
I’m often told that how I’ll be viewed is going to come off negatively because of the fact I have long hair. Either a “tree hugging hippie” or as a “stoner metal head”. Of which, both descriptions are very stereotypical and incredibly ignorant. Seriously, I know some hippies with short hair, and I know some stoner metal heads that can discuss the Doppler Effect until they’re blue in the face.
How one wears their hair is their own business. Not unlike how one decides to dress. It’s no one else’s business how one decides to dress, wear their hair, or how they look. Body policing is really a crock of shit. Each of us has our own individual way of dressing and living our lives, so it shouldn’t be someone else’s decision how we choose to live it.
My parents, especially my mom, would always cut my hair once a month on the button. But since I have moved out of the house (I am 42 after all, and living on my own for 25 years), I’ve let it go every so often. When I visit my parents, my mom likes to comment on how long and full bodied it is. She appreciates the decision I’ve made and isn’t hell bent on getting me into a barber’s chair.
So, as of now, I no longer am going to use the excuse “I’m growing my hair long to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society for use to make wigs for cancer patients”. No, the only thing I will say is “Yeah, so what? Don’t like it, just deal with it.”
Star Trek Online released the Legacy of Romulus pack for the MMO. I’ve played through it, and it’s actually quite good. There are some issues, and some things that I think Cryptic went a bit over board with. Before going through some of it, however, there’s one thing I wanted to mention about the game that’s really quite good.
The developers of Star Trek Online have done an excellent job of giving homage to what has come before. They’ve taken into account that Romulus was destroyed in the 2008 movie, and have used that to weave an interesting world (or universe). From the fact that Leonard Nimoy does some of the voice over as you cruise from sector of space to sector of space, to the fact Denise Crosby was brought back to reprise her role as Sela (and Natasha Yar in one mission). They aren’t the only ones, mind you. Chase Masterson also reprises the role of Leeta, mind you as a hologram that hosts the Dabo tables as a part of Dabo from Quark Enterprises. From Deep Space Nine to Drozana Station, Leeta can be found with a Dabo wheel.
It’s not just the actors reprising roles. It’s also the characters that are mentioned. Worf is standing in the courtyard of the First City on Qo’nos The character of D’Tan is the new political head of the Romulan Republic, and D’Tan was a character in Season Five of The Next Generation, the very well known two parter that saw Spock going to Romulus to discuss and investigate Reunification. D’Tan showed Spock a book and a set of toys with the Vulcan language written on the sides. There’s even a mission which has Bones and another that has Scotty, both in the past on an old Drozana Station.
But that’s not the end of it.
Many of the accolades that players can get point to many different famous lines throughout Trek. He’s Dead Jim. Crossing the line. Neutral no more. And many other accolades that call back to every single episode of Trek.
Now, with the introduction of the Legacy of Romulus, there’s more.
As a Romulan, the player is introduced to a population trying to find a new home after the destruction of their homeworld. These are the surivors of that catastrophe. But they won’t be so fortunate as they are hounded by Empress Sela and the Tal Shiar, who believe what they are doing is the best for the Romulan people. The player plays as a Romulan who is thrust into the conflict, and must make certain choices, even going so far as to align themselves with the Klingons or the Federation.
Right from the get go, there’s a major difference, as this new Romulan Republic has shrugged off the old uniforms of the past and taken up a fresh start. The player’s ship can even have Remen crew members aboard (and, players can also play as a Remen). The missions are interesting, which follows a conspiracy that the Tal Shiar is leading. Even to the point where the player is indoctrinated by the Tal Shiar and Empress Sela (one of the accolades for completion is called “There Are Four Lights” which harkens back to the TNG episode where Picard was held captive by Cardassians).
There are a great number of episode missions that the players can go through, before they embark on the episodes that are based on their alignment. Romulans who ally themselves with the Federation go through the usual Federation missions, and Romulans who ally themselves with the Klingons will go through the Klingon set (in some cases, they are the same, such as the missions set on Deep Space Nine and the ones on Defera).
Just like the ships available to Klingon and Federation players, many of the Romulan ships are familiar. From the old warbirds from the original series, to the massive D’Deridex Warbirds seen in the Next Generation, along with some new designs based on what has come before. Sadly, there is only one bridge option at present for the Romulan ships, something that may change in the future.
There’s a few more updates as well. Players who want a Klingon Defense Force character will now get the option to play from level 1 instead of level 20 as before. This opens up a few more mission possibilities. There’s also new UI updates, which make the game look a lot cleaner than it did before.
Plus, there’s promises of more of the same in the future, with the opening of the Cait homeowlr (home to the feline like Caitians as seen in the animated Star Trek series, when they introduced M’Ress), as well as the Trill homeworld, and even making the faction for the Cardassians available.
With all of this coming out, Star Trek Online is in good shape.
Now, it’s only hopeful that Cryptic can treat its other properties in Champions Online and Neverwinter just as well.
I recently saw the latest in the alternate universe that is J.J. Abrams Star Trek series.
Action packed and a fun ride, but filled with problems.
There was a lot of references to Wrath of Khan. A lot. And before I go on, I’m gonna warn you now, there’s a few spoilers.
Star Trek into Darkness deals with a lot of very close to home issues, that being terrorism. We see London attacked in the movie and a madman leading the charge to destroy as much as he can on his way to proving himself superior to Starfleet and the rest of the world. He’s introduced as John Harrison, but we later learn his real name is Khan Noonien Singh. We’re also introduced to Carol Marcus, who will be notable as being Captain Kirk’s ex-wife as introduced in Wrath of Khan.
Two major problems arise with this movie (and these don’t include the plot points of having Kirk die and brought back to life and Spock shouting KHAAAAAAN!). The first is the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan. Khan’s name is very South West Asian, and to be more to the point, very East Indian. Yet, here’s a Whitey McWhiterson cast as the role, only because Cumberbatch is really big in television and movies right now. Seriously, couldn’t have found an actual man of colour to play the role? Worried that it might have insulted sensibilities because a man of colour is playing the role of a villain? Or just white washing a role that is known so well in Star Trek universe? To be fair, the original Khan was played by Ricardo Montalbán, a Mexican radio and television star. He wasn’t East Indian either, but during the time of the 60′s when the original series aired, there was a lot of racist actions that appeared in television (the “chop suey” accent of Chinese characters, and let’s not go into how Nichelle Nichols was paid as a day worker, and the execs tried hard to limit her time, thankfully the writers ignored that). Still, we live in the 21st Century (or at least we’re supposed to) so how hard is it to put in the casting call “East Indian decent” for the role of Khan?
The second is the treatment of Carol Marcus in the movie. She’s a brilliant scientist but as soon as we see her, she’s objectified by Kirk. Spock makes mention that the Enterprise already has a science officer, which is odd, considering the crew compliment of the ship (seriously Spock, do you do all the science?).
But let’s skip past that.
Obviously, it’s a bit of a setup (and shout out) to events in Wrath of Khan where we learn Carol Marcus and Kirk used to be married and they have a son. However, it’s done rather cheap, like a last second thought. And the scene where Carol changes in front of Kirk so the audience has a shot of her in her undies…
What was the point of that scene? Really? It was obviously gratuitous, and objectifying of the character of Carol Marcus. And before someone says “but she’s beautiful”, please note that she’s also pretty hot FULLY CLOTHED! The scene had nothing to do with the plot except satisfy the perverted fantasies of a bunch of fanboys who wanted a bit of on screen wank time for themselves. If it doesn’t have anything to do with the plot, then toss it out. Was there a purpose that she had to change in front of Kirk? Not really, she probably could have found a small change room and change just as easily. If it was purely to have some form of nudity in Star Trek, then that’s stretching it. I really adhere to the Alfred Hitchcock school of nudity; showing less is showing more. That scene, if it really needed to be in the movie, could have been done with Carol Marcus seen in head and shoulder view on the screen standing behind a divider from Kirk.
Abrams has taken Star Trek and gone astray from what it originally was. Philosophical exploration was just as much a part of the franchise as was the action involved. The movies before Abrams came along even explored this concept, and they managed to do it in the heat of battle. In Generations the main point brought up is that time is the enemy with teeth that stalks her prey. Voyage Home was a big eco film, displaying that shit gets real if we keep screwing over the planet. Undiscovered Country was about change and that some people are very resistant to change. Those bits of philosophy were still able to breathe in the movie along with all of the action.
As for the current run of Star Trek films, they’re action filled and fun, but they are a far cry from Star Trek films and television shows of the past.
Faults are thick where love is thin! -author unknown
It seems that there are a lot of people out there who really enjoy putting someone down. They are quick to judge, easy to point out flaws and faults, will say quickly how they don’t like something. Sadly, I used to be like this, but I’m happy to say over the years I’ve managed to drag that negative piece out of me. The reason why is not only does it dishearten someone you are talking to, but it is detrimental to your own person. When you turn that around, however, then not only does it encourage the person who is working, but it can make you feel a lot better about yourself. Plus, that positive attitude rubs off on others, and as the saying goes, what goes around comes around. If you do incredibly crappy things, then that’s all you’ll get. But if you do good things, then you’ll get that in return.
I’m not saying that encourage with wild abandon. You do have to be careful. Encouraging someone’s project without giving them a tip as to make it better can have negative results. If the person fails, then that’s a horrible feeling. Often, it’s difficult to climb out of that hole that you’ve dug yourself into. Still, if you’re the person who gave the encouragement, it’s better to be there to help that person out of the hole.
People want what you have, but don’t want to be where you have been. -author unknown
We, as a species, do like things the easy way. We like to get a job without actually doing any work involved in getting a job. Even when we do have a job, it’s preferable to sit comfortably on our hind ends than to actually work and do the things we were hired for. Often, we look at someone who’s had some success and think “I wish I could be that lucky”. But that’s the real kicker, a lot of those people who’ve had great success have not been lucky but worked their butts off. Oh, there are those (who mostly reside in the 1%) who didn’t work hard, but basically had the good fortune of being born into wealth. They road that train hard and continue riding it, knowing full well their own children are also going to end up on the same train you took. And it won’t end there for that family, as generation after generation will do no work in order to get that which they were born into. And boy do they feel entitled. “I deserve this because it’s my family’s!” Your family may have earned their wealth, however, on the backs of others. But I guess, if you’d like to be entitled to blood money, be my guest.
But then there’s those who do put in an effort and it pays off. Granted, it pays off when there is a large number of other people who see the work and say “wow, this is pretty awesome, I will actually spend money to get that and enjoy it”. A good example is J. K. Rowling. Rowling lived on social assistance for a good part of her life while she was writing the first couple of books. But they took off, people loved them, there was resulting movies and such, and Rowling has become a major success.
So, I guess the point is, never give up, always work your hardest, and if you do see someone who is trying something new, whether it’s a video or a book or a story or a comic… don’t discourage them.
“There are three things I was born with in this world, and there are three things I will have until the day I die; hope, determination, and song.” -Miriam Makeba
While this is true, there are three things I was born with and three things I’ll die with, it’s kind of vague in a way at times. I know for a fact music throughout my life has played a very important role. From when I was a kid and my mom was getting me to take piano lessons (which I now regret dropping) to present day when I scour for new music to listen to. When I was a kid, my mom didn’t send me to piano lessons because it was the thing to do with kids. My mom taught me piano. No fees for paying a music teacher, no need to drive anywhere. The piano was in our dining room. I’d sit on it sometimes without thinking. My mom and dad still have that piano, and when I visit them, I will still sit on that bench without thinking.
But, like all kids at the young age I was, I sometimes felt I was being forced into it. It’s something I regret quitting now.
However, I’m not dead. It really shouldn’t be too late to learn.
The best preparation for tomorrow is the right use of today. -author unknown
It’s amazing how when one day slides into the next that when you have a really good day, chances are the next day might be pretty good too. When you prepare yourself for things you have to do (or things you want to do), it’s wonderful when you get the chance to actually get things done that you’ve wanted to get done. So, in closing, plan for tomorrow today, no matter what it is you do.
People are different and unique in whom they love and are sexually attracted to.
All people have their choices and preferences when it comes to love, relationships, and even friends and sexual encounters.
Some men identify as men, and they wish to be with a woman.
Some men identify as men, and they wish to be with another man.
Some men identify as men, and their sexual preference includes both genders.
Some men identify as men, and prefer no sexual encounters at all.
Some men identify as men, and prefer good company without any promise of sexual advances.
Some men identify as a woman, and they wish to be with another woman.
Some men identify as a woman, and they wish to be with a man.
Some men identify as a woman, and their sexual preference includes both genders.
Some men identify as a woman, and prefer no sexual encounters at all.
Some men identify as women, and prefer good company without any promise of sexual advances.
Some women identify as women, and they wish to be with a man.
Some women identify as women, and they wish to be with a woman.
Some women identify as women, and their sexual preference includes both genders.
Some women identify as women, and prefer no sexual encounters at all.
Some women identify as women, and prefer good company without any promise of sexual advances.
Some women identify as men, and they wish to be with a man.
Some women identify as men, and they wish to be with a woman.
Some women identify as men, and their sexual preference includes both genders.
Some women identify as men, and prefer no sexual encounters at all.
Some women identify as men, and prefer good company without any promise of sexual advances.
Some people identify as neither gender, and are attracted to other qualities in a partner.
Some people identify as neither gender, and prefer no sexual contact at all.
Some people identify as both genders, and are attracted to other qualities in a partner.
Some people identify as both genders, and prefer no sexual contact at all.
Some people may find one other person that they share a deep relationship, and they might enjoy sex together.
Some people may find one other person that they share a deep relationship, and they may never have sex together.
Some people may find several people that they enjoy spending time with, and they might have sex with those people.
Sometimes at the same time. And that’s okay.
Some people may find several people that they enjoy spending time with, and they may never have sex with them.
The point is, people have their own individual ideals about love and sex. Many of those people do not try to push those ideals on others. So for the rest of us straight people, we shouldn’t push our own ideals onto them. All of these examples of people function perfectly well in society, their actions of sex and love (which in and of itself are two different things) do not directly affect the rest of us. This also allows people to explore their sexuality, to learn about themselves as they learn about other people. We are all individuals and we all have different needs and desires.
The choices we make that affect us in a positive way are healthy choices.
So respect people’s choices.
Or at least, while scrolling through your tumblr dashboard.
I ran across this awesome little tutorial that one of my followers (and obviously someone I follow) had posted and it works great. It’s an HDR effect and really works best for older photographs that have been scanned.
Here’s the rundown.
- Open your picture.
- Duplicate layer (Ctrl+J)
- Overlay that shit 50%
- Flatten image (Ctrl+E)
- Duplicate that one layer that you have now (Ctrl+J)
- Desaturate (Shift+Ctrl+U)
- Invert (Ctrl+I)
- Gaussian Blur it to 40
- Now overlay that B&W Blurred image
- Duplicate and sharpen if necessary
The result works on any image, whether it’s a photo or a screen capture through a video game. I took a video game screen cap from Guild Wars 2 and gave it a try.
It’s subtle but you can see the brighter colour in the ship’s sails behind the building Shani is standing on. Even the sky looks a bit brighter. Now, what about a photograph?
Even in this image, there’s things that appear just a bit brighter. But, what about an image that was taken by a camera like a Kodak Brownie and then scanned?
I am going to add this to my list of things to do when working on photos.
Now that spring has arrived, I venture outside more often. For those who are saying “but Tim, spring arrived on March 21″, to which I say, no, no it did not. We had 7 months of winter, which Old Man Winter owes us some payback. So this year, I expect summer to last until the end of November. Anyway, now that spring is here, I’ve taken to going out and buying a few things I need and a few things I want. Like new jacket and shorts. I wanted cargo pants, but there weren’t any at the local store, so I had to forego those. But buying a new jacket made me realize I have about two dozen jackets in my closet. Maybe it’s time to give some of those jackets to good will. Thankfully this is a long weekend and I can have some time going through clothes and sorting them out and getting rid of stuff I don’t want (like the shorts that have lost the top button or the shirt that lost the bottom three) and taking them to good will. Like that old GX94 jacket of mine that I’ve (literally) had since 1988.
I also went browsing through the DVD racks to see if there was anything cheap to pick up. Which there was, but nothing I’d buy. Lots of crap movies and a ton of really old stuff that I had no interest in. There was even lots of MMA, WWE and boxing DVDs. What got me, though, was the world championship poker DVDs that I saw. Really? That’s worthy of a DVD? See, I can understand the others, hell, I can even understand curling. But poker is like watching televised chess. Great game, but boring to watch. Same with poker. Same with golf, for that matter. Baseball is slightly better. It’d be something I’d rather see live.
Needless to say, I did not walk out with any DVDs that were in there.
I do, however, have a new jacket.
I am seriously thinking about going the route of publishing Rocket Fox and rewrites of Black Mask & Pale Rider through Kindle Direct Publishing.
Currently, I’m reading through the information, which is helpful, but it doesn’t give me any aspects of the experience. For that, I’m doing searches for what experiences other authors have had by using Kindle Direct Publishing.
Now, there is the downside to this, that it is just an ebook, and I won’t be able to have a hard copy of the product for my shelf or even give one away to my parents. But, the upside is that the book will gain more exposure through more countries being published as an ebook and distributed by Kindle.
I’m not against Kindle or it’s publishing, as a matter of fact I think that the direct electronic market is a viable way to go. And I like the idea of being able to buy a book in the comfort of my living room and having it right there for me when I click the submit button to purchase it. Again, the only downside is not having that hardcopy edition. For some reason it makes it feel very real.
But we live in a digital age, whether we like to admit it or not. Smartphones, digital cameras, laptops, netbooks, iPods, tablets, all of it is around us every single day.
Books really shouldn’t be any different.
Often, this is the point when I’d start doing a shameless self promotion. But in this case, I’m not. I’m here to tell you about an author I know and have known for a while. Although we know each other, we actually haven’t met face to face. Because we met before we actually wrote a full book. John G Walker is the author of a series called the Statford Chronicles. Three books which look at the investigations that private investigator Tom Statford looks into. But he’s not just an ordinary private eye.
Now you might be asking, why John and I have never met face to face (possibly has a lot to do with the fact I hate traveling). We first met, of all places, through the MMO City of Heroes. Through that game, there was an entire community that played together and even role played characters together. And we all did a lot of writing (I’ve mentioned Moondancer Drake on this blog before, I met her the same way). There’s been some incredible projects that have been born from the old RP Congress that was active in City of Heroes. And these three novels are the result of John G Walker’s work, all of which are available for the Kindle.
Life was simple for private detective Tom Statford. Sure, being the Keeper, the first, last and only line of defense between gods and mortals could make for interesting times, but a mundane existence in south-eastern Virginia kept things on the boring side of life. Boring, until bodies appear with all the trademarks of ritualistic homicide. Now, the Keeper must not only stop a psychopath, but also the end of the world.
Easy enough, if the killer doesn’t find him first.
A novel by John G Walker.
Private detective Tom Statford has a problem. A priest has been murdered in Hampton Roads, Virginia. That’s bad. His killer is claiming the Devil as an accomplice, sending the forces of Heaven after the fallen angel. That’s even worse. Lucifer comes to Tom to proclaim his innocence, which makes Tom’s life more interesting than it needs to be, and he’s the only one who can prove the Devil didn’t make the killer do it.
But who would believe the Prince of Lies?
A novel by John G Walker and illustrated by Starla Hutchon.
In the third outing of private detective of the gods Tom Statford, a woman shows up in his office claiming to have been murdered. What’s worse is she’s a target of a fire god. With four other bodies involved, along with Chinese organized crime, Tom has to figure out who killed the girl, and who is using a god as an assassin. No big deal, right? Before it’s all over, this case will give the phrase “May you live in interesting times” a whole new meaning.
A novel by John G Walker and illustrated by Starla Hutchon.
It’s time once again. As the days get warmer and longer, I’m getting the urge to go back and edit, expand and recraft the story of Black Mask & Pale Rider. I’ve even decided a title change should take place, considering that there will be a third character added in the second book. That being Wren Wennemein, and to leave her out of the title would be rather rude. Right now, I’m toying with Elves of the Old West.
The first book will go into how the two elves wound up on Earth in the first place. I have most of this part written out, I just need to expand on all of that. So with all of that, I have some work cut out for me. But, this is a story that’s stuck with me for some time and has grown beyond what Black Mask & Pale Rider originally was.
Granted, there are what I call “The Four Distractions” I have to contend with on my taskbar.
Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, Champions Online and Guild Wars 2. Maybe I can steer clear of them long enough to get some work in. Usually when I begin working, I don’t stop for a while (until I get hungry or need to walk around or go to the bathroom).
So this will be brought up again, and if all goes well, I’ll offer up chapter downloads in pdf format as I did with the original series and with Rocket Fox.